Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Uninvited"

I was apprehensive, given Stargate SG-1’s habit of movie homage that borders on plagiarism, that “Uninvited’ would be a thinly veiled Predator clone. Our heroes hunting a mauling monster through the woods did not sound all that promising or original. I am now pleasantly surprised with the results. “Uninvited” is not great by a long shot, but it manages to amuse with some fun surprises.

Landry arranges for the SG-1 team to have a weekend retreat with him at Jack’s cabin as a chance for them to both unwind and bond. Cam is the first to arrive. Daniel is in the United Kingdom and will not be showing up, while Sam, Teal’c and Vala get caught up in an afford incident in which some creature mauls a couple of alien villagers. Cam gets stuck in the cabin overnight during a rainstorm and has to engage in that awkward friendship with his boss thing. They are being spied upon, of course.

Teal’c and Vala travel to the planet with a couple of SG teams and manage to kill the monster. These monsters begin appearing on other planets, all of which SG teams had visited using sodan cloaking technology. It is eventually discovered use of the technology that has been modified to eliminate emitted radiation attracts an one-dimensional parasite that invades a host and mutates it into an overly aggressive beast. The spy sneaking around Cam and Landry is a Trust operative using Sodan technology stolen from Area 51. Now there is a mutated bear on the loose in the woods.

Several Sg teams take over the hunt from the local sheriffs and hunt down the monster. The twist is there turns out to be two of them. Aside from a few civilian dismemberments, the story ends happily with the SG-1 team and Landry playing poker.

The biggest virtue of “Uninvited” is the increased focus on Landry. I have mentioned before I like the character more than I do Hammond. Blasphemy, I know. But landry is a more colorful, well-rounded character. We get to see his more humorous side--he is a bird fancier--as well as what makes him tick on a deeper level, such as his aversion to hunting because he was forced to evade the North Vietnamese for 58 days once after being shot down during the war.

‘uninvited has its bad points. Supposedly, the radiation emitted from the Sodan technology repels the parasite. The sodan never bothered to mention there was a reason the radiation was necessary? That seems like a vital thing to know considering the consequences. Does it not seem too coincidental a Trust operative just happens to have stolen the technology and is using it right time the other monsters are roaming about? Why is he spying on the SG-1 team on vacation, anyway? Sneaking around Sgc invisible sounds like a much better idea. The plot set up is a wee bit implausible.

Mercy, mercy me. When local hunters hear stories of the monster, they flock to the woods to bag it. They get a little trigger happy, and after a shooting accident, cam quips our heroes need to find the monster quickly before the woods turn into a vice-presidential bird hunt. The joke is a reference to Dick Cheney accidentally shooting his hunting partner during an expedition a few years ago. That is right, a Cheney joke on a show in which Cheney is not the vice president. I would call it a cheap shot, but the pun is beneath me.

We get a good look at the monster after the SG-1 team has killed it. The monster is a hideously mutated bear. While I assume it is a CGI creature, it is appearance and movements have more of a stop motion vibe. If the monster is CGI, I appreciate the throwback style in which it appears.

Beau Bridges says this is his favorite episode. I like it well enough in spite of some hard to swallow plot elements, but it is firmly in the good, but not great category. I can even imagine many fans might hate it, but it is too inconsequential an episode upon which to waste strong emotion.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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