Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 7: "Fallen"

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Episode Information

Title: "Fallen"
Written by: Robert C. Cooper
Director: Martin Wood
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: May 15, 2007

Synopsis from GateWorld


After the wonderful episode to end season 6, "Fallen" had a lot to live up to. The big unanswered question was what had happened to the ascended Daniel Jackson. Fortunately, we don't have long to wait: he mysteriously appears on an alien world, with his memory erased.

Meanwhile, since the events on Abydos at the end of last season, SG-1 has been working to translate the stone tablet and thus hopefully determine where the Lost City is. Jonas decides that the name has been mistranslated, and deduces that the city is an Ancient city on the planet that Daniel Jackson has appeared on (not that they know that yet). It's a lot of fun to see Jonas capering through the halls of the SGC after he believes that he has figured out where the planet is. He has a spontaneity and happy-go-lucky quality that the other characters lack; plus, as Daniel will later note, Jonas is very "up". I always appreciate optimism.

However, it's very convenient that Jonas's planet and the planet Daniel appears on are one and the same. (It is nice, though, to get a reference back to the gate addresses O'Neill entered into the base computer way back in season 2's "The Fifth Race".) I don't know whether Oma Desala had some way of knowing where SG-1 was going to be heading next or whether it was just luck, but SG-1 visits the planet and finds Daniel. I suppose it's good that they found something of worth on the planet, because it turns out to not be the city mentioned on the stone tablet.

When SG-1 initially arrives at the planet, they find ruins as well as a semi-nomadic population of humans. The natives that they befriend quickly assure SG-1 that they haven't been on the planet long, and did SG-1 want them to leave? Well, not yet. We have a few laughs as O'Neill and a local elder trade parable morals, although I'm not sure who comes out ahead in that.

The discovery that Daniel is there quickly takes center stage. Daniel doesn't remember any of them. It's very painful to watch him be such a stranger. Carter speculates that Daniel's memories may have been erased as part of a punishment for violating the rules of the ascended when he chose to interfere at the end of last season. She hopes he might be able to regain his memories eventually, but has no idea if it's even possible.

O'Neill and Carter take turns talking to Daniel privately to convince him to return to the SGC with them and to try to regain his memories. These are great conversations. O'Neill starts out by focusing on how Daniel was part of his team, SG-1, and that they worked together (both before and after Daniel ascended) fighting bad guys. Carter focuses on Daniel's goodness and worth as a person, and how he fought to help other people. Incidentally, Daniel unintentionally gets a good line here when he forgets O'Neill's name and calls him "Jim".

Daniel is obviously overwhelmed by the possible consequences of getting his memories back. After all, what if he doesn't like what he's done? However, in short order he chooses to return with SG-1.

Upon his return to the SGC, Daniel is deposited in a guest room where some of his past belongings have been unpacked, including a picture of Sha're. After dreaming, he remembers her name and happily goes to Teal'c to share the news that he can in fact remember some things. Teal'c silently conveys to Daniel that Sha're is dead. It's quite a painful irony that Daniel decides to share this recovered memory with Teal'c, since Teal'c was the one who killed her. Wisely, Teal'c does not mention this. Daniel becomes determined to regain the rest of his memories so he can really know what they are all fighting for.

After investigating the ruins on the planet, the SGC personnel determine that it's not the Lost City and doesn't have any weapons or other items useful against Anubis. However, Jonas devises a clever plan to lure Anubis to the planet, where they can ambush him and hopefully destroy the new weapon on his ship. (Apparently this is when the SGC tells the native humans that, yes, they do want the planet after all. It was odd that they relocated this whole group of people with hardly a word in the episode.) Meanwhile, Daniel reveals that he can now read Ancient (on the stone tablet) better than he could before he ascended, and tells Jonas he's been translating things incorrectly. Daniel realizes the Lost City is camouflaged somehow. Poor Jonas: he's going to get kicked off the show, and already Daniel is picking on him. The other amusing thing in this briefing room scene is how O'Neill gives Daniel crap (for arranging the deal with Anubis last season), and Daniel almost gives as good as he gets, but he's obviously not quite back yet.

The plan involves O'Neill and Carter using the F-302 to get through Anubis's ship's shield in hyperspace, then shooting at a particular vulnerability on the ship that will cause the new weapon to overload and be destroyed. The exact location of the vulnerability is unknown, so Jonas and Daniel secretly board the ship (via rings) and find the location using the ship's computer. Teal'c will contact Lord Yu, in command of the System Lords' forces fighting Anubis, and make a deal that the System Lords will take out Anubis once SG-1 has destroyed his new weapon.

The F-302's attack sequence is way too similar to the trench run in Star Wars: A New Hope and the Death Star attack sequence in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Couldn't they think of something a little different? The visual of the huge space inside the ship where the power core was located was nearly identical to my memory of Return of the Jedi. However, the similarities didn't bother me quite as much in my latest watching, since I was concentrating more on the interaction between Jonas and Daniel.

Jonas and Daniel have been injected with a radioactive isotope of some kind that will keep them from being picked up on the ship's sensors. They work well together in locating the computer room, then using the computer to find the crucial ship's location. Daniel's sense of humor, in a very literate sense, has returned when he snaps that maybe he should look under "Achilles" for the location of the ship's vulnerable area. Once they relay the critical location to the F-302, they are attacked by Jaffa; Jonas is captured and Daniel is on the run on the ship.

Meanwhile, we see the first signs of Lord Yu's impending senility: he continually has to be reminded of plans and agreements, and uses the sarcophagus frequently. Yu reneges on the deal with the SGC and does not bring the fleet to attack Anubis; he takes Teal'c prisoner. It's not clear if Yu has an alternate plan in mind, or if he has become incompetent.

In the end, O'Neill and Carter are able to return to the SGC. Daniel is at large on Anubis's ship. Teal'c is prisoner on Yu's ship. Jonas is a prisoner of Anubis, and Anubis announces his plans to read Jonas's mind with the spiky-brain-ball thing that he used on Thor in season 5's "Revelations". If Thor couldn't hold out against it, clearly Jonas won't have a chance.

This episode has a lot of good points, including the return of Daniel Jackson. I think that he re-integrates into the action a little too quickly, although it's hard to say what kind of in-grained, combat-oriented behaviors might be learned and retained unconsciously. It's very difficult, especially early in the episode, to see him acting "wrong".

Daniel's return must make Jonas wonder what his future will be. After all, Jonas still doesn't feel accepted (season 6's "Prophecy" for example), and still feels a lot of guilt over Daniel's death. How often are you faced with the living "version" of someone you saw die? I think that Jonas would do nearly anything that Daniel asked.

The episode has a lot of snappy dialog. O'Neill's first private talk with Daniel, describing how he died, is great. He's telling Daniel about the actual events, but quickly realizes how implausible they sound. The interaction between O'Neill and Daniel has always been very crisp, with their typically opposing points of view. Will that change now? O'Neill remarks later in the episode about how Daniel never just followed his lead. I think Daniel will need some time to get back on his feet, so to speak, to regain the spirit to oppose O'Neill on philosophical grounds again when necessary.

The bad points of the episode are basically the rip-off of the attack on Anubis. I have to admit that it depends on my mood how much it bothers me.

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