Thursday, January 20, 2011

Classics: SG1 4:19 - Prodigy

Overall Rating: 7.6

This episode is both endearing and anti-elitist...sign me up, boss!

Plot Synopsis:

Find the full details here courtesy of the Stargate Wiki.

The Skinny:

I would probably have rolled my eyes like many in fandom did at the notion of playing out the same old "experienced elder spots genius in brash, misunderstood genius youth and gives their life direction" story we've seen a hundred times...but...this one does something a little differently. The lesson the young, brash hotshot learns is not "believe in yourself and you can achieve anything" or "all you need is love" or "trust in your fellow men" or one of the other trite lessons you often see in situations like this. The lesson this time is..."intelligence and confidence are not enough - to succeed, you must consider the possible downside of your choices and the impacts they might have on others." Rather than getting a personal lesson, the rising star here gets a lesson on command and leadership from one of the best. That's a nice twist.

Cadet Hailey begins the episode with the attitude many in our intelligencia currently possess. Because she is gifted with the ability to quickly assess and solve problems and see things most others couldn't fathom, she assumes that she has "mastered" complex problems based on only her theories and her confidence. AGW alarmists believe it's OK to lie to the people and exaggerate their claims because they think they've "solved" climate and its' complexities well enough to impose their will, regardless of the potential consequences. The "noble edict" often falls from the mouths of the well educated in other fields as well. Here we get a strong message against that philosophy.

Twice, in fact, Hailey is smacked down by reality when she poses a theory and claims to have mastered something unbelievably complex. First, she believes matter can always pass both ways through a stable wormhole...second, she believes after just a few hours of observing, that she understands the behavior of photonic insects she's never seen before and insists that her solution to the ensuing crisis is the only rational one. Both times, she is rightly corrected...and the final time, the lesson is that even if she were right, the risk to the team was too great to assume she was (if she was wrong - total annihilation...whereas with Jack's plan, they'd only be risking his life).

So we've got a nice confluence of basically likable people, including Hailey, and an interesting anti-elitist take on the old "diamond in the rough" cliche. I would, incidentally, have liked to see more mentoring and teaching from Carter...a senior scientist like her should ahve spent more time teaching the rest of the SGC personnel how to approach problems the way she did and I think she proved to be very skilled at this job in this story.

Writing: 7.5

The dialogue was a little "direct" for my taste and I think there were elements (such as the grumbling between Jack and the chief scientists on the moon with the light bugs) that didn't add to the story and felt a little odd to me...but it was a good overall attempt.

Acting: 7.5

Elizabeth Rosen was a well-above-average guest star but the two chief scientists on the alien moon were...well...not. The regulars - especially Amanda Tapping, did nice work though.

Message: 7.8

Hooray for lessons that teach humility, and the value of people-driven leadership and command decision making.

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