Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"1969"

I am aware “1969” is a fan favorite, so I was eager to watch. Gaters seem to hold episodes which put our heroes in humorous, yet arduous situations in high regard. I can see why this episode has appeal. There certainly are some humorous moments. One will probably wind up as a favorite of mine, in fact. I am still not sure ’1969” will wind up on my ten best list when it is all said and done.

My geeky nature compels me to address the time travel theme. Anytime time travel is used in science fiction, the viewer has to just go with it because there are always so logical problems. For ‘1969,’ it is a causal loop. The SG-1 team accidentally travels back to 1969 because of solar flare activity while traveling through the stargate. Gen. Hammond asks Sam to carry a note with her on the trip because he knows what is going to happen. The note will be discovered by himself as Lt. Hammond back in 1969. Knowing this, Gwn. Hammond wrote instruction for his younger self to help SG-1 escape military custody so they can find their way back to the present. Where is the starting point? Gen. Hammond knows to write the note in 1999 and send it back because in 1969, Lt. Hammond received the note and followed the instructions. There is no starting point.

What makes the issue stand out is there is an entire scene with SG-1 discussing the value of changing history for the better while they are in the past. Sam cites the Grandfather Paradox as the reason one should not alter the past. Short explanation: if you travel back in time to kill your grandfather, you would cease to exist if successful, but there would then be no one to travel back in time to kill your grandfather in the first place. You would think after dismissing the biggest logical flaw in fictional time travel, the writers would be careful not to fall prey to another, but there you go.

Oh, well. It happens to the best of them. Cornelius from the Planet of the Apes film series is his own ancestor. He cannot exist in the future if he did not travel into the past, but he cannot travel to the past if he does not exist in the future. Wholigans should take note the Eleventh doctor once traveled back in time to ask Rory to free him from the Pandorica even though his future self could not exist while his past self was imprisoned within the Pandorica. Pointing out that sort of thing can get you deported from the United Kingdom, I am told.

Wait…we were talking about Stargate SG-1, right? Of course. The SG-1 team gets thrown back to 1969 when Cheyenne mountain was a missile silo. Hilarity ensues as sam warns they cannot tell anyone the truth and they wind up accused of being soviet spies because of Daniel in that moment I referred to above:The SG-1 team escapes from this predicament and hitchikes to New York and then Washington DC in search of the stargate in time to use it in conjunction with a solar flare. they wind up in the far future where the elderly Cassandra uses alien technology to bring them back to 1999 safely. If you are keeping score, they meet a young hammon, a young catherine, and an old Cassandra along the way. While I cannot compare the Cassandra actresses, but the Hammon and Catherine counterparts are spot on.

I got into many of the references in ‘1969.” The Star Wars and Star Trek related pseudonyms, the historical references to the moon landing and Sharon tate murders, and the apparently so subtle, no one thinks it exists except me allussion to Raiders of the Lost Ark in which daniel, pretending to be German, discovers top men boxed up the stargate in Washington. All that is great, but the fish out of water element with straightlaced military personnel, a geeky academic, and an alien are forced to go incognito as hippies. Comedy gold. Comedy gold, maybe, but overall the episode wins the silver as far as I am concerned. It is not a bad episode by any means, but I do not see what all the hype is about. The story is an amusing diversion before what I assume will be a big second season finale.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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