Show and Tell

Summary | Analysis | Notes | Characters | Questions | Production

A young boy arrives through the Stargate, and warns of plot by invisible aliens to kill all of the human race in order to rob the Goa'uld of potential hosts.

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EPISODE #220
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 02.26.99
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 05.01.00
DVD DISC: Season 2, Disc 5
WRITTEN BY: Jonathan Glassner
DIRECTED BY: Peter DeLuise
GUEST STARS:

Carmen Argenziano (Jacob Carter), Jeff Gulka (Charlie), Teryl Rothery (Janet Fraiser), Daniel Bacon (Technician)

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An unexpected visitor arrives at the S.G.C., and Carter and the technician cannot keep the iris closed. A hooded figure walks through the Stargate, and stands at the edge of the ramp with a squadron of officers pointing guns at him. He removes his hood — and is just a young boy.

Dr. Janet Fraiser examines the boy, and can find no hidden bomb, deadly chemicals or other hazardous substances. The boy claims to be from the planet Retalia, where a race called the Re’tu are planning an attack on Earth. The boy — who calls himself Charlie, after Colonel Jack O’Neill’s deceased son — has been sent to warn them.

The Goa’uld attacked the Re’tu and wiped most of them out, because they considered the aliens to be a potential threat. In response, a rebel group of Re’tu are on a mission to wipe out all possible hosts for the Goa’uld — including humans. They believe the Goa’uld are too powerful to attack directly, so they intend to weaken them through a war of attrition.

Jack finds an instant bond with the young boy, who is sick and near death. The Re’tu are not humanoid, and created Charlie as best as they could. Several of his major organs are about to fail, and he will die.

Charlie tells them that his “mother” — a Re’tu sent by the central authority, and not affiliated with the rebels — has been on Earth for several weeks, observing them. She watched as General Hammond and other leaders manipulated the Salish Indians (“Spirits”), and decided that O’Neill was the only honorable one among their leaders. She has instructed Charlie to speak only with him.

While it seems for a time that Charlie is imagining his invisible friend, “Mother” soon makes it clear that she is very real. A blast fires out, destroying a computer monitor. Indeed, all Re’tu exist 180 degrees out of phase with humans. They are completely invisible and silent, until they fire their weapon.

Jacob Carter and another Tok’ra arrive, and are alarmed at the news that a Re’tu is in the S.G.C. They retrieve special weapons they have designed — a T.E.R., capable of illuminating and terminating a Re’tu. Mother provides the address for the planet where the rebels are staging their attack, and SG-1 goes there with the Tok’ra and other soldiers.

Jacob tells them that the Re’tu operate in small, 5-man suicide units. They infiltrate, spread out and try to do as much damage as possible. Each one possesses an explosive that is equivalent to a small nuclear device.

On the planet, the group finds not five or 10 Re’tu, as they had expected. Instead, a swarm of hundreds of Re’tu prepare to attack Earth. The team returns to Earth with the news, and it is quickly discovered that one of the attack units followed them back.

The Tok’ra who accompanied Jacob is shot dead by the Re’tu rebel, whom Teal’c then terminates. The teams begin a sweep of the base, sealing off sections as they go to try and corral the four remaining rebels. They are successful in destroying all four, but in the process Jacob is injured, two airmen are killed, and Mother is destroyed by one of the rebels.

She has accomplished her mission, though — Earth has been warned, and saved from the first wave of the invasion. Rather than let him die, SG-1 sends Charlie back with Jacob, so that the Tok’ra may give him a symbiote to heal his body.

But the Re’tu will continue to come, Jacob warns. They will not give up.

ANALYSIS

  • Standard mission protocol apparently calls for SG teams to report in at specified times when off-world. A wormhole activation is automatically designated as “unauthorized incoming traveler” when a report or return trip is not scheduled.
  • Carter not only checked Charlie for concealed weapons when he arrived, but was able to sense whether or not he was infected by a Goa’uld parasite, and whether or not he had naquadah in his system. She has the ability to sense these things because she was briefly joined with the Tok’ra Jolinar of Malkshur (“In the Line of Duty”).
  • Charlie was checked by Dr. Fraiser for at least two possible threats: a naquadah bomb or biohazardous chemicals in his body. The Goa’uld have used children to try and destroy Earth and the Stargate before: Nirrti planted a naquadah bomb inside Cassandra (“Singularity”), and Apophis hid biohazardous chemicals inside Rya’c’s teeth (“Family”).
  • “Mother” had been watching O’Neill and the S.G.C. for weeks before Charlie’s arrival. She followed SG-1 back from a mission, and observed them until they returned to Earth with Tonane, the leader of the Salish Indians on the Spirit’s planet (“Spirits”).
  • How did the Re’tu create a human child? Assuming human DNA was needed, from where did they acquire it? If “Mother” had been at the S.G.C. long enough — and found a way to get a sample back to her people — it could have presumably come from O’Neill himself (she did come to admire him), or someone else on the base.
  • Goa’uld become extremely agitated when in the presence of a Re’tu. Teal’c’s larval Goa’uld made him very ill when he entered the room where Mother was, and Jacob’s Tok’ra symbiote caused him great pain.
  • The Re’tu are 180 degrees out of phase with everything else, so that their light and sound waves are virtually undetectable. The Re’tu may interact with objects in our phase, though: Mother operated the Stargate’s iris, and a shot fired from the Re’tu weapon enters our phase and makes the Re’tu momentarily visible.
  • Carter and Jackson used a Tollan device to signal the Tok’ra. The device was given to the S.G.C. by Martouf (“Serpent’s Song”).
  • Rebel Re’tu terrorists follow a standard M.O.: they infiltrate a target in small suicide groups of five members. Then they split up, and try to do as much damage as possible. Each Re’tu rebel carries at least one explosive device equivalent to a small nuclear bomb.

NOTES

  • The S.G.C. has added at least two new Stargate teams sometime in the last several months (since SG-10, 11 and 12 were added in “Prisoners”), making a total of no fewer than 14. SG-14 is one of the teams mentioned to be offworld when Charlie arrives.
  • Palm scanners have been installed in the S.G.C. computer system, so that other Re’tu cannot open the iris as Mother did.
  • The Goa’uld have developed the transphase eradication rod (T.E.R.), which is capable of detecting the unseen Re’tu emanations to which Goa’uld are sensitive. It can also fire a shot that will kill a Re’tu. The Tok’ra possess a small number of these, and have given at least two to the S.G.C. Jacob has promised more when they become available.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

  • Jack O'NeillJack O’Neill – Jack has again established a close relationship with a child, just as he did with Cassandra (“Singularity”). The boy probably reminded him of Charlie, O’Neill’s son who died of an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound a few years ago (“Stargate” the Movie). Jack could not bear to watch the innocent young boy die. The boy trusted him implicitly from the beginning, and thrust himself into Jack’s care, even taking the name “Charlie” for himself.
  • Jacob CarterJacob Carter – Jacob Carter seems to be adjusting to his new life as a Tok’ra well (“The Tok’ra, Part 2”). He has no doubt learned much about the universe from Selmak, his symbiote.

    Jacob still wears his wedding ring. It can be seen clearly as he takes Charlie’s hand to leave through the Stargate.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

  • On what planet did Mother find SG-1 and follow them back to Earth?
  • How can Re’tu see humans if humans are 180 degrees out of phase with them?
  • Are all Re’tu born with cannons on their arms, or is it a military attachment?
  • Why didn’t Charlie tell anyone that there were Re’tu rebels in the room before Mother was killed?
  • Why did Mother wait until after the rebel Re’tu had fired before she shot him? Was she trying to negotiate with the rebels, or perhaps being held at gunpoint?
  • Will Charlie’s new symbiote be able to save his life?
  • When and how will the Re’tu rebels attempt another attack on Earth?
  • Are the Goa’uld still actively at war with the Re’tu?
  • Can peaceful relations be established between Earth and the Re’tu central authority?

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • “I played the uncredited role of a machine gun guard. If you’ve seen the episode you’ll remember the scene in which security has been breached and all these guards come running into the gate room to confront this ‘enemy’ who’s come through the Stargate. Here are all these strong, confident, heterosexual men pointing their guns at this little humanoid who, when he pulls back his hood, ends up being a tiny child. I thought, ‘Someone’s got to react to this and it may as well be me.’ So I come out from behind the shield of my 25mm cannon and sort of give him a lingering look. Every once in a while I like to make a cameo appearance. It’s almost like playing Where’s Waldo but with Peter DeLuise.”

    “‘Show and Tell’ was particularly difficult because SG-1 is up against an invisible foe. The only way you could see it was to excite its molecules by using your trans-phase eradication rod, otherwise known as the T.E.R. The T.E.R. was a new weapon introduced in this story to combat the Re’tu, which are these giant bugs that resemble lobsters. The first blast from the weapon lights up the creature or excites its molecules so you can see it, and then the second part of the gun, the eradicator, allows you to destroy it.

    “On this show they’re serious about making things look tactically sound. They have a technical advisor whose only job it is to say, ‘This is how you would tactically approach this situation.’ Well, here’s where we had a problem. SG-1 is moving down hallways trying to fight an adversary that has invisibility on its side. To my knowledge, there’s no tactic that’s been developed to fight an enemy you can’t see. So Colonel O’Neill and his team have to maneuver the best they can and I think they do just fine.” (Director Peter DeLuise, in an interview with SciFiAndTvTalk’s Steve Eramo)