Ex Deus Machina
Stargate SG-1 Episode Review
After the recent Ori-centric episodes, a return to
concerns like The Trust and the Goa’uld is actually a
little bit of a slowdown. At least, that’s how I felt
about it. The writers had already tossed about a
dozen plot elements into the season arc, and now that
we’re a third of the way in, it seems overkill to slip
in this new aspect of Ba’al and his growing control
over the human economy.
I’m also not sure that I like the idea of Ba’al
clones, even if it means that things get to be more
complex. Even if it has some tenuous connection to
previous NID-related episodes, it strikes me as a
little too convenient. Not only that, but I was left
wondering if the writers were trying to suggest that
the real Ba’al wasn’t in the same body anymore, but
rather, in the fit young woman that was pretending to
be his “First Prime”. What better hiding place than
in plain sight?
Anyway, for me, the real interest was the chess game
between Teal’c and Garek. Previous episodes warned
that Garek was an isolationist with a great deal of
popular support, and this episode confirms it without
a doubt. Garek knows politics and how to use
information (or the lack thereof) against his rivals.
Time and again, Teal’c was put on the defensive, and
no matter how powerful his words might be, the message
was lost in the process.
As annoying as the “Goa’uld on Earth” plot thread
promises to be, there are some interesting aspects to
it. All this action on Earth continues to erode the
secrecy of the SGC, which was already on the skids
over the past few years. The previous episode also
raised an interesting issue: what happens if Ba’al
decides that an alliance of convenience with the Ori
can solidify his power on Earth?
One thing is for certain: the alliance between the
Tau’ri, the Tok’ra, and the Jaffa has all but fallen
apart, and Garek is more than happy to let it happen.
His use of the old methods employed by the Goa’uld
suggests that he could turn those weapons against his
own people in the near future. What would Garek do to
preserve his own power? At what point does this
isolationist stance become the basis for a
This is more properly the return of Lt. Col. Carter,
since the previous episode had few meaningful moments
for the character. This introduces a few questions
that have probably been on the table for a while, but
couldn’t be addressed until she was back on-screen.
For instance, she notes that she’s not exactly
“single”; is this some kind of reference to the end of
the eighth season? I’ve always taken it that Jack and
Sam accepted that they can’t be together, yet can’t be
with anyone else because of their feelings for each
other. Is that how the comment was meant to be read?
And then there’s the question of command. If the
writers play this honestly, Carter should have issues
with Mitchell running the show, sooner or later.
Unless, of course, they continue to make the team feel
more like a temporary convenience than the institution
that once was. Carter may simply see this as a
temporary situation, so it doesn’t matter who runs the
team. But what happens if Mitchell makes a call that
Carter doesn’t agree with?
Even if this wasn’t my favorite plot thread (I’m
actually rather tired of the NID/Trust/Goa’uld
episodes), I continue to give credit where credit is
due. The entire cast seems revitalized, the writing
is the strongest it’s been since the series went to
SFC, and the series is back to being a “must watch”.
It’s like the writers and producers felt like they had
something to prove, and so far, they’ve hit a very
Reviewed by Entil
Find His Full Review Archive at: http://www.entil2001.com