Thursday, March 1, 2012

Classics: SG1 7:4 - Orpheus

Overall Rating 9.0

A marginal feature that accomplishes something that four years of writing could not for Daniel.

Plot Synopsis:

Stargate Wiki has you covered for the details.

The Skinny:

For a Teal'c centered episode, this one does more for Daniel than you'd think possible.  The (actually slightly less impressive) Teal'c character study involving the effects of Tretonin on his physical abilities is certainly nothing to sneeze at.  It makes sense than an artificial supplement to the natural symbiotic process upon which Teal'c's body has always relied would leave him a little less capable of rapid recovery from injuries and diseases, and it makes sense that Teal'c could mistakenly view this as a character flaw given his upbringing.  I love that the writers used Bra'tac as Teal'c mentor one more time...the line he delivers: "It is obvious that this Tretonin...has had an effect on your memory" AWESOME. :)  It figures, as well, that Teal'c would rediscover his mojo in combat against bad Jaffa in the attempt to liberate would-be rebels from enslavement.  It all fits.  And it's nice that Daniel's resolution fits so nicely with Teal'c's...but it's "merely nice."

What makes this episode work so well for me, at least, is that it finally gives Daniel some real motivation.  Even since his wife died, he's be casting about, looking for a reason to go on.  First it was to hunt down the Harcesis - then, when that turned out to be a dead end, it was to keep Jack's more aggressive impulses in check.  Then, it was to seek ultimate truth as an ascended being.  And was the search for his memory.  All of it was impersonal, lacking in depth, and uninteresting to the viewers.  But in this episode, they hang a very effective lantern on the entire journey.  Daniel admits that, the entire time he's been working for the SGC, he's felt like he didn't truly belong.  And his mission to help the stranded rebel Jaffa has given him an awareness of his critical importance to a larger mission in life than he ever truly appreciated.  Now that he's been to the edge of the knowable universe and back, Daniel has realized that, the entire time that he spent looking for something to be a part of...he was already there.

This actually closes Daniel's character arc entirely, IMHO...meaning that from here on out, he's just window dressing for the ladies and an important foil to Jack (at least until Jack vanishes after eighth season)...but I am quite satisfied that Daniel managed to learn something about life being about the journey, not necessarily a perfect end result, and not about unattainable standards.  As growth for the characters goes, Daniel's arc is still the second best of the four (Teal'c's is better...sorry, Jackson fans!).

Writing: 8.5

Very solid script...very well directed and executed.  Daniel and Teal'c find peace and contentment in different ways but their struggles are well woven together.

Acting: 9.5

Shanks and Judge are at near their best...but Tony Amendola steals the show, I'm afraid.  He's good at that. :)

Message: 9.0

Both Teal'c and Daniel learn lessons here...and they're not unrelated.  They both must accept that strength and value do not come from physical feats or perfection, but from self-sacrifice and generosity of spirit, as well as determination and faith.  They both are better people when they focus on the needs of others...and now they're both aware of this simple fact.

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