Stargate SG-1 Review : ‘The Enemy Within’
While the U.S. government determines the fate of Teal’c, SGC must deal with one of its own that has been taken over by a Goa’uld.
The Enemy Within picks up exactly where we left off with The Children Of The Gods. Kawalsky still has the Gou’ald in his neck. Only now, the race has realised that Earth is a threat and are trying to attack en mass. They have a slight issue though in that a new shield known as an iris has been built (in record time). Now, whenever they step through, they die like bugs on a windshield. We know that these guys are the enemy but it’s a disturbing prospect having them killed in such a fashion. The thuds against the iris are genuinely sinister knowing that a person’s death is the cause of each thump.
This is a side note though as the episode mainly belongs to Kawalsky and Teal’c, both having issues to contend with. Teal’c first then. Seeing where this guy ends up as the show continues, it’s not great seeing him as a potential test subject. It’s the first hint that the government could be just as much of an adversary as the forces beyond the gate. Teal’c to his defence doesn’t really try and fight against it. He never tried to resist or cause any trouble and that only makes it harder to watch. We also get to see the side of Jack here that made people fall in love with the character. He has only known their new ally a short while, but he instantly leaps to his defence without hesitation. It’s an interesting debate though. Sure, this guy saved everyone. But he is still not only an alien, but also a member of the race that seems determined to kill them all. I think I too would at least keep him under guard for a while longer than they do here. The sudden switch to having him as part of the team at the episode is jarring, albeit nice to watch.
Ah Kawalsky, the poor guy finally gets his own command only to be taken over and go all homicidal on those around him. First up, Jay Acovone does a brilliant job here. He makes you really feel what his character is going through. He’s even great as the Gou’ald version of the man. He brings a real gravitas to the scenes where he lashes out at the members of the SG-C and he’s a genuinely menacing presence. As tragic as his death was, it was another way of making the next few years personal for Jack. The long-term friendship between the two of them is apparent (the “can I have your stereo” line is a personal favourite) and you can well imagine that the events in this episode would have a long-lasting effect on him. Not only is he driven to find Skaara, but his mission to take down the Goa’uld must be partially driven by a need to avenge his fallen friend.
What a brutal death for Kawalsky too. The show was clearly still more adult in tone at this point and the fight between him and Teal’c (and subsequent scalp removal) was a great watch. I’m assuming Jack meant for him to be killed that way? I don’t think it’s overly clear with his “hold him there” line, but my takeaway was that he had already accepted Kawalsky was gone.
There are a few ‘early days’ issues with the show here. The naming of the embarkation room seems bizarre every time it’s said and it’s great that they ditched that pretty quickly; Gate Room sounds much better. The second is the symbiote essentially hiding away after surgery to avoid detection. Can this happen? It’s been a while since I’ve watched this show all the way through, but I don’t recall it occurring again. Maybe someone can correct me. Now admittedly, ‘early days’ issues can be excused by the fact they are early days. But if you are going to establish something within the lore and have it affect a significant player, it should occur again at some point.
The Enemy Within was certainly a strong carry on from the pilot. Having said that, an episode set entirely in one place this early in a show that was focused on exploration was a slight misstep. But then again, it did allow us to really see the goings on at the SGC. The episode, despite dealing with its first major death, was primarily set up. It was a means of getting the full SG-1 team together and with that in mind, it accomplishes its goals pretty well.
Jack : So this iris is gonna hold right
Carter: If it doesn’t the failsafe will activate. The whole mountain will vaporise and they’ll be nothing to worry about.
Jack: Great. I feel much better.
Jack: Listen, I gotta ask you something. It’s not easy for me.
Kawalsky: We’re friends.
Jack : If you don’t make it…can I have your stereo?
Jack: Permission to barge in, sir?
Jack: Yeah. Well it’s kind of a human thing. We tend to be afraid of things we don’t know.
Teal’c: Why is O’Neill not afraid?
Jack: Teal’c, I saw you stand up to a god. You refused to kill. I saw you make that decision.
Jack: In that moment I learned everything I needed to know to trust you.
Kennedy: I heard the operation was a big success, sir. Congratulations. I have my orders to return to Langley.
Hammond: Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.
Jay Acovone. He’s great as both Kawalsky and the Goa’uld. It’s a shame he couldn’t be saved as it would have been brilliant to have him around on a recurring basis.
Stargate wastes no time in establishing the Goua’d threat in an episode that delivers a major loss whilst setting up Teal’c as an asset and a vital team member.