Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Enemies"

“Enemies” serves as the fifth season premiere. The episode feels like it is overcompensating for a lackluster fourth season finale by throwing in everything but the kitchen sink; Apophis, Tok’ra, brainwashed Teal’c, and the Replicators just to name the biggies. Even the Asgard are named dropped to make sure all bases were covered. But are they? The answer is yeah, pretty much.

Our heroes and Apophis are in a face off 150 years journey from Earth when another ship appears from nowhere and attacks Apophis’ mothership. Not willing to look a gift horse in the mouth, our heroes flee to the orbit of a nearby planet to be shielded from sensors while making repairs. When the radiation shielding the ship from detection reaches unsafe levels, they have to flee unrepaired. They discover Apophis’ ship with no life signs. When they board, they discover it has been overrun by Replicators.

Back safely on their ship, they are contacted by Teal’c in a shuttle. It is a ruse, however. Apophis revived Teal’c with a sarcophagus, but he is back as apophis’ loyal first prime. Apophis and the surviving Jaffa take over the ship, but inadvertently bring Replicators with them. They begin altering the shop to make more of themselves. The chaos allows SG-1 and Jacob to escape.

Conveniently, the Replicators learn of Apophis’ base of operations and decide they want its technology. They are able to enhance the ship’s engines to get them there in a short period of time, which solves just about everyone’s problem. The SG-1 team arranges for the ship to crash into the planet in order to both kill apophis and destroy the Replicators. Teal’c is recovered, but is still brainwashed into believing Apophis is his god.

I am curious if, like so often happened with Star Trek, the season finale cliffhanger was written without a conclusion in mind. The Replicators showing up out of the blue and being the catalyst for the return home has a writers room “Okay, how do we fix the problem/” vibe to it. Not to say it is terribly contrived, but it does feel odd the Replicators suddenly decide Apophis has a lot of cool stuff they would like to have a century and a half’s journey from here.

Is it just me, or is brainwashing Teal’c back to his old loyalties an admission there is not much left to do with the character? His conversion is more poignant considering he was allowing himself to be tortured to death a few episodes back than declare Apophis a god, but the regression is...well, a regression. A step back in Teal’c’s development. A development which is glacially slow in the first place. I single out Teal’c because Apophis has reached the end of what can be done with him, so he is killed off. The writers can tell when a character arc is done. Why are they not doing a better job with Teal’c?

Speaking of Apophis, his final scene with the personal shield keeping the Replicators off him, but his screaming at the realization his ship is going to be completely destroyed on planetary impact was one of the best death scenes I have scene in a while. It reminded me of Anna Sheridan’s in Babylon 5’s “Za’ha’dum.” Indulging my sci fi geekiness there.

“Enemies” is an entertaining episode in spite of it cliffhanger resolution appearing to have been unplanned from the beginning. It is far more interesting and action oriented than its first part. It also utilizes every character this time around. In the first part, Jack was there to do nothing more than crack sarcastic joke. Daniel was there for even less. I am beginning to see why Michael shanks wanted to leave the show. But--ding dong--apophis is dead. I hope some more interesting arch villain takes his place.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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