Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Small Victories"

“Small Victories" is the fourth season premiere. It is a direct sequel to the story begun in the third season finale. As such, it features the Asgard and the Replicators, two of my favorite recurring elements of Stargate SG-1. I have a love/hate relationship with spiders, and the Asgard are such arrogant little pricks, you have got to love them. They are patronizing even when they are forced to admit they need help.

After a week stranded on another planet, SG-1 returns home to discover the Replicator that survived the ship explosion and crash in the previous episode has taken over a Russian submarine and killed off its crew. The Replicator has been multiplying by utilizing raw material from the submarine. The pentagon has told the Russians there was a dangerous chemical spill, so they cannot hand the submarine back over. There is only a limited amount of time to keep the Replicator problem a secret before an international incident occurs.

To make matters worse, Thor arrives to ask for help. The Replicators have taken over three Asgard ships and are headed straight for the home world. Since the replicators devour new technology only to become stronger, the asgard need a more primitive solution to their problem. Thor believes--literally--the humans are dumb enough to come up with a viable solution. Sam, who is ironically the smartest of the SG-1 team, travels with Thor to tackle the problem. Jack, Teal’c, and Daniel head for the submarine.

The episode is entitled "small Victories," but it could just as easily be called "Simple Solutions," because that is the resolution--they blow crap up. Sam suggests sacrificing the new, heavily armored ship O’Neill--what a bunch of stalkers--with a self-destruct when the replicator controlled ships get close enough to it. Jack and teal’c have to personally kill the original replicator on board the submarine, since it is made of alien material which has survived a large explosion before, before blowing up the submarine with the other, made of weaker steel versions. Both plans are successful. Woo hoo1

There are a couple points that make “small victories” really cool. One is the asgard are more heavily featured. There is some CGI of Thor walking about that is a bit dodgy, but it is still nifty to see him interacting with Sam that way. The animatronic version is tartly mobile, but still a hoot. The other point is the claustrophobic feel of hunting the Replicators in a darkened, cramped submarine. That is the stuff of which nightmares are made.

Several readers have said Maybourne is one of their favorite recurring characters at least in terms of Pentagon personnel. . I think Maj. Paul Davis earns the top spot for me. I appreciate his by the book philosophy and loyalty to the SGC. He shows up when there is a major crisis and is always instrumental in resolving it. There are not enough people like him in the real world. There needs to be--and fewer like Maybourne.

Amanda Tapping looks better will the longer, shaggier hair. Just sayin’.

“Small Victories” is not quite as exciting as it lead up. Maybe it is because the intial apprehension of meeting the Replicators has evaporated. Or maybe setting much of the conflict on a submarine instead of a space ship makes it feel smaller. Or maybe asgard home world being more threatened than Earth is less tense. Whatever the case, it is a still an entertaining episode for the spectacle of it. We do get to see a major space battle for the first time. I have already mentioned seeing more of thor doing his thing is awesome. The episode is a promising start to the fourth season.

Rating; *** (out of 5)

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