Stargate SG-1 5.4 – The Fifth Man

And now back to the summer of 2001, and we resume Stargate SG-1 after skipping a couple of episodes. 5.2 is a clip show, and 5.3 is the worst episode of the show I’ve ever watched (although, as I mentioned earlier this year, I’ve never seen episode 1.4, which right-minded folk swear is even worse). 5.4 certainly isn’t bad. There’s a fun little mystery about the identity of somebody who claims to be the fifth member of SG-1, and why everybody else in SG-1 swears that he has been part of their unit for weeks.

By skipping the previous episode, we missed the first appearance of a new recurring antagonist. John de Lancie plays Colonel Frank Simmons, another mysterious military bureaucrat who seems to have a blank check to go wherever he wants and investigate anything he wants. He kind of takes the place in the narrative of Tom McBeath’s Colonel Maybourne, except Maybourne could at least be trusted, if the chips were down, to pick up a gun and shoot at the real enemy. Simmons would probably pick up the gun, shoot you, and surrender. But de Lancie has had a long career of playing jerks and villains, and at least is entertaining to watch as he’s being rotten.

I thought it was interesting that it looked like Richard Dean Anderson was needed for one or two extra days on location, the tradeoff being he wasn’t needed in any of the studio scenes set back on Earth. Even when it’s a pretty good story like this one, I can’t help wondering about the behind-the-scenes scheduling to make it work. And the kid was very happy with it, especially since he didn’t enjoy the last thing we looked at at all.

See, we had skipped an episode from season two, “Holiday,” which was a bodyswapping story that I didn’t remember liking very much the first time around. After we’d watched the really entertaining bodyswap installment of Farscape, “Out of Their Minds”, a couple of evenings ago, Marie mentioned how much she’d enjoyed Christopher Judge’s perfect, and hilarious, impersonation of Jack O’Neill in “Holiday.” So we dusted it off and watched the kid squirm and make annoying little grumbles all the way through it. This has lots of explosions and shootouts and Teal’c gets to go home with a whacking great big bazooka-like staff cannon, so he had no complaints. He’s nine; it’s the little things.

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