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Recap / Stargate SG 1 S 9 E 5 The Powers That Be

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"Tell others what you have seen today."
— The Administrator

Vala convinces Mitchell, Daniel and Teal'c that she has a rapport with the people on one of the planets visited by the Prior, but they are appalled to discover that she has been posing as Qetesh, the Goa'uld she was once host to, in order to exploit the planet's naquadah mines. She is put on trial for her crimes after Daniel persuades her to come clean with the locals, and things go from bad to worse when the Administrator shows up and infects the native population with a deadly plague as incentive to convert to Origin.


"The Powers That Be" provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Bullet Dodges You: Vala unloads a clip from Mitchell's P90 into the Prior, only for the bullets to stop in mid-air in front of him and clatter harmlessly to the ground.
  • Call-Back: Vala uses a voice modulator while posing as Qetesh, similar to that used by Daniel and Carter for a training exercise in "Proving Ground".
  • Circling Monologue: Daniel and the Prior do this when they go head-to-head during Vala's trial.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Daniel reminds Vala that he's already seen her naked. From the same episode, it's revealed that Vala was telling the truth when she claimed to have once been a host, though this was fairly obvious anyway as she's already been showing using Goa'uld technology.
    • The Prior who shows up on the planet is the administrator who tried to have Daniel and Vala executed on Ver Eger.
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    • It's mentioned that the Prior plague is similar to that which wiped out the Ancients. Daniel goes so far as to speculate that the Ori may have been responsible for it back then.
  • Courtroom Episode: Not all of it, but a good portion of the episode involves Vala being put on trial for her crimes while masquerading as Qetesh.
  • Death Is Cheap: The natives killed by the plague are brought back to life by the Prior at the end of the episode, after the planet capitulates to the Ori.
  • Don't Create a Martyr: Discussed; Daniel mentions that he's studied enough religions to know that killing the missionaries rarely kills their message.
  • Downer Ending: The episode ends with the local population giving in and bowing to the Ori while the team are hopeless to do anything about it.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: During his argument with the Prior, Daniel suggests that maybe this is the whole point of enlightenment, which is something of a departure from his usual stance on the matter.
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  • Good Feels Good: Subverted; Daniel invokes this to convince Vala to come clean about pretending to be Qetesh, but she's not particularly inclined to agree with him when telling the truth gets her thrown in jail.
    Daniel: Look, for once just do the right thing here, okay? You'll feel so good about it afterwards. Trust me.
    (Cut to Vala being locked in a jail cell)
    Vala: So, Daniel, when does that warm and glowy feeling from doing the right thing kick in? 'Cause... not there yet.
  • Healing Hands: Vala uses the Goa'uld healing device on the natives when they start to fall ill, but before long it becomes apparent that she's fighting a losing battle. Then the Prior steps in and heals everyone at the end, cementing the Ori's status as "true gods" in the eyes of the local population.
  • Hidden Depths: Vala is visibly affected by the plight of the people she ruled over as Qetesh, and openly cries when the man who tried to have her executed dies.
  • List of Transgressions: Vala's trial starts with the prosecution reading out a list of the charges against her; the first two being mass murder and mass torture, which Vala and Daniel both object to since those were carried out by Qetesh, not Vala. After some deliberation, the prosecution agrees to only press charges for the things she did while in control of her own body, and the modified list opens with "planetary-wide forced labor", which Vala seems to agree is fair.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: It's revealed that Dr. Lam is General Landry's daughter, though this is only a reveal to the audience, not the characters. They're not on the best of terms.
  • The Medic: Dr. Lam is shown going offworld for the first time, in order to try and help control the plague.
  • Namesake Gag: A trial on the planet where Vala ruled is apparently known as a "Mal Doran".
  • The Plague: The Prior plague makes its first appearance.
  • Reveal Shot: Used when Lam is shown in close-up talking about a patient she can't do anything for, and the camera pans away to reveal that the patient in question is a very sick-looking Mitchell.
  • Shown Their Work: Dr. Lam mentions that she's happy with her new place in Cimarron Hills, which is an actual unincorporated community in Colorado Springs. Considering how little the show gets correct about the Springs, it's a nice touch.
  • Stylistic Suck: The play that the locals put on to honor "Qetesh."
    Daniel: Not exactly Shakespeare.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Vala half-jokingly suggests this as a tactic for dealing with the Prior, pointing out that when all is said and done, they are more or less human. Then she actually tries it at the end of the episode, with predictable results.
  • You Did Everything You Could: Daniel tells Vala this when she is visibly upset by her inability to cure the plague victims with the healing device.

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