Friday, February 10, 2012

Classics: SG1 7:3 - Fragile Balance

Overall Rating: 9.2

Big positive marks for the child actor they found and the direction of Stargate's funny-man Peter DeLuise.  A fluffy episode done so right.

Plot Synopsis:

Most Gate fans will know this one easily - Jack = teenager!  And what a teen he makes. :)  The full description is here, courtesy of the Stargate Wiki.

The Skinny:

I don't know where they found Michael Welch, but he does a PHENOMENAL job as the teenaged clone of Jack.  I mean, damn!  He got every nuance, every vocal tone, every facial expression, every hand gesture right in replicating Jack's colorful style.  Mimic acting is not easy to pull off without seeming like a cheap knock-off, but this kid does it beautifully!  You cannot get through this episode without laughing at the shear brilliance of his replications...especially when Carter starts throwing science at him and he does the usual O'Neill "hands up and please shut up, Carter!" bit or when he barks at Daniel for babbling.  It's just really is.  Peter DeLuise coached Welch a bit, encouraging him to watch many episodes of the show and giving him a few pointers on RDA impersonation (and he did a great job with that, as well as with his framing of the episode as a bit of a romp without being overly cornball), but it comes down to the performer's natural gifts at some point.  Bravo, Junior!

Enough fun with the acting - which is great all around, including the regular cast - let's talk about the script.  This is pure fluff - right down to the explanation for various human/alien abduction stories and the name of the Asgard "villain" (Loki - Norse God of mischief...LOL).  But it's not just silly for silly's sake.  There's some of that, but it has a good point.  When you're young, being young seems horrible...but if you could go back and do it again...knowing what you know as an adult...I think most of us would love that chance to do more with our years free of responsibilities and burdens and I think it's important that we look back on our formative years with a healthy realization that no matter what traumas we endured...we had it good then (most of us, anyway).  Of course, we don't want to live (figuratively) in the past or pine for impossible time-reversing serum so we can go back and literally live in our past.  But I think the grown version of O'Neill came away from this episode with a new found respect for his somewhat more awkward teenage self here, and I think that's a good thing.

Gate writers have always been good at keeping the tone of their episodes consistent - no tragic ends to comedic episodes (at least none that don't feel earned) inappropriate humor in the darkest of moments (other than well-placed adlibbed gallows humor from RDA), and no excessive preaching when the point of the episode is to have fun.  This episode is no exception to that rule.  They could have, for example, completely ruined this episode by having the clone die.  That would have really killed it for me, to be honest. They could also have ruined it by making Loki unabashedly evil.  He actually comes across a bit sympathetically here - though we certainly don't approve of his methods, his heart is in the right place.  And I think that's a good thing too.  It all feels warm and wonderful and leaves you with a smile on your face as teenage Jack checks out the babes he's about to hit on.  I better to end this episode? :)

Writing: 9.5

The script accomplishes everything it sets out to accomplish and the direction is pitch perfect all around.

Acting: 10.0

Welch gives a sensational performance and the regulars play off of him perfectly.  Even the SGC pilots do a nice job with their bit parts!

Message: 8.0

It's fluff...but there is value in being thankful for the strange and bumpy ride that is your childhood if you come out of it well-adjusted.  No matter what happened to you along the way, those years were the freest of your life and they helped make you the person you are today.  Good stuff!

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