The Tok’ra, Part 2

Summary | Analysis | Notes | Characters | Questions

While SG-1 tries to form an alliance with the Tok'ra, a spy betrays the rebels to the Goa'uld. Jacob Carter finds that the Tok'ra may be his only hope of survival.

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EPISODE #212
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 10.09.98
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 01.10.00
DVD DISC: Season 2, Disc 3
WRITTEN BY: Jonathan Glassner
DIRECTED BY: Brad Turner
GUEST STARS:

Carmen Argenziano (Jacob Carter), JR Bourne (Martouf), Sarah Douglas (Garshaw), Winston Rekert (Cordesh), Steve Makaj (Colonel Makepeace), Joy Coghill (Selmak/Saroosh), Laara Sadiq (Technician Davis), Tosca Baggoo (Tok’ra Council Woman), Roger Haskett (Doctor), Stephen Tibbetts (Guard)

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SG-1 and SG-3 remain prisoners of the Tok’ra, who have refused an alliance and now hold the teams because of the security risk they pose. Once the Tok’ra move on to a new planet, the teams may be released.

But when Captain Carter learns that the Goa’uld / Tok’ra symbiote has the ability to cure cancer, she comes up with a way out — and a way to save her ailing father’s life. Garshaw, leader of the Tok’ra, allows her and O’Neill to return to Earth. They visit Sam’s father, Jacob Carter, who lies in a hospital bed dying of cancer. If he is willing to be blended with the Tok’ra Selmak — whose host is about to die — his life may be saved, and an alliance between the Tok’ra and Earth may be possible.

Jacob is pleased to finally be told about what his daughter does for a living. She isn’t a “satellite geek,” but is off exploring worlds that NASA astronauts will never dream of. He agrees to go with them to the Tok’ra base, believing that any price he has to pay is better than dying of cancer.

O’Neill, Carter and her father return through the Stargate, and find that the SG teams are no longer prisoners. The Tok’ra are evacuating, having learned from their operatives that the Goa’uld have been alerted to their location, and are on their way. The System Lords will arrive in force in a day — or perhaps, a few hours.

While SG-1 and SG-3 help with the evacuation of their hopeful allies, Carter and Martouf introduce Jacob to Selmak, whose human host, Saroosh, is soon to die of old age. (Tok’ra do not use a Goa’uld sarcophagus, because they believe it robs one of his or her soul.) Without a new host, Selmak will die as well. She and Jacob begin to get to know one another’s personalities and senses of humor, and finally agree to the blending.

Colonel O’Neill has a guess as to how the Tok’ra’s hidden location was discovered. He saw one of the Goa’uld leaders, Cordesh, with a long-range communications device. He questions Garshaw about it, and is told that the Tok’ra do not use them at all. Infuriated, Garshaw moves to find Cordesh.

And find him she does. He is standing in a corridor, in front of a crystal tunnel that is collapsing. Just as the Tok’ra grow underground tunnels when they arrive on a planet, so also do they collapse the tunnels to mask their trails when they leave. Cordesh tells them that he is not who he appears to be, and that he could not stop his symbiote from betraying the Tok’ra. He allows himself to be crushed by the collapsing tunnel, and is killed.

Later, O’Neill sees a young Tok’ra woman carrying a box just like the one where Cordesh stored his communications device. He grabs her, and shows it to Garshaw. Cordesh, in fact, had abandoned his host and entered another to make his escape. Garshaw orders the Tok’ra to try and remove him from the girl without harming her, then to leave Cordesh in one of the vanishing tunnels.

Selmak leaps from Saroosh into Jacob, through his mouth. Martouf and Sam must wait to see if the blending is still possible at all. Selmak is weak, and Jacob’s cancer may be too far gone for her to heal. As the Goa’uld attack begins, the last of the Tok’ra leave through the Stargate — but Jacob must remain stationery, or he will surely die.

O’Neill and Garshaw agree to allow Martouf and Sam to stay behind with him, as Martouf promises that they will not let themselves be taken captive by the Goa’uld. If Jacob does not recover — or if he does not recover in time — they will allow the last remaining caverns to collapse on them.

The rest of SG-1 escort Garshaw to the Stargate, and barely escape to Earth as Goa’uld death gliders fire upon them. Jacob recovers, and his blending is a success. Carter, Martouf and Jacob escape through the Stargate.

Jacob volunteers to be the liaison between the Tok’ra and Earth, having learned from Selmak that the Tok’ra are good people. Martouf, Jacob and Garshaw must leave immediately, though: Cordesh may have betrayed their new homeworld to the Goa’uld, so they must quickly move the Tok’ra to yet another planet.

ANALYSIS

  • The Stargate goes mostly to places where the environment supports human life. The S.G.C. has concluded that the transit system was therefore probably built specifically to transport humans — or a race that is close to humans in physiology.
  • When Carter and O’Neill return to the underground Tok’ra base with Jacob, the transport rings send up a pair of crates then return with the three humans — demonstrating that the rings are capable of transporting both directions at the same time. This was first shown in “Stargate” the Movie, when the head of Ra’s First Prime was sent up to the ship, along with a bomb — while Daniel and Sha’re were simultaneously transported to the surface.
  • The Goa’uld long-range visual communications device is made in a variety of sizes. The Tok’ra do not use them at all, though, because the system is not secure.
  • Cordesh’s host was forced to betray the Tok’ra against his will, and committed suicide. It is most likely that Cordesh (the Goa’uld symbiote) was a spy, and not a Tok’ra who eventually turned against them. The host, though, was probably a true Tok’ra recruit who ended up receiving a bad symbiote. Cordesh may have been in control the entire time, never letting his host speak to other Tok’ra (though occasionally impersonating him).
  • Earth has formed an alliance with the Tok’ra, at least in part, because humans have something to offer them: men and women dying of terminal illnesses who are willing to serve as hosts. It may take some doing to establish a program where these people can be found, yet without creating a major breach in S.G.C. security.
  • It seems logical to conclude that two symbiotes cannot occupy the same human body at the same time. Then what happened to the symbiote of the woman Cordesh possessed? Did he enter her and kill her symbiote? Or do the Tok’ra have people living among them who are not blended with a symbiote? This latter possibility is most unlikely — if there were anyone amongst the Tok’ra without a symbiote, they would certainly volunteer to be host to Selmak.
  • When Martouf, Carter and Jacob used the transport rings to exit the tunnels for the last time, the rings destroyed themselves rather than disappearing back into the ground.
  • The S.G.C. has given the Tok’ra a box so that they may contact Earth when they need to. If they send the box through the Stargate to Earth, it will impact on the iris and leave a recognizable signature. They will know that the Tok’ra wish to speak with them, and open the iris. This is the same thing given to the Cimmerians (“Thor’s Hammer”), which they recently used (“Thor’s Chariot”).

NOTES

  • The Goa’uld / Tok’ra symbiote has the ability to cure many human illnesses, including cancer. But it certainly has its limitations: it cannot cure a disease if it is too far progressed.
  • SG-1 goes through the Stargate an average of once or twice each week. (With 22 episodes in a year, this means that we see about one third of their missions.)
  • A Tok’ra (and a Goa’uld) cannot blend with a new host, cure his or her diseases and then leave again. To do so would likely kill both symbiote and host. Blending is intended to be a permanent thing.
  • Tok’ra do not enter their hosts through the back of the neck, as Goa’uld parasites do. It leaves a scar that many find unsettling. Instead, they enter through the mouth (as Jolinar of Malkshur entered Captain Carter in “In the Line of Duty”). The Goa’uld do not do it this way because they do not wish to remember the horror on their host’s face every time they look into a mirror.
  • “Chel’nat” is a Jaffa term meaning “very cool.”

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

  • Jacob CarterJacob Carter – Jacob has had a big day: he’s been cured of his cancer, blended with the Tok’ra Selmak, and even learned what his daughter does for a living. Selmak is, for all intents and purposes, his new soul mate — they are two souls sharing the same body. Selmak is the oldest and (according to her) the wisest of the Tok’ra, and has a great sense of humor.

    It will certainly take Jacob a while to adjust to this new way of living, and this new life partner, but it seems that it will be for the best.

  • Samantha CarterSamantha Carter – Sam’s father has been saved from terminal cancer, and has been blended with the Tok’ra Selmak. Sam and Jacob’s relationship is infinitely better, and the two now share something very profound in common: they have both been blended with a Tok’ra.
  • MartoufMartouf – This young Tok’ra continues to demonstrate his loyalty to the Tok’ra as a movement, and to his fellow Tok’ra. He helped Selmak and Jacob during their meeting and blending, and stayed with them at the risk of his own life to make sure that they survived the blending and escaped the Goa’uld attack.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

  • How did Carter and O’Neill locate and activate the Tok’ra transport rings when they returned with Jacob?
  • Where will the Tok’ra move to?
  • Was Cordesh the only Goa’uld spy amidst the Tok’ra, or are there others?
  • How did Cordesh infiltrate the Tok’ra? Was he once loyal to them, or did he simply convince them that he was?
  • Will other humans with terminal illnesses be found who are willing to be Tok’ra hosts?
  • What was done with Saroosh’s body after she died?
  • Was Cordesh successfully removed from the young woman? Did she survive?
  • Which Goa’uld(s) were attacking the Tok’ra?