Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Descent"

“Descent” is the first full adventure with Jonas as a member of the SG-1 team. Being the redheaded stepchild of the group, that means he is cast aside until riding in to save the day. One assumes he finally proves himself to Jack. The episode is straightforward adventure with odd elements thrown in that appear to be an assurance to the audience this is the same show on Sci f that it was on Showtime. Elaboration is forthcoming.

A Goa’uld mothership appears over earth. After everyone has changed their underwear and reaffirmed their religious affiliations, the SG-1 team arrives with Jacob/Selmak and Maj. Davis to check it out. I can figure they needed Jacob to bring a tok’ra ship to get them there, although I assume they still have the cargo ship from the previous season, but I cannot see davis there for any other reason than playing on the running joke he only shows up when a disaster occurs. (Fans have nicknamed him Major Disaster.) It is a stretch to have a Tok’ra and the Pentagon liaison on this mission, but I assume they are thrown in there to bridge the network jump.

Speaking of bridging the network jump, the mothership is the same one Anubis was holding thor prisoner. Since it is now abandoned, but still in working order save for a stalled self-destruct countdown, it is assumed Thor’s mind was able to take over the ship after Anubis downloaded his mind into the computer system. The little guy must have driven them off with a virus. Oddly enough, there is an occasional garbled announcement runing through the speakers of the ship which has enough hints of Thor’s voice the audience can identify it long before the characters do. Never actually hearing the voice clearly is a clever way to get around not having Michael Shanks around to provide it.

Matters are cmplicated when it is discovered a handful of Jaffa are still onboard. They are eventually defeated by teal’c and Jonas when they sneak over to Jacob/Selmak’s ship, but they have sabotaged the mothership for a crash landing. The ship goes down just south of Alaska. Everyone survives, tsunami damage to Russia and China is glossed over, and only Jacob/Selmak suffers the bends. Okay…

Truth be told, there is not a whole lot of drama involved in the SG-1 team’s plight. The splashdown is spoken of, but not seen on screen. A submarine rescue is imminent. There only trouble run into is when jack and Sam are trapped in a flooding room and are rescued when the door automatically opens after a properly dramatic time submerged. It is at this point they realize the ship us being controlled by Thor’s mind, not a virus created by him. They opt to take the computer memory with them so Thor’s mind can be placed in a cloned body, but get trapped again in their escape. Jonas comes to the last minute rescue, thereby proving himself a vital member of the team. Even Jsck thinks so. Woo hoo!

It is still early in the game, but I am having a hard time warming up to Jonas. Jack, sam, and Teal’c tend to keep him at a distance because they do not want to think of him as a replacement for Daniel. I can appreciate the sentiment for a while, but I assume career military personnel handle these things more maturely than these guys are. It is said repeatedly Daniel has been gone for months now. Look at things from Jonas’ perspective. He saved the entire planet in the previous episode. Throughout this one, he is complaining to Teal’c about his guilt over Daniel making the sacrifice he should have made. Nor whining exactly, but pointing out the absurdity of how he is being treated. When Jonas finally gets his chance, he risks his life to save the others. It is lik he is not suicidal, necessarily, but needs some battle scars he has to suffer a loss to prove he is worthy. If he is not accepted as an integral part of the team now, I am going to be extremely disappointed. Our heroes--Lonas included--are being way too emotionally immature for my taste.

Ugh..I almost hate mentioning this, but director Peter DeLuise makes a cameo as Lt. Dagwood. Considering the name and the submariner theme of the episode, he is offering a nod to SeQuest DSV. Come on, man. 21 Jump Street was a far better show. How about a nod to that every now and them?

“Descent” is an entertaining episode even though it is clearly designed to prove the show is going on as usual now that it is aired on Sci Fi instead of Showtime. I half expected to see Maybourne and Kinsey show up just to prove they are still around. If it sounds like I am being harsh, I am not trying to be. It is quite amusing to see how much the powers that be packed in. If Jonas is now a full fledged, well accepted character, then the episode is successful.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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