Season 3 Episodes 12 and 13 – SG-1 literally goes to Hell, also known as the planet Netu.
Part 1: Martoof arrives at Stargate Command with news that Jacob Carter/Selmak were captured by Sokar and sent to the planet Netu, also known as Hell because of its hellish landscape and Sokar’s love for the mythical devil. No one has ever escaped from Netu except for Jolinar. The rescue plan is to take a cargo ship into orbit around Netu and drop to the surface in single-person pods. Once there, they will locate Jacob/Selmak and escape with the help of Jolinar’s memories. Carter has difficulty remembering exact memories on the journey to Netu despite having a memory device on her temple but remembers things more clearly while on the surface. She eventually remembers that Jolinar spent the night with Bynar, the Goa’uld lord of Netu, to assist in her escape. They find Jacob/Selmak who is not doing so hot, especially Selmak. Since she called Bynar by name, Carter gets to have a private conversation with Bynar which uncovers the bigger picture of Jolinar’s escape. During the conversation, Bynar’s first prime interrupts and kills Bynar and Carter flees back to her friends. She reveals how Jolinar escaped, which is through transport rings in Bynar’s room. So they go there. Martoof hacks the device that controls the rings but before they can escape, Bynar’s first prime arrives and reveals himself to be Apophos.
So, Sokar. The Goa’uld who takes on the image of the devil. The Devil represents the amount of evil Sokar is supposed to represent. The Devil is also a deity of Christian mythology. I assume alongside the presence of the devil in Stargate SG-1 there may also be a Goa’uld impersonating Jesus Christ. We have yet to encounter this Goa’uld, and I am inclined to think that the show will avoid doing so for as long as possible. I too would want to avoid a religious controversy. But from a storyteller’s perspective, I would like to see a show that is willing to explore ALL sides of every religion it wants to explore. Otherwise, analysis regarding the use of religion is incomplete.
The other big thing I noticed about this episode is Jolinar’s use of Weaponized Sex. Spend a night with the leader of hell to steal the key to escape. This isn’t something I would have hidden from my compatriots if I were in Jolinar’s shoes. She did what she had to do to escape. If, say, she had to do harm to someone other than herself, either by betraying a close friend or gouging out someone’s brain while they were still alive, that I can understand hiding that. Sleeping with the enemy in order to escape sounds a bit too generic for my tastes.
Finally, we have the reveal of Apophos! Apophos, old buddy, you’re alive! We did not miss you at all. How have you been? Unwell I hope.
Part 2: After Apophos seizes command of Netu, he sends SG-1 plus Martoof back to their confinement. His new first prime hands over part of the memory tech held by Martoof which was discovered when the team was searched. One by one, he brings them in to torture them for information. First is Carter, whom he asks about breaking through Earth’s iris. Next is O’Neill whom he asks how Earth made contact with the Asgard. Third is Martoof whom he asks about the location of the Tok’ra resistance. Last is Jackson whom he asks about the location of the child of Amonet and Apophos. With all four, Apophos uses the memory device and a hallucinogen called the Blood of Sokar. However, all four fail to give up any information, recognizing pieces of their memories as being “wrong.” Martoof, however, gives the name of a planet but reveals in private that the Tok’ra do not have a presence on that planet. Meanwhile, Teal’c returns to the Tok’ra base and teams up with a second Tok’ra who was given a planet-destroying missile to use on Netu which will blow up Sokar’s ship in addition to the planet. While Jackson is being questioned, Sokar agrees to an audience with Apophos. As Jackson is being taken away, he tricks the guards into stealing back the communication device. Apophos leaves for Sokar’s ship as Teal’c and the Tok’ra fire the missile into Netu. SG-1 quickly escapes through the transportation rings and are beamed aboard the cargo ship. SG-1 escapes, Sokar’s mothership is destroyed, and Apophos once again escapes destruction.
It seems as though this episode wanted to give us some more character development with SG-1, but the only new bit of information is the fact that Carter’s mother died in an accident when she was a child. Otherwise, O’Neill’s tragic backstory involving his son Charlie is rehashed, and we’re reminded that Jackson’s wife Shau’re is dead too. Everyone has a dead family member, it seems. Even Martoof, who was the mate of Jolinar.
Teal’c remains the same, teaming up with a Tok’ra agent who doubts his abilities, though Teal’c reveals that he is just as surprised as the Tok’ra that everyone made it out alive. Meanwhile, we the viewers should never doubt because Plot Armor is a thing that definitely exists for the entirety of SG-1. There was never any doubt they were going to die. Or if they are going to die, they are not all going to die in a single episode. Or if they really are truly going to die, they’re going to be revived. Either way, we have not seen the last of SG-1 anytime soon. There are seven more season, after all.
These episodes’ adorable mascot is that moment O’Neill says he’s going to pass out again and then he does.