Stargate SG-1 5.7 – Beast of Burden

While the blog was on break, some interesting news broke. Out of nowhere, the media company VEI released a complete set of Stargate SG-1 on Blu-ray. Reviews seem to be pretty mixed. The episodes – particularly the first three seasons, when a lower grade of film was used – are said to have somewhat better resolution and detail, and fewer digital artifacts, but rather than a full remastering, they just went with a sheen of DNR that smooths out more of the actors’ skin tones than I’d like to see. Honestly, I think the DVDs are just fine for a show of its day, and a heck of a lot better than some others we’ve seen, so we’ll stick with these.

So picking back up with season five, “Beast of Burden” follows on from “The First Ones” from the previous year. The alien that Daniel befriended gets captured by human slavers, and they go to rescue him. I think this story’s really very good, but I think there’s a lot more to it than we got to see. These humans’ only previous encounter with the Goa’uld was so many centuries ago that the Goa’uld were still using these alien bodies as hosts instead of humans. Since whatever villain was then in charge left, the humans rose up, enslaved the alien bodies, and have spent generations breeding them as domestic beasts of burden and occasionally experimenting with their Stargate.

This episode, obviously, doesn’t end well for at least some of the slavers and possibly all of them, but I was interested in how their society was portrayed. Like “The Other Side”, this is a story where the villainy is shown as casual; the people who perpetuate it don’t think twice about it and certainly wouldn’t call themselves evil because their POV is so inhuman to us. And however it’s going to end for them in the long term, they know very little more about the universe, and what they may run into if they keep using their Stargate, than when they started. If they were smart, they’d have made more of an effort to befriend our heroes. They have experience with this sort of thing.

The kid enjoyed it as well, but honesty compels me that his principal takeaway was that the Unas use one word, chaka, to mean many things and not just the name of the character we met last time. He likened it to all the different ways that we might use there, their, and they’re. He’s probably not wrong.

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