Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"48 Hours"

“48 Hours” is a peculiar animal--a Teal’c-centric episode that features everything but Teal’c. Literally, folks. Stargate SG-1 has had a habit of wrapping up dangling plotlines in a hurry, but I have yet to see an episode in which so many were addressed so anticlimactically. So are resolved so abruptly, I assume the resolutions are a red herring for future surprises. Nevertheless, everything but the kitchen sink makes an appearance.

The SG-1 team is ambushed by Goa’uld forces lead by Tanith on a planet which is being surveyed for a possible Goa’uld base. Teal’c is the last to escape through the stargate because he pauses to shoot down Tanith’s Death Glider. Tanith’s Death Glider spirals into the stargate and causes some techno babble problem which traps Teal’c in the form of energy within the wormhole. As long as no one uses the stargate, there is a chance Teal’c can be recovered.

Cue the continuation of multiple storylines. First, Frank Simmons shows up to announce a 48 hour deadline before the stargate must be used again. He is willing to tell Sam how to save Teal’c, but he wants a Goa’uld hand device in return. Two, Maybourne conveniently shows up to explain to jack he was not the one who shot him a couple episodes back. Jack, knowing simmons would only want a goa’uld hand device if he had a Goa’uld, enlists Maybourne to help him locate Adrian Conrad/Goa’uld in NID custody. Three, Daniel and Maj. Davis are sent to Russia to negotiate for the use of their stargate to return off world SG teams while the American one is stymied and for a DHD. So we have Tanith, Simmons, Melbourne, Conrad, and the Russian plot reads are rolling along.

I have yet to mention “48 hours” introduces Dr. Rodney McKay, who will become a recurring character on Stargate SG-1 and a main cast member on Stargate: Atlantis, serving as a foil for Sam. I am going to assume Rodney becomes a far more well-rounded character than the annoying caricature of an arrogant genius he is here. I understand he is one of the most popular Stargate: Atlantis characters, so surely he becomes more well developed later. Right now Rodney is Sheldon Cooper without the childlike innocence that prevents you from killing him.

“48 Hours” is not only crowded with stuff going on, but heavy on dialogue rather than action. Simmons bring his usual cloak and dagger shtick. Rodney and Sam bicker over theoretical physics which is all high concept science fiction. Daniel and Davis have boring political negotiations which are only interrupted by the occasional jaw dropping idealism. Yes, Daniel, the United states is looking out for its best interests over that of the entire planet. The only real action after Teal’c kills Tanith is Jack and Maybourne recovering Conrad/Goa’uld.

Matters are quickly resolved: Teal’c is saved when the Russians allow for their DHD to be used in accordance with Conrad/Goa’uld’s instructions on how to save Teal’c and Simmons is arrested for treason. As you see, there is a lot going on here. “48 hours” has the George Lucas problem of cramming in too many stories unfolding at once for the audience to easily absorb. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with it, but at least one story ought to have been cut out. Fans might burn me in effigy, but I would not bring in Rodney for this one. Much of what he brings to the episode is superfluous. Tanith was a good villain who deserved a more dramatic death, but I am going to chalk that one up to the unavailability of Peter Wingfield. If I am not mistaken, he had a steady role on the 2002 24 season at this point. The bottom line is ’48 Hours” gets the job done, but one wonders why so many elements had to be thrown in right now.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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