Threads

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Daniel must once again decide whether to risk death or ascend when Oma Desala gives him a second chance. O'Neill and Carter struggle with their respective personal relationships.

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OUR RATING -
FAN RATING - 9.30 
NIELSEN - 2.1 
EPISODE #818
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 03.11.05
DVD DISC: Season 8, Disc 5
WRITTEN BY: Robert C. Cooper
DIRECTED BY: Andy Mikita
GUEST STARS:

Carmen Argenziano (Jacob Carter), Tony Amendola (Bra’tac), David DeLuise (Pete Shanahan), Clare Carey (Kerry Johnson), Gary Jones (Walter Harriman), Cliff Simon (Baal), Isaac Hayes (Tolok), Mel Harris (Oma Desala), George Dzundza (Jim), Rik Kiviaho (Anubis)

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ANALYSIS

  • Anubis knew that Baal betrayed him, and didn’t merely fail in retaking Dakara (“Reckoning, Part 2”). He also knew that Baal was responsible for modifying the Stargate to connect to every gate in the galaxy, which helped to destroy the Replicators. It is possible that some of the Jaffa on Baal’s ship reported this to his master Anubis; or, perhaps Anubis’s presence in the “in between mortality and ascension” indicates that he retains some measure of omniscience.
  • Why did Anubis not use the weapon on Dakara himself long ago? It is possible that he did not know that it was there, or that he did not consider such extreme measures as wiping out all biological life in the galaxy to be necessary (or wise) before the Jaffa rebellion and the defeat of the Replicators.
  • C.I.A. agent Kerry Johnson is heading up the investigation about Goa’uld still at large on Earth following the recent incident with the Trust (“Full Alert”). She has full security clearance, making an open relationship with General O’Neill possible. Jack mentioned at the beginning of “Citizen Joe” that he had an upcoming meeting with someone from the C.I.A. named “Johnson,” regarding the recent incident with former Vice President Kinsey. It is likely that their relationship began shortly thereafter.
  • Jack refused to “fall for” Daniel being dead this time, recalling that he’s been presumed dead and come back before (“Fire and Water,” “The Serpent’s Lair,” “Fallen”).
  • Teal’c and Bra’tac’s lifelong mission of freeing the Jaffa from Goa’uld oppression has finally been realized. Tolok declared that because of their efforts the two warriors will both be known as “blood kin” to all Jaffa. It is interesting that, following the ceremony, Teal’c refers to Bra’tac as “brother” rather than “master.”
  • Both the Ancients and Anubis are apparently well-aware of the Wraith in the Pegasus Galaxy — mention of them appears in the newspaper that “Jim” gives to Daniel, reporting that hive ships are headed for Atlantis (Atlantis: “The Brotherhood”). This may be because, as ascended beings, they are nearly omniscient. Or, it may be because the original Ancients who ascended to the higher plane did so after the Wraith war began in Pegasus.
  • The story about Anubis in the newspaper that Daniel reads in the restaurant includes the following: “Information today indicates that the incomprehensible evil that is Anubis is about to conduct his most horrific act yet. His ultimate plan is to destroy all life (no exceptions) in the galaxy and start over, infusing it with a multitude of Kull warriors and other sub-human, drone-like beings whose only purpose is to serve and protect him.

    “When question Anubis explained: ‘I’m not such a bad guy, I just know what I like and I’m willing to kill everyone and everything to get it.’ His plans will come as a huge end-game to the rebel Jaffa and Tau’ri alike: ‘They keep thinking that they’ve killed me, but it can’t be done. Being partially ascended has its benefits.’

    “This corporal creep had some words to say regarding his constant foes from the S.G.C.: ‘That O’Neill is just a pain in the — I’m particularly looking forward to pulling his arms off, over and over and over.’

    What of his plans for the rest of the SG-1 team? ‘I thought I might have the sholva Teal’c skinned and made into a wall-hanging for my Peltac. Carter? Oh, I’ve got something special in mind for her, give me time to muster my forces and set my plans for retaking Dakara in minutes. I just have the irony of dealing with such ** because it give me such a feeling of power.'”

  • Jacob had known for several weeks that Selmak was dying, but he didn’t want to let him go — he felt that he needed Selmak to help stop the Replicators. It is somewhat surprising that the Tok’ra could not find a new symbiote in need of a host (given their desperation for hosts in “The Tok’ra”), or that some other way of saving Jacob could not be found (such as Selmak sacrificing himself and leaving him before dying). It is likely that the recent attacks that have so dwindled the Tok’ra’s numbers (“Last Stand,” “Allegiance”) have also left them with a greater shortage of symbiotes than of human hosts.
  • There are other beings who have ascended and joined the Ancients other than just those who were once of that race. Of all those “Others” gathered in the restaurant, Oma told Daniel that a “couple of them” are Ancients.
  • Jim / Anubis whistles the old hymn “Amazing Grace” when entering the restaurant for the second time — the lyrics of which have interesting implications for the half-ascended Goa’uld and his relationship with Oma and the Others. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see!”
  • The Jaffa High Council was initially unwilling to destroy the Ancient weapon at Dakara, as it served as a symbol to all Jaffa of the victory over the Goa’uld. But with Anubis out of the picture (and Dakara and the weapon having been temporarily retaken), they reconsidered and agreed to dismantle the weapon.
  • Daniel and Anubis (“Jim”) ran into each other the last time Daniel was ascended. Anubis was probably referring to their encounter over Abydos in “Full Circle,” but Daniel may also have encountered Anubis in the form of the man “Jim” before. Soon after he returned to human form (with his memory suppressed), he referred to Jack O’Neill as “Jim” (“Fallen”).
  • The device at Dakara was originally used by the Ancients to recreate life in the Milky Way following the plague that nearly wiped out the Ancients (“Window of Opportunity,” “Frozen”). It is not clear when this was done, though Anubis / Jim mentions “a million years of evolution.” It is likely that some Ancients (like Ayiana) stayed behind in our galaxy when Atlantis left Earth for the Pegasus Galaxy between 3 and 5 million years ago — and they were the ones who used the Dakara device to reseed the galaxy with human-form life, before ascending.

    The same technology was likely used by those Ancients who moved to the Pegasus Galaxy on Atlantis, as they also seeded the planets of that galaxy with human-form life (Atlantis: “Rising, Part 1”).

  • The ascended beings prevent Anubis from using his abilities to affect anything on a “grand, cosmic scale” — but, as previously believed, he is free to do anything he could have otherwise accomplished as a normal Goa’uld, even if it is using their own leftover technology to annihilate a galaxy of life they once created. Earth and even the Milky Way Galaxy are seen to be rather small in the great scheme of the universe — even by Oma herself.
  • A Tok’ra symbiote can leave a human host at will (as Kanan did with Jack in “Abyss”) — but having a symbiote die inside you is lethal. This implies that the toxin released by a Goa’uld symbiote when it dies is an autonomic function, not a last-ditch effort to not let its host live without it.

    So when a Tok’ra symbiote dies inside a host, it must make a conscious effort and use energy to save the life of its host — as Jolinar did with Sam. If the symbiote is too weak and too close to death, it cannot succeed in saving its host.

  • The Tok’ra have nearly perfected the symbiote extraction process in recent years, but it still instantly kills the symbiote. What of Klorel? He was to be sent to a Goa’uld world of his choice if he survived being removed from Skaara (“Pretense”). Based on this information, it is likely that he did not survive.
  • Jacob told Sam, “I should have been dead four years ago.” To what was he referring? It has been over six years since Selmak saved him from dying of cancer (“The Tok’ra, Part 2”). Jacob may have simply misspoken in his weariness — but Sam makes the same error in a later conversation with Jack. Either they are both in error, or they are referring to a later incident we don’t know about, or it really has been only four years since “The Tok’ra, Part 2” and the show’s continuity timeline does not follow our own calendar, with one season equaling about one year.
  • Anubis was able to ascend because he went to the planet Kheb and fooled Oma Desala into helping him. He probably found some old Ancient research on ascension, because when he arrived at Kheb he certainly knew what he was doing. Oma tried to undo what she had done when she realized that Anubis had tricked her, but she couldn’t. That’s when the Others stepped in.
  • Oma is being punished by the Others for helping Anubis to ascend: Her punishment is to watch him do whatever he wants without her interference. Because this is her situation, Oma keeps breaking the same rule, helping others (including Daniel) ascend. That’s why she can get away with doing it — she’s already being punished for the same transgression. That’s also why she has been unable to step in and stop Anubis.
  • Selmak died of old age, an inevitability of the fact that the Tok’ra do not use the sarcophagus (“The Tok’ra, Part 1”). He was some 2,000 years old. He was among the oldest of the Tok’ra (“The Tok’ra, Part 2”), but it is likely that many other Tok’ra, having been spawned by Egeria two millennia ago (“Cure”), will begin to die off soon as well. “Recruiting” younger Tok’ra symbiotes in the fight against the Goa’uld has always been a grave concern to the resistance movement (“Crossroads”).
  • Anubis isn’t just stuck in a non-corporeal form in our galaxy — he is in some manner still ascended. In addition to possessing his form that allows him to interact in our galaxy, he exists in a Purgatory-like state between death and ascension. He was able to interact with others in Daniel’s vision posing as a man named Jim, rubbing Oma’s nose in the fact that she couldn’t do anything about his plans.
  • It is unclear what happened to Daniel after Oma attacked Anubis. Something caused the S.G.C.’s self-destruct mechanism to stop and the Stargate to disengage. Upon his return Daniel denied that he had stopped the self-destruct, implying that the Others themselves stepped in to save Stargate Command. That, and the fact that Daniel returned safely to human form — apparently with his memory left intact — is quite unusual for the ascended beings, who usually go out of their way to be unhelpful to “lowers.” Perhaps they were swayed by Oma’s selfless act in stopping Anubis.
  • In addition to the Kull warriors, Anubis also possessed many ships and much technology — including Ancient and Asgard technology. It is likely that Baal or another Goa’uld will take over his armada, even if all Jaffa abandon his armies. Baal already is using advanced technology possessed by Anubis, including the Asgard transporter and holographic projection technology.
  • Jack’s invitation to Sam to go fishing goes back five years to “Nemesis,” just before Thor transported him aboard his Replicator-infested ship.

NOTES

  • The Jaffa resistance is now the Free Jaffa Nation, and likely numbers many millions across the galaxy. They are ruled by a high council, on which both Teal’c and Bra’tac have been asked to sit. Dakara is to be the new Jaffa homeworld, and a great city is to be erected on that “holy ground” — a haven for all those who have chosen freedom.
  • There are many planes of existence between human existence and ascension.
  • Ascended rule number one: “No lone ascended being shall help a lower ascend.” They believe that anyone who is ascended must be able to get there by themselves. Under special circumstances, however, a majority vote among the Others can get someone ascended.
  • The Kull warriors require a master to serve. They were easily defeated by the Jaffa when Anubis left.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

  • Daniel JacksonDaniel Jackson – Having been killed by Replicator Carter just before the Ancient weapon destroyed her, Daniel was saved by Oma Desala — who once again offered him a chance to ascend to a higher plane of existence. He remained in between the mortal world and ascension for some time, considering his choice with the knowledge that it is something he gave up once before — for reasons he has never been able to remember. There he learned the truth about Oma Desala and Anubis, and managed to return to Earth and his physical body — apparently with his memory intact and, surprisingly, with the help of the Others.

    Daniel learned that he had given up ascension and rejected everything Oma offered because, at least in part, he learned that Oma was the one who helped Anubis ascend (or so Anubis claimed). This no doubt took place following Daniel’s discovery of Anubis’s true nature in “Full Circle,” and led to his naked arrival on Vis Uban in “Fallen.”

    Daniel’s grandfather was around when his parents died, when Daniel was a child. The restaurant where Daniel found himself was based on his own memory — it was the place his grandfather took him after their funeral.

  • Samantha CarterSamantha Carter – Sam reached a crossroads in her life and in her personal relationships, prompted by her father’s failing health. Jacob expressed his concern that she be happy, and that she not let anything stand in the way of her happiness — perhaps indicating that he knew of her feelings for Jack O’Neill, with whom she could not pursue a relationship so long as they both served together at Stargate Command. With her fiance Pete making wedding plans and buying a house, Sam was forced to seriously reconsider their future together.

    Sam finally called off the wedding, and her break-up with Pete did not end well. She approached Jack intent on finally sharing her feelings outright, only to find that he was in a new relationship. When her father was on his deathbed, however, Jack came to comfort her. She thankfully responded in a very affectionate way.

    Sam’s father Jacob has died. Their relationship was strained until six years ago, when he became host to a Tok’ra symbiote. Selmak gave her back her father, softening Jacob and bringing he and Sam closer than they had ever been. Though she must grieve for him now, Sam is certainly thankful for the last several years they have had together.

  • Jack O'NeillJack O’Neill – General O’Neill pursued a brief relationship with Kerry Johnson, a C.I.A. agent assigned to investigate the fallout from the recent incident with the Trust. She is significantly younger than him, but it was his unresolved personal relationship with Samantha Carter that finally ended their relationship. Kerry, in fact, recommended that Jack retire so that he can be with Sam. Letting rules and regulations stand between them is, in her opinion, a big mistake.

    When her father Jacob was on his deathbed, Jack went to Sam to comfort her. He promised that he would always be there for her.

    Jack was also unwilling to accept the death of his friend Daniel Jackson, despite the fact that all evidence pointed to it. He was, of course, correct in his confidence that Daniel would find his way back.

  • Teal'cTeal’c – Teal’c’s lifelong goal of overthrowing the Goa’uld and setting free all Jaffa is finally coming to pass. The Replicators have left the Goa’uld territories in ruins and most of the System Lords dead, and the Ancient weapon on the Free Jaffa-controlled world of Dakara has eliminated the Replicators. Jaffa are joining their cause in record numbers, and with the disappearance of Anubis it will only get better. Along with his former master, Bra’tac, Teal’c has been asked to sit on the high council of the new Free Jaffa Nation.

    The Jaffa high priest Tolok referred to Teal’c as “Teal’c of the Tau’ri” — a significant statement about his home and his allegiances. Now Teal’c must consider whether to leave SG-1 and join his people in this formative time, or continue to fight for their cause alongside the Tau’ri.

  • Jacob CarterJacob Carter – Jacob is dead, along with his Tok’ra symbiote, Selmak. He knew that Selmak’s death was coming for weeks, but didn’t want to let him go because he thought he needed Selmak’s help to defeat the Replicators. It was because he held on that Jacob finally died with his symbiote, instead of surviving him.

    Jacob and Selmak were unable to repair their relationship with the Tok’ra leadership over the last year, and were thus unaware of any plans the Tok’ra may have about destroying the Dakara weapon. Nevertheless he remained respected by many of the Tok’ra to the end, several of whom came to Earth to pay their respects before Jacob and Selmak died.

  • AnubisAnubis – The powerful Anubis has finally been vanquished, having been engaged in eternal combat by Oma Desala. It was Oma who first helped him to ascend, after he managed to deceive her. Though he was allowed to affect the mortal world (and do anything he could have accomplished as a normal Goa’uld), he still existed in some form among the ascended beings — posing as a friendly man named Jim when Daniel arrived.

    Anubis apparently sees himself as an ascended being who, like Oma Desala, operates on the fringe of the Others’ rules (which he knows well). He thinks he really only differs from Oma in how far over the line they will go. As long as the Others don’t strike him down, he told Daniel, he figures he’s OK.

    Having retaken the planet Dakara and seized the powerful Ancient weapon there, Anubis was poised to use it to wipe out all life in our galaxy and refashion it to his own specifications. He was only stopped by Oma; supposedly neither can ever defeat the other. All of Anubis’s attention is therefore occupied, leaving him unable to continue his efforts to conquer the galaxy.

  • Oma DesalaOma Desala – Oma herself was responsible for Anubis’s ascension, having been tricked by the crafty Goa’uld. Once she learned what she had done she tried to undo it, but could not. Daniel pleaded Oma’s case before the Others, but was met with only silence. This is her punishment: to watch Anubis, helpless to do anything to stop him and his use of Ancient knowledge and technology to conquer the galaxy.

    Oma keeps breaking the same rule, helping people ascend; she is able to continue doing what she does because she is already being punished for it. Knowing that she is not able to defeat Anubis, she sacrificed herself to save our galaxy by locking Anubis in immortal combat on the higher plane of existence; their struggle will occupy both of them, perhaps forever. Oma may have made this choice as an atonement for her error in helping him to ascend in the first place. Because the Others never stepped in to correct her error, it was ultimately her only choice.

    As she herself once told Daniel, we can only control one thing in life: whether we are good or evil. She has chosen good.

  • SelmakSelmak – The Tok’ra Selmak is dead, along with his last host, Jacob Carter. Selmak died of old age, being nearly 2,000 years old and one of the oldest and wisest among the Goa’uld resistance movement. Fortunately, he did live just long enough to see what is likely the beginning of the end for the Goa’uld, and contributed to the final defeat of the Replicators before falling into a coma.
  • Pete ShanahanPete Shanahan – Pete busied himself planning his wedding to Samantha Carter, and even bought her dream house for them. He was deeply disappointed and hurt when she called off the wedding, though he confessed that it did not surprise him — he had simply thought that when she agreed to marry him Sam had dealt with her other issues (perhaps her relationship with Jack). Their relationship did not end well.
  • Bra'tacBra’tac – Bra’tac’s dream of seeing the Goa’uld defeated and all Jaffa freed is finally coming to pass. The destruction of the Replicators and the defeat of Anubis have helped to swell the ranks of the Jaffa resistance movement, and the Free Jaffa Nation has been formed. Its homeworld is to be the planet Dakara, and Bra’tac has been asked to serve on the new high council, the Jaffa ruling body. Is seems likely that he will accept.

    Bra’tac once again doubted that this time was for a man of his many years — but his friend Teal’c was quick to reassure him that he has many years left in which he will lead their people.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

  • Why didn’t Anubis modify the Stargate and use the Ancient weapon on Dakara himself long ago, when the planet was under his control?
  • Are there any Goa’uld still at large on Earth that Ms. Johnson and the C.I.A. have found?
  • How long were Jack and Kerry an item?
  • From where did the Jaffa intelligence come that Anubis was marshaling his forces on Tartarus? Are there Jaffa in the ranks of the rebels who are still loyal to Anubis?
  • Following the taking of Dakara and the disappearance of Anubis, will any Jaffa still remain loyal to the Goa’uld?
  • Are there any surviving Kull warriors? Will they find a new master, as they did with Baal the last time Anubis was defeated (“New Order, Part 1”)?
  • Will Baal or another Goa’uld seize what is left of Anubis’s armada?
  • Will Oma finally be able to defeat Anubis? Will he defeat her? Or will they be locked in eternal combat?
  • What caused the S.G.C.’s self-destruct countdown to stop? Did the Others do it?
  • How did Daniel get back to Earth? Did the Others return him to human form?
  • Did Daniel ascend for a second time before retaking human form, or were the Others able to restore his life without ascension?
  • Does Daniel retain the memory of what happened to him between the mortal and ascended worlds? Of what Replicator Carter helped him unlock of his previous ascended life? Did the Others change their modus operandi and allow him to keep all his memories? Why?

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • There are two versions of this episode. “Threads” originally aired in the U.S. and the U.K. as a special 90-minute episode. In cable reruns, U.S. syndication, and the original Region 1 DVD release, the episode was shortened to a standard, 1-hour version (with commercials) that edited out certain character development scenes.
  • “Michael Shanks is going to have a couple of good episodes of his own, and I guess the big thing that Daniel is going to do is to have a bit of a show-down with Anubis towards the end of the season.” (Executive producer Robert C. Cooper, in an interview with Cult Times magazine [#106, July 2004])
  • “We’re going to do a story this year where we’re going to kind of resolve the whole Daniel-Oma storyline, and what it was like for him to be ascended, and what the issues were. And hopefully when you see that episode it will feel like that story was always going to happen from the moment we first saw Oma.” (Executive producer Robert C. Cooper, in an interview with the Richard Dean Anderson Web Site)
  • “A LOT happens in this particular episode. So much so that Robert [Cooper] felt it would be better served in a 90-minute version.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at GateWorld Forum)
  • “‘Threads’ was running long, very long. It really found its length in the 90-minute version. It’s been a battle to get SCI FI and FOX on board to broadcast the 90-minute version so we didn’t have to cut it down to 42 [minutes]. So we ended up doing both versions.” (Executive producer Michael Greenburg, in a panel at London Film and Comic Con)
  • “And almost every story thread that wasn’t wrapped up in the previous episode gets wrapped up here: Anubis, Oma Desala, the Jaffa quest for freedom, Jacob/Selmak, stalker Pete, and Jack and Sam. Well, sort of in the case of the latter. We know both Jack and Sam end their standing relationships for, presumably, each other — but it’s not all that overt which, on the one hand, leaves the door open for future will they/won’t they but, on the other hand, is somewhat disappointing given that if there was ever an episode in which to get them together, this would have been it.

    “That aside, it was a terrific episode and executive producer Robert Cooper packed so much into the script that the usual 42 minute running time wasn’t able to contain it. As a result, a special 90-minute version was released (and later mistakenly omitted when the Season Eight DVD was released, much to the displeasure of most fans).” (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)