Monday, September 28, 2009

Classics: SG1 1:4 - The Broca Divide

Overall Rating: 4.5

The folks from the "Land of Light" were about as realistic as the people you'd read about in a Brothers Grimm fairy tale kingdome. The medical disaster was - um - not very logical. And, apart from Teal'c and Dr. Fraiser, the acting was truly abysmal. From everyone.

Plot Synopsis:

In search of the Goa'uld Apophis, the SGC staff have interviewed a number of the survivers from Chulak and determined that he went to a gate address ending in four specific symbols (including Chulak's point of origin). Using a random address generator, they've found only one possible address with which they could establish a gate lock thus far, so SG1 and SG3 are dispatched to investigate this world. When they arrive, they are plunged into a very dark forest and attacked by apparently primitive humanoids. They are rescued by humans from the planet (designated P3X-797) and escorted to the "Land of Light"...a region outside the forest where a Minoan-style bronze age civilization dwells. Here, we learn that the creatures in the forest are called "The Touched" - the humans here believe it is an evil curse. When the SG teams return to Earth to report on the mission, Jack and Sam (and all of SG3) all begin to act aggressively and morph into similarly primitive forms. They've brought a highly contagious disease through the gate and it's up to Dr. Fraiser and Teal'c to find a cure before it spreads beyond the base. At the last minute, Dr. Fraiser realizes that Daniel Jackson and herself have been immune because they are taking large doses of antihistamines which apparently starve this virus. They disseminate the cure throughout the base and give it to the citizens of the Land of Light.

Writing: 5

While there's nothing earth shatteringly annoying or flawed with the basic plot concept for this episode, the script was written painfully simplistically. First of all, from a scientific perspective, the disease makes no sense. What we know about it is that it somehow breaks down the histamine in the human body for energy while simultaneously secreting a hormone which activates "primitive areas of the brain which are typically dormant." This would be fine, except for two things:

1) There is no such thing as a primitive area of our brain that is not currently in use. We have developed an ego and a superego and logical reasoning skills that beat back our primitive sides, but it's all still there...and...
2) Activating primitive parts of the brain, if they existed in the first place, would not cause physical mutations to the wouldn't see the development of heavy brow ridges or larger upper bodies or shorter necks or any of the signs we see here that make Daniel Jackson believe at first that he's observing something closer to Australopithecus than humans.

Second of all, the writers of SG1 must think bronze age men were spectacularly stupid. The main cast has to repeat like 4 different times that it's not a curse, it's a disease!! I think even bronze aged peoples knew what disease was, even if they didn't know anything about what caused it or how to stop it.

Finally, I don't understand what Daniel hoped to learn about the Broca Divide (the theoretical jump from apes to men in evolutionary terms) from studying creatures he already knew were formerly healthy humans. It seems like the writers were trying to create a plot that would give them an excuse to use a cool sounding scientific theory as the title. :)

Acting: 2

So apparently, when you become primitive, it means you have to scream on every inhale and struggle to breathe...or was that just Richard Dean Anderson's rendition? Teal'c was good in this episode...I enjoyed him disabling the Minoan guards and stealing their blood (hee), but the rest of the acting was just plain goofy. Hard to take this episode seriously on any level when the acting is that bad.

Message: 6.5

On the plus side, we did establish that from this point forward, the SG teams will consider the scientific and cultural aspects of every world they visit, not just the strategically important stuff like weapons and intelligence on the goa'uld. No good government operates entirely without context, and the writers, fairer than usual to the US (compared to most sci fi), depict us as being interested in more than just black ops and self defense. Plus, the show wouldn't be much fun if Daniel was always PMS'ing because Jack wouldn't let him study all these cultures...or would it? Hm...I'll have to think about that. :)


This exchange provoked one little chuckle:

DANIEL: "General, if you'd just hear me out!"
HAMMOND: "Dr. Jackson, you're wasting your breath!"
DANIEL: "No, see, but this is exactly what I'm talking about!"
HAMMOND: "You've already won the argument!"
DANIEL: (still mid-rant) "If I may speak freely sir, I know I'm just a guest of this program, but you cannot simply cast aside the cultural significance of this...wait, what? I have?"
JACK: "He has, sir?"
HAMMOND: "I've already spoken to the President, and he agrees with you. His orders are that off world teams are to consider the scientific and cultural significance of every mission."
DANIEL (looking disappointed that he doesn't get to rant some more - as though he'd prepared a big speech) "Thank you...sir..." - hah!

And this provoked the other:

JACK: (seeing primitive-Daniel grooming a woman he has obviously mated with) "Daniel, you DOG! If you keep this up, you're gonna have a girl on every planet." (and the funny part is...he does end up with quite a few...LOL)
CARTER: (sounding annoyed) "Just shoot him, Sir."

1 comment:

  1. Sam & Jack's first kiss! That was reason enough for the episode.