Monday, October 31, 2011

Stargate SG-1, Season 3, Episode 21

"Crystal Skull"
images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Overall Rating:  Excellent

Investigating a planet using a MALP, folks at SGC see an enormous temple, which appears Mayan.  The MALP transmits readings that may take Earth’s knowledge about physics down a new path.  Carter is excited.  A crystal humanoid skull is on a pedestal within the pyramid.  Daniel is intrigued.  Daniel’s grandfather, Nicolas Ballard, discovered a similar crystal skull in Belize in 1971.  Ballard claimed the crystal skull had the power to transport a person to another location, where they would meet giant aliens.  His claim did not go over well in the academic community.  Nicolas was never able to replicate transportation, or get any further results from his artifact.

SG-1 gates to the planet with the enormous Mayan-ish temple, however, radiation concerns severely limit the amount of time the team can safely remain there.  Daniel goes to the crystal skull, and tries to trigger the transportation experience Nick described.  There is a spike in the level of harmful radiation, and some mysterious energy activity is building around the crystal skull.  Teal’c fires his ‘zat at the skull to disrupt the energy field.  Daniel is knocked unconscious by the resulting energy surge.  Carter collapses, overcome by the effects of the increased radiation level.  Daniel is lying unconscious in the open, yet he can no longer be seen by the rest of the team.  To them, he has disappeared.  Teal’c is concerned, and confused, about Daniel’s disappearance.  `O’Neill orders an immediate return to SGC, as he struggles to carry the unconscious Carter and deal with the radiation sickness he is experiencing.  Whew!  And, that happens in one or two minutes of the show.  These events trigger an episode that is rife with suspense, mystery, humor, and pathos.

Jan Rube is Nicolas Ballard, the charming scoundrel who will probably never earn a "world's best grandpa" mug.  The regular cast is outstanding.  A special nod to Shanks as Jackson, and kudos to everyone in a scene with him.  It is difficult to act like someone who is right next to you, speaking and moving around, it not visible or audible.  Bravo to everyone in this episode.

No a failure, so much as the question that usually comes up when someone is out of phase in a story -- why doesn’t Daniel just sink through the floor and the Earth, or float through the ceiling and the sky, or stay in one spot while the Earth rotates around him?  The short answer, of course, is because he is needed in the scenes.  Still ...

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