Saturday, January 21, 2006

Stargate SG-1—Ripple Effect

The Upshot: All right, whose been screwing around with the space-time continuum again??? The team at Stargate Command (SGC) is baffled by the appearance through the Stargate of multiple, nearly identical SG-1 squads.

Next to time travel, the concept of parallel universes and alternate realities that co-exist with our own is perhaps the most intriguing concept of science fiction. It’s a concept that is revisited on the most recent SG-1.

Alas, “Ripple Effect” started out with such promise. Lt. Cols Mitchell and Carter, Daniel Jackson and Teal’c arrive back at SGC earlier than expected followed soon afterward by the regularly scheduled SG-1 team.

Egad! There’s a rift in the multiverse as teams from alternate realities begin showing up left and right—16 SG-1 teams in all.

Along with a roomful of Samantha Carters, the surprise guest from a parallel universe is Dr. Janet Frasier, whose counterpart in the “real/prime/original” universe was killed a couple seasons back. The Legion of Sam Carters soon figure out is some darned singularity (read: black hole for you non-scientists) that got in the way of the Stargate wormhole and “our” reality was the hub for all the mirror universes.

In lieu of taking the time to figure a way to get all the alternate teams home, Gen. Landry orders the dimensional rift sealed to prevent more alternate reality incursions so all his universe’s SG teams aren’t jammed up and they can go back to fighting The Ori.

In the alternate Dr. Frasier’s reality, their Earth is being decimated by an Ori created plague—the same plague that the “original” SG universe just cured. If they remain trapped there, they can’t save their own world.

This sets up a nice potential dilemma as the alternate Dr. Frasier and Gen. Landry argue about the merits and morality of saving his reality at the expense of her own and that of the 15 other stranded teams.

But then it gets all predictable as the first alternate team, dressed in dark SG-1 uniforms (which should have been a giveaway….perhaps they should have had goatees), didn’t arrive in our reality by accident but it was a planned incursion to steal something to take back to their reality. Of course the “evil” SG-1 is defeated, and sent home, as are the 15 other SG-1 teams. No muss, no fuss.

Even more than the original Star Trek rip-off of the evil mirror universe theme, this episode took a page from the Star Trek: Voyager playbook where 45 minutes is spent building up a complicated and interesting premise only to be left with 10 minutes to quickly and (too) easily solve resolve things in such a way where everything is returned to status quo.

Let’s take a moment to consider the possibilities if the writer’s hadn’t hit the “easy” button:

A) The alternate Dr. Frasier remains trapped in our reality knowing her own world has been doomed and now consigned to a world where she is not only dead but her past/history doesn’t quite match this reality.

B) Even more daring would be to mix and match the SG-1 team members, where alternate Carter or Teal’c remains in our reality, introducing a familiar yet new dynamic. Together again for the first time.

C) Going hog wild would have been some drastic change or disaster in our reality and/or following one of the SG-1 teams back to their world instantly resetting the whole show.

But in the end, it was the same ole same ole. Like we’ve said before, if you don’t expect too much, SG-1 will deliver.

Look for posts on Friday’s Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica forthcoming.


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