"Rules of Engagement"
Overall Rating: Fair
While surveilling a planet, SG-1 comes across an SG team under fire from a number of Jaffa warriors. Moving to help defend the SG team, SG-1 is taken down by weapons fire from additional SG members who were camouflaged. Awakening in a field hospital, SG-1 discovers they are in the midst of a war game. The war game participants are young, with the oldest appearing to be in his late teens. While they were unconscious (they were shot with weapons that stun, rather than maim or kill), some of SG-1’s weapons are mistakenly taken for use in a mock battle. A war game participant is hit by a blast from Teal’c’s staff weapon, and SG-1 takes him to SGC for medical treatment.
While discovering the origin of, and the reason for, the mock battles, SG-1 also learns that they have unintentionally triggered a final, fatal war game battle. The team must stop the possible bloodshed while trying to help a group of brainwashed youth.
Aaron Craven is outstanding as Kyle Rogers. The other war game participants performed admirably. Anderson and Judge had a few bright moments, but primarily the regular cast’s performance was sub-par. The premise is interesting, but between SG-1 slowly learning what is going on, and pondering how to undo the brainwashing, the episode plods into dullness.
The war game participants programming is so intense that they are willing to die. Yet, it takes less than one minute to undo all the brain washing, all without getting shot with a ‘zat gun (“Family”). One moment it’s, “Nothing can stop us from trying to kill each other!!!” and the next moment it’s, “Oh, okay. Cool. Well, we’re going home now.”