Saturday, June 9, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Affinity"

Just a note here that may or may not add a defense argument for this mess of an episode. The Sci Fi Channel aired “Affinity” out of order with the following episode. “Affinity” should be the second appearance of the villainous Trust, as evidenced by Daniel’s familiarity with them. Subsequent dialogue was added to the next episode to reference the Trust in order to correct the issue. So while the DVD commentary notes the intended episode order intention, I am going ahead with the Sci Fi Channel, syndication, and Dvd order over creators intention. Usually, I go with the creators’ intent, but since that is no where to be found outside of the DVD commentary, it is a no go.

Speaking of a no go, what the heck was Peter DeLuise thinking when he wrote “Affinity?” I understand many of the unusual circumstances surrounding the eighth season. The creative staff was not expecting there to be renewed, so story arcs are last minute deals. The budget is lower. Richard Dean Anderson does not want to be a full time cast member. Christopher Judge no longer wants to shave his head. Putting the show together is more work than fun for these days. Yet I am still amazed at how shoddy episodes can be at times. ‘Affinity” is such a poorly conceived and poorly written effort, it feels like something a cancelled show throws together at the last minute in order to complete its episode order.

Teal’c moves out of SGC and into an apartment where he becomes a one man neighborhood watch. His beating up on bullies, purse snatchers, and various other ne’er do wells has the Air force upset about his less than low profile. Nevertheless, Teal’c cannot help but protect his hot, young neighbor for her abusive boyfriend while bonding with her over martial arts training. When the boyfriend winds up dead, remnants of the NID called the trust use the situation to blackmail Daniel into translating some Ancient text in exchange for proof teal’c did not kill the drunken jerk. Meanwhile, Sam cannot decide whether to accept Pete’s marriage proposal until she finally does in a warehouse dock next to a magically appeared huge body of water in the middle of Colorado Springs.

I have not been a huge stickler about episodes that do not involve a stargate. I have often been entertained by episodes that have strayed from the formula. There have been ‘buddy cop” episodes with Jack and Maybourne, some cloak and dagger stuff with the NID, and a few nods to Mulder and Scully conspiracies. That have not always worked, but I appreciated the experiment. But ’Affinity’ does not measure up. Not only can it not decide what it is, it does all the options poorly.

First, I have a tough time buying into the romance novel relationship between Teal’c and Krysta, though I do find Erica Durance a hot little number. She immediately has a thing for him as evidenced by her constant excuses for him to come to her aid. But she is also hung up on her unemployed, alcoholic, and abusive boyfriend. That is until she asks Teal’c to teach her how to teach her martial arts. Suddenly, the boyfriend winds up dead and Kruta would like Teal’c to take her to a motel far, far away The request raises nary an eyebrow for Teal’c until he is arrested for kidnapping and accessory to murder. None of which really matters since the police cannot seem to figure out Krysta killed her boyfriend, but the crimes scene was tampered with so obviously, Pete knew it right away.

Pete helps segue into the next problem--Sam. She is terribly out of character here. Why is she whining about how society demands women be in romantic relationships as though the pressure is getting to her? She is in a romantic relationship! She is making excuses why she should not take it to the next level, such as dropping her children off at daycare while she battles aliens light years away. Sam is a career military officer. Did that thought never cross her mind before becoming a colonel? One would think tfamily concerns were an issue she considered way back when exploring career options. She is the daughter of a former Air force general, too, so it is not like she does not have personal experience from her youngest age. But the kicker for me is a conversation she has with Jack which amounts to:

“Sir, if your son had not killed himself playing with your gun and your wife had not left you over i9t, would you still continue going on dangerous military missions hoping you will be put out of your misery because you have nothing left in life to love?”

“No, Carter. If my son head not blown his head off with my gun, and my wife had not life me because she thinks it was my fault, I would note be here hoping I will wind up pushing daisies sooner rather than later.”

I am paraphrasing in my usual bitterly funny manner, but the gist is there. Sam and jack have one of the most painfully awkward exchanges I have ever heard. It is one I would think Sam should later apologize for in shameful humiliation, yet it is supposed to be poignant in some way that escapes me. Jack is so obviously pained about the circumstances of his personal life, you do not have to be as close to him as Sam is to know not to bring up the subject. Nevermind that he may or may not have feelings for sam, too, and she is talking about marrying someone else and starting a family. This is not the usual sam behavior. She is far more empathetic than that. This is the woman who broke down and cried over betraying the sadistic Fifth just a handful of episodes back.

I am not even amused by the Trust here. They are a shadowy organization with NID remnants who blackmail daniel into translating some Ancient text for them by threatening to kill krysta, then plan to kill the two of them regardless. That wound up not being the case when the trust fled instead, but daniel had no way of knowing they would be spared. Why translate if daniels believes they will be killed anyway other than to further the season-long story arc? Bad, bad writing. Michael Shanks and Erica durance had a better time starring together on Smallwille and Saving Hope, methinks.

Unless you have a big crush on Erica Durrance--and who would not:

--skip “Affinity” for your own good.

Rating: * (out of 5)

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