"Orpheus" is the fourth episode of the seventh season of Stargate SG-1.


Teal'c is shot on a mission and is determined to make his recovery as quick as possible, since Rya'c and Bra'tac have been captured and work as slaves on Erebus. Dr. Daniel Jackson starts to remember a few events from his time while he ascended, and uses them to aid several SG teams to infiltrate the labor camp and rescue all the imprisoned Jaffa.


Orpheus 1

Teal'c is injured by a staff blast.

At Stargate Command, the Stargate is dialed. SG-1 radios in and says that they are under fire and retreating. Major General George S. Hammond instructs the platoon of guards to prepare for any unwanted visitors. As the Iris is opened, they are bombarded by Staff weapons fire. All of SG-1 but Teal'c manages to get through, where he catches up a few seconds later. However, he is quickly followed by a Jaffa, who tries to shoot, but is quickly gunned down by the platoon. Unfortunately, the Jaffa manages to shoot Teal'c in the abdomen, who collapses to the floor. He is quickly taken to the infirmary.

Some time later, Teal'c awakens while Dr. Janet Fraiser injects him with Tretonin. Fraiser tells Teal'c he's lucky, since he was wounded in the symbiote pouch, and if he still had his symbiote, he'd be dead (which was likely the intended result of the Jaffa soldier aiming there); however, he is still on a long road to recovery. In the Briefing Room, SG-1 briefs Hammond and tells him that they managed to escape by creating a diversion with a radio, then killed the Jaffa guarding the Gate. They identify that the majority of the Jaffa carried the symbol of Ba'al, whose empire is growing faster than anyone had anticipated, most likely to even the odds against Anubis.

Fraiser then walks in and tells them about Teal'c's recovery progress, and that it will take time. She tells them that they can visit him. Dr. Daniel Jackson later visits him, and asks about his son, Rya'c, since he doesn't want to keep asking how Teal'c is feeling. He tells Jackson that Rya'c is with Bra'tac recruiting Jaffa to join the Rebel Jaffa. He then feels that he let the team down, even though Jackson tells him that he stayed behind to cover for the rest of his team. After Teal'c tells Jackson to leave him alone, Jackson hears mysterious voices as he walks out, but they stop after a few seconds.

Orpheus 2

Teal'c over exercises in his physical therapy.

Jackson and Major Samantha Carter then work out in the gym, where she discusses a movie she recently saw when Aliens invade Earth, but they had a weakness of water. They are then overlooking Teal'c's physical therapy session, where the therapist tells him that he has passed his session for the day. However, Teal'c does not listen, and continues anyway, even ignoring Carter and Jackson, who says that overdoing his recovery could make his recovery last longer. After Teal'c tells them to leave him alone, Jackson hears the same voices again, thinking they were left over memories during his ascension. (He has recovered almost all of his memories from before he died, but is frustrated because he cannot remember anything from the time when he was ascended, not even whether he chose to return to physical form or was forced to. He also wonders whether he would have done more good if he had stayed ascended.)

Jackson and Carter find a computer, where they are looking for any anomalies from any incoming wormholes, even though Jackson admits that he doesn't know what to look for, since he still has lost a lot of his memories. Carter leaves him alone so he can continue looking through any anomalies. Some time later, Fraiser tells Teal'c that he has finished his recovery, and has lifted more weights than anyone else, "alien technology not withstanding" (a reference to the Season 4 episode "Upgrades"). However, Teal'c goes to another machine and continues his exercise, despite the fact that he is cleared for active duty. Teal'c tells Fraiser that he is not ready.

Colonel Jack O'Neill decides to pay Teal'c a visit, wondering what is wrong with him. After Teal'c doesn't answer, O'Neill is forced to order him to answer. There, Teal'c starts to make a confession. He always thought that tretonin is what he thought would make the Jaffa become free once and for all, but after he started taking the drug, he felt weaker. He says that among Jaffa, the word for weakness is the same as the word for death, because to be weak is to die. He didn't say anything to his team because he thought the effects were only temporary, but he still feels weaker than he was before, and has now lost much of his confidence, and no longer performs kelno'reem.

However, despite this, Jackson wants Teal'c to teach him how to kelno'reem, since he keeps hearing voices, and thinks that he is unable to remember because his memories were stripped after he de-ascended. He tells Teal'c that humans meditate even though they also still need sleep. Teal'c agrees to teach him and they begin kelno'reem. While Jackson meditates, he sees a vision where Rya'c and Bra'tac are forced to work as slaves, and sees Rya'c being whipped by Jaffa, until Bra'tac offers to take his place. Jackson then tells Teal'c what he has seen. Teal'c says he believes the vision is true because when Jackson had ascended, Jackson watched over Teal'c after he and Bra'tac were the only survivors on the ambush of Kresh'ta. They tell Hammond about this, where the rest of the teem fear that Bra'tac's tretonin supply must almost be depleted. While they cannot determine which planet they are on, Teal'c requests the help of Rak'nor, which Hammond agrees to.


The planet Erebus, overlooked by an almost complete Ha'tak.

Meanwhile, Rya'c and Bra'tac are working as slave miners, where they both hope that rescue is forthcoming, despite the fact that Bra'tac is growing weaker everyday. They then witness four Jaffa unable to pick up a crate of rock then lined up for execution for being too weak to work. Just as they are to be executed, one attempts to flee, only to be killed by the Erebus Commander. The other three are later executed as well.

Rak'nor is in Stargate Command, where Jackson wonders if he knows of any planets that match the description (two moons, slave labor, and a levitated Ha'tak). Rak'nor says that there is: Erebus, which Jackson says in Greek mythology is a place where condemned souls pass when they die. Rak'nor also tells them that the planet was recently taken by Ba'al, and he uses the planet for Jaffa slaves to mine Naquadah to build Ha'tak vessels, until the gases would eventually kill them. The Jaffa are ones who refused to shift allegiance to a new master after theirs was conquered. Rya'c and Bra'tac went there to recruit rebels, but were captured. However, the Tau'ri can not go there, since the Stargate is protected by a shield, and they do not know what the code is to deactivate it. Jackson is then given a flashback where he was ascended and witnessed Rya'c and Bra'tac approaching the Stargate after recruiting rebels, and sending the deactivation code with a Goa'uld GDO, but were captured before they could flee.

With this new information, Jackson believes that the rebels were trying to gate to the Alpha Site, and is angered by the fact that he did nothing to intervene, because it would break the highest law of the Ancients. Carter then finds something; a Stargate activation at the Alpha Site. They found an anomalous energy reading, but no one came through the gate. Jackson believes this was the shield deactivation code, and wants the signal duplicated. The team, as well as SG-3 plan to go to Erebus to rescue the imprisoned Jaffa. Before they depart, Teal'c wants O'Neill to look after Rya'c should he be killed in the line of duty, though O'Neill says he hopes it won't come to that.

Orpheus 3

SG-1 and SG-3 arrive on Erebus.

The SG teams activate the Stargate, and send the code to deactivate the shield. The Jaffa on the other end train their staff weapons on the gate, only to see a shock grenade emerge, and they are all stunned after it goes off. SG-1 and SG-3, as well as Rak'nor, come through and secure the area. They then sneak onto the top of the hill to oversee the camp and better understand the layout, though Teal'c believes infiltration is the best option, and decides that he and Rak'nor will sneak into the camp undetected during the night. Meanwhile, Bra'tac tells Ray'c he will attempt to ration the tretonin he has left, though in truth this will be impossible, since he has in fact run out of it, and Rya'c notices.

At night, Teal'c and Rak'nor sneak into the tents without detection, where Teal'c reunites with his son, and see a dying Bra'tac. Teal'c gives him some tretonin, which is helping. Rya'c attempts to convince Teal'c that he shouldn't just come to Erebus to rescue Rya'c and Bra'tac, and they should free all the slaves. Rak'nor says there are too many, but Rya'c says the slaves will fight for their freedom. Unfortunately, the conversation is cut short when O'Neill radios him and tells him to get out, since he has been made. Both Rak'nor and Teal'c are caught. Teal'c is then taken outside and restrained, where he is repeatedly whipped by the Jaffa leader, and the teams can only watch.


Sam and Daniel on board the ship.

The next morning, Teal'c has returned to the tent, where Bra'tac has improved his health, and Teal'c tells the Jaffa the rescue is coming. He, however, is unable to fight, because he says he is not the Jaffa he once was. Meanwhile, SG-1 and SG-3 notice that the enemy Jaffa are heading towards the Gate, so in order to ensure the success of the mission to free the enslaved Jaffa, O'Neill needs to create a big distraction: disabling the anti-gravity platform on the half-built Ha'tak.

Orpheus 4

Carter and Jackson plant C-4 on an anti-gravity platform panel.

Carter and Jackson ring aboard the ship and plant some C-4 on one of the panels and sets the timer for five minutes. However, as they try to get out, they see six Jaffa guarding the ring room, and are stuck.

Back at the tent, Bra'tac has recovered much of his strength. He notices Teal'c's lack of confidence, and tells him that the true strength of a Jaffa warrior is from his heart and mind, not muscle. After a while, Teal'c's confidence returns. Meanwhile, Rya'c goes to other slaves and spreads the word that there will be an uprising. However, the guards notice that he is away from his workstation, and he is to be executed for being out of place. Just as he is about to be, Teal'c stumbles out and begs the Jaffa leader to take his place, saying that Ray'c is still strong and can work. Before he is to be executed, the Jaffa taunts Teal'c about the fact that he was once the First Prime of Apophis and is now a weak, pathetic shol'va. The overseer says it was a good trade, since Teal'c probably wouldn't gave lasted through the day anyway. Fortunately, before he is executed, the C-4 goes off, and they witness the Ha'tak dropping out of the sky. As the Jaffa rush to the location, they are ambushed by mortar fire from the SG teams. Carter and Jackson return, while O'Neill picks off the Jaffa with his rifle.

Orpheus 5

SG-1 and SG-3 firing on Jaffa.

Meanwhile, with the SG teams gunning down the Jaffa, the slaves start a revolt and fight against the masters. Teal'c takes the leader and fights him in hand-to-hand combat. Though Rak'nor is about to shoot the leader, Rya'c tells him to stop, to allow Teal'c to finish this battle on his own. Teal'c manages to snap the leader's neck, killing him.

Orpheus 1

Rak'nor, Teal'c and Bra'tac aiming their staff weapons at approaching Jaffa Guards.

Teal'c, Rak'nor and Bra'tac pick up staff weapons, and aim at some more oncoming Jaffa.

Sometime later, SG-1 returns through the Stargate back to Earth, where they give the good news that the camp has been liberated, and now the former slaves are taken to the Alpha Site, keen to join the rebellion.

In the end, Teal'c has gained his confidence back, and is able to kelno'reem again, despite it no longer being necessary. Teal'c tells Jackson that O'Neill declared that Teal'c has his "mojo" back. Teal'c and Daniel meditate together and converse about Daniel's ascension. Both agree that for the first time they feel that they are involved in something important and that they belong in the SGC.


Appearances for Orpheus





Sentient Species




Notable quotes[]

(Jackson sees pots of Jello on Teal'c's bedside table)
Jackson: What's with the uh...
Teal'c: O'Neill. I believe his offering of colored gelatin was his attempt to sympathize.
Jackson: Ah, well, he's thoughtful that way.

Carter: So they fly half-way across the galaxy in a highly advanced spaceship, but they don't use their technology to take over the planet. You know what their weakness turned out to be? Water. I mean, if that's true, why go to all the trouble to invade a planet that's two-thirds water? Not to mention the rain.
Jackson: Why do you watch those movies if all you're gonna do is cut 'em up?
Carter: Come on, don't you occasionally like to see if they're getting it anywhere close to right?

Jaffa: If you do not work, you will die!

(The Jaffa camp leader approaches a guard, O'Neill and Jackson watch and listen)
Jaffa: Rin nok!
O'Neill: What's this?
Jackson: Oh, he's dressing the warrior down, "I do the bidding of Ba'al. Shut up".
O'Neill: Shut up?
Jackson: Yeah, I'm paraphrasing.
Jaffa: Kel mar tokeem. Tel mak kree. Meg tal.
Jackson: You're poisoned, you're, cursed by the wearer of horns, you're sloppy...
Jaffa: Oracca aseemu!
O'Neill: Oh, for cryin' out loud.

O'Neill: It's time for plan B.
Carter: We have a plan B?
O'Neill: No... but it's time for one.

Jackson: We need a distraction.
Carter: Grenades?
O'Neill: Think bigger.
Carter: Claymores.
O'Neill: (Looking up at floating Ha'tak) Much bigger.

Bra'tac: You will not be rid of me so easily. When the time comes, I will be ready, old friend.
Teal'c: As will I.
Bra'tac: I am not so sure. This Tretonin seems to have had an effect on your memory.
Teal'c: Why would you say such a thing?
Bra'tac: Because you have forgotten that a warrior's true strength comes from his heart and his mind. You have had a physical advantage over me for a long time. And yet, I have never lost a sparring match to you.
Teal'c: Because for years, old man, I have let you win.
Bra'tac: (smiles, claps his hand on Teal'c's shoulder) Better! Much better!

Teal'c: Kelno'reem is unnecessary, although it does make me feel, better. Colonel O'Neill has officially informed me that I have my "Mojo" back.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • The episode title is a reference to a Greek myth about a musician, Orpheus who journeys into hell to rescue his lover, Eurydice.
  • According to the DVD Commentary, Colonel Jack O'Neill was only sniping the Jaffa at the upper torso area because of the limits on violence in television shows.
  • The name of the soldier O'Neill switches weapons with, Penhall, is another inside-joke from director Peter DeLuise. The episode was written and directed by Peter DeLuise, who played Penhall on 21 Jump Street.


  • Two of the Jaffa that are executed carry the symbol of Setesh, despite the fact that Setesh had been stuck on earth alone for a number of millennia.
  • When SG-1 and SG-3 first arrive on Erebus, one of the unconscious Jaffa lying on the floor moves his head and feet around, as if the actor fell to the ground in an uncomfortable position.
  • When O'Neill is sniping, the soldier to his right is firing a weapon equipped with a PVS14 night vision monocular. In reality, the soldier would have absolutely no way to aim, because the PVS14 doesn't have any sort of aiming reticule (such as a red dot or crosshairs). Additionally, using this optic during daytime is a great way to wear out an extremely expensive piece of kit.
  • When Teal'c is strangling the Erebus Commander, his arm is hindered by the commander's armor. Teal'c's arm comes nowhere close to his throat.

Other languages[]

  • French: Les Esclaves d’Erebus (The Slaves of Erebus)
  • Italian: Orpheus (Orpheus)
  • Spanish: Orfeo (Orpheus)
  • Czech: Orfeus (Orpheus)
  • German: Orpheus
  • Hungarian: Orfeusz (Orpheus)

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