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Recap / Stargate SG 1 S 5 E 8 The Tomb

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"The Russians are coming."
— Dr. Daniel Jackson

SG-1 joins forces with the Russians to search for a missing team who are believed to have disappeared inside an ancient tomb on another planet back when the Russian stargate program was still operational. The mission goes awry when they accidentally seal themselves inside the tomb, and tensions between the two parties run high as they are stalked by a mysterious flesh-eating creature while desperately trying to find a way out.

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First appearance of Colonel Chekov.


"The Tomb" provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ancient Tomb: As the title of the episode might suggest.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The journal of the Russian archaeologist is found, detailing what happened to the members of the original expedition. The last entry has him deciding to kill himself via cyanide pill after everyone else is dead.
  • Bilingual Bonus: When Major Vallarin drinks a cup of coffee which is obviously not to his liking, he says in Russian, "The greatest superpower on Earth, and they can't make a decent cup of coffee."
  • Blatant Lies:
    O'Neill: General, you know I'm a big fan of the Russians and international relations are a bit of a hobby of mine...
  • Booby Trap: Col. Zukhov accidentally triggers one when he steps onto the platform where the sarcophagus sits, causing the entrance to the tomb to close and seal the search party inside.
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  • Continuity Nod: Zukhov mentions that he and SG-1 have a mutual friend in Dr. Svetlana Markoff.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Marduk's priests sealed him in his sarcophagus with a flesh-eating creature, knowing that the regenerative properties of the sarcophagus would keep him alive as he was being continually devoured. This becomes even worse after it's revealed that the symbiote eventually jumped into the body of the creature, leaving the presumably innocent human host to suffer in his place.
    O'Neill: Okay, that is officially the worst way to go.
  • Cultural Posturing: Happens on both sides, but O'Neill is by far the worst offender.
  • Cyanide Pill: It's revealed that the teams sent through the Russian stargate were each given these, much to O'Neill's disgust.
  • Due to the Dead: Lt. Marchenko is seen covering the corpse of one of the original Russian team members.
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  • Even Evil Has Standards: Marduk was apparently so evil that his own priests rebelled and overthrew him.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Col. Zukhov pulls one of these at the end in a Taking You with Me moment to allow the others to escape.
  • Hey, Catch!: Zukhov tosses the Goa'ulded Vallarin a live grenade, though it only slows him down briefly.
  • Insistent Terminology: Daniel repeatedly informs O'Neill that the tomb is a ziggurat, not a pyramid.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: Happens several times throughout the episode, with predictably disastrous consequences. Also snarkily lampshaded by Daniel:
    Vallarin: Wait here.
    Daniel: Yes, you go down the dark hallway alone, and I'll wait here in the dark room alone.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: Lt. Marchenko tries to do this, but the descending stone door he's trying to hold up ends up crushing him to death before anybody else has a chance to get through.
  • MacGuffin: The Eye of Tiamat, which the Russian team has secret orders to retrieve.
  • Mexican Standoff: O'Neill and Zukhov immediately turn their guns on each other when Carter reveals that Marduk has jumped hosts, each having compelling reasons to believe that the other is the Goa'uld. Naturally, it's neither of them.
  • Mundane Solution: When Daniel points out that there is no visible control panel to open the sarcophagus, O'Neill simply rolls his eyes and levers it open with his knife.
  • Oh, Crap!: Happens twice: first of all when Carter realizes that Marduk is still alive, and then later when she is no longer able to sense the symbiote inside the creature and realizes it must have jumped into one of the humans.
    • Also happens twice with the Goa'ulded Vallarin. First, as described in Hey, Catch! above and the second when he saw the pile of C4 and other explosives with the countdown at about 10 seconds.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: One of the show's few forays into horror.
  • P.O.V. Cam: Happens a few times from the creature's perspective as it watches the characters wandering around the tomb.
  • Race Against the Clock: After Lt. Tolinev is bitten, the team have roughly two hours to find an exit and get her medical attention before the poison kills her.
  • Red Shirt Army: All of the Russian characters die save for Tolinev, who is put out of commission after getting bitten by the creature but makes a full recovery at the end of the episode.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The first Russian team inadvertently let both Marduk and the flesh-eating creature he was possessing out of the sarcophagus where he'd been sealed for several thousand years.
  • Send in the Search Team: SG-1 and Zukhov's team are ostensibly sent in to retrieve any survivors from the initial Russian expedition.
  • Sensor Character: Carter and Teal'c are able to use their ability to sense the presence of a Goa'uld symbiote to determine which members of the party are free from possession.
  • Similar Squad: Each member of the Russian team very roughly corresponds to a member of SG-1, with Zukhov as O'Neill's counterpart, Vallarin as Daniel's, Tolinev as Carter's and Marchenko as Teal'c's.
  • Stripped to the Bone: The bodies of the original Russian team, along with Marduk's host, have been entirely stripped of flesh after they were Eaten Alive by the creature.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With SG-1 and the Russian team as a whole, although most of the animosity lies between O'Neill and Zukhov.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: At the end of the episode, Col. Chekov calls out O'Neill over the fact that SG-1 made it out intact while all members of the Russian team were killed save for one, who was seriously wounded. However, he does reluctantly admit that mistakes were made on both sides. O'Neill points out that if it hadn't been for Zukhov and his secret orders trying to undermine O'Neill's authority at every turn, things might have turned out very differently.
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