Tonight’s episode is a follow-up to the delightful “Other Guys” from season six. It’s set mostly in the base, and most of the regular cast other than Tapping and Davis have very small appearances. Patrick McKenna is back as the big dreamer Dr. Felger. Unfortunately, Coombs isn’t with him for this one, but it’s an amusing premise: Felger’s theory that he can send a virus to knock out Stargates on other planets has a very unexpected side effect: the gates transmit the new information to each other, and, within hours, the entire network – apart from Earth – has been shut down.
While it’s not as funny as “The Other Guys,” there’s still a lot to like here. O’Neill isn’t in this episode much, but he manages to be entertainingly rude to Felger in each of his scenes, and you can’t help but root for the poor guy. He may not have a lick of common sense and writes a lot of checks that he can’t cash, but he really does try. This would sadly be Felger’s last appearance, which meant that we never got the chance to see him get on Rodney McKay’s bad side in Atlantis. That could have been hilarious.
Once upon a time, among the cats in her household, my sweetie had two particular standouts. One was always rushing headfirst into trouble, guaranteed to find it. On one occasion, he came back from some outdoor play slightly wounded, with teeth marks around his shoulders as though he had put his entire head into a larger animal’s mouth. His brother was not quite that reckless. He was a little chubby and a little nervous. He knew he was being led into mischief but couldn’t do much of anything to stop it. The cats were inseparable and their names, of course, were Felger and Coombs.
I knew that our son would adore “The Other Guys” and I wasn’t wrong. This is one of Stargate‘s masterpieces, and it would be a standout in any program, but it’s Richard Dean Anderson who turns this into one of the show’s four or five best hours. Colonel O’Neill simply can’t believe that these idiots – civilian scientists doing research at a long-abandoned alien site – have followed them on an undercover mission, and he gets increasingly exasperated as it goes on. (Anderson had years of practice dealing with Jack on MacGyver, and I enjoyed finding similarities in his performance here.) It turns into absurdity instantly, and every time Felger and Coombs try to behave and stay out of trouble, the situation spirals further out of control and they have no choice to dig further in.
Felger is played by Patrick McKenna and Coombs by Jay Billingsley, and they may be overeducated idiots who can’t stop arguing about Star Trek, but they’re so wonderfully human and funny. They’re here to show everybody in the audience with a silly fantasy about going into action with SG-1 that no, that would really be a terrible idea. I love how even after watching sixty-eleven space aliens on Trek, Felger’s “Jaffa” voice sounds precisely like that of a man who is squeaking “please don’t kill me” between every word.
It all ends triumphantly, even if Felger doesn’t quite get the girl like he hoped he would. Was the whole event a fantasy? Felger gets a second appearance in season seven that suggests that what happens here was not entirely a product of his fanboy imagination. That’s good; even if some of it was misplaced here, there should always be room for daydreamers.