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Summary | Analysis | Production | Transcript | In the Making | Review

Daniel is stranded on another planet after the team's arrival on an alien world sparks a violent civil war.

RATINGS SCORECARD
OUR RATING -
FAN RATING - 7.03 
NIELSEN - 2.2 
EPISODE #805
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 08.06.04
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 10.17.05
DVD DISC: Season 8, Disc 2
WRITTEN BY: Damian Kindler
DIRECTED BY: Peter F. Woeste
GUEST STARS:

Amy Sloan (Leda), Timothy Webber (Commander Gareth), Matthew Bennett (Jarrod Kane), James Kidnie (Soren), Gary Jones (Walter Harriman), Richard Side (Guide), Leanne Adachi (Rebel Aide), Preston Cook (Radio Man), Charles Zuckermann (Rebel Soldier)

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Daniel Jackson’s face is unbandaged to reveal the eyes of a beautiful girl. His face is blotted with burns. She tells him that her home is far from the city, but all Daniel can remember is that something terrible happened there -– and he, or his team, was responsible.

Three months ago …

Shortly after a startled tourist group witnesses the relic of their Stargate open for the first time in the middle of a museum, Colonel Carter, Dr. Jackson and Teal’c step through to be greeted by delegates from the world. Many here had dismissed the possibility that the Stargate is a mystical power source for ancient gods. The team is warned that there are even those who might consider this new reality a threat.

One month later, Daniel reports that his negotiations between the Rand Protectorate (the government in possession of the Stargate) and the Caledonian Federation (a rival nation) have only been moderately successful. Both governments have enough firepower to wipe out the other — but the real problem is Soren, the leader of a radical group who still believe in the ancient gods. They believe SG-1’s arrival has verified their beliefs, and thus made a touchy situation worse. Daniel insists he must return to help, and eventually persuades General O’Neill to allow him to go back to the planet.

Two weeks later, Daniel has been unsuccessful in brokering a truce. The religious zealot, Soren, has gathered his forces from across the country and is now a major threat. The Rand have been forced to heighten their alert status to match that of the rival nation. Minister Treydan of the Caledonians swears to Commander Gareth that if the Rand are unable to secure Soren and his forces, the Caledonians will be forced to strike to prevent the radicals from taking over.

Rebel forces have detonated devices very near to one of the Rands missile facilities. Shortly afterward they use it to strike at Caledonia. Gareth’s second, Jarrod Kane, reports that the facility is now compromised. Soren’s forces attack the Rand’s command bunker, and Kane attempts to get Daniel to the Stargate before government falls — but is shot in the leg by the insurgents. Daniel and Kain escape together to the surface, and Gareth is executed soon after.

Both sides are left in ruins, with Soren now in control of the Rand Protectorate — and the Stargate.

Weeks later, the wounded Daniel attempts to raise Stargate Command on a primitive radio, but believes that either the Stargate is buried in rubble, or his signal is being jammed. He is still in the care of Leda, the woman who has been tending to his wounds. Daniel blames himself for the volatile situation on the planet, believing that SG-1’s arrival sparked this conflict. But Leda insists that she is thankful it is SG-1 who came through the gate than the Goa’uld, and that the unrest between her nation and Caledonia would have been worsened to this level eventually.

The S.G.C. is still trying to raise Daniel on the radio, while SG-9 attempts to negotiate with Soren, who states that any search for the lost man will cause more civil unrest. Meanwhile, Kane has returned home to Leda’s side with his remaining forces, and gives Jackson the latest news: Anyone who is suspected of being part of the original Rand government is shot on sight by Soren’s forces.

O’Neill arranges for Soren to visit Earth. In exchange for helping locate Dr. Jackson, he offers food and medical supplies, plus people to help get the nation back on its feet. Soren is only interested in weapons, stating the revolution is not complete. As Soren departs, Daniel manages to send a transmission through and uses Goa’uld words (as the transmission could be picked up by the insurgents) to propose a coordinated attack against Soren.

Jackson discusses his plans with Kane, who is beginning to see his side of things. Rebel troops under Soren’s banner force their way into the home, but not before Leda hides Daniel, Kane, and his men in the cellar. After an interrogation Leda is able to dissuade them from finding anything, and they depart.

Shortly afterward, Kane and Daniel gather their troops and head for the city to retake the command bunker. At the same time, Carter leads S.G. units 3, 6, and 12 through to aid the attack from within. The first round of assaults is successful. As the bunker is surrounded, the teams call for Soren’s surrender, but he only insists that his people engage them again. One of his aides attempts to dissuade him from further fighting, but he shoots her and orders the others to continue to fight.

When they do not, Soren goes out alone to face the assembled squad. Carter orders him to drop his weapon. Soren puts it aside just as Kane fires, killing him. As they stand over his body, Daniel warns Kane that he may have made Soren a martyr — but either way, Earth will keep its promise to help their civilization rebuild.

– D. Read

ANALYSIS

  • The Stargate is fashionably in style on this planet, as many of the residents wear a small replica around their necks.
  • The Rand Protectorate possess technology dating to circa 1960 on Earth. They wear military clothing akin to World War II, but possess weaponry that would fit the Cold War era. They and the Caledonian Federation possess equal firepower consisting of tactical missiles with targeting warheads, and have been living in the midst of a cold war before the coup.
  • Threat level “blue” is the second-to-highest Rand Protectorate threat level.
  • It is believed that only a fraction of the Rand population survived following the preemptive attack by the Caledonians and Soren’s uprising.

PRODUCTION NOTES

    (Read more on this episode “In the Making …” by Joseph Mallozzi)

  • “Given the number of languages Daniel is purported to speak, Japanese has to be one of them. If you like the Daniel character, then you’re going to want to check out an early season episode titled ‘Icon’ in particular.” (Co-executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at the TVGroove.com message board)
  • “‘Icon’ is an example of an episode where O’Neill is basically forced to be diplomatic, to play the diplomat. And as much as he wants to, he has to bite his tongue. So, that does open up opportunities in some respects, specifically for O’Neill.” (Joseph Mallozzi, in an interview with GateWorld)
  • “‘Icon’ is ‘English Patient Daniel.’ Daniel wakes up in a strange place and he’s got a blindfold on because his face is all messed up. And there’s a very pretty girl nursing him back to health. And he’s on another planet. A lot of the story is told through flashback, and it has to do with the idea that the Stargate is, in fact, a religious icon on this one planet.

    “And when it comes to life, and we come through, we set in motion a domino effect whereby religious zealots cause the planet to go on an apocalyptic course of events, where they use their weapons to ensure mutual destruction. And we completely devastate the planet, merely because we opened the Stargate and said hello. We confirmed the idea that their religious icon is in fact a working, living, real, truthful thing. And so the religious zealots sort of screwed everything up for everybody else. And Daniel feels responsible for that, so he stays and tries to make a difference, and tries to set it all right, and therefore gets hurt.” (Director and consulting producer Peter DeLuise, in an interview with the Richard Dean Anderson Web Site)

  • “We wanted to address the continuing issue of what happens every time SG-1 walks through the Stargate, arrives on another planet and turns everyone’s lives there upside down. We don’t mean to, but sometimes the team’s mere presence can trigger events.

    “That’s what we see in ‘Icon.’ Our simply activating this planet’s Stargate creates a controversy there and Daniel feels guilty about that. He decides to go back to that world and try to calm things down. As a result, Daniel gets caught in the middle of a Cold War and stranded. While trying to work through his feelings of guilt, he comes to realize that people are going to do what they want. You can’t always help those who don’t want to be helped. That’s a pretty significant discovery for my character. I mean, he constantly finds himself in the middle of theses messes that TV always manages to find the right answers to. It was refreshing to see us take a different approach.” (“Daniel Jackson” actor Michael Shanks, in an interview with TV Zone magazine [Special #58])

  • “One of the last things we, as writers, do (and, often not very well) is come up with titles for our damn episodes. Up to the point where the episode gets an official title everybody can be equally unhappy about, it works its way through the notes and rewrite process with a placeholder title. On very rare occasions, usually when everyone is looking the other way, one of those placeholder titles may actually become the official title (see: ‘Watergate’ and ‘Enemy Mine’). If that had happened on this episode, instead of ‘Icon,’ your TV listings would have read ‘English Patient Daniel.’

    “Two things I remember about this episode (beside the fact that I thought it was one of Damian Kindler’s best). During the dailies, we would argue at length about the fact that a bicycle appeared in one of the scenes on this alien world. Some argued that it was ‘too Earthy’ and took us out of the scene, while others (Paul chiefest among them) argued that, if aliens were to build a bicycle (or a hammer or a glass or a fork), it would probably look a lot like the ones we had on Earth. Amid all the back and forth on bikes, we completely failed to notice the smoke detector in one of the interior scenes (or, as I later called it, ‘the alien humidifier’).

    “A lot of debate on that final scene in which bad guy Soren steps out of the room and is shot dead. In the script, he comes out of the bunker, raises his gun — and Carter (I believe) shoots him. The other regulars in the scene argued that they would act just as swiftly and be in on the kill. Then there was a debate over whether or not Soren should raise his weapon and whether our heroes would essentially execute a man who was surrendering. In the end, we solved the problem by having one of the guest stars shoot the villain in cold blood. And, of course, get admonished for it.” (Writer / producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)