Description: The planet Orban, with Precolumbian Teotihuacan-culture antecedents and Aztec type pyramids, has made impressive scientific progress, and brings Sam a naquadah reactor to study; when she demands an instructor, Orban official Kalan surprises SG-1 by saying that he does not know what an instructor is, but 11 year-old Merrin stays on base to teach Carter.
Orban is supposedly a culture descended from Precolumbian Aztecs. I notice that the people of Orban look surprisingly Caucasian. It’s as if the creative team wanted to go the ‘Aztec planet’ but decided to cheap out on the actors.
There’s a decent story here but there is also some heavy handed, melodramatic bits, especially between O’Neill and Merrin. In some respects this is O’Neill’s answer to Carter’s Cassandra episode. Parts are good, parts aren’t so much. But the really intriguing question brought up by this episode is: Does SGC have the right to force their morals onto another culture?
In this case, by removing the nanites from the children, they are rendered almost zombies, with their personalities destroyed. Was Jack right in trying to ‘save’ Merrin? And even more interesting: Are some belief/moral systems more ‘moral’ than others? Is there a base set of morals that are ‘right’ for everyone?
[O’Neill and Teal’c arrive on Orban to find Daniel and several children excavating.]
O’Neill – “Hello children. Daniel. No child labor laws on Orban?”
[O’Neill questions Merrin about the reactor.]
O’Neill – “So Merrin, I understand you’re a reactor expert.”
Merrin – “Yes.”
O’Neill – “How old are you?”
Merrin – “I’m eleven. How old are you?”
O’Neill – “So… Merrin, I understand you’re a reactor expert.”