Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Memento"

“Memento” returns the series back to a much needed off world adventure without any stry arc drama to mire things down. There are no strange Christopher Nolan memory tricks, either, so sorry if there are any disappointments in that regard. ‘Memento” is a straightforward, few frills episode that still entertains.

On a shakedown cruise, the Prometheus’ naquadah drive overloads and ust be ejected. The ship makes it to the nearby planet Tangea, a planet known to have a non-responsive stargate, as though it is buried, in order to find and use the stargate. The planet’s leader, Ashwan, is eager to help find the stargate in the name of good relations with Tangea’s new friends, but the military command is wary. Tangea’s known history only goes back 300 years. Prior to that was a dark ages which presumably ended with the burial of the stargate. The military is not eager to dig it back up again.

Jonas and Teal’c encounter a professor of archeology while researching what little history is recorded and discover he has some artifacts which point to the Goa’uld Heru’ur having taken humans to Tangea as slaves. Jonas surmises Heru’ur abandoned the place once its resources were depleted. The people then destroyed all reminders of his existence, including the stargate. They discover it is buried in the middle of the desert just outside the city and dig it up.

The military creates a standoff. Their leaders are fearful SG-1 will return with reinforcement to conquer the planet. Ashwan ends the stand off with Picard=esque speech about the future being…out there. A little hokey, particularly considering Ashwan comments to Jack he has been perceived as weak on defense and gets pushed around by the military commander throughout the episode. It helps that if ashwan’s speech failed to motivate, the Prometheus is ready to mow the military down on Jack’s command. Let us be idealistic and say certain death other than standing down had nothing to do with the happy ending, shall we?

Ashwan is played by Robert Foxworth. He has apparently changed his mind about plotting coups in order to prevent alien influence on his home planet since his days of playing Adm. Lawton on Deep Space Nine and Kir’shara on Enterprise. Marrying the executive producer of Dancing with Stars must have mellowed him out since his Star Trek appearances.

Director Peter Deluise forgoes his usual cameo and includes a character named Peter DeLuise instead. His namesake is the Prometheus’ navigator.

There is not much to “Memento,“ but it is not bad by any means. Depending on your perspective--Ashwan gave an effective speech or the military decide to stand down rather than die en masse--the ending can either strike you as corny or unintentionally hilarious. Whichever the case, it is amusing. Also amusing is how obviously the desert environment is green screened. Ashwan, SG-1, and the military leadrship are standing together in a small circle surrounded by still images of military holding guns on them and never, ever moving. Not a single one of them throughout the entire sequence. It is one of those effects in which you can obviously see the actors in focus are not part of the surrounding environment anyway, but made worse by the completely still background. I do not consider this a flaw by any means. It amuses me more than anything else. I can appreciate what an ambitious show attempts to do with a relatively small.

Rating; *** (out of 5)

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