Tonight the team finish off a quest and are then very boring.
The Quest, Part 2
We find the team being attacked almost immediately after the “dragon” appears at the end of part one, with it breaking open the old passages with its tail. Avoiding its fire the group manage to make their way outside only for the thing to come join them as well. Finding that a dragon can withstand P90 fire the group hide in the woods and decide to try and use the “name of the dragon” myth to their advantage, only for Ba’al to reveal that he’d lied about knowing its name. While Daniel tries to remember the name of the dragon from the myths the others decide to try C4, only for that not to work either. Daniel realises however that the name they need to speak is Morgan’s Ancient name as she’s the real Guardian, causing the dragon to bugger off.
Going back for the Sangraal they attempt to pick it up once more only for it to remain. Suddenly however everyone but Adria is teleported to an unknown location filled with books and chests. While looking for what it is that Morgan was protecting they find Merlin himself, trapped in an Ancient stasis pod along with an Ancient terminal. Merlin is released when the terminal is activated by Vala but given his advanced age falls unconscious. While the old married couple stay with Merlin the others go to find out just where they are, finding themselves on another world with a Gate nearby that can’t dial out. After coming back inside they find Merlin has woken up but is effectively senile as he confuses the group for people from Arthurian Legend, though does use his Ancient abilities to silence Ba’al. Daniel is able to snap him out of it however by speaking Ancient names and telling him about the Ori threat.
Back on the Quest planet however Adria attempts to find out the address of where the others went, having had the village nearby burnt down for non-compliance. Heading back to the Gate she attempts to bruteforce a solution to which address they went to with help from the Ori. Eventually they make it to the desert planet and slowly begin to search for the next address.
Inside the cave Daniel and Merlin talk about their shared issues with the Ancient world view, with Merlin aware of Oma’s issue of constantly getting involved. While he doesn’t agree with Oma’s individual interference Merlin agrees with Daniel that the non-intervention policy is absurd in the face of the Ori threat and decides to help the team rebuild the true Sangraal weapon. While Merlin is building the weapon the team find that the contents of the cave and the people inside are slowly transported between various worlds to keep them hidden. During the building of the weapon however Merlin’s body finally dies from the strain. When Daniel tries the Ancient terminal to build the weapon he finds that Merlin left behind the needed memories to allow him to complete the weapon himself.
While Daniel builds the weapon with Vala and Mitchell’s company the others keep trying to fix the dialling program outside so that they can get out of the loop. Both Ba’al and Carter butt heads several times, with Ba’al deliberately belittling her to get a rise out of her while she just punches him in the face to physically knock him down a rung or two. Eventually they two actually decide to get along and quickly solve the issue they were facing, much to their chagrin when Teal’c points this out.
The Sangraal creation team also start facing issues as Daniel begins to get some of the same powers as Merlin has and slowly starts to lose himself in the process of making the device. While Vala wants to stop him Mitchell forces her not to, knowing that Daniel is right in risking his life for the Sangraal. Eventually time for the team runs out as the Ori finally catch up with them, seemingly killing Ba’al in the process. While the team attempt to hold off the Ori troops Adria sneaks into the cave itself to find Daniel now also has great powers of his own. While Daniel is able to easily deal with the troops he is only able to hold off Adria while the others escaped, leaving himself to be captured.
So here we are after the buildup episode and we start with 10 minutes of the show that is probably best consigned to the same furnace as Babylon and Emancipation. The whole dragon fight is not only down with just awful effects but it’s also just a waste of time. It doesn’t nothing for the plot, with the team immediately heading back to the cave straight afterwards. I’d have gladly had 5 more minutes of Daniel and Merlin talking than simply watching the team lie in the trees staring at nothing and then just shouting Morgan Le Fay.
When the episode does get around to Daniel and Merlin talking that’s when it starts to get interesting, with Merlin representing yet another Ascended Ancient viewpoint. It’s fun to watch the two discuss the merits of their actions, with Merlin talking about Oma as one would about a mischievous friend as while he may not agree with her actions he can understand why she does it. Instead Merlin is the middle point between Oma’s “help anyone worthy” and the general “help no one, even if they’re worthy” expressed by the majority of Ascended Ancients. Instead Merlin understands that there are some threats that have to be countered before it’s too late as they still have a duty of care towards the “lower planes” even if they don’t exist on them anymore. It’s a damn shame we don’t get to see more of the character given how he’s so interesting in just his few appearances on both SG-1 and Atlantis.
Elsewhere we also see Ba’al and Carter forced together once more and I really do love their bickering in this episode. While what Ba’al says on the surface appears sexist, just like with Meredith in his guest appearances in the show, it’s more him implying her to be stupid to get a rise out of her. The two of them have one of the longstanding rivalries on the show now, with it going back several seasons, where they’ve both on and off-screen tried to one-up each other’s tech and using it for their own purposes, with incidents like Avenger 2.0 being centred around this. Both of them are too stubborn and prideful to admit they don’t have the solution figured out or that they need each other’s help but when they finally do work together they almost immediately solve the issue even if they don’t want to admit how well they do work together. Again it’s a shame we don’t get to see this aspect of the show more often as the Tau’ri and Ba’al or in earlier seasons Yu working together was always a joy to watch as they bickered their way to victory.
With Adria however I think this episode is a step back from the first part. There we saw the character as more multi-dimensional than when first introduced but now she’s back to being this one-sided zealot which is boring to watch. Killing civilians and forcibly dialling the Gate is hardly the most interesting of character moments.
Overall an episode that for the majority has two great stories featuring interactions between great characters that demonstrate areas that the show could’ve used more of sadly bookended by two scenes that are just crap.
· Maybe stick to Ship CGI guys.
· Teal’c just enjoys annoying people recently doesn’t he.
· And Ba’al gets shot in the back just after he’s learnt the true value of friendship.
Quote of the episode: “Merlin’s little trick with my vocal cords expired at the same moment he did.”
“Yet another reason to mourn his passing.” – Ba’al and Teal’c
Line in the Sand
The team are experimenting with a new technology that Sam has made using Merlin’s Device that caused people to go out of phase, which will hopefully hide an entire village that’s been threatened by the Ori. Initially everything goes to plan, with the village being successfully rendered out of phase only for the device to stop working during the night due to a power malfunction. While Carter attempts to fix it the rest of the team try to implement contingencies just in case. Unfortunately in the morning the Ori begin a full-scale invasion, leaving only a token defence of the briefest of weapon’s training for some of the villagers which is quickly beaten with Carter being injured in the process. Mitchell and Carter are able to use Merlin’s Device to keep the house they’re in out of phase while the rest of the team and the village are captured. It turns out the Ori commander is none other than Tomin who has the defenders executed and Vala brought to the Ori ship.
Inside the village Teal’c reveals himself to the villagers, having evaded capture in the woods outside, only to find many have already decided to bow to the Ori but the village leader still wants to resist. One of the villagers ends up selling out Teal’c when the Ori ask questions about the missing house in the village. A Prior arrives and tortures Teal’c but the Jaffa passes out without revealing anything, causing the Prior to try and use his powers to make the house appear to no effect. When the Prior leaves to order the destruction of the village the villagers believe this is a test to kill Teal’c but the village leader is able to talk them down.
Onboard the Ori vessel Tomin attempts to convert Vala, the penance for his crimes as ordered by Adria, while Vala instead tries to get Tomin to come to her side of the argument. Their arguments get worse with Tomin striking her when she shouts that the Ori are not gods. When the Prior returns from failing to reveal the village Tomin openly questions the Prior’s decision to now destroy the village, finally seeing the truth in that the Prior is changing the words of Origin to suit whatever he wants them to mean. Tomin decides to free Vala and instead face his fate onboard the ship when the Prior bombards the village from orbit.
Within the hidden house however Carter isn’t doing so well even if her work is protecting them, with her injuries needing further attention and treatment than Mitchell’s basic field care can provide. With the oncoming threat of the village’s destruction from orbit Carter, having had a crisis of faith previously, is now focused on helping Mitchell getting the project to work properly using an Ori staff power crystal to help them.
Vala, having been sent down to the planet by Tomin, finds herself in the middle of a crater only for the village to reappear around her revealing that they’d manage to fix the Device in time. Back in the infirmary sometime later Carter is recovering, with Mitchell offering some homemade Macaroons only for her to hate them.
Hmm, sorry did the episode end there as I fell asleep for a minute. Line in the Sand simply put is just a very boring episode on the show that has so many undercooked things that it feels like such a slog to get through. During the Goa’uld years it’s true the playbook of the Goa’uld attacking people was fairly generic but what usually spiced it up was who they were attacking which could be Earth level peoples, historical or pre-industrial groups, or even occasionally very advanced races. Here however for two seasons now it’s just been Ori attacking medieval level people and it’s just dull. Ori troops enter, some die, kill civilians, they win.
The episode tries to spice up the post-invasion aspect of the episode but instead it becomes a very preachy episode about religion vs science in my view. This has always been one of the core themes to the show and even more so during the Ori saga but here it’s just painful to watch. For 10 years now Carter’s been beating people time and time again, wounded or healthy, with her scientific knowhow but now she suddenly faces a crisis of faith in science and starts talking about her beliefs? It just feels like a betrayal to the character to suddenly make her this doubter of science and instead go all spiritual instead.
The townspeople are also not exactly well-written in this episode either, with them going from good friends with the team to wanting to murder Teal’c to please the Prior. It’s a bit of a jump to go from firing a P90 against Ori troops to them wanting to kill the people who supplied them with the P90s so fast.
In fact the only character who seems to get a good story in the episode is the Ori commander (and Vala’s husband) Tomin. Tomin has always been a victim of the Ori, believing truly in the religion and the sham it’s meant to portray and seeing those who don’t believe as evil as a result. Only now however after seeing with his own eyes a Prior twisting the religion into whatever he wants it to mean does he realise just what his faith has been turned into and therefore begins to doubt the crusade as a whole. Sadly however even Tomin doesn’t get a fair portrayal with this man who was nothing but caring to his wife and never had any sign of being a cruel man randomly strikes her out of anger. The introduction of domestic violence seems to be a very large step in the wrong direction.
In the end a rubbish episode that commits the worst sin possible by being boring and then adds to that by having characters make strange decisions in a plot that seems a poorly written “moral” about how religion is evil.
· Why didn’t they just wait until the Ori returned to activate it rather than keeping it running for days?
· Candles on a spaceship? That’s a fire hazard.
Quote of the episode: “We’re gonna try a little disappearing act here. Please remember to keep your arms and legs inside the village at all times until we come to a complete and final stop. Blank stares work too.” - Mitchell