Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Evolution, Part II"

“Evolution, Part II" concludes the dual storyline begun in the first part with surprisingly solid results. Surprisingly because of some weak points in introducing the conflicts. If nothing else, at least Jack plays an active, heroic role in the story as he rescues Daniel and lee from the rebels.

Before I start reviewing part one, a note about part one. Daniel and Lee were in Nicaragua when Honduran rebels captured them to hold for ransom in order to fund a war with their government. The rebels took them from Nicaragua to Honduras. I think I got that backwards in yesterday’s review. Or maybe sideways. The problem is the border between Honduras and Nicaragua is a no man’s land. There is a border dispute between the two countries and the Honduran rebels in particular cross at will and hide out. They really do snatch foreign workers and tourists for ransom to fund their campaigns because, as noted in the episode, they have Bay of Pigs era weapons given to them by Cuba and could use upgrades. Well, as far as they are concerned. Neither the Honduran government, nor Cuban backed rebels are anyone you would want controlling the country. But I digress. The take away is who kidnapped Daniel and lee and where they took them was not made all that clear in yesterday’s review. Mea culpa. It is all clear as mud now, right?

The US government is not going to pay the ransom, but it will authorize Jack to join a Cia operative to rescue the two. Naturally, Jack has a history with Agent Burke. He was discharged from the Air force over a friendly fire incident. Jack is wary enough of Burke to forego his help in favor of a local guide, but Burke eventually catches up and convince Jack he can trust him by revealing the truth about the friendly fire incident. The soldier in question, a friend of both Burke and Jack, was working for a mercenary. When his true loyalties were discovered, he went to kill Burke, but Burke shot first. He covered up the truth so the soldier’s wife could collect his pension while still believing he was a hero.

Daniel and Lee are tortured by rebel leader Raphael to reveal what the Ancient device is. Lee cannot take it, and spills everything. Raphael believes him and turns the device on. I suppose it is possible these Hondurans are superstitious enough to believe such legends without question, but it feels odd the truth is so readily accepted.

The device acts as a sarcophagus does, so soon Raphael develops the psychotic high of a Goa’uld. He even kills one of his men for questioning him. The rebel is revived from the dead because of his close proximity to the device, so he gives Jack and Burke something other worldly to deal with during the rescue. Burke takes him out with a grenade launcher. I do not know if Burke will show up again, but he is colorful enough to lead me to suspect the writers might be trying to make him into the next Maybourne.

Meanwhile, Sam, Teal’c, Jacob/Selmak, and Bra’tac sneak onto the Kull warrior factory planet to discover Anubis scanned Jonas’ mind and discovered fron Egeria how to get a Queen to create mindless symbiotes in order to make perfectly loyal soldiers. Geez, I know Jonas is not very popular, but he has been gone half a season. Do you really have to come up with new reasons to kick him in the ribs? Our heroes sabotage the operation, but Anubis still has thousands of those nigh invincible Kull warriors at his command.

The Honduran rescue mission dominates the episode. So much so, it is easy to forget the consequences of the mission to destroy the Kull warriors will be devastating if it fails. It should also be noted the Kull warrior story dominated part one to the point Daniel and Lee’s kidnapping by the Honduran rebels came as an almost laughably absurd development from left field. No pun intended their on the political leanings of the rebels. Perhaps the five month hiatus offered some time to course correct. I notice Peter DeLuise’s name is on this script in addition to the writers from part one. Maybe he got the story straightened out.

Whatever the case, I think part two is more solid than part one. I even enjoyed some hints of the old MacGyver days, which are probably intentional. Is there not an episode in which he rescued a scientist from Basque separatists? I believe there is. The Ancient device turning Rapjael and his henchmen into psycho zombie soldiers is a nice science fiction touch. Perhaps more attention could have been paid to the Kull soldier story, and I certainly wonder why they had to bring Jonas back into it, but that is not enough of a detriment to complain about. Shippers take note--Jack invites sam to lunch in the final scene.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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