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Season 4 Season 6
This episode is part 3 of 3; it is preceded by "Exodus" and "Enemies".

"Threshold" is the second episode of the fifth season of Stargate SG-1.

Synopsis

Even after Apophis' death, Teal'c is still brainwashed. The only way to break the brainwash is the Rite of M'al Sharran, a ceremony in which their symbiote is removed until the Jaffa makes his or her choice whether they are to die free, or a slave.

Previously on Stargate SG-1

Teal'c has been shot on Vorash, and after his capture to Apophis, he has been brainwashed to be his First Prime again. Eventually, O'Neill is forced to shoot and wound him, before restraining him during a battle with Replicators. After Apophis has been finally killed for good, O'Neill attempts to convince Teal'c that his "god" is dead, but Teal'c doesn't believe him. Taking his body back was the easy part, but winning back his mind, is the hard part...

Plot

Introduction

Threshold01

Bra'tac confiscates Junior.

Colonel O'Neill, General Hammond and Doctor MacKenzie enter a room Teal'c is in. It appears Teal'c has returned to his normal self with the help of MacKenzie, and says that he once again pledges allegience to the Tau'ri, and Earth. O'Neill wants to know how far Teal'c is cured. He quickly answers that the Goa'uld are nothing but false gods. The team seems convinced that he has been cured, and allows him to return to duty. Teal'c leaves the cell, and reunites with Bra'tac and the rest of SG-1. After saying hello again, Bra'tac keeps staring at Teal'c's eyes, then announces that Teal'c is deceiving SG-1. Teal'c immediately attacks the team, trying to flee Stargate Command. However, he is quickly surrounded, and as he is about to make a run for Bra'tac, he zats him. The second Teal'c is down, Bra'tac quickly confiscates Junior. O'Neill wonders what he is doing. Bra'tac replies that if Teal'c won't hear the truth in words, he must learn of it another way.

Flashbacks

Threshold02

Apophis punishes Teal'c for defending his father's honour.

Bra'tac has trained Teal'c and fought alongside him for several years prior to meeting SG-1. Bra'tac, who at the time was First Prime to Apophis, and his men is granted an audience with Apophis, who has just defeated one of his enemies. Apophis congratulates Bra'tac, and Bra'tac in turn presents the three Jaffa who had "honoured" him most during the battle. One of those is Teal'c. Apophis shows interest in him, and wonders who his father was. Teal'c reveals that he is the son of Ronac, former First Prime to Cronus, who was killed by Cronus when he lost an unwinnable war, and his family subsequently exiled to Chulak. When Apophis declares that Ronac was a coward, Teal'c insists otherwise, as the battle was unwinnable. Apophis punishes his insolence with a kara kesh.

Sometime later, Teal'c recovers from his punishment, where he is met by a friend of his, Va'lar. When he learns of Teal'c's defiance after being granted an audience with Apophis, he tells Teal'c to never question his god again, and to regain enough strength to serve Apophis well the next day, so that he might live through this.

More time passes. Teal'c is being trained further by Bra'tac, who blindfolds him on a snowy clearing, to test his senses in battle with the absense of sight. Teal'c is easily outmanoeuvered by Bra'tac, despite claiming to be stronger; and when Teal'c claims that Apophis would protect him. Bra'tac retorts that Apophis may not be all seeing or all knowing, and faith alone will not save Teal'c in battle. After finishing training that day Teal'c returns home, where his wife, Drey'auc is testing his temper. Fortunately, she calms him down, saying that he must honour Bra'tac, if he is to stand any chance of succeding him as First Prime of Apophis. She then pursuades him to join her in bed.

After a disastrous defeat by Ra's armies, Teal'c is summoned before Apophis but is accosted by Va'lar who led the defeated Jaffa. Va'lar explains that his men were outflanked and forced to retreat, but promises that with greater numbers he can be victorious. In a meeting with Teal'c and Bra'tac, Apophis brands Va'lar a coward and disgrace. Teal'c tries to convince Apophis that Va'lar's retreat was a "cunning strategy" to lure an overconfident enemy into a trap, and that Va'lar wishes to lead the second, more numerous, assault himself. Apophis dismisses Teal'c's explanation, and asks if he would have stayed behind and died with honour. Teal'c says he would have done so. Apophis orders him to personally take Va'lar back to the battlefield on the planet, and kill him.

Threshold03

Teal'c sends Va'lar to the place of his shame.

Teal'c escorts Va'lar, bound and resigned to his fate, to the battlefield, with dead Jaffa everywhere. Va'lar prepares to die, and asks Teal'c to tell Apophis that he died well. Teal'c hesitates, remembering that his father was in the same situation, then cuts Va'lar loose. He tells him to hide inside a village a few days away, and that he must not allow himself to be captured, or Teal'c would suffer the consequences. Va'lar tells him that Apophis would find out. Teal'c replies, "We shall see." Va'lar escapes to the village. Meanwhile, Teal'c takes the symbiote from a dead Jaffa and returns to Apophis, saying he has done the deed, and holds up the dying symbiote. Apophis tells Teal'c he has promise. After he leaves, Teal'c realizes that Apophis may not be omniscent after all.

Years later, Teal'c wakes up from a nightmare, from his experience of razing the village that Va'lar had fled to. He feels shame in knowing that he spared a friend, only to kill him again to protect himself. Drey'auc tells him that he must be strong, as he will by First Prime soon, and will have a better home for their yet to be born son to grow up in.

Days later, he runs to Bra'tac in the woods, and in joy, shows him that his tattoo is replaced by a gold emblem; he has become First Prime to Apophis. Bra'tac is not pleased, and informs Teal'c that his doubts about Goa'uld divinity are indeed correct, and that he too knows that they are false gods. But there is little that they can do, other than trying to save as many lives as possible by bending their god's will.

Finally, in 1997, Teal'c observes SG-1, who are prisoners on Chulak. He tells Bra'tac that their technology suggests that they are not enslaved by the Goa'uld, and that they know freedom. Bra'tac tells him that dreams of freedom maybe his undoing, and that he should pray they do not become hosts. Sometime later, as Teal'c and his Jaffa prepare to execute the prisoners who have not been taken as hosts, O'Neill says that he can save the prisoners, and begs Teal'c to help him. Teal'c believes he can do so, and turns on Apophis' guards. They both slaughter the Jaffa and free the prisoners. Teal'c has defected, and has joined SG-1 ever since, until he would be brainwashed again.

Present

After Bra'tac, confiscates Teal'c's symbiote, he explains in the Briefing room that he has removed it in order to save Teal'c. Despite dying, Teal'c is undergoing the Rite of M'al Sharran; a symbiote is removed from a Jaffa to teach them the truth. If Teal'c still believes Apophis is still a god, then he would die, but through experiencing flashbacks, he may uncover the truth about Apophis and his quest for Jaffa freedom. Doctor Janet Fraiser strongly objects to the idea, but Bra'tac tells them that he has seen Tau'ri methods, and they are inneffective in the situation. Hammond allows this to happen, where Teal'c is restrained in the infirmary. Bra'tac tells the rest of the team to stay with Teal'c during the ordeal. Teal'c awakens, where he once again claims that he only worked with SG-1 for subterfuge and defeat Apophis' enemies. He also believes Apophis would be reborn, and that no one has ever been through M'al Sharran and lived to talk about it.

Bra'tac pressures him to remember. There, he has the flashback about the first time he met Apophis. Teal'c shows obvious pain, which Fraiser again objects to. Bra'tac tells her that Teal'c has led his path through suffering, and would work if he is to break the brainwashing. Bra'tac then leaves to Kelno'reem from his long and tiring journey, but before, he tells SG-1 to speak to him, and challenge his beliefs. After he leaves, Major Carter shows some scepticism, but Bra'tac insists this is the right thing to do. He also confides in her that Kel'noreem has become more difficult for him, and his symbiote will mature in two years. After that, he will receive no more symbiotes, and die of old age, at 137 years old.

Threshold04

Teal'c is restrained while going through the Rite of M'al Sharran.

In the infirmary, Jackson and O'Neill talk to Teal'c, who suddenly utters "Va'lar", though Jackson thought he said "velour," the fabric. A weakened Teal'c tells the two that Va'lar was his friend, and receives another flashback, about conversing with him after being punished by Apophis. Teal'c then awakens and claims he has been cured, but the other two wish him to talk about Va'lar. When he is asked about what happened to him, Teal'c still shows signs that he still believes in Apophis, and tells them Va'lar "failed his god." His outburst causes his vitals to spike again. After he calms again, Jackson tells him that he is a very logical person, and him believing in Apophis as a god is illogical. He recieves another flashback, about his wife, Drey'auc.

Junior is fine, but according to Fraiser, Teal'c isn't. The team also believe that the Rite is working somewhat. Carter has a go to talk to him herself. Teal'c is increasingly weakened, and urges her to save him and help him escape. Carter tells her she won't, and that he won't die, because she knows Teal'c believes in freedom, protection from false gods, and that he despises everything involving Apophis and the Goa'uld. He receives another flashback about where he "executed" Va'lar. Hammond later tells O'Neill what will happen if Teal'c cannot recover from the ordeal, just in time for Teal'c to have a vision about the aftermath.

Later, Teal'c wonder what he has done, followed by the fading of his heart rate. SG-1, Fraiser, Hammond and Bra'tac enter the room, where Bra'tac urges Teal'c to choose death or freedom. He tells Fraiser not to introduce the symbiote yet. As Bra'tac yells at him to choose his path, Teal'c receieves a flashback where he defects and rescues SG-1, and through several brief flashes, reveals that Teal'c has spent the majority of his past four years with SG-1, whom he considers friends and even family. After the flashes are finished, and Junior is reintroduced to Teal'c, he awkanes and announces that he chooses freedom.

The team realise that Teal'c has returned to them. Teal'c gladly admits that Apophis is a false god. A dead false god. O'Neill demands the restraints be removed from Teal'c, who he deems has fully recovered. Teal'c greets SG-1 properly this time, and asks Hammond permission to rejoin SG-1 and help fight the Goa'uld, which he grants.

References

"Children of the Gods"; Chulak; Cronus; Earth; First Prime; Goa'uld; Goa'uld language; Host; Jaffa; Jaffa Rebellion; Junior; Kara kesh; Kelno'reem; Pyramid; Ra; Ra's planet; Rite of M'al Sharran; Ronac; Rya'c; Serpent Guard; Shol'va; Staff weapon; Stargate Command; Symbiote; Tau'ri; Velour; Zat'nik'tel

Notable quotes

O'Neill: So, explain this to me one more time. You honestly believe that from the moment you broke us out of that prison on Chulak, that you've been serving Apophis? Because, I got to tell you, as your best friend at least in this whole live world, that makes absolutely no sense at all. I mean, that would make you the most ineffective double agent in the history of double agenting!


Teal'c: Va'lar.
O'Neill: Va'lar. Is that what he said?
Jackson: I thought he said velour.
O'Neill: Velour?
Jackson: Velour.
O'Neill: The fabric?
Jackson: That's what I heard him say.
O'Neill: Why would he say that?
Jackson: I don't know, why would he say Va'lar?
O'Neill: I don't know.


Carter: Did I miss anything?
O'Neill: He talked about fabric.
Jackson: He called me a woman.

Background notes

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Stargate Wiki has 11 images related to Threshold.
  • Between the previous episode (Enemies) and this one, all computer monitors in the SGC are changed from CRT's to LCD's.
  • Hammond mentions that the Goa'uld symbiote within Teal'c will mature within 4-5 years. This is the first mention of when Teal'c will need a new symbiote to survive. Additionally, Bra'tac mentions his final symbiote will mature within two years. However, both their symbiotes are killed about 1-2 years later and they both live on, thanks to Tretonin.
  • This episode shares its title with a Star Trek: Voyager episode.
  • This episode also shares its title with a Sci-Fi television series title.

Production

External links

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