Visit GateWorld every Friday this summer 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: Not-So System Lords
We know all the big names of the powerful Goa’uld System Lords from ten years of Stargate SG-1: Apophis, Baal, Anubis, Nirrti, Yu, Heru’ur … but what about the interesting characters who never managed to climb to the top of the Goa’uld food chain? There are some colorful and intimidating minor Goa’uld, some of whom only appeared once. This week on the Five we’re looking at our five favorite.
(Note: We’re considering a few recurring characters like Osiris and Sokar to be “major” enough villains and powerful enough Goa’uld in their own right that they don’t qualify as “minor Goa’uld,” even though they weren’t System Lords and, in some cases, served other Goa’uld.)
Thanks to Mike for suggesting this week’s topic!
First Appeared: “The Serpent’s Venom”
“I am Terok.” With those words Teal’c, a prisoner of the System Lord Heru’ur, met the man who would torment him without mercy. Terok was a famous Goa’uld torturer, who subjected Teal’c to brutal acts and captured it all on camera. His one goal? To break the rebel Jaffa, to make the sholvah confess his “sins” and beg for forgiveness. But Teal’c would not, and took endless beatings and pain stick stabbings without uttering a word. Terok would receive no satisfaction from this victim, and destroyed the camera in his fury.
Knowing that his master would revive Teal’c in a sarcophagus before handing him over to Apophis, Terok moved to kill him just one time — a little satisfaction after his failure. But Teal’c had convinced the young Jaffa Rak’nor to join his cause, and Terok instead found himself at the other end of the pain stick.
First Appeared: “Beachhead”
Famed for his gluttony, the portly Goa’uld master scientist Nerus made himself first an ally, then a thorn in the side of Stargate Command and General Landry in particular. He offered to help Earth defend against an Ori incursion, when in fact his advice only helped the Ori to create a singularity and the first Supergate for bringing their ships into our galaxy (subsequently destroyed by Vala Mal Doran). He had become a servant of the Ori, believing they would help him ascend as a reward. While SG-1 risked their lives, Nerus feasted on the best cuisine Earth has to offer. When his duplicity was discovered, he was deprived of his lavish trimmings and stuck in prison in a deep, dark hole.
Nerus was later returned to his master Baal when it served Landry’s agenda, a parting gift of cupcakes laced with tiny transmitters to help SG-1 find Baal. The System Lord would turn a staff weapon on Nerus, and whether or not he pulled the trigger remains unknown.
First Appeared: “Jolinar’s Memories”
The warden of Sokar’s prison moon Ne’tu is the perfect example of what Goa’uld who don’t get to be powerful System Lords want out of life: to be master of their own little kingdom. Bynarr was master of the underworld where Sokar sent his enemies, to be tormented by the hellish conditions. But, nasty as he was, Bynarr was also an old softy. He fell in love (-ish) with the beautiful Jolinar, a Tok’ra prisoner, and haplessly let her escape. In exchange for his seven minutes in heaven, Sokar had Bynarr’s eye plucked out.
When SG-1 infiltrated the prison and Bynarr learned that Sam Carter once carried Jolinar, he decided to kill her to exact some small measure of revenge. But his new right-hand man would have nothing of it, and shot and killed his master. Bynarr died as he had lived — a Goa’uld seeking power, but ultimately betrayed by those close to him. And sweaty. He died sweaty.
First Appeared: “Crossroads”
Now Tanith was the quintessential Goa’uld underling, played by Peter Wingfield. A very young Goa’uld, he fooled the Jaffa priestess who had carried him as a young primtah into believing he wanted to defect to the Tok’ra. Instead he became a spy for Apophis, after taking a naive host and murdering Shau’nac. The Tok’ra, of course, were wise to him all along, and played him like a fiddle — feeding him false information to relay to his master.
Tanith was so great, though, not just because he was cool, collected, and smarmy as hell, but because his deviousness was matched only by his cleverness. He escaped a Tok’ra jail cell and not only made it off a planet about to blow up, but took Teal’c himself as a prisoner. After Apophis was later defeated, Tanith wisely chose the next big bad guy to serve: Anubis. It was he who orchestrated the destruction of the technologically advanced Tollan, and who only died when Teal’c got off a lucky shot with a giant space gun.
It’s a “Jaffa revenge” thing.
First Appeared: “Pretense”
Played with sinister aplomb by Kevin Durand, Zipacna caught everyone’s attention when he served as the Goa’uld Klorel’s archon (defense attorney) in the Tollan Triad. With his fashion-comatose skirt and a headdress you’ll never be able to scrub out of your brain, Lord Zipacna argued that the Goa’uld symbiote had priority control over Skaara’s body — that, in fact, when a symbiote takes a host “nothing of the host survives.” He lost his case, just as he probably expected to all along … then led a Goa’uld attack on the planet.
Like Tanith, Zippy went on to serve Anubis, improving his wardrobe and leading a devastating attack on the Tok’ra homeworld of Revanna. Always smug and smarmy, Zipacna is our favorite minor Goa’uld … though he’s probably kill us for calling him that.
NEXT WEEK ON THE FIVE: The Best of Maybourne. Blog about your top picks next Friday, and trackback to our post!