I’m a god. He’s a god. She’s a god. We’re all gods, yeah!
Spoilers below the cut.
I have to be completely honest. I watched this episode after I watched the next episode (Cold Lazarus) because I forgot which episode I saw last. And even then, I kind of half-watched it because this was the second episode in a night and my brain muscles were tired. So this is a very lazy recap of this episode.
The beginning was strong with two members of SG-9 running for their lives from some natives. One gets captured and the other escapes. The captured one dies from a gun shot by his own commanding officer and the other one ALMOST makes it back home but chooses to stay behind instead. So Stargate Command sends the SG-1 team to investigate what’s going on since they got the signal to keep the iris open but nothing showed up. This is the first episode to suggest that the SG-1 team is the elite team in Stargate Command.
Upon arrival to the planet, we learn that Captain Carter used to be engaged to the commander of the SG-9 team (ick). She says that he loved control, and this makes me worried that her relationship with him might have been abusive in some capacity. I mean, they broke off their engagement which means she probably came to her senses at some point. But still, Captain Carter seems to be carrying the brunt of every lady problem ever.
We also learn that the sunlight on this planet is super intense with its ultraviolet radiation. People go crazy and die when exposed to too much sun, which is why everyone lives in caves. But when the SG-1 team discovers where the humans live, they see a bunch of people carrying rocks like slaves. Captain Carter saves a young boy and gets captured by the slaver, one of the men of SG-9, who takes her to Captain Jonas Hanson, commander of SG-9. He’s all creepy and feasting off the power of being called a god. Eventually, Carter gets a chance to shoot him and doesn’t take it.
Teal’c and Jackson, with the help of the boy Carter rescued, find a device left by the Goa’uld which can alleviate the ultraviolet radiation of the valley and make daylight livable. It turns the sky orange because that’s the color of the shield when it’s activated. Teal’c determines that two of them are necessary for the device to work properly and the other must be at the temple Hanson is building with his slaves, I mean his followers.
Wouldn’t you know, Hanson has the other device and he wants Carter to turn it on for him. His plan is to “turn the sky orange” when the people finish building him his temple. At this point, O’Neill, who had been working to rescue the last remaining member of SG-9, is captured and taken to Hanson. Hanson then decides to set an example for his people. He takes the prisoners to the stargate which he turns on its side so it looks like a giant pit. He says he is sending the SG-1 devils back from whence they came, except they’ll be going without the radio thing that requests access to the iris so they’ll ultimately splat against a giant titanium plate.
At this point, the boy who was rescued before appears and claims Hanson is not a god. Jackson proves this by saying guns are merely machines and anybody can use them, the same with the device that turns the sky orange. And then the sky turns orange and the people throw Hanson into the stargate.
The title of this episode comes from the conversation between Carter and O’Neill at the very end. Carter bemoans the fact that she didn’t shoot Hanson when she had the chance (a sentiment I kind of agree with) and O’Neill assures her that doing so would mean breaking the most important of the Ten Commandments. Plus, killing a man isn’t a badge of honor and in general you shouldn’t do it.
O’Neill: Look, I’m no expert on this thing. I generally remember one Commandment, I think it’s the first.
Carter: I am the Lord, your God, and you shall take no other Gods before me?
O’Neill: Okay, it’s not the first one.
Which comes to my own moral dilemma of this episode. Does the life of one controlling douchebag outweigh the mass of slaves under his control? Did Carter sign up for the military not prepared to take a life? (I ask that from a point in history where signing up for the military guarantees deployment to the middle of a war zone). Is no one going to justify Hanson’s death as the only means to bring him under control without outside help? And let me reiterate: there is a sea of slaves doing hard, physical labor in an unsuitable environment and the episode repeatedly enforced the idea that continuing this effort in such a way would kill everybody involved.
So I agree that a lot of trouble would have been saved if Carter had taken action in that scene. On the other hand, we weren’t given the full extent of their relationship beforehand. So even though Hanson turned into a megalomaniac with a literal god complex, maybe he used to be a super cool dude with good taste in movies or something. And that was the version of him Carter was picturing when she had her gun aimed at him.
This episode gets bonus points for introducing a lady problem (controlling/abusive male partners) without so much as alluding to rape.
This episode also dives headfirst into the season’s themes about godhood by portraying how NOT to be a good god. I should tuck it away for a future essay on the nature of deities and how Stargate SG-1 uses godhood as a story mechanism.
The adorable mascot of the week is the boy Carter rescued.