Season 3 Episode 19 – SG-1 arrives on a planet in a religious dispute over the origins of humanity. Of course, SG-1 disproves one of the dominant theories of the planet.
Two archeologiest, Nyan and Mellon, uncover another symbol on a stargate that has been buried. Shortly thereafter, the stargate activates and the Stargate Command probe rolls through. Jackson speaks through the probe to announce the coming of his team of peaceful travelers. Mellon leaves to tell the authorities about the stargate’s activation and visitors. Nyan recieves SG-1 and tells them of the religious dispute. The Continent of Bedrosia, where the stargate is located, believes humans originated on the planet in the image of the god Nefertum. Optricia, meanwhile, believes humans were brought to the planet by Nefertum as slaves about two thousand years ago. A squad from the Bedrosian military arrives and captures O’Neill, Carter, and Jackson while Teal’c escapes. During his escape, Teal’c is blinded but found by Nyan who assists in Teal’c recovery with a small medical device. The rest of SG-1 is questioned by the Bedrosian leader who is adamant about his beliefs and doesn’t take well to being proven wrong. All three deny a fourth member of their team but Jackson becomes targeted in the interrogations. The Bedrosian military believes SG-1 to be spies from the Optrician continent. Teal’c, not fully recovered but still not entirely blind, leads a rescue operation to save his team. Teal’c is the distraction while Nyan frees SG-1. Everyone lays down cover fire while Jackson runs to the DHD and dials Earth. Teal’c and O’Neill go through together and take Nyan with them. On Earth, Nyan is granted refugee status and is hired as Jackson’s research assistant.
The religious warfare on this planet seems similar to the religious wars here on Earth. The Crusades come to mind, but I also feel as though the current political climate is also religious in nature. Either way, I was hoping this episode would paint both sides as being right in their own ways (like Nefertum brought slaves through the stargate but there were already humans on the planet). However, the episode got distracted by a military rescue mission so there wasn’t much religious commentary. Instead, the Optricians were proven right all along and the Bedrosians are the ones completely in the wrong.
In terms of religious commentary, I cannot disagree more. At least on Earth, all religions are formed from human philosophy and environment. The Norse have a thunder god because of the intensity of thunderstorms in Scandinavia. The Ancient Greeks had a party god because they loved a real good party. Jesus is regarded as the messiah in Christianity but is otherwise known as a prophet in Judaism and Islam. Most religions are formed as a result of stories. SG-1 disproving one religious theory in favor of another goes against this idea that all religion is “correct” in come capacity. I could go on, but that seems like an essay for another time.
Nyan, meanwhile, is not the first person from the other side of a gate to be given a home on Earth. He’s certainly not the first refugee. But he is the first adult. It pleases me that Jackson gave him an archaeology-based job at Stargate Command. I’m hoping to see Nyan again in future episodes, perhaps as an archaeological consultant.
There are two characters that I wish got more screen time. Both ladies had potential to contribute more to the story and neither of them fulfilled that potential. The first is Mellon who up and disappears from the story as soon as her role as Tattle Tale is over. It would have been awesome if Mellon learned to look past religious conditioning and think like a scientist. The second is the Bedrosian scientist who fails to convince her commander that scientific reasoning trumps religion (according to Stargate SG-1). Likewise, I would have liked to have seen the Bedrosian scientists help out SG-1 in the rescue. She would have been a nice point of contact for future missions had she managed to talk with them more than she did.
This episode’s adorable mascot is the interrogation montage. Those are always fun no matter the squabbles.