Stargate SG-1 8.9 – Sacrifices

I think I’ve figured out our kid’s preferred tempo for an hour show. He really enjoyed “Sacrifices” a lot. It starts with some good comedy, details a problem that isn’t too complex, and builds to a very big on-location shootout. It helps that the shootout climaxes with the villain having an amusing reaction to his impending doom. This villain is Moloc, who we’ve heard about previously but never seen, and he realizes too late that a laser pointer sight on his chest is not some strange alien bug, but a “painting” for missiles to target. Our son does like it when the villains learn they’re “screwed.” Tsk. Where’d he learn language like that?

Anyway, “Sacrifices” is another episode scripted by actor Christopher Judge, and it brings back Teal’c’s space girlfriend Ishta, who we met last year in “Birthright”, along with Tony Amendola making another welcome return as Master Bra’tac. This time, her tribe of rebel warriors needs to be evacuated to a new planet when their cover is blown, and one of their number is getting married to Teal’c’s son. In three days. These rebels are stubborn; of course the wedding can’t be postponed.

Every once in a while, I remember something just perfectly and can pause at just the right point for a quick discussion. Just before the rehearsal falls apart, I figured we could have a little chat about how this ancient, ancient ceremony is so mired in sexism, and how Teal’c himself is still having trouble seeing Jaffa women – although not women from other cultures – as the equals of Jaffa men. We resumed just in time for the ceremony to fall apart, because the bride-to-be evidently didn’t look at the book beforehand and didn’t know there was a bit where she’s meant to kneel in respect to her husband. And the groom-to-be is every bit as outraged as you might fear.

I’d like to think that the meat is the good fight stuff, and it’s quite exciting and very well directed. Teal’c and Ishta and one other dude are cut off and outnumbered. It all turns out okay in the end, with Moloc dead, but interestingly, everybody who’s been urging caution before rising up and killing Moloc is proven correct. Within a couple of days, they get word that Ba’al, who is really overdue for an in-person appearance, has simply absorbed Moloc’s forces and grown more powerful. From this point, things are going to start moving very quickly offscreen. Seems amazing that we’re this close to the end of the Goa’uld arc.

Stargate SG-1 7.10 – Birthright

And then there was that time that actor Christopher Judge, who had written a couple of pretty good episodes already – most recently “The Changeling” in season six – decided that his character needed a space girlfriend. So he wrote another pretty good episode and passed it along with the hopes that actress Jolene Blalock, who had a regular part in Star Trek: Enterprise, might be available to play Ishta. Judge, you sly devil, you.

I tease, but this is another pretty good episode from Judge, who clearly worked out a lot of the backstory of Teal’c’s people, and how they can one day – and that day’s coming soon – be free from their oppressors. A big chunk of that is getting the Jaffa free from hosting symbiotes, which their physiology demands from puberty, the result of centuries of genetic engineering. Teal’c and his mentor have been taking an experimental drug instead of a symbiote, and now they meet a new group, Ishta’s gang of rebels, who need new symbiotes for the children in their ranks. The humans want to give these rebels the option of the drug, but isn’t that just trading subservience to the alien baddies for reliance on a drug from Earth? How can they be sure humanity can be trusted, or even that the drug will work long-term when their kids need it now?

I think it’s a fascinating moral dilemma and it’s a very nicely-directed story with lots of location filming, but unfortunately our son was not very impressed. He said he couldn’t really connect with the problem and didn’t understand it much. Plus, there are lots of scenes with Judge and Blalock quietly talking about their dead lovers and letting go of things past. He’s been around the block enough times to know this sort of talk leads to smooching.