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Recap / Stargate SG-1 S3 E3 "Fair Game"

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Series: Stargate SG-1
Episode: Season 3, Episode 3
Title: "Fair Game"
Previous: "Seth"
Next: "Legacy"
Recapper: KathiraNarae

Episode open during a ceremony for the workers at the SGC. Sam Carter is promoted to Major, and Jack O'Neill steps up to give a speech. He gets as far as 'Normally, I am a man of very few words' before he starts to glow and vanishes. His audience panics. Cut to O'Neill continuing with 'and in conclusion, I would like to say' before realising that he's on a spaceship. In orbit. You can just tell his next words should be 'Where the hell am I?' Then another light at the end of the spaceship reveals an Asgard: Thor. Oh dear.

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After O'Neill...admires, I suppose?...the fact that he's in a spaceship in orbit, Thor reveals that the Goa'uld system lords think Earth is a threat and are planning to wipe it off the map. However, Thor has a solution. With O'Neill (and not Daniel Jackson, who O'Neill rightfully points out would make more sense) representing Earth, a trio of Goa'uld and Thor are going to discuss an addition to the Goa'uld/Asgard peace treaty to put Earth under the blanket of Asgard-protected planets, though of course the Goa'uld will want something in return. To O'Neill's dismay, the summit will be held at SGC on Earth.

General Hammond isn't very happy, but is willing to go through with things thanks to O'Neill vouching for the Asgard. Thor gives them info on how to set things up and who the Goa'uld representatives are: Cronus, Nirrti, and Yu.

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O'Neill: Who, me?
Jackson: Yu is the name of the Goa'uld.

Hammond wants Teal'c to deal with the Goa'uld, since the guy's both a Jaffa and apparently knows a lot about Cronus, but Teal'c refuses. Jackson steps up to the plate. The team then find out about the fact that all weapons have to be removed from the facility before the summit, which O'Neill isn't happy about, before being reminded that he's the reason the summit is even happening in the first place. This sort of exchange happens a lot. Teal'c briefly refuses to hand over his staff but ultimately follows orders.

The Goa'uld enter and Jackson shows them to their rooms. Cronus calls the efforts pitiful but that's likely posturing; Yu and Nirrti have the more important complaint about the the security cameras. Jackson agrees to remove the cameras inside the rooms but asks that the corrider ones remain, which is granted. Shortly afterwards, Teal'c confides in Jackson that Cronus sent his first prime, Teal'c's father, on an impossible mission, then executed the poor guy for the inevitable failure and exiled a young Teal'c and his mother. Apparently, that's why Teal'c wanted to be Apophis's first prime; Cronus and Apophis hate each other.

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The first meeting goes poorly. Hellos are exchanged, the Goa'uld have a brief argument in their own language, and O'Neill asks what the hell is going on since he though they'd all be speaking the same language. The Goa'uld leave in a huff as, according to Thor, O'Neill spoke out of turn and insulted them. After Jackson writes a grovelling apolegetic letter in Goa'uld and O'Neill signs it, the Goa'uld agree to try again.

The second meeting goes much better, although O'Neill doesn't like the terms presented: Earth will not be invaded, provided that Earth technology remains at a level that the Goa'uld deem insufficient to pose a threat to the Goa'uld, and that Earth surrenders both its Stargates. O'Neill agonises over the decision since if he refuses, Earth gets wrecked, but if he accepts, then the Goa'uld could break the treaty and invade anyway...only with Earth no longer having the Stargate to get help. Thor can't help with the decision, especially when he reveals that the Asgard have a worse threat than the Goa'uld to deal with in their home galaxy and barely have anything to spare to fight the Goa'uld as a result, meaning that they've been forced to enforce the treaty by bluffing like there's no tomorrow. In other words, the Asgard are pretty much useless. O'Neill is forced to concede to the terms, but before things can go through, the alert sounds and Teal'c is found in Cronus's room, both injured and unconscious.

Teal'c may be unconscious, but his larva is healing him and he'll be fine. The same can't be said for Cronus, who's so badly unjured that both host and Goa'uld are likely to die. A quick look at the corridor camera footage shows Teal'c as the only one who entered Cronus's room, but it's not like our heroes can actually say that to the Goa'uld. They manage to convince Nirrti to use a Goa'uld healing device to help Cronus, but it fails and he needs a sarcophagus. Now that, the team don't have, but the Goa'uld aren't allowed to leave.

Teal'c wakes up and says that he was asked to go alone to Cronus's room, only for Cronus to deny ever making such a request, and then something invisible attacked them both. SG-1 are at a loss for what's happened, only for Carter to get the idea to use the Goa'uld healing device herself on Cronus. It works, Cronus is fine again, and the team realise that Nirrti was lying through her teeth.

SG-1 have a meeting with Nirrti and Yu and reveal that Nirrti lied about the healing device not working, then bluff about her owning technology to turn invisible. In Ace Attorney style, the bluff is exactly what's going on. Yu gets angry at Nirrti, so Nirrti turns invisible, hits him, grabs a gun and shoots everyone before running off. SG-1 manage to corner Nirrti with the same ray-gun that reveals the naturally invisible Reetou, forcing Nirrti to give herself up.

Yu is apparently none the worse for wear as he agrees to follow Cronus's example and agree to the treaty terms without forcing Earth to give up their Stargates. He and Cronus drag Nirrti back through the Stargate, but not before Cronus warns our heroes that although Earth is safe, any SG team who uses the Stargate will not be: they 'will be shown no mercy and will suffer greatly'. Niiiice. With that, they leave, and Jackson and O'Neill apparently find Nirrti's fate more important than Cronus's warning:

Jackson: Boy, is she gonna get it!
O'Neill: (sarcastically) My heart bleeds.

First appearance of Lord Yu.


"Fair Game" provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Apple of Discord: O'Neill turns Nirrti and Yu against each other by bluffing about Nirrti's experiments with phase-shifting technology. Of course, he's right, but he has no way of knowing that at the time.
  • Aggressive Negotiations: The already-fragile "peace talks" quickly go downhill when Cronus is attacked.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: The Asgard can only offer limited help to earth due to being tied up with other problems in their home galaxy. Additionally, the terms of the treaty state that they will not be able to help earth advance technologically.
  • Big "WHAT?!": O'Neill's reaction when he finds out that the treaty dictates the Goa'uld will be able to limit earth's development.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The healing device that is seen prior to the arrival of the Goa'uld when all the weapons are being removed from the base is later used by Carter to heal Cronus's injuries. It also becomes the primary piece of evidence for Nirrti's guilt after she tries to use it and fails, claiming the Cronus's injuries are too extensive.
  • The Chosen One: Thor is very emphatic in pointing out that the Asgard have chosen O'Neill specifically to represent earth, despite his insistence that Daniel would be the more logical choice.
  • The Confidant: The reason that Daniel neglects to tell any of the others about Teal'c's history with Cronus, despite the obvious security risk it poses, is that Teal'c told him in confidence.
  • Diving Save: Daniel tackles Yu to the ground behind cover when Nirrti's plot is exposed and she opens fire on the conference room.
  • Enemy Civil War: Thor states that the feudal nature of the Goa'uld system lords is useful as it prevents them from calling the Asgard's bluff on the protected planets treaty.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: This is basically Thor's response when O'Neill requests that he tell him what to do.
  • Foreshadowing: Thor mentions that the Asgard are struggling with an enemy much worse than the Goa'uld in their home galaxy, several episodes before the Replicators make their first appearance.
  • Frame-Up: Nirrti attempts to frame Teal'c for her attack on Cronus.
  • The Grovel: Daniel apparently writes a highly apologetic letter to the system lords in Goa'uld after O'Neill inadvertently insults them during the first round of negotiations.
    O'Neill: That boy can really grovel when he wants to.
  • Healing Hands: Carter is able to use the Goa'uld healing device to heal Cronus's injuries.
  • Invisibility: Nirrti is able to make herself invisible at will using a device apparently similar to that employed by Hathor.
  • It's Personal: Teal'c initially attempts to brush off his animosity towards Cronus as the result of having fought his Jaffa in battle, but Daniel doesn't buy it since their confrontation in the hallway looked way more personal.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: If Nirrti hadn't attempted to sabotage the negotiations by attacking Cronus and framing Teal'c, earth would have been forced to accept the original terms of the treaty and give up both of their stargates. Thanks to her interference, they are instead able to push Cronus and Yu into allowing them to continue using the gate while still refraining from launching an attack on earth.
  • Peace Conference: The entire plot of the episode is driven by the SGC and the Asgard attempting to negotiate for peace with the Goa'uld after the system lords declare earth a threat following their defeat of Hathor.
  • Poor Communication Kills: O'Neill laments Teal'c's unfortunate habit of keeping quiet about his personal problems until they blow up in his face and cause trouble for everyone.
    O'Neill: Oh, for cryin' out loud, why doesn't he tell us these things?
  • Pragmatic Villainy: While briefing the others on what to expect from the Goa'uld delegates, Daniel mentions that Yu is unlikely to care much about the affairs of earth as it's outside of his domain.
  • Rank Up: Carter is promoted from Captain to Major, the rank that she holds for the longest time and by far her most iconic.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Secretary of Defense who appears in the episode is one of the few politicians on the show to be actually portrayed as competent and sympathetic.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Subverted. The evidence certainly points to Teal'c killing Cronus out of revenge for the death of his father, but it's a set-up by Nirrti.
  • Schadenfreude: Daniel and O'Neill make no attempt at hiding their amusement as Nirrti is dragged off by the other two to face the punishment of the system lords.
    Daniel: Boy, is she gonna get it.
    O'Neill: My heart bleeds.
  • Servile Snarker: Daniel's role for the duration of the talks is basically to cater to the whims of the system lords, resulting in this.
    Daniel: I'll... see to the petty needs of Goa'uld, sir.
  • Slave Race: Apparently the treaty acknowledges that humans exist to be slaves to the Goa'uld.
  • Unaccustomed as I Am to Public Speaking...: O'Neill's speech regarding Carter's promotion starts out this way.
    O'Neill: Normally, I am a man of very few words...
  • Wham Line:
    Yu: We order the immediate and unconditional forfeiture of the Tau'ri stargate... Both of them.
  • Who's on First?: The first of many, many jokes regarding Yu's unfortunate name.
    Daniel: The second Goa'uld representative we're expecting is... Yu.
    O'Neill: Me?
    Daniel: Yu is the name of the Goa'uld.
    O'Neill: Ah. Sorry.
    • Later:
    Daniel: It should be noted that Yu did account for a number of positive influences.
    O'Neill: Thank you. [Daniel gives him a look] ...Sorry.
  • You Have Failed Me: Teal'c reveals that his father was once the First Prime of Cronus, who had him killed for failing to win an unwinnable battle.
  • You Killed My Father: See above.
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