Friday, January 20, 2012

Stargate SG-1, Season 5, Episode 20

"The Sentinel"
images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Overall Rating:  Very Good

Commentary by:
Peter DeLuise -- Director
Gary Jones -- “SGC Tech”

This commentary is best suited for fans of Mr. DeLuise, and Mr. Jones, who primarily want to hear the two of them talking, although not always talking about this episode of Stargate SG-1.  This is not a good commentary for someone looking for the usual amount of behind the scene, or technical, information.  The commentary often ignores what is on screen, as the two gentlemen chat, and joke, with each other.  Mr. DeLuise frequently tries to pull the conversation back to what is happening on screen, with varying degrees of success.

SG-9 is off world, on the planet Latona.  The Latonans are human, with a peaceful civilization.  They have some advanced technology, however, the knowledge of how most of its functions is lost.  The Latonans have little to no understanding of how their technology works, or how to fix it if it stops working.  The usage of their sophisticated machinery has devolved into a code of behavior, with no understanding of the mechanics.

Before being shutdown by the government, rogue N.I.D. teams posing as part of SGC (“Shades of Gray”) visited Latona.  They wanted access to the Sentinel, an advanced machine that provides planet-wide protection from Goa’uld invasion for the Latonans.  Marul, the Latonans leader, refused to grant the rogue N.I.D. teams access to the Sentinel.

SG-9 went to Latona to try to create an alliance with Earth, and the SG team is long overdue for their check-in with SGC.  General Hammond dials Latona, and learns that Jaffa forces of a Goa’uld named Svarog are invading the planet.  Apparently, the Sentinel is no longer protecting Latona.

Suspecting the rogue N.I.D. team’s activities are the reason for the Sentinel not functioning, O’Neill speaks with the captured rogue team member, Colonel Grieves.  In prison, convicted of treason, Grieves, and another rogue named Kershaw, agree to help, if they get an improvement in their prison sentences.  Both admit to examining the Sentinel, but deny doing anything that would stop the mechanism from working.  Arguing that they are the best choices to fix the problem, Grieves and Kershaw want to go back to Latona.  O’Neill agrees, and takes the two traitors, along with SG-3 and the rest of SG-1, through the stargate.

Shortly after arriving on Latona, they find a member of SG-9, Lt. Grogan ("Proving Ground”).  O’Neill and Grogan head to the city to speak with Marul.  SG-3 goes after some Jaffa, intending to stop them before they can alert other Jaffa.  The rest go to the location of the Sentinel, hoping to fix whatever is wrong.

Arriving at the location of the Sentinel, Grieves and Kershaw, with Daniel’s aid, work to discover how their examination of the machine could have stopped it from functioning.  They are hunted by Jaffa, and the Latonans are under threat of being subjugated, or destroyed, by the Goa’uld named Svarog.

Frank Cassini is excellent as Colonel Grieves.  His portrayal paints Grieves as being guilty of the charge of treason, but unrepentant due to his belief that he was doing the right thing in order to ensure Earth’s safety from alien incursion.  Bravo, Mr. Cassini.  Henry Gibson is Marul.  Mr. Gibson is charming, and provides a perspective of the Latonan viewpoints and beliefs.  The regular cast members provide solid performances.  Christina Cox is Kershaw.  Ms. Cox was T'akaya in "Spirits."

A well conceived story, blending characters with action.  The ramifications of the rogue N.I.D. agents activity is once again addressed, and done so more fully than it was in “Touchstone.”


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