Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Stargate SG-1, Season 5, Episode 8

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

Overall Rating:  Excellent

Commentary by:
Peter DeLuise -- Director
Joseph Mallozzi -- Writer
Paul Mullie -- Writer

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

On P2X 338, SG-1 wants to gain access to the inside of a ziggurat.  Daniel is having some difficulty finding, and opening, a door into the structure.  He thinks it has been 3,000 years since anyone was there prior to SG-1’s arrival.  Carter finds evidence to the contrary -- an empty pack of Russian cigarettes.  Wait just a minute, the Russians stopped using their stargate after what happened in “Watergate,” did they not?  Yes.  However, during the brief time their stargate program operated there were unauthorized off world trips, including one to P2X 338.  Three Russian commandos, and an archaeologist, went missing six days before the events in “Watergate.”  They are thought to be the ones who went to the planet with the ziggurat.

It is too hot during the day for the missing people to have survived on the planet this long, unless they found a way into the ziggurat.  On the chance that the missing Russian team is still alive, a mission to P2X 338 is authorized, with SG-1 being accompanied by another group of Russians.

O’Neill’s intense dislike, bordering on hatred, of Russians resurfaces.  There is still no explanation for Jack’s extreme antagonism towards Russians.  SG-1 meets the four member Russian team.  Each person is an almost exact reflection of an SG-1 team member.  The Russian team's leader, Colonel Zukhov,  and O'Neill loathe each other soon after first meeting.  The two teams leave SGC, and gate back to the ziggurat.

Daniel eventually solves the secret to opening the structure’s entrance.  Stones groan as the door’s mechanism grinds open, revealing a darkness so deep it seems solid.  The two teams head into the depths of the ziggurat.  Moving through corridors lit only by the glow of their gun-mounted flashlights; unsure of what may be around the corner, and how much to trust their companions, if at all.  I think this is the scariest Stargate SG-1 episode of the series.  The story does not take the easy route, using the old hat method of startling the viewer by having things suddenly jumping out on screen.  Instead, the episode is clever, creatively using intellectual surprises, pieces of a puzzle coming together in a dark, threatening, and creepy location.

A well written story.  The dialog is okay, however, the actors take occasionally bland words and bring them to life with wit, and nuance.  Everyone’s performance is well done in this episode.

I can be told that a character doesn’t like a certain food, and I will accept it.  I can be told that a character favors a certain style of clothing, and I will accept.  I can be told that a character has a big hate on for an entire country, but I will not accept it.  I think O’Neill’s unexplained -- yet used as motivation for some of his behavior -- extreme intense dislike of all things Russian is tiresome.  Colonel Zukhov’s seeming distaste for all things American was more subdued.  He did not become overtly obnoxious until after O’Neill did.

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