Greetings intrepid sci-fi lovers!
Did you enjoy the review of Stargate SG-1 season one? Well, in this post I discuss its sequel: season two. Let’s begin!
This season starts off with a bang! Our heroes manage to steal a glider and with the help of longtime ally Bra-tac SG-1 defeats Apophis by destroying his ship. The once mighty Goa’uld System Lord flees with his son Klorel and the remainder of his army.
This episode ends with the main cast hovering above the earth. They float there in awe of its beauty thankful for having saved their home. Before they consign themselves to death in space, however, they are saved. What a great way to end the story arc!
Imagine watching this for the first time in 1998! Back then you couldn’t DVR episodes or read spoilers online. You had to show up on time with popcorn in hand and bladder empty! You knew that your eyes were glued to the screen!
Episode Rating: 5 Stars
The following episode, “In the Line of Duty” certainly turns a corner for the series. It begins with Major Carter being French kissed by a dying Goa’uld-possessed man. The Goa’uld passes into Carter and she is soon incarcerated. Despite the circumstances, the symbiote tries to reason with the SG team that it is an ally. But they are not persuaded, especially Colonel O’Neill.
However, in an unforeseen twist, a Goa’uld assassin covertly enters the base and fatally wounds Carter and her symbiote. The symbiote heals Carter; giving its own life to save hers. We learn the symbiote that died hated the Goa’uld. Its name was Jolinar.
Episode Rating: 4.2 Stars
What follows is a highly mysterious and fascinating episode. The SG-1 Team gets put in jail! Apparently, they unknowingly aided a criminal. For this they are incarcerated by the planet’s government. It beams them to a dirty medieval prison filled with aggressive lowlives and brigands!
General Hammond attempts to bargain for the release of his team. It is all to no avail. Fortunately, while in the big house our heroes befriend an inmate named Linea, an elderly woman with a very scientific mind. She and the SG team cleverly work together and they return to Earth.
However, this shady senior citizen doesn’t play nice. She hacks their computers and leaves through the Stargate without permission. Her escape is worsened by the fact that she is a genocidal maniac armed with their all their files, and now she’s set loose in the galaxy.
Following that fun mess, our heroes travel to a peaceful world where they are trapped and put in a dream world. SG-1 discovers that an enforcer named “The Gamekeeper” is holding them hostage. After madcap madness ensues the team breaks free of his control, liberate the other dream captives and then return home.
The nature of the dream world is the most interesting aspect about this episode. In said dreams, O’Neill and Teal’c we’re reliving O’Neill’s failed mission in 1982; they ended up witnessing his team being killed over and over again despite each different attempt. Daniel Jackson and Major Carter are stuck reliving the tragic death of Jackson’s parents in a museum. They also try and fail repeatedly to prevent their deaths. Yikes!
Episode Rating: 4.6
If that weren’t absurd enough, in the following episode Daniel Jackson saves a princess from committing suicide. She gets infatuated with him and forces him to use the Goa’uld sarcophagus. Meanwhile the rest of the team is forced to work the mines like it’s the 1800s. Because the sarcophagus is addictive Daniel Jackson gets violent and controlling. Thankfully O’Neill gives his delusional friend a wild haymaker and they return home. Jackson suffers a score of withdrawals but soon recovers. He offers the princess some sage advice.
Episode rating 4.5
The next episodes are fun and remarkable, but they don’t stand out enough for me. First, the team goes to meet the Norse gods only to find Roswell aliens who created the Nordic mythologies. Secondly, the team retrieve an odd orb, which impales O’Neill and irradiates the base before relaying a message. Thirdly, Teal’c’s zealot son is tased for misbehaving, and Sha’re is revealed to be pregnant by Apophis while O’Neill heckles a nosy paparazzi.
Episodes Rating: 3.9
Then comes what in my opinion is the deadliest episode: “Bane.” In this episode the team travel to an abandoned planet infested by huge bugs resembling a cross between a dragonfly and a mosquito. These vile insects have overrun the planet and chase after the SG team. Our heroes escape but Teal’c is stung in the process.
Dr. Janet Frasier soon discovers that the sting transmitted a virus. The virus mutates the victim’s cells, which cause it to become duplicates of the hell bug. This means that Teal’c is doomed; his body will mutate into a heap of giant insects that will infest the planet.
This is beyond disturbing! The very idea of something invading your body and using it against your will to kill you and make more of itself is something straight out of a horror flick. This macabre act is like what wasps do in the wild. To know that you will die and your body is itself will turn into the thing that killed you is uncomfortable, violating and terrifying. I can only think of a few ways worse to die than this!
I think that Teal’c was made the victim in this episode for two reasons: the presence of his symbiote and his natural calm composure. The fact that his symbiote can slow it down and provide a cure is key to overcoming this unwinnable obstacle. Furthermore, Teal’c is far more reserved, calm and collected, which means we don’t get a whole lot of him bemoaning his predicament or quaking in visible fear. Those things would extend the episode past its usual forty five minutes.
Thankfully, poor Teal’c is healed and restored. He thanks a young girl who looked after him, and we get to see a more nurturing side of him in the process.
This episode gets a 4.3 rating
The next two episodes, while not as disturbing, are very important to the series: The Tok’ra arc. It begins with Major Carter experiencing hidden memories from her recently deceased symbiote. She dreams of benign Goa’uld who are in hiding. Using the memories she discovers a group of humans bonded to symbiotes by choice. The group is called the Tok’ra and they hate the Goa’uld, refusing to be called Goa’uld since they are blended by choice. While this group is open to dealing with SG-1 they have little desire to support our heroes due to their clan needing hosts. Luckily, Carter’s father Jacob volunteers when he learns the symbiote can cure his cancer. Thankfully, the reluctant veteran agrees and Jacob Carter becomes a liaison for the Tok’ra ans Earth.
The drama here is real because you can feel for Carter who fears losing her dad and you also feel for the Tok’ra who need to expand membership or die off. This was a clever arc and it pays off throughout the series.
Episodes rating: 4.5 stars
I love this show but even I have to admit when an episode is fun but less noteworthy. Case in point, the next three episodes: our team help Native Americans on another planet, they discover a planet with peaceful denizens accusing them of theft, and finally O’Neill becomes the smartest man in the world in one episode.
Episodes Rating: 4.1
The next episode, however, is far from average. In fact, it is the most tragic episode up to this point: “A Matter of Time.”
While SG-10 is busy discovering a rocky planet elsewhere a black hole appears. The massive monster of a vortex hovers and descends on the planet. The soldiers, horrified, run for the gate. They freeze and our heroes open the gate to the planet. To their horror they discover the Black Hole has already doomed SG-10 and now its gravity well has entered earth. Within time it will destroy the entire earth by pulling it through the Stargate. Our heroes are forced to try everything they can think of while the image of the doomed men is frozen on their computer screens; like a haunting canvas of death their frozen faces of horror are imprinted on the screen.
The SG team frantically scramble to fix the mess. If they fail the entire Earth is destroyed in a massive collapse. An old friend of O’Neill comes to the base and together he and our witty protagonist launch a bomb into the Stargate that redirects the wormhole, redirecting it somewhere else. The plan works but our heroes now have the chilling knowledge that any mistake they make with the Stargate can have disastrous consequences for the entire planet.
This episode was framed like a dramatic fire rescue: pitting our heroes not against an adversary but a force of nature. From the very beginning of this episode there’s a real feeling of haunt and dread. You know something is coming but you don’t know what will happen. Frightening, isn’t it?
Episode Rating 4.7 stars
I think the creators of this show knew how dismal and bleak the previous episode was so they attempted to make the next episode funny, lighthearted and character-driven. This episode is all about the body-switching between an old, isolated, zany tech genius named Machello and Daniel Jackson.
The old codger knows he will die soon so he tricks Daniel into switching bodies with him. Madcap humor ensues; a humorous homeless man who befriends Machello attempts to teach him about life, and Teal’c and O’Neill switch bodies as well. Hilarious!
Episode rating: 4.5 stars
Once again I have to praise the creativity of the show’s creators. They manage to change the tone of the show once more. This is accomplished while still continuing the overall story arc. The episode that does this is “Serpent’s Song.”
Apophis, the main antagonist of this series, crashes near SG-1 on an off world mission. He is mortally wounded and begs them for help. The gritty Goa’uld attempts to barter with them to save his life in exchange for information. Our team denies him his request (understandably so) and they gloat over his downfall. Apophis warns them a far worse Goa’uld, Sokar, will come for him and he will destroy the Stargate Base to get him.
What follows is impressive character drama. Our heroes have a tough decision to make: help their greatest foe out of mercy and desperation, or watch him die for the sake of justice and personal satisfaction? Daniel Jackson rises to the occasion and offers an act of religious compassion to the dying host. We get an ambiguous ending that rises more questions than answers but our team’s fate is sealed by their choice.
This was excellent storytelling! Other than the shaky resolution at the end I would love more episodes like this!
Episode Rating: 4.7 Stars
Episode nineteen is called “One False Step” and it features a fun planet-traipsing story of exploration, humility and a respect for nature.
During a reconnaissance mission our team sends a drone PJ2-445, a bare rock with strange pale humanoids and large white plants. The drone damages a plant and the consequences continue cascading from there. Our team must fix the problem but first must learn to listen and observe carefully before their innocent explorations mean death for the local flora and fauna.
This was a really good episode. While it doesn’t contain as much character development as “Serpent’a Song” or “Holiday” it does tell an important story of the delicate balance of nature. Our heroes, though well-intentioned, have violated the balance of nature several times and this episode gives us a chance to see them wrestle with that problem. Good writing!
Episode rating: 4.5 stars
Our next episode is a more difficult one to grade. “Show and Tell” tries to tell several stories at once. While they have great ideas they don’t exactly have enough time to develop.
Firstly, a strange boy walks through the Stargate and tells them he’s there to help. Dr Frazier examines him and confirms his story. He claims that an invisible alien is there with him as his mother. His dialogue is frequently interrupted to show him glancing at emptiness. This gives us the impression the boy is insane. Our team begins to think so.
The boy warns them that invisible aliens are coming to kill humans but his ‘mother’ and he are there to forewarn them. He begins to form a bond with O’Neill and ask that our gruff hero adopt him. This is touching because O’Neill still mourns the premature death of his son years ago. O’Neill warms up to the boy and desperately tries to save his life.
Unfortunately, the boy dies as does his protector. Though his claims are substantiated and our team contact the Tok’ra. They discover a barren planet swarming with these invisible man-sized crustaceans. To their shock the creatures, called Re’Tu enter the Stargate unbeknownst to them ans immediately cause havoc. After much loss of human life our heroes managed to kill all of the invading Re’Tu.
This episode is hard to grade because it presents several ideas but doesn’t let any of them develop. It focuses on this boy who may be crazy, then it spends time on Col O’Neill and his desire to be a father again before throwing in the Tok’ra last minute to create an intense shootout with the invisible crabs. What…the…heck?
Episode Rating: 3.9 stars
What follows is perhaps my favorite episode of this whole season. This whole episode is so grand it could have been a two-parter or a movie. It’s that good!
Episode twenty one, “1969” tells a fun tale of the SG-1 team accidentally traveling through time. To their surprise they return to earth in the year 1969. The military arrests them, but in a bizarre and hilarious twist of fate a young General Hammond (certainly not a general yet) tases the guards and helps them escape. He tells them he was told to help them and they give him their many thanks. The happy quartet travels around the country scrambling their brains in an attempt to find out how to get home. Amidst all the period pieces we see Teal’c Rock a jerry curl wig and Carter sporting the typical round spectacles the Beatles wore! Groovy!
This episode is just fun. It takes our established heroes and puts them in a wild predicament where they may never get home. Again, like in “A Matter of Time”, the show manages to create conflict without an actual adversary. We also get to see our heroes explore and get creative with a period most of them lives through as kids.
In addition, this episode manages to let the story play out till the end. There is no sense of rushed-plot syndrome. The story ends at just the right time.
Episode rating: 5 stars
We come to the final episode “Out of Mind.” In this episode O’Neill awake to the future. He is greeted by staff and personnel in modified SG uniforms who claim it is 79 years into the future. They hail O’Neill and his team as heroes but interestingly just want information from him.
Hmm. This doesn’t seem right.
As expected, Carter and Jackson also awake and are told the same story. The staff then reveal that they are pretenders and this is all just a Goa’uld plot by the Goa’uld sex addict Hathor. Oh gee…didn’t see that coming…To be fair, I thought it would be Apophis. So…I guess there’s that…
The episode ends on a cliffhanger with Hathor in control and Teal’c embarking on a quest to find his team.
It’s not that I hate this episode. It’s just…I think it starts off more interesting than it ends. This episode much like “Show and Tell” presents a couple different ideas and then goes the predictable route. We know the Goa’uld have been the primary antagonists and we know they’re up to no good, but couldn’t we get the whole “waking up in the future” idea a little more developed before dropping it? This idea would’ve been great despite the use of time travel in the previous episode.
Episode rating 4.3 stars
Overall, I loved season two. I much prefer it over season one. This episode was just more consistent in its tones and plot lines. Our characters grew and changed while also expanding the lore of SG-1 with more relevant story beats.
Season one es busy trying to figure out its own agenda. It throws random ideas out there in clunky episodes attempting to give our heroes opportunities to make decisions and change. But here in season two the obstacles are far less random and most episodes are better paced with a more consistent tone to them.
If I had to pick some weak links in this series I’d have to pick episodes 7, 20 and 22. They are slower, and you get the feeling that there is less going on. The latter two involve gun battles and abduction yet still manage to feel disengaging. I feel the writers had to produce rushed scripts with these. The climaxes in each just don’t manage to match the hype. Well, you can’t always hit a home run…
However, episodes 5, 8, 9, 17, 18 and 20 all manage to give us impressive character development. We get to see more of Daniel Jackson’s moral compass, Teal’c’s compassionate side and O’Neill’s deep care for others and his family.
While I recommend episode 20 the most for its zany period piece I think there are so many episodes fan can choose from here. Whether you want drama, horror, suspense or comedy season two gives you select choices of all of them. I loved this season, and watching it with my wife (also a big sci-fi nerd) made this all the more memorable. We laughed, gasped and applauded many times over.
I loved season two and I recommend you give this series a watch if you’re a lover of sci-fi dramas and good storytelling.
Thanks for reading.
Season Two Grade: 4.7 Stars