Sunday, February 5, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Touchstone"

"Touchstone” revisits the running subplot of shadowy elements within the government who are unsatisfied with the amount of alien technology brought back to Earth by SGC and takes matters into it own hands. It is also the second time we see the other stargate discovered in Antarctica. Showing my age here, but the general plot is lifted from an old G. I. Joe cartoon. Now the NID is stealing ideas from COBRA. Scraping the bottom of the villainous barrel there?

The SG-1 team returns to a relatively primitive planet populated by the Maldona in order to study their one advanced piece of technology--the touchstone, a device which has changed the planet’s weather from violent snowstorms to a temperate climate. They arrive in the middle of a snowstorm to discover the touchstone was stolen a short time ago by people wearing SGC uniforms. The SG-1 team is under a tight deadline to find the touchstone before the Maldona planet suffers permanent damage.

Back on earth, strange, severe weather appears in diverse places, implying someone who does not know how to use the Touchstone is fiddling with it nevertheless. Some cloak and dagger drama leads sam to uncover the second stargate is being used simultaneously with the SGC’s in order to disguise its energy expenditure. The trail lads to Area 51, where the other stargate was taken. The one stored there turns out to be plastic. The real deal is in a secret location in utak. The SG-1 tteam goes there and recovers both the stargate and the touchstone, but not before four NID operatives escape to another stargate. The other stargate is sealed under Hammond’s orders, but will be seen prominently in the future.

‘Touchstone’ is interesting because of the future storylines it sets up. Its purpose is to create anticipation for the futre. In that regard, it does its job well. If there is a weak point, it is the late introduction of Maj. Dean Newman as someone who owes Hammond a favor and points SG-1 to the NID’s secret base to repay the favor. His role in resolving the caper reminds me of some of the weaker appearances of the Lone Gunman in The X-Files wherein Mulder and scully are completely lost how to go from A to B, so they show up with exactly the right knowledge. It comes across as way to convenient. A writer should not introduce a pivotal character ten minutes before the story’s conclusion. That is lazy plotting. I assume newman is going to show up later and probably not all he seems to be, so I will reserve judgment if and when the rest of his story is told.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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