Sunday, July 1, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Prototype"

“Prototype” revisits several plotlines involving old school Goa’uld in an effort to tie in the pre-season nine shows with the current storyline with the Ori. The episode is notorious for rewrites and it shows, for better and for worse. The good part is ’Prototype’ is a bottle show which takes place largely at SGC or another existing set, but does not feel small or cheap.

Sam plans to take the SG-5 team to investigate a strange black hole that may be an indication of Ori activity. She plans to travel to a new by planet, but she and her team are rerouted to another. The idea there is a malfunction with the stargate gives way to the reality there is a failsafe on the black hole planet’s stargate that reroutes travelers if an authorization code is not entered. Sam figures out a way to do so. Upon investigating the planet, the SG-1 team discovers a secret Goa’uld lab with a man trapped in stasis inside.

The man’s name is Kalek. He claims to be a normal human who was kidnapped and experimented on, but is in reality a creation of Anubis. Kalek is an advanced human with all the genetic memory of the Goa’uld, telekinetic powers, and the ability to ascend as soon as he evolves to a certain point. Not that individuals evolve as opposed to species, but but whatever.

“Prototype” appears at first to be setting up the philosophical question of whether it would be moral to kill Hitler in his crib in order to prevent his future actions even though he is innocent of them as an infant. Daniel fears that if Kalek is allowed to evolve to the point he can ascend, he will become the next Anubis. Kalek needs to be killed before that happens. This aspect does not really go anywhere as Richard Woolsey shows up to not so much take up the other half of the argument, but take and study Kalek in order to find a way to defeat the Ori. So the stort shifts gears from a moral debate to kalek toying with our heroes as he bides his time until ascension.

I will grant you this--Kalek is played to the sinister hilt by British actor and screenwriter Neil Jackson. He has what I can only assume is an intentional Hannibal lector vibe about him. Lector clones are becoming cliché these days. We have had twenty-one years worth of them at this point. But Jackson plays the best I have seen in a while. His coldly sadistic demeanor while using his telekinetic powers to escape SGC, killing a number of airmen along the way, is intensely exciting, as is his death in a hale of bullets fired by Daniel and Cam.

If there is any problem with “Prototype,” it is the inconsistencies with Kalek’s powers. It is well established he can read minds anywhere in SGC, but he does not know sam has rewired the stargate to send him back to SGC and a barrage of bullets his the same wat his planet’s stargate was rewired. For that matter, Kalek was shown to have almost instantaneous healing abilities when shot earlier in the episode. Why he dies of bullet wounds in the end is a bit inconsistent, but not completely out of the question.

I said above “Prototype’ was heavily rewritten. I think the shift from the moral debate to the more emphasis on kalek’s action oriented escape is a probable detriment, but the shift from Kalek being the first of an ascended army meant to fight the Ancients on Anubis’ behalf to kalek being an Anubis protégé himself is a much better idea. Sometime reqrites actually are a good idea.

“Prototype” is a very exciting action episode with a great, creepy performance by neil Jackson. It suffers by not exploring the moral dilemma more. All we have is daniel wanting to kill kalek because of his memories of Anubis destroying Abydos, which is not said, but implied, and him ultimately getting the chance to do so. The road trip between those two piints could have been a little scenic, you know?

Rating; *** (out of 5)

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