Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"The Shroud"

I am not particularly familiar with all the behind the scenes lore involved in the making of Stargate SG-1, so I am merely going on intuition when I describe how I feel about the purpose of ‘The Shroud.” If anyone knows more, feel free to speak up in the comments to set me straight. I am not a big fan of speculating why certain episodes turn out the way they do, but I cannot help it with ’the shroud.”

Okay, all that is really obtuse. The deal is “The Shroud” feels like an anticlimactic rush job to make a satisfactory conclusion to the Ori story while still leaving iopen the possibility they are still out there as a potential menace. I am not certain of the correlation between the conception/creation of “The Shroud’ and the announcement there would be no eleventh season. Was ’the Shroud” thrown together to offer up some sense of closure after the cancellation announcement? Was it written because a movie or two to conclude the story was not carved in stone? Was ’the shroud” planned this way all along regardless? The only would help me decide how lenient I should be on it.

The SG-1 team finally finds Daniel. Adria has made him into a Prior under the assumption he can convert earth to Origin. His former teammates decide to kidnap him in order to gauge what has really happened to him. Once Daniel is in their hands, he reveals this was all part of his plan. He wanted to become a prior so he could steal the ship carrying the Sangraal into the Ori galaxy and use it to destroy them. But he needs the wormhole keeping the super gate open to be shut down. Daniel claims he can be trusted because Merlin’s essence has prevented the conversion to Prior from taking full effect, but his friends cannot bring themselves to trust him. Bringing down the wormhole could allow an entire fleet in.

Worse yet, Woolsey shows up to announce the International Oversight Committee wants Daniel executed while his new powers are under control. The IOC has the power to order executions. That is…uncomfortable. The irony hwar is the role reversal. Daniel wanted to execute Khalid, Anubis’ genetically engineered, half-ascended “son” while Woolsey wanted to keep him alive for study. As it turned out, Daniel was right, but Woolsey’s refusal cost the lives of a number of air force personnel when Khalid nearly escaped. The issue is pretty much glossed over here as Daniel is right yet again. He gets to be right because Michael Shanks is listed in the opening credits.

Daniel escapes at the same time the SG-1 team decides they are going to execute his plan without him so they can eliminate the possibility of his betrayal. He winds up stealing the ship with the Sangraal anyway and, upon convincing jack to order the wormhole shut down, sends the ship into the Ori galaxy. It is let open ended whether the Sangraal actually worked, so maybe the ori are dead, maybe they are not. Regardless, four more ships full of soldiers enter the Milky Way through the super gate.

“The Shroud” is supposed to be an epic conclusion to the Ori story in the same way the defeat of the Replicators and Anubis were back in the eighth season. Richard Dean Anderson even reprises his role as jack just for the same of having Jack in the episode. There is nothing he did here that could not have been done by Landry. I am not irritated Jack is in the episode, mind you. He is still my favorite character. But he is not given anything character specific to do. He is there just to mark the episode as monumental. Unfortunately, it is not as monumental as one would hope.

“The Shroud” is not bad, but it has a definite feel that the Ori storyline needs to end now, but wait…we may be able to make a movie with them as villains. What it boils down to is the feeling this will do as an ending, but I definitely wanted something more definitive. Why bring back Jack just to be a warm body? Sure, he spars with daniel a bit like old rimes, but there is nothing special about him showing up. There is not even a hin the and sam actually are an item to satishy the shippers. The bottom linne is what ought to be one of the best episodes of the season, if not series, is not much better than a decent arc episode.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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