Monday, July 23, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"The Quest, Part II"

“The Quest, Part II” is the introduction to the latter half of the tenth and final season. Man, was I wrong to be skeptical of the cliffhanger resolution. I was braced for a cop out, but the confrontation between the dragon and our heroes is one of the best parts of the episode in every respect--special effects, action, and humor. The conquest of the dragon is only the beginning….

Our heroes are saved by Adria’s personal shield and escape to the outside, but they are followed by the dragon. The CGI on the dragon is impressive for a cable show, and it is all the more impressive by the personality it demonstrates such as when it swallows the C4 Teal’c throws into it mouth and gives the poor dragon a serious case of heartburn. I dig it. The dragon finally fades away when daniel figures out saying the name of its master, Morgan Le Fay, will do the trick.

When attempting to snatch the jewel believed to be the Sangraal again, all but Adria are transported to another planet where merlin is trapped in stasis. Reawakened, he uses one of those Ancient headsets to download the knowledge to build Sangraal, but it proves too much for him. Daniel, enjoying some Merlin modifications that will hopefully keep downloading the necessary knowledge from being fatal, uses the headset himself.

Meanwhile, the others figure out Morgan Le Fay set up a security system that transports Merlin’s lab along with everyone and everything in it through to another planet every few hours on a system of stargates not connected to the grid. Sam and Ba’al work to undo the modifications while Adria slowly but surely catches up with them. She finally does as our heroes figure a way to get the stargate working, but Adria kidnaps Daniel before he can build the Sangraal. Adria has big plans for him.

‘The Quest, Part II” is an exciting and humorous episode. The special effects jump out at me immediately. It is not just the dragon, although it is the best example, but Merlin’s lab, the various planets to which our heroes are transported, and the final conflict between them and the ori forces are all extremely impressive. Some subsequent episode is going to be done with shadow puppets to manage the budget, I can almost guarantee.

I also appreciate a couple of the personal moments. The episode features the famous sam punches Ba’al scene which comes across every bit as hilarious as I had been promised. The second bit is Vala’s reaction to Daniel putting himself at risk. First, she does not want him to download the ancient knowledge because she knows what happened to Jack. Second, she is distraught over his capture by Adria. Vala’s growth from a completely selfish, amoral person to one of empathy is going along nicely.

“The Quest, Part II” is a fantastic start to the end of the series. It is my favorite tenth season episode thus far. It is the most complete package we have been given this season, and the special effects and sets help put it over the top. It is a bit cliché for Daniel to be kidnapped/missing/presumed dead yet again, but that is Stargate SG-1 for you.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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