Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 3: "Deadman Switch"

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Episode Information

Title: "Deadman Switch"
Written by: Robert C. Cooper
Director: Martin Wood
Rating (out of 4 stars): **
Reviewed on: December 30, 2014

Synopsis from GateWorld


SG-1 encounters a bounty hunter that wants to trade them to Sokar.

As the episode opens, SG-1 is searching for a lost UAV on an alien planet. When they find it, they are surrounded by a forcefield that traps them. Another being in some kind of armor approaches them and declares that they are his captive. He's a bounty hunter, named Aris Boch, who plans to trade them to the Goa'uld Sokar.

Boch herds SG-1 back to his ship, which is a cloaked Goa'uld cargo ship. He appears to be quite knowledgeable about Goa'uld technology. Boch elaborates on his plan: he wants SG-1 to help him capture a rogue Goa'uld named Keltar and then he'll turn Keltar and SG-1 over to Sokar. SG-1 is not in the mood to cooperate, but Boch locks up Carter and Teal'c as hostages, while taking O'Neill and Daniel along for reconnaissance of Keltar.

While Boch is discussing plans with O'Neill and Daniel, he gives O'Neill a zat gun to use on Keltar. O'Neill instead uses it on Boch, and then he and Daniel run back to the ship to release Carter and Teal'c. We, the viewers, see that Boch was not really affected by the zat gun.

Back at the Goa'uld ship, O'Neill and Daniel play a bit of comedy as they try to remember how to get into the cloaked ship and then unlock the room in which Carter and Teal'c are held. While they are doing this, a Goa'uld countdown begins on the control console, which Teal'c identifies as being the ship's self-destruct. Teal'c tries to tell them how to disarm it, but a crucial part is missing. Just as the countdown is about to end, Boch returns and scoffs at them for thinking he was so naive. He refuses to stop the countdown, but when it ends, nothing happens. So now they are back to square one, since SG-1 again has no effective weapon against Boch.

Hoping that SG-1 is now a little wiser, Boch sends O'Neill, Daniel, and Teal'c to track down Keltar, while keeping Carter as a hostage. Carter chats up Boch and finds out that his race is naturally immune to being Goa'uld hosts. This might seem to be a boon, but when the Goa'uld discovered this, they wiped out most of his race and caused the remaining members to be dependent on a drug that only the Goa'uld provide. Boch claims to be acting as a bounty hunter only to gain enough money to buy the freedom of his son.

Meanwhile, the rest of SG-1 has found Keltar and captured him in relatively short order. Except Keltar is not a Goa'uld; he's a Tok'ra named Korra. SG-1 realizes that not only would it be morally wrong to turn Korra over to Sokar, but Korra would also know valuable information about the Tok'ra that should definitely not be learned by Sokar.

Boch has been tracking the rest of SG-1 and realizes that something is wrong with their plan to grab Keltar. He knocks Carter unconscious as bait for a trap and captures the rest of SG-1 as well as Korra. SG-1 and Korra try to convince Boch that the Tok'ra and Goa'uld are different, but he doesn't believe it.

Finally, for some reason, Boch agrees that he won't give Korra to Sokar, but since he's already contacted Sokar for a deal, he's got to give someone to Sokar. Teal'c volunteers, since he's the second most valuable hostage Boch has. The rest of SG-1 is devastated, but Teal'c is firm and Boch agreeable. The rest of SG-1 and Korra disembark, and then Boch flies himself and Teal'c toward the rendezvous with Sokar. Along the way, Boch has an even stronger change of heart and sets his ship to self-destruct while he and Teal'c escape in the escape pods. Boch hopes that Sokar will believe that they died on the ship, and all of SG-1 and Korra escape safely.

I think this episode was intended to be a more light-hearted romp than some of the recent episodes, and it did succeed in that sense. There were a number of good one-liners, and I enjoyed Boch's personality. I liked that he was generally prepared for SG-1's plans and double-crosses, and he did seem to be a pretty good bounty hunter.

That said, this episode just didn't mean much of anything. We didn't learn anything new about our characters. Boch was too slippery and glib to really get a feel for him - first he says he has a son, then Korra says he doesn't, then we find out what he has told Sokar has changed, and so on. Boch gave Carter a sample of the drug his race is addicted to in the hopes that Earth might find a solution to that problem, but Carter never even really suggested that, nor did she commit to investigating it.

The ending of the episode was particularly unbelievable. Sokar is supposed to be an extra-evil Goa'uld, and yet Boch would risk getting on his bad side by losing the hostages for trade? Since Boch is going to return to bounty hunting, no doubt Sokar will learn that he didn't really die. And Boch decided to take this chance because a few minutes with SG-1 and the Tok'ra Korra convinced him there were higher goals in life? Sure.

There were a couple of interesting tidbits. We learned that Goa'uld ships could be made invisible - is that a typical Goa'uld technology, or another race's technology that has been added? It's also interested to learn that there are individuals like Boch who travel from planet to planet more or less at their whims, since most beings we've encountered have been pretty much tied to a specific planet.

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