Pointless Nonsense

Posted in tv by Bill on April 17, 2011

Season 2 General Thoughts:

  • They must have cut the music budget for season 2. What sounded like a live orchestra last season sounds synthesized now. I think they spent the savings on air rams, because many episodes have a scene where an explosion sends an enemy no-name flying into the air in that totally un-explosion-like way air rams always launch people.
  • They’ve been taking in a lot of refugees from other planets, and supposedly finding new planets to resettle them. I’d think that would be extremely problematic. Ignoring the issue of new diseases, imagine being placed in the wild on a planet you’ve never seen before. Which plants are edible? Which animals are dangerous? Which can you domesticate? I think the odds of you all dying off within a generation would be pretty high.
  • Whenever they go somewhere that Teal’c knows, he always figures it out just after (or just as) the location or the inhabitants screw them.
  • I did not watch the opening credits ever in the first season, but I let them run once this time. They’re are long.
  • They seem to have abandoned the whole idea that you come out really cold on the other end of a gate.
  • The whole season is littered with very abrupt cuts to black in places that don’t seem like act breaks. The only thing I can think is that it was aired without commercials on Showtime, edited to have commercials for syndication, and then the dvd used that version with the commercials removed.
  • Less cheesecake this season, as evidenced by only two screencaps of such scenes below.

Episode by episode:

Episode 1:

  • We left off with SG-1 aboard the Goa’uld ships about to attack Earth, which will likely result in the government not scrapping the stargate program. The episode starts with them preparing to blow themselves up and the ship with it, which they attempt to mine for the drama of impending self-sacrifice, but no series has the balls to kill their entire main cast in the first episode of a season. So they get captured and would surely be killed if Teal’c’s friend Salmon Rushdie (whose character name I will never remember) were not conveniently the guy assigned to execute them.

Episode 2:

  • Carter’s giving CPR to a guy with a bloody mouth, which again could bring all kinds of crazy diseases back with her to earth, but no no precautions are taken. She actually brought back a Goa’uld. But it’s a good Goa’uld, so no big deal. Pre-emptive spoiler alert: she will somehow get rid of the thing and survive.
  • They actually do bring back the little girl from towards the end of last season, I was expecting them to pretend like it never happened. Kinda hoping, actually, because these scenes are awful. It’s like Wesley Crusher and Chrissy Seaver from Growing Pains all rolled into one.

Episode 3:

  • The team is sent to a prison planet by stargate but with no dial-out device to get back. Carter is instantly seized for the purposes of being raped, but that would be too dark for this show, so she’s immediately rescued by the old lady who for some reason is in charge.
  • Negotiating the release of prisoners with a foreign culture falls to the General somehow and not a diplomat. He seems to have fucked it up, but I get the feeling they will be released somehow.
  • They escape with the kindly old lady, but in an actually cool twist, she turns out to be a mad scientist known as a destroyer of worlds who they just let loose on the galaxy. They leave it hanging, so they better bring her back. You can never go wrong with a mad scientist.

Episode 4:

  • As soon as I saw the pods, I believed they had gated into the Matrix, and it turns out they have (though this actually predates The Matrix). The pods plug into their brains and O’Neill is relives a disastrous mission from the 80s (with Teal’c along for the ride) and Jackson relives his parents’ death (wth Carter along for the ride). Turns out Murdock from The A-Team (with a British accent) is a Q ripoff forcing them to relive painful memories.
  • They get out far too easily and obviously they’re still in the virtual world, but they don’t take any steps to try to verify that they’re in the real world.

Episode 5:

  • On a planet where they mine some kinda mystery material, a kinda hot princess is about to kill herself when Jackson saves her. Naturally, this results in them being put in prison in a mine (or, due to the cheap budget of the show, a rocky set where the actors hit the walls with hammers). Jackson is badly hurt in an escape attempt, so cue the magic box to heal him completely.
  • Turns out the King uses the magic box routinely to end his life, but it seems like it’s making him malleable and the princess actually controls the place by pushing him in the right direction. She gets Jackson to use it repeatedly, and it’s made him not need glasses, but it’s also made him loopy and irritable.

Episode 6:

  • We revisit the planet where Jackson refused to say “Mjolnir,” which is now under attack after SG-1 busted up their Goa’uld-proofing gizmos. Since it’s Earths’ fault their all dead, we are kind enough to fight off their massive invasion by sending three soldiers and a scientist.
  • Though these people believe in quite a few aspects of Norse religion, they seem to be monotheists who worship Thor. People who die are “on their journey to Thor,” not to Valhalla or Odin or anything about Valkyries. Is this a conscious decision by the show that the Norse gods split up and took people to different planets through the gates? Or is it because they figured while much of their audience has heard of Thor, introducing all sorts of other terms would just confuse them?
  • Thor is revealed to be a Grey (but for some reason blue-colored).

Episode 7:

  • An alien artifact they bring back from a world uninhabited for centuries infects the base with some kind of virus. This is a classic scenario where it turns out it wasn’t a disease, but the artifact’s only way to communicate with people. It takes almost the whole episode to realize that, but it turns out they were kinda douchey aliens, which is a decent enough twist.

Episode 8:

  • I’ve been thinking of him as Salmon Rushdie/Sal Bass this whole time, so when they said [his name] was coming, I was like “who?” We’re headed back to Teal’c’s world for family drama. His wife (no longer played by whatshername from Eureka) assumed he was dead and got remarried to Teal’c’s friend. He’s pissed, but him and his wife have an unusually stereotypically Black argument (“don’t you judge me”/”woman, be silent”)… all it needed was some snapping and an mmmmhmmm to go full-on BET.

Episode 9:

  • Jackson returns to Abbados to find his wife alive, not controlled by a Goa’uld, and knocked up with the head bad guy’s child (whatever his name is), with the Goa’uld thing dormant while she’s pregnant.
  • Meanwhile, the General, O’Neill, and Carter head to D.C. for a fancy ceremony or something, and she’s looking kinda nice in her fancy dress uniform thing. Her father wants her to join NASA, and a reporter has a source saying the stargate is a thing. They’re trying to figure out who the leak is, when it’s obviously the intelligence douche guy or somehow related to him. They have the reporter killed in an accident he thinks O’Neill arranged, but it sets up a halfway decent “something sinister is afoot” sense going forward. It also let us avoid the generic thing in military stuff where reporters are portrayed as assholes who put lives at risk just to get their story.

Episode 10:

  • A giant bug stings Teal’c and it’s overwriting his DNA with its own. I’m instantly worried that this will result in a goofy half-insect monster makeup job, like in that terrible Next Generation episode where the crew devolves into monkey men and spiders and whatnot.
  • Scientists from the government’s Department of Evil (I don’t recall if they said the name, but all that matters is that the audience understand their douchiness) take Teal’c under the guise of helping him in a better lab, but they just want to study the insect venom as a bioweapon. They are probably the same people that killed the reporter last episode.
  • Apparently unaware that he’s going to turn into a swarm of killer insects, Teal’c goes on the lam befriends a little girl. She is written ridiculously as she’s about 11, probably born in 1988 or thereabouts, and she makes references to The Fugitive and The Godfather. She should be referencing Britney Spears, Titanic, or Pokemon.

Episode 11:

  • I only recall a “previously…” one other time so far (at the beginning of this season), and by watching this on Netflix, I see that this is the first of a two parter, so something epic-ish has to be happening, right? It apparently involves the good Goa’uld that was in Carter earlier.
  • They have a plotline about Carter’s father, a General, dying of cancer, and he sees right through their cover stories and wants to know what his daughter’s really up to. It’s like his dying wish, which I’m pretty sure a General could get clearance to tell another General, right? But no. And theoretically, this cancer could be a devious plot to get the General to reveal classified info, because he’s totally going to spill.
  • They are visiting the homeworld of the Tok’ra, the benevolent Goa’uld people. This does present a novel solution to Carter’s dad’s cancer, he could totally take on one of the symbiotes and live longer, while they need willing hosts. But I doubt they’ll go that way, because it would be totally sketchy of the government to give aliens full access to the brain of an Air Force general.

Episode 12:

  • The General Carter getting a Tok’ra solution seems even more likely. The Tok’ra are offended that no one from Earth wants to take one of their symbiotes, they want to keep SG-1 hostage until they move to a different planet to keep their location secret, and that would keep Carter from seeing her dying father.
  • Carter does come up with the obvious plan, brings it to the General, and he puts up half-assed objections but he remains a pushover and will concede.

Episode 13:

  • This planet has a Native American culture, which on virtually every TV show and movie means they will have magical powers. In this case, it’s spirit animals that can do all kinds of crazy shit.
  • One interesting thing from this episode: the General got orders from higher ups to outright lie to peaceful people to get at the fancy ore that they hold sacred, but the government thinks it could be used for advanced weapons. The extra dickery from above goes with my theory about a Department of Evil within the government.

Episode 14:

  • These people are backwards except for the ability to control the weather. But some people who might be from Earth may have stolen their weather control device, so the chief is pissed. Also, the chief’s daughter or whatever is pretty hot.
  • They also bring up the second gate in Antarctica, which is being used by someone without the Stargate program’s knowledge. Department of Evil at work. Or, rather, it seems like there’s a private company pulling government strings in cahoots with the Department of Evil (which we’re calling NID, which I can only assume stands for Nefarious Initiatives Division). EvilCorp has the second stargate and the weathermojig.
  • EvilCorp is keeping the stargate and the weathermabobber at a super secret compound protected by an unlocked chain link fence and a few useless guards that SG-1 musters all their skill to defeat.

Episode 15:

  • The doctor doesn’t know how the brain works (if we used only 10% of our brains, we would not function very well), and Jackson misuses “download” (if you’re pushing something out, you are uploading).
  • While visiting an ancient meeting place for superpowered aliens, O’Neill gets zapped by a ray which quite obviously has given him knowledge of ancient alien technology and language, but it will take some time before the characters on the show catch up to what is obvious. He builds some kind of power source that looks like a gas lamp, which I hope will come up later when they try to determine how it works, but it helps him reprogram the gate, dial it out, and go visit the Asgardians (who are Greys, but this time they aren’t blue). It’s one of those bullshit Sci Fi things wherein the advanced aliens tell us how special we are, but how we have a long way to go. It’s obvious why science fiction writers do this all the time, since you probably wouldn’t be writing science fiction if you weren’t both interested in the potential of humanity and frustrated by our shortcomings. But it’s annoying that it’s a trope that’s repeated so often.

Episode 16:

  • Another SG team is experiencing time dilation due to a nearby black hole, and somehow opening the gate to try to bring them back is causing time dilation to affect the base relative to the rest of the world.
  • Bad math: “Time within the SGC is slowed to about 600% below normal. When you ordered Col. O’Neill to wait 5 minutes you were really telling him to wait 6 hours.” The only explanation I can think of is that they meant the speed of time was halved 6 times (so 5 minutes becomes 320 minutes, which is at least approaching 6 hours).

Episode 17:

  • Arriving on a planet with advanced technology, Carter is amazed at something that looks like a Newton. It’s superior note taking ability will surely defeat the Goa’uld. The guy who invented it also built a good old fashioned brain swapping device, and he’s walking around in Jackson’s body in what I can only assume is Colorado Springs (since it’s a city and driving distance from the base.
  • This leads to brain swapping madness, Teal’c and O’Neill also swap. It’s weird to hear the guy who plays Teal’c speaking like a normal person, but weirder to see how little range Richard Dean Anderson has as he attempts to talk like Teal’c. It works for Teal’c with an intensely serious expression on his face, but Richard Dean Anderson can’t really do that, so he just seems like a guy trying to talk like a robot.
  • But there’s no way to reverse the transfer (until the end of the episode, anyway) because it encrypts the transfer to prevent reversal of the process. Jackson is stuck in a super old guy body and will die soon, but the scientist in Jackson’s body offers crazy technology that should help us defeat the Goa’uld in exchange for his freedom. Which they object to on moral grounds, but it would be a pretty sweet trade. Obviously, as the series progresses, they’ll find a way to win, but at this point the military ought to consider Earth to be totally fucked. One guy’s life to un-fuck Earth? Done.
  • The genius alien scientist says there’s no way to swap back due to the encryption, but it turns out you only can’t reverse a transfer you did before. They make it out like Carter is super smart to come up with the novel strategy of a series of brain swaps, but really the scientist is just a moron for not realizing the possibility.

Episode 18:

  • The Tok’ra send coordinates to Earth, which don’t turn out to be a meeting with the Tok’ra, but the site where a battle between rival Goa’uld factions is taking place, and SG-1 returns home with Apophis (had to look that up, I was hearing “Apothus”) badly injured and demanding sanctuary. He’s dying, and unless they pull some crazy shit, I assume the shaved head white guy Goa’uld will take over.
  • I could have sworn there have been instances of people entering gates that were dialed to from somewhere else, but now they’re saying that if Earth dials out somewhere else, people can’t enter that gate to come here while it’s open.
  • Apophis does die, but the magic boxes can apparently even revive dead people. The new head Goa’uld (who I do think is shaved head white guy, but I’m not sure) will presumably revive Apophis and torture him, but then there will be some kind of escape next season or the season after, because they have like 8 more seasons of material to generate.

Episode 19:

  • They now have a UAV to fly through the stargate to cover more ground, which is sorta nifty.
  • This planet has a bunch of mute hairless people, who start dropping like flies when SG-1 shows up. Finally, the idea that humans would bring harmful diseases with them is really explored. Teryl Rothery (who cut her hair and looks like a lesbian now, which caused me to look her up and see if she was a lesbian, which caused me reading a spoiler) shows up and is given a laundry list of possible sources of infection: Jackson’s sneezes, the UAV’s lubricant, a cut on Carter’s hand. She says it could be anything down to someone’s aftershave. Which again should mean they wear hazmat suits through the gate every time.

Episode 20:

  • Someone gates in and they can’t close the iris. A creepy little kid walks through and passes along warnings from the ghost of his mother. Or his mother is just an invisible monster.
  • The invisible monster was warning about a faction of invisible monster terrorists headed to Earth. They do arrive, and the red shirts around the base start getting mowed down (two characters with names get shot in the upper arm).

Episode 21:

  • A gate mishap sends SG-1 to 1969, armed with a note from the General instructing his younger self to help them. I don’t know why every trip to the past in every science fiction show has to include an explanation of the grandfather paradox, but they do, so Carter has to give that whole spiel.
  • They hitch a ride on a hippie bus headed for Woodstock, and play traveling music while they do the red-line-on-a-map thing to indicate their progress. But the traveling music could not be more wrong. What should be sloppy fairly naturalistic music is instead clean tight 80s pop. It’s more Huey Lewis and the News than Country Joe and the Fish.
  • Their plan to get back to the present involves Jackson adopting a ridiculous German (I think) accent. Yet somehow it succeeds, and all is well.

Episode 22:

  • Last episode reminded me of Futurama because of the time travel/grandfather paradox stuff, and this one reminds me of Futurama because it begins with O’Neill being unfrozen in the year 2077. (SG-1 predates Futurama by quite a bit, so it’s just coincidence).
  • Supposedly, they went on a mission and the rest of the team died but O’Neill came back frozen, and they left him frozen until they had the technology to thaw him safely (but the whole thing seems sinister, and not just because I know they wouldn’t kill Teal’c, Jackson, and Carter offscreen). In 2077, they also have the technology to put O’Neill’s memories on a monitor (not an NEC), which means we get treated to another clip show! Season finale clip show… that’s pretty crappy. Especially given how perfectly decent last season’s finale was.
  • Turns out it’s a Goa’uld plot to I guess raid their memories like that Next Generation episode up until the very end when it turned out to be something different.
  • Turns out it’s Horus from a while back. O’Neill finds Carter (shot from a not unpleasant angle) and Jackson in the same fake future, and they try to escape, but they leave us on a lame season ending cliffhanger, with Horus threatening to en-Goa’uld someone to know their secrets.

I’m less enthusiastic coming out of this season, what with the much lamer cliffhanger, and clip show at the very end. But I do like that the M.O. is to end the season with the SG-1 crew completely screwed.

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