Season 2 Episode 15 – Meaning of life stuff coming back with one hell of a headache.
Synopsis: A probe discovers a circle written in a language previously found on Ernest’s planet in the season 1 episode “The Torment of Tantulus.” SG-1 goes to investigate and a device in the wall downloads a bunch of information in Colonel O’Neill’s brain. Back on Earth, he appears normal until he starts replacing regular words with an alien language. Then he starts speaking the alien language exclusively. Jackson uses the opportunity to help with the translations of the four races, but he’s distracted by the other odd behaviors O’Neill has, like writing an entire math equation on the blackboard and building a mysterious device even he doesn’t know. O’Neill inputs a code into the SGC computers and it unlocks a series of worlds not listed on the Abydos Cartouche. Carter leads a team to one planet and gets into trouble when a second sun is discovered and the dial home device is broken. O’Neill draws up instructions for fixing the dial home device, rescuing the team. Then he attaches his mystery device to the power source for the gate and dials coordinates that use 8 symbols instead of the normal 7. O’Neill goes through the gate with no hope of ever returning and lands on an Asgardian world. The Asgardians remove the knowledge from his brain and explain that he discovered a database left behind from the Ancients, the builders of the stargate system. They tell him they’re on their way to becoming the fifth race in the alliance and send him home.
I wondered what would have happened if anyone other than O’Neill got the knowledge into his head. If it were Jackson, he wouldn’t have been able to communicate for as long as O’Neill since Jackson helped translate O’Neill once he lost the ability to speak English. If it were Carter, they wouldn’t have the ability to run diagnostics or fix the stargate. If it were Teal’c, there was the Jaffa physiology to deal with and Dr. Frasier might not have been able to figure out the differences. I guess that left O’Neill. Is it just me, or is O’Neill getting special treatment this season? I’ll have to check my notes for the season 2 wrap up, but I feel like he is in some cases and it might have something to do with his actor becoming a producer on the show.
The big revelation this episode is the name of the race that built the stargates. Now the stargates go to worlds unable to support human life, which would mean more careful probing of a world before sending a human team through. Jackson is able to get a primer for a second language of the four races which will help with the meaning of life stuff he’s been working on thanks to O’Neill speaking the language of the Ancients. Not only that, but the language of the Ancients is closely related to Latin. Did the Ancients teach the Romans their language? Or are Earth’s ancient Romans part of the Ancients race?
The Asgardians reveal the names of the four races introduced (kinda) in “The Torment of Tantulus”: the Asgardians, the Ancients, the Nox (whom we met), and the Furlings (whom we will probably meet in the future). They also say that the humans of Earth are on their way to becoming the Fifth Race in their grand alliance, which gives O’Neill hope for what they’re doing.
I’m glad this episode advanced the plot regarding the Four Races from Ernest’s planet. It was a nice break from “let’s topple the goa’uld empire.”
This episode’s adorable mascot is the giant battery O’Neill builds. What does it do? Good question.