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The Odyssey is lured to an ambush by a powerful lieutenant in the Lucian Alliance, Anateo, and they are quickly captured and boarded. Carter is aboard the Odyssey; Anateo is aware of her reputation and orders her to begin repairing the ship. He kills Colonel Emerson (commander of the Odyssey) as a show of earnestness.
Emerson had been able to send a distress signal to the SGC, so Landry and SG-1 are trying to devise a means of finding them. However, they don't have a ship, since the Daedalus is traveling to Atlantis. Vala manages to procure a Goa'uld cargo ship is a state of dubious repair, and SG-1 tracks the Odyssey's transponder to a former Goa'uld shipyard, now run by the Lucian Alliance. Vala and Daniel try to get information out of Vala's contact on the planet, but end up falling into another trap set by Anateo, who brings them aboard the captured Odyssey.
Mitchell and Teal'c return to the SGC for plan B. Mitchell plans to infiltrate the Lucian Alliance by posing as Kefflin, a ruthless but reclusive lieutenant of Netan (leader of the Alliance). Few people besides Netan have seen Kefflin, so Mitchell plans to prick Netan with the chemical ring that will convince Netan that he is really Kefflin. (Daniel used this ring to fool Lord Yu in season 5's "Summit".) Mitchell hopes to learn about the location of the Odyssey through Netan himself.
Teal'c delivers Mitchell to Netan's ship, and the ruse seems to work according to plan. Mitchell gets to act evilly slimy as Netan's trusted subordinate, and he finds out that Netan has no idea what Anateo is up to - Anateo is apparently hoping that by capturing the Odyssey and SG-1, he can overthrown Netan. Mitchell tries hard to be ruthless, but I just don't think he has a menacing enough appearance to really pull it off. The plan takes a nasty turn when Teal'c is discovered and brought aboard; Mitchell must torture him to keep the ruse going.
On the Odyssey, Carter, Daniel, and Vala have managed to come up with a plan to retake the ship. Carter secretly lets Daniel and Vala out of the holding area via computer control. They then being working on altering the Asgard beaming technology to beam within the ship, ostensibly to remove Carter from danger. However, when Anateo realizes something is amiss and threatens Carter, Vala alters the plan to simply beam Anateo out into space. They and the rest of the crew take back the ship from the terrorists. The difficulty is that the ship is still severely damaged, so if more Lucian Alliance ships arrive, they will just be captured again.
Netan is furious at Anateo's betrayal. He learns of Anateo's location from the smuggler Tenat (from last season's "The Ties That Bind"), and orders their two ships to attack Anateo. Tenat recognizes Mitchell, but is willing to go along with Mitchell's ruse in order to share whatever profit Mitchell is making.
The last part of the episode is very confusing. Netan and Tenat's ships show up to attack Anateo. Mitchell and Teal'c slip off of Netan's ship and onto Tenat's ship. Somehow Mitchell had also pricked Tenat with his ring so that Tenat believes Mitchell is Netan. As Netan, Mitchell orders Tenat to attack Netan's ship. Netan is angry and begins shooting back. The Odyssey beams Mitchell and Teal'c away and leaves the two Lucian Alliance ships to fight it out.
Sigh. I really don't like the Lucian Alliance. The idea of a galactic criminal element may be logical, but I just don't enjoy watching it. The criminals just seem so short-sighted and stupid. We see that again here, as they fight amongst themselves. It's amazing that they've remained a cohesive entity for so long.
The part of the end of the episode that is confusing to me is when did Mitchell prick Tenat? We saw him slap Tenat on the arm much earlier - can the chemical really just wait around to be activated? It seems like the chemical makes the person open to suggestion, and generally the suggestion comes from the pricker. But if Mitchell doesn't make a suggestion right away, wouldn't Tenat have been open to whatever the first suggestion was that came along? I just don't feel like the chemical was used consistently in this part of the story.
This episode was frustrating because it's such a side-track from the main plot this season: the Ori. The SGC is trying to save the galaxy, and they keep getting set back by these petty thieves. Again, maybe it's realistic, but it's not interesting.
The one surprising incident was the sudden murder of Col. Emerson. I think that the writers missed an opportunity here. Carter was being set up for another situation where she would be asked to reveal information or else another person would be killed, similar to earlier in the season in "Insiders" with the many Baals. In that episode, she capitulated and ultimately the result was very bad. It would have been nice if the writers had had Carter refuse to give in, and that was why Emerson was killed. Instead, Emerson was shot before this situation had the chance to develop.
I just couldn't get excited about the episode. Vala's spiels are always amusing, but there just wasn't enough interesting stuff going on. Since Carter and the Odyssey crew took back the ship, Mitchell and Teal'c's "rescue" was made to seem pointless. Anateo might have been an interesting counterpart to Netan, but oops - he's beamed out into space. Good bye! As I said before, Mitchell posing as Kefflin just didn't quite work for me.
A few small things I did like. I liked Vala helping Carter out in the Odyssey's engine room, because it makes sense. I also liked seeing Daniel in command of the Odyssey at the end of the episode - I guess when the commanding officer is dead and Carter's away, any member of SG-1 will take command before the young-looking major on the bridge. ("Just so you know, sir, I'm always prepared to fire. I just have to push this button." OK, so maybe he's not that young.) Finally, Teal'c growling that he's tired of torture. No kidding!
This episode didn't really tell us anything new about our characters. It didn't further the fight against the Ori. In fact, it wasted SG-1's time, so they are farther behind in that fight than they might have been.