Monday, January 16, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Singularity"

"Singularity” finally gives Sam the episode she deserves. Both tough and motherly within, the story makes up, more or less, for some major stumbles with the character. The episode manages to further demonstrate the cruelty of the Goa’uld as well. A sadistic lot, they are.

The SG-1 team arrives on Hanka, an inhabited planet where a team of astronomers has been based in preparation to view an eclipse. The team discovers everyone dead, save for a little girl, from what appears to be a plague. While Jack and Teal’c stay behind under a strained rationale viewing the eclipse is extremely important to human knowledge, the rest take the little girl, Cassandra, back to Earth.

Sam bonds with the child, who clings to her desperately in return. Frasier discovers some sort of device near the little girl’s heart that seemingly was not there. She surmises the little girl is a Goa’uld booby trap. They attack Hanka, killed everyone but Cassandra, and implanted an explosive device that would be activated the moment she went through the stargate. They reluctantly opt to send her back through the stargate to Hanka, but before they can jack and teal’c come through from the other side. They have been attacked by a rival goa’uld faction who have used booby traps like Cassandra to destroy enemy stargates. They cannot send Cassandra back through or else she will destroy the stargate.

The decision is made to place her in an abandoned nuclear facility so the bomb can blow up safely. No one tells Cassandra what is actually happening. The mood is somber, particularly with Sam. She feels as though she is betraying her promise to not abandon Cassandra. When it comes down to it, she cannot. Though she locked Cassandra in the underground vault, she returns to die with the little girl. But the bomb does not go off as planned. The bomb will only explode if she enters the stargate. As long as she stays away, everything will be fine.

Until a suitable foster home can be found, Frasier adopts Cassandra. So much for Take Your Daughter to Work Day, no? ‘and you remember the stargate…” Boom! All right, that is maybe a little too much dark humor. Speaking of humor, I find it funny that yet again Sam is the main emphasis of an episode, yet Frasier is more integral to the resolution. In ”Hathor”, Sam took command, yet Frasier was more pivotal to their escape and eventual victory. Here, Sam spends the entire episode bonding with Cassandra, then Frasier adopts her. Does it not feel odd to build up this emotional connection between the two, then snatch it away at the last minute?

I realize the ‘shippers are big on Jack and sam, but I cannot help but notice an early pull towards Daniel and Sam instead. Daniel is a nice guy who offers support for everyone, but he is right there by Sam the entire episode. It feels like the powers that be are setting the two up for a deeper relationship when Sha’re’s fate turns out to be tragic. I am curious to find out when the focus shifted away from that dynamic. Ot I could just be reading things wrong. Jack and Teal’c are still rather stoic characters. Maybe Daniel just seems more caring in comparison.

“Singularity” does a very good job of ratcheting up the tension. The story puts a child in danger without being too blatant at tugging the heartstrings or being too cheesy. I appreciated the realism involved. In many shows, the characters would have dedicated themselves to saving the little girl at the cost of their own lives, but manage to find a perfect cure at the last second. Here, they are going to lock the girl up so the bomb inside her can blow safely. That is harsh, but it goes against the usual heroic way such things play out on television. After three years of Star Trek handling kid centered stories badly, Stargate SG-1 offers a refreshing alternative.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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