Thursday, February 3, 2011

Classics: SG1 4:21 - Double Jeopardy

Overall Rating: 7.0

The thing that saves this episode from an even par score is the idea of continued accountability that is finally introduced.

Plot Synopsis:

The full report is here, courtesy of the Stargate Wiki.

The Skinny:

Most Stargate episode - because of the serial format - tend to think small. The team arrives on some alien world, encounters a problem or a moral dilemma, makes a series of decisions leading to an outcome, and then returns home, most of the time with a warm feeling of accomplishment - knowing that they've taken actions that helped people (with a few exceptions). What makes this episode different is that it introduces the idea of consequences, even for noble acts and the need for accountability in the long term. Here, SG-1 kicked some Goa'uld butt, freed some people...and incurred the wrath of a more powerful Goa'uld...they made things worse! D'oh! Of course, they don't have the resources to fight a constant war against the Goa'uld on every least not yet. :) But it does serve as a nice reminder to Earth that they need to do more than just come in, unseat the dictator and pull out. Kind of similar to some of our own problems in the Middle East, I dare say.

In later seasons, we will see a nice contrast in style between the Tok'ra - who take the libertarian and liberal approach to foreign policy (operate methodically, seek uneasy deals with devils, hide in the shadows and take no action unless victory is assured...confronting evil carries too much risk for them) - and the humans of the Tauri (see injustice...FIGHT with the cost later) and that contrast will eventually undermine the entire human/Tok'ra alliance (holy cow...diplomacy FAILS?? sci-fi??). This episode begins to show the risk of playing it the moralistic way, as well as the potential virtues (now we've managed to kill ANOTHER System Lord). In all of these coming episodes, the view is not akin to the Prime Directive. We are not told not to interfere because it might make things worse...we are told that if we DO interfere because it's the right thing to do...we'd better take responsibility for the aftermath as well.

Writing: 6.0

The plot of this one is kind of bland. Michael Shanks' one and only foray into directing SG-1 turned out to be a little on the dry side artistically as well. The double-vision stuff has been well overplayed in sci-fi circles and in any other way...this action story is pretty utilitarian.

Acting: 6.5

A better score would have come if the guest stars from Juna were better...they were pretty unconvincing on the whole. As was Cronus and his minor Goa'uld science minion. The main cast was par for them...nothing stands out.

Message: 8.5

Stargate's very different view of foreign policy - perhaps informed by the military advisers who get a significant say in the production values presented - is a breath of fresh air. It recognizes the complexities of any decision to interfere for moral reasons while admitting the possibility that even with those risks, it is still the right thing to do.

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