Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stargate SG-1, Season 4, Episode 3

images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Episode Rating:  Excellent

Commentary by:
Martin Wood -- Director
Jim Menard -- Director of Photography
James Tichenor -- Visual Effects Supervisor

The commentary is very informative, and interesting.  Lots of behind the scene information.  The commentary stays on point with what is on screen.

Anise, a Tok’ra, visits SGC.  With the blessing of the Tok’ra High Council, Anise brings three artifacts with her -- armbands, from an extinct civilization known as the Antonieks.  The armbands are supposed to increase the wearer’s existing abilities, such as strength and speed.  The artifacts will not work on anyone carrying a Goa’uld symbiote, for example the Tok’ra, and Teal’c.  O’Neill, Carter, and Daniel agree to put on the armbands, and become guinea pigs for the Tok’ra.  Wearing artifacts they know nothing about, provided by a snippy Tok'ra who does not want to answer questions about the armbands.  [sarcasm font]  Gee, what could go wrong doing that?  [/sarcasm font]

SG-1, minus Teal’c, is exhilarated as they experience changes induced by the Antoniek armbands.  Anise is monitoring the physiological effects the devices have on the team, however, she is not sharing the results with Dr. Frasier.  Doc Frasier conducts her own medical tests on the team, discovering some disturbing results.  Frasier is the only SGC personnel who is able to more than hold her own when verbally sparring with the Tok’ra, Anise.  Concerned about the side effects brought to his attention by Dr. Frasier, General Hammond orders SG-1 to remove the alien armbands.  Problem is, the armbands will not come off.

O’Neill, Carter, and Daniel are under the influence of alien technology, and therefore not allowed to function as an SG team.  Meanwhile, an enemy of the Tok’ra, who is also a threat to almost everyone in the galaxy, is once again active, and up to no good.  The lone active SG-1 team member, Teal’c, contemplates a strategy to deal with the enemy, while the rest of SG-1 exhibit more and more odd behavior instigated by the effects of the alien armbands.

Vanessa Angel is the cold, distant, unlikeable Tok'ra, Anise.  The human host, Freia, does not appear much in this episode. Don S. Davis as General Hammond has many great moments in this episode.  Actually, all of the regular, and recurring, cast members deliver memorable moments in the show.  Overall, an interesting story that smoothly flows from dramatic, to humorous, to action, and delivers on all aspects.

While I thoroughly enjoy this episode, the spark that gets the story going is not particularly believable.  Some aliens (the Tok’ra) -- whose history of interacting with Earth is heavy with condescension, and light on respect -- waltz into SGC, and get an okay to use some Earth humans as guinea pigs.  I don’t buy it.  Spending a lot of time showing General Hammond’s, and the Pentagon’s, reticence to use SG-1 for experiments would bog down the episode.  I understand why such scenes are omitted, but it still gives the episode a surreal, kind of creaky beginning.  Once the team puts on the armbands, the story is so interesting, fast paced, and fun, I forget my questioning the beginning.

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