Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 8: "Reckoning, Part 2"

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Episode Information

Title: "Reckoning, Part 2"
Written by: Damian Kindler
Director: Peter DeLuise
Rating (out of 4 stars): ****
Reviewed on: August 24, 2007

Synopsis from GateWorld


The second half of this two-parter really pulls out all the stops, finally putting an end to the Replicators and possibly the impending demise of the Goa'uld. And Daniel dies again.

At the end of the first part of this episode, the rebel Jaffa had conquered the world of Dakara, which has deep spiritual significance for them. But all the other important players in the galaxy were converging on Dakara: the SGC in order to use an Ancient weapon on it to destroy the Replicators, the Replicators in order to destroy that weapon, and Anubis's Goa'uld in order to use the weapon to destroy everyone.

Carter and her father head to Dakara in order to find the Ancient weapon so that they can destroy it. Meanwhile, Teal'c and Bra'tac organize their meager rebel Jaffa fleet (hiding most of it) to meet Baal's impending attack on behalf of Anubis.

Carter figures out the puzzle to get into the Ancient chamber and find that it contains the Ancient weapon. Upon interfacing with it via computer, Jacob realizes that the weapon may be able to be used to act like the anti-Replicator weapon. They receive permission from O'Neill to try to alter it for that purpose as long as they don't let the weapon fall into Anubis's hands. Baal/Anubis's fleet arrives, despite Baal's efforts to procrastinate. The rebel Jaffa begin fighting them.

On Dakara, the Carters figure out how to alter the weapon, but finding the exact settings is tedious trial-and-error. Plus, the weapon will only work around Dakara, but in order to keep the Replicators from adapting to it, they need to use it throughout the galaxy simultaneously. Carter realizes this could be done via the stargate system: they could activate all stargates in the galaxy simultaneously and send the weapon through them. Neither of the Carters has the expertise to do this, but Sam Carter knows who does: Baal.

This leads to a very uneasy working relationship between Carter, Jacob (a Tok'ra), and Baal (via holographic image), and puts a hold on the Jaffa/Baal battle. Baal directs Carter in altering the stargate system, then he proceeds to tell Jacob how to modify the Ancient weapon. I love his response to Jacob's doubt about his knowledge: "I'm a god. Gods are all-knowing." I think Baal enjoys antagonizing them.

Meanwhile, RepliCarter is still probing Daniel's mind. Although she has obtained the knowledge about Dakara, she has gotten a glimpse of the huge amount of Ancient knowledge he has stored subconsciously, and she is greedy for it. She tries to convince Daniel to cooperate with her, promising to spare him and Earth, but Daniel doesn't go for it. She keeps digging deeper with the probe.

On Earth, an incoming wormhole carries a signal that taps into the SGC's computer system and takes over. The iris opens, and thousands of Replicator bugs come through. O'Neill quickly evacuates the base, but the self-destruct has been disabled. He arranges for a nuclear weapon to be dropped on the base at his command, but first he has to rescue Siler and a small group of trapped personnel.

While the Carters and Baal are still working on the Ancient weapon, a huge Replicator fleet arrives at Dakara and begins attacking everyone. Replicator bugs land on Dakara, but the Jaffa and Carter hold them off while Jacob and Baal work.

During all this, RepliCarter has been probing Daniel's mind and storing up the knowledge. This is taking so much of her effort and concentration that somehow Daniel has entered her mind and subtly begun learning how to control the Replicator minions. He eventually is able to take control of them and stop them in place, although it takes all of his will to be able to handle them all. This pause in the Replicator attacks galaxy-wide gives just enough of a break for Jacob to finish altering the Ancient weapon and activate it. RepliCarter breaks Daniel's concentration by the expedient of stabbing him to death. The Replicator bugs renew their attacks everywhere.

As the Ancient weapon begins to activate, we a look at everyone: Carter fighting off the Replicators on Dakara, Teal'c on a ship that is about to be destroyed, O'Neill fighting off the Replicators in the SGC, and Daniel dying. This glimpse is just a bit too long and gratuitous. But then the weapon fires, which is just cool; we see some of the stargates that are activating, which just never gets old. With the wave of energy from the weapon, Replicators disintegrate into their smallest components. This includes the nifty-looking Replicator ship with RepliCarter and Daniel: if Daniel hadn't been stabbed, he would have been killed by exposure to the vacuum anyway.

With the Replicators gone, Baal goes back to threatening the rebel Jaffa. However, sometime during the fight, Bra'tac and some other rebel Jaffa have transported onto Baal's ship and quickly stage a coup. Baal simply laughs and beams away - presumably onto a ship by which he can escape.

Back at the SGC at the end of the episode, we learn that Baal's defeat has spurred most Jaffa to rebel. The end of Goa'uld domination is near, and the Jaffa will be free. As O'Neill says, "It's about time." We find out that Thor is OK: apparently his body got destroyed with his ship, but once his consciousness is downloaded into a new body, he'll be good as new. Carter and O'Neill discuss the pause in the Replicator attack and speculate Daniel might have had something to do with it. They have no knowledge of Daniel's status or whereabouts. Then the episode abruptly ends.

This episode had a lot of good things in it, which I'll comment on momentarily. But it left me with one big question: what happened to Anubis? In the first part of the episode, we saw him actually on Baal's ship pulling Baal's strings. But in this part, he did not appear. At the end of the episode, Baal's ship was in rebel Jaffa hands - was Anubis their prisoner? That seems hard to believe. Throughout the episode, I kept wondering why Anubis didn't notice that Baal was deliberately taking his time getting to Dakara and get upset. What's up with him?

Speaking of Baal, I think he's a great enemy. While he may not be as all-powerful as Anubis or as psycho-looking as Sokar, he has a personality that is more developed than most of the Goa'uld we see. Maybe O'Neill is rubbing off on him - he seemed to enjoy provoking Carter and Jacob as much as O'Neill enjoys provoking him. I also think that he's a very intelligent being; he figured out Carter's all-stargate plan instantly, and obviously had some idea of how to reconfigure the Ancient weapon It was a perfect ending for him to have an instant escape plan.

While SG-1 was completely split up in this episode, they were all doing things that they uniquely excel at. Carter, of course, dealing with the alien technology; Teal'c leading the rebel Jaffa in their attacks (although it was interesting to see that Bra'tac was the one actually directing the Jaffa forces); and Daniel in a battle of wills with RepliCarter. RepliCarter may only have been interested in Daniel for his Ancient knowledge, but it was those very mind-stretching experiences that gave Daniel the ability to fight her and actually take over, if only temporarily. I enjoyed his revelation to her that he knew she lied about leaving Earth alone. What will happen to Daniel, now that he has died again? We know that's not necessarily the end of the line for him, but did he ascend?

The repercussions of this episode will be huge in the Stargate SG-1 universe. First, what are the casualties? The Replicators may now be dead, but how many did they kill, both human and Jaffa? How many Goa'uld are left? Surely their smaller numbers will only make it easier for the Jaffa to succeed in the rest of their rebellion.

How will this shift galactic politics? Obviously the Goa'uld are set to be overthrown. But other factions could also have their influence changed significantly. I'm thinking in particular of who wasn't a contributor to the defeat of the Replicators. First, the Asgard: after the failed attempt to fix the anti-Replicator weapon in the first part of the episode, they were absent. Of course, their overall galactic position is probably pretty secure. But the Tok'ra also did not contribute, with the exception of Jacob, who first came to the SGC without the Tok'ra high council's knowledge. It seems unlikely that the Jaffa will ever let the Tok'ra forget that they were key in defeating the Replicators and putting the Goa'uld on the verge of extinction while the Tok'ra were nowhere to be seen. Lastly, who will control the Ancient weapon on Dakara, which has the potential to wipe out life on one's planet of choice?

This brings me to another theme I always like to mention: the fact that cooperation between various factions was what enabled the victory. Previously some of the largest victories have been with cooperation between the SGC, Jaffa, and Tok'ra. In this case, we had the unlikely combination of SGC, Jaffa, Tok'ra, and Goa'uld. In almost every case, the cooperation has been encouraged, facilitated, and nursed along by SG-1 members. Humans seem to be the glue. When Jacob/Selmak complained about working with Baal, Carter got them to continue. This is a human quality that is highlighted in the series: the humans will do almost anything to stay alive and achieve the goal. The Tok'ra would probably rather die than work with the Goa'uld against a common enemy, without the human to keep them together. While the Tok'ra might preserve their pride and their principles, they would also be dead.

The subplot of the Replicators invading the SGC almost felt like filler in this episode. Poor Siler - he never gets a break, this time being trapped by the Replicators. This subplot did do a good job of conveying how the Replicators were on the verge of taking over everywhere, since we saw them simultaneously in the SGC and Dakara.

One thing rang false to me - no one mentioned Daniel in the entire episode until the very end. Granted, most of the episode was so wrapped up in fighting that no one probably had a chance to think about him, but I found it a little odd. Apparently no one even thought of the consequences of destroying the Replicators while Daniel was on one of their ships. I do not think that should've stopped them from using the Ancient weapon (how can the life of one person compare to the entire galaxy?), but it was strange that it wasn't even discussed. After all, in the first part of the episode, O'Neill delayed Baal's return to Dakara purely to keep Teal'c alive. And then, the discussion about Daniel at the end is very abrupt, probably for time considerations. Why would they think Daniel had anything to do with the Replicators' behavior?

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