Halfway through Stargate SG-1‘s ten season run, came a two-parter involving Daniel infiltrating a meeting of the show’s Big Bads at the time – the Goa’uld. As well as a few of those the audience had met before, there were also new ones introduced – most of which were never seen or heard from again. However one played against type… and the audience absolutely loved it.
Best known for torturing lead Jack O’Neill to death over and over again (long story), Ba’al was played to utter perfection by South African actor Cliff Simon. Instead of the arrogant loudness of previous Goa’uld, Ba’al is a calm character who delivers his flavour of revenge cold and with a smirk. He has an eye for the ladies and a wry sense of humour, though his grasp of human sayings sometimes alludes him.
In the later seasons, with the introduction of a second antagonistic race – the Ori – Ba’al entered a grey area. Sometimes an enemy, sometimes an ally, the only thing the audience ever really knew for sure was that, no matter what else he was up to, he was always looking out for himself.
Key to Ba’al’s character is the actor who portrayed him. Cliff was determined to create more than a one-dimensional “bad guy”, and he very much succeeded – Ba’al is layered, complex and morally ambiguous. He never reacts as the audience expects, facing his own execution with quips and a smirk… only to violently stab O’Neill when he escapes his bonds. A good part of my love for Ba’al comes from utter adoration of Cliff; his generosity to his fans (and yes, I have been on the receiving end of this), his wicked sense of humour and his passion for the causes he supports.
Um, this post went a little sideways on me… I’m such a fangirl. Anyway, let’s announce the winner of two of my backlist books.
Viki, please email your preference to misa[.]buckley[@]gmail[.]com