Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stargate SG-1, Season 1, Episode 10

"The Torment of Tantalus"
images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Overall Rating: Excellent

While going through old government film footage of research on the stargate, Daniel comes across proof the stargate is first activated in 1945.  Also in the footage is a man walking through the event horizon of the active stargate, just before it shuts down.  Daniel contacts Catherine Langford, who recruited him to do research in the movie Stargate. Catherine's father worked on the stargate in 1945.  She did not officially participate in stargate research back in 1945, and was unaware of the successful activation of the gate at that time.

The gate co-ordinates used in 1945 are viewable on the film, and they are not on the Abydos cartouches found in "Children of the Gods."  Possibly proof that the Goa’uld did not build the stargate system.  More importantly, the gate traveler, whose name is Ernest Littlefield, might still be alive.  General Hammond authorizes a mission for SG-1 to check out the planet, and search for Ernest.  SG-1 finds Ernest alive, fifty years after his trip through the stargate.  Ernest shares some of his discoveries, made while he has been stranded, including information that significantly impacts Stargate Command’s existing knowledge of the Goa’uld, and expands the scope of Stargate SG-1.

SG-1 prepares to return to Earth, with Ernest, and his discoveries.  However, no one is departing the planet as planned.  Why Ernest didn’t return to Earth is revealed, and it threatens to trap SG-1 on the planet, as well.  Time is quickly running out, as the crumbling edifice housing the stargate is hit by a huge super storm that may destroy the building, and drop the stargate into the roiling sea below.

This is a hallmark episode for the series, with many milestones.  New possibilities concerning alien races unfold, and they mesh perfectly with the Goa’uld story line.  Notice that people have stopped flying out of the stargate as though they were being thrown.  Now, they exit the stargate at the same velocity they enter the stargate, something that has been changing over the past few episodes.  Also gone are the ice covered faces previously seen after gate travel.

Keene Curtis as Ernest is amazing.  He brings Ernest to life, whether he is expressing stunned disbelief, doubt, hope, or wisdom.  He tells so much with just a few words, a look, or a gesture.  Excellent.  Elizabeth Hoffman is Catherine Langford, and provides a different feel for the character than Viveca Lindfors did in the movie Stargate, but retains Catherine's elements  -- her intelligence, grace, wisdom, and daring.

Early in the episode, there is a great visual, a transition from 1945 to the series’ present day.

10th episode broadcast.
9th episode in the DVD set.


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