Friday, May 20, 2011

Classics: SG1 5:15 / 5:16 - Summit / Last Stand

Overall Rating: 6.5

I wish that the Gate writers had spent a little more time in earlier episodes exploring the role that human collaborators played in Goa'uld domination...this two parter has that on its side, but I can't say that anything really grabbed my interest here.

Plot Synopsis:

The two parts can be summarized by recaps from the Stargate Wiki (Part I and Part II).

The Skinny:

You know...Stargate had only one major two-part episode between The Serpent's Lair (end of first season) and Mobius (end of 8th season) that did anything to capture my imagination. And there were a BUNCH of highly touted, action-filled two-part plot-movers in that span. For some reason, when Stargate writers set their mind to producing a two-parter, it tends to get crammed full of very generic action plots and predictable "how are they going to get out of THIS one" cliffhangers. I'm sorry to say that Summit/Last Stand is another such very ordinary featured story.

Compare Stargate two-parters like this one, like The Tok'ra, like Nemesis/Minor two part gut-shots like Behind the Lines/Rocks and Shoals, In Purgatory's Shadow/By Inferno's Light, The Homecoming/The Circle/The Siege, The Search, etc from Deep Space Nine and the difference is obvious. Trek writers have tended to use two parters to tell stories that had more carte blanche to bend the rules, change the direction of major running plots, and carry bigger stakes. Stargate writers used two part episodes to keep you hooked and engaged in the plot short term and to spend their special effects budget for the year (heh)...but you really don't come away from most of them remembering things that will last you years or deeply affected emotionally. They tend to be straightforward storytelling and simple delivery. Other than Heroes (seventh season), which actually was a show-stopping number the way that a two-hour story should be.

This one feels like brain candy, rather than soul food. It involves some higher stakes that lead to an interesting dilemma for Daniel, and we learn some very interesting things about the Goa'uld System doesn't make you think AT ALL...and...well...that tends to bore someone like me. Without meaning to sound high and mighty (I certainly don't feel that way)...I do prefer to be challenged when I watch TV. At least a little. When I get to these gate two-parters, the task of reviewing them invariably feels like a chore. They're longer and demand more time and attention and it's rarely worth it intellectually.

Writing: 6.0

The script feels pretty uninspired to me...even the keepers of the Stargate Wiki could only find one notable quote in the entire two-hour event...and that's not from lack of site maintenance...I didn't really get hit by any of the dialogue either.

Acting: 7.5

Anna-Louise Plowman (Osiris) and Michael Shanks did work pretty well together and I always tip my cap to Carmen Argenziano (Jacob)...but most of the cast was going through the motions on this one.

Message: 6.0

I don't think this script was intended to have much of a would have been a heck of a lot more interesting to see a longer struggle between Daniel's desire to save his former lover from the grips of Osiris and the needs of the mission (to kill the entire body of the system lords)...they made the moral tension completely moot by introducing Anubis and thus making it pointless to attack the system lords.

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