Morpheus

Summary | Production | Fan Reviews

SG-1 investigates a problem off-world and soon finds that they have become victims themselves: they cannot stay awake. Meanwhile, Vala Mal Doran undergoes an evaluation on Earth, hoping to join SG-1.

RATINGS SCORECARD
OUR RATING -
FAN RATING - 7.71 
NIELSEN - 1.6 
EPISODE #1002
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 07.21.06
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 09.24.07
DVD DISC: Season 10, Disc 1
WRITTEN BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
DIRECTED BY: Andy Mikita
GUEST STARS:

Robert Picardo (Richard Woolsey), Ben Ratner (Dr. Hutchison), Robin Mossley (Dr. Reimer), Patrick Gilmore (Bernie Ackerman), Toby Berner (Grimsby), Chris Bradford (Medical Technician)

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Colonel Cameron Mitchell, Colonel Samantha Carter and Vala Mal Doran are waiting as Teal’c gates back from off-world. In eight days, six more worlds have gone Ori. Two Jaffa planets resisted, but were overwhelmed in hours. According to reports, a young woman with extraordinary powers led the invasion.

As they head from the Gate Room discussing the possibility that the Ancient super-weapon in Antarctica is deterring the Ori from attacking Earth, Dr. Daniel Jackson runs to them. He announces that he’s found the gate address for one of the planets where Arthur searched for the Sangraal.

Briefing General Hank Landry, Vala and the others, Jackson explains how connecting Welsh and Ancient led him to search Merlin’s library for Sir Gawain information. There he discovered a depiction of his sword with a gate address engraved on it. Carter reports that attempts to dial out to the Ori galaxy from the Supergate have failed. Teal’c adds that there is a mothership watching for more Ori vessels. Landry orders SG-1 to head out, but he tells Vala she must remain at the S.G.C..

Later, Jackson compares Vala to Teal’c when he asks Landry to take a chance and allow Vala to accompany SG-1. Landry agrees, with the proviso that Jackson keep Vala in line and that she undergo a psych evaluation.

SG-1 finds Vagonbrei deserted, minus many skeletons. Most of the villagers seem to have died in their beds. S.G.C. personnel members Reimer, Ackerman and Grimsby join as medical support.

In the town hall records, Jackson finds mention of a cave overlooking the village that was home to Morgan Le Fay — in Earth legend, a sorceress, half sister of Arthur, and adversary of Merlin. Teal’c suggests that this Morgan may have been ascended, like Merlin. Recognizing the danger his weapon posed to any ascended being, she may have stolen it.

SG-1 and Ackerman search for the cave. Teal’c points out there are no birds, in fact no animals anywhere.

Landry visits Vala, diligently studying. He encourages her to be herself. When she does meet with Dr. Hutchison, she tells him she’s a candidate for “acculturation difficulties,” but that she has “adopted an abstract attitude,” allowing for “cathartic actualization.”

Ackerman naps while SG-1 searches the cave. Finding nothing, they return to the village.

Dr. Hutchison attempts an inkblot test, but abandons the effort in irritation because of Vala’s obviously studied and pre-planned responses.

Ackerman can’t be found when the teams decide to call it a day. Mitchell locates him in a chair, seemingly asleep. They cannot wake him. Dr. Reimer reveals that their white cell count is elevated, as are their serotonin levels. They have all been infected with something; they must stay awake or they may never wake up again.

Lam sends stimulants and medical equipment. Landry offers a hazmat team, which Mitchell declines until they know more.

Carter realizes that they have a strong urge to sleep. Reimer reports that Ackerman is producing excess melatonin, which is keeping him asleep. Jackson finds mention of a sleeping sickness that hit the town — the result of a curse by Morgan le Fay, angered because they revealed her whereabouts to Arthur. He suggests rechecking the cave.

As they search the cave again, Carter has Mitchell take soil samples in case this is where Ackerman picked up the infection. An energy spike reveals the entryway to a larger cave / tunnel complex. Mitchell and Teal’c head in while Carter takes the samples back.

Vala is preparing for her next round with Hutchison when Richard Woolsey pays her a visit. He suggests he and his organization can ensure her success if she becomes a spy for the I.O.A.

Reimer finds a dormant parasite which live tissue stimulates — the microbiological explanation of Morgan’s curse. Grimsby goes missing.

Deep in the cave, Mitchell and Teal’c pause. They hear an animal. Surmising it’s immune, they set out to trap it.

Grimsby has fallen asleep and Ackerman has died. Carter and Reimer perform an autopsy, which reveals an enlarged version of the parasite.

Vala has a disastrous encounter with a lie detector. Woolsey is waiting in her quarters for her answer. In her last encounter with Hutchison, she admits she has recently been risking her life for something other than herself — due to someone finally believing in her.

As Carter tells Jackson how the parasite provokes a lethal aneurysm, Reimer, loaded up on stimulants, has a heart attack. They try unsuccessfully to revive him. Jackson and Carter fight to keep each other awake even as Teal’c captures the creature, a large lizard. Mitchell, exhausted tells Teal’c to get the animal back to Carter for the cure.

Carter and Jackson are about to sleep when Landry’s hazmat team arrives. Teal’c reaches the surface as the new group finds the cave.

Back at the S.G.C., Jackson admits to finding a reference in the Vagonbrei archive: Atlantis. Their quest should next take them there.

Vala demands to leave, shouting insults at the Stargate control room officers, until she learns she been approved. She is stunned. As her first official act, she tells them about Woolsey. When the I.O.A. official confirms his role in her testing, Vala confronts him with claims of sexual advances. Woolsey, dismayed, follows Landry out of the room. She asks for her SG-1 patch, but Mitchell tells her she’s probationary S.G.C., not SG-1. To celebrate, she wants to take them to lunch, suggesting Jackson can front her money until she gets her share of the loot.

– S. Fetter

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • “We finally got around to spinning/breaking SG-1 last week only after the final deal had been closed (so that we knew exactly who we would be writing for, which always makes thing infinitely easier). Rob [Cooper] has staked out the big season premiere. I and/or Paul [Mullie] will be writing the second episode, formerly ‘Morpheus’ but since some are worried that fans may confuse it with ‘Orpheus’ or ‘Moebius,’ I’ve decided to change the title to: “Before I Sleeping With the Enemy at the Gates of Heaven Can Wait Until Dark Water World” (Feel free to run with it. Knock yourselves out).” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “Episode 2, ‘Morpheus,’ finds the team going off-world and getting in a mess of trouble.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at his GateWorld blog)
  • “Claudia will be in all 20 episodes and will have a major role in Season Ten. As to what her position will be at Stargate Command, check out episode #2, tentatively titled ‘Morpheus.'” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in an interview with Australia’s Sci Fi)
  • What will bring Vala into the main cast? Will the S.G.C. just randomly offer her a position on SG-1? “Oh, it’s definitely not some random offering. But the answer to this is tied to a major revelation early in Season Ten, so — you’ll have to wait and see.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at GateWorld Forum)
  • “I wrote up the four outlines over two days (Atlantis episode #2, ‘Morpheus,’ ‘Counterstrike,’ and ‘Memento Mori’), then started work on ‘Morpheus’ which will be SG-1‘s second episode. It was a lot of fun but required a heady amount of research: Arthurian lore, Gwalchmei, the different stages of sleep, how the brain functions during sleep, and, of course, psychiatric evaluations.

    With Vala on board for all of Season Ten, we have to ask ourselves: Why would she want to join Stargate Command? Why would we want her to join Stargate Command? And, of course, do we feel that we can trust her? All of these questions come up in this episode and are answered, temporarily at least.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at his GateWorld blog)

  • “Two of the things that stand out about ‘Morpheus’ for me are: 1) the great Carter/Daniel sequence late in the episode and, 2) Teal’c getting the opportunity to step up in a non-Jaffa story. As I mentioned in a previous post (somewhere), this is the episode where we’re faced with the prospect of Vala’s continued involvement in the Stargate Program and must ask ourselves some hard questions. … This is the episode where those in charge of the S.G.C. … weigh in on Vala’s worth, character, and past actions. Who knows what the future holds?” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at his GateWorld blog)
  • “One of the things I like most about working on this show is that we’re able to tell a variety of stories. I mean, there’s ‘Morpheus,’ which is the first episode that Paul Mullie and I wrote for SG-1 this season. It’s an off-world, weird, kind of quiet mystery juxtaposed with this comedic B-story involving the Vala character. I’m so happy with how it turned out.

    “… I watched Farscape and loved Claudia Black and Ben Browder in it. Claudia is such a gifted actress, but I’d never really seen her do comedy. Her character always tended to be serious in Farscape, and when she guest-starred on Stargate in ‘Prometheus Unbound,’ as well as in the ninth season episodes last year, it was much the same. However, in ‘Morpheus’ she has excellent comedic timing. Claudia has the rhythm down and is wonderful opposite a psychiatrist played by Ben Ratner, who also does a great job in the episode. The back and forth banter between them is quite funny.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in an interview with TV Zone magazine (#203))

  • “The original idea for this story was actually ship-based. I pitched out an episode in which the Odyssey, on its way back to Earth following an off-world op, encounters a seemingly derelict ship floating in space. SG-1 and some members of the Odyssey team investigate and discover the crew long-dead. As they search through the mystery ship’s database, they fall victim to the ‘sleeping sickness.’ One by one, they drift off until, eventually, only SG-1 remains to put together the pieces before it’s too late. The location was changed to a planet and we ended up using our standing village set in the VFX stage (the sight of such memorable sequences as the interior hive ships, the Atlantis cafeteria balcony, and the big Sheppard/Zelenka space jump in SGA‘s ‘Adrift’), shot to creepy effect by the fabulous Andy Mikita.

    “I loved a lot about this episode: Teal’c saving the day, Daniel and Sam slowly succumbing late in the episode, the slow-mo funeral-like montage and, of course, the B-story which focuses on Vala’s attempts to cheat her way through a psych evaluation. Claudia Black and Ben Ratner (who, coincidentally, I had drinks with the other night, as he’s in town promoting his new movie, Sisters and Brothers) were a joy to watch. Their comic timing was impeccable — quick, restrained, and hilarious.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)

  • “On the one hand we have SG-1, off-world, battling the effects of a mysterious plague that threatens to lull them into an endless slumber; on the other hand, back at the S.G.C., we’ve got Vala undergoing a psych eval – with predictable results. As stand-alone adventures go, this was one of my favorites (the slow-mo funeral-like procession of our team being encased and carried off by hazmat-suited personnel still gives me goosebumps), while Vala’s attempts to ‘beat the system’ made for some incredibly funny moments.” (Writer / producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)