Thursday, May 3, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Smoke and Mirrors"

Every now and then, Stargate SG-1 decides to put aside its uniqueness and copy the motif of another television series. We have already had The X-Files this season with “Nightwalkers,” and now with “Smoke and Mirrors,” we get NCIS. Okay, the episode aired too early to be an homage, but you will get the idea. Kack is framed for assassinating Sen. Robert Kinsey and the SG-1 team must uncover the conspiracy to clesr his name.

We have seen these cloak and dagger stories before with “Chain Reaction” and “Desperate Measures,”, both of which had Lack taking center stage. “Smoke and Mirrors” is Jack-light, but offers the rest of the SG-1 team to shine in a manner lacking in the earlier Jack-nonexistent “Night walkers.” Amanda Tapping in particular demonstrates why Sam should take a more prominent leadership role.

I used the word “conspiracy” above, but do not fret. I have only one Mulder and Scully reference coming. In spite of the basic plot--a rogue NID outfit uses alien technology to frame Jack for murdering Kinsey so they can take over SGC and acquire more alien technology tp patent and manufactures products from them--sounds as though it could fit right in with the show. What is more, Sam does her best Dana Scully as she teams up with NID Agent Malcolm Barrett, a guy who does like the above the law actions of certain NID elements, to bring the rogue cabal to justice. There is even a scene in which barrett is practically on top of Sam after they have had to jump out of the way of an explosion. For the briefest of moments, there is that underlying sexual tension from the early seasons of The X-Files--until Sam questions his action and gets am embarrassed stutter in response. Seriously, does everyone fall in love with Sam? Better question--does this mean Barrett is going to die like everyone else who falls for her?

Sam and Bareet’s investigation is the most interesting aspect of the episode, but I cannot discount Jonas and Teal’c’s contributions. For once, Jonas is a vital part of the team and he and Teal’c work together well as colleagues and peers. They are essentially the same--both exiled aliens--and the kinship between them ought to be stronger than it has been. Here they are finally friends working together to find an Area 51 scientist who faked his own death after stealing the alien imaging device from “Foothold” which allowed the assassin to look like Jack.

The plan to uncover the NID conspiracy works. Just in case you were hoping Kinsey was dead, he actually survived and was considered dead as part of the investigation. After his recovery, he gets credit for being a crusading, anti-corruption hero who shakes Jack’s hand at a press conference to clear his name and make him a hero, too. Kinsey believes he has ensured his election as President of the United States.

Alas, there is one major plot hole. Jack was in Minnesota fishing when Kinsey was assassinated two days ago. He droves from Colorado to Minnesota when he began his vacation. It is a trip that has to take the better part of a day. Does anyone think it is reasonable he could have driven from Minnesota to Washington DC , then back o Minnesota in order to hide the gun and on to Colorado in two days? It does not seem likely, but no one beings up the implausibility as a defense for Jack.

I am going to let the issues slide, however, because “Smoke and Mirrors” does everything else right. I especially like how there is never any doubt jack is innocent even though we see “him” shoot Kinsey in the teaser. The powers that be--ironic, since the story is by Katheryn Powers--have the good sense to keep jack on the side of angels throughout. It is also good to see sam and Teal’c so fired up in their adamant belief Jack is innocent because they know him well enough to understand there is no way he committed the crime even though the evidence is stacked against him. “Smoke and Mirrors” is quite good for an episode that does not always feel like Stargate SG-1.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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