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

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Episode Information

Title: "Fallout"
Story by: Corin Nemec
Teleplay by: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Director: Martin Wood
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: June 18, 2007

Synopsis from GateWorld


It's a treat to see Jonas Quinn again in this episode, even though his world still can't keep themselves out of trouble.

We find out that his planet has been jointly ruled by the three countries since the events in "Homecoming" at the beginning of the season. They have renamed their planet Langara (chosen by committee).

Jonas contacts the SGC for help. (Have Earth and his planet been keeping up diplomatic and trade relations since the events in "Homecoming"? We don't know.) He and scientists on his world have discovered a chain reaction of naquadah converting to naquadria in his planet's interior. If the reaction continues, it threatens to destroy most of Kelowna and render Langara uninhabitable. The SGC attack this problem in two directions: first, by learning more about the reaction to see if there is a way to stop it, and second, by beginning plans to evacuate as many people from Langara as possible.

Carter works with Jonas and his co-worker, Kianna, to learn more about the naquadria reaction. I found some of the history to be interesting. The Langarans have deduced from ancient records that naquadria is not native to Langara. The old Goa'uld ruler created the naquadria from naquadah in a reaction that was violent enough to destroy his reign; this left behind a surface vein of naquadria. So is naquadria found naturally anywhere in the galaxy? We don't know.

Carter realizes that the current naquadria-creating reaction was initiated by the Kelownans' test of the naquadria bomb (prior to "Homecoming"). The Kelownans have, yet again, screwed themselves, but his time they've really outdone themselves.

Carter devises a plan to cause movement in the planet's interior along a fault line, which would cause the main portion of the naquadah to be separated from the naquadria-creating reaction, thereby preventing the worst destruction. The movement would be caused by a nuclear bomb (supplied by the SGC) placed at the fault, deep underground. Fortunately Jonas and his team have a nearly-finished deep-earth drilling machine that was built to mine naquadria, whose capabilities can be supplemented with Tok'ra tunnel-building crystals.

All this made me wonder what Jonas has been doing. After "Homecoming", we were left with the impression that he was going to be doing diplomatic and administrative duties to meld together the three separate governments. Now, less than a year later, he is deeply involved in a detailed scientific project. What gives?

Jonas credits Kianna with much of the work on the drilling machine. Carter realizes they are adapted Goa'uld designs, and Kianna is quickly revealed as a Goa'uld working for Baal. (There had been some subtle hints, like how Carter remarked that Kelownan particle physics had really made some big advances. Plus the not-so-subtle injections she took to mask her Goa'uld.) Baal wanted to know what Anubis was interested in on Langara. Carter and Jonas decide they must continue with the mission and with the Goa'uld's help. Teal'c joins them as backup.

Meanwhile at the SGC, the planning for the evacuation has stalled. The representatives from each of the Langara countries seem to be more willing to argue about blame for their situation than to plan. O'Neill and Teal'c quickly lose patience for their squabbling, leaving Daniel and General Hammond to try to work things out. While the arguing is probably realistic, it's incredibly annoying and it's hard to believe the people could be so short-sighted. After all, they are operating on a deadline!

In fact, the whole idea of an entire world having to choose a small number of people to save from near-certain death is fascinating. How should it be done? Completely by chance? Only by merit? If so, who decides the merit of a person? Only young people? This is an idea that could fill a whole episode, or even a series, itself.

The SGC had originally offered to relocate as many Langarans as possible to Madronas (from season 2's "Touchstone"), where the natives are willing to help and already have an infrastructure in place (as opposed to an uninhabited world). However, after the delegates squabble for sometime, O'Neill and Hammond retract the offer because they don't want to inflict the Langarans on the peaceful Madronans. I found this shocking - sure, the delegates are annoying, but that shouldn't doom the whole civilization to death. I'm sure Daniel would have had more to say on this topic, but the eventual success of Carter and Jonas renders it moot.

On the drilling mission, there are several setbacks, but they manage to drill down within a kilometer of the fault. Then the drilling machine breaks down irreparably. They could build a small tunnel the rest of the way with the Tok'ra crystals, but the exterior conditions are toxic to human life. Kianna volunteers to set the bomb, reasoning that her symbiote will keep her alive. She actually keeps her word and does so, barely returning to the drilling machine alive. They all return to the surface of the planet, and the bomb successfully causes movement along the fault, solving the problem.

The Goa'uld inside Kianna dies (before being removed by the Tok'ra), leaving Kianna free. She and Jonas return to Langara.

This is a nice and neat one-off episode: as O'Neill said before, they came, they solved the problem, they went home. But many of the details elevate the episode to better than it might sound.

As I said before, it's fun to see Jonas again. He slips right back into his camaraderie with SG-1. But what's up with his hair? This unflattering style is apparently popular and unisex, as Kianna has her hair cut the same way.

I find it a nice turnaround to see Jonas manipulated by a woman (albeit a Goa'uld) after his previous interactions with women in season 6 (which I mentioned in my review for "Forsaken"). It's his turn to start falling for a woman, only to find out she's using him.

Kianna's Goa'uld is certainly unusual. Obviously she is a Goa'uld of low status to be put on such a mission. She also obviously had ambitious plans. However, she clearly formed an emotional attachment to Jonas, which is very unusual. I suppose this may be how the Tok'ra originally got started. When she placed the bomb, then believed she would have to be abandoned, she actually seemed prepared to allow the bomb to go off (and die) - surely most Goa'uld would have turned off the bomb and allowed the planet to die out of spite.

Finally, interacting with the governments from Jonas's planet is always quite an experience. I noticed that the First Minister from Kelowna was quite subdued and subordinate in attitude from the beginning, presumably from Kelowna's guilt in the destruction during the bomb test. This was only compounded when the test was found to be the cause of the current situation! Will the Langarans ever get along? I think that if they survive a generation or two, they will have a good chance, as older generations with grudges die off and younger generations don't have all the bad memories. But will they make it that long? Clearly their technological ability is outpacing their maturity. Since Kelowna was originally an obvious parallel to Earth, let's hope this part of the parallel doesn't continue.

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