Saturday, May 19, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Space Race"

It is one thing for Stargate SG-1 episodes to do stories similar to Star Trek episodes, but the powers that be are scrap9ng the bottom of the barrel when they copy an episode of VOY. The episode in question is “Drive,” in which main characters participate in a race in outer space which turns serious when a saboteur in revealed to be competing as well. “Space Race” is saved by not taking itself too serious…for the most part. I will get to that in a moment.

Warrick Finn, the Serrakin law enforcement agent from “Forsaken” shows up at SGC with a proposition--he wants a naquadah generator in exchange for a Serrakin ion drive in order to win a race for a lucrative contract from a company called Con Tech. Sam agrees, but only if she can be his copilor.

The race turns out to have not only deadly traps like laser cannons and excessive radiation from a nearby sun, but an unscrupulous business executive with Con tech named Tynan has sabotaged every ship except that of Muirios in order to ensure victory. Teal’c and Warrick’s brother, Eamon, pull a Lucy and Ethel to sneak into Con tech in order to expose Tynan. Ultimately, Warrick and sam are unable to win, but they do sabotage Muirios enough so someone else can. Warrick winds up getting a job with the winner, so there is a happy ending.

I said above “Space Race” does not take itself too seriously. It does not. The actual race is a deadly competition, for one. The race is interrupted by satirical sports announcers and commercials. Teal’c and Eamon dress in costumes that resemble bellhops and claim to be cousins distantly removed in order to sneak into Con Tech. all that is good and amusing. Then we hit Tynan’s motivation for cheating-- he believes the Serrakin are killing off the human race by crossbreeding,. He wants to win the race so a pure blood human will earn the lucrative contact. Talk about throwing us a serious curve. Tynan is an excessively evil villain for such an otherwise light episode. Tynan does not ruin the episode by any means. Racists make good antagonists. He is just jarring when all things are considered.

"Space Race” is fun filler. It exists in order to allow sam to be both a techno geek and get in on some action. She rarely gets to do both at the same time. It might even be too frivolous for some. I used the term Lucy and Ethel in reference to Teal’c and eamond deliberately. “Space Race” is also the third episode in a row which prominently features one SG-1 team member while the others largely fade into the background. If the cast dynamic is what draws a fan to the show, he or she is enduring a rough patch in the seventh season.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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