The team has been to HOW many different planets and they don’t recognize a marriage cake when they see one?
Spoilers below the cut
The team arrives inside a temple on the planet Argos where they help a woman deliver a baby. Everyone expected Carter to know what to do since she seems to have a biology background, but it’s Jackson that knows midwifery. So the baby is named Danel after Daniel, the random kind stranger. The new family takes them to their village which is basically a huge party. At some point, a pretty young woman named Kynthia offers O’Neill a cake with flowers on it. O’Neill does not recognize this for what it is and partakes of the cake, gets a little lap dance, and then retreats with his new belle into the room with the beds. You can guess what happened there.
At sundown, everyone lays down and passes out, including O’Neill. The rest of the team are befuddled. Everyone wakes up the next day at around the same time. You may think this is a “of course everyone sleeps at night and wakes in the morning” but at the same time? Without a hangover? Something is amiss.
Turns out that the Agosians only live for 100 days (“Man only has 100 good days”) and so they age extremely fast as a result. Jackson and Teal’c, in the temple of Pelops their creator, discover old Goa’uld writing and start translating it. They learn that the people of Argos are part of an experiment to see where humanity is going in terms of evolutionary development. Captain Carter takes some samples back to the lab at Stargate Command on Earth. Together with Dr. Frasier, they determine that whatever it is, it is not a disease or a virus.
Upon her return, O’Neill has started rapidly aging faster than the other Argosians. Why? Because he ate cake and got married and this is his punishment for not asking about the local customs. The theory is that the disease is making up for lost time by aging him faster than normal. Carter wants to take him back to Stargate Command but O’Neill refuses to have another disease run rampant through SGC (remember when everyone was a caveman?). Instead, he sends his team back to Earth where they can study it and hopefully find a cure before O’Neill’s premature death. They send back momentos from Earth. As O’Neill ages, he becomes the grumpy old man in the temple.
O’Neill grows angry with his new development and takes it out on the visitors that see him at the temple. He tries to write a letter to his ex-wife Sara but discards it before he can write anything after “Dear Sara”. Kynthia is one of his more frequent visitors (because, you know, wife), and they develop a cute relationship. O’Neill spins stories of how the human body actually ages at a slower rate. Kynthia, meanwhile, teaches O’Neill how to enjoy life when it’s so short.
Back on Earth, Carter and Fraiser are Science Sisters (TM) who discover the rapid aging process is done with nanomachines. Things are promising until the machines eat through Carter’s safety gloves. Major General Hammond orders the experiments to cease and all travel to and from Argos cut off until further notice. The team sends a farewell message to O’Neill. At that point O’Neill, who is really really old, gives up waiting around in the temple. The Argosians attempt to plead to Pelops to return but O’Neill gives a pep speech that results in the Pelops statue in the temple being torn down.
Now that everyone has given up religion, O’Neill and Kynthia go for a walk along the beach until they pass the point where they should turn back. O’Neill encourages Kynthia to go further since the word of Pelops doesn’t matter anymore. He teaches her tic-tac-toe around a campfire and realizes that they have yet to fall asleep even though it’s really dark. O’Neill realizes that their sleep cycle is probably based on a transmitter of some kind and they’re out of range.
When they return, the village is still asleep which is super worrying. But the SG-1 team comes back because they too realized that the sleep cycle is strange and they can probably stop it. They find the transmitter among the ruins of Pelop’s statue and wake everyone up. Then they deactivate the nanomachines and all is well. Carter tells O’Neill that he’ll return to his own age in about a week. He bids his new wife farewell and returns home with his team.
The moral of this episode is when a pretty young woman approaches you with cake that you can’t share with your friends, that’s a marriage cake and you should be prepared for the repercussions.
Here are the main takeaways from this episode:
I find it creepy how this show as a whole seems to disregard marriage. We’ve seen some of Jackson anxious over finding Shau’re, his wife on Abydos, but we have yet to advance that plot. Then O’Neill gets married (again, since he’s already divorced) and while he treats his new wife with kindness he ultimately leaves her behind on her home world. I would feel better about this idea if there was a better conversation between O’Neill and Kynthia that went something like
O’Neill: I don’t belong here so I’m going home. Do you wish to join me? Good news is we can come back to visit. Bad news is your life will not be like it is here.
Kynthia: I am too scared about this extended life thing already so I’m going to chill here with my friends while we figure this out together.
O’Neill: Sweet. Take care. Don’t wait for me. Find a man nicer than me.
Secondly, this is the second time O’Neill has denied information about Earth to someone who was interested. The first time was in Cold Lazarus when it wasn’t really O’Neill who told Teal’c “another time,” but I’m still counting it. This time, Kynthia asked to learn about Earth and O’Neill, in his grumpy-old-man-ness, was all “No. Bug off.” We have to get to the point where aliens visit our world. Information sharing is a give-and-take and we’re all jerks if we’re just taking and taking.
This episodes seems to equate the physical state of being old with the mental state of being old. O’Neill is more likely to dish out advice or wave his cane at someone than snark at them. On principle, I’m against this kind of mentality, then again I’m in my late twenties and spent $60 on plushies at a science fiction convention, so take that as you will.
Despite this episode focusing so much on the short lifetimes of humans, they did not delve into the rituals surrounding death. What do the people of Argos do with their elderly? What do they do with their dead? Are they well cared for? Do they join in the parties and shenanigans? I feel there was a missed opportunity there somewhere.
This week’s adorable mascot is Kynthia’s marriage cake, which was apparently delicious.