Friday, June 10, 2016

Stargate SG-1, Season 6, Episode 4

images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Overall Rating:  Good

Commentary by:
Martin Wood – Director
James Tichenor – Visual Effects Producer

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

Scientists at an Antarctic research station find a body, one frozen in ice a few million years ago. SG-1 and Dr. Fraiser travel to the research station to investigate. They discover that the body appears to be a human female, caught in the ice long before human beings evolved on Earth. Then, the ice woman slowly becomes conscious. Apparently SG-1 and company never read John W. Campbell’s novella Who Goes There or saw the movies Thing from Another World or The Thing. Because everyone reacts with wonder and surprise at the awakening, rather than immediately cobbling together flamethrowers.

Named Ayiana by one of the scientists, the no longer on ice woman is ... remarkably calm considering the circumstance.  She doesn't speak at first.  Quinn spends time with Ayiana, trying to communicate with her, but having limited success. Carter, Fraiser, and the research station scientists marvel at the possibilities of this new discovery. From finding out where she came from, to possibly rewriting the history of human evolution on Earth. But, the humans at the research station come down with a potentially fatal disease. Dr. Fraiser declares a quarantine at the station, and the group tries to find out what is causing their illness before everyone succumbs.

As if that isn’t enough, Tok’ra come into the picture this episode. Always long on the condescension, and short on the good news, things rarely look up when Tok’ra come calling. But, Dorian Harewood – an amazing actor with a voice that is a joy to hear, plays this Tok’ra. A chance to see Mr. Harewood act, and hear his voice, makes it all okay.

I prefer my science fiction adventures with a lot of action. Space ships! Ray guns! Epic battles! There is none of that in this episode, but I enjoyed it. The writing is well done. While exposition heavy, the flow of story doesn’t falter. The acting is good, with every one providing solid performances. The sets and exterior shots are fantastic. I’ve never been to an Antarctic research station. But, watching this episode I felt as though I was looking at an Antarctic research station.

One of the things I’ve come to learn is outside of print stories aliens will often look humanoid or completely human. There are exceptions, some quite phenomenally well done, but for the most part portrayed aliens tend look human or human-ish. Sometimes, an explanation of this fits the narrative, like the Goa’ulds snatching humans from Earth, and using humans as hosts.  There is an attempt to rationalize why Ayiana looks so human, but I think it would have been better to leave it in the same place as why almost every culture encountered on other worlds speak English.  Pretty much, "Don't ask.  Just go with it."

With the exception of Jacob/Selmak, when it comes to the Tok’ra I don’t understand why SGC doesn’t approach any contact with them as coming from a place of, “they do not have our best interests at heart.” Tok’ra don’t use humans like the Goa’uld do, but the Tok’ra often don’t seem to respect humans any more than the Goa’uld do.

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