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Recap / Stargate SG 1 S 9 E 17 The Scourge

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"We're being put on babysitting duty?!"
— Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell

SG-1 is tasked with escorting IOA delegates from China, France and Great Britain, plus Richard Woolsey, for a tour of the Gamma Site, but what should be a routine mission turns deadly when a swarm of carnivorous bugs escapes captivity and begins to breed exponentially, cutting the team and their charges off from the stargate.

"The Scourge" provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Big Eater: Teal'c is shown loading several corn dogs onto his plate during the scene in the Gamma Site commissary.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Woolsey, of all people, gives one to the ambassadors when they keep bombarding Carter with questions as she's trying to jury-rig the communications system to send a message to the Odyssey, yelling at them to shut up and let her work.
  • Bilingual Backfire: When the team are first introduced to the ambassadors, Daniel and Shen Xiaoyi have a conversation in Mandarin wherein they insult Mitchell, only for him to reveal that he understands what they're saying.
    Shen: [in Mandarin] You're bringing him along?
    Daniel: [in Mandarin] Someone has to babysit him.
    [Both laugh]
    Mitchell: Yeah, that's very funny. [in Mandarin] Screw you!
  • Body Horror: The bugs lay their eggs inside anyone hapless enough to get bitten, who then gets eaten alive from the inside out after the eggs hatch, with a new generation of bugs bursting from the empty person-shell once they're done.
    Woolsey: I don't understand. What happened to him?
    Carter: Well, I can't say for sure but my best guess is that the bug must have laid its eggs in him. They incubated, and when they hatched... Well, we know they eat meat.
    Woolsey: I'm sorry I asked.
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  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted; the team completely run out of ammo for their main weapons and have to resort to using their sidearms, which also run out, by the end of the episode.
  • Broken Heel: Not expecting to be going hiking halfway across an alien planet, Shen wears impractical high-heeled shoes which cause her to fall down a rocky slope and break her ankle as the group approach the research station, drawing the bugs to their location.
  • Brutal Honesty: Carter's preferred method of dealing with the delegates, pointing out that there's no point sugar-coating the situation when Woolsey asks her to give them some reassurance.
  • Bug War: The episode's antagonist is a swarm of flesh-eating bugs
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Mitchell and Teal'c engage in some trivial banter while going back for the F-302s, despite being stalked by carnivorous insects. After they narrowly avoid being eaten alive, however, Teal'c suggests that perhaps they should keep unnecessary conversation to a minimum.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Shen greets Daniel as "the man who solved the riddle of the stargate".
    • Lee mentions that the bugs were initially being studied as a way to get rid of kassa crops.
    • Mitchell tells Teal'c that he should get his own place, to which Teal'c replies that he's already tried it and it didn't go well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Teal'c works in some snark after being subjected to Daniel and Mitchell arguing over the validity of the Chinese government's concerns.
    Mitchell: Hey, look, I don't wanna argue about this. I'm right, we'll leave it at that.
    Daniel: Compelling argument. Teal'c, what do you think?
    Teal'c: I think I should have remained with the tour.
  • Eaten Alive: The fate of several Red Shirts who succumb to the bugs.
  • For Want of a Nail: Shen asks Daniel whether he still would have jumped at the chance to go through the stargate if it had been the Chinese government rather than the US military who approached him nine years ago, and says that she may hold him to it one day when he replies that he would.
  • Gallows Humor: After narrowly escaping a swarm of ravenous carnivorous bugs, SG-1 agrees to relax with a movie. Mitchell picks Starship Troopers.
  • Hidden Depths: It's revealed that Mitchell can understand and speak at least some Mandarin.
  • Just in Time: The team and the delegates are beamed off the planet by the Odyssey just as the research station is overwhelmed by the bugs.
  • Live-Action Escort Mission: The team are not particularly thrilled to find out that they've been tasked with showing the delegates around the Gamma Site, and this trope comes into full effect once the bugs breach quarantine and Woolsey demands that SG-1 be the ones to escort them to the research station since they're the most qualified people present.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The scientist studying the bugs inadvertently gives them a taste for meat and causes them to breed exponentially when he decides to feed them a piece of meatloaf on a whim.
  • Pet the Dog: Woolsey actually says something nice about the team at the end of the episode.
    Woolsey: It may seem like they do an inordinate amount of complaining, but off the record, the IOA has nothing but praise for the job you're doing here... Just don't let it go to your heads.
  • Right Makes Might: Teal'c states that this belief helped to sustain his faith during all the years the team was fighting against the Goa'uld.
    Teal'c: They may have had the superior forces and resources, but we possessed something far greater.
    Mitchell: Which was?
    Teal'c: A just cause.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The Gamma Site base self-destructs after being overrun by the bugs, leaving the team and their charges trapped on the outside of the planet until the Odyssey can arrive.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The opening scene shows the team discussing their current situation against the Ori, with Mitchell's "glass half-full" philosophy contrasting Daniel's cynicism.
  • The Swarm: The bugs turn into this once they've multiplied enough.
  • Take That!: The final scene provides one against Starship Troopers:
    Daniel: So, we still doing movie night?
    Carter: Yeah, why not?
    Mitchell: Good. I've already picked something out.
    Teal'c: Old School?
    Mitchell: Starship Troopers.
    Teal'c: Is it humorous?
    Mitchell: Is it ever!
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Dr. Lee mentions that he's always been creeped out by bugs and proceeds to launch into a childhood anecdote before Landry reminds him that they have rather more pressing matters at hand.

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