Well, getting the whole raison d’blog out of the way, our son really didn’t like this one at all. It’s not even remotely fun. It’s a look, albeit a fairly superficial one, at religious nuttery and politics, with an interesting and really, really slimy villain at its core. We only get to meet this character, whose name is Soren, a couple of times in the episode, but we get to know him through his thugs.
Soren takes control of a case where SG-1 unwittingly sparks a powderkeg on a planet where a holier-than-thou order has been quietly wearing little trinkets and having little services and not getting in anybody’s way, but the thugs take advantage of the proof of alien life to rise up and tell people to convert or die. They’re all about spiritual salvation. That’s why they want to negotiate with Earth for superior firepower instead of medical supplies, you see.
There have been a couple of other cases where our heroes land on planets where the political situation is tenuous. “New Ground” from season three comes to mind, as do all the stories set on Kelowna in seasons five through seven. But this is the first time that SG-1 is stuck in the problem as it gets worse and worse over the course of three months. I do like the fact that the story unfolds over a much longer period than these usually do.
That said, sadly, it’s not as strong a script as I’d have preferred. There’s a little too much of Daniel talking to the pretty co-star and talking about whether anybody should be blaming the Earthmen for sparking this problem, and not enough of the deterioration. I’d have liked to see more of the allegedly good religious people who are briefly glimpsed early on, and see how they got corrupted by a power-mad meathead. At one point, O’Neill says “we’re always sticking our collective noses where they don’t belong. It’s what we do,” and that’s a great and true line, but there’s no follow-up to that. SG-1 has never destabilized a planet for the worse in quite this way, and its resolution needs to be more than action teevee stuff with machine guns in a bunker. I respect that the script has some teeth, but I don’t think it has nearly enough bite.