Sunday, January 1, 2012

Stargate SG-1, Season 5, Episode 5

"Red Sky"
images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Overall Rating:  Fair

Commentary by:
Martin Wood -- Director
James Tichenor -- Visual Effects Producer
Amanda Tapping -- “Carter”

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

SG-1 arrives on a planet, forcibly tumbling out of the stargate.  That sort of exit from a wormhole ended in Stargate SG-1’s first season, explained away as computer corrections for the shift in planetary locations over the millennium.  DHDs automatically correct such things, however, SGC uses an elaborate computer program to dial gate addresses, as they do not have a DHD.  The Russians have a DHD (“Watergate”), however, they are not allowing SGC to use it.

On the planet, the team encounters a group of humans near the stargate.  The people call themselves the K’tau.  Or, maybe that is the planet’s name.  The people are not particularly interesting, so it does not matter.  Some Goa’uld snatched the K’tau from Earth a long time ago.  K’tau is part of the Protected Planets Treaty (“Fair Game”), and safeguarded from the Goa’uld by the Asgard.  Like the people of Cimmeria (“Thor's Chariot”), the K’tau believe in gods based on a Norse pantheon, although their civilization is more advanced than the Cimmerians.  Maybe analogous to a 17th century Europe level of development.

Shortly after SG-1’s arrival, K’tau’s sun turns red.  The change in the visible light spectrum means that plants will die out, and the population will starve.  Based on their experiences on Cimmeria, SG-1 contacts the Asgard for help.  Rather than Thor, they reach Freyr who, unlike Thor, is not charmed by O’Neill.  Due to the tenets of the Protected Planets Treaty, the Asgard cannot fix the problem with the sun.  Something about not giving blatant aid that is more technologically advanced than a planet’s civilization.  How fixing the sun would advance the K'tau's techno-knowledge is not explained.  Messing up the sun sure didn't advance the K'tau's knowledge.  Anyway, SG-1 must determine the cause of that sun’s shift to the infrared spectrum, and fix the problem.

The actors' performances are fine.

Part of the story concerns a superstitious culture arguing about whether or not SG-1's appearance on their planet is a harbinger of doom.  Nothing new is brought into the discussion, which bounces between a couple of K’tau characters that are two-dimensional cliches.  Elrad, a calm, thoughtful, leader versus Malchus a hyper religious zealot.  Zen peace versus chaos.  Thought versus fear.  Decafe versus caffeinated.  The rest of the K’tau are not endearing either, not doing much other than often muttering amongst themselves.

O’Neill is willing to allow all of the K’tau to die because the unsanctioned activity of one of the K'tau results in the death of two SG team members.  Having O’Neill care about SG people is essential to his character, but taking it to the point where he is willing to allow the annihilation of an entire planet as retribution is way over the top as a reaction.

The Asgard are vast with unhelpfulness when asked to aid people they protect.  The K’tau think everything that happens to them, or their world, is their gods' whim.  There was no chance that the Asgard fixing the problem with the sun would have artificially advanced the K’tau’s technological knowledge.  Agreeing to a treaty that only allows the Asgard to protect a planet from a Goa’uld threat seems shortsighted, and irrational.

There are interesting aspects to this episode.  However, many of the major players almost qualify as mustache twirling villains, due to their poor behavior, and inane rationale.

No comments:

Post a Comment