Thursday, October 15, 2009

Classics: SG1 1:17 - Tin Man

Overall Rating: 5.0

*yawn* Oh I'm sorry...was I supposed to have something insightful to say here? I was a little too bored to come up with anything.

Plot Synopsis:

When SG-1 is sent to investigate P3X-989, a world that appears to have technology roughly the equal of Earth, they are shocked unconscious by a burst of electricity and awake to find themselves in different clothes and disarmed. The lone inhabitant of the underground facility calls himself Harlan and introduces them rather giddily to his complex. O'Neill is extremely uninterested and as soon as their weapons are returned, he bolts for the Stargate despite Harlan's pleas that they must not leave and that they would be back very soon. Once back on Earth, Dr. Fraiser is stunned to find that none of them have a heartbeat. When she tries to draw some blood from O'Neill, it comes out green and O'Neill, sensing something is terribly wrong, cuts open his arm to reveal biomechanical circuitry and synthetic structure. Fraiser alerts security and the replicas of SG-1 are thrown into the brig.

After some time, Hammond responds to their request to talk with him. They want to go back to Harlan's planet to demand that their consciousnesses be put back in their human bodies, but just as they're making that request, they run out of energy and collapse. Hammond has them dragged back to the Stargate and sent back to P3X-989 where they promptly regain their strength. They're stuck on this world. After angrily demanding what Harlan describes as the impossible (being put back into their own bodies) they reluctantly agree to help Harlan fix a major station malfunction, but Teal'c replica becomes controlled by the replicated consciousness of his Goa'uld symbiote and he tries to kill O'Neill before Harlan can arrive on the scene to disintegrate him. The remaining members of SG-1 catch Harlan re-duplicating Teal'c, thus proving their real bodies do still exist, but their original belief that they were transferred to a synthetic body is proved wrong when the original biological version of SG-1 awakes. They're just copies and they can never get their original lives back. Replica-O'Neill promises to bury the Stargate and never leave P3X-989 (to protect Earth security) and Harlan gleefully welcomes them to a life of immortality (and mind-numbing boredom I'm sure).

Writing: 5.0

There's nothing spectacularly bad with the script itself aside from my inability to belief the basic concept is feasible. But to be frank...this episode is a snooze fest. The character interactions aren't very interesting, the dialogue is uninspired, and the potential ethical dilemmas posed by the idea of an exact replica of yourself existing somewhere out there are completely missed. I don't really see the point of this episode.

Acting; 7.0

Nothing to write home about here...the regular cast was solid and the major guest star - Jay Brazeau (Harlan) was...a bit over the top, but his character is written that way.

Message: 3.0

I'm getting pretty tired of the science fiction conceit that the human consciousness is transferable, replicable, and entirely owing to mathematical expressions of the neuro-chemical impulses that make up the human brain. I know why they do this (it is popular in most liberal circles to believe in physicalism and they need this to be true to get at the "fun" of body-swapping and translated identity...I put fun in quotes because, frankly, it's been done to DEATH), but that doesn't make it right or particularly interesting to go back to that well a hundred times.


REPLICA-SAM: Everything is identical. Right down to the mole on our...
SAM: Hey, shut up! - that was the only chuckle I got out of this episode.

The rest is monotonous. Sorry this review is a bit on the short side, but that's what happens when an episode commits the sin of being flat and dull.

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