Stargate SG-1: Thor’s Hammer and The Torment of Tantalus
Two very important early Stargate SG-1 episodes, for two very different reasons!
Stargate SG-1 – Season One – Episode 8 – Thor’s Hammer
The first important thing in these two episodes, the first talk about Thor and the Asgard! Thor and the Asgard become important characters and plot lines in later seasons, and it’s interesting to see where it all started.
Visiting an alien planet, SG-1 notices a giant obelisk with a hammer on the top near the Stargate. The obelisk scans SG-1, and begins to teleport Teal’c, or more specifically, the Goa’uld symbiote chilling in Teal’c stomach pouch. O’Neill rushes Teal’c and they are both teleported away to a series of caverns deep in a mountain.
See, it turns out that Thor and the Asgard were aliens that fought the Goa’uld centuries ago, and they set up this planet as a safe haven from the Goa’uld. Any Goa’uld who goes through the Stargate will be immediately teleported away, where they must face “Thor’s hammer”, which will kill the Goa’uld and free the host.
Unfortunately, there is a large creature in the caverns, an Unas (basically a giant armored strong reptile) that has a Goa’uld symbiote in it. He won’t leave, but he wants to eat O’Neill and Teal’c. Teal’c can’t leave without killing his Goa’uld inside him, which would kill him. O’Neill won’t leave without Teal’c.
After convincing freed Goa’uld hosts in the nearby village, Sam Carter and Daniel Jackson enter the caverns from the exit, and after a tremendous struggle, Teal’c manages to force the Unas into Thor’s hammer where the Goa’uld is killed and the Unas dies of bullet wounds. Daniel Jackson then faces a tremendous challenge between freeing his friend and ally Teal’c, and leaving Thor’s hammer alone in the hope of using it to free his wife from Goa’uld control.
Love the Asgard, love Thor, and while we don’t actually see them in this episode, merely holographic representations of their human forms, it’s still interesting seeing yet another version of Thor, especially after the recent Marvel Comics movie. You can also really see the internal struggle on Daniel Jackson’s face; Michael Shanks captured the anguish perfectly.
One part stuck out to me while rewatching this episode – the villagers are convinced they can hear the voice of Thor in the wind and thunder storms and rain. Sam Carter barely contains her dismay at this, but doesn’t say anything. Daniel Jackson just goes along with it and respects their beliefs. And yet we the audience know from later episodes that there was no way Thor or any of the Asgards was talking to the villagers.
So right there we have three views: skeptics, respecters, and believers. I think Carter has a point to immediately scoff at the believers, but I admire Daniel for respecting their beliefs. Yet how self-deceived are the villagers for thinking a crack of thunder is Thor’s approval? Makes me wonder.
Stargate SG-1 – Season One – Episode 9 – The Torment of Tantalus
The other very important episode of these two, especially within the whole franchise! This episode features, historically, the very first filmed moment of Stargate travel! And especially, the actor who goes through the Stargate is none other than Paul McGillion, who later becomes a series regular on Stargate SG-1 nearly seven years later!
Following the discovery of the Stargate in Egypt in the early part of the 20th century, a group of scientists manage to get the Stargate working, and one walks through in a scuba diving outfit before the Stargate shuts off, stranding the man on a distant world. This man’s fiance was Catherine Langford, the woman who brought Daniel Jackson on to the Stargate project in the original movie.
Well it turns out no one knew about the Stargate testing in the 40s, and Daniel discovers some research videos about it. He tells Catherine, they determine what planet Dr. Ernest Littlefield went through, and after working it out with General Hammond, SG-1 visits to the planet to discover Dr. Littlefield still alive, yet now a 70 year old man. A 70 year old buck naked man.
The planet Littlefield was on turns out to be an ancient castle and meeting place for four major alien races in the galaxy. They left behind a sort of library that is encoded at a molecular level, a feat which would take more than one lifetime to decode. However, the castle is situated on a cliff and is crumbling into the sea. Within moments of being on the planet, the DHD falls into the ocean, and SG-1 has to jury rig a lightning rod to power the Stargate in order to escape and get home, leaving behind yet another lost treasure trove of information.
Awesome seeing an even younger Paul McGillion. He goes on to become one of my favorite actors on Stargate: Atlantis. It’s touching to see the two lovers finally reunited after more than 50 years apart, but you can clearly see his mind has been damaged for being alone for that long. There is a clear struggle in his mind to replace the fictional Catherine with the real Catherine in front of him. Michael Shanks once again does a good job bringing out Daniel Jackson’s inner library nerd and the angst at leaving behind such a treasure of knowledge.
Plus the castle looked pretty freaking cool. This is one of those places I wish the Stargate franchise had returned to via time travel or some other plot device. The castle was truly epic, and it would have been nice to see it in it’s prime.