Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 10: "Dominion"

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Episode Information

Title: "Dominion"
Story by: Alex Levine
Teleplay by: Alan McCullough
Director: William Waring
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: June 18, 2007. Revised January 20, 2008.

Synopsis from GateWorld


After quite a wait, this episode finally returns to the Ori plot. With only one more episode until the series is over, it'd better!

The SGC sets up a plan to capture Adria. To do this, Vala has memories implanted that detail how she had a falling-out with the SGC concerning the location of the much-desired secret stash of Ancient weapons (that they had previously looked for in "Bad Guys") and has left them. Adria finds her and forces Vala to tell her the story. It's interesting how Adria still obviously has some kind of need for Vala's approval, because she still wants to convert Vala and certainly does not enjoy seeing Vala in such a depression. In short order, they go to the planet in Vala's memory that supposedly has the stash of weapons, only to find SG-1 (and lots of backup) waiting with an anti-Prior device. They capture Adria. This victory is fleeting, however, as Baal's Jaffa beam in and steal Adria away (Baal has copied the SGC's anti-Prior device).

SG-1 returns to Earth empty handed. They also have the unpleasant task of convincing Vala that her quarrel with the SGC was fake memories, to convince Adria, and that she undertook the mission voluntarily. Fortunately, they did plan ahead: Vala made a video to herself before the mission. This is definitely the humorous part of the episode as Vala begins the video with "Hi, gorgeous." This scene also highlights the relationship between Vala and Daniel, as well as the growing friendship between Vala and Carter.

The SGC realizes that Baal wants Adria in order to gain control over Adria's Ori forces. We still don't know if the Ori are alive or not - Adria told Vala that they are alive, but she obviously would not want to admit they are dead. At any rate, the SGC do not want Baal to amplify his powers, and they want to use Adria for their own purposes, so they want to find her. One of Agent Barrett's NID operatives in Baal's organization on Earth informs them of a big meeting between Baal's clones. When SG-1 arrives at the meeting planet, they find all of the clones and their Jaffa dead from symbiote poison, presumably Baal's doing. But is that all of the clones? One Jaffa, who is on tretonin, survived the massacre, and reveals the location of Baal's mothership.

Baal has more devious plan in mind. He reveals to Adria that he is going to put a Goa'uld in her. I found it odd that Adria had obviously never even considered the possibility of being taken over by a Goa'uld, while it is a constant worry for humans. Clearly, she relies on her Ori powers to keep her safe, but with the anti-Prior device she is defenseless.

Frankly, Baal's plan is brilliant. We don't know of any reason why an Ori follower couldn't be taken over by a Goa'uld, although Adria could be a special case anyway. It certainly is worth the try. I'm surprised that the Tok'ra did not consider this option, since their strategies tend toward infiltration and fighting from within the enemy organization. Of course, we have hardly heard from the Tok'ra this season, despite Carter's later comment about exchanging intelligence with them.

SG-1 arrives on the Odyssey and quickly beams over and re-takes Adria, but not before Baal himself (the symbiote) has taken over Adria. Would Baal inside Adria have the Ori powers of Adria? We don't know because the SGC wisely keeps him/her under the anti-Prior device. Baal claims that Adria knows the Ori are dead. (But is Baal lying?) He tries to make a deal with the SGC, but they are having none of it.

The SGC has its own clever plan: they will bring in the Tok'ra to remove Baal and replace him with a Tok'ra symbiote, thus bringing Adria's powers under their control. This plan is not without risks: first, the operation to remove the symbiote will be very tricky because it could try to sabotage the procedure; second, Baal claims that no Tok'ra is strong enough to keep Adria's personality under control.

As an aside, I feel like the surgery is made out to be more risky here than it has been in the past. There have been two obvious success stories, removing Klorel from Skaara in season 3's "Pretense" and in season 7's "Chimera", removing Osiris from Daniel's old girlfriend Sarah Gardner. In other cases, the Goa'uld has died or been cooperative, such as in season 7's "Fallout". Why is the procedure more risky here?

The procedure does not work. Baal (the symbiote) releases its blood into Adria's body, which is fatal. At this point, Baal is dead. The SGC has two options. If they do nothing, Adria will live, with a short period of very painful consciousness. Or, they could choose to euthanize Adria.

Since the SGC has nothing to gain with Adria as herself for a short period of time, they choose to euthanize her. Over this short period of time, Vala has had to deal with her daughter being taken over by Baal, then going through the risky surgery, then dying. Vala has claimed that Adria isn't really her daughter because Vala was no more than an "incubator" for her, but obviously the events are taking their toll on her. She can't help but care for Adria at least a little bit, despite her evil intentions. Vala decides to be present for Adria's death.

Adria prematurely regains consciousness. In what has to be the stupidest lapse in security in SGC history, Adria had been moved to a room without the anti-Prior device (or it had been turned off). She is now rather peeved, to put it mildly, and begins lashing out with her Ori powers. She locks everyone but Vala out of the room, and uses her powers to neutralize Vala. She knows that she is going to die, but she wants to "prepare".

Daniel realizes that Adria is trying to ascend. If she succeeds, she will presumably take the place of the (allegedly) recently-deceased Ori and continue her quest for galactic domination and more followers. SG-1 redoubles their efforts to get to Adria, but fail. Vala actually grabs a gun to shoot Adria, but Adria stops her and pulls a Darth Vader by choking Vala with her mind. (Hey, even Vader's line "I find your lack of faith disturbing" would work here.) Adria ascends.

Vala and the rest of SG-1 survive. While they try to put a positive spin on what they have accomplished, I have a hard time doing so. They have killed Baal and they know many of his clones are dead, but they have no idea how many of his clones may still be alive. It's possible Baal's claim that Adria knows the Ori are dead is true, but Adria is now an ascended being and presumably has no love for the SGC. The Ori forces have lost their Orisi, but presumably will now be directed by Adria through the Priors.

Will the strength of the Priors and the Ori forces be as strong now that only one Ori (Adria) exists? We don't know. Given that Adria had her powers even through the Ori were (allegedly) dead, I would guess so. However, as Daniel has said, an ascended being is not omnipotent nor omnipresent. If Adria is the only Ori, possibly they can take advantage of her (few) weaknesses.

I'm not sure that the scheme involving Vala at the beginning of the episode was necessary - it seems like they could have come up with another way of luring Adria, perhaps with some kind of false intelligence. It just seemed like these scenes took too much time and were too expository. As an additional comment, Baal obviously has some kind of excellent access to SGC information, since he could show up just as the plan to capture Adria was executed. However, there was no later mention of trying to find out where the leak is at the SGC.

What will the SGC do next? The next episode has a lot to do, if we are actually going to vanquish the Ori.

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