Monday, January 9, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Thor's Hammer"

“Thor’s Hammer” is a pseudo-introduction to Sg-1’s eventual allies against the Goa’uld, the Asgard The Asgard are one of the few races of Stargate SG-1 with whom I am already familiar. Mt general science fiction geekiness demands appreciation for little grey aliens. I say it is a pseudo-introduction because we do not get to see the little buggers in person until the second season, so we will get to them in about three weeks or so.

A couple other interesting points of note. One, “Thor‘s Hammer“ was written by Katharyn Powers. She has not exactly set the woods on fire thus far with her scripts for this show, but “Thor‘s Hammer“ is a definite improvement. Hopefully, she has turned the corner as a writer, because I still have to sit through nine more of her efforts. The other point of interest is that James Earl Jones provides the voice of a reptillian creature called an Unas. You might think hearing that baritone voice of his coming from yet another intimidating character might be cliché by now, but it is still awesome thirty-five years after he first voiced Darth Vader.

After comparing Egyptian and Norse mythology, Daniel surmises the Thor of Norse legend was an alien posing as a godd who opposed the Goa’uld. Perhaps he and his race are still out there and can prove to be valuable allies. Daniel’s theory is strengthened by Teal’c’s anecdote the planet Cimmeria is banned by the Goa’uld because any of them who have gone there have never returned. Cimmeria is symbolized by a hammer, the weapon used by Thor.

The SG-1 team travels to Cimmeria to meet a mocking crowd of humans. They are scanned by a strange device erected in front of the stargate. Upon being scanned, Teal’c’s simbiote becomes a target of the scan. Jack tries to knock Teal’c out of the beam’s way, but they both disappear. Sam and Daniel head to a local settlement to find out if anyone knows what has happened to their friends and how to get them back.

Jack and RTeal’c awaken in a cave. A recording from a holographic Viking. The recording informs then they are Goa’uld and therefore condemned. The only way to exit the cave is through a device called Thor’s Hammer which will kill the Goa’uld symbiote. Jack can make it out safely, but Teal’c is forever stuck there. It does not matter. Jack refuses to leave Teal’c anyway. On the outside, Sam and Daniel discover the same explanation in a less hostile manner from Kendra, a former Goa’uld who fell into the same trap as Teal’c, but survived the walk through Thor’s Hammer to eventually be free of her symbiote. The revelation perks Daniel’s attention. He believes the device can save his wife, sha’re. Kendra takes Sam and Daniel on the journey to the cave.

Inside the cave, Jack and Teal’c encounter an Unas, the original hosts for the Goa’uld. Teal’c’s weapon is useless in the cave, but bullets do the job of killing the Unas just fine--or so it seems. The creature has amazing regenerative powers, so they wind up being stalked by the creature. Teal’c has a final confrontation with the Unas, throwing it into Thor’s Hammer, just as sam, Daniel, and Kendra show up. The only way for teal’c to escape is to destroy Thor’s Hammer blocking the exit. Danierl objects, because he would be destroying the only means he knows of to save sha’re, but jack orders him to blow up the device, which he reluctantly does. The SG-1 team leaves Cimmeria, but leaves behind a gift box in hopes of building a friendship with the Asgard.

I am impressed Powers could pull off an entertaining episode. This must have been a writers room effort wherein everyone else had all the input and she was stuck typing out the script. For a man in suit costume on a relatively low budget, the Unas is an impressive villain. Bonus points for Jones voicing it, of course. Good episode all around.

It was kind of cruel for Jack to order Daniel, who is heartbroken over his wife, to be the one to destroy Thor’s Hammer instead of doing it himself or ordering Sam to do so, but I assume it was a way to prove Daniel’s loyalty to Teal’c after the Jaffa offered to stay imprisoned in the cave in order to keep Thor’s Hammer around and save Sha’re. a tough moment to watch for the emotionally invested.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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