Orpheus

Summary | Notes | Production | Transcript | Review

After an injury, Teal'c must put aside his self-doubt when SG-1 launches a mission to rescue his son and his mentor from a Jaffa death camp.

RATINGS SCORECARD
OUR RATING -
FAN RATING - 8.31 
NIELSEN - 1.6 
EPISODE #704
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 06.27.03
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 10.11.04
DVD DISC: Season 7, Disc 1
WRITTEN BY: Peter DeLuise
DIRECTED BY: Peter DeLuise
GUEST STARS:

Tony Amendola (Bra’tac), Obi Ndefo (Rak’nor), Neil Denis (Rya’c), David Richmond-Peck (Jaffa Commander), Gary Jones (Technician), Teryl Rothery (Dr. Janet Fraiser), Sheri Noel (Physiotherapist)

DOWNLOAD NOW:
  Amazon    iTunes

SG-1 returns to Stargate Command under heavy fire with Jaffa so close behind one makes it into the Gate Room. Weapons fire is exchanged through the wormhole. To everyone’s horror, Teal’c is shot in the abdomen by a staff weapon blast. He no longer carries a symbiote, but has spinal damage. He will have to recover normally and complete physical therapy with the help of the new drug, tretonin.

Though Daniel returned from his time as an ascended being with a memory wipe, he is able to get glimpses into that period. During Teal’c’s convalescence, Daniel is plagued with thoughts of Rya’c, Teal’c’s son. Disturbed, he begins to get visions and hears Rya’c’s voice calling out.

Daniel asks Carter to review the logs of incoming wormholes, looking for any kind of anomaly. His own self-doubts mirror Teal’c’s, wondering why he came back from being ascended. He begins to think he needed to do something, but he can’t remember what it was.

After a period of recovery, Dr. Janet Fraiser feels Teal’c is fit for duty. Mentally, he does not believe he is ready, thinking he is not as good a fighter as he was. For him, weakness is death — “kek.” Although the tretonin works fine for Teal’c, he obsesses that a real symbiote is what should sustain him. O’Neill realizes that, mentally, Teal’c is not prepared for duty.

While meditating with Teal’c, Daniel has another vision of Rya’c in a Jaffa version of a concentration camp. In the dream, Bra’tac takes a lashing to protect Rya’c. Daniel reveals the vision to Teal’c who admits having “seen” Daniel while dying in an ambush last year. Because of this incident, Teal’c is more willing to believe Daniel’s vision. They take the matter to General Hammond, who orders a rescue attempt (if the location can be determined).

Rya’c and Bra’tac have indeed been captured. They are being worked to death in a toxic naquadah purification facility. Bra’tac has run out of tretonin and is dying. He hides the truth from Rya’c, but the young Jaffa knows. Back on Earth, Daniel’s visions continue. Rak’nor is called in for consultation and determines the planet is Erebus, a place for condemned souls. But there will be a problem reaching it: the Erebus Stargate has a forcefield.

Daniel flashes back to witnessing Bra’tac sending a coded signal through an outgoing wormhole. Sam realizes what that means and finds the log entry and the code in the Alpha Site records. Having the deactivation code to the shield on Erebus, Hammond approves the rescue mission, putting O’Neill in charge.

The rescue is none too soon. SG-1 and SG-3 make it through the Stargate with Rak’nor. O’Neill assesses the situation. It is a harsh and dreadful encampment. Cruelty rules and executions are commonplace. O’Neill agrees to allow Teal’c and Rak’nor to infiltrate the encampment after dark to make the extraction. In a tent, Teal’c finds Bra’tac near death and administers additional tretonin. Bra’tac is so far gone he can’t move immediately.

The two Jaffa are discovered.

Helplessly, O’Neill watches the guards whip Teal’c through the night. Against his team’s objections, O’Neill lets it happen, unwilling to reveal the presence of backup. They need a new plan — a distraction. O’Neill looks to a partially constructed Ha’tak ship floating above the encampment. The new plan is to blow it up as a diversion.

Sam and Daniel ring up to the ship to plant C-4 explosives. Down below, in light of his apprentice’s recent injury, Bra’tac gives Teal’c a needed pep talk. Trying to spread the news of a rescue, Rya’c is discovered and sent to be executed. O’Neill radios Carter, instructing her to hurry. Teal’c approaches the guard and asks to take Rya’c’s place for execution.

Carter detonates the ship, which gradually falls from the sky. The Jaffa guards run to try to deal with the situation and get mowed down by S.G.C. forces. Teal’c and his would-be executioner fight one-on-one. Though Rya’c wants to intervene, Bra’tac prevents him, knowing Teal’c must prevail himself or continue to live with doubt. Eventually, Teal’c prevails by himself. A fight ensues as the prisoners take up arms, and it is not long before the camp is liberated.

Back at the S.G.C., Daniel joins Teal’c for a period of meditation. Both men have been restored in their own ways by the Erebus mission. Daniel confesses that he now knows where he belongs. And why.

– L. Dolgin

NOTES

  • In Greek mythology, Orpheus was the greatest of musicians and poets. His story does not bode well for allusions to Teal’c’s situation in this episode: Orpheus went into the underworld to retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice. Hades granted him permission to do so, on the sole condition that he did not look back as he was bringing her to the surface. Just before they arrived at the upper world, Orpheus looked back, and she slipped back into the underworld. Read more at the Encyclopedia Mythica.

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • “Junior is dead — neither Teal’c nor Bra’tac possess symbiotes now. The issue will be addressed in an early episode titled ‘Orpheus,’ and it will continue to be addressed through Season Seven.” (Our Stargate online chat with executive producer Joseph Mallozzi)
  • “‘Orpheus’ is an excellent example as both Teal’c and Daniel wrestle with their own issues, coming together to talk and help one another come to term with recent events. In ‘Orpheus,’ Daniel tries to come to terms with his return to the team and the contribution he can make now as opposed to the contribution he was able to make as an ascended being. Teal’c, on the other hand, must come to terms with the loss of his symbiote, his dependence on tretonin, and the fact that he is a changed warrior.” (Our Stargate online chat with executive producer Joseph Mallozzi)
  • “It involves the ramifications of Daniel’s ascension and the effects of what happened to Teal’c from ‘The Changeling.’ The results of these two situations unfold independently and they’ll sort of culminate in a climax that involves a third story. It’s very multi-layered and there’s a lot of interesting interaction between Teal’c and Daniel. As actors, Christopher and I get to bite into a rather large sandwich with that one, and to see what we do with it should be fun. We don’t often get the chance to play off one another, so I’m looking forward to dealing with some tougher emotional material there.” (Actor Michael Shanks, in an interview with Sci-Fi Magazine)
  • “In ‘Orpheus,’ the B story will be Daniel coming to terms with a return to his life at the S.G.C., what he remembers from his past and his time as an ascended being, and what he was able to do as an ascended being and what he wasn’t able to do in human form, and vice versa. But it will also focus on Teal’c, and the fact that he is now without a symbiote. He’s on tretonin now, which is a substitute for the symbiote in many ways but doesn’t offer the Jaffa quite the same protection and, up to a certain point, invulnerability. So in this particular episode, Teal’c suffers a crisis of conscience because he is not the warrior he once was. It’s something he has to come to terms with, and he has a difficult time coming to terms with it until he’s faced with a situation in which he must prove himself a warrior. And his story dovetails with Daniel’s quite nicely. That’s actually a Peter DeLuise episode. It’s very nice, much like Peter’s many trademark episodes, there’s a lot of Jaffa and big battles, and huge expense.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in an interview with the Stargate SG-1 Explorer Unit)
  • “Not to be confused with [Season Ten’s] ‘Morpheus,’ ‘Orpheus’ is another Peter DeLuise extravaganza. You can always recognize Peter’s episode because they always contained one of three things: Unas, noble Jaffa, and/or explosions.

    “Loved Carter’s review of Signs in the gym scene. Other movies I would have liked to see receive the onscreen review treatment: The Village, Lady in the Water, and The Happening.” (Writer / producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)