Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 10: "Family Ties"

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Episode Information

Title: "Family Ties"
Written by: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Director: Peter DeLuise
Rating (out of 4 stars): **
Reviewed on: June 11, 2007. Revised on January 17, 2008.

Synopsis from GateWorld


First, the comment I've been making about the last few episodes: the Ori are rampaging throughout our galaxy - what's happening with them? Instead of dealing with this threat to Earth independence, we have another episode of fluff.

The initial premise of the episode is nice: Teal'c killing Arkad in the previous episode ("Talion") did not stop the plan he put into action for attacking Earth. However, does Teal'c have a moment's reflection that maybe he should have tried capturing Arkad and tried to gain information about the attack, rather than killing him right off? No. But the connection is nice.

Vala's father, Jasec, contacts the SGC with this news. He has information the SGC can use to prevent the attacks, but he'll only reveal the information if the SGC gives him sanctuary on Earth. Vala's father is apparently a con artist without much talent, so he's constantly on the run but also constantly trying to come up with his next big scam. Vala thinks very poorly of him, and remarks about how little he contributed to her upbringing. She is adamantly opposed to the SGC trusting him, believing that he is just working on another scam.

I have to admit that the actor playing Jasec, Fred Willard, is perfect for the role. (Although after seeing him on so many sketches on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, I kept expecting someone to hand him a drink.) He tried to be a smooth con man, but hasn't quite perfected it. He never seems to understand why others aren't happy with his scams.

Jasec reveals that Arkad arranged for several ships loaded with naquaadah to travel to Earth, where they will be detonated. He gives the SGC the location of the ships, which are on another planet awaiting orders. SG-1 takes the Odyssey and quickly destroys the ships. They did in fact have naquaadah on them, so Jasec seems to have been honest. He is returned to Earth where he is set up with a modest apartment and job.

However, he just can't keep out of trouble. He quickly starts up scams and advertises them on infomercials. We even see him running bingo sessions in his apartment building for the local senior citizens, from whom he requires a cover charge for admission! The SGC gives him a slap on the wrist. He also tries to get back into Vala's good graces, but fails.

There are some interesting character interactions here. Carter is appalled at how Jasec has and is treating Vala. Daniel tries to persuade Vala to give Jasec a second chance, pointing out how his claim to be trying to start a new life is just what she was doing when she joined the SGC. Vala decides to meet with her father in order to please her friends, but spurns him again.

Finally, Jasec is found to have disappeared from his apartment - he has figured out how to remove his ankle monitor. I had been wondering how the SGC could just turn him loose on Earth, but at least they did make some provisions for monitoring him. It was even better when Daniel revealed that Dr. Lam had also implanted an internal tracking device in him. One wonders if he had proved himself trustworthy if they would have ever revealed its existence or removed it.

They track Jasec to where he is meeting with a Jaffa. Daniel shoots the Jaffa dead without hesitation when the Jaffa makes a quick move - that seemed a bit out of character, plus he showed not a bit of remorse. At any rate, we discover that one of Arkad's ships of naquaadah has been on Earth for awhile. Jasec was negotiating to sell the naquaadah and split the proceeds with the Jaffa. Now the SGC must find the ship before the Jaffa detonate it becaue they fear being detected.

SG-1 tracks down the general location of the ship with Jasec's help. Jasec weasels his way into joining them by claiming that the Jaffa told him an "override code" to turn off the countdown to detonation. As soon as Jasec mentioned this code out of the blue, I knew he was lying; it reminded me of Maybourne's ploy in season 6's "Paradise Lost". Fortunately, we find out that SG-1 realized he was lying, too.

SG-1 sets up a trap to get Jasec to enter a cloaked ship (not the one with the naquaadah), whereupon he reveals that there is no override code and flees with the ship. Armed with this information, SG-1 takes down the real ship. My first question here: where did the SGC get an extra ship that they were willing to let Jasec steal? Second question: did the SGC get to keep the naquaadah on the real ship? That could potentially be a great coup for them.

At the end, we see Jasec negotiating to sell the "naquaadah" on his ship. His buyer opens the crates to find bars of lead and Styrofoam packing peanuts. With wonderful improvisation, Jasec passes off the peanuts as virility pills, and begins negotiating to sell them, instead.

This episode was amusing, with the character of Jasec and all his schemes. It was nice to see that Vala was right that he was incorrigible, instead of having a goody-goody ending. However, the episode was essentially fluff - it did not advance the series in any way. That's frustrating when we have few episodes remaining.

What action we did have connected to the Arkad plot was not well-done, in my opinion. The destruction of the ships from orbit was very quick - in fact, I kept expecting some complication to develop. Was there any collateral damage from the explosion? The Jaffa encountered at the end of the episode seemed particularly ineffective - my husband kept commenting that one of them seemed to be smirking the whole time. These are Arkad's trusted Jaffa that can be counted on to kill themselves for the cause?

Other random comments: the opening scene with Carter and Vala dolled up after shopping was fun. Originally I thought the shopping was a bit stereotypical, but then why not? Carter has probably missed having a female peer at the SGC (with whom she can talk shop) since Dr. Frasier died in season 7. And Siler being impressed enough to turn and run into the door - apparently breaking his nose! - was a scream. (It's nice continuity that we see him later in the infirmary with a bandage on his nose.) Later on, we get more "girl time" between the two. I don't think that initially Carter got on well with Vala, so it's good to see the evolution of their relationship.

The subplot of the story was General Landry re-contacting his divorced wife. This plot seemed completely contrived to provide a parallel to Vala, so he could give her heartfelt advice. He tells his daughter, Dr. Lam, that he's been thinking about it for awhile, but I don't remember anything that would indicate that. Predictably, he manages to make their date late, but not too late.

Carter and Jasec have a discussion that is a not-very-subtle dig about Stargate SG-1 being canceled, and how they are no longer getting the support they used to from their superiors. Well, after fluff like this, it's no wonder they were canceled. I will very much miss the show for the characters and the universe, but the stories lately have not been very inspired.

Finally, the last scene: Jasec had invited Teal'c to a show (after Vala turned him down), supposedly about Virginia Dialogues or something. When he mentioned this, I had a suspicion of what was coming. Even after Jasec flees, Teal'c attends the show: The Vagina Monologues. It was an absolute scream to see Teal'c's realization about what the show was about. I can't think of anywhere Teal'c would be more out of place.

Let's get back to the Ori!

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