Overall Rating: Fair
Gating to a garden paradise planet, SG-1 sees a building in the distance. While exploring the building, the team finds humans asleep or unconscious, hooked to mechanical devices. Suddenly, metal coils snake out from empty apparatuses, snagging and binding SG-1. The team goes down the rabbit hole, awakening to two scenarios from the past. O’Neill and Teal’c are part of a covert military action on Earth from O'Neill's past, and the scenario keeps replaying itself. Daniel and Carter are at a museum watching, over and over, something that happened when Daniel was a child. SG-1 tries to determine why they are repeatedly experiencing these events from their past.
Dwight Schulz is the Gamekeeper. I’ve enjoyed Mr. Schultz’ performances since the television series The A Team. Loved him on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I did not enjoy Mr. Schulz’ portrayal of the Gamekeeper in this episode. The Gamekeeper comes across as Dwight Schultz doing a parody of Dwight Schultz doing a parody of a Dwight Schultz character.
Your DVD player will not spit the disc at you, insulted that you used it to watch “The Gamekeeper.” Probably. There are some interesting moments, although as whole, the episode is not cohesive. I think a big problem is the story switches from believable misery to sketchy humor, and it does not work. Anderson and Shanks provide good performances. Teal’c and Carter are pretty much window dressing.
Once “the secret” (dun dun DUN!) is revealed, the episode skips around, trying to play mind games with SG-1, and the viewers. Overall, this is a dark, unhappy episode with strained moments of levity. O’Neill and Daniel reliving past trauma overshadows the episode’s muddled message, which is live life to the fullest. Or, schadenfreude is bad. Or, you cannot change the past. Or, don’t surrender your free will. Or, don’t believe everything you’re told. Or, perhaps, that tricks are for kids.