Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Bane"

“Bane” is for neither the entomophobis, nor the claustrophobic. I am neither, and I still got the creeps at times. The reaction is about the only interesting aspect of the episode. Otherwise, the plot is a typical race against the clock in order to discover a miraculous cure that a far advanced civilization could not cure before being wiped out.

The SG-1 team visits an advanced city that appears completely abandoned. It turns out the place is not completely abandoned when teal’c is bitten by a huge insect. The team is nearly swarmed by the bug’s buddies, so they grab the already in distress Teal’c and head for the stargate. The bug’s venom is re-writing Teal’c’s DNA and even his symbiote is not able to prevent the metamorphosis.

Sam suggests calling in an old colleague of hers from the Pentagon, Dr. Timothy Harlow, because he is an expert geneticist. Unfortunately, Mayborne and Harlow turn out to be a package deal. The NID wants to study the insect venom, so they take Teal’c into custody. Teal’c is determined he would rather die than change into anything, so he escapes into the Colorado wilderness after removing his symbiote to ensure his death. Or because the insect venom has altered his mind. The script leaves it up to you to decide. Was the idea Teal’c might willingly commit suicide too controversial ?

The SG-1 team finds the van that was carrying Teal’c over turned with the symbiote flopping around among the wounded NID agents. Keeping the symbiote alive crowds the story which is already divided between teal’c making his way to Colorado Springs and bonding with a little girl named Alyssa and the effort to find said miraculous cure. It is difficult to focus on three ongoing plots simultaneously. It lessens the impact of all three as well. Aysson contacts Jack with talc’s help, Frasier figures out how to keep the symbiote alive long enough to get it back into Teal’c, and Harlow reveals he had a cure all along that will no only work, but the symbiote can fully restore the damage done to Teal’c. Magic Reset Button, folks. Harlow even says the captured beug, venom, and all related research are going to have an unfortunate lab accident. In case you did not think he was one of the good guys.

The most remarkable thing about “Bane” is how much it tries to gross you out. Jack steps into a pile of insect manure and Teal’c is bitten by a huge bug that resembles a dragon fly with a scorpion tail in he teaser. The bug bite wound is a disgusting pus filled rotting that looks much like the aftermath of a brown recluse bite. The symbiote flops about helplessly when it is discovered abandoned. Teal’c is becoming a cocoon for more of those bugs to emerge, and the process of how they rip out of a human body is seen in all its glory on a recon mission to the alien city to retrieve one of the bugs. When teal’c is discovered, he is wrapped tightly in a cocoon. Literally one thing after another has you reeling.

If you are into the creepy crawly stuff, it is all impressive. But it does not hide the pedestrian, contrived plot. The story goes from A to B to C with absolutely no surprises. The script does not even attempt to be innovative about anything. Teal’c and Alyssa do develop a friendship, but their interaction does not get enough time to really blossom due to every other story element going on. The symbiote subplot probably should have been cut out to give the cure search and Teal’c’s bonding with Alyssa room to grow. No such luck.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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