Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stargate SG-1-"Ethon"

“Ethon” revisits the post-apocalyptic planet Telagus from “Icon.” I considered ’Icon” a good episode because of it atmosphere. There was an ethereal post-nuclear war feel throughout with touches of Cold war spying and the like, all with a dark, cynical conclusion. In other words, right up my alley. “Ethon” does a good job of reviving the feel of “Icon” while adding some Battlestar Galactic homage. The episode has flaws, but is a noble effort.

I am on watch for Battlestar Galactica homage because Matthew Bennett, who plays Aaron Doral/Cylon Model Number Five on the series, returns as Jared Kane. But that is not the only aspect. The action scenes are conspicuously filmed with the single, “shaky” camera to emphasize the gritty chaos involved. The f-302 fleet leaving Prometheus’s docking bays and engaging the ori weapon in orbit around Telagus is reminiscent of viper launches. Geez, even the phones used to communicate among various factions on the planet have cords. The Sci Fi Channel was really cashing in on the popularity of Battlestar Galactica at the time.

Ikane secretly flees to SGC in order to inform Daniel the Rand Protectorate was approached by a Prior and offered an advanced satellite weapon in exchange for their devotion. Rand felt they had no choice considering his power. Caledonia refused to worship the ori, so ther prior has ordered them destroyed. Rand, still burning from their devastating war, are itching to follow through. Caledonia has two days left before a deadline to surrender to the ori. Kane convinces the SG-1 team to travel to Telagus and destroy the satellite.

The mission fails when Kane and Daniel are captured as enemies of the state by Rand. Prometheus hesitates in its mission out of fear for Daniel’s safe return. The hesitation gives rand enough time to raise defense shields and attack Prometheus. The ship is ultimately destroyed. Lionel Pendergast sacrifices himself by staying on board to ensure the rest of the crew can be safely transported to Caledonia.

Gathering together with Caledonian leadership, sam devises a Star Trek; Voyager-esque techno babble plan to disrupt the satellite’s defenses from the underground bunker controlling it to allow an F-302 to destroy it. Daniel manages to negotiate a settlement that will allow Caledonians who do not want to worship the ori to flee, but Rand reneges on the agreement immediately. Their leader is shot and killed before he can fire the satellite towards Caledonia, but peace talks ultimately break down. Both Rand and Caledonia are presumed destroyed in the ensuing war.

There are two points regarding “Ethon” that stick in my craw. One, Sam stays behind on PrometheusPrometheus explode is supposed to distract us, but in the next scene, Sam shows up safe and sound in Caledonia with no explanation how she escaped. Something could have been mentioned. Maybe pendergast performed a last of saving her, but it is not made clear. Sam reaching safety feels like a cop out. The other point is how “icon’ ends exactly as ’Ethon” did--with the two sides seemingly destroying each other. I am as jaded as anyone can be over how people who have been fighting a war so long they do not even remember what the conflict is about, but the same gloomy ending for both episodes is too much even for me. \\

Outside of the Battle of Antarctica, did Prometheus have any mission in which it was not hijacked, stranded somewhere, or otherwise seriously damaged? I believe the mission to set the time dilation device against the Replicators back in the sixth season is the only one that went off without a hitch. It was one hard luck ship.

In spite of it couple flaws, “Ethon” is a well done episode. I have already complimented the recreation of the eery atmosphere from ’Icon.” the special effects of the space battle and destruction of Prometheus are impressive. Pendergast had not made much of an impact on me, but I am still sorry to see him go. The episode definitely relies heavily on Battleatar Galactica, so if you are not a fan like I am, “Ethon” may not resonate as much. It is still one of the better episodes of the season.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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