STARGATE SG1 SEASON 2 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.

Serpent’s Lair

Episode 201

Written by Brad Wright

Directed by Jonathan Glassner

Rating- 9

Well, here’s a first; a two-part story where part two is as good as part one. Certainly a rarity. The story opens up with the last shot of Within The Serpents Grasp in reverse. Nice way of reusing optics. The story has SG-1 captured but are released by the return of Bra’tac. Which is confusing for me, as I still haven’t seen his introduction. (See review of last episode for DVD comments.) Luckily for Earth, the ships are holding position until Klorel recovers from getting shot by O’Neill in the last episode. Naturally when he does recover he’s a bit narked. ("Burn their world to ashes!")

I also noticed that Alexis Cruz’ character is listed as Klorel/ Skaara as opposed to just Skaara in the last episode.

Someone has been watching "Independence Day" for inspiration. The missile scene was lifted almost directly, right down to the dialogue about how this is the most devastating weapon ever built and how nothing could stop it. Only Hammond has the jug of water marked "reality check".

This is also a good episode for one-liners. In fact it almost becomes a battle for the best line between O’Neill and Bra’tac. The best line comes after the titles when O’Neill says that they have gotten out of worse situations, only to have Teal’c reply, "Not to my knowledge." Priceless.

There is drama galore especially when Daniel gets shot. You get a sense of "Oh, s**t!!" But there are a couple of gripes. First where do Apothis and Klorel go at the end of the show? They use the transport rings but you don’t know where they are going. Also NASA sends up a shuttle against the invading ships. To do what? As far as I know these things don’t have weapons. And staying with the shuttle, how do they recover the rest of SG-1. Death gliders and space shuttles don’t have compatible air locks in that the glider does not seem to have any air lock whatsoever.

But all in all a very enjoyable episode.

In The Line Of Duty

Episode 202

Written by Robert C. Cooper

Directed by Martin Wood

Rating- 9

The idea of a teaser is to get your attention to watch the episode unfold. "In The Line Of Duty" would get full marks on that alone. Death gliders pass so close to the camera that they almost knock the cameraman over, several SG teams running and shooting lots of times, large explosions, people running. Throw into the mix that Sam gets taken over by a Goa’uld; all before the opening titles. Oh, yeah this gets a 10 from me for that.

It transpires that the Goa’uld in Sam is part of the Tok’ra, a group opposed to the taking of unwilling hosts. Unfortunately there is an assassin out to bump Sam off as it has orders to kill the Goa’uld in Sam. It turns out that this Goa’uld is called Jolinar and is an important member to the resistance. This does slow the show down from all out action to a steadily paced thriller. At one point you don’t know whom to believe. The Goa’uld claims to be acting with good intentions and will let Sam go once it has gone through the Stargate. Even when Carters own voice comes through, you’re not sure. Is it Sam who speaking with absolute terror or is it the Goa’uld manipulating us again?

A handy tip with the Goa’uld; make them look and sound stupid as they are over-confident and arrogant. It also helps if said subject is behind a laser prison and at the business end of a zat. Daniel also uses his unique talents on the show. Not only is he the one who works out who the assassin is but also gets turned into a hostage at the same time. Definitely a bad day to wake up to.

This is a show that pleases everyone on every aspect.

Prisoners

Episode 203

Written by Terry Curtis Fox

Directed by David Warry-Smith

Rating- 6

SG-1 is sent to a penal settlement after they unwittingly aid a prisoner to escape. What’s more, the penalty for any crime on this planet is prison. A man comes up to the team and asks for help to get away from something. The team help and are arrested for aiding and abetting a criminal. (In this case a murderer.)

They meet up with a healer and realise she can help them escape and she also has a neat line in science. She even helps a blind man see again, but he doesn’t seem too grateful. This is deduced by the way he screams as he runs away.

The team finally escape with the healer who’s called Linea and the formerly blind man. However he tells them that Linea is nicknamed the "Murderer Of Worlds". Linea gets away and the team realise that they have unleashed a criminal onto the galaxy.

The episode starts off well. Tension as SG-1 tries to find a way out, and for Hammond to make a deal to get his team back. In fact all is quite well… until we get to the breakout. Then it all comes to pieces. You see I had always asked, "What would happen if you stood in front of the gate as it activated?" Answer; instant death, cremation and scattering of ashes all in one easy action and a cool "Swoosh" sound effect. But to get out, the team wrapped the gate in a vine to power the gate. Note the key word "wrapped". Wouldn’t the vines be burned as the energy vortex formed? Secondly, no DHD so how did they get the address to the rendezvous planet? And don’t say they moved the ring manually because I think someone would have noticed them and this was supposed to be done secretly.

I’m also concerned that Linea could not only access Stargate addresses but also the SGC security computers to access the self destruct and wipe the deactivation codes. If any base was that easy to infiltrate, no wonder Senator Kinnsey wanted to close the SGC in "Politics". The overall feeling of this show is of great disappointment. It’s as if the producers either ran out of time or couldn’t think of a more plausible ending. Defiantly one of the worst episodes yet, if not the worst.

The Gamekeeper

Episode 204

Story by Jonathan Glassner & Brad Wright

Teleplay by Jonathan Glassner

Directed by Martin Wood

Rating- 7

An alien virtual reality device traps SG-1. As a result they are forced to relive pivotal moments of their lives. In this case, O’Neill’s aborted covert mission where his brother is killed and Daniels moment where he saw his parents killed in a freak accident at a museum. Now on paper this doesn’t sound all that interesting, but the writers managed to get a few twists thrown into the mix and for good measure lets get a really wacky character. Come forward, Dwight Schultz as the fore mentioned gamekeeper. O’Neill is a little peeved at watching his brother gunned down time after time, no matter what he does to change history it always turns out the same. Even when he tries to show that Teal’c isn’t human, it doesn’t work since Teal’c has made an attempt at a "Look-like-Samuel Jackson-in Pulp-Fiction" contest. (Nice hairdo!)

Carter and Daniel see his parent’s death over and over again and you get a sense from Michael Shanks that he really does feel the agony of the situation. When the gamekeeper explains that he is actually trying to help them change events, it does seem rather weak. Even O’Neill says that the past has happened; this is only a simulation and the outcome can’t be changed, no matter how much you try. I got the impression that the gamekeeper is actually a voyeur and a rather sick and perverse one at that. Then he apparently lets them go back. But a slip of tongue from the faux Hammond lets them realise that they are still trapped. There’s a nice moment when O’Neill taunts Hammond in this scene and there is a sense that Richard Dean Anderson loved every moment of it; just watch his face as he begins the taunts.

It actually turns out that the race that built these machines used them to survive a natural disaster, which by now has reversed itself. But after so long hooked up to each other’s thoughts they began to long for new experiences. The gamekeeper wouldn’t let them out because he thought that they would go back to their old cycle of destruction, which brought about the original disaster. In some ways, you can see his point of view and you would sympathise if he hadn’t occasionally popped out to tend to the garden.

A pretty good show although not one of their best, I still found it entertaining. A couple of points however. Watch one of the scenes where O’Neill, Teal’c and Kawalsky are running back to the safety of the wall. O’Neill and Teal’c are almost at the wall when Kawalsky (in the background) suddenly takes a sideward dive. This was obviously to allow the camera to show that Kawalsky was nowhere to be seen when they look back.

Secondly Daniels parents deaths. Am I the only one who thinks that they deserved that? After all, the safest place to be when a crane is lowering a huge slab of concrete is not under the thing. That’s why most places have Safety Reps; to tell you to keep away from heavy loads like that.

When the team get out I loved the gamekeepers comeuppance. One thing; if he didn’t like the flowers being picked, how did he keep the garden so well maintained. I can only imagine him having a cardiac arrest when someone tells him that he going to mow the lawn; an absolute massacre.

Need

Episode 205

Written by Robert C. Cooper & Damian Kindler

Directed by Robert C. Cooper

Rating- 7

Daniel saves the life of a princess whose about to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff. Normally the phrase "No good deed goes unpunished." would apply, but in this case the princess’ father decides to throw the team into slave labour down a mine. Talk about ungrateful. Anyhow during a failed escape, Daniel is hurt badly and is taken to a sarcophagus to be healed. Once he is healed she tells him that she wants to marry him as a sign of gratitude. She also puts him into the sarcophagus a few times to help him attain immortality.

On paper this isn’t one of SG-1s best efforts. But there are a few things that do help it stand out from a crowd. First its O’Neill’s impatience with Daniels attempts to talk the princess into releasing them. I kept waiting for O’Neill to threaten Daniel with that pickaxe with the line "If you say you need more time just once more…" The second thing is Michael Shanks reaction back at the SGC as he goes through cold turkey, as I will explain in just a moment.

It was also a nice touch to reuse the sarcophagus from "Within The Serpents Grasp". I also noticed they made sure it was in as many shots as possible so that they got their moneys worth out of it. It seems that the slaves of this world overpowered the Goa’uld and took over the facility. In order not to arouse the suspicions, they sent through regular deposits of naquadah, as the guards would have done. The reason SG-1 was imprisoned was that the father believed they would alert the Goa’uld to the uprising. First clue that they are not Goa’uld was the voices; they’re not the regular unearthly sound. And I missed that one!! But it also transpires that too much use of a sarcophagus is like a drug user; it might be great once but you soon want more, hence the cold turkey scenes, which were great.

At the end the sarcophagus is destroyed when its negative effects are discovered. When a staff weapon blasts it I expected a large fireball and hail of sparks. Instead we get a postproduction electrical style effect; a bit of an anti-climax. As I said, not one of their best, but certainly not one of their worst.

Thor’s Chariot

Episode 206

Written by Katharyn Powers

Directed by William Gereghty

Rating- 7

In a previous episode, SG-1 destroys a planetary defence weapon in order to save Teal’c from getting fried. "Thor’s Chariot" is the follow-up to that episode. (Which I haven’t seen yet, at the time of writing this due to MGM’s weird release policy.) However as a result of that action, the Goa’uld have set up a base on Cimmeria. So the team have to asses how bad, bad really is. Carter and Jackson find a plinth that transports them to a hall that could lead them to Thor. During this segment, I was reminded of an old BBC show called "The Adventure Game" where celebrities and actors have to solve puzzles to get around a maze since the two have to solve puzzles to get an audience with Thor.

When Thor shows his true form, he looks like one of the Roswell greys. When Daniel explains that the people of Cimmeria haven’t evolved and that outside elements have influenced events ("We blew up the Hammer and now the Goa’uld are here!"), Thor’s reaction is almost akin to "Oh s**t!!" given his wide eyed departure.

When the team go back and tell O’Neill that reinforcements are not coming, I actually prepared myself for a rip- roaring gun battle. However it becomes apparent that they are easily outgunned. Any battle would be suicide. But when they are being led back, an Asgard ship descends and vaporises anything Goa’uld and it is this I have a problem with. Picture yourself in this scenario; you are captured and being led back to the enemy base. Suddenly a sodding great spaceship appears and begins zapping everything around you. Even the bad guys guarding you disappear. What is your reaction? Well, whatever it is, I bet it isn’t the same as SG-1’s, which is a kind of "Guards disappearing? See it all the time!" Apart from this gripe, it’s a cracking episode. Recommended.

Message In A Bottle

Episode 207

Story by Michael Greenburg &Jarrad Paul

Teleplay by Brad Wright

Directed by David Warry-Smith

Rating- 7

The team bring back an orb only to find that it contains a deadly bacterium. But just as they are about to deliver it back through the Stargate, it opens up and erects spikes to stop it from being moved any further. Unfortunately O’Neill gets in the way and gets skewered to the wall. Definitely one of the things Stargate; SG-1 can do well is tell stories that are genuinely gripping and this one is no exception. Every solution seems to hit a brick wall. (As well as Colonel O’Neill. Ha! Ha!) Anyway, Richard Dean Anderson doesn’t seem to have a lot to do in this show but that’s just it; he’s the very hinge of this show. The producers of this episode have made a show that is even eerier than the X-Files. This is better highlighted when the team turn on ultraviolet lamps in the gateroom… well their expressions speak a thousand words. O.K, two words and the first one is "Oh". The basis of this show is that of a time capsule. But in this case, "uncovering the past" might not be such a clever idea after all. One slight problem; if the pole that has speared O’Neill so tough, why does it flex at the slightest movement as if it were hollow plastic tubing? Just asking…!

But once again the self-destruct has been activated. This time its because containment of the organism has been breached. When that happens, the destruct mechanism activates automatically. But so soon after "Prisoners", it seems that the writers could not think of another plot device. If they keep using this so often, then the episodes run the risk of becoming monotonous; that we are going to know long in advance that the base wont blow up. Its similar to the lesson learned in Star Trek; Voyager in the first season with the "we found a way home" plot line.

A highly rated story with a slight quibble.

Family

Episode 208

Written by Katharyn Powers

Directed by William Gereghty

Rating- 10

Bra’tac comes through the Stargate to tell Teal’c that Apothis has his son, R’nac. This is all a ploy to capture Teal’c and everyone knows this. It’s now a rescue mission to bring Rya’c back to earth and away from Apothis. But there have been several developments. Teal’c’s wife, Drey’auc has remarried to Teal’c’s best friend, Fro’tak since she thought that Teal’c would never come back or was dead. Rya’c has also appeared on Goa’uld TV (well, sort of.) to tell that his father is a traitor and that Teal’c is holding his mother against her will. This is a very powerful story, which could fall if the lead isn’t up to the task of carrying it. Fortunately Christopher Judge absolutely chews up the surrounding scenery. Any story that really allows an actor to flex the acting muscle is to be commended and this one doesn’t disappoint. There are a couple of great scenes; O’Neill in a Jaffa armour with the line "No wonder those guys are so cranky all the time." as the helmet rises. And of course the scenes with Teal’c and R’nac in the SGC. There are a couple of plot twists and the answer to my question of where Apothis and Klorel went in the transport rings at the end of "The Serpents Lair". Answer; to the room with the onboard Stargate and then back to Chulak before the ship was blown apart.

Truly an episode worthy of an Academy Award (or any other for that matter). If it didn’t get so much as a nomination, WHY NOT?! This has to be the best show I have seen and so I give this one a very rare 10 out of 10.

Secrets

Episode 209

Written by Terry Curtis Fox

Directed by Duane Clark

Rating- 7

Daniel returns to Abydos as he promised one year earlier. (See review "Children Of The Gods") But when he gets there, he gets a nasty surprise; Sha’re is already there and is about to pop a sprog. Seems that Apothis does more than leer at naked bodies as he did in the pilot episode. Meanwhile, Carter and O’Neill are to be honoured by the President for their heroic efforts to stop the Goa’uld from rampaging the Earth. But O’Neill finds a reporter who knows a hell of a lot about the Stargate. And Carter finds her dad, Jacob Carter who has pulled a lot of strings to get her a position at NASA by getting her to jump the queue. It turns out that Jacob has cancer and only wants his daughter to go into space to fulfil her life long ambition to become an astronaut before he passes on. But she can’t accept or tell him that she has already gone into space or about the Stargate program. He naturally gets upset and leaves. Talk about getting stuck between heaven and a hard place. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) the reporter gets run over and killed by a hit and run driver and at the episode you can’t help but wonder if this was an accident or not.

Back on Abydos, Sha’re tries not to give birth as when she does the Goa’uld control will take over. Apothis wanted a new host body for future use and this is the grossest version of babies to order I can think of.

This was a hard show for me to watch in light of Jacob’s revelation of his cancer and hopes for the future for personal reasons. However, I could easily relate to both sides as a result. I got the feeling that there is an ongoing story arc here with Jacob and the "conspiracy". The question is who did kill the reporter and why. Well’ the "why" is obvious; he knew about the Stargate program and had to be silenced. But who? It does raise the question of a dirty tricks department in the government. There is one way to solve it; call in Mulder and Scully.

Bane

Episode 210

Written by Robert C. Cooper

Directed by David Warry-Smith

Rating- 7

If you hate creepy crawlies or any other flying/ creeping bugs, then I suggest that you stay away from this one. As O’Neill says to the question on why they ran back to the SGC in such a hurry; "Bugs, sir! Great big bugs!"

During a routine mission, Teal’c is stung by a bug and falls ill. Unfortunately, he begins to undergo a metamorphosis and to make things worse; Maybourne wants the transformation to go ahead so that they can see what happens despite the fact that Teal’c will most certainly die. Maybourne only sees this as an opportunity to possible develop a biological weapon of sorts. Understandably, O’Neill is niffed at the idea and matters are made even worse ‘cos Maybourne has the relevant papers to transfer Teal’c to a facility for testing. Along the way, Teal’c escapes and we learn that these bugs are like a parasite; one host will deliver ten bugs who in turn will affect ten hosts which will deliver another ten bugs and so on.

There was an odd feeling to this show. Although I knew that Teal’c wouldn’t die, there was a tension, particularly when a child became involved. Was the kid going to die? Was Maybourne going to get his nasty way? This show wasn’t going to win any prizes but it was going to do serious damage to my fingernails.

Maybourne is the kind of character that you wanted to slap about for a bit, ending with a swift kick to his you-know-where. But then don’t you just love to get that chance? I would!

The end of this show was a belter with Daniel and Teal’c thanking the kid with a super-Super-Soaker. Watch Christopher Judge’s face at the end. This isn’t Teal’c; this is C.J as a big kid

The Tok’ra (Part 1)

Episode 211

Written by Jonathan Glassner

Directed by Brad Turner

Rating-7

We’ve already heard about this secretive group but never actually seen them. So this is a great opportunity to expand the SG universe and formally introduce them. The show opens up with clips from In The Line Of Duty, the show where a Goa’uld possesses Carter and Secrets where we find out about Carters father and his cancer. These are all important factors that will come into play later on in the show.

We see an evacuation from a Goa’uld attack from someone else’s perspective. At the last second we see whose eyes we are seeing through; Sam Carter’s! It turns out that Sam is trying to analyse the memories that she inherited from the Goa’uld. Question; can we have an episode where Sam ISN’T analysing anything, because that seems all she does, the poor lass? Anyhow, we learn that the Tok’ra might be the good guys and that it might be a good idea to visit them. We also learn that Tok’ra comes from the word "Tok" meaning resist and "Ra" from the baddie that O’Neill blew up in the original movie. Given this info I thought that the resistance group should be called the Tok’ Apothis. (Just a thought!!)

The team go through the gate but not before Sam phones her dad who is still stubborn as ever. Unknown to her, his condition has deteriorated. And Hammond cannot tell him about the Stargate. Again, this was painful to watch due to personal reasons. However as a result of this situation I felt that these scenes were done as if someone writing the show had also gone through the same thing that I had.

The Tok’ra are good at hiding and I got a hell of a fright when they finally made an appearance from out of the sand. We also find that they are a bit snooty about people saying, "we want to help you". I would have said, "Fine on you go! You don’t want our help, get lost!" and gone home. The show ends with SG-3 saying that Sam’s dad is dying and they cant leave for fear of a security breach. Boy, does Sam’s face convey a million words with just one look as the words "To Be Continued…!" comes up.

This was a terrific show and it just goes to show that if you want to expand a universe you have to think big and this has just opened up a whole lot of possibilities.

(I wonder if the Tok’ra have ever considered going into the construction business given how fast they can carve out tunnels for themselves. The Channel Tunnel would have been built in less than a week if they had done it!)

The Tok’ra (Part 2)

Episode 212

Written by Jonathan Glassner

Directed by Brad Turner

Rating- 7

After being told that they cant leave the Tok’ra base as they are deemed a security hazard. But Sam pleads that she and O’Neill go back since she has a plan; let her father become a host so that his cancer can be cured. The Tok’ra agree and so begins the race to get Jacob Carter to the SGC and let him know what is going on. The rest of the episode has Jacob chatting with Selmac, his future symbiot. But there is another problem, Goa’uld fleet is approaching and there is not much time to get out. I’ve got to hand it to the Tok’ra builders. As fast as they’ve built the tunnels, they can take them down again in just about the same amount of time. They simply disappear. The tension is nail biting with Sam wondering if she has done the right thing bringing her father to this place. You can really understand her frustration and fear.

But it’s the Tok’ra’s position that I find frustrating. They don’t need doors, don’t seem to have any security of any kind and always seem to think that they are better than anyone else. And these guys have eluded the Goa’uld for centuries. I wonder how. Other mercenary groups would have done more and still be captured. Unless the Goa’uld are hopeless at tracking down the Tok’ra.

All in all an average episode, let down by the way O’Neill casually shows up their security problems single handed with barely a thought.

Spirits

Episode 213

Written by Tor Alexander Valenza

Directed by Martin Wood

Rating- 5

SG-11 is overdue on a mining expedition. When the Stargate is opened with SG-11’s call sign, everyone thinks that it is the team returning. However, an arrow blasts through the gate and hits Jack. Is it my imagination or does O’Neill have a bad habit of standing in the wrong place at the wrong time? With O’Neill out of the way, Sam takes command of the team. It turns out that a tribe of North American Natives are living on the planet and are quite happy not to be disturbed. SG-1 is told that SG-11 are with the spirits. But Sam reacts the way I’d expect O’Neill to when they introduced to a wolf. ("My, what big eyes you have!") I get the impression that for some reason Richard Dean Anderson could not make the shoot and the script was changed accordingly.

Anyhow, It turns out that Hammond is going to mine the mineral anyway and this upsets the spirits who are disguised as SG-11. The spirits are shape-shifters who are protecting the Natives from further attack. It starts off as an Indian "respect the land" style story that Star Trek has done already. What makes this different is that the Indian part of this is left behind and the action with the spirits really begins. I didn’t like this show at first, due to the fact that I was tired at the time of viewing it. The second time was several weeks later and a lot less fatigued. As a result I managed to appreciate it a lot more. The story starts out as a sort of ghost story; where did the team vanish? And who did it? In the end there is a moral to it, about past history and remembering it well.

Not the best, but it does show that Star Trek isn’t the only show to do morality tales and do it well.

Touchstone

Episode 214

Written by Sam Egan

Directed by Brad Turner

Rating- 6

Touchstone is one of those shows that start to show us that other things are happening. After SG-1 return to the planet Madrona, they are accused of stealing a weather device. The proof is witness testimony that the thieves wore uniforms such the ones worn by SG-1. But no other SG teams have come through the gate. So the question becomes who else is involved. The team go to Area 51 where the artefacts from other missions are stored and examined. The second gate from Alaska is also here and the consensus is that this gate is being used as well since a power spike is shown up hidden in the first gates power signature. Add to the fact that Colonel Maybourne is in charge and you get a whole heap of trouble. Teal’c tells Maybourne that within his own custom, he is within his own right to disembowel the good colonel. Hands up everyone else who would have given good money to see that scene, judging by Maybourne’s face. Well it turns out that there is indeed a second team operating outside the SGC and that angers Hammond. His command is getting a bad reputation and an undeserved one at that.

There is a different feel to this show as it mostly takes place back on Earth and with our own people. The climax is fantastic and although the alternate team make it through to destination unknown, there is a sense that this is not over by any means. Even though his men are elsewhere and the fake Stargate discovered Maybourne doesn’t seem too concerned. (B*****d!) I feel like Teal’c and disembowelling the sod.

A brilliantly written show that adds another layer to this unfolding drama.

A Matter Of Time

Episode 215

Story by Misha Rashovich

Teleplay by Brad Wright

Directed by Jimmy Kaufman

Rating-9

SG-10 are on their first mission together as a team and are sucked into a black hole. As bad starts go, this is the worst. This also causes problems for the folks back home as the gravity of the hole has latched onto the wormhole and threatens to pull the Earth through it but not before making time run slower than ever. Enter Cromwell who was on the mission that saw O’Neill captured during the Gulf War. Marshall Teague who has been on other shows fits the part of the hardened commando since he himself was in the armed forces, which come in handy later on in the episode. This is a creepy show due to the showing of a frozen in time panic stricken face of Capt. Henry Boyd in close up. There was always something rather unsettling about a scrambled run in slow motion, which gives the sequence a rather surreal feeling. The gravity on the gate and the only way to stop it is to detonate a shaped charge into the vortex. I’m not sure if this would be a plausible way of shutting down the vortex but then again I’m no physicist. There are a number of great moments such as the moving chair when the gravity gets worse, the plate glass shattering and the horizontal abseil. The most devastating effect must be the iris being torn apart. When that happened my language was certainly shall we say, liberal?

At the end we lose SG-10 and Cromwell. I certainly get the feeling that any replacement for SG-10 is best not told of their demise. (" So what happened to them?" "Oh, they fell into a black hole on their first mission." Cue sound of rapid footsteps towards the nearest exit.)

Certainly one of the best.

The Fifth Race

Episode 216

Written by Robert C. Cooper

Directed by David Warry-Smith

Rating- 8

O’Neill looks into an alien device and ends up taking an unknown language. No one knows how he is able to do so but his IQ points have jumped up like a shuttle launch. But while his intelligence is going up, his ability to speak in English is going down. And no one knows how to help him.

Richard Dean Anderson certainly puts across the frustration of a person who cannot control his destiny or his actions. He even builds a device that no one knows what it is or does, not even O’Neill. It turns out that it is a power supply for the generator room for the Stargate. Poor Sgt. Silar gets zapped in this one and I can’t get the feeling that he is a fall guy. I’ve seen a couple of shows and he always gets injured when O’Neill is around. Boy would that be the start of a phobia?

O’Neill dials out at the end of the show with an eighth chevron and meets up with a familiar race, the Asgard who tell O’Neill that his race is on the verge of becoming the fifth race of an alliance to protect the galaxy. At the end of the show, O’Neill is returned to normal and I couldn’t help but wonder how it would have been if he had been allowed to keep his new abilities. I guess we will never know.

My only major gripe is at the beginning of the show. When O’Neill is grabbed by the device, no one seems concerned at all. But when he is released and collapses, only then does any one show any concern for his well-being.

This was a fun one to watch in every way.

Serpent’s Song

Episode 217

Written by Katharyn Powers

Directed by Peter DeLuise

Rating-10

What would you do if worst enemy pleaded to you for help? That’s the scenario that is the issue for "Serpent’s Song."

SG-1 has received a signal to rendezvous with someone important. When a Death Glider crashes near them, they find Apothis lying there begging for them to help him. There is an interesting moment at the end of the teaser. Watch O’Neill as the picture fades. You actually think that he is going to pull the trigger at that moment. I dare anyone to watch that moment and say otherwise.

It turns out that a rival System Lord has tortured Apothis. Which brings up a nice point; if the Goa’uld have spent so much time fighting amongst themselves as is claimed, then how on earth did they establish a powerful empire? No empire would have survived that long if it was having the equivalent of constant civil wars all the time. However, I digress. Apothis knows that he is dying and is willing to trade vital information for a price; a new host. All the team members talk to Apothis. O’Neill tells him that he wants Apothis to croak, Teal’c is smug that the tables have been turned on his former god, Sam is not impressed by Apothis’ claim she will be blended again and Daniel tells Apothis that he will find his wife again.

But there is a problem. Sokar, the System Lord that tortured Apothis in the first place has found out where he is hiding and is trying to melt the iris. I had one problem with this. The room where the Stargate resides is a former silo. Unless they built over it, why didn’t they simply open the silo doors to let the heat out? After all, heat rises doesn’t it?

This is a fantastic show; the kind of morality tale that Star Trek boasted that it could do so well. Would you sell to the Devil to protect yourself? For the record, I was of the same opinion of O’Neill. ("Let me know when he dies!")

It was especially disturbing when it turns out that Apothis’ host was actually a cleric in a temple and is actually afraid. Peter Williams should stand up and take a bow, which would be a hard thing to do, as he was strapped down for the majority of this show. Despite Apothis’ death, I don’t think that we’ve seen the last of the big guy. After all he was supposed to have died earlier in the series, right?

"Serpent’s Song" is undeniably one of the best episodes I have seen and as a result will receive the rarest of accolades from me; a perfect 10 out of 10.

Holiday

Episode 218

Written by Tor Alexander Valenza

Directed by David Warry-Smith

Rating- 8

"Holiday" is another of those sci-fi stories that come under the category of Body Swapping. Anyone reading this would think "Oh, no! Not that tired old chestnut!"

WRONG!!!

The team find a scientist named Machello who seems a bit loopy and has yet spent his entire life designing and building technology to fight and ultimately defeat the Goa’uld. What the team don’t know is that he is dying and swaps bodies or rather minds with Daniel. The team go back to base leaving Daniel trapped in a doomed body. But the best part is when O’Neill and Teal’c accidentally swap bodies when they try to retrieve the swapping machine. I since heard that R.D.A went bonkers during this one because he had to turn off his normal humour, but Christopher Judge went to town doing "O’Neill-isms". And it is this part of the story that is the dessert of the story. But it doesn’t forget that there is a serious side. If they don’t get Daniel back into his body, Daniel will die because Machello’s body is dying. And O’Neill will die if Teal’c’s body does not achieve kel-nor-reem. The real meat of the story is the Daniel- Machello thread. The most remarkable part of this is that is Michael Shanks playing both parts. (Well, I guess that he was a little short that week and wanted to do the overtime.) The conversation that the two have at the end of the show is a moving one. You could almost sympathise with Machello as he does put his case in a strong light. But Daniel nails him with the point by saying in trying to beat the Goa’uld, he has become no better than those he seeks to destroy with his desperate action. Full marks go to the make-up dept. for the aging effects on Michael and full marks to Michael himself for a convincing performance. For a while I thought that it was another actor playing Machello. Only a couple of words spoken gave it away, but I was fooled for the most part. Classic.

One False Step

Episode 219

Written by Michael Kaplan & John Sanborn

Directed by William Corcoran

Rating- 4

The team think they have brought a disease to the natives of an alien village after a remote controlled airborne drone crashes. So they are on the offensive when the team seem to go down with similar symptoms as the villagers. It doesn’t help when the natives are incapable of speaking and only look at you with a rather unsettling gaze. If anything this is the shows weakest link. I got the feeling of grabbing one of the aliens, shaking them senseless and yelling "For Gods Sake, say something you idiots, anything!!"

The make up is really something but since most of the alien shots were done as exteriors, you really feel for those extras who were only wearing what looked like a leotard covered in paint stripes. Bear in mind that the show is shot in Canada, not exactly the Bahamas.

But the show works best in the mystery department when the team are trying to solve the problem of the mystery illness that is all around them. If it is not a virus that is making everyone keel over, then what is it?

"One False Step" isn’t one of the seasons best in my mind but it isn’t the worst; but it came very close to it.

Show And Tell

Episode 220

Written by Jonathan Glassner

Directed by Peter DeLuise

Rating- 7

After the disappointment that was "One False Step" it was back to good old-fashioned suspense and thriller stories that Stargate does so well.

A mysterious boy comes through the gate after the iris plays up. That got my attention as he came through when the iris was closed at the time. He then tells them that a rebel Reetou faction will destroy the Earth. The only problem is that we can’t see the Reetou; they’re invisible. So the problem is how do you fight an enemy that you cant even see, and terrorist ones at that? Time for the brown trousers, methinks.

The budget on this show was saved considerably by the fact that you can’t see the aliens for the most part and when you do it is all so briefly either in passing or when they’re exploding. They did resemble the Shadows; the baddies in "Babylon 5". So I wonder if they were the source of inspiration there.

The hunt for the Reetou was also akin the to hunt in "Alien" when the crew had to look for the alien throughout the Nostromo in darkness and in the air ducts. But I have to wonder about that centre pane of glass in the SGC, the one between the control room and the gate room. We have a Tok’ra falling through it after being shot by the Reetou. Wasn’t it not so long ago that it was busted by a black hole? (Not to mention an iris.) There was also a promise that this would carry on as an ongoing story arc.

Oh, goodie!!

1969

Episode 221

Written by Brad Wright

Directed by Charles Correll

Rating- 9

SG-1 is sent back in time by accident to the year 1969. That’s the backbone of the show and although it is deceptively simple with the must-get –the-team-home plotline, it is actually quite fun.

I’ve watched it several times and I’m not convinced that the science behind the time-travel actually works in theory. And that’s the main part of this show. But even when this fails, the rest of the show compensates for whatever shortfall that occurs.

Hammond gives Sam a piece of paper with instructions to keep it with her at all times. It seems that old Hammy knew what had to happen. He reveals at the end that when he was a lieutenant, he was to guard 4 unidentified suspects that he later recognised as SG-1. Star Trek does this kind of thing all the time and so it’s nice to see someone else do it just as well.

Brad Wright is the one to blame for this one (Although in this case "blame" is the wrong word; "mad genius" is more like it!) There are nice touches like Daniel replying in Russian to the question "Are you a Soviet spy?" O’Neill identifying himself as James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise and Luke Skywalker and Teal’c’s way of hitching a lift.

This was a fun no-brainer. You just sat back and watched the mayhem because if you tried to analyse this show too much it would fail. But that’s the point: it isn’t meant to be taken seriously. And that is the best thing about it.

The thing that I had the problem was the sequence at the beginning. The team step through the Stargate to appear in the gate room again. Then the room returns to its original configuration; a Titan missile silo. Apparently the team had stepped briefly into two different time zones at the same time. (At that point whilst trying to work out what Carter had said, my brain exploded.) However, this show was meant to light-hearted and in that case, it did not fail. Lots of humorous moments and at a cracking pace no less. A great show and doesn’t disappoint.

Out of Mind

Episode 222

Story by Jonathan Glassner & Brad Wright

Teleplay by Jonathan Glassner

Directed by Martin Wood

Rating- 8

O’Neill is awoken from cryostasis and told that not only is everyone he has known is dead but also that he is in the year 2077. His expression just says it all really.

We think we are in the SGC of the future but there are niggling doubts for us the viewer and we are finally rewarded with the same thing happening to Carter, and then Daniel. But we don’t yet find out why until literally the last five minutes. The show always just manages to dangle the carrot of wanting to tell you everything but leave enough for you to scream, "Tell us!!"

Once again we have a cliffhanger of a season finale and like last year didn’t disappoint. The big shocker is Teal’c leaving a very speechless Hammond with his resignation and the guard of honour at Teal’c’s departure from the SGC. Have we seen the last of Big T and Junior? Of course not, but you do wonder how they are going to resolve this one.

An old face comes back to haunt us is the shape of Hathor. (See review of episode Hathor) And the cliffhanger is which of SG-1 is going to get their own Junior?

I had on niggling doubt about this one and its not the writing or acting.

It’s the costumes accessories.

On the generals tunic there is a futuristic gizmo on his left hand side. (Our right hand side.) Now there doesn’t seem to be a use for it in this show but every motorist has seen it. Yes, folks, it’s a car air freshener, the kind that you clip onto the air vent. No wonder O’Neill look startled. When someone sits that close to you with Essence Of Pine wafting out of his jacket, that would make you wonder if this guy had all his lights on upstairs, if you get my drift. (of Essence Of Pine.)

Another problem with this show is not even the show itself but how it was packaged. This show is on Vol. 7 and then two episodes later on the same disc is "Hathor" which introduces the redheaded one to us after her second appearance. A little bit mixed up, I think.