Monday, January 2, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Children of the Gods"

Welcome to the first entry of the longest blogging project I have undertaken to date--reviewing the entire run of Stargate SG-1. As previously noted, I am not all that familiar with the show, so this is going to be a new experience. Hopefully not an arduous one. By the looks of “Children of the Gods,” I think I will like it overall. If nothing else, it ignores the more absurd elements of the 1994 film to establish something far better.

A year has passed since the events of the film. Some Air Force personnel are playing cards while guarding the mothballed Stargate at a facility in Colorado when serpent helmeted soldiers we will later learn are the Jaffa come through the Stargate, kill four personnel, and kidnap a fifth before going back through the Stargate. Pity the poor actress who gets kidnapped, by the way. She is captured because she approaches an object which came through the Stargate. She utters a scant four lines before being stripped naked, rejected as a potential host by a Goa‘uld larva, and then killed. The life of a glorified extra is a demeaning.

Gen. George Hammond, now in charge of Stargate Command, calls Col. Jack O’Neil out of retirement and forces him to admit, under threat of destroying Abydos once and for all, that he falsified his report on the fist excursion onto the planet. Ra was killed in a nuclear explosion, but Daniel Jackson remained behind with the people of Abydos. Hammond pulls Jack out of retirement to lead a time, along with Cpt. Samantha Crter, an expert on Stargate travel even though she has never been through one, on a survey mission to assess the new threat.

They arrive on Abydos to find Daniel happily living among the people and now married to one named Sha’re jack meets up with his old friend, Skaara. Daniel reveals the soldiers who attacked SGC did not come from Abydos, but he has discovered and mapped out the coordinates of Stargates all across the galaxy. Earth could have been invaded from any of them. As Daniel shows the symbols to Jack and sam, the Jaffa come through the Stargate on Abydos. Jack’s team is nearly slaughtered. The Jaffa kidnap many of the people, including Sha’re and Skaara.

When the team returns to SGC, they are informed the president has authorized the creation of nine specialized units to explore these Stargates and make peaceful contact with other aliens. The move is against the best judgment of all but Jack, who fear what may come through from an alien world. The peaceful mission thing goes out the window as well when one of the wounded men from jack’s team identifies the address of where the Jaffa came and Jack stages a rescue mission to recover Sha’re and Skaara.

The team winds up in am evergreen forest. Get used to that. Three-fourths of the galaxy miraculously resembles the forest outside Vancouver. They are met by natives conveniently speaking an archaic form of Arabic who lead them to an ornate palace. The palace belongs to the Goa’uld Apophis, an adversary of Ra from Egyptian mythology. At his side as queen is Sha’re, who was not rejected by the Jaffa worm like the kidnapped air Force sergeant. Further insulty to her, I guess--I watched the uncut version of “Children of the Gods” which features full nudity in the scene in which the Goa’uld checks out Sha’re, but is television friendly nudity when the critter scopes her out. Is that not a bit strange?

Daniel reacts badly to seeing his now mind controlled wife, and the whole team is thrown into a dungeon. There they meet Teal’c, a Jaffa we have seen a couple times before this episode. His loyalty to Apophis is conflicted. When he meets Jack, he is impressed by the technology of his wristwatch and suspectys the humans may be able to help defeat the Goa’uld. He breaks ranks with Apophis when Jack urges him to intervene in order to save Skaara.

A climactic firefight braks out between the Jaffa and SG 1 and 2. The teams manage to escape back to earth with the kidnapped Abdominals, but are unable to save Sha’re and Skaara, both of whom are now controlled by Goa’uld larva. They escape with Apophis. Before returning to Earth, another larva infects Kawalshy, the leader of SG-2, unbeknownst to all. Jack announces he wants teal’c to join SG-1 because of his help in rescuing the Abydosians. He assurs Daniel they will rescue Sha’re and Skaara.

“Children of the Gods” is a fine start to the series. The only aspect I could have done without is sam’s ultra-feminist attitude upon her introduction. She assurs Jack that having her reproductive organs on the inside does not make her any less tough. Gag me with a spoon. That is female dialogue written by a man. I let it slide because a future episode involving time travel/alternate reality has sam mocking that line, so even the writers know in hindsight how eye rollingly bad it is. Aside from that, the story is solid. It manages to set up characters and situations with enough action and foreshadowing to keep from getting bogged down in exposition. The special effects hold up well nearly fifteen years later. Is it not pretty cool to see the US military presented as not only heroic, but ready to take on and defeat aliens? Sad to see that so rare these days.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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