Teal'c is reunited with his lost love -- a woman who claims to have found a way to communicate with her symbiote and defeat the Goa'uld.
An incoming wormhole is established with Earth, and the S.G.C. receives Bra'tac's iris code. They open the iris, but it is not Teal'c's Jaffa master who steps through. Bra'tac has sent Shau'nac, a Jaffa priestess with an astonishing claim. She tells General Hammond and SG-1 that she has found a way to communicate with her larval Goa'uld symbiote, and convinced it to betray the secrets of the Goa'uld.
The team is skeptical, of course -- especially when Shau'nac asks to be taken to the Tok'ra, so that her symbiote may join them.
Teal'c appears to know her quite well. In fact, he and Shau'nac were in love many years ago, before she went to the temple to become a priestess. During her time there, she learned to communicate with her symbiote through a dangerously deep state of kelnorim, a Jaffa meditation technique.
But even with his past feelings for Shau'nac, not even Teal'c believes her. Shau'nac's life is in mortal danger, however -- so the team must find a way to determine whether or not she is telling the truth. Her symbiote has fully matured, and is ready for a host. Unless one can be found soon, it will be forced to leave her body and find one. Without a new larva to replace it, Shau'nac will die.
SG-1 contacts the Tok'ra, and Anise comes to Earth to investigate. After meeting Shau'nac, she decides to present her case to the Tok'ra high council with a recommendation that they accept the symbiote into their ranks. Because mostof the Tok'ra have been out of the Goa'uld gene pool for thousands of years, the genetic memories and knowledge that a new defector could bring is invaluable.
Teal'c attempts to discover if, in fact, communication between symbiote and Jaffa is possible. He enters a deep state of kelnorim, where he is shown a vision by his own symbiote. It is the memory (held by the larval Goa'uld through the genetic memory of their race) of the murder of Teal'c's father at the hand of the System Lord Cronus.
Teal'c goes to Shau'nac with the news, and after an argument about Teal'c having left Chulak, they fall into each other's arms.
The next morning, the Tok'ra send word: the high council has accepted Shau'nac's offer. She goes with SG-1 to the planet Vorash, where the Tok'ra secret base is located. There, she meets Hebron of Parabel -- a young man who has volunteered to be host to her symbiote. His people were enslaved by the Goa'uld generations ago, and Hebron is anxious to join the Tok'ra cause.
Shau'nac's time has run out. The symbiote within her enters Hebron through the front of his throat. Shau'nac is given a new larval symbiote, which the Tok'ra managed to secure for her at Teal'c's request. Although the larva is very young, she should recover.
The symbiote now within Hebron identifies himself as Tanith, and pledges his loyalty to the Tok'ra. He is willing to share all of their secrets, at the appropriate time. SG-1 returns to Earth after Anise refuses to allow O'Neill to interrogate Tanith.
Back at the S.G.C., Teal'c notifies Hammond and his team that he is resigning. If all Jaffa can be taught to communicate with their symbiotes, he says, then the days of the Goa'uld are truly numbered. He intends to return to Chulak with Shau'nac and teach her method in every village.
On Vorash, Shau'nac visits Tanith to finally speak face-to-face with the one she has taught for so many years. Tanith, though, reveals his true intent to her. He is a Goa'uld, and has been manipulating her as an opportunity to infiltrate the Tok'ra. Tanith kills her on the spot.
Teal'c's plans to leave are cut short when the Tok'ra return to Earth with Shau'nac's body. Anise tells them that the young larval Goa'uld given to her was simply not strong enough to repair her body, and she died. Teal'c is devastated.
Later, while again meditating to communicate with his symbiote, Teal'c sees more of the same vision. His father was murdered when Cronus crushed his larval symbiote within his belly pouch. The blood of the symbiote mixed with the blood of Teal'c's father, literally poisoning him. His death was a slow and painful one.
Teal'c suspects that Shau'nac may have been murdered. They check her body, and find blood from her new symbiote in her bloodstream and on her fingers. Tanith killed her in the same way that Cronus killed Teal'c's father many years ago.
SG-1 returns to Vorash, with Teal'c intending to take revenge on Tanith. But the Tok'ra will not allow it, and restrain him. Anise and the others suspected that Tanith was deceiving them after they found Shau'nac's body. But so long as the young Goa'uld believe she has them convinced, they can use that against him. The Tok'ra can manage the amount of information that he knows and leaks to the Goa'uld, and benefit from it.
Teal'c meets Tanith again -- but for the good of the Tok'ra's war against the Goa'uld, here strains himself from killing him. Tanith believes he has succeeded. Teal'c promises him that they will meet again.
There is presently great unrest on Chulak, Teal'c's homeworld. Although the majority of the Jaffa population has worshipped the Goa'uld Apophis as a god for generations, he recently attacked the planet and slaughtered many of them ("Maternal Instinct"). Bra'tac apparently remains a leader there, and is presumably trying to convince the people that Apophis is a false god.
A Jaffa and his or her larval Goa'uld symbiote exchange hormones and electrical impulses, making possible an almost subconscious communication. Through very deep meditation, the Jaffa host can learn to raise that communication to a conscious level. The two do not communicate in words, but through feelings. The symbiote is capable of showing the host images and visions. According to Teal'c, the human subconscious becomes one with the symbiote's subconscious during the kelnorim mediation ("Holiday").
The Goa'uld have always taught their Jaffa that communication with their symbiote is not possible, since they do not want them influencing their offspring.
The Goa'uld have a genetic memory, and pass on their knowledge to future generations biologically. The majority of the Tok'ra, however, left the gene pool over 2,000 years agowhen their movement began. The genetic memory provided by a new defector would be very valuable.
Although the Goa'uld genetic memory has not been elaborated on yet, it seems reasonable that a newborn symbiote does not miraculously contain all the knowledge and memories of every Goa'uld that has existed before it -- but only those of the one(s) who spawned it. A symbiote from Apophis's line, then, would know little or nothing of Cronus, or Sokar, or Nirrti. Otherwise, Goa'uld would constantly find advantages over each other -- a newborn symbiote would mean insider information on enemy Goa'uld. This is obviously not the case.
Because Teal'c's symbiote (which he received on Chu'lak less than three years ago ["Bloodlines"]) contains memories of Cronus, it should be fair to assume that his symbiote was spawned from the line of Cronus, or of another Goa'uld who was present when Teal'c's father was killed. It should be an interesting story to one day learn how a larval symbiote from Cronus' line made it to the homeworld of Apophis's Jaffa, since the two are mortal enemies.
The Tok'ra are slowly dwindling in numbers because of a lack of hosts, as well as death in battle (they do not use the healing powers of the sarcophagus ["The Tok'ra, Part 1"]).
Earth's changing relationship with the Tok'ra is ironic. The alliance originally came about because Earth could offer potential hosts -- terminally ill patients who could be healed by a Tok'ra symbiote ("The Tok'ra, Part 2"). Now, it is the Tok'ra who manage to secure a host for a symbiote brought by the S.G.C. If the Tok'ra can secure their own, willing hosts, what do they really need with Earth? This may be one factor behind the strained relationship between the two groups.
Though the S.G.C. does not have a method of contacting the Tok'ra at will, they do know the current location of the group -- the planet Vorash ("Jolinar's Memories"). This is likely how they were able to contact the Tok'ra with Shau'nac's request.
The Tok'ra tunnels on Vorash look different than the crystaline tunnels they grew on previous planets ("The Tok'ra, Part 1", "Into the Fire"). The technology that grows the tunnels apparently can create varied designs, or has been modified.
Could Tanith not have taken Shau'nac as his host? The Goa'uld act as the host's immune system -- they can cure many illnesses and injuries of the host, whether they are immature larva or fully mature symbiotes. Teal'c stated in "1969" that his symbiote would eventually take him over if it matured and could not have a host. It seems reasonable that the Goa'uld would take his Jaffa as a host only as a last resort, with no other host available -- perhaps for physical reasons (not being able to repair the Jaffa's destroyed immune system very easily), or for personal reasons (regarding the Jaffa as slaves).
The Goa'uld either name themselves, or are born with names somehow inherent to them. Tanith, only now fully matured and placed within his first host, stated his name to the Tok'ra and SG-1.
The Tok'ra-Earth alliance is growing more and more strained, since Anise refused to allow SG-1 to question Tanith about the Goa'uld. Jack is becoming increasingly vocal about his dissatisfaction with the alliance.
The Tok'ra suspected after Shau'nac's death that Tanith was deceiving them. They intend on using him for months, managing the information he is given (and leaking to the Goa'uld). Then they will try to extract additional Goa'uld secrets by other means, and thento extract the symbiote and save the host.
Teal'c - As a child, Teal'c was the strongest and bravest among his peers. Many did not doubt that he would one day become first prime of Apophis.
Teal'c was reunited with his lost love, but lost her again. (He was also apparently intimate with her, although he has a wife and son.) Set on exacting revenge on the Goa'uld who killed her, Teal'c was convinced to overlook the crime in the face of Tanith, for the good of the Tok'ra cause.
Before Shau'nac's death, Teal'c intended to leave Earth and join her in teaching Jaffa how to communicate with their symbiotes. His primary motivation continues to be the final defeat of the Goa'uld, by whatever means are most promising. This is the first time, however, that he believed he could better accomplish this apart from SG-1. Presumably, he will choose to stay with SG-1 now that Shau'nac is dead and Tanith's true nature has been revealed.
Jack O'Neill - Jack is growing increasingly frustrated with the Tok'ra-Earth alliance, and distrustful of the Tok'ra in general. He likes Freya, Anise's human host -- but is not as fond of talking with Anise. He is also not sure how far he can trust her.
O'Neill is amused, though, to learn that Bra'tac (Teal'c's Jaffa master) thinks of him as Teal'c's apprentice.
Anise - Anise appears to be a leader among the Tok'ra. But she is protective of the Tok'ra cause, to the extent of withholding intelligence from Earth.
Tanith - Tanith is a very young Goa'uld, only recently reaching adulthood. His host's name is Hebron. Tanith is evil to the core, and is a self-appointed spy amongst the Tok'ra -- though they are fully aware of this.
Cronus - The Goa'uld System Lord Cronus killed Teal'c's father by crushing the Goa'uld larva within him, causing the blood of the symbiote to poison Teal'c's father's system. It was a slow and tremendously painful death.
"Kalmah" is the Jaffa word for "child."
A Goa'uld symbiote is capable of neutralizing a sedative given to its host.
A Jaffa in kelnorim can meditate so deeply as to stop his heart and die. The practice is forbidden.
The Tok'ra movement was started by Queen Egeria more than 2,000 years ago. Egeria was known as the goddess of fountains and of childbirth. She broke from the Goa'uld and went to Earth to stop the Goa'uld from taking humans through the Stargate as slaves. She was an advisor to the Roman leader Numa Pompilius before she was found and killed by Ra.
Egeria's offspring became the Tok'ra, and a very few Goa'uld came over to their side -- butnone have defected from the Goa'uld in the last several hundred years.
There are no Jaffa within the Tok'ra ranks.
What was the extent of Teal'c relationship with Shau'nac in the past?
Have other Jaffa communicated with their symbiotes?
How aware is Teal'c's symbiote of who he is and what he does? If his symbiote does hate him (as Teal'c now believes), would it not sacrifice itself to kill him if it knew that Teal'c was successfully fighting the Goa'uld?
Is Tanith deceiving Hebron, his host, or impersonating him?
How can Tanith hope to communicate with the Goa'uld? Will any Goa'uld believe his reports, since they have no idea who the young Goa'uld is?
What benefits will the Tok'ra gain from Tanith's presence?
Why are the Tok'ra withholding intelligence from the S.G.C.?
Regarding Teal'c's actions with Shau'nac, though he's a married man: "Actually, Peter was annoyed with that particular oversight. In the first draft of his script, he informed us that he and Drey'ac were divorced (or the Chulak equivalent thereof)."
(Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi)
"Everyone loved the actress who played Shau'nac. With a bit of foresight, she may have survived to become a recurring character. Also, in the first draft of the script, Teal'c kills Tanith and gets his revenge. It was Brad's idea to keep Tanith around. I think it was the right choice."
(Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi)
"In the original version of this script, Teal'c exacts his revenge on Tanith and the episode concludes with, if not exactly a happy ending, then sure a satisfying one. But Brad suggested that, instead, we end the episode with Teal'c restraining himself and Tanith getting away with Shau'nac's murder -- at least temporarily. 'That's pretty dark,' I recall Paul saying. 'I like dark,' countered Brad. And so did I.
"The original version of the script also contained a reference to the fact that Teal'c had gotten a (Jaffa) divorce from his wife, freeing him up to pursue that amorous rendezvous with his long lost love. Unfortunately, for some reason, it didn't make the final draft and, as a result, Teal'c ended up looking like a big slut to many fans. All that being said, the high point of this episode for me was that damn pointy Tok'ra digs, everything from the porcupine walls to the lethal high-backed chairs. It's a wonder they weren't impaling themselves all the time."
(Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
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