Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 9: "Crusade"

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Episode Information

Title: "Crusade"
Written by: Robert C. Cooper
Director: Robert C. Cooper
Rating (out of 4 stars): ***
Reviewed on: October 13, 2007

Synopsis from GateWorld


We catch up with Vala's trials in the Ori galaxy in this episode, and learn that the Ori are going to be ramping up their invasion very soon.

At the beginning of this episode, we discover that Vala did survive the events in "Beachhead" and was transported to the Ori galaxy. She gained access to one of the Ancient communications devices (like the one in "Avalon, Part 2") and managed to make contact via Daniel, whose body she takes over for the course of the episode. The events of the episode are mostly flashbacks of Vala relating what has happened to her.

After her ring transport signal was sent through the Ori's new black hole in "Beachhead", she materialized on some Ori world with a similar medieval culture as the one she and Daniel previously experienced. She was discovered by a man there, Tomin, who took her in and nursed her back to health. With her previous experience among the Ori's followers, Vala seems to have been much more careful of her conduct and speech.

Tomin seems very sincere, gentle, and somewhat naive. He becomes smitten with Vala. Vala, meanwhile, discovers that she is pregnant without having done any of the "necessary bits". Believing that the Priors and the Ori's people would not look favorably on a child born out of wedlock, she quickly weds Tomin, and he believes the baby is his.

While Vala is on the Ori world, she learns that the whole society (as well as those on other worlds) are mobilizing and preparing for a full-scale invasion of the Milky Way. Thousands of large ships are being built (some of them very close to her village), and soldiers are being trained. Vala manages to make contact with the anti-Ori underground, after an ordeal that nearly kills her. The underground has a plan to sabotage and destroy the local contingent of spaceships.

Tomin is very devoted to the religion of Origin, but he has been unable to participate in the military because of a limp from a childhood accident. He is thrilled when the local Prior heals his limp and he can enlist. Vala tries to convince him that he should not aid the Ori in killing innocent people, but he doesn't listen.

A twist occurs when the Prior tells Tomin (and Vala overhears) that Vala's baby is not Tomin's, because Tomin is sterile. However, the Prior says the child is "the will of the Ori", so Tomin says nothing to Vala.

Things come to a head on the day the spaceships will be activated, which is also when the underground is planning to destroy them, also killing many of the soldiers as well. Vala is unable to convince Tomin not to attend the ceremony. But, the sabotage plan does not succeed. Vala and her conspirators return to the village and contact the SGC using the Ancient communications device, which brings us up to the present time in the episode. Vala attempted the communication primarily to warn the SGC about the imminent invasion, and also that since the invasion plans are clearly moving forward, the Ori must have a supergate somewhere in the Milky Way galaxy to transport their ships.

Vala's consciousness abruptly leaves Daniel's body, and Daniel returns. On the Ori world, Tomin has suddenly arrived, destroyed the communications device, and killed Vala's conspirators. Vala thinks quickly and claims she was coerced into using the device; she also reminds Tomin that her child is the Ori's will, so she shouldn't be harmed. Tomin relents, and announces that he will be leaving shortly as part of the invasion. Vala plans to accompany him.

Back at the SGC, throughout the episode, was a subplot involving the International Oversite Advisory committee. The Russian representative, Col. Chekov, and the Chinese representative (the same one as in "The Scourge")) tell General Landry that the Russian government intends to take back their stargate, which the US government has been renting since season 6's "Redemption, Part 2". Initially, Landry is outraged by this, but after thinking about it during the episode, he realizes that the Russians are just looking for a little extra "consideration" in return for letting the US keep the stargate. Landry arranges for the Russians to get the next Daedalus-class ship, which is nearly finished, in exchange for the US continuing to control the stargate.

At the end of the episode, Landry approved SG-1's mission to the world whose gate address was in Merlin's alternate dimension device (from the previous episode "Arthur's Mantle"). They are hoping to find Merlin's anti-ascended being weapon for use against the Ori.

This episode is a little hard to classify, because most of it was in flashbacks, but the flashbacks where all new events involving Vala. I was a little underwhelmed by SG-1's reaction to discovering that Vala was alive and well - they seemed more excited that the communications device was working. Vala has obviously been through a lot during her time in the Ori galaxy. Her subdued demeanor, out of necessity, while in the Ori galaxy really shows her underlying fear of what the Priors might do to her and how hard she is trying to fit in and survive.

The Ori society's mobilization for war is a sobering development. With how successful just a few Priors with miracles and plagues have been, how will the SGC possibly defend the galaxy against a full-scale invasion? The complete devotion of the Ori's people to their cause is another thing that will make them harder to defeat. The SGC will be forced to kill many innocent people who are only doing what they believe their gods tell them to do... of course, I suppose many wars have had that same problem.

What's up with Vala's pregnancy? Vala may enjoy fooling around with men, but she is not ignorant of how to keep herself from becoming pregnant, nor would she fail to realize an incident that could have made her pregnant. The Prior's declaration concerning the baby makes things more mysterious. Could the Ori or the Priors have manipulated Vala's arrival into their galaxy and then impregnated her for their own purposes? With their advanced biological sciences, it certainly seems possible. Why do they want her child? And why choose Vala as the mother, rather than a woman devoted to Origin?

The subplot involving the Russians taking back the stargate was really a bit of a let down. I did enjoy Chekov making his announcement, with the Chinese representative beside him with a cat that ate the canary smile - it was clear who was behind the Russian government's change of heart. Back in "The Scourge", the Chinese representative was clear that something was going to change, and this must have been it. In some ways, it was satisfying to see the Chinese effectively manipulated by the Russians: the wonderful world of international politics. However, the "threat" from the Chinese was so easily turned aside, it was anticlimactic.

The repercussions could be big, however. One would imagine that the new Daedalus-class ship was to have been a replacement for the Prometheus, destroyed in "Ethon". So the SGC is still short a ship, and now the Russians have one. In addition, the Chinese government is still dissatisfied with the current use and governance of the stargate, and now they're mad, too. What will they try next?

A few less important comments. The teaser, with Vala in Daniel's body striding through the men's locker room, was a scream. That's something Vala would enjoy in any body, and seeing Daniel with Vala's mannerisms in that case was hilarious. Vala's request for pancakes was also funny - was she just hungry for "modern" food, or were her odd food requests a result of her pregnancy?

More seriously, Vala's strength of will to continue to try to fight the Ori and to dissuade Tomin from joining the invasion was impressive. While she has submitted enough to keep from being burned to death, she still has not given up. After being nearly alone in this quest for months on the Ori world, that is no small feat.

What can the SGC do to meet the increased Ori threat? What will they do? Will SG-1 find Merlin's weapon, and will it be operational? We learn that the Jaffa nation is ready to help, but will that be enough? What will become of Vala and her baby? Events seem to be racing toward the conclusion of this season.

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