Thursday, July 12, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Camelot"

“Camelot” serves as the ninth season finale. There is a theme going here that, like “Reckoning, Part II,” places each of the SG-1 team members in a spot best suited to utilize his or her talents. In some ways, it is much weaker than the way “Reckoning, Part II” handled the cases, but the cliffhanger ending more than makes up for a bit of stumbling.

The SG-1 team arrives on the planet upon which Merlin’s weapon is supposedly hidden. Either the planet or the small city called Camelot. The townsfolk believe Arthurian legend is true. King Arthur is going to return soon after someone pulls the sword out of the large stone in the center of town, the Knights of the Round Table are on a quest for the Holy Grail, and Merlin left behind a black knight as a defender against any intruders into his workshop. Naturally, the SG-1 team finds the workshop and unleashes the Black Knight. The black knight appears in the middle of the city and murders the guy who helped the SG-1 team find Merlin’s workshop. They wind up no longer being welcome. Fancy that.

Here is the point at which the team members split up to do their thing. They are all beamed up unexpectedly to the Odyssey and told that even though they do not have the weapon yet, the Ori super gate has been found. An allied fleet is assembling. Daniel convinces Emerson to let him stay behind and work in Merlin‘s workshop to figure out how an Ancient device works.. Cam opts to stay with him in case the Black Knight shows up again. Teal’c runs off to recruit the Lucian alliance into the allied fleet. Sam begins working with Kvasir on figuring out the specs of this weapon should they find it.

This division of labor is hot and cold. Daniel is in his element reading Ancient. I go for that. Sam is being her usual genius self while Kvasir patronizes the heck out of her over it. Seriously, the little dude acts like he is teaching his puppy to play fetch. I love the Asgard. They are such arrogant little pricks. Anyway, Sam is great. Cam’s part is so contrived. He and Daniel know turning the Ancient device on is going to summon the Black Knight. The Black Knight is going to appear in the middle of the city and go on a rampage. They turn the thing on anyway, and wait for the screams from the outside before Cam rushes out to battle the Black Knight. Cam has made himself out to be the action hero this season, so it makes sense for him to duel with the Black Knight for a while. But really, reckless endangerment by releasing a being in such a flippant manner who has already killed? Geez, guys. Teal’c is the worst. How many times have we seen him run off to recruit the villains only to stand on the deck of their ship while it is blown to smithereens? Is there nothing original to be done with the character?

All these events lead us to a finale that tickles my cynical, black heart. Daniel and cam cannot find the ancient weapon, so they get picked up by the Russians in their new battle cruiser and head for the super gate. Sam takes a spacewalk in order to alter the super gate so the Ori armada cannot dial in, but she is too late. In fact, she loses her magnetic boot hold and drifts off while the ori armada comes through. All she can do is watch helplessly as the allied fleet is destroyed. Teal’c arrives with the Lucian Alliance in time to get smashed up, too. The final scene is Vala onboard an Ori vessel watching the Ori claim a brutal victory.

Several points of note to consider. One, I believe Col. Chekov dies in the first wave of the Ori attack, Perhaps it was not wise of him to insist on his country getting a hyper drive battle cruiser. Two, the allied fleet consists of asgard, Jaffa, Lucian alliance, Earth, and the Tok’ra. We still do not get to see or hear from any Tok’ra operatives. It is strange they are still frequently mentioned as allies, but we have seen none of them other than Jacob/Selmak since…when? The seventh season? Alternate Martouk a few episodes back does not count. Finally, John Noble of The Lord of the Rings fame appears as the poobah of Camelot.

I award “Camelot” high marks for the final three minutes of the episode. The story meandrs up until that point, and I can see why fans might find the aimless nature even worse when there is no direct payoff. The SG-1 team fails at every task. The Ori look to be claiming victory for the cliffhanger. It is a very exciting, gloom and doom ending that builds up much anticipation for the tenth season premiere.

Just a word here about the ninth season as a whole. I check out a few fan sites when looking for trivia items to spice up these reviews. I have noticed, while fans generally like the new set up, they are generally not as enthusiastic as I am. I have spent six months becoming attached to the original line up and story arc rather than eighth years. I have not experienced the months of waiting for cliffhangers to be resolved and such, so I can understand some fans are harder hit. I even assume there is some Farscape animosity going on for Ben Browder and Claudia Black being cast to which I cannot relate. But I must say, Cam is a welcome shot in the arm for a series being dragged down by Jack’s ferequent disappearances, Landry is a more interesting character than Hammond, and the Ori are better villains than many of the goa’uld who have shown up over the years. Black comes in as a welcome bonus with no comparable element prior to the ninth season. The series has been rejuvenated as far as I am concerned.

Now that I have said that, watch me dispise the tenth season. I certainly hope not.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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