Thursday, August 9, 2012

Classics: SGA 1:6 - Poisoning the Well

Overall Rating: 6.4

Who needs the scientific method when we have the "wing it" approach?

Plot Synopsis:

The details of this tragedy of hard to believe proportions can be found at the Stargate Wiki - watch for used needles.

The Skinny:

I would have enjoyed this episode much more if:

  • a) Weir hadn't been particularly annoying with inane ethical concerns about completely justified and acceptable compromises in the crunch...
  • b) The Hoffan people hadn't been such utter and complete idiots, and...
  • c) the Wraith threat had been more imminent (to possibly explain why the Hoffans might be feeling a bit "rash")
There's this thingy called the scientific method...we humans mastered it in the dark ages without the benefit of real paper, let alone mass-production and urban sprawl.  No discipline can be properly mastered without application of the scientific method, yet when the episode begins, Beckett immediately states that the Hoffans seem to have mastered biochemistry and microbiology at at least a rudimentary level.  So they obviously had to know how to do science.  Yet - and I get that this project is special to the populace - the Hoffans appear to completely forget about the scientific method on such an epic, reckless scale that I can only conclude that their entire ruling class is now the defective product of inbreeding and the rest of the population is ignorant due to willful suppression of the facts by the government.  They test the drug on dead tissue - it works!  They test it on recently-extracted living cells - it works!  They test it on ONE living patient and ONE Wraith...and it works, but kills both the patient and the wraith.  That would be a success rate of ZERO and a spectacular red flag.  And they choose to give the deadly poison to EVERYONE?  Why?  It's not like the Wraith were going to show up TOMORROW.  They could show up soon, but Hoff is evidently not on their regular tour since they only harvest once every 150 years or so.  There's no reason to believe you can't hold back the drug for at least a LITTLE while - during which time Carson and his evidently over-eager assistant could NOT to kill people in very small test groups using more cancer patients with Hoffan teams assisting in the capture of other Wraith scouts.  Or something slightly less crazy that MURDERING HALF OF YOUR POPULATION and likely consigning the other half to death by Wraith blaster.  I mean...holy Hannah!

This really threw me out of the story...there's gotta be a better way...there just has to be.  It's so unbelievable as to ruin what could otherwise been an effective and very sad story.  At the end, I feel nothing but annoyance for these idiots.  Big time FAIL.  Also...Weir irritated me by doing WAY too much hand-wringing over a relatively easy call - going so far as to claim that the Wraith prisoner had rights.  Um...the guy who would like to EAT you...has rights?  Sorry, but NUH UH, honey bun.  That dog won't hunt.  Nor will the forced and decidedly cheesy bit of quasi-romantic interaction between Beckett and Perna.'s a good idea for a story executed with only mediocre skill.  And the lesson would seem to have shifted away from "desperate, long-oppressed and tormented people can do irrational things" and toward "yay Hippocrates!!"  Somehow...that seems less interesting...can't imagine why. (end sarcasm)

Writing: 4.0

The principle failing of this episode is a noticeably weak script.  The dialogue is rushed and, IMHO, bland.  The plot has big holes and seems poorly thought out.

Acting: 8.0

That said, Paul McGillion (Beckett) is awesome, as, oddly, is Alan Scarfe (Chancellor Bruhin), and...the rest of the cast is there for some handy assists from time to time.

Message: 7.2

I like what they TRIED to do here...I can't get too excited, but they did TRY to paint a picture of how oppression and the survival instinct can make people make bad decisions...not to mention contrast these poor struggling people with the people of the Atlantis expedition, who still have the luxury of clinging to glorious hope and unspoiled optimism.

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