Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Lockdown"

Stargate SG-1 has already been forced to fall back on not only a budget saving bottle show, but the old plot of aliens possessing members of SGC. A lockdown is forced. Paranoia ensues as no one can trust anyone else is not possessed by the alien. The plot may be old, but at least “Lockdown’ adds enough unique elements to make the episode a part of the current story arc.

Cosmonauts aboard the international space station--although their mission patches all say Mir--are sifting through the debris of Anubis’ ship when contact is lost for a few moments. Shift ahead a couple weeks when Col. Alexi Vaselov, a friend of one of the cosmonauts, arrives at his new assignment--SGC. When contact was lost with the cosmonauts, Anubis, in his mist/energy form, passed into him, then Vaselov, with the intention of using the stargate to escape Earth. Anubis’ plan is uncovered, but no one knows who he is possessing at any given moment. Paranoia ensues as Anubis plays musical chairs with many different people until he lands bsck into Vaselov and is tricked into gating to an ice planet upon which he almost immediately freezes to death. But not really, I would imagine. “lockdown” feels like a means of returning Anubis as a majot villain.

If the plot summary sounds trite, that is because the plot is trite. Loads of plot devices are enormously convenient. The cosmonaut Anubis possessed just happened to be visited by his buddy who is being assigned to exactly where Anubis wants to go. Anubis cannot use his powers to just escape because he will alert the ancients to his presence. However, Ascended Daniel helped both Teal’c and Jack with no consequences. It also goes without saying the zats work only the way the plot demands. Everyone shot by a zat is knocked out except for Daniel because we need to set up a couple jokes later about Jack shooting him in the arm when Anubis possesses him. This stuff is difficult to overlook.

What helps is some character moments. Jack in particular is amusing. He is not settling into his new leadership role very well. As he says, he has spent his life sticking it to the man. Now he is the man. Jack misses the old of being part of the SG-1 team. He does not want it to slip away, so refuses to appoint a fourth member so he can be the one. Vaselov gets the cold shoulder when he requests the job. I use the term cold shoulder deliberately. There is a hint that Jack is also a Cold War relic who is not quite ready to trust the Russians. This is not the first time he has displayed such an attitude. In other character bright spots, Sam continues her increased leadership role. Daniel still has his whiny sense of humor. As usual, Teal’c does next to nothing. Is Christopher Judge happy to play this role? One wonders.

There is one glaring hole in the character dynamic--thr absence of Frasier. The new doctor is a woman named Brightman. An ironic choice of name considering her emotionless demeanor and stilted delivery of dialogue. There is a difference between being a detached professional and a robot. Frasier was a fine example. She was a pro, but you knew she had a warm, caring nature. She was a real person, not someone there to provide medical exposition as though she is reading off a teleprompter. I long for Janet Frasier. Hopefully, we will not have to hang out in the medical ward too much until Lexa Doig joins the cast.

“Lockdown” qualifies as mostly filler. As I said above, it exists mostly to bring Anubis back into the fold. Maybe he will now actually become the brutally sadistic villain we keep hearing everyone say he is. There is not much to “Lockdown.” No new ground is broken, and if you are a Frasier fan, prepare to painfully feel her absence. I still will not say “Lockdown” is bad, but it is a lot of fluff.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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