Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 7: "Evolution, Part 2"

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Episode Information

Title: "Evolution, Part 2"
Story by: Peter DeLuise and Damian Kindler
Teleplay by: Peter DeLuise
Director: Peter DeLuise
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: June 14, 2007

Synopsis from GateWorld


This episode picks up right where "Evolution, Part 1" left off, with no elapsed time. (That's a good thing, since Daniel and Dr. Lee's lives were under a deadline!) O'Neill is sent on a stealth mission to recover Daniel and Dr. Lee; I'll get back to this plot.

Meanwhile, Carter, Jacob Carter, Teal'c, and Bra'tac get approval for a mission to infiltrate Anubis's planet of Tartarus (whose name and location were divined in Part 1). Of course, this is no easy mission. Jacob volunteers to wear the super-soldier's armor - the thought is that since it is immune to forcefields and energy weapons, it will allow him to pass through any forcefield guarding the Tartarus stargate. (I also had thought that maybe the armor and forcefield would have be designed with each other in mind, to allow the super-soldiers' returns. Incidentally, we learn that the super-soldiers are called Kulls.) Once in the base, Jacob will disable the sensors, permitting Carter, Teal'c and Bra'tac to approach in a small ship. Bra'tac will remain on the ship to keep ready for a quick exit, while the others gather intelligence.

This plan proceeds pretty much as planned - who would've thunk it? While in Anubis's base, Carter, Jacob, and Teal'c discover the queen Goa'uld that is assisting Anubis - she is purposely producing "brain dead" Goa'uld young so that they can easily be controlled within the Kull soldiers. They wisely attach a bomb to the queen's aquarium so they can kill her before they leave. (It is a very satisfying bit of continuity that Teal'c realizes that Anubis discovered this plan through Jonas Quinn's memories of the events in season 6's "Cure"; if Jonas knew this, his guilt complex would go through the roof!)

Then they discover that Anubis has managed to grown hundreds (possibly thousands) of Kull soldiers already. The scene where they look down on the assembling soldiers is very sobering - even if the queen is neutralized, the existing force is nearly overwhelming. How can you fight an enemy that is impervious to all your weapons?

Their presence is discovered on the base, so they blow up the queen and make a hasty retreat. The Kull soldier chasing after them is very scary - reminded me of chases by implacable enemies such as in Jurassic Park and Terminator 2. The Kull manages to grab onto their ship as it's launching and tear his way inside, where he quickly neutralizes Carter, Jacob, and Teal'c. Bra'tac has the presence of mind to use the rings to transport it out into the upper atmosphere, which makes for a nice effect as the soldier and the rings are blown away. They report their findings back to the SGC.

Meanwhile, O'Neill meets up with a CIA agent, Burke, who was an old team member of O'Neill's when they were in special ops. They have bad blood between them. Apparently, on a mission, Burke shot dead another member of their team - he claimed it was accidental, but O'Neill did not witness the incident and refused to provide a false supporting story. Consequently, Burke was blackballed and given crummy assignments, such as his current one in Central America.

O'Neill reluctantly allows Burke to work with him, and Burke leads him right to where the kidnappers are hiding... but en route we are treated to a lot of Burke's loud, annoying personality. At first, he is amusing, and I wonder how he and O'Neill could have ever been friends. However, when he keeps up his loudness as they are stalking through the woods, he just appears unprofessional and whiny.

Daniel and Dr. Lee are being tortured for information. Daniel has refused to give up information, but Dr. Lee reveals everything he knows pretty quickly. (Again, as I said about Part 1, why would Dr. Lee, a scientist with little field experience and no archaeological knowledge, have been sent along in the first place?) He tells the leader of the kidnappers that the device is an alien artifact that might be the cause of the fountain of youth.

Honestly, I wonder why on Earth the kidnapper would have believed this, since it sounds incredibly bizarre, if you have no knowledge of the Stargate program. I have to think that when Dr. Lee let this story out, he earned himself a lot more torture so the kidnapper could believe that this was in fact the truth. At any rate, the lead kidnapper turns the device on. Soon, he feels increased vitality, as do his minions. However, one of his minions is scared of the device and begs for it to be turned off, at which point the leader shoots him dead.

At this point, O'Neill and Burke find Daniel's former local guide, who had been killed in Part 1. However, now he is alive - I guess the artifact is working. The scene when O'Neill stumbles on the guide is very bizarre (intentionally, I think), because O'Neill (and we) expect him to be dead, but then he smiles and blinks and talks. O'Neill and Burke continue on for the rescue. We eventually find out that Burke shot the team member as a reflex - the other guy was going to shoot him because Burke found out that he was giving information to the enemy. Burke didn't report that because he didn't want the dead guy's wife to lose his pension.

The kidnapper's dead minion is brought back to life, and he is somewhat ticked off at being shot, so he starts shooting up the camp. Daniel and Dr. Lee take this chance to escape. You know, if the artifact can bring people back from the dead and give the kidnappers added vitality, why doesn't it seem to have any effect on Daniel and Dr. Lee? They are still limping around from their torture and obviously weak and winded from lack of food and water.

The formerly-dead minion is killed again, and then the kidnappers chase after Daniel and Dr. Lee. In a nice touch, Daniel hides Dr. Lee (who can't run any more) and starts to lead off the kidnappers. O'Neill and Burke arrive and kill the kidnappers. Oh, and the formerly-formerly-dead minion, who is alive again. The artifact is recovered by the good guys and turned off.

So how far can this artifact go? We saw it resurrect someone twice. However, I have to say that the quality of the resurrections seemed to degrade somewhat - the last time, the minion seemed to be doing a good zombie impression. Would that wear off? Or does it just not work very well after repeated use? Daniel's former guide seemed in perfect health, but was that because he had been laying there resting for awhile? Daniel said that the artifact may have effects like the sarcophagus - draining the goodness out of you. Would that cause the differences?

If the artifact was working, what would its range be? Daniel's former guide was some distance away from the camp and he was resurrected. What would you have to do to actually kill someone? We saw bullet wounds "healed" - what about a heart attack or stroke? Presumably if you actually separated body parts (like cutting off the head), resurrection would not be possible.

My last comment on the artifact: I said it was odd that it didn't seem to be affecting Daniel or Dr. Lee. However, when Daniel was about to be killed by the kidnapper with a machete, he grabbed a large rock for defense. (I like his attitude - might as well try something!) But then O'Neill shows up. Daniel looks like he might just bash him with the rock anyway - might this be a sign of increased vitality and aggression like Daniel noted in the kidnappers?

What is the result of this episode? We find out that Anubis currently has a very significant army, although since he no longer has a queen, he may have to be a little more careful with them. Actually, since the Kull soldiers are not made to last long, will the army die out in a few weeks? I have no idea. The good news for the SGC is that they have the artifact, which they can hopefully use to devise an effective weapon against the Kulls. Frankly, this idea is still a bunch of smoke and mirrors, I think. But, it sets up the plot for some time to come.

What about the characters? There is a nice scene at the beginning of the episode where O'Neill tells Carter he's "going after Daniel". Carter agrees that's the best course of action. The wordless understanding between them about the importance of preserving a member of their team is wonderful. However, otherwise, Carter is mostly involved in action in the episode, including getting beat up by a Kull.

More of O'Neill's past is revealed by his interactions with Burke. However, we only learn a few facts. All of the emotional revelation is on Burke's part - he basically forgives O'Neill for not lying for him. We don't really get much feel for O'Neill's memories of the incident, since after all he didn't see it! Burke is mostly annoying.

Daniel again shows his inner strength in resisting the torture. When the kidnapper said he had reasons for what he did, Daniel couldn't resist a snarky, "I don't doubt that". I expected him to get shot right then! He also gets a good laugh at the end of the episode when he makes Dr. Lee carry the artifact and then makes sure he's not too close.

Dr. Lee: I'm amazed he stayed with the Stargate program after this experience. Maybe he got it put into his contract that he'd never have to go off-world again. He didn't resist the kidnappers well, but frankly, I can't blame him - I wouldn't, either!

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