Friday, July 13, 2012

Stargate SG-1-"Flesh and Blood"

Well, Gaters, we are in the home stretch now. “Flesh and Blood’ is the premiere episode of the tenth and final season. The last time I reviewed an episode of a series other than Stargate SG-1, it was the final episode of Firefly, “Objects in Space,” back on New Year’s Day. Reviewing Stargate SG-1 has been the longest written project for The Eye. The finish line is now in sight!

While watching “Flesh and Blood,” I could not help but make comparisons with The Empire Strikes Back. The similarities are more than just the tone, although there is that. Our heroes are being soundly defeated by the Ori from beginning to end. Just as the Rebels were in ESB. The main emphasis of the episode is on the birth of Vala’s daughter, who turns out to be a genetically engineered human with as much of the knowledge of the Ori as her human brain can carry. She was created as a way of getting around the whole Ori are forbidden here by the Ancients bit. Adria’s interactions with Vala reminded me of the Dark side of the Force conflict between Luke and Darth Vader from ESB to ROTJ. I am trying to think about Anakin’s immaculate conception from TPM, thank you very much. It is bad enough Teal’c made a reference a couple episodes back. Speaking of, Teal’c is held prisoner by Lucian Alliance gangsters the same way Han Solo was held by Boba Fett on behalf of Jabba the Hutt, so there is that, too.

Alas, “Flesh and Blood” does not quite measure up to a potential ESB on the small screen. It ought to feel more epic, but somehow does not. One of the big problems is the lack of originality. For the first two acts, we believe Daniel is dead. Also for the first two acts, Teal’c is imprisoned and brutally tortured. Adria posses the secrets of the Ori the same way Apophis and Sha’re’s child knew the secrets of the Goa’uld. They both even aged rapidly. The powers that be have done this stuff so many time already, it has devolved from unoriginal to self parody. I am beginning to understand what joe Flanagan meant when he told fans back in April the writers reached a point at which they believed they could write anything, slap a stargate label on it, and fans would flock.

There is other stuff that is hard to swallow. Daniel survives the destruction of the Russian battle cruiser by using transporter rings to get to an Ori ship through a convenient techno babble shield issue. Cam escapes the ship by regaining conscious just in time to fly a fighter out of the docking bay. They both escape at the instant of the ship’s explosion. Looking back, I had said the subplot of the Russians wanting a hyper drive battle cruiser looked like something cooked up merely to provide breaks in the main story of the episode. It looks like I was right, because it was destroyed at the first available opportunity.

It may sound like I am down on “Flesh and Blood.’ I am not entirely. Sam’s rescue by lining up her floating body with the open docking bay is exciting and in keeping with cam’s reckless nature and thrilling to watch. So is the invasion of Chulak, which is a logical choice for a first strike. But the episode just does not have that epic feel one would want from a season premiere. There is a lot of exposition with action unrelated to the initial ori incursion. We are kind of limping out the stargate here.

Adria at age five is played by executive producer Robert C. Cooper’s daughter, Emma Rose. That is a nice touch. Robert Picardo has a brief appearance. This makes the second time he has appeared in an episode entitled “Flrsh and Blood.” There you go, folks. I have capped off a lukewarm review with a reference to that dark period when I had to review Star Trek: Voyager. Yeesh.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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