Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 8: "Sacrifices"

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: "Sacrifices"
Written by: Christopher Judge
Director: Andy Mikita
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: August 6, 2007

Synopsis from GateWorld


This episode is hard to sum up, but it has a welcome return by Teal'c's son Rya'c and the female Jaffa Ishta, and weaves their personal relationships into the Jaffa rebellion.

Teal'c and Bra'tac return to Earth after visiting with the colony of female Jaffa warriors led by Ishta (featured in season 7's "Birthright"). Teal'c makes the pronouncement, "I have been betrayed by those I trusted most." This, of course, makes us all worried, but typically Teal'c considers family matters to be just as important as war and galactic politics. Bra'tac reveals that Rya'c is getting married to Kar'yn, a student of Ishta's, in three days. Teal'c is concerned that Rya'c's dedication to the Jaffa rebellion will be compromised, and that he will have to choose between his wife and the rebellion, as Teal'c once did. Teal'c desperately wants Rya'c to delay having to make such decisions by not getting married....but Rya'c is a typical teenager and will not listen to his father.

Shortly thereafter, Ishta contacts the SGC and tells them that the location of their colony has most likely been discovered by Moloc (their ruling Goa'uld). They ask that the SGC help them find a new planet to relocate, and in the meantime, they move temporarily into the SGC. This gives us some very amusing scenes of young children, horses, and livestock wandering through the corridors of the SGC. In addition, Rya'c's wedding will take place there.

Teal'c and Ishta also have some issues to work through. Ishta's covert rebellion among Moloc's Jaffa has been extremely successful; in fact, they are worried that there are too many rebel Jaffa to keep them secret much longer. Ishta wants to overthrow Moloc now; however, Teal'c wants her to wait until similar rebellions can be led under all the Goa'uld simultaneously. Otherwise, he believes that Moloc will just be replaced by another Goa'uld, a belief that is supported by past Goa'uld maneuvering. Ishta has far too much personal hatred of Moloc to listen to Teal'c in this matter.

Rya'c's wedding begins on schedule (although without the ritual sacrifice of a goat, which was vetoed by O'Neill). Kar'yn had given indications earlier that she considered herself to be very independent and a warrior in her own right, who would not defer to anyone and did not need protection. So it's no surprise that when the ceremony reaches the point where she is supposed to kneel to her new husband, she refuses. She and Rya'c quarrel during the ceremony, then both stomp out, as only teenagers can do, before the ceremony is complete. (Didn't they know about this part of the ceremony ahead of time, if it's traditional?) Ishta counsels Kar'yn to treat Rya'c with the same respect she is asking from him, and Bra'tac gives similar advice to Rya'c.

Up until now, the episode has been relatively light-hearted, with the more or less everyday crises of moving the Jaffa colony and teenage love. But then Ishta receives a message from one of Moloc's rebel Jaffa, requesting a summit to decide on their future actions. Ishta agrees to this, and directs the rebel Jaffa leaders to meet on their new colony world. Teal'c will also attend, although Ishta tells him to accept her decisions at the summit. Strangely, Bra'tac does not attend.

At the summit, Ishta and the other rebel leaders are predictably anxious and eager to overthrow Moloc. Teal'c speaks to try to get them to wait, much to Ishta's ire. The summit is suddenly attacked from all sides by Moloc's (loyal) Jaffa. Most of the rebels are slaughtered, but Teal'c, Ishta, and Aron (another Jaffa) escape together. They do a little reconnaissance and find that the stargate is surrounded by dozens, if not hundreds, of Moloc's Jaffa. Fortunately, the SGC can still dial up the stargate and communicate with Teal'c via radio; Teal'c warns them not to attack yet. They also discover that Moloc himself is on the planet, and is torturing rebel Jaffa survivors for information. Finally, to cap things off, Teal'c and Ishta have lost most of their tretonin, so they will soon weaken and then die.

Teal'c realizes that they must take some time to plan what to do and coordinate with the SGC. Ishta takes matters into her own hands and sneaks off to try to release the survivors, but is captured by Moloc's forces. Moloc tortures her for some time with his hand device, apparently for his own amusement. Eventually, Teal'c and Aron arrange to guide a missile attack by the SGC. Moloc and many of his loyal Jaffa are killed. Ishta is rescued.

When they return to the SGC, Teal'c finally gives his blessing to Rya'c's wedding, and the second attempt at the ceremony is successful. (Did they skip the kneeling part this time? We don't see that, either way.) Apparently honeymoons are traditional among Jaffa, too, as Rya'c and Kar'yn set off on one. Ishta reveals that events on her homeworld have transpired as Teal'c predicted: Baal has taken over Moloc's domain. However, Ishta may have accomplished a smaller goal: unless Baal has the same policies as Moloc, female Jaffa babies will no longer be killed. In addition, the object of Ishta's hatred is dead, so hopefully she'll be able to look at the long term view a little better.

This episode was another good look at what makes Teal'c tick, through the prism of his personal relationships. We've always known that it was very difficult for him to leave his family in danger while he worked with the SGC. Now we can see that he very much wants his son to learn from his experience, but isn't successful. Rya'c, for his part, is certainly growing up, but still has the teenage tendency to want to do the exact opposite of what his father recommends. He is swept away with being in love for the first time, and really can't fully comprehend any drawbacks to it.

Rya'c is going to have his hands full dealing with Kar'yn, who has learned from Ishta's female warriors to be perhaps a little overassertive. The female Jaffa are clearly trying to break with at least some of the traditions governing women, and so it's only natural that they are going to be extremely sensitive to how they are treated. Ishta's greater maturity allows her to overlook smaller issues, but she clearly struggles with making Teal'c aware that she is his equal. She wanted Teal'c to keep quiet during the summit, but Teal'c obviously had no intention of abiding by that wish.

There were some great character humor scenes early on in the episode. O'Neill tries to get Teal'c's view on the wedding over a friendly game of ping pong, but gets massacred by Teal'c's returns. (Teal'c is obviously a formidable ping pong player when he's in a good mood!) Daniel and Carter realizing that Rya'c's wedding is going to happen at the SGC, and what havoc that will create, is hilarious. And then O'Neill desperately asking Carter if she's found the Jaffa a new planet yet is also fun.

A small note: when did Ishta start taking tretonin? She had a symbiote the last that we knew. She and Teal'c also seemed to be trying to keep hidden from Aron that they were taking tretonin - did Moloc's rebel Jaffa not know about this? In that case, it seems like Ishta is doing exactly what she accused Teal'c of in "Birthright" - hiding the fact that she doesn't have a symbiote.

Rya'c urged his father to marry Ishta. Will they every do so? I doubt it. I would bet that Ishta would feel her position would be weakened if she appeared less independent. And even though she and Teal'c obviously care about each other, I'm not sure they want to make a formal commitment. (And apparently they have a pretty open relationship, since Teal'c had an affair with another woman recently in "Affinity".)

How have things changed because of this episode? There's one less Goa'uld around, but that has only helped Baal expand his huge empire. A number of rebel Jaffa were killed, and the overall Jaffa rebellion may have been set back, since this rebellion wasn't successful. Teal'c and Bra'tac's goal of coordinating all the rebel Jaffa to work together for a simultaneous rebellion seems very difficult, but the only possibility for success.

Return to my Stargate SG-1 reviews page.