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Huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! wishes to tafkarfanfic, and (slightly belatedly) to troyswann too!

My resolution of trying to keep up and write reviews for SciFi Friday went off the rails this past weekend, because I had a big work event (fabulously successful, and you all wish you could have attended it) on Friday and Saturday, and then I collapsed and vegetated. And in my vegetative state, I didn't save SGA or BSG properly, so TiVo deleted them to make room for other things that I didn't even want but had forgotten to go into my To Do list and remove. Aargh.

It did save SG1, though, and I finally, finally got around to watching that last night. So here are some incoherent thoughts on that, before I finally get to go and read what everyone else had to say…

SG1: Off the Grid

Previously on SG1, it's… ah. My least-favorite Landry moment! Reminding me of this is really not a way to get me on-board for this episode. I think that this event occuring so early in the season is one of the things that lodged in my brain and kept me from liking Landry.

It also just makes me want to smack the writers, in much the same way as I ranted about wanting to smack them for that recent SGA episode in which they pretended they could address the deadly serious question of willingness on the part of the "good guys" to torture, and… no, SG1/SGA. You can't do that. By which I mean – you don't have the writing chops to pull it off, so please, don't try, because what you end up doing is just muddled and embarassing.

With this early S9 scene between Landry and Nerus – where Landry pretty much up-front threatens (with clear intent to enact) incarceration and starvation in order to coerce Nerus's cooperation – I got the feeling at the time that the writers maybe just didn’t realize how that would come across. That they weren't thinking when they wrote it, which is just as bad as if they were intending to address the issue of what we should expect out of our own military's treatment of its prisoners, morally speaking, and flubbed it (which is what I think happened with the SGA ep).

I was able to spin to myself what I thought they might have meant with Landry's threats – which was that since Nerus was presented as such an unremitting glutton, locking him up and giving him a "normal" amount of food (especially food prepared by a military prison, which you've got to figure would suck) would be perceived by him as starvation; I thought there was some foreshadowing of that earlier in the same ep, in the way he talked about his food needs/demands. But, the way Landry presented it at the end wasn't sufficiently clear, and the implications squicked me. They especially bothered me because Landry was such a new character at the time. We were still trying to get a feel for what kind of command he was going to be. We didn't have the history with him that we had with Hammond or Jack.

So yeah, anyway… great. We're back to this. And after SGA's "Critical Mass", my faith in the writers' ability to handle this subject in a way that won't annoy the hell out of me has taken even more of a nose-dive.

Moving right along… LEATHER! For no reason! Who cares! Do you get the feeling that an SG1 episode could just debut with the entire team decked out in leather duds, and they could *never* explain it, and the team could just be like that from now on, and nobody would care, just bring on more of the leather pants?

8 Hours Earlier… okay, look. I realize that this is a perfectly legitimate dramatic device, but… every freakin' SciFi Friday show is now freakin' using it, and I am officially tired of it. I really don't mind starting a story in media res. But I kind of object to the idea that apparently there is no better or more dramatic way to hook viewers at the start of an ep. As a device that is used occasionally, fine. But it seems like BSG is using it EVERY episode now, and the SGs are getting in on the act, and it's feeling kind of cheap to me.

That said – hi, Reynolds! I like Reynolds, and I'm sort of glad in a back-handed way that the actor can't find steady work elsewhere, because that means we get to have continuity in SG team-leaders for once. Well, I say "for once", but I really mean, "again", because it used to happen. Then for a long time it didn't. And now Reynolds gets to play the role of Symbolic Other SG Team-Leader. That's a lot for one guy to shoulder, and I'm glad that the actor and the character is up to the role. Remember when there was more than one other SG team-leader who would show up every so often? Yeah, those were the days…

It bothers me a bit that the on-screen world of the SGC has become so *small*. Sure, this has always been something the show has struggled with. It has never managed to show as many people in the background as there ought to have been. But I could swear that it used to try harder to do so. I dunno. I'm just very aware now that the SGC has one doctor (Lam); one all-purpose scientist (Lee); and one Team That Isn't SG1 (Reynolds' team).

Now, the scientist thing doesn't bother me so much, because actually, Lee being there is an improvement on the only regular go-to scientist being Sam, and the fact that Lee's degree is also apparently in "science" and nothing more specific also doesn't bother me because again, that's how Sam has been all along, so, whatever. But there were other medical staff who used to pop up occasionally (remember Warner?), and a selection of team-leaders (in order: Ferretti, Makepeace, Conner, Griff, Coburn, Pierce, Reynolds, Dixon, Edwards), some of whom have, okay, died, but still. Not to mention the Russian team who's supposed to exist but who we've never seen on-screen. And so on.

I'm just saying, it'd be nice to continue to have more of a sense that there is more to the SGC than the edge of the soundstage.

But honestly, bitching is not the only thing I feel like doing about this episode! Truly! Oh, there'll be more bitching. I should probably state that, overall, I liked it. Alan McCullough is not a terrible addition to the writing staff, although I'm not sure sanguine about his work yet. I think he has a ways to go before I'll feel like he's really nailed the characters. (For the record, he also wrote Prototype, and Stronghold.) But lord knows the show can use some new writing blood.

Anyway… ADDICTIVE CORN! Woo! Now see, that's just fun. I liked the ear of corn in the bio-containment canister, and Reynolds' somewhat resigned attitude towards it. And the jokes. Because corn – it's funny.

So, fine, there is a plot pretext for SG1 going "undercover" in the leather outfits. Honestly, whatever. Although, I will say this – I kind of like the idea that they have figured out by this point that the Traditional Dress of the Tau'ri Military is perhaps *known*, even with its identifying patches, and if they don’t want to walk in someplace wearing neon signs that say "Hi, we're the Tau'ri!", then a change of clothes is called for. That's smart, and I like it. I only wish the show had resorted to it more often in the early years, when there was a chance in hell that you could have gotten RDA to wear leather pants. Seriously, how criminal is it that for the first 8 years of the show, SG1 "undercover" invariably wore Abydonian or Chulakian robes?

For a second there, I forgot about the "Cam-shaft" nickname, and when Mitchell introduced himself as "Mr. Shaft", I almost snorted my drink. Because Mr. Shaft is someone else entirely, someone who could actually pull off a sound-track by Isaac Hayes, and Cam, honey… that is not you.

I like that the rest of the team totally knows it's not him, too. The team discussion was interesting. Again, it shows how different the dynamic is on this SG1. Cam is the team-leader? Please. Cam is one of the guys, and he's still the new kid on the block, and the rest of the cool kids are willing to call him on stuff. I like that. I thought Daniel's point was extremely apt – he looks about as much like a drug smuggler as Cam does. Which is to say, NOT AT ALL. Teal'c's "You are all equidistant" line *killed*. As did the "Mary Poppins" thing – seriously, where did *that* snark come from? Not that it wasn't hilarious, it was. Although I'm really not sure, if you had asked me to come up with a snarky pop-culture reference for Sam, that I would have gone the Mary Poppins route. Now I am trying to think what would have fit her better…

I must take a moment here to say – what the hell are those weapons they're using? Where are the P90s, and why don't they have them? I noticed this in the opening teaser, and I noticed it again here, and I noticed it *again* on the mission to Baal's ship later. Because – unless I find out differently when I inevitably go and look them up to figure out what the hell they are, because I must know -- they just don't look as hefty as the P90. I can't even really tell where the hell their magazines are. But they look… small. They look smaller than the old HK MP5s, which to be honest were kind of inappropriate for SG1 to be carrying (even though that was their main field weapon through mid-S4).

Fine, fine, *grump*. I realize that they debuted the P90s (in "The First Ones") long before they actually called attention to the equipment change (in a really nice gun-geeking exchange between Jack and the Russian colonel in S5's "The Tomb"). But the P90s were great, and they're an old friend by now. I want to know why they've been discarded! And I know I'm not the ONLY one. (Makes note to email wildernessguru later.)

HAH! Oh yes, the show totally DID want to unveil a newer, shinier, faster, sleeker ship – and finally, we get to meet it! The Odyssey. Nice! And how convenient for the two shows that now they can just use the same sets for both ships, and the same F/X shots! I'm glad that they have stuck with the Greek-mythos names for their ships. I'm also glad that they have hit upon a more propitious name than "Prometheus". When you think about it, it's kind of hard actually to find a name from Greek mythology that does not, somewhere within the stories associated with it, have unwanted connotations. Prometheus probably should have been obvious (hell, it was obvious to Jack). Daedalus… well, at least his fate was better than that of Icarus. The Odyssey? Well… so long as the ship and crew don't go inadvertantly wandering off for years and years, I guess that's not too bad. I have to admit to being just the tiniest bit bugged, though… I mean, wouldn't "the Odysseus" be more in keeping with the pattern?

Hey! That "arriving at Area 51" shot – stock footage from "Touchstone"! Awesome. (Especially since "Touchstone" was also the first ep in which Reynolds appears – as a major, working at Area 51; he's in charge of escorting SG1. How, of course, he got from being a USAF major to being, apparently, a Marine colonel… ehn, we won't go there.)

Nerus, of course, does not look all that "starved". Of course, he wouldn't, given the constraints of the actor.

I kept feeling disoriented throughout the ep, although I don’t think it was the fault of the writing. Like, when SG1 were rescued by being beamed out at the last moment from in front of the firing squad… for a moment I was sure that it was going to wind up being Baal who'd "rescued" them (because he has to be equipped with beaming technology if he's the one stealing Stargates). Similarly, when Worrel was brought on board a ha'tak, I was momentarily convinced that it would turn out that his "superior" was Baal… until we met this other guy, Natan, at which point I was like… did we know that the Lucian Alliance is tooling around in ha'taks? I mean, I guess we did, that's the point of the Vala clip in "previously on", but still, it was an odd moment for me. Especially since I didn't recognize the guy. (I spent much of the scene trying to decide whether I was supposed to recognize him as one of the Trust.) I don't know that they could have done it any better than they did, though.

I also want to know how Worrel made the jump to identifying them as SG1. I guess it's possible that they just, you know, TOLD him. I couldn't quite tell what we were supposed to get out of that – that the Lucian Alliance knows of them? Has wanted posters with their pics? Or what?

The whole exchange between Landry and Nerus seems to back up the fanwank I was explaining above, for what Landry's original "starvation" threat was "supposed" to mean. Which means, I still think it was handled clumsily.

Letting Nerus go was so obviously a trick that I'm surprised even Nerus fell for it. It was nice later to get the evidence that he had thought to check the luggage, and had thought to route himself back to Baal via a number of intermediary stops. And… isn't it lucky that Nerus went back to Baal so quickly, and did not delay long enough for the swallowed locator beacon to make its way through his GI entirely?

You know, I was momentarily disappointed that Baal had abandoned his previously-seen Earth fashions for more traditional Goa'uld garb, as nice as that robe is. Though I wondered if that was a hint of a knitted turtleneck at his collar, there… But the bit with the clones walking through – that was great. Especially since one of them was wearing the outfit that we last saw "Baal" wearing, in "Stronghold". (Which must mean he bought several copies of it to take with him, since at least part of the outfit in Stronghold was destroyed by the staff-weapon shot, and we know the sarc doesn't fix fabric…).

I liked the sticky interior door on Baal's ship, and how he had to step through it. I liked that he took the staff weapon in order to shoot Nerus himself. Poor Nerus. You idiot.

So, fine – barring escape pods or escape ships or whatever, blowing up that ha'tak took out at least a small handful of Baal clones. I'm really liking the whole "cloned Baal" plotline, just because of the way in which it makes him unstoppable. It's like cockroaches – yeah, you've killed the Baals you can SEE, but that just means there are a whole bunch more that you can't see. It's a far more plausible way to keep allowing your heroes minor victories over your villain, but allowing the villain to keep returning without convoluted questions regarding how the hell he could have escaped the last defeat.

At this point, we just have no idea which one is Baal Prime. Every time you think you've met Baal Prime… you realize it might not have been. Indeed, you have to start to wonder if it even matters any more which one is Baal Prime. If you can wrap your head around the fact that the Baals are clearly cooperating, in defiance of everything we think we know about the goa'uld anyway… then what the heck. All it really matters is the knowledge that even if you kill a half dozen on a ship, there are more out there, wandering around in flip-flops and mixing cocktails for themselves, or whatever.

It's kind of brilliant. But it's also kind of maddening, because I think the very concept sets them up for trouble should they ever really want to resolve the Baal storyline. If there's this much trouble figuring out how many clones there are, and which one if any is the "real" Baal and whether that even matters? Then how could we ever get to a point where we felt sure that Baal was ultimately destroyed? (Presuming we ever get to that point.)

I must say, though, that having Baal emerge as the ultimate (effectively, only) Goa'uld Big Bad is not a bad thing at all. He is always a pleasure to see, and as a villain he is so much more interesting and so much less laughable than Anubis was. It's truly a shame that the show wasted that many years with Anubis as the Big Bad. But anyway, I can deal with Baal being around for a long time to come. (Now watch, having said that, they'll suddenly pull something out of their ass as a way to get rid of him.)

The rest of this ep's plot? Yeah, whatever – it was okay. There wasn't any real suspense to the question of SG1 getting off the ship, I was WAY AHEAD of them on the idea of using one of the Gates to get away, and you'd think that Col. Emerson on the Odyssey could have put 2 and 2 together, as well ("gee, one less Gate than we expected was beamed over, and no SG1… what could that mean?").

So now the SGC has not *one* extra Gate, but NINE extra Gates. Dude. Bonus. Baal is temporarily thwarted, but you know he'll be back, and you're secretly pleased because he's just too sexy to die. The Tau'ri have a new cool ship. The ADDICTIVE CORN problem is still out there, though. The Lucian Alliance can't be happy with the Tau'ri, and hey – they have ha'taks. Multiple ha'taks. Fun all around.

But we won't worry about that! At least not until next week… and probably not even then. I hear that next week's (i.e. today's) ep involves bugs. DEEEE-lightful. I'll be the one watching from between the slits in my fingers.

… Now I have to go find out what the new guns were, and why the heck they were using them. Darn. I need screencaps of what Teal'c and Mitchell were shooting at the end… *mutter, mutter*.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 17th, 2006 11:05 am (UTC)
I thought the new guns were just undercover guns to go along with the undercover clothes. I assume that P90s are as distinctive as anything else if the same people keep showing up and foiling your eveil plans with them.
Feb. 17th, 2006 11:10 am (UTC)
Yeah, I totally thought that too... I thought it was a good possibility anyway.

Until they showed up in the *last* scene, outfitted with gear from the Odyssey, and went on the mission to Baal's ship carrying the same guns. (And Teal'c and Cam also had some heavier weapons, that I want to identify as well.)

They aren't really undercover on the mission to Baal's ship. They're all wearing the black BDUs. And there's no reason the Odyssey (I really almost typed Prometheus, there) shouldn't have had a healthy stockpile of P90s for them to use, instead of the weird new guns.
Feb. 17th, 2006 12:45 pm (UTC)
Is it possibly a prop-related ammunition-supply problem? Weren't they having problems for a while getting ammo for the P90s, because the blanks are made by the same places that make live ammo and the resources were needed in rl?
Feb. 17th, 2006 12:51 pm (UTC)
Now, see... that would make sense. I hadn't heard about them having supply problems, but yeah, I can see how that could happen.

As I said, they debuted the P90s (which looked very different from the older MP5s) long before they actually acknowledged the change overtly in the script -- they didn't do so until the next season, and when they did, they did it nicely. So the same thing might happen here. (I didn't notice the way the switch to P90s was handled simply because I only started watching at the start of S5, when they were already entrenched, and saw "The Tomb"'s discussion of them before I even knew that the team had ever used anything else.)

Still want to know what they *are*. :) (And also, really, whether they're appropriate to the use to which they're being put.)
Feb. 17th, 2006 01:24 pm (UTC)
Oooh! Awesomely helpful! Thanks!
Feb. 17th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
glad the work event went well.

and...um...er, yes, they could go with the leather pants. :::hums rawhide theme song some more:::

the corn was very funny. as was the snark about who looked the role. teal'c rules. seriously, he was wonderful in this episode. :)

heh heh heh, my thoughts exactly about naming it the odyssey. i wonder if they'll name one persephone...except then it would only be able to go out on missions for 6 months out of the year? *veg*

good points about ba'al's outfits. he so loves shopping on earth. er, all of the ba'als that is.

ps. also watching the bug episode through my fingers. meep.
Feb. 17th, 2006 05:34 pm (UTC)
I read somewhere on the Sony boards that the new weaps were: MP-7 for Mitchell, g-36 for Daniel, Teal'c and Sam. Don't have a clue if that's accurate or not, but there you go.
Feb. 18th, 2006 06:32 am (UTC)
Actually, it looks like they're all using H&K MP7s on the planet (in the pics mesascaper posted above, Mitchell's using it on the planet, with the folding stock and foregrip extended, and a flash hider attached), and aboard the ship, Mitchell switches to an H&K G36, with the foregrip from a G36C attached. (They've all got nonstandard sights installed, too.)

Apropos of nothing, that means SG-1 is outfitted very much like the German Army special ops force. *g*
Feb. 18th, 2006 06:36 am (UTC)
Gah--extendable stock on the MP7, not folding stock. Folding stock on the G36. (Too early in morning!)
Feb. 18th, 2006 07:26 am (UTC)
Man, this is sweet! Post that you're wondering, go away and be social for the evening, and come back and find people have done all the research for you! (Which is only a pity as I always enjoy doing all that "hunting around to figure out which gun it is" stuff... but yesterday, no tiiiiiiiiiiiime...)

Yup. Over in a post by Cofax, me and eve11 and her SO who's apparently a weapons guru were talking about it, and this is the conclusion he came to as well. I haven't gotten to read up on the HK MP7 yet.


Interestingly, it is described as HK's answer to F&N's P90, it's supposed to be a direct competitor, in the sense of having the same effectiveness against modern standards of body-armor... which *does* make it an appropriate weapon against the Jaffa. (Which the old MP5s... weren't, necessarily.)

Now I'm also interested in... why? Production-wise, of course. I don't mind the SGC switching or upgrading (though I have become fond of the P90s and would miss them). There could be some good reasons for doing so, in-story, I guess. And I'd be *really* interested if this was a purchasing shift that the RL military was making, and the show decided to reflect that.

paian's suggestion above that it has to do with that they can get a supply of blanks for is really interesting. It sounds pretty plausible to me.

In the Scourge, I noticed, everybody was back to P90s again, except for Mitchell who apparently loooooooooves his G36 (and it's hard to blame him). That, though, made me wonder whether Scourge might actually have been shot before Off the Grid, or something. I intend to keep my eye on which weapons are being used in the upcoming eps.
Feb. 18th, 2006 06:29 pm (UTC)
that's interesting, about the blanks. Since the MP-7 is apparently newer and/or less used, it might be easier to come by blanks for it. But then you also have the added problem of it having its own special ammunition size -- don't know that specializing is the way to go with these?

They might look into trying to make it adaptable or something, if they are having trouble with blanks, and adapting the thing to shoot a more standard cartridge. For example, D has a submachine gun that has three different barrels that can be rotated out so it can fire .22 or 9mm or .45.

From the article on the site there, it seems like we are waiting along with the rest of the world to see whether this MP-7 or the P-90 will be the new thing. I kinda like the MP-7, just aesthetically. Seems to be a little more versatile than the P-90.
Feb. 18th, 2006 07:16 am (UTC)
Yeah, reverse that, and that's correct. :)

Sony boards?
Apr. 3rd, 2006 09:52 am (UTC)
I was poking around that high-res image archive and found a few pictures with weapons in them. Dunno if you've seen, but in case they're of interest/help:

http://sg.emedian.net/as/ep/s9/916/images/SG1-916-0010.jpg (Off the Grid)

http://sg.emedian.net/as/ep/s9/916/images/SG1-916-0009.jpg (Off the Grid)

http://sg.emedian.net/as/ep/s9/917/images/SG1-917-0006.jpg (Scourge)

http://sg.emedian.net/as/ep/s9/917/images/SG1-917-0007.jpg (Scourge)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )