Crusade

Summary | Analysis | Questions | Production | Transcript

Vala Mal Doran makes contact with Stargate Command from the Ori home galaxy, and tells the story of her life undercover in a village of followers building the Ori's invasion fleet.

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OUR RATING -
FAN RATING - 8.12 
NIELSEN - 1.8 
EPISODE #919
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 03.03.06
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 05.07.07
DVD DISC: Season 9, Disc 5
WRITTEN BY: Robert C. Cooper
DIRECTED BY: Robert C. Cooper
GUEST STARS:

Claudia Black (Vala Mal Doran), Tim Guinee (Tomin), Daniella Evangelista (Denya), Garry Chalk (Chekov), Tamlyn Tomita (Shen Xiaoyi), Michael Ironside (Seevis), Doug Abrahams (Prior), Alex Dafoe (Halstrom), Dan Shea (Sgt. Siler)

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A very pregnant Vala Mal Doran, wearing green fatigues, strides purposefully down the corridor of the S.G.C. People greet her and she asks where Colonel Mitchell is. Informed that he’s in the men’s locker room, she goes in, admiring the many men in various states of undress. She barks at one and whistles at Mitchell. Wearing only a towel around his waist, he is shaving. Clearing the mirror, Mitchell sees Daniel Jackson, not Vala, staring at him with a seductive smile.

When Carter sees Jackson, exhibiting Vala mannerisms, she is pleased. They have been studying the effects of the Alteran communication stones and base terminal (Ancient long-range communication device) Mitchell and Teal’c disintegrated in the Stargate’s kawoosh — the device that Daniel and Vala used to inhabit the bodies of two people in the Ori’s distant home galaxy (“Avalon, Part 2,” “Origin”). Now Vala is able to use Daniel’s body to communicate from the Ori galaxy, where she has been living these past several months. She is, in effect, finally in his pants.

Mitchell, Carter, Teal’c, and General Landry listen as Vala, seated at a table where she is video taped, tells her story from the moment her transporter matter stream was drawn into the black hole (“Beachhead”). Landry notes that he and Daniel are to meet with the Russian and Chinese I.O.A. (International Oversight Advisory) representatives in just a few minutes.

Vala reveals that she woke up in a bed in the village of Ver Isca, a place like Ver Eger, where Harrid and Sallis (the people she and Daniel inhabited) lived in the Ori galaxy. A man named Tomin found her unconscious and thought her a gift from the gods. A lame, gentle, sweet, and lonely man, he was smitten with her.

Searching for a way back or a method of communication, Vala encountered Seevis, who served as both barkeep and village administrator. He is their most vehement defender of the religion of the Ori.

When Vala finds herself pregnant, to keep from being burned again, she quickly marries Tomin and convinces him he is the father of the child. In truth she does not know who the father of the baby is. Much to the team’s surprise, she tells them that she didn’t have relations with anyone and knows of no possible way she could be pregnant by natural means. Mitchell notes that Earth mythology does include such things, including some accounts of King Arthur himself.

Vala continues her story. A Prior has cured Tomin as the Ori conscript their followers in the tens of thousands and have them build ships in preparation for the coming crusade against our own galaxy. Raised from birth to revere the Ori, Tomin states that enemies of the Ori are evil and must be destroyed. Vala concludes that this will be an all-out war and that the warriors will not be swayed nor satisfied with anything less than total victory.

Landry is summoned to the conference room, where Russian officer Chekov and Chinese representative Shen Xiaoyi await. Chekov informs Landry of the Russian intention to take back their Stargate, on loan to the S.G.C. (“Redemption, Part 2”), when the treaty comes up for renegotiation in two weeks.

Vala, in her search for the anti-Ori underground she and Daniel found at Ver Eger, speaks with Denya, a barmaid and harlot at Seevis’s bar. She concludes that Denya is a member of the underground — but the woman may not be trustworthy, as Seevis soon accuses Vala of being an unbeliever. He chains her outside in the center of town, where she remains for three days with no food or water. Finally Tomin, after much consideration, defies Seevis and rescues her.

On one of those nights, she has a vision of herself lying in bed, looking up at a fiery, skull-like image manifesting itself on the canopy above her. She later hears a Prior tell Tomin that the baby is not his — but is the will of the Ori.

Needing more information, Vala follows Tomin. Near the shipyard and staging site for the new Ori fleet, Denya and Seevis approach Vala. They reveal that Seevis himself is the head of the anti-Ori underground, and that they chained her up to test her.

Aggravated by Chekov’s posturing, Landry cuts to the chase and discovers the new 304, a Daedalus-class ship nearing completion, will buy Russian support of the status quo in treaty renegotiations. In fact, he believes that the Russians have no intention of restarting a gate program; backed by the Chinese, they used the threat to secure their own ship.

Seevis is plotting to destroy the ships when they are activated by the ten Priors from Celestis at an upcoming celebration. Tens of thousands of Ori followers will die (including Tomin), depriving the Ori of those who would fight the crusade. But Seevis’s plan fails.

Tomin mentions that the “Day of Reckoning” is at hand — reminiscent of the recent message being preached by Priors in our galaxy. The Priors were only the first wave; the real crusade is about to begin. Vala reports that the Ori fleet is about to launch (from Ver Isca and many other planets) — meaning the Ori have a working Supergate.

Suddenly, Daniel — not Vala — asks what’s going on. Communication has been lost on Vala’s end. At Seevis’s bar, where Vala had been using an Alteran communication device, Tomin has shot and destroyed the device, and kills Seevis and Denya. But Vala convinces him that they forced her to use the device for them, and promises that she hasn’t betrayed him. As she must have help with their miracle baby, she will accompany him when he leaves for war.

Carter has the Asgard and Tok’ra search for Supergate activity. The Jaffa have their ships out looking as well. With most resources focused on locating the Supergate and preparing for battle, SG-1 asks for permission to search the address left by Merlin (“Arthur’s Mantle”) for the weapon designed to kill the ascended Ori themselves. With a nod, Landry sends them off into certain danger.

– S. Fetter

ANALYSIS

  • Stargate Command has been working on a way to artificially emulate the Alteran long-range communications device. Dr. Lee has found a way to mimic the frequency sent and received by the stones using the data he recorded from Daniel and Vala’s experience with the device (“Avalon, Part 2,” “Origin”) and a Tok’ra sub-space communicator.

    This enabled Vala to make a connection with Daniel (and speak through him) when she found an Alteran communications device in the distant Ori galaxy. The device connected her to Daniel because the data from the stone that he used was being utilized by the S.G.C.’s make-shift communicator.

  • Vala Mal Doran survived the destruction of the Ori Supergate, and her matter stream from the cargo ship’s ring transporter was pulled through to the Ori’s home galaxy. She woke up on the transport ring platform in a village called Ver Isca.
  • In Ori-worshiping societies such as Ver Isca, people with physical infirmities are looked down upon. Vala believed that Tomin was viewed by his people as unworthy of normalcy by the gods, so that’s how they treated him.
  • Seevis was doing his job by making sure the people of his village had every reason to prostrate before the Ori. By making plenty of room for sin and revelry at his bar, the people came to prostration with plenty to confess to their gods.
  • Vala was in the Ori galaxy long enough that she believes she has become pregnant without having sex.
  • The followers of the Ori are building ships and armies by the tens of thousands, according to the intel Vala has been able to learn. Ver Isca is one of many on a world among dozens like it. The Ori have been preparing their followers for a crusade since they encountered Daniel and Vala and learned of the presence of humans in our galaxy (“Origen”).
  • The Russians are threatening to take back the Stargate on loan to the S.G.C. (“Redemption, Part 2”). In truth, they have no intention of running their own gate program (“Watergate”), and made the threat against the U.S. government in order to secure a 304 battle cruiser. Their treaty with the United States is to come up for renewal in two weeks’ time.

    Had Russia been sincere in its desire to take over the Stargate, China apparently intended to back them (financially and politically) — and had in fact offered to do so. This may have been the future of the Stargate program to which Shen Xiaoyi, the Chinese representative to the I.O.A., recently alluded to Daniel (“The Scourge”).

  • The anti-Ori underground of which Fannis was a leader extends beyond his village to others, and probably to other plans (we do not know if Ver Eger and Ver Isca are on the same planet).
  • Vala suspected that the Ori are responsible for her pregnancy. During her three days chained up in the village square, she had a dream of a face of fire appearing over her bed. She also questions Denya about the notion of the Ori giving someone a child as a miracle.

    Overhearing the Prior’s words to Tomin confirmed her suspicions: the child is “the will of the Ori,” according to the Prior.

  • Seevis is not only a part of the anti-Ori underground — he was its leader before his death. His role as the pro-Ori taskmaster of his village was a cover to protect his true intentions. He and the underground were planning to destroy the ships being built for the invasion of our galaxy before they could take off.

    But the plan was not only to set back ship construction: a massive chain reaction of explosions was to be set off during a great gathering, when tens of thousands of the Ori followers — those who built the ships and those who would soon board them — would be present to watch each Prior activate a ship. Gods cannot be gods, Seevis suggested, without people gazing upward in worship. The resistance movement intended to strike a blow to the powerful, ascended beings by wiping out their human followers.

  • The anti-Ori underground has spies among the monks in the city of Celestis, the capital of the Ori civilization where Daniel and Vala were taken (“Origin”). The monks are in training to become Priors.
  • When the Alteran long-range communications device was taken by the Prior from Ver Eger, one of the monks smuggled it out of Celestis to Seevis in Ver Isca.
  • Because the Priors in our galaxy have started preaching that the final “Day of Reckoning” is coming soon, and because the ships and armies of Ver Isca are preparing to launch on the Ori’s holy war, Vala and SG-1 reasonably conclude that the Ori have created a working Supergate somewhere in our galaxy. Their first attempt was destroyed (“Beachhead”), but it stands to reason that when they tried again Earth and its allies would not necessarily be able to find it before it was completed.
  • The Ori ships appear to have a central power core that is within a large ring in the external center of the ship. When the ships were first activated, this portion of the vessels began to glow brightly.
  • The hunt is on for the anti-Ori weapon that Merlin created (“Arthur’s Mantle”), a weapon capable of killing ascended beings. But at this point it is only a hope that it will avert the coming war. The Ori themselves, after all, are not coming to our galaxy — it is their human followers in very powerful ships. Should SG-1 find the weapon and a way to use it against the ascended Ori themselves, they hope that this alone will convince the followers of the Ori that they are not gods.

    It is a long shot, to be sure. Should they succeed, the Ori armies could just as likely try and wipe out the inhabitants of our galaxy in retribution, rather than converting them to worship.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

  • Do the Ori really have a Supergate working in our galaxy? Where is it? Will it be found before the Ori fleet comes through — and if so, is there any way to stop it?
  • Will SG-1 find Merlin’s weapon on the planet to which they are going?
  • What will become of the anti-Ori underground now that Seevis is dead?
  • Does Tomin believe that Vala is telling the truth, that she is still loyal to him?
  • What is the Ori’s plan for Vala’s child? Is it even human?

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • “Crusade” is the Stargate SG-1 directorial debut of Robert C. Cooper, who serves as an executive producer and the series “show runner.” Cooper also wrote the episode.
  • “Rob is working on ‘Crusade,’ which will see the return of THAT CHARACTER with a major revelation (which I won’t reveal at the moment so you’ll just have to wait for the SCI FI promo). Rob will not only be writing and producing, but directing the episode as well. I’ve already told him I expect nothing less than the greatest episode of Stargate SG-1 EVER! Anything less will be a disappointment. No pressure.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “Robert did a great job with his directorial debut. Some great shots and overall great moments in this one. Of course, he was helped by some amazing performances, and some equally amazing lighting by Peter Woeste. Its nice to have Claudia back.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “We will see Claudia at the S.G.C. but also some very funny sequences of Michael Shanks playing Vala as Daniel Jackson who is otherwise occupied throughout this episode.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at GateWorld Forum)
  • “It’s an interesting turn for Vala — she genuinely cares for the man [Tomin]. She does something wrong, but she must in order to survive.”

    Vala’s pregnancy in this story was fortuitous, with actress Claudia Black herself giving birth to a child in December, 2005, a few months after the episode was filmed. “I was so worried the producers were going to be disappointed,” Black said. The actress had hoped to return to the series after her six-episode stint at the beginning of the season — at the time filling in for series regular Amanda Tapping, who was herself on maternity leave.

    As it turned out, executive producer Robert C. Cooper — who wrote and directed “Crusade” — had been thinking about bringing back Vala … and using pregnancy as a way to introduce a new villain. (Watch for that in the Season Ten premiere, “Flesh and Blood.”) (Actress Claudia Black, in an interview with TV Guide)

  • “Actress Claudia Black returns in time for executive producer Robert C. Cooper’s directorial debut. An ambitious episode that delivers action, humor, and [pathos]. It also marks the introduction of the Ori warship. My first reaction to the design: ‘Uh, it looks like a flying toilet seat.’ One of the rare instances where my input was NOT appreciated.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)