Stargate SG-1: The Nox

The Nox (episode eight) is a weird one, but it only becomes apparent how weird it is later on. On its own, this episode doesn't seem particularly significant. There are a couple of reasons to pay attention, but mostly it seems unconnected and meaningless. But later on we'll learn that it actually had much greater significance. Sort of.

Interstellar travel is cool and all, but what have you done for me lately?
The episode starts with a government dude complaining about the Stargate program not bringing back enough alien technology, which seems a little odd to me; I thought their primary mission was to defend the planet from hostile aliens, ie. Apophis? Isn't anything else just a bonus? But Daniel thinks their primary job is to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilisations, and boldly go where no one has gone before, so who knows?

Anyway, this leads Teal'c to volunteer that he's heard of creatures that can turn invisible, which the certainly piques the G man's interest, so they head to the planet where these things live. There's a bit of a weird fake-out where Jack steps through the gate to find everyone else missing but it turns out they just wandered off a little way and are fine. Then the Stargate disappears.

Here you can clearly see the place where the Stargate isn't.
With nothing better to do, they continue to hunt for the invisible creatures. Jack almost nabs one, but it gets startled off by a blast from a Jaffa staff weapon. It turns out that Apophis has coincidentally lead a team here at the same time, also hunting for the invisible creatures. Despite being only lightly armed and cut off from Earth, SG-1 decide to ambush Apophis. It doesn't go well.

Could have gone better is all I'm saying.
Jack, Sam and Daniel get shot by Apophis while Teal'c manages to talk out a single Jaffa. Apophis is just about to take Teal'c out as well when SG-1 and the wounded Jaffa all vanish. Apophis looks confused for a moment and then we cut away to SG-1 waking up in a sort of hut, completely healed.

This guy does some great reaction shots.
They're soon greeted by some weird-looking people with grass for hair. One of them's Armin Shimerman. These are the Nox, and as well as their ability to heal apparently mortal injuries almost immediately and turn things either invisible or intangible or whatever it is (it's not clear - maybe both) they also possess the ability to learn languages super fast and are soon conversing with SG-1 in English. It's weird how they need to learn English but most people SG-1 meet just speak it already.

Look! It's Quark! From Star Trek!
SG-1 want to organise some sort of formal alliance between the USA and the Nox, who they view as primitive and largely defenceless against the Goa'uld. America gets invisibility, the Nox get protection from the Goa'uld. The Nox are very dismissive of this and just insist that the humans leave as soon as possible and not to worry about them.

They then learn that the Jaffa that Teal'c shot is also in the Nox camp, but still unconscious (because I guess his injuries were more severe?) Anyway, the Nox want SG-1 to take him with them, seemingly viewing all outsiders as essentially the same. SG-1 try to convince them that the Goa'uld are dangerous, and the Nox play dumb and essentially just fuck with them for a while. I'm not even kidding, the big reveal at the end is that the Nox are super advanced and have a floating city that's just been hidden the whole time, they were just pretending to be primitives in huts.
You've got a gold thing on your head. So does he. You must be friends.
Jack makes friends with the Nox child, which ends up putting the child in danger and forces the Nox to supposedly risk their lives. This all seems to be in service to a cryptic hint to SG-1 about what's really going on on this planet, but they completely miss it.

It's weird how often this happens.
Apophis attacks, there's another fight scene, Jack uses a home-made bow and arrow and almost takes out Apophis, but the Nox step in and save him. Then they send everyone back through the gate, but not before revealing their city to SG-1 and basically saying "you fucked up and now we're not going to let you come back here any more."

I'm not convinced that making a bow is that easy.
It's an interesting episode, even if there is a bit of a boring stretch in the middle, but it feels like it would fit better in Star Trek than Stargate, and it's weird on a rewatch to see the team meet the Nox and for it to be so insignificant and episode. Even without the later context, this is only the second intelligent alien species they've encountered and the first that wasn't instantly hostile. I feel like it should be a bit more of a momentous occasion.

They didn't have the budget to set the episode there.
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