Sunday, November 8, 2009

Classics: SG1 2:3 - Prisoners

Overall Rating: 5.2

A bit of a snoozer - unfortunately lacking in catchy dialogue - and the hidden villain (Linea) was poorly defined by the writers. It is hard for us to understand why she chose to create a plague in the first place, and they do little to make us feel the chills we're supposed to feel when she escapes. There are many plot holes in this episode and it's a bad sign that I'm aware of them, because that means it wasn't interesting enough to prevent me from nitpicking.

Plot Synopsis:

We begin with SG-1 in the midst of a mission to a previously unexplored world (designated P2X-775). They've evidently surveyed it for at least a day and found no signs of civilization - only "trees and moss" as Jack peevishly points out. They're about to quit and head back to the gate when an injured and desperate man begs them to help him. He is being chased by "Taldur" and they unwittingly agree to take him back to Earth. Unfortunately, he is charged with murder, "Taldur" means justice (a fact Daniel recalls all too late...thanks Danny boy), and they are now co-conspirators. All five are sent through the stargate to a penal colony called Hadante. There they immediately encounter a woman called Linea who, for reasons unknown, takes an interest in Sam Carter and decrees that she is not to be "taken" by any male. Incredibly, the rest of the prisoners respect this order.

The leader of this prison world, Linea shows them the ropes of their surprisingly non-chaotic society. The team decides that what they need is electrical power to dial the gate manually and a destination that can eventually get them home. Jack and Sam talk to Linea and learn that she has many scientific skills, including the ability to convert biological matter into a source of cold-fusion energy. Given that she is a prisoner and deeply respected by many other inmates twice her size (including a man larger than Teal'c named Vishnoor who nearly pops Daniel's poor little head off in an altercation which Linea breaks up using some kind of hand held device), Daniel insists they try to learn more about her crime and she tells a rather convincing story about having been blamed for being unable to stop the deaths of millions of people caught in a plague that was borne of a terrible experiment gone awry. Meanwhile, General Hammond leads a diplomat team through the gate in an attempt to negotiate for the release of SG-1 which does not prove fruitful. It's his first mission through the gate.

Back on Hadante, SG-1 agrees to take Linea with them through the gate in exchange for her help in escaping. Before this happens, another prisoner arrives who is blind. Linea cures his vision and upon seeing her, he flees in terror - yet SG-1 seems unconcerned by this incident. They eventually engineer their escape with the use of Linea's cold fusion technology and gate to a world Daniel remembers as being on the mission list for SG-3 (P2A-509). They return to Earth with Linea and she seems to instantly learn how to use and manipulate their computer system. Meanwhile, the formerly blind prisoner is fond sneaking around on P2A-509 and when he arrives at the SGC, he reveals Linea's true crime. She is called "Destroyer of Worlds" and before they can stop her, she uses the Stargate to escape. Apparently, though they watch the address being encoded, SG-1 do not remember it when their computer system subsequently crashes, because they do not pursue her.

Writing: 4.0

I enjoy swiss cheese on my turkey club...not so much in my sci-fi plots. This one is full of holes. Worse than that...this one is boring as hell. Let's walk through some of the annoying plot holes though, shall we?

1) Why did Linea create the plague in the first place? Just for fun? Was it an accident that she tried to cover up? Did she wish to gain favor for riding to the rescue and stopping it from getting worse (if that is the case, she's a fool not clever enough to avoid getting caught, and yet a scientific genius? it maketh no senseth)? The writers never bothered to fill us in.

2) Why didn't Vishnoor snap Linea's neck years ago? I get that she did something rather awful, but Vishnoor could snap her like a twig and not even break a sweat. She had the hand doohickey, but he had to have had opportunities to sneak up on her.

3) Why did SG-1 need to carefully think of a planet they could gate to where another SG team would find them? Sure, they didn't have their remote IDCs, but they could have dialed Earth, made contact on radio and asked Hammond to send a MALP to confirm their identity...or a medical team if that's what it took. How does a weekend in paradise (Pelopse's old stomping grounds from the first season, ey?) sound to you guys? Cause that's about all it would have taken to get home.

4) How the heck did a woman with no familiarity with the Stargate system instantly learn computing technology, hack into the most secure facility in America, steal gate addresses, override security, and escape with ridiculous ease? Heck...Goa'uld infested people have tried to escape on at least two prior occasions and to the Goa'uld, our computers are like children's toys, yet none of them managed to go free!

5) Why didn't someone on SG-1 remember the gate address Linea dialed and why couldn't they go after her? They could have at least made the case that Linea probably gated elsewhere immediately after and it would take them too long to get their computers back up in order to follow her. Just laziness on the part of the writers.

6) After spending a few days in Hadante, SG-1 returns to Earth and somehow...all of them look clean enough to eat off of (yeah baby!). I know...not a huge deal and done all the time in Hollywood, but...c'mon guys! Make with the stage dirt!

Uninspired dialogue + annoyingly ill-conceived plot = frustrated reviewer.

Acting: 6.5

Nothing remarkable or remarkably awful to report here. Linea didn't strike me as evil fact, she seemed kind of flat. The prisoners at Hadante seemed more pathetic than intimidating. The regular cast failed to deliver anything remarkable...even Michael Shanks' supposedly stirring final comments "we let her out...the destroyer of worlds" just didn't sell me on the magnitude of the events.

Message: 5.0

Message? What message? I guess I find myself slightly annoyed that all the SGC could think of was to attempt to negotiate with a race that is, in the worlds of the diplomatic team making their report in the episode "xenophobic, arrogant, narrow minded" etc. We couldn't come up with any alternate ideas? Is diplomacy always the answer? Eh...not worth getting upset about...just a minor little annoyance. The lack of a message is not as bad as the delivery of a bad message. When there is no message, I tend to give 5s (right down the middle of the ratings card).


TEAL'C: (holding a prisoner by the throat) If you again attempt to injure myself or my patience with you will expire.
JACK: So Teal'c...making friends already, I see. (LOL)

DANIEL: What happened?
JACK: You got into a little fight there. You actually won!
DANIEL: It's funny...I don't remember getting the upper hand...(LOL)
JACK: I'm as surprised as you are.
DANIEL: P2A-509!
JACK: A little brain damaged from the fight, Danny? (LOL)
DANIEL:'s an address...SG-3 is schedule to be there tomorrow on a survey mission. I remembered it from the mission briefing. We can gate there and use their IDC to get home!
JACK: And you just thought of this now?
DANIEL: No, actually I thought of it while I was being suffocated. (LOL...that's as good a time as any I suppose)

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