Friday, March 2, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Shades of Grey"

“Shades of Grey” revisits the running storyline of a rogue SG unit stealing technology from various advanced alien societies who are not sharing their goodies willingly. The story has jack becoming a turncoat. Since you know he is not a traitor, the entertainment value is on how clever the ruse is pulled off. In that regard, “Shades of grey’ does an entertaining job.

The SG-1 team is assigned to negotiate with the Tollan for technology in exchange for saving their entire civilization a few episodes back. The Tollan are as arrogant and uncooperative as ever. Jack loses his cool and breaks off the negotiation. On his way out, he steals the device used to render their weapons useless upon their first visit. The rest of the team vehemently objects.

At the debriefing, Jack erupts in frustration over the lack of technology they have been acquiring to defend earth against the Goa’uld. If these stuck up alien will not share their technology more willingly, then it is necessary to just take it. Jack’s theft is a court martial offense, but he opts to take early retirement rather than prison.

He bums around for a week at home before being contacted by Maybourne with an offer to lead a command more willing to take technology earth’s allies are not being entirely generous with. Jack agrees, and becomes part of an off world based SG lead by Newman, whom we have seen before leading the rogue SG, stealing technology for which legitimate SG teams have failed to negotiate.

The whole scenario is, of course, a ruse. The Tollan, Nox, and Asgard approached Hammond weeks ago with the accusation the SGC has been stealing their technology. Knowing the rogue group exists, Hammond conspires with Earth’s alien allies for jack to steal the tollan device and make a big show of his attitude change about the SGC’s progress in order to attract the attention of whoever is in charge of the rogue SG teams. It turns out to be maybourne, who has Makepeace as his mole. Jack exposes the rogue operation and the asgard clean up the mess with their usual panache.

"Shades of Grey" works out quite well. It is one of the many episodes I had never seen before, I was alert for clues as to who was in on the subterfuge. Hammond was obvious. An offer of early retirement rather than court martial felt fishy. The ensuing bewilderment of thr rest of the SG-1 team--the private argument between daniel and Jack, in particular--was a nice touch thrown in to keep the audience off guard. It was really easy to guess maybourne’s mole was makepeace, though, given his contempt for Teal’c. Clearly, he was not a good guy. One wonders if Makepeace was mayborne’s mole in the Sgc why Maybourne did not know of the alien incursion a few episodes back. Makepeace was caught off guard, I guess.

“Shades of Grey” feastures yet again an underlying animosity between Jack and Daniel. Certainly, they are friends with mutual respect, but Daniel thinks Jack is too thick headed to appreciate the true value of stargate exploration while Jasck thinks daniel has his head in the clouds too much for his own good. There is an underlying truth to how each views the other. It is a testament to their maturity they can recognize that and steal remain friends. But it is tough to watch them blow up at each other, even if it is an act on Jack’s part.

Solid episode. I am curious why the plot line was not dealt with in another episode or two before its resolution, but no big deal. It may be picked up again later for all I know. Maybourne seems like the type who would not let a minor set back get in the way of playing the savior of earth in his own mind.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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