Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Nightwalkers"

Let me drag the dead horse I have named Mulder out the barn and beat him a little more. After noting the similarities to The X-Files in the previous episode, here we have a full blown script from the series with Stargate SG-1 characters cut and pasted in. “Nightwalkers” features a small town in the Pacific Northwest where the townspeople have been secretly taken over by alien parasites from a government project gone wrong. In short, this ain’t Stargate SG-1, and it would only count as a mediocre effort for The X-Files.

Speaking of "Nightwalkers" not being Stargate SG-1, it is the first episode to not feature any characters from the original film. Richard Dean Anderson sits this one out due to his more prominent role in the next episode. I would count Michael Shanks as having departed, but he features as a guest star in the next episode, too. Perhaps that the focus on Jack and Daniel is to make up for their absence.

The introductory paragraph pretty much laid the story all out. A research scientist named Fleming calls Sam in the middle of the night to warn her about Adrian Conrad’s symbiote, but is apparently murdered before he can elaborate. Ly keen powers of observation. The SG-1 team travels to a small town in Oregon to investigate. More to the point, the SG-1 team rides into a small, quirky town radiating uber coolness with their leather jackets and sunglasses four years before Torchwood hit the airwaves. Just sayin’.

The mystery unravels at an incredibly slow place and even then only because of an implausible coincidence and Jonas’ unusually keen powers of observation. The townspeople appear to be fumbling through their days as though they have not gotten enough sleep. At night, they are wandering around as though they are completely different people. The truth is, they have cloned symbiotes within them, but the clones are so weak, they can only take over when the host is asleep. They have been spending their nights secretly building a spaceship so they can leave earth. Which is all well and good, but only Jonas notices any of the weird behavior and SG-1 just happens to be investigating Flemming’s home when the vaccine that kills the cloned symbiotes is delivered.

I cannot stress the absurdity of that last point enough. Flemming had a vaccine that kills the cloned symbiotes. Instead of using it on himself--he was taking drugs to stay awake--he shipped it to his home address to arrive days later. Sam happened to be the one to sign for the package. The vaccine conveniently is there for her to use in avoiding being infected with a cloned symbiote herself so she could turn the tables on the bad guys in the end. Why did flemming not use the vaccine on himself and how lucky is it Sam just happens to be at his home when the vaccine is delivered?

If you want to buy those pints as acceptable contrivances for the sake of the plot, all right. But then you have to take into account the cloned symbiotes’ plan. All they planned to do was build a space ship and leave. That would involve kidnapping the townspeople, but still not all that sinister a plan. But when they discover the Nid is watching them, they decide to blend cloned symbiotes with agents in order to take over the NID. When Sam is apparently blened, they are inspired to take over SGC, too. These guys do not exactly think big until an opportunity is staring them right in their faces. The cloned symbiotes could be far more menacing than the plot allows.

“Nightwalkers” is not horrible, but disappointing. It goes without saying the episode does not feel like Stargate SG-1. I imagine there will be some lasting consequences. Our heroes not have a potential vaccine and a partially built spaceship, but otherwise, “Nightwalkers” is forgettable filler. It is cool to see sam take charge for once, so there is a point in the episode’s favor, but as far as the Earthbound, non-SGC centered stories go, this one ranks at the bottom.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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