Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Morpheus"

Call me harsh, but if the powers that be are going to make an episode about sleep, they should endeavor to not make it boring. It I also profoundly unwise to make a boring episode in which characters are frequently yawning. Watching someone else yawn, even a fictional character, compels others to yawn. I yawned. Maybe the powers that be thought the fan interaction would be clever. It is ill advised considered considering how the episode plays out.

The Ori armada has continued its onslaught by conquering six more planets. Daniel discovers the first stargate address in his attempt to find the three location the Knights of the Round table went off to search for the Sangraal. (Yes, that is how it is spelled.) the SG-1 team arrives on this dark, foggy planet upon which everyone appears to have died in their sleep all at once centuries ago. One of the red shirts along for the ride falls asleep and cannot be awakened, so everyone winds up stranded there under the assumption they have all contracted whatever the fatal sleeping sickness is.

Daniel finds reference to the illness as an alleged curse from Morgan Le Fay, but Sam and Dr. Reimer, whom we have never heard of, so we know he is going to die, eventually discover an insect that grows inside human bodies by gorging itself on melatonin and serotonin. Sam and reimer search for a cure while Cam and Teal’c search for something natural in the environment which may have resisted the ilness. Reimer falls over dead, so that sucks. Cam and teal’c find a lizard still alive and capture it under the assumption it possesses a natural immunity. All four of the SG-1 members fall into a deep sleep as haz mat teams arrive.

Vut to the next day when everyone is back at Sgc and fine. A cure was synthesized by using Sam’s research and the lizard’s blood. A little anticlimactic, but all righty then. As if the hunch “Morpheus” was not much, the episode ends on the promise of a visit to Atlantis as the next Knights of the round Table destination.

The B story involves Vala cheating on her psychiatric evaluation in order to join the SGC. She passes anyway after rejecting Woolsey’s offer to make her a spy in exchange for easing her path to admittance. The scenes are all played for laughs. Vala becomes an ’expert” in psychology overnight. One of the test questions she researches is from the test to identify Replicants in Blade Runner. The lie detector nearly explodes. You get the idea. The scenes are amusing enough.

“Morpheus” is not otherwise amusing, however. The story sort of plods along. Maybe it is because my expectations are not met. Morpheus is the Greek god of sleep and dreams. Upon learning of the title, I figured there would be something about dreams. Nope. Victims go to sleep and never wake up. Horrifying in concept, but disappointing to watch here. Cam and Teal’c chasing a lizard through a cave in full slapstick mode does not help build the tension level, either. The off screen curing of the illness is abrupt and anticlimactic.

There is another point I would excuse in a good episode, but cannot let go in a bad one. Reimer is played by robin Moseley. You may recall Moseley was also the tragic Malakai in the fourth season’s “Window of Opportunity.” Stargate SG-1 recycles character actors in nearly every episode because they generally play minor characters. It is no big deal. But “Window of Opportunity” is a fan favorite and Malakai is a fairly prominent one off antagonist. Moseley appearing as a different character snaps me right out of my suspension of disbelief. Your mileage may vary.

“Morpheus” is not a total loss. The atmosphere is great. Every scene on the planet is draped in a thick, grey fog. The place looks like a nightmare come to life. I was expecting to see something nightmarish come out of the fog, however, and it never does. Cam chases after a lizard he dubs Joe Bob. That is about it. It turns out Vancouver just suffers from some horribly dreary weather. Claudia Black’s clowning around is fun, neither she nor the spooky atmosphere save “Morpheus.”

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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