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

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Episode Information

Title: "Metamorphosis"
Story by: Jacqueline Samuda, James Tichenor
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: April 17, 2007

Synopsis from GateWorld


This episode is a good follow-up to SG-1's last encounter with Nirrti, in season 5's "Rite of Passage". In that episode, O'Neill and the SGC made a deal: Nirrti's freedom if she used the Goa'uld medical hand device to cure Cassie. Nirrti was surprised when the SGC honored the deal. Who didn't know that that was going to come back and bite the SGC in the butt? The leader of the Russian Stargate team, Lt. Col. Ivanov, makes that point clearly when he returns through the gate with one of Nirrti's latest victims.

Nirrti is continuing on her personal quest to improve human hosts for her use. She is using some kind of advanced technology, possibly Ancient-built, to examine a person's DNA and alter it in real-time. She has been experimenting on the native inhabitants in order to determine the proper alterations to make to human DNA to gain the improvements she desires. The altered humans we see in the episode possess (separately) telekinesis, telepathy, and great strength. Who wouldn't want those qualities in their human host?

O'Neill clearly feels guilty for the previous deal with Nirrti that let her go free, and although he wants to help the natives, he really wants to kill Nirrti. I should say that he clearly feels guilty, but he doesn't seem to regret his decision to the point of wishing he had made another decision, such as keeping Nirrti captive after she had healed Cassie and thus breaking his word. O'Neill has always been interested in what the results will be now: at that moment, Nirrti could cure Cassie, that was what was important, so that's what he agreed to. He definitely realized that Nirrti could in the future cause others pain, but since those actions were not certain, he went with the here-and-now.

Nirrti's actions in the rest of the episode have some oddities. She apparently examines Ivanov in the DNA machine, but we do not know to what end. She certainly made alterations to him such at he died in the water-exploding way that one of the natives had, but was that the only point to her study of him? We never find out.

Nirrti chooses to examine Carter especially because of her previous status as a Tok'ra host. However, we do not know if Nirrti finds anything significant or useful from her study of Carter. We do know that again Nirrti changes Carter so that she will eventually also die. Apparently she's big on having no witnesses.

Finally, Nirrti examines Jonas. This turns out to be a very interesting development. Nirrti claims that in the thousand years or so of divergent evolution of the humans on Jonas's planet versus humans on Earth has caused significant differences in him. They apparently are differences that she thinks could be useful.

This leads to one of the oddest scenes in the episode: Jonas wakes up (presumably after having been made unconscious by the DNA machine) to find himself in Nirrti's bed in her chambers. Nirrti, ever the sexpot like all Goa'uld with female hosts, then tries to entice him to join in her plans, saying that she can make him extremely powerful. She claims that once she makes these changes to him, she'll make them for herself (her host, I suppose) and they can rule the galaxy together.

This seems like an odd offer to me. If Jonas's biological characteristics are so great, then why doesn't she make the changes in him she wants, and then take him as a host? Is she really that desperate for a partner? That would be completely unlike the modus operandi of nearly all Goa'uld we've seen so far.

For a short time, Jonas makes a good show of pondering her offer. Jonas is still a new enough character that we as an audience don't know for sure he will turn down her offer, or if he might take her up on it and then realize later on it was a bad idea. Instead, Jonas tells her he'd use his superpowers to kick her ass, which gets him a quick wallop from Nirrti and nearly as quick of a return to his cell.

The whole topic of Jonas having special qualities, according to Nirrti, is then forgotten in the rest of the episode as events speed up. Not to worry, because it will be re-visited later in the season. Apparently Jonas does tell this encounter to someone later on.

After Nirrti is spurned by Jonas, she orders O'Neill to be brought to her for examination in the DNA machine. Does she really hope to learn anything from him? The Asgard, after all, think he's something special. Or does she just want to have a little fun? We don't find out, because O'Neill finally convinces the telepathic native to read Nirrti's mind. Once the native realizes that Nirrti is in fact evil personified, he and the telekinetic native quickly team up and kill Nirrti.

This scene provides some of the best visuals, which are appropriate and amusing. The telekinetic native lifts Nirri by the neck as he chokes her, and we get a view of her fancy slippers (with a bit of a curled toe) kicking. After she is killed, O'Neill jokes about how "the witch is dead"...too bad we didn't see those slippers curl up and disappear.

Once Nirrti is dead, the two natives vow to restore their fellow natives to their original, heathly states, do the same to themselves, and then destroy the DNA machine. I wonder how likely this is to happen. I'm sure they will restore their fellow natives, but are they really going to be willing to give up their "super powers"? If they do not, they will apparently need updating treatments in the machine for the rest of their lives, but it seems that a person might be willing to do that for that kind of power. We do not know the final outcome.

How does this episode affect our main characters? O'Neill gets to see Nirrti finally get what she deserves, so he is clearly satisfied. I talked about Jonas's interesting qualities earlier.

Carter was "fixed" by the natives after Nirrti was killed, so she survives with no apparent long-term effects. While she was suffering under the effects of the machine, and presumably was going to die, she did let her guard down long enough to relax beside O'Neill and even lean on him to rest. We're not clear if they still have any improper feelings for each other, but clearly there is a lot of trust between them.

We don't see much of Teal'c in this episode. Nirrti is not interested in Jaffa qualities, presumably, and doesn't bother examining him, so he's stuck in a cell for much of the episode. One nice moment is when Jonas rushes the telepathic/telekinetic duo as he's being let out of the cell; Teal'c immediately sees the opportunity and tries to assist. This shows some of the instinctive teamwork between SG-1 team members, since the attack couldn't have been planned in advance or their thoughts about it would have been read.

Finally, the Russian SGC members are once again proving to be the red-shirts of the episode. We only see that Ivanov was killed; since his other team members remained at the gate, we can hope they survived. While the Russian was dying in the cell, SG-1 seemed surprisingly unconcerned about him, which appeared rather callous.

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