10.18 "Family Ties" Episode Guide

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Family reunions abound as Gen. Landry gets a surprise visit from his ex-wife, and Vala is reunited with her roguish father who could possibly help the planet if Vala could only trust him.

Guide | Transcript

SciFi.com Official Summary

Now that Vala truly feels like a member of SG-1, she's angry when a reminder of her checkered past suddenly radios Earth through the Stargate: her father, Jacek. He's a friendly scoundrel, but his criminal schemes ruined Vala's childhood, and she blames him for the bad choices she has made since then.

Jacek claims that he's desperate to turn his life around and get to know his daughter. In exchange for a home on Earth, he tells the team where to find a stockpile of weapons-grade naquadah that rogue Jaffa, loyal to the late Arkad, are about to use to attack Earth. Vala confidently believes that her father is lying — right up until SG-1 destroys the massive stockpile on exactly the planet where Jacek swore it would be.

To Vala's dismay, Gen. Landry honors Earth's side of the bargain and gives Jacek an apartment in Colorado Springs. Landry, who is working to heal rifts in his own estranged family, urges Vala to stop rejecting her father's attempts to reach out to her. Vala gradually softens, only to be disappointed anew when Jacek's eagerness to scam innocent Earthlings overcomes his promises to reform.

After Daniel gently reminds her that her own journey to an honest life has had its share of setbacks, Vala reluctantly consents to give Jacek one last chance. When she and Daniel try to visit him at his apartment, however, they find that he has disappeared. They eventually corner him in the forest — meeting with a rogue Jaffa. Dragged back to Stargate Command, Jacek confesses that a few of Arkad's rogue Jaffa had already arrived on Earth with a cargo ship full of weapons-grade naquadah. After abandoning their original attack plan, they instead made a deal with Jacek. Jacek's real reason for coming to Earth is to buy their naquadah so he can re-sell it for profit.

Vala is furious at this betrayal. Undaunted, her father insists that he must participate in SG-1's attempt to seize the naquadah-laden cargo ship because only he knows the access codes to bypass a deadly booby trap that the ship's Jaffa guards have rigged. Vala and her teammates doubt he's telling the truth, but they can't risk ignoring him, either.

In the end, as Vala and her father confront the ship's Jaffa guard, Vala knows that she's about to learn whether he's sincere or lying. What she doesn't expect is that his affection for her might be the real deal, either way.


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Production Notes

  • Before cameras starting: September 6.
  • Lexa Doig appears as Dr. Carolyn Lam. Carolyn's mother, Landry's ex-wife, also makes an appearance. — information from Michael Shanks and Beau Bridges at the Creation Convention in Chicago, August 26-27, 2006.
  • "Samantha and Vala have a couple of moments in an upcoming episode called “Family Ties” so it would be nice to have a little bit [of] character development there." — Claudia Black, The SciFi World, September 6, 2006.
  • "As for SG-1, we just watched an episode called Family Ties where Vala is reunited with her roguish father, who is played by Fred Willard, and he has to offer some help on a situation that affects the planet and she doesn't trust him. It's a fun episode for both Fred and Claudia." — Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, TV Zone #208, October 2006.
  • "Jacek (Vala's father) who is played by Fred Willard, contacts Stargate Command and claims to have some information that could impact the survival of Earth. He wants asylum and Landry tells him, 'Only if Vala will vouch for you', but she won't. Apparently, the two of them have a bit of a history together and she doesn't trust him. He ends up coming to Earth though, and is set up in an apartment. Unfortunately he has a roguish nature and starts to fall back on his old ways. This is a fun episode in which we find out more about Vala's background in relation to her father." — Joseph Mallozzi, TV Zone Special #74, January 2007.
  • "The final scene may surprise some viewers, but only if the network leaves it in. I don't want to oversell it, but it is perhaps the greatest final scene in the history of Stargate." — Paul Mullie, TV Zone Special #74, January 2007.
  • Concerning the final scene: "Can’t say much about the scene in question. Suffice it to say, the episode has a few “topical references”. When I wrote the scene, I assumed someone would insist I lose it. As it turned out, nobody objected (because, I suspect, they were too busy to notice and figured someone else would get around to objecting for them). Can’t say more." — Joseph Mallozzi, Personal Blog, January 21, 2007.
  • "I spoke with Joe Mallozzi about “Family Ties.” I remember the many discussions we had about casting for the role of Vala’s father. It was finally decided to put an offer out to Fred Willard – notably of the Christopher Guest mockumentaries. And the gang was thrilled to get him. Joe knew Fred Willard was going to play the part before he actually wrote the script so he was able to write Jacek’s dialogue with Fred’s voice in mind. Of course there are also many scenes in which Fred improvises (most notably the goodbyes after the Bingo game – that stuff is hilarious). Joe also said the final scene of the show – a brilliant comic riff on a well-known feminist play – was initially just a gag for the writing staff. But as the production progressed, everybody liked it and a grassroots campaign began to keep that scene in. I’m really glad they did, because I was a fan from day one and it is hilarious." — Alex Levine, script coordinator, scifi.com blog, June 8, 2007.

Further Reading

--DeeKayP 11:40, 6 September 2006 (PDT)