Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Arthur's Mantle"

Here is a nice change of pace. After several episodes that merely limped along to the finish line, “Arthur’s Mantle’ does something clever with the concept of cloaking devices in both the A and B stories while managing to eventually merge the two into an amusing conclusion. We have seen the concept before way back in “Crystal Skull,” but this one of those episodes that is entertaining enough to not fret over a repeated plot element. Speaking of, Daniel is sent to another dimension again like he was in “Crystal Skull.” If it was not a bigger deal that he has dierd several times, one would wonder how the same thing could happen to one unlucky shmuck twice?

Sam has been working on a device recovered from Merlin’s treasure when cam comes by her lab. By chance, she believes she has it figured out, but when she gives it a whirl, she and Cam wind up in another dimension in which they are intangible and invisible to athe real world. They find themselves completely unable to communicate until by chance Daniel recognizes Lee’s mention of emitted radiation upon use of the device similar to radiation emitted by his transportation to another dimension. Communication is established between Sam, Cam, and Daniel through the device in order to work out a solution.

Meanwhile, Sgc gets word the Sodan have been attacked. Teal’c heads off to investigate with a team and discovers all but Haikon have been slaughtered by an altered Volnek. Volnek was approached days ago by a prior who said the Sodan were due punishment for their rejection of Origin. The prior turned volnek into a crazed killing machine which death can not even stop. By the time teal’c is forced to confront him, volnek is a zombie whose body must be completely destroyed in order to defeat him.

Cam, concerned for teal’c and bored with the tedious translating of the device, sneaks away with the team headed for the Sondan home world. When using the Sodan invisibility cloaks, both Teal’c and Volnek can see and hear cam, but not touch him. With his invulnerability, Cam plans to lure Volnek into booby trapped explosives in the hopes that will blow him to smithereens. Unfortunately, due to a further accident, daniel has been transported to the other dimension. In desperation, Lee tries a plan that works, which is fine for sam and daniel, but makes cam vulnerable. He survives a fistfight, and eventually lures volnek into the booby trap anyway.

I think it is pretty cool how invisibility cloaks are used as both a detriment to Cam, Sam, and Daniel, who are permanently trapped in another dimension, but a virtue to Teal’c, who would not have survived the battle with Volnek without it. I knew as soon as cam reassured teal’c he could make volnek come after him while remaining unharmed he was going to be recovered from the other dimension at the worst time. Nevertheless, Ben Browder’s hamming it up, particularly his ensuing fistfight with the invisible Volnek, is hilarious, so all predictability is forgiven. Zombie Volnek is a sight to behold, too.

“Arthur’s Mantle” contributes to the overall Ori story arc. For one, it is discovered Merlin created a weapon that can destroy ascended beings. For the other, the doomsday the ori have been predicting is only a short time away. I would guess that means an invasion for the ninth season finale, but we shall see.

“Arthur’s Mantle” is the first episode in a mercifully short stretch that I have actually enjoyed. There is a macabre combo of the lighthearted humor involved with Cam and sam’s plight versus the genocide of the Sodan that we keep switching between that can be offputting, but overall, the episode works well. Not terriblt original, mind you, but works well.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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