Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Classics: SG1 1:11 - Fire and Water

Overall Rating: 7.6

"Oops! Died Again" dies for the first time (but not really :) ), and the emotional responses of the crew back on Earth are well written and well acted all around. Daniel shows his dedication to "getting the answer" and his geekish temper with style.

Plot Synopsis:

When SG1 arrives on Earth way prematurely and short one of its members - Daniel Jackson - they must report that he has died. They saw him engulfed in flames first hand and took cover in the nearby ocean or they'd have died with him. After the team is treated for the symptoms of shock and debriefed, a touching memorial service is held in Daniel's honor. At the wake, however, their memories of his death begin to unravel - something is not quite right, and the cognitive dissonance leads Carter to volunteer to undergo hypnosis, during which time she remembers what really happened (the team had been taken captive and false memories of Daniel's death implanted). Daniel, meanwhile, is confronted with an alien who demands that he reveal the fate of Omoroca - his mate who traveled to Earth in the time of Babylon to fight the Goa'uld. Daniel cannot recall any information specific to Omoroca, much to the frustration of the alien. When it becomes clear that without some assistance, he will never be able to give the alien what he wants, never be allowed to leave to see his friends again, Daniel volunteers his mind to the creature to scan in search of the answers - a procedure which he warns may damage Daniel's brain or even kill him. After significant pain, Daniel finally recalls that the goa'uld did in fact murder Omoroca, a sad end for all concerned. SG1 returns to the planet in search of Daniel, who is allowed to leave his underwater prison and the team is reunited.

Writing: 7.8

This episode gets bonus points for the first 1/3 of it being so in tune with the characters of our main heroes. Once we get past the lie that Daniel is dead and see Daniel for the time, the writing becomes a little more traditional and significantly less interesting or creative, but the episode definitely starts out with a bang. It is enlightening to see the characters react to tragedy for the first time - to get a feel for how close they've already become and the author clearly had a solid understanding of the psychology of grief and trauma.

Acting: 8.5

RDA, Chris Judge, and Amanda Tapping, and yes, even Don S. Davis and Teryl Rothery (Dr. Fraiser) were all very much on their game during the scenes on earth, and I have to give a thumbs up to Michael Shanks for his work here as well. Gerard Plunkett wasn't particularly moving in his portrayal of the alien (Nem) and I wasn't all that thrilled with Eric Schneider (Dr. McKenzie) either. But otherwise, the cast is really starting to gian momentum now, though it took them a while to gel.

Message: 6.5

This wasn't a particularly message-heavy episode, but it does get a little credit for managing to once again highlight how strongly Daniel values the truth and knowledge (above all else, even his own safety), and giving us a chance to gain a deeper appreciation for the bonds that are already forming between the members of SG1. Amazing how much O'Neill is mellowing in his hatred of geeks and scientists, ey? :)


CARTER: He's gone isn't he? (Starts to cry a little harder.) Why can't I stop shaking?
FRAISER: Your still in shock, Captain. It's alright. You'll be alright. Can I get another warm blanket here, please? I want you to take some slow deep breaths for me. You want to tell me what happened?
CARTER: He screamed, and...and there was this fire, and then he...he called out for help, and he...screamed...and then he...he was gone! He was just...(bursts into tears again - it's nice to see the writers allow Sam to have a more female reaction to a tragedy like this...there may have been a temptation to try to make her the strong one, but this somehow feels more natural)
FRAISER: It's alright, were going to give you a sedative now so you can rest. Nurse? 5 CC.
TEAL'C : (frustrated at a nurse trying to take his blood pressure) I do not wish this done! (he rips his arm away from the nurse and knocks medical instruments all over the floor - Teal'c's reaction is perfect for the stoic warrior who has experienced much death but has rarely seen it happen to someone as close to him)
O'NEILL: Relax Teal'c, there just trying to take your blood pressure.
FRAISER: It's alright, it can wait for now. Teal'c, you can go change if you want to. ( Teal'c walks off giving the Nurse a nasty look) Colonel, any pain? Headache?
O'NEILL: No. (said very flatly)
FRAISER: Can I get you to look straight ahead please?
O'NEILL: Wha...! (Jack jerks away in pain). What is that?
FRAISER: It's a pen light. I'm sorry, you must be photosensitive.
O'NEILL: You think?
FRAISER: It's alright Colonel, we can do this after the debriefing, or even tomorrow.
O'NEILL: Thank you. (Jack gets off the table and walks off.)
O'NEILL: (Jack considers apologizing to Fraiser, but can't muster up the energy, he seems defeated...deciding to complete his exit) Thank you. (here again, a wonderful portrait of a long time air force Colonel who's just lost his best friend)

FRAISER: General? I have a few more test to run , but I got the results back from my initial exams.
FRAISER: Well apart from some small contusions, photosensitivity , which I can probably attribute to the volcanic gasses in the atmosphere, they're fine. Frankly General, I am more worried about the post-traumatic symptoms.
HAMMOND: When your lives depend on each other, you form a very deep bond, theirs is a very dangerous job.
FRAISER: Yes of course, sir. It's just, I can't help but be concerned. Call it intuition...
HAMMOND: The best thing we can do is get them on another mission. I plan on putting them back on rotation as soon as I can assign a replacement for Dr. Jackson.
FRAISER: No sir, I don't agree. I want to keep them under observation for several days at least.
HAMMOND: In my experience, Doctor, it's best for all surviving members of the team to get back to...
FRAISER: No sir, with all do respect, your experience does not include gate travel to another planet. Nether does anyone else's experience for that matter. Several days, I insist.
HAMMOND: Very well, I'll put them on stand-down for 7 days.
(even General Hammond is showing more emotion than normal and reacting exactly like a command levle officer who's lost someone he knew well under his watch)

O'NEILL: Daniel Jackson...made this place...happen. As a member of SG-1...he was our voice, our...our...conscience. He was a very courageous man. He was a...good man (fighting back emotion). For those of us lucky enough to know him, he was also a friend.
HAMMOND: We commend Daniel Jackson's spirit, to the Universe he opened up for us. I pledge to continue our journey of discovery in his memory.( Jack and Sam salute the Stargate.) May he rest in peace. (this doesn't seem like much, but the service was extremely well done and the extras performing it were in fact real air force personnel conducting a real air force ceremony...all of the details were exquisitely attended to, and if you respect the characters at all, it is very moving)

O'NEILL: So we're sitting around eating some God-awful Abydonian cuisine. Daniel tells Sha're, he's going to go show me this cartouche thing, but before we leave she stands up and plants this kiss on him that makes his face disappear for a day.
TEAL'C: I do not understand this ritual.
CARTER: It's called a wake.
TEAL'C: On Chu'lak, it is custom, when someone dies, we do not eat for three days and three nights.
CARTER: Yeah well, a wake is like a big party, it's supposed to give the departed a jolly send off.
O'NEILL: Sam, Teal'c, glad you made it, something to drink?
CARTER: Yeah, sure. Beer.
O'NEILL: Teal'c?
TEAL'C: I must refrain. (how sweet of Teal'c to observe his own custom in honor of Daniel)

O'NEILL: (A car has gotten in the way of his angry solitary street hockey shooting) Can we get this damn car out of here!! (he bashes in a window with his hockey stick - Hammond who is outside talking to Sam, looks up and walks fast to Jack's position)
HAMMOND: What's on your mind, Colonel?
O'NEILL: Retirement, actually.
HAMMOND: You don't mean that.
O'NEILL: I think I do.
HAMMOND: Well I can't let you do that. I've got an assignment for SG-1. Dr. Jackson's apartment has to be cleaned out by Stargate personnel, National Security has said it, your probably the closest thing he had to a family. It's not an order, it's a request.
O'NEILL: Yes sir.
HAMMOND: Why don't you come join the others in the back?
O'NEILL: Yes sir.
HAMMOND: You know that's my car.
O'NEILL: You should get that window fixed. - LOL! And yes this scene is very sad to watch

NEM: (Putting his hand on Danny's head.) The knowledge is there. In your mind.
JACKSON: Okay you are asking me to remember something...that happened thousands and thousands of years before I was born. To tell you something, that I couldn't possibly know!
NEM: You deceive!
JACKSON: Why! God, Why, why, why would I do that! (classic Daniel temper tantrums are fun to watch. :))
NEM: You serve the Goa'uld!
JACKSON: NO! No! Now I lost my wife, my, my mate, because of the Goa'uld! And I despise them for that! (he's PISSED now too...you can see the hate in his eyes at the mere suggestion)
NEM: Then tell me...what FATE!
JACKSON: I DON'T KNOW!!! (Nem exits in a huff) I don't know!

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