Visit GateWorld every Friday for a new installment of the Friday Five, a countdown of our favorite episodes, characters, technology and more from 15 years of Stargate history! Use trackbacks to post your own Friday Five for this week’s topic on your blog, or post a comment below to let us know how your picks compare.
This Week: The Best of Bra’tac
“In all my 137 years,” I have never seen a warrior with such strength, such courage as Tek’mate Bra’tac. From the first season of Stargate SG-1 to the last, actor Tony Amendola helped to make Bra’tac one of the stand-out supporting characters in the Stargate universe. There are so many excellent episodes to choose from (Teal’c’s friend and mentor often played a part in the big season finales, premieres, and mid-season two-parters), making our job in picking the top five especially hard this week! But we’re thrilled to pay tribute to the awesomeness that is Master Bra’tac.
Thanks to Ella for suggesting this week’s Friday Five! If you have an idea for a future installment, pass it on.
Season Two, Episode 1
This is the early, “classic” Bra’tac. He joins the Goa’uld Klorel’s attack ship for the campaign to destroy Earth, in the hopes of doing whatever he can to stop the evil slave-masters he has been serving his whole life. But then he discovers that SG-1 is on board the ship and has been captured, and uses his inside position to spring them from a prison cell. Together they destroy Apophis and Klorel’s twin motherships, escaping in a pair of Death Gliders just as the ships erupt in a fireball.
Aside from this being an awesome episode in its own right, Bra’tac makes it all the better (and more personal) because, after more than 100 years of enslavement, he breaks with his oppressors. Following Teal’c’s lead of a year earlier, Bra’tac steps up to the Goa’uld and calls him a parasite. Bra’tac is officially a part of the Jaffa resistance, and he will never be the same. He also does this with his mind settled that he is not going to survive the mission. But, as Jack says: “That’s a bad plan.”
Season Three, Episode 20
After Apophis attacks Chulak and deals the Jaffa Resistance a devastating blow, Bra’tac loses his star pupil, Moac. He falls into something of a stoic depression, and tells Teal’c that his time of fighting the Goa’uld may be coming to an end. Bra’tac is very old, and is now contemplating the end of his days. But after helping SG-1 locate the mythical planet Kheb and the Harcesis child, he speaks with an ascended being inside a Buddhist-like temple and decides that his journey is not over just yet.
“Material Instinct” is a quiet, personal episode for Bra’tac. Here he reaches perhaps his lowest point in the series, but also rises to the occasion to help the team and to rediscover his commitment to fighting for the freedom of all Jaffa.
Season Seven, Episode 22
Once again to aid SG-1, Bra’tac hires a cargo ship and its pilot, a sympathetic Jaffa named Ronan. The team needs to get to Proclarush Taonas, a long-abandoned Ancient base on a planet that is falling into a volcanic collapse. The mission is a success, with the team finding an Ancient power source — and the location of “Terra Atlantus,” another Ancient outpost hidden on Earth. But when the team is ready to transport back to the ship, Ronan betrays Bra’tac. He stabs him in the gut with a knife, expecting to kill his larval symbiote to make him die slowly.
What he doesn’t know is that Bra’tac is on the drug tretonin, having recently lost his symbiote. He survives the attack, and rallies back to take out Ronan in hand-to-hand combat. He rescues the team from the planet’s surface, and they race home to stop Anubis’s attack.
Season Six, Episode 9
After the Goa’uld find a secret Tok’ra base, refugees from the attack are relocated to Earth’s Alpha Site — which is also serving as a temporary home to the rebel Jaffa, under Bra’tac’s leadership. Though they share a common enemy there is a lot of bad blood between the Tok’ra and the Jaffa, and Bra’tac and Jacob (the first time they appear together in an episode) have a hard time keeping their proud people in check. Things go from bad to worse when an invisible assassin starts picking them off, finally attacking Bra’tac himself and dragging him into the forest. He is presumed dead and is even mourned by Teal’c, and only shows up at the episode’s end to defeat the ashrak.
Bra’tac knows how to lead and to inspire. The episode ends with his stirring words: “This single blade did what we could not. It has brought us together. This blade has spilled the blood of Jaffa, of the Tok’ra, and of the Tau’ri. By the hand of our common enemy, it has made us brothers. Together, we have ensured it will never spill our blood again.”
Season Five, Episode 2
Teal’c has been brainwashed by Apophis, made to be his loyal servant once again. After SG-1 rescues their friend and attempts to deprogram him, it’s up to Bra’tac to see if they have succeeded. With a penetrating look into his young friend’s eyes, Bra’tac tells them: “He is deceiving you.” Bra’tac suggests the Rite of M’al Sharran, a practice by which Teal’c will be brought to the edge of death and forced to see the path he has walked.
In this episode we not only see the wisdom and devotion of Bra’tac in the present day, but also the friend and the leader he has been in the past. Yet, at the same time, his soul has been haunted by the things he has been commanded to do. In Teal’c’s flashbacks we see a lot of Bra’tac as the First Prime of Apophis, including the day when Teal’c was elevated to First Prime. The old man sternly warns Teal’c that he will have to do awful things for the Goa’uld — but that “his will can be made to bend … but not always. I have done deeds for which I cannot forgive even myself. As will you. Men such as you and I have only the comfort of those times we make a difference.
“Make a difference.”
NEXT WEEK ON THE FIVE: Sweet Alien Ships. Blog about your five favorite ship designs next Friday, and trackback to our post!