Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"The Light"

I suppose the string of good episodes had to end at some point. “The Light” ends the streak with a loud thud. Even the basic premise--the SGC discovers an abandoned Goa’uld opium den and SG teams become addicted--does not hold much promise. The execution has some serious issues of logic, plot holes, and the occasional straining to be poignant, but failing. Quite disappointing.

Daniel has joined SG-5 on a survey mission to an abandoned Goa’uld palace. The team leader of SG-5 returns to the SGC acting strangely, then commits suicide rather than go back to the palace. Daniel return with SG-5 excited about a light show device that has mesmerized them. Both he and SG-5 begin falling in with some sort of brain disorder. The SG-1 team travels to the palace and encounters a teen boy named Loran, whom everyone missed the first time around, and get hooked on the light show themselves.

Back at the SGC, every member of SG-5 dies. Under the rules of television which give main characters every possible chance of survival, Daniel hangs on long enough for Jack to carry him back to the palace. He quickly recovers from near death, so Sam surmises they must all stay there until they can figure out how the light show has effected them and if they can break the effects. Loran is not very forthcoming with help until Jack blows up at him. Then the truth comes out.

Loran’s parents were explorers who got hooked on the light show to the point loran could not get them out of the light room, so he stopped bringing them food. Instead of forcing them to leave, they starved to death. The light show is merely a distraction. The device running the show emits an addictive radiation which Loran shuts off. Conveniently, daniel is finally able to translate the Goa’uld writings to figure out they can wean themselves off the radiation by decreasing the dosage over a matter of weeks. So they stay there and bond with Loran for a month.

Oh, dear. Where to begin?

I can only think of one scene that sticks out in my mind. The withdrawal effects of the radiation cause severe depression. It is the depression that caused the SG-5 member to commit suicide. Daniel begins suffering from severe depression and does not report to work. When jack goes to his apartment, he finds Daniel standing on the ledge of the balcony about to jump. It is a tense, well done scene filmed in the early morning hours under a gloomy Vancouver sky. The beginning is filmed from daniel’s perspective as he stares down at the sideway below upon whih he is about to splatter. The sequence is haunting. It is about the only good part of the episode.

There are too many questions. If the radiation is so addictive, how did Daniel and SG-5 return to SGC in the first place? No one can tear themselves away from the light show later on. Loran’s parents starved rather than leave. How did Loran survive alone all this time/ he looks like he is fifteen, but acts emotionally like a ten or twelve year old. Where did his food come from all these years? How did SG-5 not know he was there? If he knew how to cut the device off, why did he not say anything? I would assume he wanted to keep the SG-1 team there for company, but he knew they would die just like his parents. This is all too much to overlook.

“The Light” is pretty bad. I will give the suicide scene with Daniel some major kudos. Krystian Ayers does a good job of playing Loran with childlike innocence and tragedy where appropriate, but there is not much else in the episode to recommend.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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