This afternoon and this evening, we watched the split season finale / season premiere of Stargate SG-1‘s fourth and fifth seasons, originally shown in February and June 2001. The first part’s not bad. It features Teal’c trying to get even with his old enemy Tanith, who we met earlier in the season. Tanith escapes – it’s set up in a line of dialogue in the second half and it unfolds a few episodes down the line – not long after what looks like the real problem shows up.
So our old enemy Apophis arrives with his entire fleet to wipe out Earth’s allies, the Tok’ra, once and for all. But he’s walked into a great big trap, unlikely and “ambitious,” and part one of the story ends with his fleet completely wiped out. Part two takes the story into an entirely different galaxy – it’s unlikely, but we’re playing with hyperdrives and supernovae, so we’ll run with it – and Apophis suddenly has a great big problem. His bunch of alien baddies have never met the Replicators before, and suddenly the whole notion of him being a god falls down around his big dumb ears.
When we watched the previous story, “Double Jeopardy”, I made sure to point out that the Goa’uld have no imagination and no interest in new technology. The Replicators don’t care about anything else but new technology. Guess who’s going to come out on top?
So no, part one’s not bad, but part two is a completely entertaining and delightful spectacle. The Replicators have only been seen once before, but bringing them back and turning them into implacable Goa’uld killers is a great idea, and it’s revealed so casually. The director of this episode gives the audience a little glimpse of an erector-set leg and then calmly shows off the writers’ masterstroke.
But honestly, the hour is really the actors running around the spaceship set having gunfights without a lot of heart to it. It’s entertaining but hollow, except for Peter Williams’ performance as Apophis. I’ve grumbled about the quality of the villains on this show before and won’t indulge again, because Williams has often been much better than the limitations of his character. And he completely shines here. Apophis doesn’t get to go down in a blaze of glory, his master scheme doesn’t come this close to succeeding, and he doesn’t even get a final standoff against our heroes. Instead, he is completely out of his element, has no idea whatsoever how to get out of this mess, and I just love this scene where Apophis looks around his new throne room and realizes just how screwed he is. In the end, Apophis dies like a chump. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
So the final tally at this point is that Apophis has killed Sokar and Heru’ur, and SG-1 has killed Ra, Hathor, Seth, Cronus, and Apophis. Lotsa villains down for the count, but Anubis is right around the corner…
That’s all from SG-1 for now. We cycle things in and out to keep things fresh, but we’ll pick back up with season five in about three weeks. Stay tuned!