Okay, it was hard not to go into this episode without some preconceived notions. For one, I heard that some people liked it and some people hated it. I also heard it was violent. So, I went into the episode with those thoughts in mind.
I didn't hate it but I didn't like it either. I've been having a hard time pinpointing what exactly set me off in this episode. As you know, I'm a big supporter of Teal'c. I tend to think that he is the most consistently written character out of all characters, aside for maybe Hammond when he was on the show. But this episode didn't ring true for the Teal'c we know today.
The Teal'c we know is fairly assimilated in Tau'ri culture. The Teal'c we know has matured well beyond the rest of his friends, imo. This is the Teal'c that rose against Apophis. This is the Teal'c that fought the Goa'uld and won. The Teal'c we saw in S9 was a Teal'c that had settled into leadership and even government. That wasn't the Teal'c we had in Talion.
Mind you, even the most level headed people have their breaking points. Teal'c having a breaking point that would make him snap again or fall into old habits is not the issue. What I found in this episode was more exposition than character driven action. The argument between Landry and Teal'c felt tacked on. It served to motivate Teal'c to leave instead of making us believe he really had these conflicts and wanted to leave. I bought Teal'c leaving in the S3 opener more than this part. I felt more of a threat of Teal'c going to do his own thing in S8 over this episode. It was so rushed. Even when Teal'c did the Jaffa revenge thing in S4/S5, the act of revenge built over a series of episodes.
Still, the episode had bright moments. Whether Bra'tac would come out of his coma or not was a good plot point. CJ still has proven that his acting is all heart and soul. The scene where Teal'c turns on SG-1 was interesting, though too brief. And the battle between Teal'c and what's his name was excellent. And the final scene was gold - Bra'tac and Teal'c. Unfortunately, it just didn't seem to hold the flawed writing of the rest of the episode. I feel like this episode held so much potential and would explore something that should have been tapped into with Teal'c long agao -- his pride, his need for revenge, and his loyalities. It was too little, too late and didn't really fit into the method of delivery.
I can't help but feel this was one of those episodes that if Jack were in it, it might have worked better. But that is probably because I associate Jack and Teal'c together a lot.
I feel like I should like it, like I'm supposed to like it. But I don't know. Maybe when I watch it again sometime.
I feel a little guilty that I liked this episode better than Talion. I appreciated the character-driver aspect of the episode and it reminded me how nice the show could be when they don't force characters to serve the plot.
I still think the idea of Vala's father is a stupid one. This means Vala couldn't have been host for very long and it robs Vala of that mystery I thought was important to her character. Fred WIllard was fine and he made me laugh. And truthfully, I like my SG-1 having a mix of drama and humor - which might be why Talion didn't strike me as much.
CB gave a good performance in this episode and I liked Landry in this one. I can't say the same for the prior episode. I found the girl thing with Sam and Vala to be odd because it's sort of come out of no where. I wish they would have built that up more.
It's nice to see that Vala and Daniel are not spending every single minute with each other. I enjoy their interaction much more now since I am not suffering a massive Daniel/Vala overdose. Daniel and Cameron seem to have more scenes together, even if they don't interact much. The same for Daniel and Teal'c. Sam isn't exclusively by herself or with Cam anymore. And it's nice to see Teal'c able to interact with others aside from Cam.
The Landry and Lam stuff didn't bug me. I was sure it would. It sure did in S9. But it worked in this episode and I was pleased with the parallels that were drawn between Landry and his family and Vala and her family. One ended not so well while the other opened to new possibilities. That made the story stronger.
And the best part ever? The Virgina Monologues, of course ;) Now that's the Teal'c I love *grins*