Monday, February 13, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Out of Mind"

I was not expecting a clip show for the second season finale, but at least some effort was made to maintain interest in the new parts. ‘out of Mind’ is an obvious budget saver. All the action sequennces are “memories” from previous episodes, some dating back as far as the early first season. Was anyone clamoring to se hathor again? I have my doubts, but here she is. Woo hoo.

Jack wakes up at SGC in the year 2077 to learn he was sent through the stargate from a planet 78 years ago suffering from some wound or illness that killed the rest of SG-1. He has been in suspended animation since then because a treatment for him has just recently been found. Earth has now colonized many planets, but they are under constant attack by the Goa’uld. The current SGC leadership wants to use a device to probe Jack’s mind for memories of who might have had the technology to save him decades ago.

We do not discover this is all a Goa’uld cover until sam and daniel have gone through the same song and dance. As SG-1’s memories are probed, we see the Nox, the Asgard, battles with Apophis, and other such sequences from past episodes. They provide the slam bang action for “Out of Mind.“ The memory lane strolling ends when Jack hears two SGC personnel speaking in a Goa’uld voice. He escapes and siscovers sam and Daniel.

Meanwhile, Teal’c awakens at the real SGC to discover he has been unconscious for three weeks. He was the only member of SG-1 to be discovered after a recon mission on a Goa’uld planet went awry. The planet has now been devastated, and there are no signs of SG-1 anywere. With no leads, the search is called off. With his comrades gone, Teal’c resigns from SGC and returns to Chulak, presumably to search for his friends on his own.

It is revealed that hathor is behind the 36 Hours deception in order to learn what SG-1 knows about about the Goa’uld’s potential enemies. When they refuse to reveal anything, Hathor threatens to turn one of them into a host to extract information that way. Such is the cliffhanger.

I cannot decide if the powers that be ran out of money or just had to write ’Out of mind’ in a hurry. I will allow that for a clip show, the original material involved is more thoughtful than most episodes of its kind. That said, it does not make a season finale particular exciting when you use clips from the previous season finale to remind us it was a completely original spectacle. It also does not help to have the mastermind be from one of the worst episodes of the series. Surely the writers had heard the internet buzz by this point fans did not like Hathor. If they were giving her another go to make her better this time around, going with a clip show does not do it.

As for the possibility of having been written too quickly, why does Hathor go through all the trouble of convincing SG-1 they are in 2077 when she could have just given them symbiotes and taken what she wanted to know/ even if she only had one symbiote, every member of the team knows the same stuff. So what is the point? For that matter, does anyone believe teal’c is going to do anything other than dedicatedly search for his friends/ Hammond, et al seem oblivious. Very strange.

I hate to pile on, but “Out of Mind” is the first time a CGI symbiote is used. Call me crazy, but I like the puppet much better. The CGI critter looks more fierce some, granted, but there is something much more disturbing in knowing the symbiote is a real prop being handled by the actors. It looks like Stargate SG-1 has succumbed to the George Lucas idea that new technology is better solely because it is new.

I am not terribly impressed with “Out of Mind.” if the powers that be needed to scale back an episode in order to save money, the season finale is a poor choice. Nevertheless, the strength of the season overall makes me want to return for a third go around. Also, as far as clip shows go, “Out of Mind” is a cut above most. It is disappointing, but not a deal breaker.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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