season four, episode five -
divide and conquer


In the middle of negotiating the signing of a treaty between Earth and the Tok'ra, a SG member tries to kill the Tok'ra leader but fails and commits suicide.

Anais believes that he was the victim of a Goa'uld tactic whereby they brainwash someone completely innocent into killing someone but give them false memories so they don't remember. They have no idea they're going to kill anyone until they hear/see the trigger mechanism. If it becomes clear that they cannot complete their objective, they will become self-destructive and try to commit suicide.

Naturally, paranoia runs rampant and the other members of the same SG Team that the failed assassin belonged to are tested with a machine that will show whether they have false memories or not as they talk about what happened.

A second member of that SG Team - Lieutenant Aster - is found to also have been brainwashed. Anais begins to perform a procedure which she believes will 'un-brainwash' the Team member, although it may cause some brain damage. Alas, the brainwashing has a 'failsafe' device - when they try to get rid of it, it immediately initiates. Aster grabs a gun, fires a few random shots, then shoots herself in the head.

Disturbed, more tests are nonetheless carried out on others who could become a threat to the upcoming talks between the Tok'ra and the President - namely SG-1, who are asked about their mission a few weeks ago to destroy the new Goa'uld ship (when they were 'superhuman').

Daniel and Teal'C are fine, but Jack and Sam were unconscious for a few moments, and in Anais' opinion, a bit too lucky when the c4 on the ship first took out the shield generators when Jack went back for Sam - who was trapped behind a force shield - enabling Sam to escape rather than be killed.

The device proves Anais right - Jack and Sam have been programmed into killing someone, but they don't know who it's supposed to be or when.

The presumed target is the President so Sam and Jack are locked up, but Anais believes that if the time passes when they are supposed to have killed the President and they have not done so, they will both try to commit suicide. The only option: they have to be sedated for as long as it takes for them to find some way to de-program them.

Anais is sure that if Aster hadn't shot herself in the head, the resulting autopsy on the brain would have been extremely useful and could possibly have helped them. When he hears this, Jack volunteers to undergo the same process that caused Aster to commit suicide. When asked why he would do that, and what would happen if he did die, he replies: "Maybe it'll help Carter. Her brain's worth a lot more than mine."

Naturally, Carter finds out. She objects but Fraiser and Daniel point out that it's his own choice. When Fraiser informs Sam that Jack is more or less willing to kill himself to let her live, she tries to stop him but is blocked by the guards outside her cell.

Fraiser begins to sedate her. As she goes under, Sam has a flashback to the incident on the Goa'uld ship and realises what happened…they're not assassins.

Fraiser stops the process just before Jack is about to undergo it, and Sam asks to have a moment alone with him. Once they're by themselves she explains her theory: they lied. He objects that he didn't lie, so she points out that perhaps they left something out, they didn't tell the whole story…and she mentions the 'something' that they can never mention because of their ranks in the military. The 'something' that isn't allowed or supposed to happen between them.

"Oh," He says. "That."

Jack is re-tested and again we see a flashback to them on the Gao'uld ship. Sam is trapped behind a force shield and the c4 is going to go off soon. Jack tries working on a panel in the side of the wall, tries hitting the force shield again and again in a futile attempt to break through it, Sam keeps telling him that he should leave, that the ship is going to explode, and all the time they can hear the approaching footsteps of guards.

Finally she tells him, "Sir, just GO."

He snaps. "NO!" He yells, screams, bellows…whatever word you want to use to describe someone who is far too concerned. Jack stands there gasping, refusing to leave her, as they stare at each other through the force shield that separates them, their feelings quite evident on their faces.

Anais asks him how he felt.

"Like someone who was about to die." Jack responds, referring to the fact that they were about to be killed.

They can see he's lying. "Sir…"

Another flashback. A side view of them staring at each other through the force shield. "I didn't leave, because I'd have rather died myself than lose Carter."


The truth: "Because I care about her. A LOT more than I'm supposed to."

The device agrees with him: he's not an assassin.

Sam is re-tested and she's also given a clean bill. She tells him that nothing that was said has to leave the room, and he asks her if she's okay with that.

"Yes sir."

But if neither of them is an assassin, who is…?


First of all - a great episode all round. Good idea, nice resolution, excellent payoff.

Second - Wonderful, wonderful music. The music especially in the Sam/Jack scenes is deeply moving. Almost tragic. I'd love to have that on CD for those times when I want to cry.

Now, I watched this episode because I was told it was THE Sam/Jack episode. Naturally, I almost jumped up from my chair every time they were on screen, and I was getting quite frustrated when I was more than half-way through and nothing had yet happened. That's not to say I watch SG-1 just for Sam and Jack…but you know what expectations are like.

I shouldn't have worried. The payoff was far, far better than anything I could have imagined. They both admitted it. We saw it. And we know there's nothing they can do about it.


Yup, I actually cried.

This episode gets full marks for the plot, the idea, and the fact that they are willing to write that they care a hell of a lot more for each other than they're allowed to.

Incidentally - I knew about Martouf before I saw this, but I was still sad to see him go. J R Bourne is a great actor, the character was likeable, and he has absolutely amazing eyes.

And can I just say what a fabulous actor RDA is? So convincing. Lines that might have just been "Aww, that's cute" from another actor are sob inducing from him.


Virtually all of the Sam/Jack dialogue. Actually the best lines are probably the ones that aren't even said. But anyway…

Anais: "Is there someone else to whom you are loyal?"
Jack: ", it, it…that's not really the point here, is it?"
Anais: "I sensed you have been made uncomfortable by my offer."
Jack: "No. It's just…well yeah."

Jack: "I'll do it."
Daniel: "What?"
Jack: "Hey, I've done the drugged out, strapped on the bed thing."
Daniel: "And if what happened to Lieutenant Aster happens to you?"
Jack: "Maybe it'll help Carter. Her brain's worth a lot more than mine."

Fraiser: "If it happens…he thinks Anais can use what she could learn to save you."

Sam: "The machine thinks we have false memories but we don't. We were lying."
Jack: "I wasn't lying."
Sam: "Okay - you left something out."
Jack: "No I didn't."
Sam: "Sir…when you wouldn't leave me…are you sure there wasn't something else that you're not admitting?"
Jack: "What are you talking about?"
Sam: "Something neither one of us can admit given our working relationship or our military ranks."
Jack: "Oh. Oh, that."
Sam: "Sir, we weren't telling the whole truth and that's why the machine thinks the memories are false."

Anais: "You did everything you could."
Jack: "Yes."
Anais: "You couldn't save her."
Jack: "No."
Anais: "But you still could have saved yourself."
Jack: "I guess."

Sam: "Sir, just GO."
Jack: "NO!"

Anais: "What were you feeling?"
Jack: "Like someone who was about to die."
Sam: "Sir…"
Jack: "I didn't leave, because I'd have rather died myself than lose Carter."
Anais: "Why?"
Jack: "Because I care about her. A LOT more than I'm supposed to."


Sam: "None of this has to leave this room."
Jack: "We're okay with that?"
Sam: "Yes sir."


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