"The Scourge" is the seventeenth episode of the ninth season of Stargate SG-1.


After SG-1 is forced into "babysitting duty" for International Oversight Advisory representatives at the Gamma Site, a swarm of bugs that the scientists at the Gamma Site are investigating somehow turn carnivorous before escaping captivity. They proceed to devour everyone and everything in their paths, forcing SG-1 into an intense life or death situation, as they seek to escape the Gamma Site while ensuring that they and the IOA representatives get off the planet alive.


SG-1 prepare for a mission off-world, only for Major General Henry Landry to cancel the mission. Landry then reveals that their new assignment is to "babysit" a group of foreign diplomats of the International Oversight Advisory, which is currently funding most of the Stargate program.

The team, together with the representatives Richard Woolsey (US), Shen Xiaoyi (China), Jean LaPierre (France) and Russel Chapman (United Kingdom), visits the "Gamma Site", one of Earth's off-world bases where scientists are currently, among other things, interested in an alien bug called R-75. It is supposed to originate from the Priors as a new form of threat to worlds where the plague has been defeated, feeding on plants to destroy them completely.

However the scientists discover soon that after being deprived of food, the bugs now start to feed on meat as well and that causes them to multiply at an alarming rate. Meanwhile, the Chinese representative complains that her country hasn't been given any of the technology which Stargate Command acquired, although they also signed the Gate Alliance Treaty. Meanwhile, Dr. Myers is bitten by one of the bugs which makes him ill, soon after he is taken back to Earth. However, before they can enter the Stargate a swarm of new reproduced bugs leaves Myer's body reducing it to only his clothes, and swarm the stargate room. Therefore, the room is sealed and SG-1 and the diplomatic team are locked down and can't return to Earth.

Following emergency routine, SG-1 and the diplomats are sent to the surface and try to make their way to a research station, at which point they are attacked by the bugs, who escaped the base and burrowed through the earth. Although one soldier is lost, the team retreats to a cave; the bugs are unable to burrow up from underneath, and the team is able to use gunfire to hold the entrance.

Meanwhile, on Earth, the SGC is partially aware of the situation. Since they believe all people at the Gamma Site are dead, General Landry sends the Odyssey to the planet with instructions to destroy the bugs from orbit "As per Protocol CR-91."

Back on the planet Dr. Daniel Jackson and Shen Xiaoyi again argue about China's position in the Stargate program while another soldier is killed by the bugs. Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell and Teal'c decide to try to get back to Gamma Site and get a F-302 fighter-interceptor fighter to retreat far off but find out that the base was destroyed by its self-destruct system. Retreating back to the cave their only hope now lies with the Odyssey. The only problem is that the beacons SG-1 have won't work with the atmosphere (which has a strong ionosphere interference) and thus the Odyssey most likely would proceed with emergency protocol and poison the whole planet to kill the bugs.

Thus SG-1 try to reach the research facility where Carter would be able to send a signal to the Odyssey to pick them up. They reach the research station, but must hold off the bugs until the Odyssey can pick up the signal. This task is done by Mitchell, Daniel and Teal'c, while Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter prepares the signal. After a desperate holding action, the plan succeeds and the team and the diplomats are beamed up to the Odyssey just as they run out of ammunition and the bugs flood the base. Despite the disaster, the IOA deems that the incident was beyond anybody's control, and decides to continue funding the Stargate program. However, Landry informs SG-1 that two other planets were attacked by the bugs.


Appearances for The Scourge



  • Escape from the Gamma Site
  • Skirmish with the Trust (Mentioned)



Sentient Species


  • Mealworm (Mentioned)
  • R-75




Notable quotes[]

Jackson: Yes, we stopped them this time. But be damn sure they're already thinking up some other means of spreading fear and destruction throughout this galaxy.
Mitchell: Yeah, that's why we call them the bad guys.

Mitchell: Don't mean to gripe...
Landry: Permission to gripe granted.
Mitchell: We're assigned to baby sitting duty?!

Shen: (in Mandarin) How's your Mandarin?
Jackson: (in Mandarin) Not as good as your English.
Shen: (in Mandarin) It shows. (about Mitchell) You're bringing him along?
Jackson: (in Mandarin) We have to baby-sit him.
Mitchell: Yeah, that's very funny. (in Mandarin) Screw you!

Mitchell: Seriously. What are we doing here?
Jackson: Honest answer? PR for the Stargate program.
Mitchell: I'm telling you, today it's escorting foreign delegates on off-world tours, tomorrow it's comic book conventions and supermarket openings.

Carter: Mr. Woolsey. If I could go back in time—which, admittedly, is an opportunity I'm occasionally presented with—I would have made sure that we left the base as scheduled. But the reality is for the time being we are stuck here. Trapped in this cave, surrounded by predatory insects, with no way of getting to the Stargate. Now I'm sorry, but I'm going to have a hard time mustering up a convincing pep talk. All things considered.
Woolsey: I see.

Mitchell: When we get back, I'm going to help you find your own place.
Teal'c: That will be unnecessary.
Mitchell: Dude, what are friends for?
Teal'c: For listening when they are told; 'that will be unnecessary'.

Mitchell: You know what? Sit here. You cover our six. But stay alert. You'll hear the bugs coming, but tree ferrets give no warning.
LaPierre: Tree ferrets?
Mitchell: Yeah, nasty buggers. Swoop down and separate a man's head from his torso before you can blink.

Jackson: So, we still doing movie night?
Carter: Yeah, why not?
Mitchell: Good, I've already picked something out.
Teal'c: Old School.
Mitchell: Starship Troopers.
Teal'c: Is it humorous?
Mitchell: Is it ever.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • The working title of this episode was "The Blight."
  • Although Major General Henry Landry comments that two more planets have been affected by the bugs at the end of the episode, they are never shown or mentioned again.
  • R-75 insects are not exclusively nocturnal, although they do prefer to be active in the dark. When they move about during the daytime, they burrow just below the surface -- and they can travel great distances that way. R-75 is initially herbivorous, but when deprived of food for an extended period their physiologies adapt to become strictly carnivorous. In their normal life cycle, the insects eat themselves to death -- they binge on plant life and die within a matter of hours. But when deprived of food, they can survive for many days.
  • Earth maintains a Gamma Site as well as a Beta Site. The Gamma Site base was built to resemble Stargate Command, and was home to a number of on-going experiments with alien plant and animal life -- perhaps deemed too dangerous to bring back to Earth for study at Area 51 because of what happened in "Zero Hour", such as the R-75 insects. The base has been destroyed.
  • With the bugs being carnivorous, it could be assumed that they would eat any natural fibers of the clothes. However, when the bugs consume the body of the soldier on the way to the outpost, everything was eaten, natural fibers (cotton), man made fibers (nylon) and metals (dog tags).
  • At the end of the episode, Mitchell says that he has chosen Starship Troopers for SG-1's movie night. The film's plot centers around an interstellar war between humans and an arachnid species known as "The Bugs". This may have been chosen due to their experience with the R-75.

Other languages[]

  • French: Le Châtiment (The Punishment)
  • Italian: Insetti Assassini (Killer Insects)
  • Spanish: El Azote (The Scourge)
  • Czech: Metla (Scourge)
  • German (DVD/TV): Die Plage (The Plague) / Die Käferplage (The Beetle Plague)
  • Hungarian: A csapás (The Plague)

Links and navigation[]

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