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In the opening scene, Teal'c and Bra'tac arrive at the location where two minor Goa'uld were meeting. They find a massacre of the Jaffa forces of both Goa'uld. An injured survivor claims that they were all victim of one person: this super-soldier arrives on scene shortly. Teal'c's and Bra'tac's weapons (staffs and zats) are completely ineffective, as is a physical attack. The super-soldier apparently has super-armor, as well. After repeated zattings, the super-soldier dies, but we later find out that he died of a heart attack, not from the effects of the zat.
An autopsy of the soldier's body by Carter and her father reveal that the soldier was not naturally born, but was created "artificially" and grown at an accelerated pace to full-size. They also conclude that the soldier was engineered for strength and speed, but not for longevity. The Goa'uld symbiote in the soldier is able to keep it alive long enough for a mission, but not indefinitely.
It's nice to see SGC personnel, Bra'tac, and Jacob Carter brainstorming together. They conclude that Anubis is creating these super-soldiers as disposable, powerful foot troops, in order to replace Jaffa forces that are now unreliable. He is testing them out by killing off minor Goa'uld to bolster his own forces and equipment. Jacob believes that Anubis is using technology related to the Ancient technology that led to the sarcophagus in order to give the super-soldiers life. Apparently Anubis has been busy since "Homecoming" earlier in the season.
At this point, two different plans develop to try to defeat the super-soldiers. The two Carters propose capturing a super-soldier alive so that it can be questioned. Daniel believes that the original Ancient technology Anubis based his soldiers on may be hidden in the ancient temple of a former Goa'uld resident of Earth in Central America. Both plans proceed.
SG-1 (with supporting troops and Jaffa) sets up an ambush for a super-soldier. O'Neill gets to really play with the explosives here. To my eye, the team really seems to set up a "fire alley" where the super-soldier will be channeled and come under fire from machine guns, claymores, and C-4 explosive, if necessary. The plan is to trap him in a Tok'ra forcefield and shoot him with tranquilizer darts.
When the super-soldier shows up, he shows that O'Neill is right to never trust Plan A to work. The soldier again feels no effect from staff or zat weapons. I was surprised, however, that bullets seemed to have no effect on him - even if they didn't pierce his armor, they should be transferring momentum to him and pushing him off balance. The other explosives have no effect, and the forcefield and tranquilizers don't work. This introduction of a truly powerful and implacable enemy is very effective.
The super-soldier escapes to complete his mission - to kill the resident Goa'uld. Said resident Goa'uld captures SG-1 and the other surviving troops. They are thrown into a dungeon, but only temporarily, since the super-soldier massacres the Goa'uld and his Jaffa. When SG-1 escapes, they manage to capture the super-soldier with a stolen al'kesh. We find out that after bringing the soldier on board with the rings, they had to knock it out by evacuating the air from the room for 10 minutes. Wow.
The scene where Bra'tac and Teal'c interrogate the super-soldier is chilling. The makers of Stargate SG-1 have done a good job making a being that seems to embody pure evil. I don't know how Teal'c and Bra'tac had the nerve to get so close to it, even with the restraints. The soldier reveals that he works for Anubis. He also unintentionally reveals his home planet. The Tok'ra manage to identify the location of the planet.
Meanwhile, Daniel and Dr. Lee have gone to Central America to find the ancient temple. I'm not sure why Dr. Lee was sent with Daniel, because his specialty seems to be more for engineering and not so much for archeology. It also seems like some backup should have been sent with them. They engage a local guide to lead them to where the temple should be. With some modest searching, they find the temple, whose main chamber is now underground near a waterfall.
It's good to see Daniel back in his archaeologist role: searching for writings or clues about where the artifact could be. They realize it's under the floor stones and remove it; the artifact is a cube with indentations in the side. I had to chuckle when Daniel warned Dr. Lee to be careful not to accidentally activate it - SG-1 really is learning! However, that point becomes pretty much moot when a flood collapses the walls. They swim to the entrance (with the artifact) and their guide helps recover them.
At this point, they are kidnapped by terrorists (?). Their guide is killed, and Daniel and Dr. Lee are imprisoned in a remote location. Their kidnappers plan to ransom them. Daniel puts up a strong front, despite threats of torture. He's really become quite a strong person, physically and mentally, since the beginning of the series. However, Dr. Lee does not project that strength. What will happen when the torture actually starts?
At the end of the episode, the SGC receives the ransom demands. They had realized Daniel was overdue for contact, but hadn't begun to panic yet. Now they realize there's trouble.
This episode really covered a lot of ground, with the introduction of the super-soldiers, and had a lot of action. It was pretty light on the character development, and O'Neill was mysteriously missing for the first portion of the episode. Although individual characters were not emphasized, it was great to see the humans, Jaffa, and Tok'ra working together. If only they could always remember this value to their mutual reliance and not be so quickly to turn on each other when things start to go bad.
The details of the plot fit together nicely. We haven't heard from Anubis in awhile, but it makes sense that it would take even him some time to develop the super-soldier technology and then grow the soldiers. The connection between the sarcophagus and the Ancient life-giving artifact also works well. Daniel noted that the Goa'uld that modified it to make the first sarcophagus didn't get it all right: he's referring to how the sarcophagus gradually drains the goodness from people, as he experienced in season 2's "Need". I think that the Goa'uld probably didn't care about that side-effect! Jacob reveals that the Tok'ra have ambitions to someday improve the sarcophagus technology to remove that side-effect. That would certainly be a development with far-reaching effects, but I think it's pretty much a pie-in-the-sky idea.