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R.A. Goodyear is an author, screenwriter, ghostwriter, editor and book/film reviewer with over twelve years' experience, including positions in two independent publishing houses. Rebekah has published ...

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Rita Lewis Avalon, Parts 1 and 2: Season 9, Episodes 1 and 2
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: what a fantastic job reviewing these controversial episodes and explain to this Scaper why Ben pla...

Reviews and Journaling By R.A. Goodyear

Talion: Series 10, Episode 17

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Talion is centered around Teal'c, and there is no doubt that Chris Judge offers a powerful performance and shows the angry, darker side of his character, which is offset by Ben's equally strong performance as Teal'c's understanding and loyal friend, who tries together with the team to help the great Jaffa warrior. It is the final episode directed by Andy Mikita, who says in the Stargate SG-1 Season 10 Companion Book that the episode in its original form ran much longer, but several scenes were sadly cut for time.

 

The story begins on a planet called Dar Eshkalon in the middle of the night. Cameron, Samantha, Daniel, Vala and several SG members are searching for survivors at the site of an explosion. There are not many, but among them are Teal'c and Bra'tac. Both are badly wounded.

A flashback scene shows Teal'c and Bra'tac at a peaceful leadership summit. Suddenly Teal'c notices a strange looking Jaffa with a peculiar, circular scar on his face. Teal'c makes to go after him but then explosives begin going off.

Teal'c wakes up in the infirmary at the SGC, and speaks to Dr. Lam, who informs him that he has been unconscious for weeks and for a time, she was afraid he might not walk again, but now she is confident he will be alright.

Next, there is a scene between Cameron, Dr. Carolyn Lam and Samantha which makes mention of Cameron's recovery from his critical injuries in the dogfight at Antarctica three years prior, and offers a rare glimpse into Cameron's pain from that time.

"Does he know about Bra'tac?" Cameron asks.

"I barely had a chance to tell him about what he's been through, or about what he's going to have to go through to get back on his feet," Dr. Lam answers.

"Been there. It's not a good place," Cameron replies.

It's interesting to watch the way Ben handled that scene. He was leaning against the wall casually when he asked about Bra'tac, then, as Dr. Lam answered, his face completely changed. He pushed off the wall and began walking away, giving Dr. Lam a small squeeze on the elbow. The fact that he says he's "been there" is not a surprise; of course Cameron can understand better than anyone what Teal'c is about to endure in terms of his recovery. Cameron wasn't even expected to walk again, but he did against all odds. It is the unexplained, affectionate and silent gesture towards Dr. Lam which is intriguing, and leaves one to wonder if she might have been part of the original team of doctors who saved Cameron and helped him to recover.

Cameron and the team visit Teal'c and initially try to avoid telling him the details of the explosion, and moreover, to avoid telling him what condition Bra'tac is in. But Teal'c is having none of it and soon Cameron takes him to see Bra'tac, leaving him with a silent clap on the shoulder, a gesture of friendship and empathy. Bra'tac is on the verge of death and this seals Teal'c's resolve for revenge.

Once Teal'c is recovered, he tells General Landry about a Jaffa named Arkad, who he is certain is responsible for the attack on the leadership summit. Landry denies Teal'c's request to seek out Arkad and kill him before he can do any more damage since there is no proof. This angers Teal'c and he decides to leave the SGC.

Cameron tries to convince Landry to let SG-1 help Teal'c, because Cameron believes Teal'c is right about Arkad, even though he thinks the great Jaffa warrior is going about things the wrong way. Landry refuses, then asks Cameron if he tried to talk Teal'c out of going.

"I did. Like sticking my foot out to trip a freight train. I can't say that I blame him," Cameron says.

"I don't either. He's here of his own free will, he can leave if he wants to," Landry replies.

Ben portrays Cameron's reaction beautifully: his countenance displays his surprise and dismay that Landry is going to allow Teal'c to leave. Cameron goes to the control room where he, Daniel, Samantha and Vala watch Teal'c leave through the Gate. Before he does, Cameron suggests that they "zat him and put him in a holding cell until he comes to his senses," and Vala suggests they go with him. Daniel says he offered but that Teal'c refused, and Samantha informs everyone that Teal'c promised to keep in touch.

Ben as Cameron gives her a look. "You don't really believe that?"

The silence among the friends is telling, and Teal'c walks through the Stargate. Shortly after, Bra'tac wakes up and reveals to Daniel that Arkad and Teal'c were opposing First Primes and have a long, violent history; Arkad is very evil and he is also believed to have murdered Teal'cs mother.

As the story progresses, while Teal'c goes in search of the Jaffa who set off the explosives and Arkad, SG-1 continues to investigate. There is a sense of sorrow and unease among the team. None of them want to abandon Teal'c. Colonel Reynolds informs Landry, Samantha and Cameron that there is word Arkad intends to force the Jaffa to adopt Origin and that he is leading a group of Ori-embracing Jaffa known as the Illen Renac in a planned attack on Earth. Cameron and Samantha share a knowing look.

Cameron wants to go after Arkad and take him out before he can strike; he believes "Teal'c has the right idea."

Then Arkad himself contacts Earth, claiming that there is an impending attack on Earth by rebel Jaffa and only he can help stop it. The IOA forces General Landry to permit Arkad to visit the SGC.

British actor Craig Fairbass plays Arkad, and there's some great interaction between him, Beau and Ben as Arkad tries to persuade Landry and SG-1 that he is there to help, even as he ultimately delivers veiled threats. As Arkad leaves, Ben and Beau Bridges share one of the knowing looks that is a trademark of Ben as Cameron, who often does the same with the others, especially Amanda Tapping, and Chris Judge.

After that the IOA orders the SGC to take no action against Arkad. Cameron doesn't take that news very well, and Ben and Beau have a brief but strong scene wherein Cameron argues fairly heatedly with Landry. But Landry has his orders and he says they must "play the intelligence game" to see what they can learn about Arkad. SG-1 is not to be in on the investigation, however. To Cameron and the team's visible dismay, their orders are to find Teal'c and "stop him at all costs."

SG-1 heads to the planet where Arkad has his base of operations and tries to set a trap for Teal'c. I'm certain Cameron knows it's not going to work, but they try anyway. Not long after Cameron and Samantha realize that Colonel Reynolds (whose team has accompanied SG-1 and are watching the Gate) have failed to check in. Cameron goes to investigate and finds Reynolds and another officer unconscious but unharmed. He calls out to Teal'c and tries to convince him this isn't a trap, but Teal'c isn't buying it, and fires at Cameron, who is clever enough to stay on the ground and army crawl away.

Meanwhile, Samantha, Daniel and Vala are not so cautious and soon find themselves knocked out by a Jaffa stun bomb. It's fascinating that Cameron, who has only worked with Teal'c less than two years, is the one to find and successfully sneak up on the seasoned Jaffa warrior.

An epic fight scene ensues with Cameron using his Sodan warrior training against Teal'c. While the conclusion of the fight is inevitable - Teal'c being a Jaffa is, after all, at least three times as strong as even the strongest human and is wearing full Jaffa chainmail body armour - Cameron nevertheless gives him an excellent fight. I imagine Ben enjoyed doing this scene with Chris because he loves action scenes. It's a brilliantly choreographed fight.

Of course, Teal'c eventually hits Cameron hard enough to knock him out. He does not use his full Jaffa strength even then, however, because he doesn't want to hurt his friends. But he is determined to destroy Arkad.

The next scene between Teal'c and Arkad is a shortened version of the original fight. This scene is perhaps the most violent, bloody scene in the entire series, which is not known for going over the top in violence. Producer Joseph Mallozzi said the original cut of the scene was so "gory" he worried that perhaps they'd been working director Andy Mikita too hard.

Arkad injures Teal'c very badly, going so far as to stab him in the abdomen with a sword. But when he tells Teal'c he intends to "bring the Tau'ri to their knees" and that he was indeed responsible for the death of Teal'c's mother, Teal'c finds the strength to impale Arkad and kills him just as Cameron and the others rush in, then collapses.

The episode ends with two great scenes. The second last is between Ben and Beau. Cameron is quietly watching Teal'c through the window who is lying in the infirmary below when Landry comes in to go over his report. Landry knows full that Cameron's report of Arkad taking SG-1 captive and Teal'c saving them is nonsense, but Cameron isn't budging from his story. Ben keeps his eyes on Teal'c and his expression carefully schooled. He points out to Landry that Arkad admitted to planning the attacks and was going to go through with them no matter what.

"It's too bad you weren't able to learn more," Landry says, but Cameron won't say anything further.

No matter how long or brief the scenes and regardless of the content, Ben and Beau are simply terrific together.

This scene also shows Cameron's loyalty to his team and friends. He is bruised on the side of his head and has a split lip, injuries which Teal'c inflicted on him. Yet Cameron Mitchell has sided with his Jaffa comrade and is willing to risk his career to protect him and keep him on SG-1, as are the others. It's a beautiful testament to how Cameron came in as a stranger, brought the team back together, and became their leader, defender, and dear friend in a relatively short period of time.

The final scene is between Bra'tac and Teal'c, who tells Bra'tac that although Arkad may have behind his mother's death, he was not the actual murderer. Teal'c killed his mother's murderer long ago, and Bra'tac tells Teal'c he is proud of him and that Teal'c is the son he never had.

External Publication

  • Ben Browder Network
  •   Tuesday, 20 June 2017
0
Terra Firma: Series 4, Episode 13
The Road Not Taken, Series 10, Episode 13
 

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