Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Summit"

“Summit” is the first of a two part episode which continues the glacially slow introduction of Anubis as a major villain. As the opening installment of a two part story, the episode is mostly set up for what one hopes will be a big pay off. There is a lot going on, however, including a steady build up of tension and big action sequences that help “Summit” stand on its own merits.

In the wake of Apophis and Cronus’ deaths, the remaining System Lords have come under attack from a mysterious and more powerful force they do not yet realize is Anubis. The Tok’ra learn the system Lords are gathering together for a summit to establish a new order under the circumstances. The want to send in Daniel, who speaks fluent Goa’uld, to administer a new poison at the summit which will kill every symbiote in attendance while leaving the host to perish later. Daniel is not keen on being a party to mass murder, particularly when Jacob/Selmak tell him this is a dry run for using the poison on every Goa’uld out there, but he agrees after nudging from Teal’c and hinted at memories of Sha’re’s fate.

Zipacna, like Tanith, has pledged loyalty to Anubis and urges Osiris to do so as well. Zipacna has uncovered a Tok’ra spy and knows both where their new home planet is and the poisoning plan. He and his forces plan to attack the planet while Osiris travels to the summit to expose the Tok’ra agent. That would, of course, be Daniel. Osiris hasSarah Gardner’s memories, so she can and does recognize him. For whatever reason, she does not blow his cover.

Meanwhile, two SG teams, including the one to which Lt. Kevin Elliott is assigned, are waiting with the Tok’ra for news of daniel’s success. Sam learns that Martouf’s symbiote, Lantesh, is alive and waiting for a new host. She is not happy Martouf was not saved, too. She should have counted her blessings, because when Zipacna’s forces attack, Lantash is forced to take the nearest human as a host. That winds up being Elliott, who is severely wounded in a cave in. Everyone winds up trapped underground when bombs force a cave in that blocks every means of escape.

I appreciate the creative way in which the usual philosophical battle between Daniel and Jack is handled. The tok’ra are pushing for mass genocide of the Goa’uld. It is a step so drastic, it gives Jack pause. In fact, when Jacob/Selmak spills the beans about the ultimate plan, he does not even give Jack time to respond before scurrying off to avoid any lectures. Daniel is put in way over his head. He does not want to be the catalyst for the poisoning at all, but is convinced his act will be for the greater good. The realization the Jaffa will be collateral damage makes him suffer second thoughts. He also hesitates to release the poison after Osiris arrives, presumably because he cannot bring himself to kill Sarah Gardner. The poor guy is put through the ringer here. Jack not necessarily so much, but both are being forced into each others’ roles for a time and not altogether comfortable with the reversal of fortunes.

Zipacna’s bombing raid on the Tok’ra planet features so really good CGI work for the budget. The explosions and pyrotechnics are a welcome contrast to the quiet cloak and dagger goings on at the Goa’uld summit.

‘Summit” is full of all sorts of geekery. Daniel is posing as the assistant of the System Lord Yu by use of the drug an alien used to convince SG-1 he was Lt. tyler a few episodes back. The Tok’ra planet Revanna is a reference to Revenna, the city from which Julius Caesar launched his attack on the Republic. Ba’al makes his first appearance. I am not certain why I never realized this before, but Zipacna is played by Kevin Durand, who is more famous to me as the psychopathic mercenary Keamy from Lost. considering the similarities between the two characters in terms of vicious attitudes, I have to now wonder if Durand did not get the role of Keamy because of how he played Zipacna. Anna-Louise Plowman makes another appearance as Sarah Gardner/Ositis. She is not only well know to Doctor Who fans, but is hot, too:“Summit” is highly entertaining on its own for an episode that builds up to the next. I definitely want to see the conclusion, so it does its job well. I have to say, though--after all the hype, Anubis’ actual in the flesh debut is going to have to be some kind of spectacular or else.

Rating; *** (out of 5)

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