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: The Best of Maybourne
The great thing about Colonel Harry Maybourne is that not only do you love to hate him, but you also hate to love him! This supporting character started out as an underhanded thorn in SG-1’s side, then became a genuine threat to Stargate Command and its mission — and finally came to the team’s aid on many occasions, redeeming himself and becoming a sympathetic figure. Whether he’s being a thorn in the side or just a pain in the ass, actor Tom McBeath’s Maybourne was always one of our favorite characters. Here are our five favorite appearances.
Thanks to Shawn for suggesting this week’s topic.
This late Season Three episode was the moment where we learned just how deep Maybourne’s ties to the seedy underbelly of the N.I.D. went. SG-1 knew that rogue agents had used the Stargate to steal technology from our allies on other planets (“Touchstone”), and thought they had shut down their operation — until both the Asgard and the Tollan came to the S.G.C. with proof to the contrary. So Jack O’Neill faked a defection and got himself recruited by Maybourne, who not only knew about the illegal and immoral operation … he was in charge of it. His mission instructions? “This isn’t the S.G.C., so do what you have to do.”
Too trusting of Jack and eager to get him on their side, Maybourne assigned him to a rogue team operating off-world. This allowed Jack to expose the operation and arrest the agents. Harry himself eluded capture, but it was the end of his military career.
Before he was exposed, though, Maybourne was a head official at the N.I.D. — an intelligence division with both military and civilian components. He was always eager to get his hands on alien technology or a down-and-out Jaffa to dissect (“Bane”). But when Samantha Carter phoned to inform him that the S.G.C. had been compromised by an alien incursion, he didn’t believe her. Instead he called the alien General Hammond, and brought out a couple of the aliens to take her into custody. Only when Sam shot one and removed its mimetic technology did he believe her.
Best line: “Maybourne, you are an idiot every day of the week. Why couldn’t you have just taken one day off!?”
But, to be fair, it did lead to one of Harry’s finest hours. As Sam returned to the base to expose the aliens, Maybourne led a military rescue team to retake the S.G.C. Good on ya.
Long after Harry had gone rogue, lost his position, been arrested then freed, helped out the team, and disappeared into the underground to avoid prosecution, he called on Jack O’Neill for one last — BIG — favor. He had found an ancient tablet describing an alien paradise, and decided that he wanted to retire there (instead of worrying about being caught and executed for treason … go figure). He convinced SG-1 to take him to the planet, only to discover that everyone there was long dead. (But there is still good fishing for anyone with a grenade.)
Trapped alone with Jack, Maybourne then began to suffer from the same drug-induced extreme paranoia that led to the destruction of the colony and the end of paradise. Jack saved his life (by nearly shooting him dead), and let the Tok’ra find him a nice little planet on which to retire. After everything they had been through, all the times they had butted heads, Jack had grudging respect for the man and wanted to help give him a happy ending.
After “Watergate” Maybourne was taken into custody, tried for treason and stuck in a cell with one way out: in a pine wood box. But when remnants of those in charge of the rogue N.I.D. operation blackmailed General Hammond into retirement, Jack O’Neill found his old “friend” another way out. He got the President to allow him to take Maybourne on a special assignment, and Harry used his knowledge of the inner workings of the rogue program and its people to figure out who was involved. Suddenly the hero of SG-1 and the villainous traitor were working side-by-side, toward a common goal.
It was the first of many times they would work together, since Harry slipped away at the end of the mission and eluded recapture. In addition to liking Jack, the former Colonel was also inclined to turn against his shadowy former employers after they had left him to rot.
Maybourne’s last episode is one in which he gets to be not only king, but something of a real hero. SG-1 visits the planet where Harry retired, with help from the Tok’ra. There they find that he’s gotten himself appointed leader by the local villagers, who wait on him hand and foot and provide him with everything he needs. Harry is King Arkhan the First — and is in his own little paradise, indeed.
After a thwarted Goa’uld attack on the planet, Harry feels bad about how he has manipulated those people he has come to regard as his new friends and family. He apologizes to them, but the people point out that it was him who brought the village medicines, an irrigation system, a new legal code, and so much more. He may not be the fulfillment of their prophecy, but he really is a good and wise leader.
And “it’s good to be king.” After all the threats and dirty dealings, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
NEXT WEEK ON THE FIVE: Space Battles! Blog about your top picks next Friday, and trackback to our post!