It’s Good To Be King

| Analysis | Characters | Questions | Production | Transcript | Review

SG-1 comes to the aid of a world about to be invaded by the Goa'uld, only to discover that the local king is Earth's Harry Maybourne.

RATINGS SCORECARD
OUR RATING -
FAN RATING - 7.95 
NIELSEN - 2.1 
EPISODE #813
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 02.04.05
DVD DISC: Season 8, Disc 4
STORY BY: Michael Greenburg & Peter DeLuise, Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
TELEPLAY BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
DIRECTED BY: William Gereghty
GUEST STARS:

Wayne Brady (Trelak), Tom McBeath (Harry Maybourne), Nancy Sorel (Garan), Melanie Blackwell (Servant), Robert Bruce (Local #1), Zak Church (Local #2)

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ANALYSIS

  • According to reports, Baal’s war against the System Lords is going well for him. Olokun and Bastet are dead, Morrigan has capitulated, and Yu and Amaterasu are rallying their armies for what will probably be their last stand. Baal’s major advantage is no doubt the Kull warriors, which he took over following Anubis’s defeat (“New Order, Part 1”). The System Lords are being pushed back, and are seeking to reclaim old territory they abandoned long ago as sanctuaries — including the world on which the Tok’ra relocated Harry Maybourne. The planet is now in the domain of the Goa’uld Ares.
  • Olokun’s forces were already weakened by Anubis, who attacked him before becoming welcomed back as a System Lord three years ago (“Summit,” “Last Stand”) and who won a major victory against him last year (“Death Knell”). Now, he has apparently been defeated and killed by Baal’s forces, which came in part from Anubis’s old army.
  • Because the System Lord Morrigan (last seen in “Last Stand”) has capitulated to Baal, according to the Tok’ra’s report, it is possible that she is now in Baal’s service.
  • Earth learned the information about the current state of Baal’s war against the rest of the System Lords from the Tok’ra — the first indication of contact with them since the alliance was strained last year (“Death Knell”). It was the Tok’ra who told the team that one of the worlds to which the Goa’uld will be returning is the same planet where they left Maybourne to “retire” nearly two years ago (“Paradise Lost”). Maybourne himself hasn’t heard from the Tok’ra since then.
  • The inhabitants of Maybourne’s new home were once enslaved as workers in a naquadah mine (located near the ruins that include the Ancient inscriptions), probably by the Goa’uld Ares. It is not clear whether they were originally brought there from Earth by the Goa’uld, or if they have connections to the Ancients who once apparently lived here.
  • Many populated worlds within the domain of a Goa’uld System Lord may go centuries without any appearance by the Goa’uld or Jaffa. There is evidence that the System Lords (especially those with large spheres of influence) may not abandon conquered worlds and move on as much as they simply do not commit the forces to keep every planet in their territory occupied at all times. For those planets that are not exploited for resources, slaves, or hosts, inhabitants may live for centuries essentially free from Goa’uld control, despite the fact that the planet lies in a part of space claimed by a Goa’uld.
  • The Ancient time ship is a modified Puddle Jumper, the same ship discovered by the Atlantis expedition in the distant Pegasus Galaxy — though SG-1 only knows so far that it is of Ancient origin. Puddle Jumpers did exist in our galaxy before the city of Atlantis left for the Pegasus Galaxy between 3 million and 5 million years ago. Either this ship and its owner scientist lived during that period, or the ship came from a different Ancient colony — perhaps the same colony that once studied time travel to try and escape the plague that eventually destroyed them (“Window of Opportunity”).
  • The Ancients not only studied time travel, they apparently mastered it — eventually. Scientists at an Ancient colony on P4X-639 created a device capable of looping time, but not traveling through time — they never mastered time travel, and eventually shut down the time loop and allowed themselves to succumb to a deadly plague. But the Ancients who were on Maybourne’s planet were able to create a stable time travel device and equip a Puddle Jumper with it. It is possible that the two research projects were in some way related, and the latter represents the eventual perfection of the technology first devised on P4X-639.

    The Ancients who were on Maybourne’s planet traveled not only to the present day (to learn of the Goa’uld’s return and other local events and record it) but also to a time period within the last 200 years or so. An Ancient apparently used the time travel device to study the evolution of life on this planet. They may have originated from a time 3 million years ago or more, before Atlantis (which includes Puddle Jumpers) left our galaxy.

    It is also possible that the Ancients who fled the Wraith from Atlantis back to Earth only 10,000 years ago — the most advanced Ancients of which we know, who would thus have been more likely to have mastered time travel — returned with some of their technology (including the Jumper) and left Earth before the Goa’uld arrived about 8,000 years ago.

  • The time ship began to power up as SG-1 entered it, much like the Ancients’ city of Atlantis did (Atlantis: “Rising, Part 1”) when the expedition arrived through the Stargate from Earth. Ancient technology is probably programmed to be sensitive to humans.

    A time manipulation device has been added to the ship, and stands in the center of the Jumper’s rear compartment. Carter surmised that the time device probably generates an electro-magnetic field of some kind that envelops the entire ship.

  • Trelak has probably come into contact with an S.G. team from Earth before: he easily recognized the sound of gunfire as a Tau’ri weapon.
  • General O’Neill was able to fly the Puddle Jumper and activate its weapons, though it seemed to take more effort than it did when Major John Sheppard first piloted one of the craft (Atlantis: “Rising, Part 2”). This may indicate that Sheppard is even more of a natural with using Ancient technology than O’Neill is.
  • By destroying Ares’s mothership — probably with Ares aboard, from Trelak’s indication that he was coming personally — SG-1 has only furthered Baal’s cause in his fight against the combined forces of the System Lords. Another of his enemies is dead, another enemy mothership destroyed. The remaining System Lords may not look too kindly on this action.
  • SG-1 doubtless brought the time ship through the Stargate to Earth before returning to say goodbye to Maybourne. It is one of the most significant discoveries made by SG-1 to date, and has infinite potential scientific and military applications. The ship is apparently out of drone weapons, however.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

  • Harry MaybourneHarry Maybourne – Maybourne’s retirement on this planet has been a positive influence on him, his reign as king notwithstanding. When faced with Goa’uld occupation Maybourne came clean with his people, and his contrition was heartfelt. He has come to genuinely care about them, and was even willing to remain in harm’s way to help protect them. In addition to interpreting the Ancients’ prophecies of the future, he brought these people a new legal code, irrigation system, and other modern advancements.

    Harry is also married — he has several wives! He thinks of this planet as his home, and chose to stay with them when the Goa’uld threat was averted.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

  • Are Olokun and Bastet really dead, as the Tok’ra believe?
  • Did Ares use to control this world? Why did he leave it?
  • How did the Ancient time ship come to be on this world? Who was the Ancient studying these people’s past and future, and for what purpose? Do they hold some special significance to the Ancients themselves?
  • Where did the Ancient scientist go, and why did he leave the time ship on this planet?
  • Was Ares really on board the mothership that SG-1 destroyed?
  • Was the Puddle Jumper taken back to Earth? To what use will it be put?

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • “I’ve been sent to some planet with a population on it. They’re sort of back in medieval times, although they were a brighter civilization earlier on. They figured out a way to do some time travel stuff. They could travel into the future. A few of them have come back and they’ve put their prophecy on a wall. But it’s also the wall where the Goa’uld came in and enslaved them, turned them into miners, digging underground. So once the Goa’uld left, they’ve resurfaced as this primitive tribe and they stay away from this area because it has a bad feeling to them.

    “I find this place and manage to decipher this wall and try to warn them about a natural disaster about to occur. They take my advice and are saved from, I don’t know, a storm or something, and after that I become their leader. And then I become their king, even though I don’t want to be.”

    “The Goa’uld are coming back. Things are collapsing around the universe somewhere. The bad guys are having to go back to where they were before, and that means they’re coming back to this particular world. This world has to be saved, and he knows this world — it’s prophesied that someone’s going to come and save them, and low and behold, it’s the team!”

    “[General O’Neill] does show up in this episode. He does travel off-earth as a General. So, yeah, he’s going to be there, and we have a bit of time together.” (Actor Tom McBeath, in an interview with GateWorld)

  • “This was a story that [supervising producer] Peter DeLuise and I originally came up with. We wanted to write a sequel to [Season Seven’s] ‘Fragile Balance’ that included the young O’Neill character, played by Michael Welch, along with Harry Maybourne [Tom McBeath]. It also was going to be a little lighter in the workload department for Richard Dean Anderson [General Jack O’Neill]. Unfortunately, Michael wasn’t available because he’s in Joan of Arcadia, which is a big hit now. So the story had to be restructured but we managed to keep the heart of it, and it has plenty of surprise twists and turns.” (Executive producer Michael Greenburg, in an interview with TV Zone magazine [#185])
  • “I always enjoyed writing the funny episodes and this one was no different. It gave us the opportunity to bring back Harry Maybourne, one of my favorite recurring characters. This episode ran long and, as a result, I had to cut a scene in which Maybourne displays Solomon-like wisdom in a dispute over a duck. When the complainants cannot agree on ownership, Maybourne demands a knife be brought forth so he can cut the duck in half and offer an equal share to each. The men standing before him are shocked at the suggestion and thus, King Maybourne makes his ruling, declaring that neither men are deserving. As the two men head off, Maybourne turns and hands off the duck to one of his assistant with a: ‘Cook it up. I’ll have it for lunch.'” (Writer / producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)