Episode 9: Thor's Hammer
By: Carlos Uribe
Stargate SG-1 is a series about a two-way gate that can send you to different planets and the dangers of the gate. This series follows the adventures of a group of individuals as they explore the galaxy using the Stargate. The series lasted from 1997 until 2010. It began on Showtime before transferring to what is now known as the Syfy channel. It is the second longest North American science fiction series. It's the sequel to the movie “Stargate” released in 1994.
This episode is essential to the series/season arc.
Daniel Jackson begins this episode by introducing an idea to the viewers: that some of the “gods” of previous civilizations were not Goa'uld and that different species were using the Stargate. These aliens weren't trying to enslave humanity but to use advanced technology to help it. He points to the Norse gods as proof. This conversation sets up the whole episode: the Norse Gods didn't just exist but they could be potential allies. This becomes an important episode for not only exploring that theme but also the background information that this episode has on the Goa'uld and on the Stargate themselves. This is an episode that developed the Stargate universe even if it didn't really move along the plot. It also provided hope for our characters on their current mission. We're going to cover, in bullet list, what this episode revealed that seems to be quite important:
- The Stargate wasn't build by the Goa'ulds and other aliens know how to use it.
- It is possible to remove a Goa'uld from it's host and for the host to survive.
- The Goa'ulds don't just inhabit humans but they can also take over other species.
- There are aliens friendly to the human race out there.
Let's cover the first piece of information. This is merely a small passing point in the episode and it doesn't explore the implications of this. The implications is that there's other aliens out there who are more powerful than the Goa'uld and who could potentially come to the aid of humanity. It also means that the Goa'uld aren't as powerful as the series seems to have set them up to be. The series might not have made that point but it did make a related one. If there's more advanced beings out there then that means that the Goa'uld aren't the most powerful beings out there and that we can therefore beat them. They might have the advantage at the moment but that doesn't mean that they will be keeping it. This advanced technology is actually shown in this episode by a weapon that names this episode: Thor's Hammer.
Thor's Hammer is a special kind of weapon. It doesn't kill any humans but only Goa'uld. This means that if you're a human being who is serving as a host and come under the hammer, then the human will be able to leave as if nothing has ever happened. In order to show the effects of the hammer, the episode introduces an intriguing female character: someone who used to be under the control of the Goa'uld. This character would be better except she's more used as a plot device to get Carter and Daniel to where they need to be rather than an actual human being. She also provides some information on how much the Goa'uld takes over and other information but the episode doesn't ever completely successfully ground that information into an actual character. She's not only a plot device but a way to provide exposition to the viewers and our characters. The Hammer itself is destroyed but it leaves the impression on Daniel and O'Neil that it's possible to safely extract a Goa'uld from it's host.
The episode also introduces a Goa'uld who isn't inhibiting a human being but a really old alien being. It's called Unas and it's estimated to be thousands of years old. It's extremely powerful. When the being is first introduced, I thought it was an unnecessary addition of a monster to the plot in an attempt to drive up tension. While it did serve that purpose, it became a welcome necessary addition as it provided some history and context for the Goa'uld. They don't just have the ability to take over human beings but other species. This opens the series up to a lot of other possibilities for the future while revealing that the Goa'uld are much older than humanity itself.
This was ultimately a necessary episode for anyone whose interested in Stargate lore. The episode works well enough to be entertaining but the two females on this planet end up being woefully undeveloped, largely serving as plot devices rather than anything. It does open up story opportunities for the Stargate writers as it explores a lot of new ideas. This episode might have it's flaws, but it's definably worth seeing.