Sunday, June 3, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"New Order, Part I"

I have a sneaking suspicion parts one and two of “New Order” should be viewed as a two hour movie, but I am going to forego that to yet again avoid an overly long review. Besides, I have a stronger suspicion part two is good enough to battle those Monday morning blues. There is a lot to like about part one, as well, even though it is mostly set up for the second episode.

“New Order, Part I” deals with the aftermath of Anubis’ defeat. Many countries have taken notice the United States has a weapon that just defeated an alien invasion and are wondering what is up with that? As a result, the Ancient device in Antarctica has been closed off to the military as a sign of good faith. That has, however, left Jack trapped in stasis. Sam wants to contact the Asgard to save jack’s mind the same way they did last time, but it takes two tries to convince Weir the trip is worth the risk. Sam and Teal’c fly to Hala, the planet upon which the Human Replicators are stalled in time, in the hopes the otherwise non-responsive Asgard will find them.

Meanwhile, daniel is forced to stay behind because he needs to be around to translate the Ancient for any possible cure for Jack. His being left behind is astoundingly convenient, because the System Lords contact SGC. They now know the united states has a weapon that defeated Anubis and they are wondering what is up with that? In reality, Ba’al, true to his Goa’uld nature, has swooped in and assumed control of what is left of Anubis’ forces and the other want Earth to use the new weapon to kick his rear end. Weir and Daniel work the negotiations without letting the System Lords know the weapon was probably a one shot deal. Negotiations fall apart when weir demands Earth take over all of Ba’al’s stuff when he is defeated. The System lords call the bluff and prepare to attack Earth.

The most compelling aspects of the episode is the effort to contact the Asgard. Sam and Teal’c arrive at Hala’s location only to find a black hole. Thor rescues them before their ship is torn apart. He reveals the time device was not a permanent solution, so the Asgard artificially created a wormhole to destroy the Human Replicators. The Human Replicators have managed to escape, and there is a confrontation on Thor’s ship which leads to Sam being beamed over as a prisoner by Fifth.

Fifth is angry at the betrayal he faced at the SG-1 team’s hands. He does not know it was Jack’s idea to trick him. Sam did not want to go along with the plan. Again, we have Jack making a morally questionable decision regarding the Repliators. Unlike destroying Reese, this one comes back to haunt with a vengeance. What is interesting is Sam genuinely is upset over her betrayal of Fifth. She is an empathetic soul, no? Fifth is so in tuned with his human aspects that he has the natural reaction to betrayal--a bitterly angry thirst for revenge. I do not believe all is exactly as it seems, however. While fifth appears to be torturing Sam being reading her mind, he becomes sympathetic to her pain as she breaks down emotionally. I am aware at some point a Replicator Sam shows up. A hunch says fifth is yet another stalker type who has a ting for sam and creates a Replicator version of her for himself. That is kind of creepy.

You know what else is kind of creepy?
Fifth looks a lot like John Mayer. Perhaps he should have serenaded Sam with “Dreaming with a broken heart” instead of torturing her. He might have gotten a little further with her. Maybe even as far as “Your Body is a Wonderland,” if he is fortunate.

Torri Higginson takes over the role of Dr. Elizabeth Weir with “New Order, Part I.” As I figured, I like her portrayal much more than Jessica Steen’s. Higginson’s version is much tougher. She is the one who demands all of Ba’al’s wealth after his defeat, as a for instance. Such a bluff makes her a much more interesting character. In another point of casting, Michael Shanks fans should be jappy he plays four characters: Daniel, Thor, and Aegir. If you care at this point, Richard dean Anderson does not appear, Don S. Davis is no longer a regular, and Christopher Judge stops shaving his head.

As with any first part of a two part episode, the episode is difficult to rate without knowing the conclusion. The mark of a good set up episode is whether you want to return to see the conclusion, and I do. The cliffhanger involving the impending attack on Earth, which could come acrtoss as anticlimactic considering the seventh season finale, resonates anyway, as does the mystery of Sam’s fate. So “New Order, Part I” does its job well.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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