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SG-1 arrives at a new Stargate address. It's dark, and nothing seems to be working. They open up a sealed room and find nine human corpses. Teal'c recognizes some of the Goa'uld symbols as those representing the Linvers, a group of Goa'uld who were less powerful than the System Lords. Since there were nine Linvers and they find nine corpses with Goa'uld entry scars, SG-1 assumes the Linvers were all killed by the System Lords. The catch is that the room the corpses were in was sealed from the inside. Daniel begins to look around for technology or other useful artifacts and finds a Goa'uld tablet device and page-turning stone. Then he feels like someone brushed by him, and they all get creeped out and leave in short order.
Back at the SGC, Daniel begins to hear voices calling him, even when no one is around. Soon he starts hearing the Stargate dialing in odd places, and then visualizes a wormhole in his equipment cabinet. One of the corpses from the planet reaches through and tries to pull him into it. Daniel yells for help, and the next thing we know, he's in the infirmary.
Dr. Fraiser can find no apparent cause of Daniel's problems. She's worried that it may be some side-effect of frequent Stargate travel, so all of SG-1 is taken off-duty. Daniel seems to be doing better, but then while he's passing times playing games with O'Neill, the hallucinations return worse than ever. Dr. MacKenzie, a psychiatrist last seen in season 1's "Fire and Water", is worried that Daniel is starting to suffer from schizophrenia as a result of Stargate travel. General Hammond orders tests done of all SG teams and restricts Stargate travel temporarily until it's determined if travel through the Stargate has these deleterious mental effects.
Daniel is medicated and placed in a psychiatric hospital. When the other members of SG-1 visit him, they find him tired and frantic from the hallucinations. While they are there, he sees a Linver corpse standing among them and tries to grab it. When Teal'c restrains him, Daniel sees some type of object quickly travel from underneath his skin into Teal'c. Of course, no one believes him when he describes it.
After leaving the visit to Daniel, Teal'c falls ill. Dr. Fraiser says that his Goa'uld larva is dying, and since Teal'c can't survive without it, Teal'c is dying, too. Meanwhile, Daniel is rapidly regaining his senses (despite being heavily medicated) and finally convinces Dr. MacKenzie to bring O'Neill back to visit him.
Daniel has put the pieces together. The tablet he found with the Linvers was describing an attack by "infiltration", which could imply some type of biological attack. He also remembers Ma'chello from "Holiday" last season talking about different Goa'uld-killing devices that he developed. Finally, when the small object left Daniel's body, he heard Ma'chello's voice in his head. He thinks that Ma'chello left a booby-trap hidden in the stone tablet for the Linvers in order to kill their Goa'ulds. But if a person without a Goa'uld absorbs one of the "infiltrators", it doesn't know what to do and just causes crazy mental effects.
O'Neill takes Daniel back to the SGC, and they (along with Carter) search through the inventory of Ma'chello's artifacts that they brought back to Earth after "Holiday". They find a stone tablet like the one the Linvers had, along with way too many page-turning stones. They deduce that the stones must have the booby-trap.
Carter and Dr. Fraiser place one of the stones in a containment region that they access via gloves. Sure enough, ten little worm-like beings come out of the stones. Unfortunately they can penetrate through almost anything, including the containment gloves. In short order, Carter, Fraiser, and O'Neill have all absorbed the worms. (Fortunately Daniel was in another location.)
With multiple worms in them, O'Neill and Fraiser begin having hallucinations almost immediately. Carter, however, is unaffected; soon, the worms leave her and she hears Ma'chello's voice saying her Goa'uld is dead. She realizes that the protein left in her blood after Jolinahr's death in "In the Line of Duty" signaled the worms that she was Goa'uld-free. She quickly begins brainstorming how to get the protein marker into O'Neill and Frasier.
Unfortunately, the second-in-command doctor, Dr. Warner, is not the creative sort and says the protein can't be easily separated from Carter's blood. However, Fraiser manages to give some suggestions between hallucinations. Carter centrifuges her blood to remove the rejectable red blood cells, and then injects the rest into Fraiser and O'Neill. They recover almost immediately and the worms are ejected. The next step is to inject Teal'c, and he, too, is healed.
This episode was pretty much a threat-of-the-week. While the original air date of the episode was in July, the first syndication broadcast was just before Halloween in 2000, which seems appropriate. The beginning of the episode is suitably creepy, and the hallucinations Daniel sees are reasonably well done.
However, there certainly was no reason to believe Daniel was truly going insane, nor to think that Stargate travel had such side-effects. The first would lose one of the main characters, and the second would lose the basis for the entire series. Given that, it was just a question of what the true cause of Daniel's affliction would turn out to be.
Ma'chello's Goa'uld-killing worms were an interesting idea. However, the implementation leaves something to be desired. I suppose they were meant to be used in very specific booby-traps, which would be relatively controlled conditions, and so they shouldn't encounter that many special cases. What other devices of Ma'chello's are hanging around the galaxy?
I thought that the characters were a little too quick to pack Daniel off to a mental hospital. However, I felt like events happened rather quickly and almost before they had the chance to think about it - Dr. MacKenzie says they should do this, so OK, they do, before they really realize it might not be correct. After all, it would take time to really understand what was happening with Daniel, if he really did have schizophrenia.
The Linvers were an interesting idea - too bad we met them as they were killed off. Are there other Goa'uld groups out there?