Thursday, June 21, 2012

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

Two things come to mind upon watching “Moebius, Part I.” The first is a sense fans are correct in claiming the preceding trilogy is would be a more fitting end for the reign of the original four SG-1 members. The second is the finale should have been two hours. I am not certain without having seen the conclusion yet, but the payoff could even be an average episode and still elevate the anemic first part. There ain’t much going on here, folks, other than the main cast hamming it up either sneaking around ancient Egypt incognito or playing alternate versions of themselves.

Daniel gets word that Catherine Langford has died. He is approached at the funeral by Catherine’s niece, whom he appears to develop a quick crush on. While it is a cad for taking an obvious shine to her before her aunt’s body is even in the ground, she resembles Sarah Gardner. The similarity is a nice touch, not to mention a reminder Sarah was supposedly someone Daniel deeply cared for before she was dropped from the series like a bad habit. Langford left Daniel her entire archeological collection. As Daniel shifts through it, he makes an incredible discovery. There is a ZPM in Ra’s old temple in 3,000BC. This ZPM can power earth’s defenses, contact Atlantis, and probably get free HBO. The SG-1 team needs to recover it.

Efforts to find it now come up short. Ra took his digs with him, so the ZPM could be anywhere. But they know the ZPM was there in 3000BC. With the ancient time machine, they can retrieve it strangely enough, Sam thinks traveling back through time is worth the risk if they can keep a low profile. Since the ZPM remained a secret, taking it should not cause any problems. This what could go wrong attitude ought to give you pause, particularly when Sam herself makes reference to Ray Bradbury’s short story ’A Sound of Thunder” in which a man travels to prehistoric times and alters the future by stepping on a butterfly. Small changes can have huge, unpredictable consequences. Sure enough, something bad happens. Our heroes snatch the ZPM without any problems, but Ra’s Jaffa capture the Ancient time ship. They become stranded in 3,000 BC.

Traveling back in time and tip toeing through ancient Egypt trying to not screw up the timeline is one thing, but Daniel brings a camcorder with him in order to record a message in the hopes it will be recovered in the future. Otherwise, our heroes decide to live out the rest of their lives in ancient Egypt. Presumably because they really did not think this whole plan through. An alternate timeline is created in which the stargate is never discovered because ra took it with him after the human rebellion, so our heroes never come together. They are living their lives as different kinds of people.

Okay, let us get the Grandfather Paradox problem out of the way. If the SG-1 team travels to ancient Egypt and alters the future to where there is no SGC, then they could never have gone back to ancient Egypt in the first place. There is no starting point, so how can all this be happening? Any time travel story has to be taken with a certain grain of salt, but some problems with the concept are harder to tolerate than others.

The intention is for us to go with it unquestioned because of how absurdly the rest of the episode plays out. Daniel is a disgraced archeologist teaching English as a second language while wearing a hairpiece worse than Adam Sandler’s from The Wedding Singer . Sam is a secretary with a Ph D in astrophysics because she lacks moxy. Jack is Jimmy Buffett with a thic Minnesotan accent. Michael Shanks and Amanda Tapping are clearly having a ball playing the nebbish alternate versions of their characters. I am all but certain they are lightly mocking some fans they have encountered at past conventions. Working together, sans Jack, they discover thet discover the location of the other stargate in Antarctica, but are not going to be allowed on the mission through it. Too be continued.

“Moebius, Part I” has its heart in the right place. It wants to be a bookend not juat for the series, but the original film that spawned it. It has been years since I have seen the original film, but I do not recall it being so…goofy. ’Moebius, Part I” is funny and entertaining, but it feels more like a two part episode that should have come in the middle of a random season, not as the sign off for the series as it has been for the last eight years. Maybe part Ii will surprise me. I already have a hint rom Jack’s renewed anger towards Ra that the SG-1 team probably plays a big part in the rebellion that topples Ra. If so, I may change my mind about the story. As it is, events do not feel all that epic.

Rating; *** (out of 5)

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