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"Maternal Instinct" is the twentieth episode of the third season of Stargate SG-1.


Apophis has taken control of Sokar's forces and is racing the Tau'ri to search for the Harcesis, a child with all the knowledge of the Goa'uld, on Kheb. SG-1 gets there first, but it is only a matter of time before the enemy catch up to them.


Stargate Command is visited by Bra'tac, who has barely survived an attack on Chulak, which claimed the life of Moac. He tells them that Apophis is still alive and is now commanding the dead Sokar's forces, making him in fact the most powerful Goa'uld. He was the one who attacked Chulak in his search for the Harcesis child, which Sha're hid on Kheb, a legendary planet on which, according to Earth legends, Osiris hid from Setesh. With Bra'tac's help (who has also heard of the planet in Jaffa legends) they locate the planet, something SGC was unable to do in the last months. So SG-1, SG-2 and Bra'tac travel to the planet to get the child, since it hosts the whole knowledge of all Goa'uld and could be the undoing of all the Goa'uld.

While SG-2 guards the Stargate, the others discover that eight Jaffa (Teal'c counts six sets of tracks, but is corrected by Bra'tac) have passed through recently. Two went scouting and brought back a woman and headed into the forest. In their search of the forest, they find the Jaffa bodies, sizzled to a crisp although it appears as nothing has touched them. Bra'tac finds the woman who was possibly carrying the Harcesis child since her hands aren't bound. She tried to run and the Jaffa shot her in the back. Then someone or something took out the Jaffa.

The team then finds a Buddhist-like temple. After removing their weapons (since the place is sacred ground), Colonel Jack O'Neill, Dr. Daniel Jackson and Bra'tac go inside and are surprised by a Monk. When they start asking about the child, the monk replies in riddles. Daniel receives training from the monk about his hidden powers of telekinesis and pyrokinesis. He also learns of Oma Desala, which Daniel translates as "Mother Nature" and who is the basis of the monk's religion. Carter is convinced that there is some hidden technology but Daniel interrupts that she always wanted to go to another level.

Meanwhile, the others become more and more impatient since they know that Apophis will send another strike force to the planet. However Daniel convinces them to stay and continues his training so that he can protect the child. Nevertheless, the fears of the others become true when they discover that a Goa'uld assault force is on the planet. So SG-1 sets up a defense at the temple while Daniel sees an ethereal being which leads him to the Harcesis. When he is about to leave with the child, he realizes that he doesn't have any powers. It was the being herself, trying to communicate and Daniel realizes that Oma only wanted him to realize that the child would be safe with her. He lets the being take the child, although he knows that the boy would give them a great strategic advantage against the Goa'uld.

Meanwhile, SG-1 and the Jaffa are at a standoff, both sides unwilling to bow to the other. The monk, saying they are not welcome, is shot and killed by the Jaffa. Suddenly, Daniel arrives and tells SG-1 to drop their weapons, because using them would anger Oma Desala, the ascended being who is guarding the temple. SG-1 surrenders, but before the Jaffa can execute them, the shots from the staff weapons are dispelled much to the amazement of Bra'tac and Teal'c while seconds later, a bolt of lightning shoots from the clouds above and kills all the Jaffa. The monk's body meanwhile vanishes in a bright light (he also ascended). Then, Oma appears in her Ascended form and carries the Harcesis through the Stargate to destinations unknown.


Appearances for Maternal Instinct





Sentient Species



Notable QuotesEdit

O'Neill: Son of a bitch!
Teal'c: Apophis must have transferred off of Sokar's ship before it exploded.
O'Neill: Somebody's gotta teach that guy how to die!

O'Neill: What is it?
Teal'c: Six of the Jaffa stopped here.
Bra'tac: Two went on ahead. They returned with another. A woman.
O'Neill: How do you know that?
Teal'c: Here. The third of the prints are small and light. The shoe an open toed sandal worn by Jaffa women.
Bra'tac: When they all met up again, there was a struggle. Then they headed into the forest. Each print is spread wide. They were running.
O'Neill: He's good.
Teal'c: Extremely.

Bra'tac: I am not yet ready to give up. I feel alive Teal'c; like a young man, of eighty. We still have false gods to slay.

(Entering Buddhist Temple)
Carter: No welcoming party.
O'Neill: Someone's been reading Martha Stewart.

(Inside Temple)
O'Neill: (surprised by the monk's entrance) Hey! Whoa! Where'd you come from?
Monk: I have been here for some time.
O'Neill: No, you weren't here when we just came in.
Monk: Here is everywhere you are.

Monk: Put no barriers between you and where you are.

O'Neill: We've been walking a ways today.
Monk: Your journey has only begun.

Monk: When the mind is enlightened, the spirit is freed, the body matters not.

Jackson: We've come looking for a boy, a baby.
Monk: Lightning flashes, sparks shower, in one blink of your eyes you've missed seeing.

Monk: The sun is warm, the wind is wild, the grass is green along the shores.  Here, no bull can hide.
O'Neill: Oh, I don't know about that.
Jackson: Jack, he's speaking in Zen koans. Whatever theology he follows may be an original basis for Buddhism on Earth.
O'Neill: Well, that's very nice. I'll be sure to call the Dalai Lama when I get home.

Jackson: Is there a child here?
Monk: There is a child in all of us.

Bra'tac: He seeks a real human boy, of flesh and bones.
Monk: Those who seek oneness, find all that they seek.

Jackson: I think this is going to take a while.
O'Neill: Really? What gives you that idea?

Monk: Words cannot express things; speech cannot convey the spirit. Swayed by words, one is lost.

Monk: Why do you seek this child of flesh and bones?
Jackson: He is the son of my wife.
Monk: But not your son.
Jackson: No. But my wife is dead now and I promised her I would make sure the boy is safe.
Monk: And you are sure he will be safe with you.
Jackson: Yes. Absolutely.
Monk: Because it is so clear, it takes a longer time to realize it. If you immediately know the candlelight is fire, then the meal was cooked a long time ago.
Jackson: Right. I, ah, I have no idea what you're talking about.

Monk: You must trust. You must believe.
Jackson: Well, maybe what I don't believe is that I can light a candle with my mind.

Monk: Place your hand in the flame.
Jackson: (in pain) Ah! Why did you tell me to do that?
Monk: Why did you do it?
Jackson: Because you told me to.
Monk: Because you trusted.
Jackson: Yes.
Monk: Within you is the capacity for trust. Trust Oma Desala. Do not believe you can light the candle; believe she can light the candle.

Monk: Cannot teach you what you already know.
O'Neill: Oh, I don't think I know as much as you think I know.

O'Neill: Daniel, that was a glider.  We're out of time.
Monk: Time means nothing to the...
O'Neill: Ahh-ehh!!  Don't say it.

O'Neill: If we happen to make it out of this in one piece, remind me to harm Daniel severely.

(Leaving Temple)
O'Neill: Daniel.
Jackson: Yeah?
O'Neill: Shoes.


  • This episode marks the first appearance of the Ancients (and an ascended being in general), though they are not identified as such until season six.
  • Although Dr. Daniel Jackson determined the philosophy of the Kheb Monk as being the basis of Buddhism, this episode makes several references to the "path to enlightenment" echoed in later seasons by the Ori especially when one learns of the Ascended being Oma Desala's involvement. It is possible the Ancients purposely changed the teachings of the Book of Origin at the time of their schism to reflect a more peaceful route to enlightenment based on self-discovery and not subservience to the Ori.
  • In this episode the Jaffa who came still wore the mark of Sokar but he was already dead and his armies taken over by Apophis. This could be for various reasons, such as limited time, requirements or even desire to have the change done to his new soldiers.
  • After "Family", this is the second time that Bra'tac informs Stargate Command that Apophis (whom they believed to be dead) is still alive.
  • The Kheb Monk's line about "if you immediately know the candlelight is fire then the meal has been cooked a long time ago" is repeated by Jackson in "Reckoning, Part 1" to what he believes is Oma but is really Replicator Carter. When she is confused by the line, it allows Jackson to realize she's tricking him but not before she gets what she wanted. He also tells O'Neill in "Abyss" when trying to help him Ascend that that would be something Oma would've said to convince him.


  • During the scene where Colonel Jack O'Neill requests backup and the Jaffa march upon the temple, the Jaffa leader says "Tok'ra Kree". Clearly, a mistake.

First AppearancesEdit



In other languagesEdit

  • French: Instinct Maternel (Maternal Instinct)
  • Italian: Istinto Materno (Maternal Instinct)
  • Spanish: Instinto Maternal (Maternal Instinct)
  • Czech: Mateřský instinkt (Maternal Instinct)
  • Hungarian: Az anyai ösztön (The Maternal Instinct)

External linksEdit

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