This episode features a little bit of plot and a little bit of philosophy. It is missing a cool sense of fashion.
Spoilers below the cut.
We start with what appears to be a recurring theme of US military authorities not involved in the stargate program to be actively against it. The Secretary of Defense is present and observing SG-5’s first foray onto a mysterious world called P3C117. He doesn’t like it because they’re sending perfectly good soldiers into unknown territory but the SG-1 team defends the decision to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and new civilizations. Colonel Sassmaster O’Neill withholds sassy comments in the presence of the Secretary of State.
The Secretary’s main issue is the lack of advancement in scientific and technological progress, which to be completely honest is supremely unfair since this is only seven episodes which means it can’t be more than six months since the first episode and that is a very unreasonable time to expect super awesome science stuff to happen. And what the hell happened to the miracle anesthetic from that planet with the mongols?
Luckily, Teal’c knows a bit more about the worlds of the stargate than the others and so tells of a planet where Goa’uld hunt a creature that can turn invisible. They have yet to catch this creature, but maybe SG-1 can! And so we have the backstory for our mission of the week.
Shortly after arriving on the planet, the stargate disappears from the SG-1. Which is mysterious and worrisome but what can you do, right? Then they discover Apothos and three of his Jaffa (or bodyguards) are in the area and the SG-1 team can’t help themselves. They try to capture him and it ends in the deaths of everyone except Teal’c. Before Apothos can make the final kill, the SG-1 team disappears.
They wake up in a village of forest people called the Nox with big frizzy hair and white facial features. For at least five minutes, these people are silent as they learn English by listening to the SG-1 team babble on to get some sort of reaction. The little boy, Nafrayu, befriends Carter first but develops more of a relationship with O’Neill. The tribe elder, Anteaus, is determined to stay out of the dispute between SG-1 and Apothos. This is the main conflict in this episode. Where the SG-1 team continually offers their help in defending the Nox against the Goa’uld, the Nox continually refuse the offer and assures SG-1 that their camp is safe.
The Nox have demonstrated advanced technology with the ability to bring the SG-1 team back from the dead and the ability to turn invisible. However, their inability to take aggressive action against anybody is supposed to make you think they’re weak and unable to defend themselves. Jackson and O’Neill have moments with two of the eldest members of the Nox. Where Jackson attempts to reason with the Nox in terms of philosophy, O’Neill keeps persuading them by retelling their experiences with the Goa’uld. Neither makes any headway.
Apothos eventually learns that the Nox are the ones behind invisibility and so attempts to attack them. But first, he weakens them by forcing them to revive one of their own, the little boy Nafrayu. During the ceremony, the SG-1 team defends the Nox from Apothos with much more success than before. But before the battle can be decided, everyone disappears from each other.
In the final scene, the Nox show SG-1 the gate which they have hidden upon their first arrival. And because they were apparently so good, the Nox show them their city in the sky, thus proving that the Nox have more advanced technology than they let on. The catch is that once the SG-1 team goes through the stargate, the stargate on this planet will be buried so the Goa’uld will no longer be able to come through. That also means SG-1 will be unable to return in the future.
The lesson is that when a race of people that can bring you back from the fucking dead tell you not to worry, they can protect themselves, you believe them.
In terms of the overall plot for the season, we made a little headway. Shau’re and Skaara were directly referenced and we got a little backstory on Teal’c, who must have been a super awesome Jaffa warrior because he trained one of the Jaffa protecting Apothos this episode. We also got more of the “We Definitely Deserve to be Kept Running” plot that started with episode 2. Teal’c is a recognized Trusted Figure among the US military authorities outside Stargate Command, it seems. There was no mention of the refugees at all. I’m going to give this season until episode 11 to address this some more before dropping it from my predictions.
As for randomly running into Apothos on a planet, I find that strange. I don’t begrudge a dude who wants some alone time in the wild, but there was no speculation as to why he would be on the planet of invisible creatures in the first place. Other than this planet being a typical hunting ground for Gao’uld warriors, why now? Why Apothos? Why his random three Jaffa guards? Our villain isn’t getting any development in the episodes he appears in. I hope that gets rectified at least a little bit before the end of season 1.
The Nox have a super cool stance on violence in general. Which is to say, none of that shit. They’re healers and defenders and this makes them seem completely naive until they reveal that they’re a lot more powerful than assumed. I think it would have been more interesting if they didn’t have a floating city above the mountains. What if they lived as simply as they did among the trees and fauna? Why is that a weakness? Why couldn’t their lesson be “We used to think aggression was equal to strength. But then we learned that it is better to cultivate peace whenever possible. So we became tree huggers and the trees hugged us back.”
I am a little miffed that Captain Carter didn’t spend as much time with Nafrayu as O’Neill did. Since children are more likely to be frank about their world, Nafrayu would have offered valuable insights into the ways of the Nox and why they choose to be defensive instead of aggressive.
But I suppose the actual lesson from this episode was a combination of “strength manifests itself differently” and “different does not mean not-right.”
This week’s adorable mascot is Nafrayu.