Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Beachhead"

“Beachhead” is an exciting, special effects laden battle against the Ori which also swaps Claudia Black for Amanda Tapping as the female lead. I expect to see some low budget, Earthbound episodes down the pike, because it looks like they busted the budget on this one. No complaints, mind you. In fact, the impressive effects have me anticipating Stargate Atlantis a little more. I have been told there are some impressive space battles and such to be found on the show.

A Prior, ironically played by an actor named Ian Butcher, returns to the Jaffa planet Kallana to make good on his origin or sword threat. The Jaffa choose sword, so the prior kills them all, then establishes a force field around Kallana’s stargate. A minor Goa’uld named Nerus approaches Sgc with word of what has happened. He offers to aid them in preventing the Ori from gaining a foothold in the Milky Way. Nerus is adamant Kallana needs to be nuked, but Kandry chalks that up to his Goa’uld sensibilities and hopes for a a more peaceful solution. Prometheus packs a nuke, anyway.

Cam gets his wish to have the SG-1 team assembled again when Sam joins the mission. The director does all sorts of tricks to hide her baby weight. There are weird camera angles. She wears an oversized uniform. She is often sitting down or block by a computer console. Nevertheless, it is still obvious she recently gave birth. It is all right. I am just glad to have her back. It is surprising how much I have grown to like her character. For the longest time, Sam was the weak link who had nothing interesting to do other than serve as the token female. Blow up a sun, and all that changes.

The remainder of the episode is a fantastic mix of atmosphere and action. A personal favorite is the scene in which the SG-1 team has beamed onto the planet through a weak point in the expanding force field. The prior has altered Kallana’s environment to a toxic atmosphere, so they have to wear spacesuits. They set the nuke to thirty minutes, then warn the Prior the nuke will destroy everything in the force field when it detonates. The Prior shrugs and nonchalantly goes back to reading Origin while the SG-1 team stands around the nuke chatting nervously about the impending kaboom. Maybe it is the slow realization our heroes have just threatened to kill a religious fanatic who believes death means eternal enlightenment dwelling with the Ori that makes the scene so absurdly funny.

Gerac and the Free Jaffa show up to attack the force field, which gives our heroes a chance to escape. The nuke goes off, but it becomes quickly apparent that was the plan all along. Not for spiritual, eternal bliss reasons, but as a power source to expand the force field around the entire planet. Nerus, now a follower of origin, tricked them. Gerac is not much of a fan of humans anyway, so the established Ori stronghold thanks to an Earth nuke does not help matters. Things get even worse as the Ori establish a giant stargate capable of transporting an armada. Vala has an idea how to destroy it, but since no one is paying her any attention, she slinks off to put the plan in action herself. It works, but she disappears, most likely transported to the ori galaxy. At least she goes out a hero.

I have only a couple minor complaints about plot points that are a matter of convenience. One, Teal’c is staying at SGC as though he lives there. I am beginning to think there must have been an episode planned centering on Jaffa palace intrigue on Dakara that ultimately convinced Teal’c to return to Earth. It is obvious tensions with the Jaffa are increasing, and Teal’c does not appear to have much status within Gerac’s government. Could there have been an elaborating episode about the Jaffa that was scrapped in order to further utilize Claudia Black? If so, that might explain why the previous episode felt like a rush job. The other matter is how the bond between Vala and Daniel has conveniently worn off so her disappearance does not kill him. Nice timing.

“Beachhead” is the most interesting episode the ninth season has presented so far. There is an emotional satisfaction to seeing the cast reunited, too. The story is fast paced and action oriented. The special effects are extremely impressive. Not just in an eye candy sort of way, but properly establish atmosphere. The dark, poisoned atmosphere of Kallana, the expanding force field under attack, and the enormous ori stargate are all great. So id “Beachhead.” ,/p>Rating: *** (out of 5)

No comments:

Post a Comment