Overall Rating: 6.0
A necessary episode to lay the groundwork for the removal of Kinsey, the reassignment of Hammond, and the launching of the season finale and the second Gate franchise. But...not the most interesting of set-up pieces.
The details of this 1/4 clip, 3/4 debate summary episode can be found at the Stargate Wiki.
The creation of the IOA stems from the events of this episode...that will be very important to SG1 and SGA plots from here on, including how to handle custody of Atlantis, the Antartic weapons platform, and the gate itself. We'd better get used to Woolsey, because his character begins a redemption arc in this episode that will conclude late in the run of Stargate Atlantis. And we get to know the new President (Hayes)...who we like, since he seems to be a pragmatist. All of this is important stuff to establish, as well as the downfall of VP Kinsey and the establishment of "The Trust" as a threat to the new IOA and the Stargate program.
But...sorry to say that they do all of that in the least interesting way possible - debates in the oval office that lack depth or personal involvement, and that are punctuated by tired clips and a whole lot of exposition. Since this episode doesn't manage to tick me off or put me to sleep entirely, I'm not going to be too hard on them...and since there's enough political intrigue to keep me interested for next week, I'm keeping the score par, but that's perhaps a tad generous.
The script is lazy...none of the debates are filled with serious philosophical hammer-tosses. Woolsey seems content to answer every question with "all the more reason to do it my way," Hayes just seems to want to take things nice and slowly, and Maynard just seems to want to say (over and over again) that SG-1 and Hammond have done a remarkable job under tough circumstances so we need to let them keep doing it. They don't plumb the depths of the potential pros and cons of keeping the same team in charge for so long. Kinsey, at this point, has been a mustache-twirling bad guy...not an interesting figure in the same way that he was in season two and onward.
Some of the performances feel a little...choppy and dry. But the mainstays are solid.
The problem with secrecy, even necessary secrecy, is that it does give rise to opportunism...it's nice to see the writers attempt to portray an antagonist (Woolsey) as a generally reasonable man who just disagrees with the military on how the program should be run, rather than a nefarious mustache-twirler who is motivated by greed.