Friday, April 13, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Last Stand"

“Last Stand” does offer a big payoff from the previous episode’s set up while hinting at big things to come in the future. Hilariously enough, Anubis is still spoken of in ominous tones and we find out at least part of his plan to regain power, but he still has not shown up. In that case, I amend my previous description regarding the pacing of his introduction. It has gone from glacially slow to continental drift slow. The River Styx must suffer a doldrums somewhere along the way.

I am enormously amused by how simply the two cliffhangers are resolved. Daniel pricks Osiris with the drug, and she immediately sees him as Yu’s loyal servant. The rest of the SG-1 team use special crystals to almost instantaneously dig tunnels to the surface in order to escape. At the very least, we learn how the Tok’ra were able to dig a large underground base so quickly. After a misspent youth immersed in comic books, I am still impressed when tough cliffhangers are resolved so simply, I have to wonder why I felt any tension in the first place.

As hinted at in the previous episode, Daniel is hesitant to use the piison, which he could have done to save himself from Osiris, because he does not want to kill sarah, too. His reluctance works in his favor as he learns about Anubis upon returning to the Goa’uld summit meeting. Anubis was a System Lord banished banished by the others because of the brutality of his atrocities. Now he wants to return. In exchange for letting him back in the club, Anubis promises to destroy Earth. As he is currently not a System Lord,, the treaty with the Asgard protecting Earth does not apply to him. As a sign of good faith, Anubis has wiped at the Tok’ra. The humans have been knocking off system Lords on a regular basis as a late, so the System Lords agree to allow Anubis back in. Only Yu votes no.

Since everything has gone badly, Daniel cuts and runs with only a minor delay--the unsuccessful rescue of Sarah Gardner/Osiris, which nearly gets him killed by both her and Yu. Seriously, rama. There has to be a woman out there for you with less drama. Or at least one who will not become Goa’uld and try to murder you. Jacob/Selmak and Daniel make it to Revanna in answer to an Sos from the rest of the SG-1 team. The ship crashes under attack from Zipacna’s forces, but Elliott/Lantash offers to sacrifice himself as a prisoner to the Jaffa so he can release the poison, thereby clearing the way for everyone to escape through the stargate.

That, folks, is the abrupt end. Elliott/Lantash’s sacrifice, the death of the Jaffa, and our heroes’ escape is all left to the post fade to black imagination. Which is fine when one assumes the episode ran long otherwise due to reams of exposition. The exposition not only foreshadows Anubis’ plan, but offers some closure and enlightenment. As far as closure is concerned, Lantash puts Sam at ease by revealing Martouf does not hold her responsible for his death. The enlightenment comes from a conversation between Daniel and another slave who says he serves with anticipation of the day he can be blended with a symbiote and become a goa’uld himself. I do not believe anyone considered the human slaves might want to become Goa’uld. Just goes to show there is someone out there willing to do most anything for power.

Michael shanks leaves near the end of the season for a while because he feels like daniel is not given enough to do in recent times. Considering he is the main focus of this two part episode, but that focus consists of him standing quietly behind an asian warlord stereotype out of a ‘30’s movie serial, I can see how Shanks could be convinced of greener pastures elsewhere. It turns out there were not any for another five years, but there you go.

“Last Stand” is a worthy conclusion as well as an entertaining episode in its own right. It does not feel right that Daniel did not release the poison anyway, but we need System Lord villains for down the road and the poison for Elliott/Lantash to make his heroic, off screen sacrifice, so all right. ’Tis no big deal.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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