"Between Two Fires"
Overall Rating: Excellent
Bill Gereghty -- Director
Jim Menard -- Director of Photography
James Tichenor -- Visual Effects Producer
The commentary is very informative, and interesting. Lots of behind the scene information. The commentary stays on point with what is on screen.
Omac, a Tollan leader from “Enigma,” died recently. SG-1 attends Omac’s memorial service on the planet Tollana. The solemn ceremony ends with two surprises for the team. The Tollan High Chancellor, named Travell, insinuates that the Tollans have changed their minds about giving advanced technology to less advanced cultures. Meaning, the Tollans are willing to trade a super-duper space gun (used in “Pretense”) with Earth. Nice. Shocking, but nice. The second surprise is not nice. Narim secretly gets a message to Carter: shortly before his death, Omac believed that the Earth is in grave danger.
The common factor in both situations is Omac. During a return visit to Tollana, Travell tells SG-1 that with Omac’s death, the council's new majority supports sharing their technology with Earth. Meanwhile, Narim ("Pretense") believes that Omac’s death is suspect, but that very idea goes counter to most tenets of Tollan societal norms. SG-1 splits into two teams. O’Neill and Daniel barter with Travell. They believe that something is amiss during their interactions, however they cannot find absolute proof of any Tollan deception directed at Earth. Meanwhile, Carter and Teal’c work with Narim to uncover more information about what Omac was doing before his death, in hopes of learning why he thought the Earth to be in danger. The two story lines converge in an unexpected collision between the Tollans and SG-1, as well as old enemies, and a powerful new one.
There are other Stargate SG-1 episodes that rely heavily on suspense. I think that many such episodes lose something in subsequent viewings, once the mystery is solved. This is not one of those episodes. If anything, the episode is more interesting in subsequent viewings, as the behavior, and words, of the characters take on a new perspective after the mystery is uncovered. The action is light until near the end, and that fits well with the story. The plot moves quickly, with the intrigue maintaining the story's high excitement level throughout.
Garwin Sanford returns as the Tollan, Narim. Tollans lean towards the Vulcan side of the Force, meaning they are not big on overt displays of their emotions. I think this makes it more interesting when a Tollan’s emotions pique so greatly that they forget about maintaining a cool facade. Everyone performs very well in this episode. A special nod to Marie Stillin as High Chancellor Travell. I appreciate how well Ms. Stillin kept a lock on Travell’s emotional displays, allowing only brief glimpses at the character’s inner turmoil. Kudos to Ms. Stillin.
At one point, Narim stumbles into the location of some SG-1 team members. Out of the entire Tollan city, these three people just happen to duck into the exact same area. It’s possible that meeting at that spot was prearranged, although such an arrangement is not mentioned on screen. Also, Narim seemed very surprised at seeing the SG-1 team members, not a reaction I’d think likely if he expected to see SG-1 folks there.