Monday, April 9, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Wormhole X-Treme!"

"Wormhole X-Treme!” is the milestone 100th episode of Stargate SG-1. for the sticklers amongst us, it is only the 99th tagged episode because I reviewed the two hour pilot as one episode rather than the split into two for syndication. The powers that be decided to go the comedy route and do a self-referential parody wherein there is a new television show, created by the again memory wiped Martin Lloyd, based on SG-1’s adventures. Well, all right.

Satellites pick up a ship headed towards Earth. The SG-1 team suspects it is the ship that was carrying Martin Lloyd and his cohorts away from a Goa’uld attack. They have three days in which to find Martin before the ship arrives. They discover he now has a job in Hollywood consulting on a science fiction television show called “Wormhole X-Treme” The show bears a striking resemblance to SG-1’s real adventures.

The military decides the show is a good idea because they can use it as plausible deniability if any aspect of the real stargate program is compromised. Jack becomes the Air Force consultant on the show in order to find Martin. It turns out he has had his memory wiped again. Jack enlists sam and Daniel to find out who has done it this time and why. It turns out to be no mystery. Martin was so upset upon learning his planet was destroyed, he did it to himself. His memory may have been wiped, but his subconscious gave him the inspiration to create Wormhole X-Treme based on his suppressed memories. Both his hidden alien cohorts and the NID are after him His cohorts only want to rendesvous with the ship and leave Earth permanently. Jack decides to help them do so ahead of their being captured by the NID.

That is pretty much it as far as the plot goes. Why the writers even bothered with the space ship subplot is beyond me. The entire purpose of the episode is for the creative staff to poke self-referential fun at itself and the series. I will admit some of the tweaks are funny. There are jokes about the zat’s stun, kill, disintegrate properties that I have had issues with in occasional reviews. The question of how the Tollan can phase through solid walls while not falling through the floor is brought up and quickly ignored. These points were amusing, but otherwise, the concept does not grab me. It looks like the production staff, who are doubling on screen as the production staff for Wormhole X-Treme are having a good time poking fun at themselves, but who wants to watch other people having fun? I do not relate to the pitfalls of producing a television show. This stuff does not mean a whole lot to me. Sitting through this episode is like fogging up a window to a house where a wild party you are not invited to is in full swing. No one wants to do that.

What is worse is the story is cut short in order to do a mockumentery of the making of Wormhole x-Treme in case you did not get enough during the actual episode. Well, I did, so where does that leave me? No longer wanting to stand at the window, for sure.

It does not help much the plot with martin and the space ship is so poorly thought out. Why did Martin’s cohorts leave him with the device they would need to return to the ship in the first place? You do not give something important you may need in the future to the one guy who not only does not see eye to eye with you, but has his memory wiped so you cannot predict what kind of life he is going to lead. Keep the darn thing amongst yourselves so you will always know where it is! Practically every character other than jack is underutilized to the point of near cameo. While it is kind of fun to see Jack and Martin reverse roles in an almost identical conversation to their first meeting when martin tries to convince Jack he is an alien, there is no much else there.

I am disappointed overall. There are some bright spots, but not enough to consider ’Wormhole X-Treme” a good episode. I hae mentioned before the powers that be like to experiment with stories to do things one would not expect given Stargate SG-1’s premise. I have generally been impressed with such experiments have turned out. Not this time. The 100th episode should be something more epic and meaningful for the series story arc. Not this.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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