Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Prisoners"

“Prisoners” takes a subtle jab at the zero tolerance mindset of justice and a not so subtle jab at the wisdom of trusting people you do not know simplu because they look like they should be baking cookies for their grandchildren rather than creating a plague to wipe out an entire population of people for the sake of scientific curiosity. Also, Hammond gets to take his first journey through the stargate.

On uey another planet that looks far too much like the forests outside Vancouver--I note it this time because jack Jokes about it--SG-1 aids a panicked man running from Taldor. Taldor turns out to be justice. The man is a fugitive. The SG-1 team is immediately sentenced to life on the prison planet Hadante. They arrive in the underground prison via a stargate with no dial home device.

Sam is immediately attacked by a couple men, but the fight is broken up my the arrival of an elderly woman named Linnea. It is quickly established that even though she is an old woman, she is at the top of the pecking order. Even the burliest men fear her. Jack surmises they need to get on her good side if they are to find a power source to get the stargate working and use the outer ring to travel to the planet SG-3 is currently surveying.

LLinea empathizes with Sam as a woman trapped forever with a bunch of criminally minded men, so it is natural for the two to bond. As it turns out, linea is a scientist, too, and she has conveniently created a power source that can run the stargate. Daniel is not too thrilled with the idea o working with linea since thery do not know why she is in prison. Keep this in mind, because it is the only wise thing said about Linea the entire episode. Jack assures Daniel it is fine to trust her. The justice system probably screwed that sweet old lady over just like it did them. Sam even buys linea’s story that she was a doctor who tried to cure a plague, but wound up making it worse. The power source works. The SG-1 team and Linea escape to the planet SG-3 is surveying. Another inmate, Simeon, hitches a ride before the stargate closes.

All right, here is where it all gets blown to smithereens. Sam, thinking that Linea is a brilliant scientist who can help Earth utilize her clean energy power source, grants her access to the main computer, the stargate controls, and all known addresses to thousands of worlds. She knocks sam out and heads for the stargate. Simultaneously, SG-3 captures simeon, but he reveals Linea is not a doctor who was trying to cure a plague, but a researcher creating one just to see what effects it would have on people. Yes, she is quite insane. She escapes through the stargate before anyone can catch her. She has also sabotaged the controls to keep anyone from immediately coming after her. Well, crap.

I think the truth about Linea and her clever escape from Hadante is a neat twist, but I really hate that Sam yet again looks like a rube for being conned. Sy least she is not alone this time. Jack fell for the sweet granny routine, too. You still have to wonder why no one thought the fear she caused in the entire inmate population did not raise SG-1’s suspicions. She is a famous mass murderer. You would think they could ask any prisoner at all who she was and why she was imprisoned. But that would have eliminated the climactic twist, so no go.

That is a minor gripe. While the episode is not particularly thrilling, there is not much to complain about, either. The SG-1 team has to think its way out of a dilemma rather than shooting their way out. Hammond sees some action by negotiating futilely with the planet’s leadership, though he thankfully does not get as preachy as Picard with his absolutes cannot be just argument. Even in some sense, the fact SG-1 was duped is good, as it shows they can be as flawed as anyone else. In all, a decent, but not great episode.

Rating; *** (out of 5)

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