Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 7: "Enemy Mine"

Warning: all of my reviews contain spoilers.

If you have any comments on this review, please email me at the address at the bottom.

Episode Information

Title: "Enemy Mine"
Written by: Peter DeLuise
Director: Peter DeLuise
Rating (out of 4 stars): **
Reviewed on: May 25, 2007

Synopsis from GateWorld


This episode has two large detractions, in my opinion: the Unas and the lack of half of SG-1. I have appreciated the points of the plots of the previous Unas episodes (season 4's "The First Ones" and season 5's "Beast of Burden"), I just don't enjoy watching Unas. The episode also sorely lacked input by O'Neill, Teal'c, and especially Carter.

At the beginning of the episode, a large team from the SGC is on an alien planet, exploring its possibilities for mining naquadah. A recent discovery of a nearly-pure, large naquadah vein has the team, led by Colonel Edwards, all excited. After all, the SGC is trying to ramp up its efforts against Anubis by building more ships like the Prometheus and the F302s. (There is a nice reference to the Prometheus being stranded halfway across the galaxy - apparently it still hasn't been repaired enough to return after the events in season 6's "Memento".) At the same time, one of the team's members is abducted and killed by an Unas.

SG-1 is called in to help with the situation, although Carter is left behind working on a gate computer overhaul/diagnostic thingy. Daniel realizes that Unas are present on the planet and tries to encourage some kind of negotiation. However, a full-out fight between the Unas and the humans breaks out, with many Unas killed or injured and many humans injured, including O'Neill. The SGC personnel evacuate back to the SGC, pending orders.

There are some nice points already in the episode. It's nice to see the contrast between O'Neill, who is tolerant of Daniel's ways, and Edwards, who is completely unfamiliar with them and not aware of Daniel's potential value. However, I think O'Neill may be a little too condescending in his tolerance. Part of this may be due to O'Neill trying to balance support for his team member and support for Edwards' leadership of the team on the planet.

Another nicely-done scene was Daniel's involvement in the clash between the Unas and the humans. Daniel pulls his pistol, presumably for use in self defense, but he handles it more awkwardly than we've seen him do so in a long time. He clearly is extremely reluctant to use it except in the most dire defense of life - he comes close to it when O'Neill is attacked, but manages to warn off the Unas in the native language.

Back at the SGC, there are a number of developments. O'Neill is injured and restricted to base. He gets one last good line, though, when Daniel says Edwards has no experience dealing with the Unas (so he should be replaced), O'Neill says, "...nor you", saying that Daniel takes some getting used to! When Edwards presents the naquadah information to general in charge of spaceship production, the general decides that Earth must be able to mine the naquadah vein, no matter what. Daniel suggests using Chaka, the Unas he is friends with from season 4's "The First Ones" and season 5's "Beast of Burden", as a mediator to try to negotiate with the native Unas. He is given a short time to do so, otherwise the Unas will be relocated.

Chaka's return is interesting, because he looks much more human-civilized, with a robe and belt. The contrast between him and the Unas on the planet is pretty remarkable. Of course, Chaka and Edwards do not get along; Edwards only knows Unas as killers, so I really can't blame him. At least he can keep himself under control.

On the planet, Daniel and Chaka go to the Unas camp that had been found previously and wait for the local Unas to show up. (Teal'c and some supporting soldiers had been told to wait some distance away - I wonder if they waited all day and night like Daniel and Chaka did?) When they finally do, Chaka and the local leader, Iron Shirt, complete some rituals and get down to talks. Through Chaka, Daniel learns that the Unas consider the area of the mine with the naquadah to be a sacred place because many of their ancestors were worked to death there by the Goa'uld. They still hold quite a grudge against the Goa'uld and show some interest in helping the humans, if the humans are fighting the Goa'uld. Daniel proposes that the Unas trade naquadah to the humans for food and other items. This scene drags quite a bit, with all the growling and grunting and translation by Daniel.

Daniel communicates back to the SGC in the hopes that the mining can be stopped. Again, he's told he must work out a deal or the Unas will be relocated. He and Chaka return to talk to Iron Shirt again. Daniel mentions that he doesn't want the situation to get out of control so that humans kill Unas again. Iron Shirt replies that it's humans that will be killed, because all the clans will fight. How many is that? Enough for Daniel to realize he'd better talk to Edwards right away.

However, he's too late. A team of humans encounters a single Unas approaching them, believes his intent is hostile, and kills him. My question is - what are armed teams doing moving through the woods? Shouldn't they just be on the camp perimeter? This "accident" seemed a little contrived.

Daniel convinces Edwards to have all the humans retreat to the camp. They are then surrounded by hundreds (possibly thousands) of Unas. It's clear that even with the humans' superior weapons, they would be overwhelmed in short order if a fight started. Iron Shirt approaches for one last chance at negotiation. After some time, Daniel manages to arrange a deal where the Unas will mine the naquadah and give it to the humans so that the humans can continue the fight against the Goa'uld. Fortunately, violence is averted.

Dominant and submissive roles are important throughout the latter part of this episode. I had been thinking how subdued Chaka was once he arrived at the planet. Then I realized that he is not the Unas leader here, so he was showing his submission to Iron Shirt. When he perceived a challenge from Edwards, he was certainly not submissive!

Further, Daniel seems to realize this idea is useful. He is, of course, submissive to Iron Shirt. But if you notice, after the final negotiations with Iron Shirt, Daniel continues his submissive posture to Edwards, just as Edwards is willing to admit Daniel might have been right, after all. (However, Daniel does seem to take some satisfaction in having Edwards stay kneeling for the whole negotiation!)

The result of this episode is that the SGC now has a steady and large supply of naquadah for manufacturing. What result for our characters? Daniel was again a primary character, and he was in his element: in conflict with the military mindset and talking with new cultures. However, we didn't really see much new from him.

The producers have said that an Unas episode was done this season only because the Daniel Jackson character returned. I suppose this makes sense from their point of view, but real life isn't always so convenient. It would have been very interesting to see how the SGC would have handled the situation without Daniel; certainly the Unas would have been recognized. Would any attempt at negotiation have been made? It's hard to believe that O'Neill would go along with the extermination of them, given his knowledge of the Unas. A question for another day, I suppose.

What about the other characters? O'Neill was put out of commission pretty quickly, although he did make his mark early on. Teal'c was supposedly present throughout the episode, however he has his own submissiveness. Teal'c has always been quick to understand and comply with the military way of thinking as well as the chain of command, because own training, so he obviously could sympathize with Edwards's point of view. He also has learned a lot from SG-1's experiences and could appreciate Daniel's efforts. It might have been interesting to explore the middle ground that Teal'c represented, but instead he was mostly absent.

I am not sure why the writer/producers chose the episode title "Enemy Mine". It is, of course, the title of a classic science fiction novella by Barry B. Longyear that was made into a movie of the same name. I have read the novella and seen the movie - both are quite good. The plot is one that is much more involved and potent than this episode. The parallels between the episode and the movie are weak; I really think the episode should have been titled differently.

Return to my Stargate SG-1 reviews page.