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SG-1 10.04: Insiders

Except for the giant, gaping flaw at the end… I quite enjoyed this ep. It felt a lot more “SG-1” to the three of us than some eps have recently, a lot more old-school. Now if only they’d had the smarts to give it an old-school ending…

Originally, a problem with my_tallest’s cable box meant that we didn’t see the first couple of minutes, so we missed the excuse about where Daniel was. We rewatched those first few minutes when it came on again at 11pm, and: okay, first? Previouslies… hey! That guy! I swear I recognize him! Hey! There he is again! And who’s that bald general standing behind him? (*waves of affection for Jack and Hammond*) And it was quite the grab-bag of previouslies, too.

“Daniel is on Camelot”. … Yeah, there’s a sentence it just doesn’t pay to say out loud too many times. It still sounds ridiculous.

So anyway, yes… crashing al’kesh. It’s a WEATHER BALLOON! WE SWEAR! Yes, that’ll work… We had a moment of wondering why they had scrambled F-16s to intercept it, instead of F-302s. My guess: because they wanted as few UFO-looking aircraft buzzing around Colorado Springs as possible. Or something. That big thing? SWAMP GAS! MOVE ALONG, CITIZEN! (Remember when they used to mention worrying about having to explain away these crashing ships? And that was when they’d be coming down conveniently over the ocean, or Antarctica, or whatever – not a fairly major metropolitan area. It’s nice that Baal crashed his al’kesh in a big empty field and not in the middle of, say, a Wal-Mart parking lot, isn’t it?)

I’ll just say up front that we thought there were a lot of good things scattered throughout the set-up. Loved the moment where Mitchell sums up to Landry why he knows he isn’t in control. Because: yes. Exactly. Even though in practical terms this plays havoc with the need for a clear chain of command in the field… well, at least he isn’t pretending that the situation is other than what it is. Eventually, Landry did at least ask how they could ever be sure they’d gotten the Original Baal, when all of the clones were likely to claim to be the original. On several occasions, Vala actually seemed to be contributing solid information and opinions based on her past as a goa’uld – whoa! They remembered! And Vala and Sam TALKED. Extensively. And they had a pretty good vibe, too.

Even better, on that one planet, when the team split up, Vala and Sam were one of the pairs. Whoa! Girl power! I can’t tell you how immensely impressed I was by the fact that, having split off the two women together, it DID NOT prove to be for the purpose of having them be overpowered or captured or indeed really put in jeopardy in any way. They went off together, and they were successful at what they were supposed to do. That is… kinda cool. In the sense of, yes, it’s the least we should expect, but in the hands of *these* writers, I’ll take the unexpected bonus.

Another bonus: once they’ve got two Baals, and the inevitable question is asked regarding whether we can tell whether one or the other is the original, what happens? Sam goes… and talks to ANOTHER SCIENTIST. An actual biologist. This is staggering because it isn’t merely Sam putting on her Biology Hat this week and doing it all herself. Nor was it Dr. Lee. (I’ll get to him in a moment.) It was a completely different scientist, hallelujah. Not only that, but a woman. A non-white woman. Bestill my heart.

Dr. Lee – it’s nice to have him around. But look – he’s been at this for a while, now. He could work at putting aside the dithering in certain circumstances, like, say, emergencies. I just felt that he dithered a bit much in that scene where Landry wanted to know about the plan with the gas. Lee. Cut to the chase. Honestly, working for Jack during that one year should have trained him into that.

I won’t knock him for making bad “Baal” puns, though, because absolutely everybody was doing it. I especially liked Walter’s reaction to Cam’s attempt at the “full count: two strikes and three Baals”. Nice try, Cam, but these people have been enduring Jack’s bad jokes for years. They’ve built up a tolerance.

Speaking of which, something else that I like, which I saw throughout this ep, was how relaxed and funny Sam can be with Mitchell. It’s a different vibe for her, and it’s nice. She used to have to be circumspect in her reactions to Jack’s bad jokes and outbursts, but she can actively tease Cam about it, and that’s a nice change.

So we had some reference to continuity that apparently even Baal knows, and… wait a sec. How does Baal know that the SGC has a database of Gate addresses that Jack got from the first Ancients library download? Huh? Let alone its planetary designation? *scratches head* I guess he could have wormed that info out of the Trust or some damn thing. Although I know it’s kind of a writing dead-end, it was still kind of interesting that Baal said “… that Colonel O’Neill discovered…”, because yes, he was a colonel at the time he got the download (both of them, actually), but Baal is well aware that Jack is a general now. And boy, how much must Baal have kicked himself when he found out about that? I mean, when he had ahold of Jack that time, he wasn’t very interested in Jack per se. He didn’t consider Jack a particularly valuable prize, he was fixated on the Tok’ra angle. I wonder if he seethed later when he found out about the whole “had the knowledge of the Ancients in his head” and “seems to be able to operate Ancient technology that nobody else can” thing.

I am handwaving, by the way, the whole question of why Baal would multiple-clone not only himself (the symbiote) but his host as well. No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, even given the whole thing about originally wanting to use that to appear to be in many places at once. It does give the show the opportunity to really shock us at some point, by putting a Baal into a different body. I wonder if they will ever actually pull that? At the very least, it’s an ace in reserve.

What also doesn’t make a lot of sense, and is still unanswered, is how all the Baals cooperate with each other. Why do they do that? Is it really just expediency, and a conviction in each of them that they will play along until it isn’t useful any more, and at that time they are each confident that they can kill all the others and emerge supreme? I guess that would fit the goa’uld-ego thing well enough.

*shrug* But honestly, I don’t think too hard about that, because I’m so delighted by Cliff Simon, and I find the anomalies of Baal’s behavior kinda intriguing rather than flatly impossible. I’m fascinated by Baal’s evolution over the course of the series. I like the design of the character, as one of the sneakiest and cleverest and most self-aware of the goa’uld. I’m just tickled by the idea of a System Lord running around in board shorts and flip-flops. I like watching him be slippery like the snake he is – including this whole new thing he’s got going where he deliberately doesn’t phlange his voice most of the time. (Even if that makes his odd little accent clearer; that itself fascinates me.)

I’m really sort of at the point where I’m not sure it matters which one is the original any more. In this ep, the SGC arbitrarily numbered the Baals in the order in which they were captured. Later, the rest appear to be nominally allowing Baal #1 to lead them. Of course, I think he was the first one that showed up claiming to be Original Baal, anyway. But then later it was said that he and Baal #2 were identical down to their DNA, which suggested that both were clones, right? (Or else that there is no practical way to tell the clones from the original.) So, whatever.

I still feel badly for Jack, with regard to the whole situation. Why? Because Jack can now never really get a cathartic moment either to kill Baal himself, or see Baal get annihilated. Now, there would *have* to always be the nagging suspicion that there’s another Baal out there who survived. You’ll never be able to feel sure that you’ve wiped them all out successfully.

I found it odd that the interrogation scenes they chose to show us were Sam, Cameron, and Vala. Well, they showed us the Vala one for obvious reasons, and it was indeed a treat in some ways. Go Vala. And go Baal, for not being dumb enough to fall for her line. (Why did they even bother with the Disturbing Music? Were they *actually* trying to fake us out into thinking she was really betraying the SGC? Please. That wasn’t plausible even for a moment.) But mostly what I was thinking as I watched the others was: why don’t we get to see Teal’c do his? Because I bet he’d be better at stone-facing Baal. Come to that, it would have been nice to see Daniel get his chance at a confrontation with Baal.

Yay, Barrett! It was nice to see Barrett back, and yet – his blow-up moment with Sam was kind of oddly done, in that my immediate reaction to it was, “Oh, that isn’t right”, and Sam seemed to have the same reaction. But then… she didn’t do anything about it? Like warn others? And pass a word to the SFs that Barrett was not to be allowed to do ANYTHING (like go into one of the prisoners’ cells) without Landry’s express permission? Stuff like that? *sigh*

[Okay, having just rewatched this – the way the ep runs, Barrett’s outburst to Sam happens, she’s disturbed, and he appears to leave her in the commissary and go *directly* to Baal #1’s cell. Cut upstairs to the briefing room, where Mitchell and Landry (with Vala and Teal’c in the background, doing that adorable “arm wrestling” thing) notice this on the monitors. They see Baal overpower Barrett. Cut down to Sam walking through a corridor. If the events take place in as quick succession as they appear to, then we can cut Sam slack on this – she might indeed have been on her way up to tell Landry and the others about Barrett’s strange behavior. He beat her to the warning by acting immediately. You could say that perhaps Sam should have hit a red button or somehow acted immediately to contain Barrett, I guess, but… His outburst clearly did send up a red flag, but it could have had a number of explanations, including basic stress. She knows him, but doesn’t know him *that* well, that she would know for sure that the display of temper was OOC enough to hit a red button on him immediately.]

I did have a suspicion that the Trust might have gotten to Barrett and stuck one of their spare symbiotes in his head. I’ll accept the brainwashing thing, though, since that was already established in continuity. (What I can’t remember right now was whether that ep also established that the brainwashing can be fixed, or how difficult it is to fix. I have a vague recollection that it *can* be, although the last time it was done, it was done to Jaffa, right? So I’m not sure if we have any experience with treating it in a human.)

Of course it is easy for Baal to take over the SGC when there’s 20 of him, and on the SGC side there’s… SG-1, a couple of handfuls of Marines, 3 or 4 scientists, Landry, Walter, and Siler. *SIGH* This is an old gripe of mine, but I’ll repeat it again. Whether or not the show used to deploy more extras in the background or whatever they did, they used to be more successful at giving a sense of the SGC as a big, bustling base that contained more people than those we saw on camera. They just DID. I don’t know how, and I don’t know what they are failing to do now – but more often than not, the SGC gives the impression of it being a federal holiday weekend outside, so everybody is off on vacation and the place is being run by a skeleton crew. Bah.

(Am I just being unreasonable on this point? Do other folks think that the SGC feels about as full as it always did? Has the show not really changed what it’s doing, and it’s just my perception has changed? Because rewatching this ep, I *do* notice people in the background sometimes, and over the past few eps, other SG teams have certainly been *mentioned*. I just can’t tell whether this is mostly my problem, for some reason, or really a problem of the show itself.)

Now, here we come to the extremely problematic part. I just felt sort of disoriented by the whole plan they were trying to execute, and by Sam being held by Baal and him pressuring her to hand over the database file. For one thing, I just never got a sense of urgency out of some of that. I don’t want to totally diss it, because there was a point where we actually felt there was some suspense, especially as we weren’t sure what Baal’s plan was going to be, but… ehn. The Sam-Baal interplay just felt very flat to me.

And like pretty much everybody else… why does she care if Baal threatens Barrett? The ONLY possible guess I could come up with for that would be that Barrett isn’t a soldier, he isn’t part of the SGC, so she didn’t feel as comfortable sacrificing his life as she would have a fellow soldier. But that still makes no sense. Barrett’s a federal agent. She can’t possibly believe for a moment that he wouldn’t lay down his life for this cause, any less than any soldier at the SGC.

And despite cryptic references during that commissary scene – you can’t get me to believe that Sam and Barrett have a Thing. They don’t. You can’t get me to believe that she cares about him the way she would for a romantic ex. He isn’t an ex. He never got that far (which has probably saved his life up until this point, considering Sam’s track record). The most I would buy that Sam feels towards/for him is a sort of moderate fondness. She *likes* the guy, and at this point, she’s worked with him often enough to maybe sort of trust him. But liking the guy isn’t enough to turn him into some kind of leverage. Not when people she is FAR closer to have been used as leverage against her in the past, and she hasn’t cracked.

So I really did spend the last part of the episode waiting for the other shoe to drop. And I’m still waiting – that’s the BIG PROBLEM.

The moment Baal indicated that he wanted that list of addresses, they should have created a dummy file that looked authentic, so that should something unforeseen happen (which you should always be prepared for, if you’re in the SGC), and he *is* able to get ahold of it and get it out somehow (take it himself, or pass it off to someone, or beam it out, or WHATEVER, I don’t care), he doesn’t get the real one, he gets a trojan horse. Which the SGC has TOTALLY done before – the Aschenn and their list of addresses that start with a planet getting sucked into a black hole and “get progressively darker from there”.

That is Jack’s line, from “2001”. One is left with the uncomfortable feeling that it was Jack’s or Hammond’s innate cunning and dark edge that resulted in that zinger – because this time, it doesn’t appear to have occurred to anyone at the SGC, from Landry to Sam to… anyone else. *SIGH* (Note: no, I realize that if Jack or Hammond were still around, they’d have been written just as dumb as everybody else; that irritating scene at the end of “Gemini” proves that.)

And I had *just* been congratulating this particular writer (it’s new-since-S9 guy Alan McCullough) for having perhaps WATCHED some old eps of the show, and remembering various bits of continuity. He didn’t watch enough, clearly.

So Sam – who has withstood plenty of torture in her day – caves remarkably easily when Baal threatens a guy she can’t possibly care *that* much about, and… gave Baal a disc containing the real Ancient database of addresses? … What?

I’m sorry, I’m STILL sitting here not believing that was the case. I’m still half-expecting them to tell us a few eps from now (the mid-season cliffhanger, for example) that she passed off a dummy file to him.

Which, if that’s the case? Good… but it still means piss-poor writing in THIS ep, that the audience is left outraged over the question. Landry’s absolution of Sam at the end has horribly uncomfortable echoes of Jack’s absolution of her over that horribly egregious RepliCarter episode, too – a “fact” of the SG universe that I normally deal with by wiping it from my brain and pretending it didn’t happen.

This is the thing. Over the years with SG-1 – unfortunately, increasingly as the seasons have gone by – there are simply times when the writers screw the pooch *SO* badly that I have to step back and forget it. There are certain things that I will work to incorporate into my view of the world or the characters, even things that stretch the boundaries of previous understanding that I look for a way to justify or explain, even if it means reevaluating characterization. But then there’s stuff that is so Out There, I can’t even do that. It just… doesn’t make sense. It’s the Hand of the Author, way too visible on the screen, writing badly because they can’t seem to think of a way around it.

I realize that hindsight is 20/20. Nevermind that it takes some of us in the audience about 10 seconds to come up with a way that they could have avoided being so damned egregious… well, yes, okay, let’s mind that. Because, pressures of producing a TV show be damned, the central fault here is that they don’t seem to have anyone around who can see these problems, and it isn’t like they don’t get the chance. I’ve said it before: both shows need better beta readers. They just DO. In this particular case, I’m astounded that AT didn’t point out the obvious flaws in this whole thing, and put her foot down.

Not anticipating what collecting all of the locator beacons together in one place – I’ll give them that. That doesn’t make me feel like Sam is overwhelmingly dumb, not to have thought that out beforehand. What bothers me is the complacency of Sam and everyone else – them not being paranoid enough about the idea that Baal could, in some way they could not anticipate, get that information out of there, if he got his hands on it. He didn’t even necessarily need to escape to do it – geez, Barrett’s brainwashing by the Trust could have been used merely to have Baal slip the disc to him to carry outside. Or something, I don’t know. The point is, it’s healthy to be paranoid in situations like that.

I have the further uncomfortable feeling that Baal got away with the real list for one reason: because the writers need him to have done so, for something coming up down the line. In which case: URGH. Fine, but please come up with a way for him to get away with it that doesn’t require our people to be complacent and stupid. Please?

So, that’s SG-1 for you, lately. Moments of pleasure balanced out by moments of vast irritation.

As anyone reading this must have figured out by now – my approach to these shows and SG-1 in particular is that I’m taking what I can get, enjoying what I can, and trying not to let the irritating stuff bother me *too* much. I’m not going to let it go uncriticized, either, but it’s not enough to make me throw up my hands and stop watching. The world and most of its characters have, accumulated over the seasons, a life and identity of their own, that I enjoy, such that when the problem becomes The Stupid Writers, well, I can sit back and say, “Stupid, STUPID writers”, and it doesn’t actually harm my affection for the core thing. But that’s just me and my coping strategy.


By the way – big thumbs-down for the SciFi “If” spot that is the woman pricking her finger on the plant and then exploding into a mist. Um… yuck? But also, as my_tallest said – that’s *extra* disturbing to anyone who has allergies. That is not an “If” that he wishes to contemplate.


On the other hand? The teaser commercial for “200” made me squeal, and squeal, and squeal.



SGA 3.04: Sateda

Less to say about SGA, as usual. I liked this reasonably well. Getting more background on Ronon is extremely welcome – my only problem with it was that we actively disliked his wife/girlfriend. She just rubbed us the wrong way, and came off as whiny and kind of useless. And that interfered with the effect they were trying to achieve. Her death was clearly pretty horrible, and I certainly felt for Ronon, but I didn’t empathize with his loss of her as deeply as I might have. *shrug*

I would say, though, that Jason Momoa did a nice job with Ronon’s reactions. The look on his face when he turned to her just before the wall blew out – that was great, as were many other moments with him. And I just liked getting to see Ronon in different settings – I really would have enjoyed seeing him even more in the domestic settings, because it gave us a glimpse of such a different Ronon than what we usually get now.

Some of the “Ronon is a Badass” stuff was just so OTT that it made us laugh, and laugh. Not in a bad way, necessarily – it was kind of delightful, in a way. My favorite wasn’t the slow-mo shot of him leaping sideways across the door while shooting – it was that *great* moment where he whirls and kicks the gun up into the air and catches it. Ah, that was fun!

He still has a ways to go before he’s as Badass as Teal’c.

But the thing is, I can admit it – I just like watching him. I like the character, I like what the actor does with him. Were I into SGA in a fannish way (which I am not), I have a feeling that Ronon is who I’d want to write the most.

It was nice to see more of Sateda. It’s still intriguing. Rodney’s “caveman” cracks aside, it’s clear that Ronon’s homeworld was fairly advanced, and I sort of wish people would remember more often that he isn’t a barbarian from some primitive culture.

Poor Rodney, getting shot in the ass. So undignified. But that was done pretty well, including his histrionic reaction, and his loopiness on the table. Later, when we got a glimpse of his boxers, my_tallest recognized the brand as an expensive and somewhat fancy one, and wondered why Rodney would be wearing them and how he could afford them. I pointed out that a civilian consultant for the military makes a lot, and what else has he got to spend it on, out there?

What is with the Atlantis folks’ suddenly coordinated black versions of their BDUs? (Which are still different from the normal BDUs of SG-1.) In that one scene, even *Elizabeth* showed up in a black jacket, for no apparent reason. Have they worn those before, and I just haven’t noticed? And WHAT is up with John’s LEATHER JACKET? Um? It seemed like the wardrobe equivalent of a non-sequiteur, to me. Since I’m not a John fangirl, I wasn’t swooning over it, I was just sort of going, “buh? That can’t be real official uniform issue…” and being distracted by it. It struck me as too self-consciously “cool”. Geez, he was even wearing it under his tac-vest later, as if it was a normal BDU jacket.

I’ve mentioned this before – yes, yes, the Atlantis folks, even the military ones, have their own Special Uniforms, so they aren’t as restricted by the “real” military dress code as the SG-1 folks are (or ought to be) – but the Atlantis uniforms do have an internal consistency to them, they do treat them as uniforms in some way. And where there are uniforms, there are usually regulations, and… this is something I should just handwave, isn’t it? Right, okay…

I also kind of felt like John’s reaction to Caldwell’s caution was a bit OTT. The way I was hearing it, Caldwell wasn’t flatly refusing – he was asking for a *better plan*. And then, he was given one. There’s a difference between not wanting to help rescue a man because you don’t think he’s worth it – and being cautious about risking your ship and all its crew when your battle-readiness may mean that you cannot effectively contribute to the mission anyway. (It won’t help to rescue Ronon if the Daedalus is the planned means of escape, and it gets blown up before it can do so.) I just felt like Caldwell’s hesitation was more about the latter, but John was reacting like it was the former.

I did like the scene between Teyla and John. I liked how bad John was at expressing himself – JF did some nice things in there with his eyes darting around that contributed to the overall sense of John’s discomfort.

Carson and Rodney’s bickering over the gun: cute. Although it struck me as kind of OOC for Carson to be wanting to run out *anywhere* with a big ol’ rifle. Hmm. But then, he turns around and takes out that Wraith guy with a drone, which is pretty harsh, right there. Death by little-glowy-squid thing; talk about your overkill.

Honorable mention to that Wraith guy. He was actually a Wraith who seemed fairly scary, as opposed to all Goth-club. This effect was somewhat spoiled by the underling guy who was first sent down to Sateda to start the hunt. You didn’t think that a Wraith could look any sillier… but then that one appeared, wearing those… um, goggles. Bad, bad fashion choice. Really bad.

Now what I would really kind of like would be an ep about Teyla or Ronon where they were the focus of the ep without it being about their backgrounds. I mean, it’s great to get Ronon backstory filled in. But I’d also like to see an ep that was about Ronon without his role in it being “Ronon the Runner” or “Ronon the Warrior”, necessarily. Same for Teyla.



Eureka 1.06: Before I Forget

Again, we liked this ep. Please note – the number on it is correct. This is the 3rd ep broadcast, but for some reason, they are being shown out of order. The SciFi website makes this clear by putting the correct ep numbers on them, but listing them in broadcast order. So far we have had the Pilot, 1.02, 1.06, and next we get 1.04, and god knows what’s happened to 1.03. Why are they doing this? Who knows. But they are.

The things we liked best about this ep were: they didn’t spend too much time on people not talking to each other or not believing there was a problem. Like the bit where Henry walks in and Carter is walking out and they’re both babbling about lost time, and *click*. It was also good that instead of it being one person that weird stuff was happening to, it was happening to a bunch of people and they were comparing notes with each other and so on.

Loved that we got Henry background, and even better, Henry romance!!! I am *loving* Henry. I think I like him a bit better than I like Carter, at this point. And I find Carter reasonably attractive, but Henry is just as attractive – and I loved that in this ep, the show proved that it KNOWS that, and Henry got the hot chick and the kiss and everything. Yay!

The chick? Is Tamlyn Tomita, the actress who plays the Chinese representative on the IOA on SG-1 recently. Nice to see her in a different role. Somehow, and I just can’t adequately explain why – her chemistry with Henry? About a zillion times better and more convincing than Carter’s with Alison. I am coming to the conclusion that I simply don’t like the actress playing Alison all that much, and/or I just don’t like how her character is being written.

We are deeply hoping that this signals Kim becoming a regular, or at least a recurring character, on the show. Because it had been noted that what the town seriously needed more of was female scientists, and Asians. (I would, of course, like more of both; more nonwhites, in general, indeed. But still, it’s *a* step in the right direction.)

Unfortunately, I did not TiVo it myself – can anyone look at the credits and tell me the name of the guy who played the villain, Jason Anderson? Because he is bugging me, and I want to look him up on IMDB, but I cannot find any place online that lists him (or TT, for that matter) as part of the cast for this ep. Note to SciFi – your page for this show would be ever so much more useful if you would include information like this.

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
destina
Aug. 6th, 2006 03:36 am (UTC)
Oooh, lovely post.

He still has a ways to go before he’s as Badass as Teal’c.

Word. Nobody is as BadAss as Teal'c. Nobody! Not even Jack. And Ronon -- he's a puppy! A bad-ass puppy, to be sure, but not Bad Ass. He's just a youngster. Give him 75 years and he'll get there. *g*
telepresence
Aug. 6th, 2006 03:40 am (UTC)
Teal'c vs Tyr from Andromeda. Now that would be a fight. (Of course this will mean nothing if you never watched Andromeda, which would be sensible on your part, since Tyr was one of the few good things about it).
eregyrn
Aug. 6th, 2006 03:40 pm (UTC)
My money is still on Teal'c.
eregyrn
Aug. 6th, 2006 03:39 pm (UTC)
And the puppy thing itself is very attractive. :D

Seeing this ep was really like giving us a good look at Ronon's resume as a warrior. We sort of knew it before, but this ep really laid it out -- Ronon is basically the Sateda equivalent of a Spec Ops commando. He wasn't just a ground-forces grunt; his unit looked like an elite. So he really is very much a young-Jack equivalent, in terms of skill-set.

Interesting parallel, then, between Teal'c and Jack, and Ronon and John. In the sense of -- Teal'c is more badass than Jack, we know this, Jack knows this. But Teal'c still follows Jack. Ronon, for his part, is clearly so much more badass than anyone on Atlantis, including John. He has all the skills that would make him the ideal leader of an Atlantis team, in sharp contrast to John. But he follows John anyway.

For a commando, Ronon is very... unboastful about his skills. Maybe unboastful isn't what I'm looking for, because really, neither Jack nor Teal'c are boastful; they know what they can do, they don't need to boast about it. But I just... I don't get a sense of a big ego in Ronon. I just... I don't think John knows what he's got, in Ronon. We the audience got to see his resume, but John didn't. (He just got to see Ronon being a hothead at the end.) And Ronon doesn't seem like the type to sit John down and have a detailed talk comparing Earth and Sateda militaries.

That's the big difference between Ronon, and Jack and Teal'c. Teal'c is a badass warrior who's also a man who rose to lead armies. Jack is also a natural leader. Ronon -- does not appear to be a leader at all. We've seen that in earlier eps -- he wants a good leader to follow, and he wants that leader to give him orders, and then he's happy. It's an interesting twist on the warrior characters we've tended to be given.
telepresence
Aug. 6th, 2006 03:39 am (UTC)
His name is Andrew Airlie, and he's been on SG-1 a couple times before. He was one of the doctors in Avatar fussing over teal'c as his body tried to beat itself to death.
eregyrn
Aug. 6th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC)
Ah yes -- thanks. That's definitely where I was remembering him from. (I know that at the time, when I wrote up a review of Avatar, I remarked that the guy doctor they'd gotten for that ep was much more personable and interesting than the Dr. Brightman they had previously brought in as a Janet replacement.)

Apparently he was also on an earlier SG-1 ep, "Learning Curve". But I think "Avatar" is what was pinging me, since it's so much more recent.
klia
Aug. 6th, 2006 03:40 am (UTC)
I'm not crazy about Alison, either. I don't care much for the actress, I guess, and the character doesn't interest me in the least. She's pretty generic, really.

Henry is totally adorable. I like Jack, too, though I didn't need *another* character named Jack on my radar.

The actor who played Jason Anderson was Andrew Airlie, who's been in a ton of Vancouver-based shows, including SPN, 4400, DZ, SG-1 (Dr. Carmichael in Avatar and Kalan in Learning Curve), SV, and XF.
eregyrn
Aug. 6th, 2006 03:46 pm (UTC)
I've just decided that I"m going to refer to him as "Carter" or "the Sheriff", because yeah, too many Jacks.

My other big problem with Alison is simply that they're trying to give us 'ship between her and Carter by fiat, and with her, I just get ZERO chemistry with anybody, let alone with Carter.

Thanks for that -- Avatar has got to be what I am remembering him from. Although yeah, looking at his IMDB listing, is there any Vancouver-based show that he HASN'T been on? Sheesh!
telepresence
Aug. 6th, 2006 03:41 am (UTC)
The actress playing Alisn is okay, but the writing for her sucks. So far she's been given almost nothing to do, her job is nebulous, they don't let her be funny,etc. Boring.
eregyrn
Aug. 6th, 2006 03:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but I'm also just not convinced that she has sparkage with just about anybody. Like, maybe she'd be fine as a self-contained character (with better writing), but she also just strikes me as kinda FLAT. Yet they've positioned her to connect with so many other characters, and it's just not working for me.
cofax7
Aug. 6th, 2006 03:52 am (UTC)
fialka is pimping Eureka seriously to me. I did like that ep, and I agree, Henry is the most appealing character so far. By far, in fact.

Word to everything you said about SG-1: they didn't used to have to make the team stupid in order to cause problems for them. Being outsmarted because there's information you don't have, or technology you don't know about, or you're outnumbered? Those are valid reasons. Not because you're STUPID. Argh. ::flails::

As for SGA: there's no way a military command would put Rodney under sedation for a non-life-threatening injury without first getting the intel on the whereabouts of his team. That annoyed me. Also Rodney didn't send an IDC--are the GDOs now subcutaneous as well? (Actually, that would be a good idea...)
eregyrn
Aug. 6th, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC)
For me, Eureka is a nice enough thing to fill the time with while I'm waiting for the Gates to come on. I don't know that I would go out of my way for it. Of course, with TiVo, I don't really have to go out of my way, so... I don't see myself becoming fannish about it.

SG-1: the more I think on it, the more I have the feeling that they didn't go with the smart/sneaky dummy-file explanation only because the entire POINT was that they needed, for a future ep, for Baal to have the means to race them to this planet. In which case, the whole thing is a contrivance, and... yeah. I wish to hell they had put a little more effort into coming up with a way that let him get away with it but that didn't require that level of stupid complacency.

It could have been done. Probably not as easily as merely fixing this ep would have been, but it still probably could have been done while allowing them to have basically this ep or one very like it.

SGA: no arguments there, either. You could argue perhaps that Carson gave Rodney the drugs because he assumed that the others had already gotten a debrief of Rodney on the way down to the infirmary -- and why didn't they, hmm? Ugh.

Also, Atlantis's gateroom protocols are for crap. At the time, we remarked on Rodney seeming not to be sending the IDC, but decided to assume that he'd done so somehow and we just hadn't noticed, because... aargh. And then when he comes through, everyone in the gateroom, foremost Elizabeth, is so laissez-faire about approaching him and what might be coming on his heels that it makes you want to SCREAM. Unless they got the shield up earlier than I noticed, but... no, they didn't, they left it open expecting the rest of his team.

It's like none of these people have ever realized that anything could be coming through the Gate, and you don't just walk into its line of fire. Energy weapon blasts, more arrows, grenades, missiles -- you name it, not to mention SHIPS. Some of this SG-1 learned to its sorrow, and some of it Atlantis should damn well know by now. But no -- by all means, let your civilian commander go strolling unarmed and unarmored practically right up to the event-horizon. What could go wrong? Pfft.

In the normal course of things, though, I've kind of given up on asking Atlantis to make sense on points like this. *sigh*
eregyrn
Aug. 6th, 2006 04:12 pm (UTC)
Okay, fine, it took more like 90 seconds of thought, rather than 10 seconds, but -- I figured out how they could have done it and let Baal get away with the database.

Have Barrett's purpose be not only getting in there to free one of the Baals, but, have him have been carrying a copy of one of the officers' command codes, and pass that over to Baal as well. That would allow them to sidestep the entire fruitless "torturing Sam" issue (given they didn't even start torturing her, they just threatened her).

Past SG-1 continuity, IIRC, has equated those command codes with the officers' ID numbers, and that's it. Whether or not that in itself makes sense (codes that changed daily would be a hell of a lot more secure), it's what they have done before, many times. And the officers' ID numbers are something that Barrett, in the NID, should easily be able to obtain. So there you go. Didn't have to be Sam's code, could have been Landry's, or anyone's. Voila.

At which point, I would have given them being just a step behind Baal's thinking, in failing to anticipate the whole "critical mass of locator beacons in one place" plan. All things being equal, you'd think Sam could have theorized the effects of having them all under one roof -- but I wouldn't consider it a fatally stupid thing if she hadn't figured it out beforehand.
cofax7
Aug. 6th, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC)
Clearly, you should be in the writers' room.

Sigh.
eregyrn
Aug. 6th, 2006 05:27 pm (UTC)
I do often wonder whether a big part of the imbalance lies in the fact that we are always getting to critique a finished product. Meaning, I wonder how good some of us would be at catching these flaws before the point of no return in the production process. Certainly, I'm sure that every one of us who's a writer has had that experience where we only spot the tragic flaw really late in the game -- and most of the time, we are working on nobody's schedule but our own. We don't have the pressure of a TV show's schedule bearing down on us.

I do also have some sympathy for the problem that, even if you bring in new blood (the writer of this ep is new to the team in the past season and a half), it's still a hell of a grind, to be trying to push out 20 new stories a season, and not only that -- 20 new stories that will accomplish certain things and that also *can be told* in the 40-minute format into which you are basically locked.

Take any one of us, or even any small group of us, and commit us to basically producing 1 story of, say, 10,000 words -- no more, no less -- a month, month after month, and... yeah. After a while, I can imagine cutting corners and groaning, "oh, *good enough*, let's move on".

It doesn't of course explain why they often seemed sharper with details like this early in the show's run, than they have recently. I still think they need some better beta-readers in that writers' room -- because the guys who are there now don't seem capable of it any more, for whatever reason. They need somebody with a better head for the show's bible who can call them on stuff. Because if nothing else, they could be accomplishing self-consistency better. (And they need not to have gotten rid of the military liaison -- though frankly, they don't need a USAF rep to help them remain militarily consistent; there are plenty of us out here who are enthusiastic amateurs who could do it just fine.)

Ah well.
jenlev
Aug. 6th, 2006 01:59 pm (UTC)
hee! daniel in camelot is still making me laugh. he's over there pushing a pram-e-lot i think? ;)

and it feels as if they are about a hair away from the whole thing going public. also loved landry and cameron's conversation about not being in control. because sg1...well, heh, not exactly keeping inside the boundary lines.

bwahaha! "Nice try, Cam, but these people have been enduring Jack’s bad jokes for years. They’ve built up a tolerance." so very true. :)

i think some day there's going to be an argument to end all arguments between the many ba'als. it will probably be something simple that sends them over the edge...you know, toothpaste cap left off one too many times?

and it strikes me that ba'al is all about himself, the more the merrier. he may really see no difference between himself and the other clones? although seriously, i do think that must eventually crumble.

good points about seeing teal'c and daniel have a chance to confront ba'al. and poor jack....but maybe he'll get a chance to kill some of them some time?

i felt awful for barrett. and i was baffled about sam's choice. i kept hoping and hoping that she would have somehow corrupted the data she gave ba'al. *sigh*

as for sga: ronon was very impressive in this episode. and i loved the scene with john and teyla. that moment when he sort of pats her hand was finely done.

and yay for eureka this week. i liked how the memory issue was addressed on an emotional and intellectual level. henry is wonderful. and the version of midsummer night's dream was hilarious. wasn't the bad guy from an sg1 episode too?
eregyrn
Aug. 6th, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
Yeah, according to folks above, he was the doctor guy in "Avatar".

It'd be nice to give Jack the catharsis of killing at least one of the Baal clones himself, but -- I just think that it won't mean as much to him, since he too would know how many other copies are left out there.

I just... really would have liked to see what Daniel would have said to Baal, if they were in a room together. :) Of course, given the way the show has tended to handle character interactions with Baal... somebody writing a speculative fanfic scene doing that would probably be more satisfying.

Yeah, I can see the Baals having this attitude of mutual cooperation... for a while. At least with other copies of himself, he knows what to expect, and each one probably fully expects that any of the others would, at the drop of a hat, stab his fellows in the back in order to come out on top. So that isn't even a question, it's just something he knows. And given that, he can rely on "himself" in ways he can't rely on anyone else.
jenlev
Aug. 6th, 2006 04:14 pm (UTC)
i agree with what you said about jack wanting *all* the ba'als gone.

and yes indeed to the fact that the good fanfic writers would handle the ba'al daniel scene in a wonderful manner.

interesting to think of how the goa'ulds can't rely on anyone but themselves. makes me wonder if they (even with the collective memories) get lonely...an as i type that i shrug a bit because they don't tend to have that much insight. still...something to ponder. ;)
not_sally
Aug. 7th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
I have the further uncomfortable feeling that Baal got away with the real list for one reason: because the writers need him to have done so, for something coming up down the line. In which case: URGH. Fine, but please come up with a way for him to get away with it that doesn't require our people to be complacent and stupid. Please?
Gods, don't I know it. Fifteen seconds after Ba'al had given his first speech, and basically told SG1 to start corralling his clones, I'd already realized they would get together to boost the beacon signal. And I'm nowhere near genius nor paranoid. So how the hell am I supposed to endure/believe that some of the smartest, most capable people in the universe would let this happen? How does stupid-marine#562 let Barret in the room just like that? How come the second they start gathering Ba'als and not splitting them throughout their many bases (alpha, beta, gamma site, for god's sake) they don't come up with a contingency plan and set up the gas? Why the fuck did they eat the stupid pills!?
It drives me crazy, because I think about the same situation in earlier seasons and/or in Atlantis, and John/Jack would have separated all the Ba'al, probably torture them (we all know Elizabeth apparently has no qualms on doing that) and kill them in front of each other if they weren't helpful enough.
Hell, try removing their fucking symbiotes and put the hosts in Tretonin and get the now human hosts to tell you everything!
Fuck, the more I think about it, the more errors I find, and the more ways to anticipate them I come up with, the angrier I get.
I just loved this show, and sometimes it embarrasses me to watch it. How sad is that?

SGA on the other hand made me very happy. Like you said, Caldwell's comment was completely in character and furthermore, totally logical, but it's obvious he's already been tagged bad-guy and he's always going to be an outsider, I think that's why Lanteans keep getting pissed at him. Poor guy, he keeps saving their asses and is the only one (except Teyla and occasionally Rodney/Radek) who notices the headdesk moments and stupids thing these guys do, and calls them on it.

yeah, no wonder they don't like him.

As far as wardrobe goes, yeah... just go: oh, pretty! and don't give it another thought. I really have no idea how regulation uniforms are distributed/created/assigned, but these guys are on their fourth, fifth? wardrobe change already, and the expedition is just beginning its third year. Either John or Elizabeth are fashion whores or... wait, that actually makes kind of sense, doesn't it?

katie_m
Aug. 8th, 2006 06:25 am (UTC)
Landry’s absolution of Sam at the end has horribly uncomfortable echoes of Jack’s absolution of her over that horribly egregious RepliCarter episode, too – a “fact” of the SG universe that I normally deal with by wiping it from my brain and pretending it didn’t happen.

I'm sorry, I have no idea what scene you could possibly be referring to. *cough*
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