Stargate SG-1 8.14 – Full Alert

As SG-1 continues tying up all its loose ends, last time we saw Tom McBeath’s character get a happy ending. This time, Ronny Cox’s character gets an unhappy ending.

I mentioned before that I’m finding season eight less entertaining than I did the last time around. One problem is that the evil conspiracy bunch, the Trust, are badly ill-defined and don’t have a figurehead for the audience to jeer. It’s almost like the producers realized, too late, that they needed somebody like the Cigarette Smoking Man in The X Files, and phoned up William B. Davis’s agent next year for a broadly similar role once they saw their error. Another problem is that too much of the Trust material happens offscreen. Even Jack O’Neill protests that he must have missed an episode, and Carter can only speculate that since we last saw them in “Endgame”, the Trust had to have been infiltrated by the baddies offworld. I’d have thought shadowy conspiracies were a little too complex for the simple, power-mad Goa’uld, but I guess they do what the script demands in the end.

This episode tries to do a lot, and it does it fairly well, but the nature of a modestly-budgeted sci-fi show means that it’s not just the infiltration that happens offscreen, it’s pretty much everything. The Trust have had an alien agent in the Russian military for a very long time, and once the full takeover of their ranks happens, they just need to rope Kinsey back in to make Russia’s president believe that the American administration has been compromised. So we hear about Joint Chiefs of Staff having emergency meetings and armies massing and nuclear silos opening, but the action is all in small rooms, and our four regulars are in the same place for all of about thirty seconds. It ends with a bang, and our son seemed to enjoy it very much, but the way it’s paced leaves no room for any resolution after the climax. The fascinating ramifications of the Russians capturing a Goa’uld in the body of their own defense minister aren’t investigated; I think there could have been a heck of an episode with that alone!

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