SG-1 must investigate when evidence suggests that there are still Goa'uld hiding on Earth -- including a former System Lord. Tensions between Earth and the Free Jaffa continue to mount.
By Joseph Mallozzi
Stargate SG-1 Executive Producer
When I first pitched the idea for this episode, it was an entirely different story. It didn't involve the Trust, clones, or Earth for that matter. In broad strokes, it went something like this:
Finally having won their freedom, the Jaffa are forming into two camps: one led by Bra'tac and Teal'c, the other led by Gerak and his lieutenant, Dregan. Although Dregan seems more willing to hear Teal'c out and bridge the gap between the two camps, Gerak is adamant in his beliefs that the Jaffa should do away with all vestiges of their past enslavement, including Dakara. All indications are they may be headed for civil war.
But when Teal'c receives intel on the whereabouts of Baal, he sees an opportunity to seize the Goa'uld and thereby win the hearts of many undecided Jaffa. He enlists the help of SG-1 and heads off. However, Gerak has also learned of Baal's whereabouts and he too has set off to claim the prize. Like the Americans and Russians racing to Berlin, both sides quickly close in on their target. But Baal has set a trap for them.
Inevitably, the two sides must join forces to escape the trap set for them. In the end, it seems as though Teal'c and Gerak have newfound respect for one another, agreeing to disagree but apparently averting a full-scale civil war. However, when SG-1 returns to Stargate Command, they receive word that Gerak has been assassinated. His tretonin was poisoned and Teal'c is suspected of killing his rival, formenting further dissent and anger between the two camps. Teal'c contacts Dregan and proclaims his innocence. Dregan promises to help get to the bottom of this but, as he cuts off communications, it becomes clear that Dregan was behind the assassination and has now set himself up as the new leader of the rival camp.
We ended up going another way for a number of reasons, the chiefest being that, after that season's first six episodes, we desperately needed smaller (read: less expensive) stories. The location was shifted from off-world to Earth and, since there were already plans in place for Gerak, the ending (and his death) didn't really work either. Overall, I thought it was a fine episode that unfortunately suffered a little because we were forced to tell too much of the story off-screen (ie. the attack on the bunker that would have proven too costly).
The clones weren't in the original outline. The episode was to have ended with Baal turning to Charlotte and saying: "I have a big day ahead of me tomorrow." Rob suggested that we PULL BACK and establish the clones, then change the line to "We have a big day ahead of us tomorrow." I went back to the outline and layered in several seeming discrepancies (i.e. Baal reportedly being in two places at once) that would pay off with the big reveal at episode's end.
The working title for this one was "Great Baals of Fire." We were sitting in Paul's office and I jokingly suggested that Baal could be working undercover as a mechanic on Earth so that we could call the episode "Deus Ex Mechanic." He pointed out that the more appropriate title would be "Ex Deus Mechanic." At which point the perfect title presented itself: "Ex Deus Machina." (My favorite part of the episode. Not that I dislike the episode. I just reeaaally liked the title).
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