Demons

Summary | Analysis | Notes | Characters | Questions | Production | Review

SG-1 finds a medieval Christian society terrorized by Sokar and the Unas, and is accused of being possessed by demons.

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EPISODE #308
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 08.13.99
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 01.15.01
DVD DISC: Season 3, Disc 2
WRITTEN BY: Carl Binder
DIRECTED BY: Peter DeLuise
GUEST STARS:

David McNally (Simon), Alan C. Peterson (The Canon), Laura Mennell (Mary), Richard Morwich (Unas), John R. Taylor (Elder), Christopher Judge (Voice of Unas)

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SG-1 finds a civilization unlike any they have come across yet: a medieval Christian village on an alien planet. The people are mostly likely descendants of humans taken by the Goa’uld from Earth through the Antarctic Stargate in the Middle Ages.

The villagers hide as O’Neill, Jackson, Carter, and Teal’c enter the village. They find a sick, young woman chained to a post, and try to help her. Simon, a young man from the village, quickly appears holding a cross and pleading for the girl’s life. Her name is Mary, and she has been entrusted to his care. Simon believes that SG-1 has been sent from the Devil to take her as a sacrifice.

O’Neill and the others assure Simon that they mean their village no harm, and that they aren’t demons. Simon believes them, and takes them into his home.

But the real “demon” soon arrives, stomping through the village and demanding a sacrifice. It is an Unas, a giant creature from a race that served as first hosts to the Goa’uld. The giant beast is like the one killed by O’Neill and Teal’c two years ago (“Thor’s Hammer”). At sunrise, he says, he will return to collect the five sacrifices required by Sokar — hosts.

SG-1 knows that the Unas is not a demon, and that the evil Goa’uld Sokar is not Satan. But the villagers cannot be convinced.

It is the job of the village Canon — a religious leader — to choose who will be sacrificed. He is an arrogant fellow, comfortable with his power over the people. If anyone is sick — as Mary is, stricken with nothing more than chicken pox — they are declared to be damned, and given up at the next sacrifice.

Offended by SG-1’s claims that the villagers’ beliefs about Sokar and the Unas are wrong,the Canon quickly loses patience. He declares that O’Neill, Carter, Teal’c and Jackson are damned, and must be given over to Sokar at sunrise. When they protest, the Canon demonstrates his power: his ring is Goa’uld technology, and causes a lightning bolt to strike the ground in front of them, rendering SG-1 unconscious. The power of God, the people are led to believe, is in the hand of the Canon.

SG-1 is imprisoned, and try to convince Simon to help them. Meanwhile, Teal’c is taken before the village, where he is forced to endure the Trials. The Canon offers proof that Teal’c is a demon. First, he bears a mark insensitive to pain (the golden seal of Apophis on his forehead). Then, Teal’c is chained to a rock and thrown into a lake; if he survives, it is presumed that he is a demon.

Teal’c sinks into the water as his teammates watch helplessly. He does not reappear, and is presumed dead. (Later, his body is recovered and prepared for burial by the village women.)

With the death of Teal’c, the Canon forgives SG-1 and tells them that they are free to go.But the team learns that Mary is still to undergo a ceremony that will kill her. In order to cleanse her soul before the Unas returns, Simon will drill a hole in her head.

Simon asks for their help against Sokar and the Unas. They tell him to bury the Stargate,so that the Unas can never return. He refuses, though — the people are forbidden from going near the Stargate or even looking upon it. Simon decides to perform the ceremony on Mary instead.

O’Neill orders the team to the Stargate, not wanting to further endanger his team by offering help to people who won’t listen to them. Daniel refuses to go, and instead heads for Simon’s home to try and stop him. If SG-1 leaves now, he argues, Teal’c will have died for nothing. Daniel arrives before Mary is harmed, and offers to take the two back to safety on Earth.

Meanwhile, Teal’c gives the village women a scare by sitting up in his burial chamber. His larval Goa’uld symbiote kept him alive under water; water is the symbiote’s natural environment, and it was able to provide his body with enough oxygen to survive. Before being thrown into the lake, Teal’c entered a deep state of meditation.

Finding Mary and the still-meddling SG-1, the Canon condemns them all to be sacrificed to the Unas. They are chained in the center of the village for the rest of the night, and in the morning the beast arrives for them.

As he leads them back to the Stargate, the group makes their escape attempt. They tumbledown a hillside into the woods, and flee from their Unas captor. He pursues them, but Simon shows up with Teal’c’s staff weapon and shoots him — three times, but he still does not stop. The wounded but powerful Unas pursues Simon into the forest, while SG-1 and Mary try to free themselves from their chains.

Once free, Carter and Jackson take Mary to the Stargate while O’Neill and Teal’c follow the Unas. The Canon shows up, witnessing Simon bravely stare down the Unas. It falls dead just before Jack and Teal’c arrive, finally succumbing to the staff blasts Simon had delivered.

The Canon is amazed at Simon’s bravery, and allows the group to go free. He even gives up his Goa’uld ring to O’Neill and repents of his ways. Carter begins to dial the Stargate back to Earth, but stops short.

“It went in him,” she says. Sam realizes that the Goa’uld possessing the Unas did not die,but took over the Canon. He tries to attack them, but is shot dead.

Simon and Mary promise to bury the Stargate, so that Sokar cannot continue to torment the village. The young man kneels beside the fallen Canon, and pronounces over him the Catholic Prayer for Suffering Souls.

ANALYSIS

  • Jack O’Neill makes a not-so-subtle reference to the Mike Myers comedy Austin Powers. His pinky-move while saying the phrase, “Or something” is a nod to the character of Dr. Evil.
  • This mission represents the first sign of Christianity encountered in hundreds of missions. While SG-1 has probably traveled to over 100 worlds in their more than two years of journeys, Daniel was likely referring to the explorations of all of Earth’s S.G. teams.
  • Daniel theorizes that the people of this world must have been taken from medieval Europe through the Antarctic Stargate (discovered in “Solitudes”). This demonstrates at least two important discoveries: the Goa’uld were present on Earth as recently as the Middle Ages, and the Goa’uld (perhaps Sokar himself) knew about and used the second Stargate in Antarctica well after the Giza gate was buried (“Stargate” the Movie).

    The Goa’uld System Lords previously demonstrated their knowledge of the second Stargate when they demanded it be given up in “Fair Game.”

  • The Goa’uld impersonate culture’s deities; the religious beliefs of various cultures do not originate with the Goa’uld. Sokar, for example, assumed the persona of Satan after learning about Christian beliefs. Christian beliefs about Satan in Stargate SG-1 did not originate with Sokar himself.
  • A plaque in the village is inscribed with a middle English derivative of the Catholic Prayer for Suffering Souls — which Simon later pronounced over the fallen Canon.
  • Although the Canon’s ring appears to be Goa’uld technology, it does not require that one have a Goa’uld symbiote in order to use it (as does most other Goa’uld technology). The Canon was not possessed by a Goa’uld until the Unas was killed.
  • It is ironic that Mary does not have a demon, as the Canon claims, but will be given a “demon” (Goa’uld symbiote) if handed over to Sokar.
  • Major Carter was able to sense the presence of the Goa’uld in the Canon because she was once host to a Goa’uld, the Tok’ra Jolinar of Malkshur (“In the Line of Duty”, “Need”).

NOTES

  • The Unas is a species, not just one creature (as Teal’c had led O’Neill to believe in“Thor’s Hammer”). They served as the first hosts of the Goa’uld, before humans were discovered by Ra.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

  • Teal'cTeal’c – Teal’c can survive under water for short periods of time by entering kelnorim, a deep state of meditation. This allows his symbiote to work at transferring oxygen from the water to Teal’c’s body.

    Teal’c has studied the Christian Bible, as a significant part of Western culture.

  • SamuelsDaniel Jackson – Jackson continues to demonstrate that his loyalties lie with his own sense of ethics over and above an order from Colonel O’Neill. He refused to leave Mary to be killed in a barbaric ceremony, although it meant endangering himself and his team again. Daniel is accountable to O’Neill and the S.G.C., but is not enlisted military.
  • SokarSokar – Sokar has used the people of this world as hosts for many generations, and may have even been the one to take their ancestors from Earth hundreds of years ago. Unlike most Goa’uld (so far as we know), Sokar still has Unas Goa’uld in his service. Sokar impersonates Satan on various worlds, with the Unas serving as his “demons.”

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

  • Were other humans taken from Earth during the Middle Ages, or perhaps even later?
  • When did the Goa’uld leave Earth?
  • Where did the Canon’s ring come from? Was it given to the first Canon by Sokar?
  • How does the Canon’s ring cause lightening?

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • David McNally, who played Simon in this episode, may be familiar to “Stargate” fans. He played the part of Hanno, who accused Teal’c of murdering his father in the Season One episode “Cor-Ai.”
  • “In ‘Demons’ we re-introduce an alien race known as the Unas, which is a demon-like creature with superhuman strength that was first seen in the episode ‘Thor’s Hammer.’ They’re pretty cool looking predator-like lizard guys with horns, fangs, the whole works. Fans will love them. The story itself delves into the pre-history of the Goa’ulds and how the Unas played a key role in their development, so I found that very interesting and informative.” (Director Peter DeLuise, in an interview with SciFiAndTvTalk’s Steve Eramo)