Sunday, May 20, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Avenger 2.0"

“Avenger 2.0” is a (long awaited?) follow up to “The Other Guys.” Felger, the screw up scientist obsessed with both the SG-1 team’s exploits and the umpteenth guy infatuated with Sam, returns for another adventure. I have issues with the tone and scope of the episode, but it is what is.

After his latest invention blows out all the power at SGC, Felger is given 24 hours to come up with something usable after six months of failure or he is fired. Felger comes up with a virus that can disrupt a stargate from dialing home. Sam, taking some pity on Felger, works with him to perfect the virus. They decide to use it on a stargate on a planet with one of Ba’al’s major naquadah mining operations. The virus seemingly works too well. Felger has managed to shut down the entire stargate network.

The stargate network shutdown explains the general absence of the other SG-1 team members. Daniel appears on video only because he is stranded on a flooding planet. Jack and Teal’c are stranded at a rebel Jaffa conference that turns hostile I can barely justify mentioning Teal‘c. He appears in one scene and has zero dialogue in it. “Avenger 2.0‘ continues the pattern of the last four episodes of dwelling almost exclusively on one character. There were two Daniel episodes in a row. Now there are two Sam-centric installments. Was the production schedule rushed during the seventh season to the point the cast could not have managed to be featured prominently in each episode/ I am aware there was the notion seven seasons was going to be it, so maybe the cast had to be greatly accommodated for another go around, but the spotlight manner of the last few episodes has felt strange. I hope it is merely an odd patch of road.

The true heart of the story is not even Sam. It is Felger. He is a hapless sad sack who can never catch a break. Even Sam loses patience with him at one point, but finally comes around for good when he comes up with a workable solution. Felger also gets taken off the hook when it is revealed his virus initially worked, but Ba’al modified it in order to gain a strategic advantage over the other System Lords. (His larger fleet overwhelms the others since they can no longer use stargates to move Jaffa and materiel. ) Felger’s absurd troubles and over the top panic attacks make the episode.

But the humor has a lot to overcome. The regular cast is virtually non-existent. Major arc developments, such as troubles within the Jaffa rebellion and Ba’al’s consolidation of power, are revealed through exposition. I can appreciate budget saving, but wow. Why not do a Star Wars--esquer opening scrawl on a desktop PC and save even more cash? It is incredibly awkward to throw out so much stuff into what amounts to a filler episode that barely features any of the main characters.

The bottom line is the episode does not feel quite right when considered with what has gone before, but it is amusing enough to watch. As I have said before in recent reviews, if the dynamic of the main character interactions is why you like Stargate SG-1, you are still wandering down a lonely road here.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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