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Thoughts on Stargate's "Covenant"

Had a great moment on Friday when I met telepresence at the bus and said, "Hey, raqs is coming!" And he said, "Oh, is she coming to visit while Tam and Stephen are here?" And I got to see the look on his face when I told him, "No, she's coming to watch SG with us. Tonight." WOO!

Thoughts on SG's new ep, "Covenant". (And by the way, it REALLY annoys us that while you're watching "Atlantis", they keep showing commercials for the 11pm repeat of the SG ep, but they call it "an all new episode of Stargate SG-1" -- dudes, you showed it at 9pm, it's no longer ALL NEW. It's "today's new" or something else like that. But it's a REPEAT of the first airing, guys.)

As with last week, it was an exercise of, "What can I find to say about it that's positive?" Because overall, it was pretty bad...


Let's get these out of the way first, then end with the good stuff. THE WRITING. Horribly clunky, laden with exposition and liberally sprinkled with very bad, clichéd exclamations and pronouncements. It was also a very TALKY episode, by which I mean -- people stood around and delivered long expository speeches to each other, pretending they were dialogue, and thereby TELLING us a lot of stuff, but DOING very little.

This was mainly because, we decided, what the writers had this week was an *idea* for a *situation*, but not actually a really developed *plot*. Some parts of the idea were cool, and I'll get to that in a moment. But the rest of the idea was really weak and wasn't hammered out well, so in the end, it felt like a whole lot of nothin' happened.

And some of what did happen...was poorly conceived. Okay, you've got this guy who's going to expose "the truth". You've been in these situations before. Kudos to you for bringing in that reporter and providing a bit of continuity to the last time you had to deal with something like this (kudos also for mentioning Bregman). You've decided (offscreen) finally that you're going to show this guy the whole truth, and hope that he agrees with your argument for why it should remain unannounced. To do that, you're going to take him through the Gate....

You're going to take him through the Gate, to an orderly, safe, well-run American scientific outpost? And show him the sight that travel to and life on another planet looks... safe and fun and productive and easily adapted to? Then, you're going to sit and *TELL* him about the horrid dangers and stuff. But you don't *SHOW* him any of that. You rely on your inadequate words to convey to him what you've been facing for years (you don't, apparently, even give him particular examples, or pictures, or anything). All he's SEEN is cooperation with friendly, very advanced aliens (Thor), and a peaceful, well-organized, productive offworld base.

And then you're surprised when he concludes that he doesn't see why the world shouldn't know?

What about taking him to see a world ravaged by the Goa'uld? Why not try to *SHOW* him something concrete that would communicate the war that the SGC is on the front lines of fighting? Everyone at the SGC has a healthy fear of what's out there. They're not just saying it -- they're truly scared, but they're doing their duty anyway, or even, because of it. What they really *wanted* to do was make him healthily scared, too. But nothing they showed him was anything that would do that.

(Geez -- just plug him into the chair that Teal'c and Daniel were in a few weeks back, and show him what our latest enemies *ARE* and what they can do. Let him stand there and watch Sam and General O'Neill and an entire USAF base be destroyed, virtually. Give him a guide in the second chair, even. Then perhaps the ep might have USED TEAL'C. I realize the last two eps have been All Teal'c, All the Time, so we shouldn't complain if he's wallpaper in this one, but still. Teal'c may not be able to have Junior poke his head out and squick people any more, but his words and his arguments, as another bonafide "alien", might have been useful in this process.)

The writer, by the way, is not one of my favorites, anyway. I've found Ron Wilkerson's offerings to be uneven in the past. Sometimes, when there's a full plot and some action, I think he does fairly well ("Between Two Fires", "Proving Ground"). But his "Red Sky", while it had some small details I liked, was another example of an ep I disliked because it was long on talk and short on action, and much of the talk was badly done.


There *were* parts of the ep that we enjoyed at the time, that we laughed *with* rather than *at* -- and pretty much all of those involved Thor.

Actually, the beginning revelation, when Colson brought out that Asgard, genuinely surprised us, and made us say, "Whoa!" (I was proud to have guessed at that moment that what he had was an empty clone body -- one point for me!)

Additionally, Jack's "we're meeting with the president in 5 minutes" was GREAT! Jack-Thor interaction is always a plus. (Also loved Daniel's non-reaction to that bit.)

And we also really liked the sequence in which they use the *REAL* Thor making a *REAL* Asgard holographic projection, on the news show, to "prove" that, hey, it's all just special effects, and look, ours is better because it talks! (Also loved that it was Jack who pointed out that subtle detail, that the clone Colson had was mute.) Loved that they didn't have to lie, as such -- they just constructed a lie out of a string of true statements.

All of that was very good, and very enjoyable. *That*, I think, was the BIG IDEA that somebody had, the cool "what if?" that they thought they could hang an episode on. But after Thor left, the rest was pretty flat, choked by exposition and a few honestly far-fetched ideas. (And I'm sorry, but the New Improved Rogue NID, the Trust? It just sounds dumb every time they try to discuss it.)

Late in the ep, they all come walking out of the elevator, and Jack has his hand on his stomach in a way that suggested he had some heartburn or indigestion or something -- a physical bit of acting by RDA which, in that case, wasn't really mentioned or explained, so you can read into it whatever you want.

At that point, it seemed to us like the perfect reflection of how the ep had made *us* feel, as well.

And next week? DUDE. We are going to be SO PISSED OFF if they KILL ISH'TA. Just sayin'.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 28th, 2004 10:38 am (UTC)
I'm not even a Jolene Blaylock fan, but the whole "Kill off the love interest" thing is old. Moldy old. Don't do it.

Episode? Poo poo.

And Atlantis better come up with more plots than "Conflict-with-driven-to-adopt-semi-insane-traditions-due-to-fear-of-the-Wraith Society of the Week".
Aug. 28th, 2004 10:39 am (UTC)
Also, raqs, warm and fabulous!

Aug. 28th, 2004 05:01 pm (UTC)
I want my bushido spouting Cheap-ons! "Cree!!!"
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )