Origin

Summary | Analysis | Notes | Characters | Questions | Production | Transcript | In the Making | Review

Daniel comes face to face with the Ori, a fiery race of beings who demand the worship of mortals. Elsewhere, Stargate Command encounters the first Ori missionary in our galaxy.

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OUR RATING -
FAN RATING - 8.06 
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EPISODE #903
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 07.29.05
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 10.02.06
DVD DISC: Season 9, Disc 1
WRITTEN BY: Robert C. Cooper
DIRECTED BY: Brad Turner
GUEST STARS:

Claudia Black (Vala), Larry Cedar (Prior), Gary Jones (Sergeant Harriman), Bill Dow (Dr. Lee), Mark Houghton, April Amber Telek (Sallis), Steven Park (Harrid), Richard Dean Anderson (General Jack O’Neill), Julian Sands (Doci), Lexa Doig (Dr. Lam), Louis Gossett Jr. (Gerak), Paul Moniz De Sá (Fannis), Greg Anderson (Administrator), Gardiner Millar (Yat’Yir), Penelope Corrin (Dr. Lindsay)

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The mysterious Prior of the Ori takes Daniel and Vala by ring transporter to the city of the gods on the Plains of Celestis and locks them away in a dining hall with a copy of the Book of Origin. Back in our galaxy, a Prior is sent to convert the first world in the Milky Way to the Origin religion.

Dr. Lam reports Vala and Daniel’s life signs are stable and consistent. General Landry’s interest has peaked over the rise of the Jaffa Gerak. He requests that Teal’c extend an olive branch so that they can meet. Meanwhile, the anthropologist stationed on P3X-421 has reported that a man has stepped through the gate and started spouting words of an alien religion. Landry sends Mitchell with SG-12 to investigate.

Daniel has continued to read the Book of Origin, and is making headway into its iconic centerpieces, including the importance of fire. The Prior arrives to ask that they give him names of other individuals from the village of Ver Eger who have wandered beyond the Origin faith. Daniel, however, insists that he speak with the Doci, the chief Prior and mouth of the Ori.

Jackson is granted the audience (with Vala left behind in the dining hall), but he encounters the same opposition as he did with the Prior. Daniel explains his position and his feelings about ascension, that we should all be able to get there of our own free will, but the comments fall on deaf ears. The Doci takes him to the Flames of Enlightenment, a great chasm of fire within the city. There, an Ori possesses the Doci and turns to speak to Daniel. “All will know the power of the Ori.”

Back on Earth, Gerak arrives to meet General Landry. The General is eager to begin negotiations for an official treaty with the new Jaffa Nation, but Gerak is preoccupied with the presence of an Ori Prior whom Mitchell and SG-12 has returned from 421. He wishes to hear his claims and challenge him.

Daniel returns to Vala with the bad news. Priors will be sent into the Milky Way to convert all people, and if they don’t see the light, they will be cleansed. The Prior returns to the Doci and is given orders to return Daniel and Vala to Ver Eger. Worried that their return will uncover Fannis and his entire resistance, they remain in their home — until Farris comes to them, demanding that they allow his help. He has known for some time that he may give his life for the cause of truth.

Fannis takes Daniel and Vala to a hidden crate on the other side of Ver Eger. Inside is another Ancient long-range communication device Taking the two stones Vala found, she and Daniel plug them into this device, and briefly wake up on Earth to spread the warning about the deadly Priors.

Daniel and Vala’s consciousnesses are sucked back into Harrid and Sallis’s bodies, only to witness a Prior wave his hand, choking Fannis. Daniel is flung against the wall, unable to stop the slaughter. Once Fannis is dead, Daniel and Vala are taken to the Ara to be burned to death.

The moment that they returned to their bodies was a useful one. Mitchell and a team of guards return to the briefing room where the Prior has been explaining Origin, only this time they point guns in his direction. Gerak demands an explanation. An SF removes the Prior’s staff, but he returns it with a wave of his hand, sacrificing himself in flame until he is gone.

Daniel and Vala’s heart rates rise as they are tied down on the Ara, the channel of flame approaching them. Despite Dr. Lee’s warnings about removing the device to another planet (it would not end the connection), Mitchell and Teal’c carry the long-range communicator through the S.G.C. to the Gate Room. As the Stargate’s unstable energy vortex emerges the two men fling the device into it, disintegrating it.

Daniel and Vala are returned, leaving Harrid and Sallis likely to burn on the Ara.

At the request of the Doci, the Ver Egen administrator arrives to gaze upon the Flames of Enlightenment. An energy field washes over him, transforming him into a Prior. “Great holy armies shall be gathered and trained to fight all evil,” says the Doci. “Ships shall be built to carry Ori warriors out amongst the stars and they shall spread Origin to all believers.”

Vala uses a crystal key to release the bracelets from her and Daniel. Landry calls them to a meeting, where Daniel admits he is unsure whether or not the Ancients will continue to use their powers to prevent the Ori from attacking the Milky Way directly. But the Priors will still come. They will offer to people what will seem like proof of God. Landry insists to let them come, to use our strengths against their weaknesses.

Major General Jack O’Neill arrives in Daniel’s office after finishing up a meeting with Landry. Daniel tells him that for the first time he’s scared of the outcome, but Jack insists that he is hungry and the two go to eat.

O’Neill takes Mitchell up for a joyride in an F-302. There, he tells him that SG-1 will be fine. Mitchell kicks on the afterburners.

– D. Read

ANALYSIS

  • The Ori have transport rings! Because transport ring technology works on the same principle as the Stargate, but over shorter distances (“The Devil You Know”), this is evidence that the Stargates were invented by the Ancients (Alterans) before they left their home galaxy to come to ours. The Ori may have even had a part in its creation.

    It is therefore likely that the Ori have Stargates as well. Presumably that’s how the Prior got to the planet in our galaxy, as he arrives through a gate. The fact that their gate system works with our galaxy’s Ancient-built gate network is further evidence that the Ancients developed Stargate technology before coming to our galaxy. (It is extremely unlikely that the two advanced cultures developed the identical technology independent of one another.)

  • The powerful servants of the Ori are called “Priors.” Each Prior bears a staff, which appears to be a technology capable of many different functions, and which the Prior can activate and utilize with some sort of mental interface. One of the Priors’ primary functions seems to be to serve as missionaries for Origin, the religion that has the Ori as its object of worship.
  • Teal’c and Bra’tac have been pushing for democracy for the new Free Jaffa Nation.
  • The Ori teach meditation on one’s worth and significance, a path of righteousness towards a state of higher being — very likely ascension. This is not entirely dissimilar from the Ancients’ way of doing things, though unlike the Ori the Ancients do not seek followers nor do they promise ascension as a reward.
  • The central icon of the Ori religion is fire — something that provides light, energy, and warmth. Daniel suspects that the Ancients may have had something to do with fire becoming associated with evil on Earth.
  • Free will is an important concept both to the Ancients and to the Ori, and both desire that individuals seek the truth of the universe themselves in order to find enlightenment. But the Ori insist that men and women’s free will lead them to worship of the Ori as the true path to enlightenment.
  • The Prior who was sent to our galaxy apparently knew about Daniel Jackson and Earth even before Jackson revealed these things to the Doci. Is the Prior in continual communication with those who sent him, even from so many light years away? More likely is that the Priors’ supernatural abilities include telepathy, and they read Daniel’s mind upon meeting him and briefed the emmissary who was to be sent.
  • The Doci is the leader of the Priors, the one who “speaks the word of the Ori.” He also serves as a vehicle for the Ori to speak directly with mortals; they are able to possess his body, causing a change of voice and the appearance of fire in the eyes (not unlike the Goa’uld).
  • Each Prior has unique scarification on his chin and left cheek. What is the significance of these marks? Might they signify different orders? (The Doci has an additional scarring on his forehead and below his right eye.)
  • The followers of the Ori not only preach their religion to others — they destroy those who refuse to convert. The Doci declared, “Those who reject the path to enlightenment must be destroyed.” In the Ori religion that path is not simply seeking to better one’s self, or ascension, but is rather the worship of the Ori.
  • The Ori call the Alterans — the Ancients we know — evil, as “those who abandoned the path.” It is reasonable to conclude that the falling out between the Ancients and the Ori occurred either because the Ancients refused to worship them, or because they were not actively seeking ascension as the Ori were.
  • The Ancients ascended at some point in their evolution, possibly long after they left the Ori behind in their home galaxy. Yet the Ori regard them as “those who abandoned the path.” It is reasonable to conclude that the falling out between the Ancients and the Ori occurred either because the Ancients refused to worship them, or because they were not actively seeking ascension as the Ori were. Perhaps it was this very dispute over the pursuit of ascension that precipitated the Alterans’ departure. In that case, it seems likely that the Ori learned to ascend much sooner. (Daniel believes they are like the Ancients, but with a greater understanding of the universe.)
  • “They shielded you” the Doci tells Daniel. The Ancients obstructed the truth of the universe from humans (ascension and the worship of the Ori as gods), and hid the existence of humans in the Milky Way Galaxy from the Ori. Now the Ori want to make their power known to us, and apparently to be worshipped. The Ancients have been preventing the Ori from finding out that we existed — that they seeded human life in the Milky Way Galaxy.

    It is likely that the Ori also know nothing about the hundreds of planets the Ancients seeded with human life in the Pegasus Galaxy (Atlantis: “Rising”) and, potentially, in other galaxies as well.

  • General Landry is hoping for a formal treaty between Earth and the Free Jaffa Nation, eventually. He recommends that the two work together to prevent chaos in the galaxy in the wake of the collapse of the Goa’uld, as other forces vie for power and attempt to take advantage of the religious vacuum. Gerak reports that some groups have already begun to do just that.
  • The Ori claim to be the creators of the humans living on their world — and perhaps they are. They may have seeded a second evolution of human-form life in their galaxy, just as the Ancients did in the Milky Way and Pegasus Galaxies. Fannis only said that they have discovered the existence of humans that predate their alleged creation by the Ori — no doubt the Alterans.
  • The Ori believe that all humans should worship them because they are ascended. Now that the Ori have found out about human life in our galaxy, they intend to convert us to this system of worship as well. “Evil [the Ancients] has raised a great many unbelievers in a far off place,” the Doci proclaims upon launching a crusade. “They must be shown the path.”
  • The followers of the Ori have advanced technology and knowledge (no doubt given to them by the Ori themselves), but they do not have much in the way of ships. The Doci ordered a fleet to be constructed in order to travel from their galaxy to our own. They apparently rely primarily upon the Stargate for travel between planets in their galaxy — assuming there are other populated worlds there.
  • The Ori have probably had some contact with the Ancients since the Ancients ascended. They already knew before meeting Daniel and Vala that there were other humans out there who do not worship them — the Alterans, who left for the Milky Way Galaxy long ago. It is possible that the Ori came to try and convert them after the Ori ascended, as until now they apparently knew of no unascended humans in our galaxy. Could the ascension of the Ori have even played a role in the ascension of the Ancients?

    If the Alterans left their home galaxy as mortals because of the Ori’s push for ascension and worship, the Alterans could have averted a later war by ascending themselves and evenly matching the power of the Ori.

  • It was Daniel and Vala’s arrival that tipped off the Ori to the existence of humans in the Milky Way Galaxy — putting them all in great danger. Ascended beings are certainly not all-knowing, as Daniel affirmed when he was ascended (“Abyss”). But the Doci states that the Ancients were actively shielding the knowledge of human life in the Milky Way from the Ori — and thus that, without this protection, the Ori in their ascended state would have discovered us even so far away.

    But if the Ori, as ascended beings, have a measure of omnipresence (as the Ancients do), can they now extend that to the Milky Way Galaxy — now that they have a reason to be here?

  • The Priors are apparently highly-evolved humans — what a Goa’uld would call “hok’taurs” — probably thanks to the Ori. They have been given powers and technology by the Ori to perform miracles, in order to convert unbelievers. The Priors are powerfully telekinetic. While the advanced technology in their staffs may be involved in their supernatural abilities (as when the Prior resurrected Vala in “Avalon, Part 2”), they also appear to be genetically advanced.
  • Daniel believes that the Ancients will protect Earth and our galaxy from direct attack by the Ori — but not from their followers. They won’t stop the Priors from trying to convert people to worship the Ori, or from using their powers.
  • If ascension is the final goal of the Ori religion, it is interesting that they employ mortal beings — Priors and the Doci — as their servants. Are these servants still working their way to ascension, or are the Ori deliberately keeping them from reaching that level? It is certainly advantageous to them that they have these mortal “warriors” now, since the Ancients would stop them from acting in our galaxy themselves.
  • Mitchell and Teal’c destroyed the Ancient communications device by throwing it into the Stargate’s “kawoosh,” the unstable vortex created when a wormhole is established. This had the advantage of protecting the base from any explosion that would have been caused by shooting or blowing up the device, since the entire thing was instantly atomized.
  • What is the purpose of the Ancient communications device? There was one on Earth and one on the Ori’s planet, implying that the Ancients and Ori may have been in contact with one another at some point after their separation (but prior to their ascension).
  • The followers of the Ori are on the way. Thanks to the arrival of Daniel and Vala, they have been tipped off to the existence of a great multitude of humans in our galaxy. They see it as their religious duty to convert all mortal beings to the religion of the Ori, and are now building ships to carry their warriors to our galaxy to spread Origin.
  • The powers of the Ori are not false. Whereas the Goa’uld were simply parasitic beings with a better understanding of technology who used that to pose as gods, as ascended beings the Ori are able to act as gods. Their arrival in our galaxy could not have come at a worse time, with the downfall of the Goa’uld leaving countless societies open to seeking a “true” religion in which the gods can demonstrate their power.

NOTES

  • Gerak was once the First Prime of Montu, a minor Goa’uld who once served Ra and later fell in with Baal when Ra was killed (“Stargate” the Movie). After the fall of the Goa’uld, Baal’s armada was led by a Jaffa named Hubrok — an ally of Bra’tac who would have supported their desire to reform the Jaffa Nation with democracy. But about four months ago Hubrok disappeared, and Gerak emerged as spokesperson for the more traditional ways of the Jaffa High Council. The council has played into Gerak’s hands through a number of slow and careful manipulations. Teal’c suspects Gerak had something to do with Hubrok’s disappearance.
  • “Origin” is the name of the Ori religion.
  • The Ori exist in a great wall of fire called the “Flames of Enlightenment” on the planet visited by Daniel and Vala, in Celestis, the “city of the gods.”
  • Teal’c is still keeping track of how many times SG-1 has saved the world (“The Other Guys”).
  • SG-12’s Dr. Lindsay was among those interviewed by Colonel Mitchell for SG-1 (“Avalon, Part 1”).

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

  • Daniel JacksonDaniel Jackson – Daniel has made contact with an ancient, ascended, and extremely powerful species — and now has to face the fact that he is responsible for the Ori having learned about the existence of human life in the Milky Way Galaxy. Their servants are now on their way to spread their religion, destroying all those who refuse to worship the Ori as true gods. Only months after the defeat of the Goa’uld, a terrible new threat — much greater than the Goa’uld — has emerged, and it’s largely because of Daniel’s actions.

    For the first time, Daniel is scared. He’s always thought before that they had someone looking out for them, and they always won when they went up against the Goa’uld. The Ori are a much more dangerous, much less managable threat.

  • Cameron MitchellCameron Mitchell – Mitchell hasn’t picked a team yet, and is hoping he won’t have to. He’s no doubt still hoping that he’ll be able to convince the original members of SG-1 (Carter, Teal’c, and Daniel) to rejoin the team.
  • GerakGerak – Gerak, the new leader of the Free Jaffa Nation and a rival of Teal’c, made his first official state visit to Stargate Command on Earth. He met General Hank Landry, though the General found it difficult to break the ice with the hard and determined old warrior. Upon learning of the Prior of the Ori and his mission to preach false gods to those who have just been freed from Goa’uld domination, Gerak was eager to challenge the missionary face-to-face. It remains to be seen whether he will be a new ally for Stargate Command, or a new foe.
  • Jack O'NeillJack O’Neill – Though he has left Stargate Command and moved away from his home in Colorado Springs, Jack hasn’t retired. He is in uniform in this episode, and had a briefing with Landry. He has apparently taken reassignment and is involved with the S.G.C. at a higher level (probably Homeworld Security). He has also since been promoted to Major General.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

  • Did the Ancients have something to do with fire becoming associated with evil on Earth?
  • Why did the Prior choose P3X-421 to gate to, of all worlds? Clearly the Ori’s goal was to make contact with Earth. How did the Ori know that an SG team would soon be visiting that world?
  • Even after learning of Earth from Daniel, how did the Priors know where it is located in the universe?
  • Are there female Priors?
  • Do the Priors maintain any sort of unique identity after this conversion at the hands of the Ori, such as individual names?
  • Is there just one Doci in existence, or are there many at this level?
  • Were the Ancients and the Ori not from the same root species before their separation and ascension? The Ori regard the Alterans — the Ancients’ original name — to be evil, implying that they themselves were not Alterans before their ascension.
  • The Prior at the S.G.C. vanished in fire. Did he ascend, or die, or was he otherwise taken back to his galaxy by the Ori?
  • Will the Ancients continue to protect us from the Ori in any way?
  • Did the Ancients have further dealings with the Ori after they left their home galaxy? Did the ascension of the Ori play a role in the ascension of the Ancients?
  • How long will it take the servants of the Ori to construct a fleet and depart for our galaxy? When will they arrive?
  • Will any of the Ori themselves make the journey to oversee the crusade? Or can they already survey our part of space through omnipresence? Or would their direct involvement prompt the Ancients to involve themselves?

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • Production goof: When the seventh chevron locks as Mitchell and Teal’c are about to throw the Ancient communication device into the Stargate vortex, the address displayed on the dialing computer changes.
  • “One of the things we’re going to be exploring in Season Nine is the origin of the Ancients and the Gatebuilders. And it’s something I know fans have been sort of very curious about, and have sort of asked to see. And that is one of the things we’re really going to be delving into: Who the Ancients really are, and where they came from, and we may even get a chance to go there.” (Executive producer Robert C. Cooper, in an interview with Sci Fi Wire)
  • “To be honest, a lot of the old stories get wrapped up in the back half of Season Eight. However, in wrapping up these storylines, we’ve opened up the possibilities of new storylines — especially so far as Teal’c and Daniel are concerned.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in an interview with Stargate-Project.com)
  • “Looking ahead, we’re going to have our hands full with a whole new villain.” “I don’t want to give to much away — but suffice it to say this new enemy would kick the Goa’uld and Replicators’ butts. We’re going to have our hands full.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at GateWorld Forum)
  • “Check out ‘Avalon II’ and ‘Origin’ in which Daniel takes center stage and ‘opens up a huuuuge can of worms.’ … I think Michael [Shanks] was terrific in the opening three-parter, but especially so in ‘Origin.’ We see Daniel Jackson run the emotional gamut, from flip and fun to fearful and despairing.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at GateWorld Forum)
  • “The main story arc that will drive most of the action through the show’s ninth season and (hopefully) beyond will be inextricably linked to Daniel, his past experience with the Ancients, and his experiences in the opening three-parter.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at GateWorld Forum)
  • “O’Neill’s increasing arrogance with regard to the Goa’uld developed over the many years he had to deal with them. In the case of the Mitchell character, he is the new kid on the block — going up against the new villain on the block in the Ori. His attitude will be decidedly different.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a message at GateWorld Forum)
  • “With Jack O’Neill transferred to Washington, the S.G.C. found itself under the command of General Hank Landry played by veteran actor Beau Bridges. Beau reminded me a lot of Robert Picardo (Richard Woolsey) — both were very successful, incredibly experienced, and always made it a point to come by our offices to run prospective dialogue changes by us rather than simply surprising us in the dailies. Like Bob, Beau would always make the time to come up and see us to request even the tiniest of changes. Both of them were class acts and I have nothing but terrific memories of working with them.” (Writer/producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)