Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Classics: SG1 4:22/5:1 - Exodus/Enemies

Overall Rating: 7.8 - +1.0 bonus for BLOWING UP A STAR!!! for a total score of 8.8

The plot here is very...very fast paced. As usually happens in SG-1 action plots (see Nemesis and Small Victories, e.g.) the story is engaging and fun, but the show lacks the personal touches and creative dialogue that bring the action home the way we see in other sci-fi canons.

Plot Synopsis:

Part 1 and Part 2 can be found at the Stargate Wiki.

The Skinny:

I believe the Stargate team has never managed to top this story in the psychotic acts of bad-assery score sheet. And because I'm a guy, and, in some respects, very typical of my gender in my preferred entertainment media, that counts for something in my book. :) Oh SG-1 has killed some System Lords, defeated some very long odds, blow up ships about to attack Earth, repelled alien incursions...all cool. But this time, Sam gets to f***ing collapse a f***ing sun!!! AWESOME!!!! *ehem* Sorry...I promise, that's the last testosterone-fueled comment for the day.

As for the long-running plot of Tanith vs. Teal'c...this one ends in a very ugly defeat for Mr. metal-head. He begins the two-parter ('s technically a three-part story, but the third part is *very* different than the first two and is really a separate story...and also a feature, as you'll see next week) gloating to Tanith that we had his number from the get-go and now he's going to die a pathetic failure. Then he psychotically goes after Tanith when he nearly escapes and manages to get himself marooned on a planet that's about to be eaten like a cherry by solar Pacman...and to add injury to insult, he gets shot in the frakkin' back and hauled off to Apophis' little ship of horrors where he's brainwashed into servitude. Yeah...they do eventually crash their Ha'tak into Apophis' home world, killing Apophis, but Teal'c is still all brain-washy and Tanith escapes. That's GOTTA hurt. Revenge-Teal'c is undeniably fun to watch, and it does add some emotional drama to an otherwise action-packed but skin-deep plot.

I also enjoy the political intrigue that is being laid regarding the difference in tactics between the United States (er...the SGC) and France (err...the Tok'ra) in fighting evil. On the one hand, you've got those cheese eatin' surrender-monkeys (I kid...I kid...sort of) who believe that killing System Lords is dangerous and makes it more difficult to see the big picture well enough to keep the commies...err...the Goa'uld...from running the world. They operate by subversion and move with glacial speed, and if that means trillions of people have to suffer, they're OK with it, because they think the greater good is served by prudent indecision leading to some grand plan. On the other hand, you've got the US Air Force...powered by a deep desire to help people and fight evil. They go in guns ablazin' and they sometimes do more damage than a more carefully crafted strike force would have done, but as they see least they're trying! They walk into a world with people subjugated and they kill the enslaving adversary...hoping against hope that the alternative will be better...that eventually, they'll make a difference. One by one, they attack and destroy tyrants. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it only creates chaos. Which method is more effective? Which method is more moral? I believe the show's creators lean heavily toward taking action despite the risks, based on the eventual results of all our meddling (the complete destruction of thew Goa'uld and the freeing of the Jaffa), but both sides are allowed to make valid points, and I personally like that the show allows things to be complex without brow-beating the viewer with unjustified moral superiority the way that Star Trek usually does.

I've glossed over the whole sudden reemergence of the replicators. I didn't really even feel drawn to them the way I felt drawn to the Borg as an enemy that provokes a lot of intelligent thought, so their inclusion in the story serves merely to make me go, "Uh oh!!" And hey...nothing wrong with that in a pure action story...but action should entertain and be a backdrop for a story with greater personal stakes, and the replicators are the very definition of a faceless, emotionless enemy. That is...until they take human form and develop a philosophy that actually makes you think. We'll get to that in the sixth season. For now, they just add suspenseful action to a very crisp, tight plot.

Writing: 7.0

The plot works just lacks a certain intellectual appeal that would push it over the top for me - the dialogue is not all that memorable. But your mileage may vary.

Acting: 8.0

The strongest performances are delivered by Argenziano (Jacob Carter...awesome as usual), Chris Judge, and Richard Dean Anderson (outstanding reactions to ongoing events and great interactions with the Tok'ra...I love how much he does NOT love those folks. :) ). +0.5 bonus for the absolute FINAL death of Peter Williams' mediocre rendition of's about time. Somebody really DID need to teach this guy how to die.

Message: 8.5

Getting in there and fighting evil while damning the risks often comes with a price...for Teal'c, that price is often his own ego, as it will be again next week. For SG-1, that price is the mistakes they sometimes make in their zeal to help those in need. But the creators seem to land decidedly on the side of interfering when human rights are being violated and taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions. Bravo.


O'Neill: Ah, this is a bad idea. I said that remember? Remember I said 'General, this is a bad idea!'?
Teal'c: I remember, O'Neill.
O'Neill: Let the Tok'ra get their own ship!' I said, 'they don't share with us, why should we share with them?'.
Teal'c: I remember.
O'Neill: Yep, that's what I said.
Teal'c: How much time remains before the sun explodes, O'Neill?
O'Neill: Huh? Oh... 45 minutes.
Teal'c: Then at least we have prevented Tanith from escaping.
O'Neill: Yes! At least we have that!

Jacob: That was close.
O'Neill: I believe someone said... we're not going to make it.
Jacob: Sam, let's get the hyperdrive running.
O'Neill: Excuse me. I distinctly remember someone saying... "We're not gonna make it!" I think we made it.
Jacob: I'm sorry, I over reacted. At the time, it looked very much like we weren't going to make it.
O'Neill: Yes, well, maybe next time you'll just wait and see.
Jacob: And blow the last chance I might ever have to be right?
O'Neill: What?
Carter: Welcome to my life. (LOL!!)

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