Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 6: "Memento"

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Episode Information

Title: "Memento"
Written by: Damian Kindler
Director: Peter DeLuise
Rating (out of 4 stars):** 1/2
Reviewed on: April 30, 2007

Synopsis from GateWorld


During the shakedown cruise of Prometheus, SG-1 accompanies the crew as a safeguard against unwelcome encounters with the Goa'uld or hostiles. However, the danger comes from a malfunction in the engines, which takes them out of hyperspace and leaves them unable to use the hyperspace for the relatively long return trip to Earth. However, they are able to do a very short trip in hyperspace, so they travel to the planet Tagrea, which they believe has a stargate.

Unfortunately, when they arrive, the engine has a fatal breakdown and must be ejected. It explodes above the planet, and does significant damage to the Prometheus. At this point, missiles are launched from the planet at Prometheus. O'Neill gets on the radio to contact the Tagreans and plays the first act of his role as diplomat in this episode. He convinces the Tagreans to stop the missile attack.

The Prometheus then lands on the planet, which leads us into a first contact story witnesses from the opposite point of view as usual. Since we are watching the events from the point of view of SG-1 and the crew, this is a chilling scene, as attack vessels quickly surround the Prometheus so it cannot leave. When SG-1 exit and approach the "greeting party", they are quickly outgunned and forced to surrender their weapons. We know that SG-1 has good intentions, but the Tagreans do not. I feel like this scene is much like the reality would be if we ever knew that aliens were going to land. I cannot blame the Tagreans for their caution.

The head of the Tagrean government, Chairman Ashwan, is thrilled to meet humans from another world and wants to help the Prometheus in any way possible. However, the head of the military, Commander Kalfas, feels that the Prometheus's situation may be a ploy to gain information about the Tagreans' abilities and assets prior to an invasion. To make things more complicated, the commander of the Prometheus, Col Ronson, is not very happy to have his ship surrounded by "hostiles".

This episode is most enjoyable for the reversed role that O'Neill is forced to play: that of the rational diplomat keeping the relations between the natives and Col. Ronson (commander of the Prometheus) amicable. Usually O'Neill is the suspicious one, trusting more in force and visible displays of power and less likely to compromise and negotiate. Here, Ronson is much more defensive of what might happen to his ship and crew and doesn't quite see the big picture of how the Earthlings must relate to the native humans.

Unfortunately for SG-1 and the rest of the crew, the Tagreans have no idea where their stargate is, claiming that the "Ring of the Gods" is just a myth. However, Chairman Ashwan vows to help them search for it, over Commander Kalfas's objections.

Jonas and Teal'c are allowed to search through the Tagreans' library for information about the stargate. This leads to an amusing scene again referencing Jonas's terrific powers of observation and Teal'c's warrior senses, as they notice one of the academicians trying to observe them unobtrusively. Once they finally get to talk to the professor, they find out that he does have some ancient Goa'uld records. The planet had originally been under the rule of Heru'ur. Once Heru'ur abandoned them, the people went through a time of violent uprisings, erasing their history and most signs of the Goal'uld.

These scenes struck me as a little odd because of the lack of supervision over Jonas and Teal'c. Commander Kalfas seems paranoid enough that I wouldn't think he'd allow them to even wander the aisles in the library without an escort, and yet they move freely from the library to the professor's office. At the end of this meeting, they do speak to some guards, but the whole thing seemed very casual.

Using the clues from the professor's relics, Jonas and Teal'c determine the likely location of the stargate. They get permission from the Chairman to locate it and excavate it. They are successful, and activate the stargate as a test. At this point, Kalfas executes a military takeover of the gate, and restrains Jonas, Teal'c, the professor, and the workers who helped excavate the gate. That struck me as a bit odd: the workers who helped dig up the gate appeared to be Tagreans, not humans from Earth (based on their clothing), so why would Kalfas imprison them? They presumably had no idea what was going on at the excavation.

O'Neill and Chairman Ashwan are made aware of Kalfas's takeover. Ashwan cannot simply remove Kalfas because of his popularity in the military and fears that the wrong actions at this point could lead to a civil war. Ashwan does allow the Prometheus to fly to the stargate in order to outgun Kalfas's ground-based weapons. Once there, Ashwan makes a speech about how finding the stargate is a good thing and will bring them progress and prosperity in the future. His speech is enough to convince Kalfas's supporters to arrest Kalfas and release everyone that was detained. Frankly, I'm not sure the speech was that good. When Ashwan beamed down with O'Neill and Carter, I fully expected Kalfas to claim that SG-1 was holding Ashwan hostage or had brainwashed him. I will Kalfas credit that he was not evil enough or power-hungry enough to make that claim.

In the end, SG-1 and the crew of the Prometheus are able to travel back to Earth to retrieve supplies to fix Prometheus. The repairs will take some weeks, but during that time the humans and Tagreans expect to improve their relations.

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