Saturday, July 28, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Bad Guys"

“Bad Guys” is one of Stargate Sg-1’s love it or hate it episodes. Our heroes get caught up in a comedy of errors which snowballs from bad to worse. In order to survive, they have t o play the bad guys, as the title suggests. Many of the out of character moments are a bit jarring, and the Die Hard homage goes overboard in places, but I laughed out loud at a couple gags. There is something to be said for that.

The SG-1 team, sans Sam, travel to a planet in search of the treasure Athena was seeking a few episodes back. They wind up in a museum rather than a pyramid like they were expecting. They decide to beat a hasty retreat when it is discovered there is a party full of people next door, but the Dhd device turns out to be a replica. They have to wait until SGC checks in six hours from now in order to receive a way to dial home.

Our heroes do not get to lay low as they planned. Two partygoers wander into the museum gallery and discover them. Assuming the intruders are up to no good, the partygoers scream, causing a panic that ends in a shootout. Our heroes inadvertently wind up taking hostages when they are mistaken for political reels. They have to play the part with the help of a museum employee named Cicero in order to stall for the time to either be contacted or figure out a way to power the stargate. Making matter worse is a gung ho security guard who acts like an overenthusiastic mall cop and a national leader willing to sacrifice the hostages in order to score a much needed victory over the rebellion.

The humor comes largely from Daniel, who is placed in charge of both the hostages and the negotiations. He is terribly out of his element, and it shows. The bumbling security guard predates Paul Blart: Mall Cop by two years, but the jokes are the same. Actor Alistair Abell even resembles a skinnier Kevin James. Is Paul Blart: Mall Cop screenwriter Nick Bakay a Gater, or is there nothing new under the sun? Of course, the movie is not all that great, and neither is “Bad Guys.” While I did laugh a couple times, most of the jokes are predictable. Our heroes acting out of character is very jarring. I cannot decide which is worse--Daniel screeching at hostages who have gotten on his nerves or Cam and Teal’c fitting into their bad guy rebel roles a bit too easily.

Do not take my word for it. No less than Michael shanks himself has publicly critiqued “Bad Guys” for it quality. Specifically, he was upset with how Daniel came across. The word is the episode is heavily edited. Up to 22 minutes hit the cutting room floor which might have made sense of certain twists in character personality. But I cannot rate what might have been. I can only judge what made it to the screen.

I am actually not too critical of “Bad Guys.” It is actually a great episode if you do not take it too seriously. I would rather watch it again than other comedy episodes like “Wormhole X-treme” or “200“. I chalk up the warped charascterizations to Ben Browder, who earns a story by credit. Often episodes written by the actors are more self-indulgent than consistent with what has gone before. The bottom line is I liked certain elements to not get uptight about the parts that miss the mark.

The West Wing fans should note regular cast members Josh Malina and Ron Canada makes appearances as Cicero, the museum employee who aids the SG-1 team, and Quartas, the head of security forces ready to storm the museum, respectively. The two play more interesting characters than the usual guest stars, so there is that.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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