STARGATE: SG1 SEASON 1 REVIEW

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Episode numbers come from the official Stargate SG1 website. All other information comes from the Illustrated Companion by Thomasina Gibson from Titan books. The reviews are my own opinion.

The Children Of The Gods

Episode 101

Written by Jonathon Glassner & Brad Wright

Directed by Mario Azzopardi

Rating- 8

How do you follow up the most successful sci-fi movie ever to come out of Europe? Simple, do a TV series. The problem for the producers was to expand on the movie without betraying the premise. Unfortunately the gate only went to one destination in the movie. A weekly show to the same place week in week out would get boring very quickly. Luckily someone had the bright idea of lots of gate addresses. Children could almost be called Stargate 2 as it follows on a year after the movie. Fast recap; The SGC is pressed back into action after an attack by the Goaíuld. As a result, OíNeill becomes part of the newly formed SG-1. The mission starts off as a rescue for the air force captain who is kidnapped at the start of the show. But somewhere along the line, that mission gets forgotten in favour of "lets get Danielís wife and Skara back." The captain gets killed later but no seems too bothered, as no one is actually looking for her or mentions her. I was surprised that this episode is an "18" certificate. Could this be due to the "snake out of the belly" scenes? Or could it be the female full nudity scenes? No wonder Apothis (Peter Williams) is leering. If I were in his place Iíd be leering as well.

Action wise there was enough to keep your attention. The first part is the talky part; the bit that explains who people are and what is to happen, although Carterís introduction is a bit dull. An unimaginative retread of the feminist "I can do what men can do" speech. Several story arcs are set up here; the return of Apothis, Sha-Rae, Skara and the Goaíuld.

Special mention must go to Michael Shanks for his farewell to Abydos and Don S. Davis for his anguish over SG-1ís return. This is a good start and it can only get better.

The Enemy Within

Episode 102

Written by Brad Wright

Directed by Dennis Berry

Rating- 8

If you look at this episode carefully, it actually forms the last episode of a trilogy. First you have the original movie, then the SG1 pilot and now this show as the last follow through as a 1-2-3. Even so, it does well to stand on its own two feet. Kawalsky still has the Goaíuld larvae inside him and itís winning the battle. This show if anything illustrates the problems that the SGC will have to face. Tealíc is still under suspicion by the military and to some of the audience; is he really on our side or is this a plot? They even keep him locked in the brig even though he was the one that saved OíNeillís life and the good colonel even recommended his approval for Tealíc. So they lock him up. So much for healthy recommendations.

Some things change over the course of the series. When the Goaíuld attack the Stargate, the iris is closed and the self-destruct is activated. WHAT?! ACTIVATED??? Isnít that a bit premature? If the Goaíuld had that little bit of info, then all they would have to do is open up the gate, sit back and wait for the fireworks.

Jay Acavone is brilliant as Kawalsky. When he is about to go under the knife to have the larvae removed, you really do believe that he is afraid. Any of us in that situation would be. None of that "brave soldier" nonsense that looks phoney and none too believable either. Itís a pity that he is killed off here, although he does appear in later shows but I do feel that his loss is a bad one.

The final battle is a corker. OíNeill is torn when he turns off the gate to end his friends life. As he says later, "he died on that operating table." I wondered about one thing; since the gate was opened to Chulak and Kawalsky almost made it there; what on earth would the first traveller (to or from) Chulak find at the base of the Stargate and would they slip on it? (Eeuurgghh!!)

Early days, but shows promise despite this being a bottle show.

Emancipation

Episode 103

Written by Katharyn Powers

Directed by Jeff Woolnough

Rating- 5

Well, I suppose it had to happen. A Stargate episode, which I didnít really enjoy. To be fair it is still early days and mistakes are bound to be made. Luckily this one happened early on. So lets get down to it.

The team arrive on a planet and save a young man from becoming the main course of a pack of dogs. So far, so good, except that he takes offence to CarterÖ because she is a woman. Then a bunch of his pals arrive and are about to take matters into their own hands until a chieftain turns out and says that any woman who saves the life of a man deserves life. Again so far, so good. But then the chieftainís son (the one who got rescued) kidnaps Carter and sells her for the freedom of his girlfriend who is this other chieftainís daughter. This is where I have the problem. In this land, women are property. They say so many times during the course of this show. So by all rights, Sam is the property of OíNeill. (He is her commanding officer, so in a way she belongs to him.) Another annoying thing is that feminist speech from the pilot episode rearing its boring head. Thankfully after this show this was a trait that got well and truly buried. As far as Samís speech of "You wont be free until one of you says "no"!", well letís ask: who have the swords and knives? The soldiers! And what happened to the one who said "no"? She gets yay close to getting a personal rock fall induced onto her noggin.

In due fairness, the plotting and pace is good. A good and steady pace that doesnít slow up too much. Only the above points nark me off and thatís enough to shave off a lot of points. It does have one major grace: THAT dress!! But as Amanda Tapping said to her fellow cast members, "Smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors." But whoa what mirrors! But what were they thinking about that headdress of hers?! Sheesh!

The Broca Divide

Episode 104

Written by Jonathon Glassner

Directed by William Gereghty

Rating- 8

After the disappointment of Emancipation, it was about time to do something that wasnít so "in-your-face". The Broca Divide does that. It entertains and it also surprises me.

SG-1 and 3 go to explore a planet after the MALPís lights fail to work. After getting there they are attacked by cavemen-like creatures. They then discover that there are two cultures; one of light and one of darkness. Iím not sure of how the terminator of this planet is so clear. I always thought that it was a bit more spread out but apparently this one looks like someone pulled a curtain over the forest. Convenient, as it turns out to be a leper colony. Everyone is infected and the whole SGC is effectively shut down. Don S. Davis puts in a brilliant performance as Hammond phones the President to tell him to set up a second line of defence. Talk about the weight of the world on your shoulders.

I said that this show surprised me; not quite. It scared the hell out of me. The sight of the infected personnel screeching like bats (or worse) gave me the heebie-jeebies. And special note to Richard Dean Anderson who put in the performance of a lifetime as the infected OíNeill begging Dr. Fraiser to use him as a guinea pig. Teryl Rothery joined the show on this episode and she really proves to be a caring character. The local population bothered me somewhat. If someone said that they could cure the disease (they had a problem even believing that it was a sickness in the first place), would you turn them down? Of course you wouldnít. Thatís why I wanted to shove the leaders headdressÖ. You get the idea.

I loved the Carter and OíNeill in the locker room scene. Always the ones you least suspect. But I was surprised to OíNeillís reply to Carterís statement of "I want you"; "Why?!!" Open your eyes man and look!! I suppose you could say that Daniel gets the girl in this one, but then when you go caveman with the most intelligent word in your vocabulary being "Ug!" I suppose that it doesnít really count.

Overall enjoyable even though this is only the beginning.

The First Commandment

Episode 105

Written by Robert C. Cooper

Directed by Dennis Berry

Rating-6

SG-9 is on the runÖ from their own commanding officer and worse still; he believes that e is a god. So SG-1 is sent in to find out what has happened and why they havenít returned. Capt. Hanson has been affected by the sun on this planet and so believes that heís a god and is demanding that the inhabitants build him a temple.

The producers had a problem with this one; the problem being that only six episodes in they have an officer thinking delusions of god-like grandeur so early is wrong. This would have been OK during the third or fourth season would have worked, but then they were still working out the kinks of the show at this point. Itís a point that I have to agree on. Tiny problem was the approach to Hanson; why didnít they just tranquillise him from a distance when no one was looking and drag him back through the gate? (But if they did that you wouldnít have him explaining about that device he found and have Carter try to work it out.)

Speaking of Carter, why didnít she shoot him? Sheís a trained officer and donít give me that "they were lovers" rubbish. If you had watched the show you would have seen that they had actually split up by this point; he meant nothing to her or at least he was meant to mean nothing to her. I didnít believe the "I knew you wouldnít shoot" speech. And speaking of shooting, when Tealíc shot the floor hiding the second device, how come it survived a blast a few inches above it? Sturdy or what?

I did like the line from Daniel about macaroni cheese tasting like chicken. For those who didnít know or were wondering, the first commandment is "You will worship your lord god to the exclusion of all others." (Or at least thatís how I think itís worded. Been a long time since I read the Bible. My excuse!)

Cold Lazarus

Episode 106

Written by Jeffery F. King

Directed by Kenneth J. Girotti

Rating- 8

The team find a pit of broken crystals. But when OíNeill touches one of them, he is knocked unconscious and immediately replicated. The double then goes to find Charlie; OíNeillís dead son. The producers made a good choice in this show as it gives a bit more of OíNeillís background for those who havenít actually seen the original movie. On another note, this proves to be an important point as it is brought up on future shows. For the most part, Richard Dean Anderson gives a very moving performance as the double. No jokes or wisecracks. Itís only when the "real" OíNeill comes back through the Stargate that the jokes appear. ("Get me the hell out of here!!")

Tealíc also finds out a little about the world through TV and a bit like me, he gets a headache from a pop video. And donít dare say its my age, its usually the volumeís faultÖ! But the scene when he fires his staff weapon in the gate room gets a thumbs up from me every time. But itís the opening scenes that make it memorable for me. I mean, bright blue and bright yellow in the same shot; it kinda stands out if you know what I mean. In terms of optical effects there wasnít a lot. Mostly it was distortion shots, a few electrical effects and a fantastic effect with the crystal talking back to the team.

Good work. Keep it up.

The Nox

Episode 107

Written by Hart Hanson

Directed by Charles Correll

Rating- 8

When a senator insists that the SGC isnít yielding favourable results in the alien technology returns, Tealíc suggests that there is such a planet that has a creature that can become invisible. So the race is on to find the creature. But once there they find a couple of problems. First, the Stargate disappears!! (Oops!) Then an old friend appears. You know, their old buddy Apothis and his personal guard. Add to the fact that they are all killed (Except Tealíc) and then resurrected by a forest dwelling tribe called the Nox. Seeing Armin Shimerman outside Star Trek Deep Space Nine was sort of odd for me but it does show what an actor he really is. This was an enjoyable episode as you are kept wondering about the Noxís motives. Youíre never quite sure about what they are up to until the last act. About the death of SG-1, it did seem a bit too easy for them to be taken out. And theyíre supposed to be Special Forces trained. I must add that the Nox go on to make further appearances on the show. Iíve even had the opportunity to meet Frida Betrani and she really does seem as sincere as Lya, her character on the show.

The moral of the story is that the young do not always do as they are told; not only the physical age but also in terms of the age of race. Nice touch.

Brief Candle

Episode 108

Story by Stephen Barnes

Teleplay by Katharyn Powers

Directed by Mario Azzopardi

Rating- 6

If any one tells you that they are getting too old for something, show them this show and watch their reaction. The team find a Greek civilisation that eventually transpires to be a huge lab experiment. The inhabitants live a lifetime in a matter of months. Unfortunately, OíNeill gets infected when a young woman decides that she really fancies the socks of OíNeill. (Now I know why Richard Dean Anderson is Executive Producer. "This show, I want the girl!") There is also the little fact that town falls asleep at exactly the same time and wakes up at the same time too. As a result, several nightclubs had to close due to lack of customers. Only kidding, but it does cause our team to scratch their heads a little harder than usual. Unusually it is Tealíc who translates the cryptic writing on the statues base rather than Daniel.

The make up on OíNeill is fantastic and Carterís reaction is the same as ours when she returns back after getting much needed supplies. The show has one of the greatest exchanges. OíNeill is asked "Do you hope never to have intimate contact ever?" to which he replies "God, I hope not!"

The story is a good one but I felt that the story drags out a bit. Instead of trying to sort out the problem or go look for a solution, all SG-1 seem to do is debate about what IS the best option. I know Rome wasnít built in a day but címon guys; shake a leg.

Thorís Hammer

Episode 109

Written by Katharyn Powers

Directed by Brad Turner

Rating- 7

Dear MGM,

I am writing to tell you how much I am enjoying your series Stargate SG-1. However I feel I must ask you what the hell were you thinking of putting "choice" episodes of Season One at the end of a disc that features the end of Season Two, or was it that you were drunk or stupid?

Yours sincerely

John Gallacher

SG999, Episode reviewer

OK, thatís my rant out of the way. Now for business. The team reach a world that are the home to Vikings after Daniel finds that there could be a way to help rid hosts of their Goaíuld. Unfortunately Tealíc and OíNeill get teleported to a hidden site that is basically a death trap for Goaíuld, as only the host would escape. Oh, and throw in an Unas; the first host. This is a particularly nasty piece of work and the make up was wow. This was a great story since its told by two viewpoints; firstly of Tealíc and Jackís attempt to leave their prison and secondly of Carter and Daniels attempt to rescue them before anything nasty happens. Another interesting thing about this show is the inclusion of James Earl Jones as the voice of the unas. Do you think someone thought "Darth Vader is a bad guy; need bad guy voice."

Only one thing bugs me; if the Vikings had been brought to the planet hundreds of years ago, doesnít anyone else think that they would have moved on a little more from the Bronze Age technology. Costume design was great. I could imagine a few people wanting a gown like Kendraís although a couple of times the actors and extras looked absolutely frozen.

In terms of production design, the cavern scenes did have a "locked in the same room as your worst fears" sense which helped to heighten the tension particularly when your stalker is nigh impossible to kill and just wont stay dead when you shoot itÖ repeatedly. I did think at the end of the show that they should follow this one up as a "what-happens-next?" type show. And thankfully they did.

A good show that certainly deserve more than one follow up.

The Torment Of Tantalus

Episode 110

Written by Robert C. Cooper

Directed by Jonathon Glassner

Rating- 7

When the original Stargate movie came out, we all thought that Daniel was the first to open up the gate. But now it seems that we were all wrong. In 1945, a young scientist opened it up and entered through, only for the gate to shut down shortly afterwards. As a result he was listed as lost, presumed dead.

Until now.

Daniel is sent a pile of material regarding the earlier experiments. It is then that he discovers the gate being opened. The man who walked through was Katherine Langfordís fiancť, Ernest Littlefield (played by Paul McGillion who would later return to star as Dr. Carson Beckett in Stargate Atlantis.

When the team go through the gate to rescue Ernest, they find that heís been alone for 50 years. In this regard, I thought that the word "torment" in the title referred to the loneliness that Ernest felt all that time. In reality it was about a king who when he was sent to Hades was forced to stand in water that would recede if he tried to drink it.

When the elder Ernest makes his first appearance, it Ďs quite memorable since heís supposed to be stark naked. Well, the manís been alone for 50 years; heís bound to forget a few airs and graces such as put on clothes when there are guests.

Although action wise, this wasnít the most fast paced episode, it did offer a lot of tension, such as when the DHD falls into the sea. Even when I saw this on TV for the first time (one of the few glimpses I got before I started buying the DVDs) I wondered about one thing. At the end, OíNeill and Daniel are running back to the gate. As they come through the door, both take a dive. The problem is that the timing looks a little TOO convenient, almost as if they KNEW that the roof above them was going to collapse just at that very second.

That aside it is a good episode although Iím not so sure about the "Benjamin Franklin" thing. I can imagine it went like this; "OK, Tealíc, we want you to go onto the roof with a lot of cable and a brass diving helmet, wire it all together and send us the other end. Oh, by the way, youíll be doing all this in the middle of an electrical storm. Howíd ya feel about that?"

Also Iím not so sure about the workings of the show. In this show, we see Littlefield going through the gate with a diving suit on with ropes and air hose trailing behind him. The gate shuts down and the rope and hose is cut. Yet in later shows, the gate will not let anything through unless EVERYTHING had gone through. In this case we still have a hose and rope still to go. So far, I havenít found an explanation other than "oops!"

Thumbs up still.

Bloodlines

Episode 111

Story by Marc Saraceni

Teleplay by Jeff King

Directed by Mario Azzopardi

Rating- 8

Tealíc is undergoing tests to see how long he can survive without Junior. Whilst in his delusion, he has a vision about his son being implanted and then himself being implanted as well. And he mentions a name; Ryaíc.

This show opens up Tealícís history. Up till then heís been the big guy who rarely smiles. It is also coincidental that the military want to study a Goaíuld larva up close and want a living sample. Tealíc knows where there are plentiful supplies on Chulak. We also meet up with a new character, Master Braítac who is Tealícís mentor who is quite sprightly for a man of 133. And we meet Tealícís family. His wife had gone to have her son implanted because of a fever he had contracted and was a measure to save his life. Suddenly we see a tapestry of Tealícís life.

The B-story has Daniel and Carter getting larvae from a temple. Daniel then lets rip with a MP-5, killing the remaining Goaíuld. Carter asks if that was really necessary. Letís be honest; would we have done any different if we were in Daniels shoes. I know that I would have done similar; Iíd have used a hand grenade instead of a machine gun.

This was certainly a Christopher Judge story and we really can see his acting ability. We really feel for him when he reaches the burnt out remains of his home and find the symbol of the sholva painted on one of the surviving walls. Moving stuff.

As a result the writer (Marc Saraceni) has opened up a lot of possibilities for future stories and itíll be interesting to see where they go from here.

Fire And Water

Episode 112

Story by Brad Wright

Teleplay by Katharyn Powers

Directed by Allan Eastman

Rating- 8

OíNeill, Carter and Tealíc stumble back through the Stargate, soaking wet and in a state of shock. They believe that Daniel is dead, engulfed if fire and that they themselves barely escaped. Things donít seem to add up. They witnessed his death but they donít believe it; or rather they refuse to believe it.

Daniel is alive and well. He was actually captured by a creature called Nem although we never find out what his species is actually called. Gerard Plunkett who plays the alien antagonist does a terrific job, despite all the prosthetics he had to wear. But his character is a bit annoying. For an age Daniel is speaking to him in English and he reacts as is he doesnít know the language. Then, wallop, he speaks fluent English. So why is he acting as if he doesnít know what is being spoken? He wants the knowledge that Danny boy has. Repeating "Reveal, fate, Omoroca" doesnít help, particularly when the person being asked keeps asking, "What do you mean?"

The memorial service was done well; it didnít seem soppy, but it did seem to me that a lot of the personnel there were real military and not dressed up actors. The neatest touch was the wreath on the event horizon. It just "floated" there for a while before the wormhole drew it in. Fantastic.

Another brilliant scene is OíNeillís street hockey game with a car window. It wouldnít have been so bad, but the car belonged to Hammond. Oops!

Plunkettís costume looked great, a sort of seaweed shaped drape on top of what could be construed as an alien wetsuit, but I bet that it must have been a pain to put on. (And then the make-upÖ!) Then the actor has to SWIM with all that on. Granted, not that far, but nonetheless he must have suffered.

We also find out that Omoroca probably started the human rebellion on Earth against the Goaíuld. But if she looked like Nem, she would have suck out like a sore thumb. It turned out that Belos "cut the woman asunder" although we donít know the ultimate fate of Belos, we can only assume that he/she left when the other Goaíuld left.

On a final point, Daniel is in breach of at least a couple security rules. He has journals of all the worlds that he has visited at his home. Given that the SGC and its work are classified, isnít it a bit dangerous to " take your work home with you"?

Despite these niggles, this is a brilliant show without resorting to the weekly gunplay formula.

Hathor

Episode 113

Story by David Bennett Carren & J. Larry Carroll

Teleplay by Jonathan Glassner

Directed by Brad Turner

Rating- 8

A gripe on this one; in "Out Of Mind" when Hathor appears, OíNeill replies, "I was so-oo not hoping to seeing you again!" So in true DVD release fashion we see her follow-up BEFORE her introduction. Both Out Of Mind and Hathor were released on the same disc: volume 7. See the problem? Hathor is released from a Mayan temple and heads for the Stargate. There she bewitches the men to do her bidding. She learns that Ra (from the movie) is dead and so that leaves her clear to create havoc. The only ones not affected are the women of the base who realise whatís happeningÖ oh, and of course Tealíc.

The story itself is not a fast paced one but it does have a certain thriller element to it.

Although I enjoyed this immensely I did have a few points. How on earth did they get that sarcophagus into the gate room? The corridors of the SGC arenít exactly roomy and this thing was longer than they are. Point two; why did Hathorís bath catch fire if it was only hot water? Carter fires at her, she slips beneath the water and it catches fire. Point three; where did Hathor get the headdress from at the end of the show? She doesnít have it at any point before then. Does the SGC have a hatbox in case any visiting deity forgets their headgear?

An interesting note about Hathor is that she can emerge from a bath bone dry. She emerges from being submerged and is dry. (Obviously this is a case of Suanne Braun being filmed going into the bath and the film is then played in reverse)

Special note must go to Suanne for her portrayal. Evil and glamorous. Now thatís an attractive combination. I also had the opportunity to meet Suanne at the SG-6 convention in London recently and at first didnít recognise her. Maybe it was something to do with Hathor having RED hair and Suanne has BLACK hair. See how itís easy to get the two mixed up?

This all looks like that I hated this one. On the contrary I loved it. If I hated it, I would say that I hated it. But I didnít, so there!!

Singularity

Episode 114

Written by Robert C. Cooper

Directed by Mario Azzopardi

Rating-8

The team return to P8X-987 to help study a black hole that can only be observed during an eclipse. However on return, they find the planetís inhabitants all dead, the victim of some sort of plague. All except a small girl called Cassandra who appears to be immune. The team take her back to Earth when she suddenly starts experiencing severs chest pains. She has a naquadah bomb in her chest, and if she goes through the gate, there will be a massive nuclear explosion.

This wasnít one of the most action packed episodes, but it did introduce a lot of the concepts of the show here, the Goaíuld mother ship (described here as an "attack vessel"), Nirti (described as a "he"; something that would change in later shows) and the destructive nature of naquadah. We also see just how far the Goaíuld are willing to go to achieve an objective. If they are willing to put a bomb in a child, then they are capable of doing almost anything with no moral centre.

Special mention goes to Amanda Tapping who really sells the show with her scenes in the elevator. Gone is the feminist chip on the shoulder that she starts of with at the beginning of the season and now a caring HUMAN being without the "I can do anything" attitude. Letís face it; most people would react like that if they were placed in that situation. But I wasnít sure about Samís assessment at the end of the show of why the bomb didnít go off. ("I just knew.") A bit lame, she passes out at the Stargate and wakes up when she is miles away and underground. Also given how powerful the explosion would be, even 28 levels of "solid rock" wouldnít stop that kind of blast. Iíd be on that truck and in the next country, never mind county.

On a final note, why did the SGC erect a sign saying, "Welcome to P8X-987"? Itís not even their world and theyíre putting up whacking great signs as if it was theirs.

Just a minor quibble.

Cor-Ai

Episode 115

Written by Tom J. Astle

Directed by Mario Azzopardi

Rating-9

SG-1 visit a seemingly deserted village when suddenly they are ambushed and one of the villagers says that he recognises Tealíc as the Jaffa who killed his father.

And so begins "Stargate meets L.A Law". This show is a trial to prove Tealícís innocence. Only he wont plead innocence but rather guilty. In doing so, heís pretty much sewn up the case for the prosecution and blown apart his defence. He killed a man who only had one leg, since Daniel found out that the villagers wonít leave anyone behind, instead theyíll only go as fast as the slowest person. Even when OíNeill and Carter go back to get reinforcements, Hammond wont do it and even a call to the President doesnít do it. Itís powerful scene between Don and Richard and you almost feel that there would be punches thrown if the scene was to be improvised.

The two return and the village has been attacked in the meantime by a party of Jaffa. One question, since the village is quite small and the Stargate quite loud when it activates, how come none of the Jaffa heard it open? Maybe itís to do with those helmets they wear.

Despite this, itís a very powerful episode and flexes everyone acting muscles and you cant help but be moved at the end of the show. There arenít a lot of sets for this one, which goes to show that you donít need a lot of large and elaborate sets to do a really good episode. Thereís tension and action in good proportions and we get to find out about Tealícís character and motivations to boot.

Well done.

Enigma

Episode 116

Written by Katharyn Powers

Directed by William Gereghty

Rating- 6

SG-1 arrives on a volcanic world and finds a dead group around the DHD. On close inspection, they find that ten of them are still alive. It seems that the gas from the volcano suffocated them. The survivors are taken back but the leader of the group, Omoc is ungrateful and sees Earth as primitive. Despite an attempt to re-home the Tollans (the rescued groupís race) with the race we saw in The Broca Divide, Omoc insists that they are going nowhere and want to return to where they were found. A bit tough since itís now 1700 degrees on the ground and air temperature from 200- 1500 degrees. Throw in the fact that a lava flow is about to bury the gate; you can see that itís a bit pointless going back.

We have a new baddie in the shape of Col. Maybourne from the NID. Oh you can see that this guy is heading for a fall at the end. That doesnít mean that weíll see the last of him.

The Tollans have such advanced technology that it enables them to walk through walls and cloak themselves invisible. They donít like sharing technology since an earlier attempt with a power source to a less advanced race caused that race to wipe themselves out in a day when they used the new technology as a weapon. I can hear Star Trek Prime Directive being yelled out. You canít say the Tollans are being mean. Letís face it; if the roles were reversed, would we have done any different? I doubt it. Frida Betrani returns as Lya (from the episode The Nox) and despite her limited screen time, she still comes across as a being with innocence and grace. Novel way to open up the Stargate; raise your arms upward to a 12 oíclock position and an event horizon will follow.

There is a moral to the story, which is mentioned at the end of this story, which I absolutely loved; the very young do not always do what they are told.

Solitudes

Episode 117

Written by Brad Wright

Directed by Martin Wood

Rating- 7

When SG-1 evacuate through the Stargate, the gate malfunctions and sends Tealíc and Daniel through the wormhole at increased velocity. But there is no sign of Carter and OíNeill. In fact they have ended up inside an icy cavern next to a disused Stargate and no DHD nearby.

Now normally this would be the kind of show that would bore the pants off me, but I thought that this one was well done. For one thing, it let us see that Carter is an officer and a loyal one at that, but also not the feminist one that the series started out with. At last, some character development.

This was odd, as OíNeill doesnít really have a lot of one-liners in this one. But in the scene when Carter is fixing a splint for his broken leg, I really did get the sense that he really was in pain. I know that when he says, "Iím cold." He meant it as the stage was frozen over and that he really was leaning against a wall of ice.

There are some great moments especially when Hammond says that he is calling off the search. Did anyone else feel that the man was almost in tears hen he gives out that order or is it just me?

I also think that this is where the Carter/ OíNeill romance started. Donít try to tell me otherwise. Are you trying to say that all the romance that started after they were hugging together with Carter saying, "It was an honour serving with you."? Was a coincidence? Granted that such hugging was an attempt to stay alive and warm and nothing to do with hormones.

Great end shot of Hammond looking at the second gate as if heís wondering " Now what?" Well, we do find out, later on in the series. Bring it on.

Tin Man

Episode 118

Written by Jeff King

Directed by Jimmy Kaufman

Rating-6

SG-1 are knocked out and when they recover, they meet Harlan who tells them that they are better, but doesnít explain how or why this is so. The team return and during a routine medical exam they discover that they are now robots.

For those of you (like myself) who donít like gross moments, itís during the medical exam that youíd go "Eeeuurrgghh!" OíNeill takes a scalpel like a dagger and slices his arm open. It isnít until the last moment that you see the mechanical parts underneath, but until that moment, I was cringing like mad. Even now, I still shudder.

But although there was a clever plot twist at the end (They havenít been transferred, only copied) this episode didnít do anything for me. In fact I half expected OíNeill to throttle Harlan if he said "Contriyah" one more time. He did throw him against the Stargate, but I expected him to be thrown through the physical mass of the gate. Technically, this was a difficult one to film, with split screens of the actors having chats with themselves and an abandoned power station to fill as if itís still operational, I appreciate the technical skill for this one, but I feel that the writing let this one down. Sorry, but there had to be a loser and for me it was this one.

There But For The Grace Of God

Episode 119

Story by David Kemper

Teleplay by Robert C. Cooper

Directed by David Warry-Smith

Rating 8

Sg-1 arrives at a planet where there are no survivors. But before they can return, Daniel is accidentally transported to an alternate reality. One where the Goaíuld are attacking Earth and are now heading for the SGC.

My initial reaction to this one was "Oh, no! This is going to be slow and boring!" Fortunately, in this case I have a tendency to be proved wrong. True, it wasnít all-out action from the start, but it does hold the tension really well. Michael Shanks deserves credit for actually making you feel that he is having a living nightmare, that no one believes him and he wishes that the only way home is to click his heels three times and say "Thereís no place like home!" This episode also gives the other members of the cast do something else for a change. Well, it IS an alternate reality. Hell, they can do anything, and get away with it; it doesnít matter. Hammond is a colonel and gets to do some gung-ho shootouts. (Even though he does bite the bullet in the end. Or energy bolt as he gets hit by a staff weapon.), and Gary Jones gets some firepower which must make a nice change from sitting at a computer console saying "Chevron One, engaged" This is actually the start of a four episode story arc. So its good to see that the producers have left the best till last and given the second season a hell of a cracking start. Christopher Judge gets another chance to chew the scenery as a bad guy, complete with staff cannon and a really cool looking ponytail. The real shocker is that all the good guys are killed by the end of this one. The best scene is OíNeill trying to convince Tealíc to be a good guy. Unfortunately OíNeill has blown up Chulak and Tealíc is in no mood to change from the Dark Side. Watch OíNeillís face just before he is shot. Talk about failure and the resignation to it.

A cracking episode that doesnít end all smiles but with the rather warning from Daniel, "Theyíre coming!"

Politics

Episode 120

Written by Brad Wright

Directed by Martin Wood

Rating- 8

This was a strange show for me. After the events of "There But For The Grace Of God", Iíd expected the action to continue apace. Instead we get a clip and bottle show. Bottle shows (where the action takes place on current standing sets only) work well if done properly. Clip shows donít have such a healthy success record; just ask the producers of Star Trek; The Next Generation about "Shades of Gray" Anyhow I digress. A senator becomes concerned about the cost and effectiveness of the SGC and wishes to review it before making a final decision on its fate. So now itís also a court drama. The odds against this show are stacking up.

However things start to brighten up. Ronnie Cox comes in as Senator Kinnsey. It might be viewed as dťjŗ vu but he also played a similar character on ST; TNG and in "Total Recall". So we really hate this guy from the start; heís the ultimate bad guy. He comes in and tells the SGC that he is going to close them down. If any other drama was to do this kind of thing, the bad guys would have a fairly flimsy case and the good guys would always be able to sink it at the end. "Politics" different. Kinnsey puts the case against the SGC so well that you actually find yourself thinking, "You know, he DOES have a point there. Maybe it IS safer to close the gate."

At the end, the SGC is closed and you can feel the depression of Hammond as he walks out of the room in his final shot. My favourite scene is Kinnsey talking about "stopping the barbarians at the gates" and OíNeill replies "There ARE barbarians at the gate; THAT one!!" The last two shots of the show are fantastic. The first is a climbing shot of the team looking out of the conference room window. The second shot is the view of the gate from the teamís perspective. This is show 2 in a four-episode arc, culminating in the season finale and second season opener. My only gripe about this episode is the appearance of the most hated three words in television; TO BE CONTINUED!

Within The Serpents Grasp

Episode 121

Story by James Crocker

Teleplay by Jonathan Glassner

Directed by David Warry-Smith

Rating- 9

The SGC is finished and itís time to throw the dust cover over the gate and everything else. But Daniel is still convinced that the invasion is coming and is determined to go to the gate address he found in There But For The Grace Of God. The rest of the team go with him. They get somewhere, and then they find that, theyíre on a ship. This does however throw a spanner into the works as they cant return to Earth to warn them. This is a problem for Hammond, as he canít send a team through to return SG-1, as the gate address is no longer valid. Something to do with the fact that the ship has since moved from its point of origin and is now a moving target. Apothis gives a rousing speech and thus re-introduces Skaara back into the story. Alexis Cruz absolutely delights in playing a right SOB.

OíNeill has a double problem; stop an invasion and also rescue Skaara. The problem is that it may not be possible to save both!

This is Stargate at its best and as far as cliffhangers go, this oneís a doozy. First weíre on a spaceship to stop an invasion. Then we find that someone weíve been looking for has been turned into a bad guy. Then we have THAT ending. The view of Earth from the bridge.

One major gripe. Carter says that the ship at its fastest will take 10 years to reach Earth. When she sees Earth, she comments that it must have gone faster. Du-uuh!! Also, how on earth were they going to stay undiscovered all that time, and did they bring enough sandwiches for the trip?

This was a class act and following this one is going to be a tough one. And with the final tracking shot of the teamís horrified expression as the camera passes out the window, out along the ship and the bends to show not only the size of the ship but also of a second ship (Apothis turning up for the party), there is only one way for this show to end. Those hated words "to be continued" and the howls of every viewer screaming at how on earth this is going to be resolved.