Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stargate SG-1, Season 2, Episode 3

images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Overall Rating: Good

While surveiling a seemingly uninhabited planet, SG-1 is approached by a man running from someone, or something, he calls the Taldur.  One bright light later, SG-1 and that man are in a large chamber, facing judgment from the Taldur, which is the court/justice system for the oopsie, not uninhabited, planet.  Sentencing is swift.  SG-1’s crimes:  helping the man, who it turns out, is a murderer, and trespassing.  The sentence: life imprisonment at the underground, off-world prison Hadente.  Hadente is a city of ruins, located below the inaccessible surface of a planet.  It can be reached only by stargate, and it is a one-way trip as there is no DHD at Hadente.

Not long after their unceremonious arrival at Hadente, SG-1 is attacked by some prisoners.  The law of the prison is brutal, and based on the strong dominating the weak.  A woman named Linea calls off the lead brute, Vishnoor, who is attacking SG-1, and demands the inmates respect Carter, meaning no touchy-feelies, and no rape.  Apparently, it is still open creepy-touchy, rape season on the guys.  Although, Teal’c could beat any of the other prisoners unconsciousness without breaking a sweat so it is unlikely that anyone would try naughty things with him.

O’Neill and Carter meet with Linea to barter for power to run the stargate, a.k.a. the great circle.  Events in “The Torment of Tantalus” showed that with enough power, a stargate can be turned manually in order to dial out.  Linea agrees to help, and O’Neill agrees to take Linea with them when they escape.  The chance to escape a lifetime of imprisonment on Hadente leads to the possibility of death for everyone at SGC.

Bonnie Bartlett is fantastic as Linea -- very intelligent, cool, adaptable, and unreadable.  In this episode, General Hammond goes off world through the stargate for the first time, to try to get the Taldur to free SG-1.

The episode puts forth the idea of a technologically advanced society having one punishment for almost every crime -- life imprisonment.  There is not enough time in the episode to delve into why that society considers this to be justice.  After watching the episode, it is difficult to decide who is the bigger monster, the brutish Vishnoor, or the advanced Taldur.  Both use their power to do what they want, regardless of who is hurt or killed.  Why Vishnoor is at Hadente, or how long he has been there, is never mentioned.  We do not learn if he was a brute when he arrived, or he changed to survive in his new, harsh prison environment.

By the end of the episode, Linea extending protection to Carter on Hadente is odd.  I know it was to show that Linea had power over Vishnoor, still it's out of place by the end of the episode.

SG-1 displays a surprising level of naivety, and unfounded trust.  Out of character for SG-1, especially for O’Neill.

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