I decided to go ahead and quit writing about Atlantis. Enjoying this season very much, and even though the kid didn’t appreciate the smoochy stuff in episode sixteen’s body-swapping episode, it was still a fun one. Earlier in season two, somebody else was in McKay’s body, and Caldwell was host to a Goa’uld, but he got better. Now it’s Sheppard and Weir’s turn. But I bid farewell to writing about Atlantis here, though we’ll continue watching the show through its conclusion in the spring, probably.
I will continue writing about SG-1 over the next couple of weeks, though. “Arthur’s Mantle” is mostly a very fun runaround with some of our heroes out of dimensional phase and invisible, like what happened to Daniel back in season three’s “Crystal Skull”, but there’s a much more intense invisible B-plot. Tony Todd makes a final appearance as the leader of the Jaffa-gone-samurai who were introduced earlier in this season. The village is wiped out by an enemy using a cloaking device, so Teal’c gets another device and goes after him. It’s a little like Predator, with zombies.
Since he disliked the last episode so much, I’m glad that our son really liked this one, and laughed a lot as the problem somehow escalates. I’m surprised that I’d forgotten it, because it’s really hilarious. They had a lot of fun with the invisibility problem on the base, and using Bill Dow as comic relief is always a good idea; the guy has perfect timing. I probably won’t forget this one again; it’s a great one.
Our son doesn’t normally rank what we’ve watched on a scale of ten, but he said that he gave this one a four, and that sounds about right. It’s the big midseason cliffhanger, shown in September 2005 and January 2006, and they pulled in many of the recurring actors for appearances as the Ori and their Priors launch a plague attack on Earth. But it is talk, talk, and more talk, with padding around this one character, played by a twelve year-old, that almost had me falling asleep.
Don S. Davis and Tony Amendola are back for the big event, as they often are, and we say goodbye to Louis Gossett Jr. and William S. Davis, who make their final appearances here as their characters are killed off. Part one ends with the downbeat cliffhanger that Gossett’s character has joined the baddies. Later, Teal’c convinces him he made the wrong choice, and the Ori kill him for it. Weirdly – and I mean very, very weirdly – Julian Sands makes another appearance as the villain who turns Gossett, and he gets a big “guest starring” credit, but it’s only repurposed footage from his previous appearance. Heck of an agent the man has for his repeats to get a new special credit.
But while the narrative is disappointing with all its talk and padding, I do think that it’s still interesting to watch Earth’s media and governments start panicking about a virus that ends up killing about 3000 people. That’s not a small number, but with COVID’s omicron variant picking up, it looks like the sort of ugly result we’d just wish for today. And it seems to bring this season’s running subplot about the Jaffa learning to govern themselves without interference from some so-called god or other to a close.
In fact, it does a very good job making most of these eleven episodes feel like an ongoing narrative, with the plague introduced in episode five, the planet with Tony Todd and his samurai-like warriors from episode eight, and resolution to the ongoing family issues between General Landry and his daughter. It even brings back the character played by Sean Patrick Flanery in a godawful episode that we skipped back in season five, now played by a much, much younger actor. But as interesting as the writing is, and tying all these things together, it certainly isn’t very fun.
Like I noted with the last episode of Atlantis that we watched, I’ve enjoyed pointing out where MGM and the network looked for some notable stars from other SF TV shows for guest parts. “Babylon” marks the first of two appearances by William B. Davis as Damaris, one of the Priors of the Ori. Davis, of course, was the Cigarette Smoking Man in The X Files along with sixty-eleven other things. By every account a heck of a nice man in real life, onscreen he’s the perfect choice for a really creepy old dude. He doesn’t really do much in this appearance, though. Just the sight of him is enough to know that things are lousy.
Our son was fascinated by the community in this story and grumbled that they didn’t spend even more time on it, despite much of the episode – what felt like the whole story – being centered around it. Our heroes go in search of a legendary group of Jaffa called the Sodan who freed themselves from slavery five thousand years ago and live in an isolated village protected by Ancient tech. As is common with television tradition-and-honor-before-common sense warriors, there’s a bit of samurai code to them. The Sodan are led by a tough guy played by the great Tony Todd, who we saw in a Xena episode last year, but he’s falling sway to the Prior’s silver tongue and is about ready to throw away all that tradition and honor for the Ori’s hocus pocus. Mitchell’s able to get through to one of the Sodan. We’ll see later in the season it does not go well for the rest of them.
I hadn’t planned to sit down and blog about the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but I might have to after this. Our son really enjoyed tonight’s episode, which guest stars Tony Todd as a sailor cursed by Athena to immortality and cursed by Posiedon, along with anybody else unfortunate to come aboard, to never leave his ship. Three hundred years later, Xena and Gabrielle end up on board, but nobody’s better than Xena at finding ways to get around the curses of ticked-off gods. Tony Todd’s a reliable, familiar face, and I enjoyed how he played the character as sincere and more sad than angry. The kid was very entertained by all the pirate stuff and tidal waves and whirlpools. He could probably stand to see some more yo-ho-hoing and bottling of rum.