Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Gemini"

“Gemini” is our first look at Replicator Sam in action. You will have to excuse the Replicator Sam moniker. Fans generally call her Replicator Carter, but I have established referencing the characters by their first names. It does not feel right to stop now. What does feel right is turning Replicator Sam into the villainous driving force behind the Replicators. The development not only introduces a fearsome new antagonist, but offers a chance to explore some of the negative aspects of Sam’s nature she keeps under control.

Replicator sam makes contact with SGC claiming she has escaped from fifth, because she is so much like the real Sam, and wants to help them destroy his plan to take over the galaxy. Replicator Sam says fifth has developed an immunity to the Ancient weapon that can destroy Human Replicators Fifth, allegedly sensing her betrayal, did not make her immune, too. She wants to be destroyed rather than watch fifth be victorious. The real Sam believes she has enough of a connection to Replicator Sam to work with her in modifying the Ancient weapon against Fifth’s new defense. Nevertheless, they meet and work at the Alpha site out of mistrust and to have an excuse for Richard Dean Anderson to not appear much outside of the first act.

The twists in the plot are what truly make “Gemini” good. It is very plausible Replicator Sam is telling the truth from the beginning. She is exactly like the real Sam, and the real Sam rejected Fifth. Later, it is revealed Replicator Sam is still loyal to Fifth. He has not developed an immunity to the Ancient weapon. He wants Replicator Sam to work with her real counterpart to come up with one. There are twinges of doubt during Replicator Sam’s ruse that imply the moral aspects she possesses from the real Sam are causing her to doubt her actions. In the end, we get the ultimate twist--Replicator Sam betras fifth and SGC by developing the immunity and then killing fifth in order to take over the Replicators herself.

I will confess I did not see the final twist coming. I was expecting Replicator Sam to have a change of heart and make a noble sacrifice of herself in order to defeat Fifth. It is a relief such a corny turn of events did not come about. Replicator Sam is not only an inspired antagonist, but I like the implications for Sam. Replicator Sam is her unrestrained id. Replicator Sam does everything the real Sam wishes she could, except the real Sam does not even know these are her desires. Replicator sam knows deceit, betrayal, and desire for power without any concern or remorse. Sam realizes these negative aspects must reside within her for Replicator Sam to revel in them, and the realization troubles her. Predictably, Sam retreats into science for comfort after catching a glimpse of herself in the dark mirror.

It is interesting how we have now seen the dark side of three of the four main characters. When Daniel was given the Goa’uls genetic secrets in a dream sequence, he took over the world with them. When teal’c was revived by apophis, he took his place as Apophis’ First Prime and was prepared to commit atrocities in his name. Now Replicator Sam shows us what the real Sam would be like without a conscience. We have never seen Jack get a similar treatment. One wonders if that is because Jack allows his dark side to roam on a long leash. Considering many of the extreme, often immoral acts he has taken in the past under the rationale of the greater good as he saw it or even just following orders, the idea is a valid one. Jack is Chaotic Good, in the role playing lingo

But I digress. “Gemini” is a highly entertaining episode. In hindsight, it corrects the problem of Fifth shortcomings as a villain. Certainly, one motivated by the anger of betrayal can be a dangerous foe, but not necessarily a mastermind. Fifth is a little boy mad because an adult woman will not love him back. Replicator Sam fixes all that while demonstrating the real Sam has some extremely dark desires buried within her. Comics fans might note this storyline is similar to and is correcting the major flaw in the Onslaught storyline from the X-Men. That storyline supposedly featured Professor X’s darkest thoughts manifesting themselves in an evil being called Onslaught when it turned out to be the mind wiped Magneto returning. The fact the true villain was Magneto took away what could have been a fascinating look into the psychological make up of the “good” Professor x and turned it into a cheap super villain romp. I prefer the idea we can really explore what makes sam tick here. I hope the powers that be do not blow it.

Peter DeLuise has totally redeemed himself rom his last couple of feeble scripting efforts. “Gemini” is quite a start to the latter half of the eighth season.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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