Friday, January 27, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Need"

“Need” is a peculiar critter. In an episode that would otherwise be often poorly conceived filler, two major plot points are dropped in. One, Sam does have the permanent ability to sense goa’uld symbiotes, which makes the previous episode’s revelation her bonding with Jolinar affected her body chemistry not one of those typical comic book continuity glitches of a never before mentioned and hereafter ignored convenient plot device. Two, it is revealed continued use of a sarcophagus when healthy, such as the Goa’uld use for extension of their lives, causes psychosis. The psychosis explains why the Goa’uld are so evil. It also explains why the Tok’ra are not. They do not use a sarcophagus to extend their lives. Important points, but otherwise “.meh” on “Need.”

The SG-1 team is observing Jaffa deliver naquadah, a mined metal, through a stargate. They decide to swipe some to research its possible military applications. In the midst of recon, Daniel spots a woman heading off alone. He follows her only to discover she is planning to jump from a cliff to her death. Daniel stops here, but she screams for the Jaffa to help. The SG-1 team is captured. Unable to tell her father, Pyrus, she was trying to kill herself and SG-1 saved her, Shyla allows him to believe they are Goa’uld spies and sends them to work in the mines.

Daniel is gravely wounded in a failed escape attempt from the mine, but shyla uses a sarcophagus to revive him up proper. She has developed a thing for him because she believes his rescuing her from death was destiny. Daniel works to gain both her and her father’s trust in order to free the rest of SG-1. In order to secure her trust, Daniel agrees to use the sarcophagus again even though he is perfectly fine. Using the sarcophagus under such circumstances has a narcotic effect on the user. Daniel becomes more deranged as time goes on.

His agreement to marry Shyla allows SG-1 to go free. Daniel returns with them to Earth, but promises to return to marry Shyla. Back on Earth, Daniel begins suffering withdrawal symptoms. He is held against his will while working it out of his system. He escapes at one point, determined to return to Shyla, but when it would be necessary to shoot Jack in order to get away, Daniel cannot bring himself to do it. He breaks down in tears.

After his recovery, he returns to the planet to find Pyrus has died. Shyla is now in charge of her people. Daniel convinces her to destroy the sarcophagus, end the slavery in the mines, and open peaceful relations with Earth. Oh, and call off the wedding. Shyla agrees.

At the risk of alienating devout Gaters, I am disappointed to learn the Goa’uld are evil because of artificial mind altering techniques. If the running theme of the series is what makes a god worthy of worship, then it is more poignant for those gods to be struggling with the issue of power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely. If the drug addiction allegory is not glossed over in the long run in favor of the moral argument of the power corruption, I am going to be disappointed.

As for the episode itself, I am not all that impressed. It feels way too much like filler, and it is way too early in the season for something like that. The story is rather frivolous. Pyrus is a senile old man putting up the appearance the Goa’uld still rule the planet in order to keep himself in control. Shyla just happens to decide to off herself right when SG-1 arrives. Her falling for Daniel is as convenient as his injury setting up the opportunity for them to hook up. The moral lesson drugs are bad does not much resonate for whatever reason. Poor execution, I guess. Poor acting, too. There is a scene in which Daniel, completely out of his mind, pounds a guard with his fists, but obviously never lands a single blow. It is an unintentionally funny scene that takes me right out of the upcoming dramatic moment in which he pulls the guard’s gun on Jack. I do, however, enjoy the joke in which Shyla takes daniel out to admire the forest. She believes trees are so beautiful, hers must be the only planet that looks like the forest outside Vancouver. Heh. Not quite, honey.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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