Stargate SG-1 Review: The Nox
Teal’c tells SG-1 that he knows of a planet where there is a creature that has the power of invisibility. SG-1 decides to go to that planet to capture that creature to take it back to the SGC to be studied. The only problem is that they run into Apophis.
Well, this is much more like it! This feels much more like the Stargate I love and despite a few flaws that we’ll get too in a moment, it’s the strongest entry after the pilot. Bureaucracy is something that veers its ugly head many many times over the course of the shows run with differing political organisations weighing in on the action, but it has to be said that the point made at the start of the episode that they haven’t found anything to help them is well made. From their point of view, they’ve brought a possessed soldier home, nearly got Carter killed, came home with a disease that nearly wiped everyone out, allowed a member of the SGC to die after he tried ruling a planet, and had a doppelganger of a high ranking member roam the streets. And that’s just the adventures that we’ve seen! When you look at the track record, I don’t think its wrong to start asking questions.
The Nox themselves are an interesting race and it’s shame that we don’t get much more from them over the course of the series. Admittedly, the look of them may have been a factor in that but personally, I don’t mind it and it’s nice they didn’t make them look too human. It’s quite refreshing to see a race that is just content with their lot. There’s not much tension or hostility from them as per the norm and it’s great that it’s this aspect of them that seems to rile Jack up so much. Due to the Nox, this episode actually fares better on a rewatch as the initial view of them is that they are nice- if a little dumb. Not heeding advice that they are in danger despite the fact that it becomes more and more clear that they are is frustrating when you see them for the first time. it’s only when the quite brilliant reveal occurs at the end that it all begins to make sense. Of course even with the invisible floating city they still nearly lost one of their own so perhaps, powers accepted, they still should have played it a little safer. Great to see Armin Shimerman here too, he plays a much more subdued character (and far nicer) than he is best known for but he has a nice presence here.
We also got to see Apophis make his first appearance since the pilot and he is every bit as menacing here as he was then. But I can’t go any further without discussing his takedown of SG-1, which was unwittingly hysterical. Jack’s was fine, but the subsequent ‘demise’ of Carter and Daniel was like something out of a comedy sketch show as each of them stood up and completely exposed themselves (ahem) as the other was shot. Watch the scene and imagine a laugh track playing over the top of it and you’ll get the point. But while the show was never going to wipe the team out, it was a great shock moment when Jack was hit and the stakes were instantly raised; it’s just a shame the rest of the sequence was so poorly handled until Teal’c stepped up to heroically die free. It was however great to see Apophis in what was largely a stand-alone episode instead of him just being saved for the traditional big installments of the show. Speaking of Teal’c, I enjoyed getting to see him deal with a Jaffa that he used to train. It’s always welcome to see snippets of his past come back to haunt him.
Our main characters were mostly on fine form here and I did love the fact that in trying to help, they were completely missing the point that the Nox were trying to tell them. They were so eager to protect them that they didn’t realise they weren’t really in any need. As I say, the reveal that the new race was not the helpless people they were believed to be was a nice touch, but it does raise the question of why they weren’t really used again other than the odd fleeting appearance. If they didn’t want to get involved in things as they are here then it explains why they don’t intervene for a while, but when the Ori rock up it’s a little hard to take. Having this being such an enjoyable entry to the first season Stargate it is easy to overlook things that wouldn’t hold up too well to scrutiny. Such as how the ritual of life works in the first place. It doesn’t stand out as a problem as such, but had we gotten more time to know these guys it would have been nice to get at least an idea as it’s all just left rather vague. What would have helped the episode too is a follow up on the opener where the Nox story is told back at the SGC, but we didn’t get the chance sadly. Still this a great episode and one that feels like true Stargate. The return of Apophis was a welcome one and while from memory the next episode isn’t an especially great one, I think the less than impressive run of episodes is at an end for now.
The Stargate Costume Of The Episode Award
I know That Face
Armin Shimerman is a face you’ll be sure to recognise. He’s best known for playing Quark in Star Trek : Deep Space Nine which oddly enough I am in the process of watching for the first time, no reviews for that here though as there is an exceptional one going on here. You may also know him as the brilliantly horrible Principle Snyder on Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
The “Oh Dear, Daniel Just Died” count
Fans of Stargate will be well aware that Daniel Jackson has a habit of dying/appearing to have died. I thought it would be fun to keep count of how many times this happens. So here we are with the first instance in which Daniel is shot with a staff weapon and killed, only to be resurrected by the Nox.
Jack : Wasn’t I just…?
Daniel : Killed.
Jack : Killed as in…
Daniel : Dead.
Jack : Dead.
Carter : Yeah, we know. We saw it happen. Same thing happened to us.
Jack : Well, this is a surprise, then.
Daniel : And now they’re going to bury the Stargate and we can never come back. We should have listened.
Jack : “The very young do not always do as they’re told.” It’s a little something the Nox told me one time. Something worth taking home.
This feels like the Stargate I remember. A great episode that despite some flaws and a hilariously fatal mishap by the team, is constantly entertaining and a solid early entry for the franchise.