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Recap / Stargate SG-1 S3 E15 "Pretense"

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Narim visits Earth to inform the team that Klorel has crashed his ship on the new Tollan homeworld, and a trial is now to take place to decide whether he should be allowed to maintain possession of his host body or whether it should be given back to Skaara. O'Neill and Daniel agree to act as Skaara's representatives while Klorel is represented by his fellow Goa'uld Zipacna, but Carter and Teal'c soon come to suspect that Zipacna is using the Triad as a cover for his true motives — launching an attack against Tollana.


Last appearance of the Nox.

"Pretense" provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Anti-Air: The ion cannons used by the Tollan, capable of taking out Goa'uld motherships that are still in orbit.
  • Brains and Brawn: Skaara explicitly cites this as his reason for wanting both O'Neill and Daniel to represent him at the Triad, since "O'Neill is strong but Daniel is wise." Though given that the Triad doesn't really involve a lot of physical strength, it's possible he was referring more to O'Neill's strength of character.
  • Bigger Is Better: O'Neill's response when the team learns that the Tollan have managed to build their own stargate:
    O'Neill: Ours is bigger.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Narim sends Schrodinger, the cat that Carter gave to him on his first appearance, through the Earth stargate ahead of himself so the SGC know that they're not under attack.
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    • Skaara mentions Klorel attempting to kill Daniel with the ribbon device in "Within the Serpent's Grasp".
  • Courtroom Antic: The Triad descends into this at times, mostly as a result of Zipacna's Smug Snake tendencies rubbing Jack and Daniel the wrong way.
  • Courtroom Episode: Most of the episode revolves around the trial to decide whether Skaara should be given back possession of his body.
  • Decided by One Vote: Predictably, O'Neill and Daniel vote in favor of Skaara keeping his body while Zipacna votes for Klorel, so the outcome of the trial is ultimately decided by Lya.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Narim doesn't appear to have gotten over his crush on Carter in the two years since they last saw each other. However, she tells him that she is not in the right place for a relationship as her feelings are still confused due to the imprint left by Jolinar.
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  • Fate Worse than Death: Skaara describes being a host as such, and Daniel uses this as part of his defense, pointing out that life as a prisoner inside your own body is not really life at all. This is ultimately what sways Lya to vote in favor of Skaara.
  • Glass Cannon: The Tollan as a whole are this, as they have incredibly advanced and powerful weaponry but are so unused to being at war that they are unable to think strategically and believe themselves to be impervious to attack.
  • Higher-Tech Species: The Tollan are far more technologically advanced than Earth and even the Goa'uld; unfortunately, this has made them overconfident and blind to their weaknesses.
  • Iron Lady: Chancellor Travell.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Zipacna actually makes some legally valid, if not morally distasteful, points in his argument. Goa'uld physiology does require them to take another lifeform as a host; being parasitic is a biological fact that the Goa'uld have no control over. If they remove Klorel from Skaara, he has to be put in another host in order to live. He's also technically right that the human host of a Goa'uld is still alive and aware, so leaving Klorel in Skaara means they will both continue to live. Of course he glosses over the whole And I Must Scream aspect of being a host.
  • Loophole Abuse: Zipacna tries to pull this, pointing out that Tollan law does not permit death as a punitive measure and the Goa'uld require hosts to live, so to extract Klorel would be to execute him and thus in violation of their own laws. It doesn't really work however, as it's already been shown that a symbiote can survive outside the human body in the right environment.
    • At the end of the episode, Lya as well, having only hidden the weapon but not firing it, leaving her technically a pacifist.
  • Master of Illusion: Lya uses her powers to hide one of the ion cannons from Zipacna's forces by making it invisible.
  • The Right of a Superior Species: Zipacna insists that the Goa'uld have a right to use humans as hosts because they are fundamentally superior, drawing a comparison with humans hunting and fishing animals. Daniel counters this by arguing that the only reason the Goa'uld are superior is that they stole their knowledge and technology from other races, including humanity. Zipacna counters right back by saying it does not matter how the Goa'uld got the technology. They did, and humanity did not.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Somehow every ion cannon protecting the hemisphere of the planet our hero’s are on is in walking distance of the city. Even though the opening shot shows the ion cannon blasts coming from positions hundreds or thousands of kilometres apart. As a planetary defence network would have to be.
  • Sharing a Body: The Tollan have developed a device that prevents Klorel from suppressing Skaara's personality, forcing the two of them to share the body equally for the duration of the trial.
  • Technical Pacifist: The Tollan pride themselves on not being a "war-faring people", but they also possess advanced weapons technology capable of obliterating pretty much anything and they definitely aren't afraid to use it if they have to. Lya also proves herself to be this, in contrast to the previous characterization of the Nox as Perfect Pacifist People, when she helps Teal'c hide one of the ion cannons:
    Carter: I thought the Nox were pacifists.
    Lya: I only hid the weapon. I did not fire it.
    Carter: Huh. Pretty fine line you didn't cross there.
    Lya: Yes, it is.

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