Season 2 Episode 13 – This episode deals with a touchy subject and it’s hard to say if it was done respectfully or not.
Synopsis: SG-11 is late checking in. They were mining a metal called Trinium when they disappeared. As SG-1 is being briefed, the gate activates and an arrow makes it through their defenses and pierces the glass at the board room, injuring Colonel O’Neill. Captain Carter assumes command and leads Teal’c and Jackson to the planet Trinium is mined. They discover SG-11 disappeared while they were in the middle of completing tasks. Shortly after, they are shot by poisonous arrows that knock them unconscious. Upon waking, they meet Tunane who leads them to the place of the spirits. The spirits give up SG-11. Carter attempts to negotiate a mining treaty with the tribe’s elders and they agree to have Tunane accompany the SG teams back to Earth to inspect their mining methods. Tunane rejects all the methods for being too destructive, which causes Hammond to reveal that SGC is going to mine anyway. SG-11 reveals themselves to be the spirits from Tunane’s planet and disappears everyone in SGC they meet. O’Neill and Teal’c knock out Zales with a zat gun, and Jackson negotiates with Tekaiya for the spirits to heal Zales and return the people of SGC. As the spirits and Tunane depart, O’Neill suggests they dismantle the stargate so no one can invade them again.
This feels like a touchy episode since the United States government didn’t handle relationships with Native Americans when they first landed in North America, and that relationship has not improved at all in the past couple hundred years. I’m grateful this episode had the good graces of acknowledging that the best course of action would be to leave the Salish people alone on their planet.
This marks one of the first episodes where Major General Hammond did not agree with his people. I haven’t given him his Major General Daddy moniker for a while, but he wasn’t much of a Daddy in this episode.
The tribe featured in this episode is the Salish people of the Pacific Northwest. I am curious how people of the Pacific Northwest in North America got to ancient Egypt. One of the earliest episodes of the show features a people from Mongolia. I can probably see a Mongolian tribe getting caught through the stargate since Asia and Africa do have a land bridge. But from North America? I think that’s a bit of a stretch without an explanation. Where was the second stargate at the time? We need more information here.
I kind of cringed at some of the team’s interactions with Tunane, not because it was awkward, but because it seemed as though the team didn’t take him seriously. I mean, in any other planet, Carter may have been willing to communicate with a wolf. Later in the episode, Jackson leads Tunane into a storage closet and tries to make it seem like it’s part of the tour. Tunane goes along with it, because he’s Tunane, but it irked me. Was it because of his demeanor or because of his heritage? One is more innocent than the other, and I’m willing to remain skeptical about this.
O’Neill mentions that this episode is Captain Carter’s first command of the series, but didn’t she take a command role in the episode “Message in a Bottle”? I thought she did there because, again, O’Neill was incapacitated. I wonder why that isn’t counted as Carter taking command when she was the one calling the shots most of that episode. Sexism? Forgetfulness? Maybe they’re description of “taking command” does not fit my own?
I like how Jackson and O’Neill just know the other is who they say they are. As exampled by this exchange:
O’Neill: How do I know you’re really Daniel?
O’Neill: Yeah, okay.
This show has been bro-shipping O’Neill and Teal’c since the beginning, but I think we need to start seeing more O’Neill/Jackson team ups. Nerdy Jackson of many deaths and wives does the right thing while his commanding officer barks snarky remarks and shoots up the place. Yeah, I’d like to see more of that.
This episode’s adorable mascot is Tunane, super chill and super wise.