Overall Rating: Excellent
During a mission briefing, SG-1 learns about trinium, a vital off-world mineral. Trinium was found on a seemingly uninhabited world by Captain Conner (“The First Commandment”) and SG-11. Sent back to the planet to mine more trinium samples, SG-11 is 48 hours overdue to make routine contact with SGC. During SG-1’s briefing, the stargate activates, and SG-11's signal is received. However, rather than SG-11, an attack comes through the stargate, and O’Neill is injured. Carter is in temporary command of SG-1, and the team, minus O’Neill, heads to the (now known to be inhabited) planet to find SG-11, and negotiate a mining treaty with the indigenous people. Earth really, really wants access to the trinium.
On the planet, SG-1 is attacked, drugged, and taken prisoner. Awakening, SG-1 meets people who are descendants of Salish tribe members snatched from Earth long ago by some Goa’uld. Tonane is the Salish tribe member who is a liaison with SG-1. Tonane says the Salish Spirits (as in gods, not ghosts) have SG-11, although he does not know exactly where they are held. Although SG-1 does not believe in the Spirits, with Tonane’s encouragement they ask for the return of SG-11. The missing SG team members appear, walking out of a mist.
Both SG teams return to Earth, and Tonane accompanies them to discuss a mining treaty. Ultimately, Tonane decides against a mining treaty with Earth. General Hammond has orders to send an SG team to mine trinium when Tonane’s people do their seasonal migration out of the area. Hammond, and SG-1, are disgusted with the orders, but orders are orders. The Spirits are disgusted as well, and very angry. Oh, and they are at Stargate Command, too. Their intention is to “disappear” everyone, and destroy the base after getting Tonane safely home. Forced to battle a foe created by the government's intended deception of Tonane’s people, SG-1 matches wits, and mundane weapons, against the supernatural might of the Spirits.
Rodney A. Grant is wonderful as Tonane, who exudes innocence, tempered with life experience and good sense. Tonane is charming. Referencing a Native American culture is new for the series, and adds a refreshingly new perspective. Does it accurately portray aspects of the Salish people? I do not know. Bottom line, this is an episode of a science fiction television series, not a documentary. Nothing in the episode seems to blatantly mock, or denigrate, the Salish people.