This is an interesting story that takes place over the course of several days. Carter meets a very promising cadet with a chip on her shoulder who doesn’t like being told that she’s wrong, and sees enough moxie there to take her to another world. A site has been found on a moon that should be safe enough, and for several weeks, the USAF has been guarding some civilian scientists doing classified research. Unfortunately, just before Carter and Haley arrive, something has triggered some small, mosquito-like life forms into becoming dangerously aggressive.
Even though the little dot-like beings kill one of the scientists, it still feels like a comparatively low-stakes episode to me, but it was nevertheless very exciting for our son. He treated these things as every bit as deadly as the meanest aliens in all of fiction and tensed when the action ramped up. I liked the way the show took a detour from the fanciful depictions of other cultures – or even the structure at the SGC – and looked at military bureaucracy for a while, setting a good chunk of the story at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs. It even goes so far as to feature a cameo by General Michael Ryan, who had been the USAF Chief of Staff under Presidents Clinton and Bush. I wouldn’t watch a show that was like this every week, but I can appreciate an occasional change of pace. Plus, Cadet Haley’s explanation of what she was thinking when she broke an upperclassman’s nose is priceless.
Michael Shanks does not appear in this episode, but it does feature the first appearance of Dr. Bill Lee, played by Bill Dow, the character actor who was in absolutely everything that was on TV in the 1990s and 2000s. Lots of Stargate players show up in two or three episodes – Cadet Haley will be back once more in season five – but Dr. Lee is in a couple of dozen installments of this and Atlantis. He was also in about ten episodes of The X Files, mainly as Mulder’s friend Dr. Burks, but also a few other characters.