Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stargate SG-1, Season 4, Episode 5

"Divide and Conquer"
images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Episode Rating:  Good

Commentary by:
Martin Wood -- Director
Jim Menard -- Director of Photography
James Tichenor -- a 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.

On the Tok’ra’s current home planet, O’Neill, Jackson, and two men from another SG team, work on a treaty between Earth and the Tok’ra.  Again with the super-secret SGC making deals for the entire planet.  Per’sus, the Tok’ra High Councilor, enters the room.  Major Graham, one of the SG men with O’Neill, tries to kill Per’sus using a technologically advanced weapon.  Unsuccessful with his assassination attempt, Graham kills himself.

The weapon appears to be Goa’uld in origin.  The Tok’ra Freia/Anise (“Upgrades") posits that Goa’uld are programming individuals, against their will, as sleeper assassins.  Freia/Anise calls such people za'tarcs, thereby identifying the affected, and continuing to support the rampant use of names with apostrophes on Stargate SG-1.  Za'tarcs are unaware of their status, or their missions, until a particular sight or phrase triggers their programming.

Freia/Anise developed a machine to test someone for za'tarc programming.  The detector cannot expose a za'tarc’s mission.  It only uncovers that someone’s memories have been tampered with, meaning that individual is likely a za'tarc.  SGC personnel are tested, and the detector indicates that there are za'tarcs on base, including members of SG-1.  The future prospects are bleak for the uncovered SG za'tarcs.  Lifetime imprisonment while under a suicide watch, or an experimental treatment that may result in the za'tarc’s death.

Vanessa Angel returns as Freia/Anise.  Freia/Anise never caught on with some Stargate SG-1 fans, myself included.  I think the problem is that Anise is cold, distant, arrogant, and often disrespectful towards Earth humans.  Freia is rarely portrayed, and has a particularly weird appearance in this episode.  Anise is off putting, and Freia is seldom around.  The character not building a huge fan base does not surprise me.  JR Bourne returns as Martouf/Lantesh, last seen in “The Devil You Know”.  The regular cast is good.  Nice quality of performance from them, although nothing outstanding.  The best performance is the brief appearance by Kirsten Robek who portrays Lieutenant Astor, an SG team member who is a za'tarc. 

There are two failures in the episode, however, they are both spoilers, and so I won’t post them.

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