Friday, August 12, 2011

Stargate SG-1, Season 1, Episode 5

"The First Commandment"
images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Overall Rating: Very Good

Many cultures found on other planets believe that anyone who comes through a stargate is a god. A holdover from their time under the rule of the Goa’uld. When SG-1 gates to a planet to check on the welfare of SG-9, they discover the commander of SG-9, Captain Hanson, has decided he is a god. The cave dwelling people on the planet are subjugated by their new “god.” SG-1 must confront a madman backed by hundreds of people willing to kill for him, on a planet where exposure to the harsh UV radiation of their sun leads to death.

Only a few episodes into their inaugural season, and the show is not afraid to tackle tough questions. SG team members are trained, tested, and screened for duty, but no system is perfect. It’s impossible to consistently predict someone’s behavior. Did Hanson's experiences on the planet cause his madness, or was he always more than a little crazy? Some sketchy, pre-existing personality traits are hinted at, but there isn’t one particular reason that fully explains Hanson’s behavior.

William Russ is very good as Jonas Hanson -- SG team leader, and self-proclaimed god. Russ’ portrayal of Hanson is serenely brutal, evincing cruelty disguised as benevolence. Very high up on the creepy scale. Hanson’s madness is wrapped up with his belief that harsh strictness is the way to move the cave dwellers to a better life, no matter how many have to die to accomplish his goal. Kudos to William Russ.

Hanson’s great looking hair.  After six weeks in very harsh conditions, Hanson’s hair looks fabulous. A minor point that doesn’t impinge on my enjoyment of the episode.

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