Monday, January 9, 2012

Stargate SG-1, Season 5, Episode 14

"48 Hours"
images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Overall Rating:  Excellent

Commentary by:
Peter Woeste -- Director
Andy Wilson -- Director of Photography

James Tichenor is not on this commentary, and his presence is missed.  In addition to providing information about the effects on episodes, Mr. Tichenor is often a representative of the viewer, asking questions that fans of the show might ask.  When present, he keeps the flow of commentaries going, if needed.  This commentary has some stretches of silence, as the commentators seem to quietly watch the show.  I checked my DVD setting a few times during the silence, thinking I had accidentally turned off the commentary.  When the commentators are speaking, their remarks are very informative, and interesting.

SG-1 is in the midst of an off world battle against Goa’uld forces.  Death gliders pound the team’s position.  SG-1 fights their way to the stargate, and returns to SGC.  Teal’c is the last to leave the planet, firing on an Al'kesh, which is a large Goa’uld vessel capable of flying within a planet’s atmosphere.  The Al'kesh is damaged, and crashes into the stargate as Teal’c jumps through the wormhole.  The crash results in an energy surge that wreaks havoc on the stargate.  Teal’c does not come through the gate at SGC before the wormhole shuts down.  Diagnoses reveal that Teal’c is trapped in the stargate’s mechanism, his essence still within the gate instead of reintegrating at SGC.

Activation of SGC’s stargate before resolving the problem of Teal’c’s reintegration will erase Teal’c from the gate’s memory, essentially obliterating him.  SGC resets their iris, forcing incoming wormholes to exit at the Russian’s stargate, thereby buying time to solve the problem of getting Teal’c back.  Daniel is sent to Russia, along with Major Davis (“Absolute Power”), to negotiate the further use of the Russian stargate.  The Russians use the opportunity to air their grievances about the United States not upholding their end of an agreement to share alien technology with Russia.  The Russians use the United States' needs as a way to force compliance with the agreement.

Back at SGC, Dr. Rodney McKay is brought in from Area 51 by Colonel Simmons (“Desperate Measures”) to work with Carter on getting Teal’c back.  However, there is a forty-eight hour time limit to reintegrate Teal’c.  Colonel Simmons has scientific support that any longer than 48 hours will result in too much of Teal’c’s information being lost by the stargate mechanism to ever bring him back.  Carter disagrees with that assessment, however Simmons has enough political pull to force SGC’s stargate back into use at the end of the 48 hour window.

Out of the blue, Maybourne (“Desperate Measures”) contacts O’Neill, warning him not to trust Simmons.  Neither of them know that Simmons is the one who shot O'Neill in “Desperate Measures,” and made off with the Goa’uld infested Adrian Conrad.  O'Neill thinks Maybourne shot him.  O’Neill is not sure whether to trust the word of the proven traitor with occasional moments of honor, Maybourne, about the antagonistic representative of a sketchy government agency, Simmons.

The three plots converge, as the overt distrust between the Russian and United States stargate programs, and the covert dealings of the N.I.D.’s Simmons, threaten to end any chance of getting Teal’c back alive.

Tom McBeath returns as Harry Maybourne, and continues his excellent portrayal of the morally ambiguous traitor.  John de Lancie returns as Frank Simmons, who is still sketchy, making it difficult to determine whether or not he is part of the darker side of the N.I.D.  Garry Chalk returns as Colonel Chekov ("The Tomb").  This episode introduces the character of Rodney McKay, played by David Hewlett.  All of the regular cast members provide great performances.

This is a complex story, with three separate plots, which are expertly woven together.  Except for the opening scene, the story is based on Earth, something that has the potential to become dull.  However, in this instance, the excitement is not diminished by the lack of off world travel.


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