Saturday, June 16, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Full Alert"

Ah, “Full Alert.” You are so ambiguous, yet cannot quite pull off all that you aspire to be. At least robert Kinsey earns his much deserved fate. Oh, and Heineken earns it prominent spot in product placement. It is the first one I have noticed since Krispey crème donuts were namedropped ten or so episodes back.

Disgraced former Vice President Kinsey shows up at Jack’s house to warn him the Trust, whom Kinsey with has now fallen out of favor, have a plan to use him to contact Gen. Kiseley, the head of the Russian military, through Kinsey for some nefarious purpose. Kinsey offers Jack a chance to take down the Trust. Reluctantly, Jack agrees to eavesdrop on the meeting between Kinsey and the Trust to uncover their plan, but it gets wrong when the trust kidnap Kinsey and disappear on the stolen Goa’uld ship.

In what is assumed to be a related event, the Russian military begind mobilizing. Jack sends Daniel to Russia to soothe over any ruffled feathers. He arrives to discover Kinsey has been arrested for attempting to assassinate Kiselev. He has also been implanted with a Goa’uld in order to convince the Russians the American government has been taken over by the aliens. Hence, the heightened military alert. The American respond in kind.

What is really going on here is the Trust encountered Goa’uld after they fled capture by the SG-1 team a few episodes back. The Goa’uld were not too happy about those millions of casualties from the symbiote poison the trust administered. They implanted symbiotes in every member of the trust and hatched a plan to spark off a war between the United Sates and Russia. Once the war had devastated the planet, they would take the Ancient weapon from Antarctica and use it to defeat Ba’al.

The twist is that Kiselev is a Goa’uld, too, so they only needed Kinsey to legitimize the plan, not to actually start the war. With Kinsey in Russian custody for attempted assassination. “Kiselev” has his excuse to launch a preemptive strike against the United States. The war is averted when sam notes Kiselev’s glaucoma has been cured, and that is enough to convince the Russian president he is a Goa’uld. Kiselev is apprehended, so no nukes are launched. Goa’uld Kinsey winds is blown up on the Goa’uld ship by the Prometheus, so that is that.

Seriously, that is that. The whole affair ends so abruptly, one wonders if the writing staff just gave up on it. We spend the entire episode with out heroes attempting to avoid a MAD nuclear missile attack only to have the entire matter resolved over the radio when the Russian president is convinced Kiselev is a Goa’uld because he no longer wears his glasses due to glaucoma. Naturally, a missile launch cannot happen because of that whole MAD thing, so there has to be a peaceful resolution. But the absolute last minute saving of the day, not to mention the glaucoma rationale, feels anticlimactic.

Another issue causing the episode to seem smaller than it should is that, like Ares in the previous episode, pivotal characters like Kiselev and the Russian president are never seen. Even that might not be so bad if there were minor characters who could have been cut out, such as Daniel’s interrogator, in favor of hiring an actor to play Kiselev or the prez even if it is merely to put a face with the name. Stargate SG-1 is a television show, not a stage play. The powers that be cannot just imply all sorts of actions by major players and never show any of it. Television is a visual medium.

I kind of get the feel the powers that be also wanted to give Kinsey a send off prior to wrapping up the season/series arc, but were not entirely certain how to do so. It does seem fitting that, since many of his actions against Sgc would have resulted in a Goa’uld takeover of Earth if successful he should become a host, but just blowing him up along with the Goa’uld ship is not particularly inspired. Oh, well. His character arc was going downhill anyway.

“Full alert” tries to do a lot with very little. Dangling plot threads are resolved way too quickly and conveniently. So much so that any tension built up with the looming threat of nuclear annihilation fizzles. The result pains me. I am a sucker for big doomsday stories, but this one does not deliver.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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