Hot on the heels of last week’s tragic Samfest, we get this season’s focus on Teal’c episode. With Gerak dead, he and Bra’tac are pushing for elections for the Jaffa people. The other council members are rapidly withdrawing their support for the elections. The most obvious explanation, Teal’c and Bra’tac decide, is brainwashing.1 Teal’c investigates off-screen and is captured by the brainwasher and all-round nice guy Baal.

Baal attempts to brainwash Teal’c but without success. As force doesn’t work, Baal resorts to reason. Baal’s so dreamy! I’d’ve fallen for his charismatic smile and persuasive arguments. Teal’c, crazily, is not convinced that Baal is working, and always has been, for the good of Jaffa kind. Baal is the strong leader that the Jaffa people need to defeat the Ori. He’ll selflessly forgo all the pomp and circumstance and work tirelessly manipulating the council from behind the scenes. When unreasonable Teal’c refuses to cooperate, Baal is forced to restart the torture and brainwashing. Teal’c is eventually convinced, but good guys being the sneaky untrustyworthy lying snakes that they are, Baal decides it’s wise to administer the standard kill-your-best-friend-in-front-of-me-to-prove-your-loyalty test, at which point Mitchell recklessly emerges from his subplot and causes a scene.

As the new kid in the family, Mitchell gets most of the attention. I don’t want to encourage him so I’ll briefly say that all this flashbacks and backstory have established that he is satisfactorily different from Crichton and his character development has improved from the-does-not-give-up muck at the start of the season.

I’m relieved that Teal’c and Bra’tac finally did something. Politics is a dull affair, so unless writers are stolen from The West Wing, action is needed to break up the speeches and solemnity. I like the seriousness Bra’tac and Teal’c play their scenes but sometimes when they’re in a scene by themselves, a gravitas feedback loop is created as they attempt to outserious each other until one of them overacts or the scene changes. Something that should be avoided in badly ventilated areas like corridors.

Carter’s involvement in this episode is just right. Not too heavy with exposition, not too light with doing stuff. She has a moment with Mitchell about a revealing the Stargate’s existence that is neither boring nor long-winded; she fixes the ring transporter for Mitchell and doesn’t try to explain everything we already know. I like Carter in small portions.

I believe Mitchell and Lam are secretly together, which makes Landry’s comment about screwing with family significant. I can’t back this up; crazy speculation seemed like an easy way to end a review.

  1. It also explains the mystery of Tom and Katie.
To resist the influence of others, knowledge of oneself is most important. — Teal'c

4 Responses to “Stronghold”

  1. I don’t want to start any arguments but I was really hoping that Teal’c would kill Bra’tac. Partly because then Teal’c would get some sort of character development but mostly because I can’t stand Bra’tac. I feel the seriousness feedback loops are mostly his fault. I don’t think that actor could do irony if he tried.

  2. Whats you’re problem with Bra’tac?? u gay or something? He’d kick ur ass!!!

    From the Gateworld review: “And Tony Amendola is in the middle of it all out-acting the entire cast.”

  3. No need to congratulate me on my inspired use of the Teal’c and Bra’tac image. Your stunned silence is praise enough.

  4. I’ve never gotten the impression that Tony Amendala does anything more than read his lines from a far-off cue card.

    The picture is cool.