Season 3 Episode 16 – SG-1 shares an imaginary friend named Urgo.
The stargate rover is sent to a planet and project back data for a tropical paradise with no civilization. SG-1 is sent to scout but returns fifteen hours later, except SG-1 thought they had just walked through the gate. Their medical examinations reveal nothing out of the ordinary. During the debriefing, Carter reveals that the image of the tropical paradise is actually false. Then everyone falls in love with the coffee, especially Teal’c who downs an entire gallon straight from the coffer. Everyone returns to their normal routine until O’Neill starts eating pie in the commissary, which attracts the rest of his team to help devour a feast of desserts. With further medical tests, Dr. Fraser notices a nanobot no larger than a pinhead implanted in SG-1’s brains. There is no way for her to remove them without irreparable brain damage. SG-1 is quarantined until further notice. During their quarantine, they start hearing a voice that claims to be super bored. A shared hallucination named Urgo appears and wants to play. SG-1 realizes that they’re the only ones who can see Urgo and notify Dr Fraser and General Hammond. They determine that Urgo is meant to be an exploratory program, but since Urgo refuses to answer any important questions, SG-1 is grounded until further notice. SG-1 is no longer quarantined but interacting with them is similar to humoring a child with an imaginary friend. Carter attempts to neutralize Urgo with an electro magnetic pulse which works for maybe half an hour. Their final option is to appeal to the creators who implanted Urgo. So SG-1 sends a probe through the gate to the planet where they were implanted and speaks with the creator named Togar. Togar says Urgo is an error and invites the team to return to his planet. SG-1 realizes Urgo is a living being, despite being artificial intelligence, and manage to convince Togar to implant Urgo into his own head to prevent Urgo from dying. Togar agrees and removes Urgo from SG-1’s brains. They are sent back through the gate but have no memory of what happened on Togar’s planet similar to the events that opened the episode.
This episode felt like an episode created for children. Urgo is childish in the games he wants to play–“hide and seek” and “tag” among others. He is outgoing but annoying in much the same way an outgoing child is when the child is also bored with grown up jobs. It was slightly unsettling to see a grown man impersonate a child, but I was more annoyed with how SG-1 interacted with him rather than Urgo’s behavior. You don’t reward bad behavior by interacting with it is my personal philosophy. So it annoys me when people do it.
The episode touched on Togar being too afraid to explore the galaxy through the stargate which is why he hides himself away and sends visitors away with probes in their brains. Considering that the majority of the galaxy is overrun by another kind of parasite, the Goa’uld, it doesn’t surprise me that Togar takes this philosophy with stargate travel. I do find it a relief that the same events that opened the episode were repeated at the end of the episode. No one will remember what happened on that planet as it happened. It amuses me and it makes me wonder how SGC is going to classify that planet for future missions.
Urgo was characterized as a life form because of his sentience despite being a tiny, tiny robot. I appreciate this philosophy is so widely accepted by SG-1 considering the number of programs out there that explore this very concept. Ghost in the Shell and Westworld are the two examples that come to mind.
It occurred to me this episode that Stargate SG-1, despite being military science fiction, prefers to take the non-violent routes when it comes to problem solving. Other than any entanglement with the Goa’uld, and even with some Goa’uld entanglements, it surprises me how many pacifist solutions are used and successful. I’ve compared Stargate SG-1 to Star Trek before, but I finally understand why I made that comparison in the first place. Stargate SG-1‘s use of non-violence for throwaway episodes like this one resembles the non-violence of Star Trek. Perhaps Star Trek influenced the creation of Stargate SG-1 in some way. Or a bunch of the writers are fans of Star Trek. Either way, I see the similarities and I appreciate them.
This episode’s adorable mascot is SG-1’s dessert feast.