An episode focusing on the most stoic character is also the sassiest episode to date. And the holiest.
Spoilers below the cut:
By holiest episode I mean there’s quite a few plot holes as soon as they team reaches Chulak. I’ve bolded them so I can keep tabs as I write.
We open with a dream featuring a ceremony with monks and a kid lying on a table with the odd X open wound that Teal’c has. Teal’c circles the monks around the kid and then Teal’c replaces the kid on the table and starts resisting getting a Goa’uld placed in him. He starts to call out “Ry’ak” which I assume is the kid’s name. And then Teal’c wakes up on a surgery table, presumably during another experiment on the Goa’uld. Dr. Frasier said they had to put the Goa’uld back into Teal’c. The rest of the team behind the glass ask what “Ry’ak” means and Teal’c says “It’s nothing” in the way that means “It’s Something but I don’t wanna talk about it.”
In the debriefing after surgery, Major General Hammond mentions the people at Langley won’t have a Goa’uld to study. Teal’c suggests going back to Chulak, his home planet, to acquire some. The idea is shot down because the last time they were on Chulak (“Children of the Gods”) ended so well. Teal’c drops the subject and retreats, leaving the rest of the team worried because this is a display of emotion unusual for Teal’c.
As Teal’c meditates in his room, O’Neill barges in for some one-on-one time with Teal’c and learns that Teal’c has a family–a wife and son back on his home planet. O’Neill is shocked because Teal’c wasn’t supposed to have emotional connections, but Teal’c reveals his son is going to receive his first Goa’uld and wants to prevent it.
And so we have our mission of the week.
But first a couple bumps. The team minus Teal’c attempt to convince Major General Hammond of the long-term possibilities of inciting a revolution amongst the working class of the Goa’uld. And then there’s this exchange:
Hammond: How many of these other Jaffa can you be sure of?
O’Neill: We’re pretty sure of at least . . . one guy.
Jackson: Yes and where there’s one there has to be more than . . . one.
Hammond: Oh, absolutely.
Because the plot was becoming stagnant at this point, the alarms sound because Teal’c is activating the stargate without anyone’s permission. And his determination is enough to for Major General Daddy to authorize a mission to Chulak. Gosh dernit, go save your whippersnapper from institutionalized slavery!
The team sneaks onto Chulak via Jaffa monk cloaks that appeared out of nowhere, dodge a couple monks and warriors guarding the gate on the other side, and ditch their sweet duds in the forest. Teal’c leads the way to the place of his house which was destroyed in a fire, the symbol of a traitor painted on a wall of the house that survived the flames. This is the most emotional we have seen Teal’c ever since he falls to his knees and cries out loud and starts throwing things in the house in his rage.
That’s when Bra’tac shows up to introduce himself. I’ll let these quotes do the talking:
O’Neill: Hey, hey, hey! Who’re you calling a hassack? What’s a hassack?”
(Note: O’Neill has a tough time with foreign languages since the correct word is “hashak” and is not that hard to pronounce, Colonel Sassmaster.)
O’Neill: You’re over a hundred years old? God, I’m sorry.
Bra’tac: A hundred and thirty three.
O’Neill: You must work out.
Teal’c wishes to find his son before it is too late. Colonel Sassmaster orders Captain Carter and Jackson to wait by their discarded clothes until they return for literally no reason. Really, they act like there’s a time limit but the only time limit imposed on the episode is saving Ry’ak from a Goa’uld larvae. What’s the hurry guys? Did we miss a deleted scene?
Lucky for Carter and Jackson, they decide to steal a Goa’uld larvae from a nearby temple before meeting at the rendez-vous point. Carter is the one who reaches in and grabs one and somehow doesn’t get possessed.
Carter: Okay, we can do this.
Jackson: I’m ready.
Carter: On three. One, two, three.
Jackson: Okay, on four.
And then a moral dilemma: kill the remaining Goa’uld larvae or leave them be? Carter wants to leave them be for the moral high ground. But Jackson is the one that open fires an automatic on a container of babies. Probably in the name of his wife, but she’s not mentioned the entire episode so that’s assumed. In any case, that’s not going to come back and bite Jackson in the ass in a later episode.
Teal’c causes havoc in the outcast camp where his wife and son supposedly live. He does no harm except attack a priest to save his son from enslavement. During the attack, Teal’c’s wife Drey’ak arrives to fight Teal’c. The end result is the priest dead from falling on his knife and the Goa’uld larvae with a snapped neck. And yet O’Neill doesn’t bottle a dead Goa’uld. I understand the benefits of a live specimen for science, but dead specimens can be just as valuable man. Bottle that shit for science!
Turns out Drey’ak has different ideas than Teal’c. She despises being an outcast of society, which I don’t blame her for since I guess she was living in luxury and is now living in squalor for acts she didn’t commit. I’d be pissed too. She and Teal’c have a row over their son’s unconscious body (why is he unconscious?) and then she tells Teal’c to carry his son back to the hovel they call home now. With how tenderly Teal’c carried Ry’ak, why didn’t Teal’c feel any fever then?
And it’s at the tent that Ry’ak wakes up and starts coughing a lot. Drey’ak says he’s been sick since they were driven from their homes. O’Neill recognizes it as Scarlet Fever. Teal’c asks if his Earth doctors can heal them. O’Neill doesn’t make any promises but probably. So off they go to the rendez-vous point.
Ry’ak is too weak it all the way to the stargate, though, so Teal’c sacrifices himself by giving his Goa’uld larvae to his Ry’ak. Teal’s apologizing all the while.
Before Jackson and Carter can rendez-vous with the others, Jackson asks the important questions.
Jackson: Do you think these things need to be fed?
And then they’re attacked but easily fended off with a grenade. When they reunite with O’Neill and the others, O’Neill brings them up to speed. To which Carter and Jackson reveal that they have a Goa’uld for Teal’c (though why just one when they could have gotten more than one is beyond me). And so Teal’c is healed and the journey to the stargate is resumed.
As soon as Ry’ak is strong enough to stand, Teal’c says good-bye to his family. I guess now that the plan to prevent Ry’ak from receiving a Goa’uld is useless, there’s no reason to take them to Earth. Drey’ak already lashed at Teal’c once about life changing events of which she had no control. I guess this would prevent another?
Bra’tak single-handedly takes out the monks guarding the stargate and says his goodbyes to the team. The episode ends with satisfied music despite every objective of this mission ending in complete and utter failure.
- Acquire Goa’uld larvae for the “labcoats and Langley” to study. Failed because no one thought to bring back more than one sample. Especially Carter and Jackson, the science nerds. They should know better.
- Prevent Teal’c’s son Ry’ak from getting his first Goa’uld larvae. Failed because Ry’ak was too sick to make it to the stargate and iboprofen doesn’t work on Scarlet Fever.
- Attempt to incite revolution among the Jaffa class. Failed for now but we’ll see if Ry’ak and Drey’ak spread the word of false gods.
What sticks out to me about this episode is the opening scenes setting up quite a few things in regards to the mission to Chulak but then the actual mission not accomplishing any of them. It shows that the team can’t win at every mission, but this was still treated like a success by the narrative and the music in the final scene.
To be honest, it took me a while to write this recap because this episode left me feeling really “meh.” I don’t know what more I can say about it. Except this:
This episode’s adorable mascot is tattooed foreheads.