Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Stargate SG-1, Season 6, Episode 7

"Shadow Play"
images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Overall Rating:  Very Good

Commentary by:
Peter DeLuise -- Director
Peter F. Woeste – Director of Photography

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

The Kelownans (“Meridian”) from Jonas Quinn’s home world of Langara contact SGC via the stargate. What with the Kelownans accusing Daniel Jackson of sabotage, and Jonas Quinn defecting to Earth, things are a little frosty between Kelowna and SGC. But, the Kelownans seem ready to declare bygones, and want to enter a trade agreement with SGC. Technologically inferior to Earth, all the Kelownans can offer is naquadria – the more powerful, but less stable, version of naquadah currently found only on Langara.

Carter wants access to naquadria. Jonas is hesistant to deal with his old home world. Teal’c is thoughtful. O’Neill is disgruntled at the idea of making nice with Kelowna, but can’t deny potential benefits from naquadria.

A Kelownan delegation gates to SGC to discuss a possible trade deal. One member of the delegation is Dr. Keiran, a mentor and friend of Quinn’s. Turns out there are three major powers on their planet: Kelowna, Tirania, and The Andari Federation. Mostly the three powers fought against each other, a stalemate. Now the Tiranians and Andaris plan to sign a non-agression pack with each other, meaning the two powers could work together to beat up Kelowna. Kelowna wants SGC's military technology in order to withstand a presumed attack from the other two countries.

Dr. Kieran has an additional bit of information told in secret to Jonas. There’s a covert organization working to overthrow Kelowna’s current government. Tired of the fighting between the countries, they plan a coup, and Dr. Keiran is a member of this group. Keiran wants Quinn’s help. SGC wants to learn more about this group as they want somebody on Langara to cough up some naquadria, preferably without becoming involved in an off-world war. SG-1 gates to Langara to offer the Kelownas non-military technology in trade for naquadria, and gain more information about Dr. Kieran’s group.

On Langara, SG-1’s negotiations with the Kelownans don’t go well, to the surprise of no one. Kelowna desires techno-amazing flying machines of destruction. SGC offers antibiotics.

The Kelownans want Earth military technology through trade, or by Jonas re-defecting back to Langara. Yup, the Kelownan leader tries to sweet talk Quinn into dumping SGC and coming back. The Kelowan government wants the tech. The resistence wants SGC to help with their revolution. SGC is like, “nope” to both. Meanwhile, war on Langara looms closer.

SGC is getting a taste of how the Tollans (“Between Two Fires”) felt about SGC’s requests for advanced technology. Granted, SGC wanted the Tollans help to fight against the threat of the Goa’uld. But, there was always a chance that someone might succumb to an urge to use the Tollan tech against a foe other than the Goa’uld. Now, the Kelownans want the SGC’s advanced tech to establish a balance of power against the Tiranians and Andaris. But, there’s a chance that Kelowna might go with a, “why defend against them when we can destroy them?” line of thought.

There’s a lot of subtext expertly woven into this episode. SGC experiencing the point of view held by advanced off world societies when asked to provide technology to Earth. Jonas wanting all three of Langara’s major powers to learn about the wonders and challenges in the galaxy, when only Kalowna knows about Langara’s stargate. A situation similar to Earth’s in that very few countries, and virtually none of the general population, knows about the stargate. There is no definitive villain in this episode, and I think this is a strength. The story is a study of behavior, without becoming heavy handed, or preachy.

A well written, well acted, episode.

Dean Stockwell portrays Dr. Keiran, and provides a solid performance. All of the actors performances are well done. The Kelownan sets and costumes look amazing. Kudos to everyone involved in this episode.

Teal’c lays some wisdom on Jonas about being considered a traitor by ones people. Very nicely done. Teal’c is also the most effective negotiator with the Kelownans by cutting to the chase when others are dancing around a point, or just bickering.


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