Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Stargate SG-1, Season 6, Episode 11

images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Overall Rating:  Good

Commentary by:
Peter F. Woeste – Director
Andrew D. Wilson – Director of Photography
Rick Dean – Chief Lighting Technician

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

On Earth, a news reporter named Julia Donovan stops Carter on the street asking her about a project named Prometheus, where over two billion dollars of tax payer money is going. No big. Except the money was funneled to the project without Congressional oversight. That reporter is just fishing. Donovan also has a small sample of a shiny metal, saying it’s trinium, and she asks Carter about it. Whoa. Things just got real. Trinium is an off world metal (“Spirits”) obtained through the Stargate program. No way should Donovan know about it.

After blowing off the reporter, Carter meets with General Hammond at SGC to discuss the encounter. Even if the sample Donovan had was not actually trinium, just knowing the name of the material indicates a security breach. The Pentagon begins an investigation of Julia Donovan in an attempt to find out what she knows, and who she learned it from. Donovan’s report will go live in four days. Major Davis (“Descent”) is sent to talk Donovan out of running the story. She is so not intimidated by Major Davis.

Donovan thinks Prometheus is a fusion reactor (it isn’t). The possibility remains that she could find out more about Prometheus, and as a result learns about the Stargate program. The President (of the United States of America) phones the reporter’s boss’ boss’ boss, and the story is dead. SGC allows Donovan and a small news crew to document the Prometheus, with an understanding – and no doubt a ton of paperwork – to not disclose what they’re shown until the U. S. Air Force gives the okay. Which will be on the calendar date of never gonna happen. However, this buys time to find out how Donovan learns about things she shouldn’t know.

Carter and Quinn take Donovan, her editor, and a small tech crew on a tour of Prometheus. Prometheus is a huge space ship, Earth - built but incorporating off world tech. It’s the X-303 (the X-302 is in “Redemption, Part 2”). Unfinished, but flight capable, the Prometheus is the future of space flight for Earth. Everything is going smoothly, until an old adversary makes their presence known. Carter and Quinn use their knowledge and abilities to thwart their old foe, while O’Neill and Teal’c come at the problem from another vantage point.

The actors provide respectable performances. The Prometheus sets and effects look amazing.

The end of this episode sets up the beginning of the next episode, “Unnatural Selection,”  but there’s not much else to it. It’s okay for a one time viewing, but if this episode didn’t exist, the beginning of the next episode wouldn't need much of a rewrite.  I rated this episode Good, but it’s a weak Good. The effects and sets are great; the acting is good; but the story is meh.

I like the Major Davis character, but he is terrible at trying to bluff others. He attempted to do this twice, and got owned both times, neither person buying Major Davis’ bluff for a second.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Stargate SG-1, Season 6, Episode 10

images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

Overall Rating:  Very Good

Commentary by:
Andy Mikita – Director
Damian Kindler – Producer
Jim Menard – 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.

SG-1 gates to the planet Pangar. The Pangarans studied their stargate, but had never been able to make it work. They are delighted to meet the Earth stargate travelers, and hope for a mutually satisfying relationship between the two planets.

Carter and O’Neill sit down with the Pangaran representatives to offer some safe, friendly stargate addresses in trade for a sample of tretonin -- an elixir the Pangarans developed which grants perfect health. The offered stargate addresses are ideal for a society new to gate travel. Thing is, the Pangarans want stargate addresses to dangerous locations, not namby-pamby safe zones. Exercising his usual level of tact (which is none) O’Neill questions why they’d want to travel to such locations. The Pangarans aren’t feeling the need to explain themselves to SG-1.

Meanwhile, Quinn and Teal’c meander around an archeological dig site where the Pangarans found their stargate, along with a native scientist named Zenna Valk. Having a seemingly eidetic memory, Quinn is the resident SG-1 walking encyclopedia. Teal’c has firsthand experience with the Goa’uld, and also provides information. Valk wants to tell Jonas something, but is reluctant to speak in front of the Pangaran security escort. So, Quinn sneaks off and riffles through Valk’s tent at the dig site. Not the most diplomatic thing to do, but the story has to keep moving.

Using the information he pilfered from Valk, Quinn and Teal’c investigate the location where Pangarans get their doses of tretonin. The pair uncover the main component needed to manufacture tretonin. Describing it as off-putting is an understatement. With their secret out, the Pangarans are more open with SG-1. Since there’s not much left to tell, this isn’t surprising. Oh, wait, scratch that last statement. There is a lot more to the Pangaran/tretontin story.

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Already complex and interesting, the story adds another layer – the Tok’ra: Malek (“Allegiance”) and Kelmaa.  Through a well written plot twist, Pangarans need to extend blind trust to SG-1, and to the Tok’ra. Although the Tok’ra arrogance volume is turned down this episode, they still aren’t making friends with their charm. For once Earth’s survival isn’t at risk, but the Pangarans and Tok’ra are having a really bad day.

A very good episode, with some startling surprises. All of the actors’ performances are done well, and are solid and believable.

From trying to blow up a moon populated by hundreds or thousands of people (“The Devil You Know”); to forcibly taking a host to save their snaky selfs (“In the Line of Duty”); to suppressing a human host’s persona (“Abyss”); various Tok’ra show a consistent disregard for the value of a non-Tok’ra life.

There’s a point in this episode where the fate of the Pangarans is in the hands of the Tok’ra, and the Tok’ra aren’t exactly rushing to the rescue. O’Neill points out that the Tok’ra might not help the Pangarans. Carter states that the Tok’ra would never do such a thing.  Considering past Tok’ra behavior, I don’t understand how Carter can say that with a straight face.