Monday, March 19, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"The Curse"

I like the atmosphere of “The Curse.’ it has the feel of a classic Universal or Hammer Horror film with a murder mystery surrounding an ancient curse with fantastical elements. I became engrossed in the story, particularly with its geeky connections, both intentional and otherwise. Explanations forthcoming.

Daniel’s old archeology professor, Dr. David Jordan, dies mysteriously after discovering artifacts from an unusual Egyptian tomb. Daniel attends the funeral, but earns the cold shoulder from Gardner’s graduate assistants, Steven Rayner and Sarah Gardner. Daniel left all three years ago when he disgraced himself with his theories about aliens building the pyramids. They have had to live with the professional embarrassment since. Unfortunately, daniel cannot tell them he was right all along, even when the artifacts Jordan discovered contain Goa’uld symbiotes.

The story takes on a murder mystery that culminates in an encounter in an Egyptian pyramid with the Goa’uld Osiris who has taken over Sarah and eventually escapes to menace our heroes again in the future. I am irritated at myself for falling for the red herring of Steven, who was a jerk throughout the entire episode, being the murderer possessed by Osiris. It is never the obnoxious graduate assistant, folks. It is always the pretty girl who is possessed by the murderous alien. The situation just goes to prove we always give more attractive people the benefit of the doubt.

There is a lot of cool stuff going on. Jordan was a professor at the University of Chicago, which is the the foremost university to study Egyptology in the United states and arguably the world.

On a less serious notes, many of the character names are an homage to Green Lantern, a DC Comics character who is granted powers through an alien ring. David Jordan is a nod to Hal Jordan, Steven Rayner is named after Kyle Rayner, and sarah Gardner is named for Guy Gardner, respectively. She may also be a tribute, as Guy Gardner is, to Gardner Fox, a science fiction and comic book writer who, like the Stargate SG-1 writers, liked to utilize history, mythology, ancient languages and such in his stories. This stuff perked my comic book geek attention.

You may also recognize Anna-Louise Plowman, who played Sarah, as Goddard in the Doctor Who episode “Dalek.” There, too, she played the assistant to a man who discovered alien technology that wound up in tragedy. It is interesting how similar the plots of “The Curse” and “Dalek” are. Both involve an eccentric guy discovering a presumed long dead alien that eventually runs amok. The body count wound up exponentially higher in “Dalek,” but the killer pepper pots apparently have less self-control than ancient aliens posing as Egyptian deities. Plowman is revealed as a stealth villain in both episodes.

I enjoyed “The Curse” immensely. It is not just the homage to old horror films or geek references, but the unique feel from much of the rest of the series. After a lot of tok’ra politics and heavy-handed moralizing in recent episodes, it is cool to see something different, but still done so well it does not seem out of place. Oh, and poor daniel has no luck in his personal relationships, does he?

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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