Seth

Summary | Analysis | Notes | Characters | Questions | Review

SG-1 must find a renegade Goa'uld who has been hiding on Earth for thousands of years.

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EPISODE #302
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 07.02.99
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 10.09.00
DVD DISC: Season 3, Disc 1
WRITTEN BY: Jonathan Glassner
DIRECTED BY: William Corcoran
GUEST STARS:

Carmen Argenziano (Jacob/Selmak), Robert Duncan (Seth), Mitchell Kosterman (Special Agent James Hamner), Stuart O’Connell (Tommy Levinson), Lucia Walters (Disciple), Greg Michaels (Jason Levinson), Rob Morton (Sheriff)

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Jacob Carter, Sam’s father and Earth’s liaison to the Tok’ra (the Goa’uld resistance movement with which Earth is now allied), arrives at the S.G.C. with some troubling news. The Tok’ra have come to believe that the evil Goa’uld Seth is on Earth. In fact, they think he’s been hiding on Earth since the Stargate was buried in Egypt thousands of years ago.

Jacob is, in fact, doubtful that Seth can be located amongst Earth’s 6 billion inhabitants. But Daniel and Teal’c point out that as a Goa’uld, Seth will never lose his thirst for power, and to be worshiped as a god. Jackson does some research, and manages to track the Cult of Seth throughout history in its various forms.

A search of the A.T.F. classified network turns up a sure lead: a cult of 50 followers under the control of Seth Fargough is currently under surveillance north of Seattle. Reports indicate that Seth has killed some followers in front of others, and that he can make his own eyes glow.

Sam learns that Selmak, her father’s Tok’ra symbiote, requested this assignment because Jacob has an unresolved issue with his son, Mark. The two have been estranged for years, and Mark did not even come to see Jacob on his death bed (“The Tok’ra, Part 1”). But Jacob is a proud and stubborn man, and refuses to go and see his son.

Jacob and SG-1 fly to Washington to attempt to infiltrate the heavily armed and guarded compound and capture or eliminate Seth. They meet Jason Levinson, a father whose son is inside the compound for nine months as a follower of Seth, and James Hamner, in charge of the A.T.F. team that is watching the compound. Hamner tells SG-1 to leave, but a call from the president forces him to turn control of the operation over to Colonel O’Neill.

The team locates an entrance to underground tunnels leading into the compound, but must protect themselves before going in. Seth maintains absolute control over his followers withnish’ta, a biological compound used by the Goa’uld. The organism makes the victim’s mind extremely “pliable,” according to Jacob, though once a subject has been freed from its control with an electrical shock they cannot be reinfected.

O’Neill, Carter, and Jackson prepare to go in, and place small electrical devices in their ears. If infected, Teal’c and Jacob (who monitor from outside the compound, since Seth would be able to sense their Goa’uld symbiotes) can throw a switch and zap the team with a small jolt of electricity.

The team goes in, and is immediately apprehended by Seth. His followers bring them before him — and he is quite obviously the Goa’uld they are looking for. Not knowing who they are,Seth hits them with the nish’ta. They are under his control.

Soon after, though, Carter is brought to sit at Seth’s feet — and the Goa’uld senses that she was once blended with a symbiote (the Tok’ra Jolinar [“In the Line of Duty”]). Still under Seth’s control, Sam tells him that the Tok’ra sent them to find him.

Teal’c listens in, and activates the devices. SG-1 is shocked out of Seth’s control, but pretend to still be followers. He knows they are lying, and condemns them all to death.

A follower leads them away, but they break free and shoot him with a zat gun. The electrical blast shakes the young man free of the nish’ta control. He is Tom Levinson, the son of the man outside. Tom leads the team to Seth’s weapons locker, where they arm themselves with more zat guns.

The team walks through the compound, zatting followers free from Seth’s nish’ta-induced control. Carter and Tom start evacuating them through the underground tunnels, while Jack and Daniel go after Seth.

They find him, but are struck down by his Goa’uld hand device. Seth places a Goa’uld bomb on the ground next to them, and flees to the tunnels — disguised in the same white robe worn by the followers. He hopes to escape unnoticed.

Jacob and Teal’c enter the tunnels from the other side, as Hamner and his men assist the fleeing followers. Armed with his own hand device, Jacob searches the hooded figures for Seth. Meanwhile, Jack and Daniel regain consciousness and escape the explosion.

Jacob and SG-1 collapse in on Seth, who continues to try and elude them in the crowded tunnel. But Jacob finds him and confronts him. Recognizing him as a Tok’ra, Seth blasts Jacob with his hand device. He will recover from the injuries, but Jacob gives his hand device to Sam.

With the ability to use Goa’uld technology but not to control it very well, Samantha heads toward Seth. She shoots him with the device, knocking him to the ground. Seth turns to shoot her, but another shot from Carter’s hand blasts the Goa’uld into the hard ground, killing him.

A few days later, Sam and Jacob walk to the front door of a suburban home in San Diego. The aging father walks to the door and, uncomfortably, knocks. His son answers, and is unsure of how to react. But Jacob embraces him, and he and Sam are invited inside.

ANALYSIS

  • The Tok’ra are impressed with SG-1 and the Tau’ri (Earth) for killing Hathor (“Into the Fire”). Earth seems to be proving itself to be a player in the galaxy, and a worthy ally for the Tok’ra resistance movement.
  • The Tok’ra have been conducting a census of the Goa’uld System Lords — where they have positioned themselves, what domain they rule, who serves under them, etc. Seth is apparently the only one they have lost track of. Presumably, every other Goa’uld System Lord is being monitored in some fashion by the resistance movement.
  • Jacob’s “System Lords family tree” projection includes 13 Goa’uld, with the symbol of Ra at the top. (Hathor called him the “Supreme System Lord” in “Hathor,” attesting to his dominance). Others on the pyramid display include Apophis (Ra’s opposite number and mortal enemy), Hathor (his queen), and Heru’ur (his son). All of these seem to be related to Ra in some way.
  • There are thousands of Goa’uld in the galaxy, but only dozens on the level of System Lord (most Goa’uld apparently are in service to the more powerful among them). The S.G.C. has only scratched the surface of encountering (or learning of) them. The Tok’ra probably have several other similar holographic pyramids in their census, perhaps divided by familial relation.
  • Teal’c has met descendants of Seth’s Jaffa. Presumably, no Jaffa in the galaxy is currently loyal to Seth, since he has been hiding on Earth for thousands of years.
  • Jacob was assigned to this mission by Garshaw — the leader of the Tok’ra (“The Tok’ra, Part 1”). Selmak requested the assignment to allow Jacob an opportunity to reconcile with his estranged son.
  • According to historical and mythological records found by Daniel, a Cult of Setesh has existed in one form or another since around 1,000 B.C. Seth himself was supposedly killed in ancient Egypt; but shortly thereafter, a similar god showed up in Greece: Typhon, the god of chaos. The cult arose again the early 1700s in England, near Stonehenge. And in the late twentieth century, Seth’s cult of about 50 followers set up north of Seattle.
  • The Web page Jackson was viewing lists Seth as an “18th century cult leader,” though Dr. Jackson misspeaks and states that he lived in the 1800s (the 19th century). The Web site continues: “The collective suicide of Seth cultists, circa 1722, Wiltshire, England.”
  • Nish’ta — the Goa’uld biological compound used by Seth to control the minds of his “followers” — is similar to the organism used by Hathor to control the minds of the men of the S.G.C. (“Hathor”), but stronger and more encompassing. Teal’c believes the substance is the same that Apophis used on his son Rya’c (“Family”).
  • Carter stated that as a Goa’uld Seth would be able to sense Teal’c or Jacob’s symbiotes once they got within 50 feet of him. How accurate was she being? This could be a fairly accurate approximation, or she may have simply been illustrating her point that Seth would be able to sense the presence of their Goa’uld.
  • Considering this precaution, however, it seems strange that no one would consider the possibility that Seth could sense the remnant of Jolinar in Major Carter — who was herself joined with a Tok’ra symbiote a year ago (“In the Line of Duty”). Carter has been able to sense the presence of Goa’uld, and other Goa’uld have been able to sense that Carter was once a host (such as Apophis in “Serpent’s Song,” and Hathor in“Into the Fire”). It was foolish for her to enter the compound and not expect that Seth would discover the same thing.
  • The S.G.C. may have acquired a small arsenal of Goa’uld weapons and technology from Seth’s compound, provided some or all of it survived the explosion. At the very least, they acquired the zat guns with which Jack and Daniel escaped.
  • Now that some 50 young men and women have been rescued from Seth’s mind control, they will no doubt present a significant security risk for the S.G.C. to deal with. These people know of Seth, his powers and his technology (from zats to the hand device to transport rings), not to mention anything he might have told them about the Goa’uld or the Stargate. (Many of these memories may have been lost, however, when the nish’ta mind-control was removed.)
  • Seth bears a striking resemblance to Daniel father, Melburn Jackson (seen in “The Gamekeeper”). In fact, they are played by the same actor: Robert Duncan.

NOTES

  • The Tok’ra possess advanced holographic technology.
  • A Goa’uld can live without a sarcophagus almost indefinitely by changing hosts every 400 years or so.
  • The A.T.F. Cultwatch Web site included the following profile of Seth:
    Seth Fargough
    D.O.B.: 1962 (?)
    Sex: M
    Weight: 190
    Marital Status: N/A
    Crim. Record: None
  • The Goa’uld very typically build escape tunnels under their facilities.
  • Nish’ta is a Goa’uld biological compound used for mind-control. Once inhaled, it is absorbed into every tissue in the victim’s body, making the mind “extremely pliable.” Once the effects are reversed with a strong electrical shock (strong enough to kill the organism but not the host), however, the host becomes immune to its effects.

    But one must wait until the compound has permeated all body tissue before attempting to shock a victim of nish’ta. Otherwise, it is capable of “hiding out” in parts of the body and reasserting itself later.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

  • SethSeth – Also known as Setesh, Setekh, Set, or Seti, the Goa’uld Seth impersonated the ancient Egyptian god of chaos and embodiment of hostility and evil. He attempted to overthrow the Goa’uld System Lords, and had a price on his head from both the System Lords and the Tok’ra. Seth used Earth as a hiding place, and became trapped here when the Stargate was buried in Giza, Egypt.

    He continued in his lust for power and worship, forming several cults throughout the centuries — from impersonating the god Typhon in ancient Greece, to leading a suicide cult in eighteenth century England, to leading a small group of followers north of Seattle at the end of the twentieth century.

    Seth was found by SG-1 and Jacob Carter, and killed with a Goa’uld hand device by Sam Carter when he tried to escape.

  • Jacob CarterJacob Carter – Jacob has been estranged from his son, Mark, for years. Mark even refused to take Sam’s calls or to visit Jacob when he was on his deathbed — something that hurt Jacob very deeply. Jacob is a proud man — but this unresolved situation was beginning to irritate Selmak, Jacob’s Tok’ra symbiote, who forced Jacob to reconcile with his son.
  • Samantha CarterSamantha Carter – Sam has been estranged from her brother, Mark, for several years — not because of anything she did, necessarily, but because he associates her with their father Jacob. Mark lives in San Diego and has two kids (a boy and a girl, first mentioned in “Cold Lazarus”), and is likely now reconciled with Jacob and Sam.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

  • What other cults has Seth led in the millennia since the Stargate was buried in ancient Egypt? What was he doing during the 2,000 years where he drops out of recorded history?
  • Did Seth simply change hosts every few centuries, or did he have a sarcophagus on Earth?
  • Are there any other Goa’uld still alive on Earth, marooned here when the Stargate was buried?
  • Will Jacob and Sam fully reconcile with Mark? How will they explain Jacob’s miraculous recovery from terminal cancer?
  • What level of security risk do the former cult members pose? How will this be dealt with?