Monday, June 18, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Reckoning, Part I"

“Reckoning, Part I” looks to be the first of a two part and an epilogue “trilogy” that will spell the defeat of the Goa’uld and Replicators Obviously, that means a lot has to happen in a relatively short period of time. This being being the first part, the episode is mostly set up that has to convince a viwer to come back for more. It does so with an apocalyptic undertones. I use the term apocalyptic deliberately due to some thinly veiled biblical allegory.

The Replicators enter our galaxy and launch an all out assault on the Goa’uld. RepliCarter, renamed from Replicator Sam at the suggestion of Blog of the Nightfly, personally kills Yu, which leaves Ba’al as supposedly the last Goa’uld standing. But ba’al will not be standing for long. He does not know how to fight the Replicators. They are rapidly defeating his forces and absorbed the technology. The defeat of the Goa’uld is certain within a few weeks. Then the Replicators will turn their attention to the human populations.

The Replicators only have one obstacle in their way. Thanks to RepliCart’s ruse a few episodes back, the replicators have an immunity to the Ancient weapon that nearly destroyed them earlier, but RepliCarter fears another may be out there. She stages an ambush out in space in order to kidnap Daniel so she can pick his brain for Ancient knowledge buried in his noggin for the time he was ascended. So yes, Daniel is probably going to die. Again.

Jacob/Selmak arrives to offer Jack the lowdown on the situation. With the rRplicators looking unstoppable, many of the rebel Jaffa are considering them a plague sent to punish them from turning away from their Goa’uld gods and so are Repledging their loyalty to Ba’al. what is left of the rebellion is completely demoralized. They will be of no use unless Thor, with the help of Sam, can develop a new weapon that can defeat the Replicators. They do, but it only works once before the Replicators adapt. Conventional warfare appears doomed to failure.

I said above there are biblical undertones in much of the plot for “Reckoning, Part I.” Let me clarify that this is not Left Behind, but more of a college junior who set through a Comparative Religions class as an elective. I have already mentioned the Replicators a divine plague. It is no coincidence some of the mechanical Replicators look like flies and locusts, two of the plagues brought on Egypt in the book of Exodus. Bra’tac suggests focusing what is left of the Jaffa rebellion on conquering the holy site of Dakara. It is allegedly the planet upon which Anubis rose from the dead. No Jaffa has ever been there and survived, but with Ba’al’s forces fighting Replicators, the rebels can and do take Dakara. Meanwhile, it is revealed Anubis has ’resurrected’ into a new host. His plan is an assault on Dakara to finish off the rebel once and for all . Once that is done, Anubis will tear Dakara aprt looking for an Ancient weapon hidden there that can defeat the replicators. Daniel has inadvertently revealed the location of the weapon to RepliCarter while she posed as Oma in his mind. Daniel is the Christ figure here. He is being tortured before his inevitable death. RepliCarter is tempting him as Satan did during jesus Forty days and nights of fasting.

The big question here is who represents Satan// it is pointless to delve too deeply into the issue since the next episode should clarify the matter. I am going to call it Anubis representing Satan leading his forces in the battle of Armageddon because he wants to use the hidden Ancient weapon to destroy all life other than his own, which gels with the idea satan knows he is doomed and wants to take as many people into damnation with him as possible. RepliCarter has hints of eve as temptress hoping to lead men astray to suit her own desires. Ultimately, it look like daniel and Anubis confronting each other on a spiritual level for the final battle. All parties are converging on Dakara for the Final Battle.

If you really want to dig into Pre-Millennialist theology, The Gog and Magog of Ezekial and Revelations have been theorized as China throughout various poinrs in history. The theory gained much popularity among Christian scholars as the Mongols wreaked havoc, but has fallen out of favor by most any theologian who is not clinging to cold war paranoia. Regardless, Gog and Magog are said to be the agressors in one of the end times battles of good and evil. Draw your own conclusions about Yu’s involvement in “Reckoning, Part I.” The book of Ezekial was written centuries after the Yellow Emperor ruled China. But who is counting?

How about three lighter points of interest? One, I made a list of famous guests stars this season in the previous review without knowing Isaac Hayes was going to show up as a rebel Jaffa leader insisting the Goa’uld suck on his Chocolate Salty Balls. A inadvertent oversight on my part. Two not only do Amanda Tapping and Michael Shanks play dual roles, but they play off each other in both. Daniel is held captive by RepliCarter and Sam teams up with Thor is develop a weapon against the Replicators. Finally, this is the first time Earth, the Tok’ra, the Jaffa, and the Asgard all appear together.

“Reckoning, Part I’ does a very good job of establishing the gloom and doom of an impending hopeless battle. The powers that be managed to pack in a lot of stuff while still juggling it well. The episode stands well on its own, too. In particular, it revisits sam’s guilt over RepliCarter’s actions representing a dark, suppressed part of her own personality.

I have rambled on enough. I am on a sugar high at the moment, folks. Sugar cookies. good snacking at four AM. “Reckoning, PartI’ is one of the most intense episodes of the season. The anticipation it builds up for the conclusion is unbearably tense. I just hope the conclusion lives up to its screw tightening set up.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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