Stargate: SG-1
Volume 50 (Season 10 - Vol 1)

Starring: Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Claudia Black, Beau Bridges and Michael Shanks
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 13 August 2007

As their battle with the Ori continues, the SG-1 team struggles to reunite and formulate a plan to defeat their enemy. Vala gives birth to a young girl who is of Ori decent and ages years in a matter of hours. As the Ori invade Chulak, Teal'c and the SGC have some serious decisions to make...

Flesh and Blood is a pretty interesting way of kicking off Season 10. It resolves all the problems that the script writers had forced the show into at the end of Season 9, without looking like a cop-out. All the regular SG-1 team members managed to survive (unsurprisingly), Vala gives birth to an Ori child and the Ori decide to attack Chulak.

This episode also sees Jodelle Ferland (Tideland) appear as Adria (Age 7) one of the three versions of the character in this episode. Other notable guest stars include Tony Amendola (Bra'tac) and Robert Picardo (Richard Woolsey).

One thing that lets this episode down is the Asgard Krasit - they really should do away with these lame puppets. There is a particularly bad scene which really should not have been left in the finished cut. I could almost imagine Keith Harris stood behind him with his hand up his backside - that should give you some kind of indication of how poor it is.

Robert C. Cooper (executive producer), Willliam Waring (director) and Jim Menard (director of photography) provide an insightful commentary. They reveal that they secretly uses the term IOA (which in the show stands for the International Oversight Advisory organisation that Woolsey works for) behind the scenes to refer to the people higher up the food chain who oversee the show. They also reveal their issues with Chris Judge's hair in the opening episodes of this season.

On a mission to find a weapon that will defeat the Ori, SG-1 travel to a planet whose inhabitants were killed by a mysterious illness, and unwittingly fall victim to the virus themselves. Meanwhile, Vala is given a psychiatric test to determine if she can be trusted to remain at the SGC...

Morpheus is an entertaining enough episode. While the planet virus idea has been done before (and better) it's Vala's b-plot that really raises this episode up a notch or two. She over prepares for her psychiatric evaluation - to the point where she is just spouting clichéd rubbish in a vain attempt that she will appear "normal". Some of these scenes are incredibly funny and it was interesting to hear, on the audio commentary, that some of the funniest moments were down to Claudia Black improvising.

Joseph Mallozzi (executive producer) and Andy Mikita (director) provide the audio commentary for this episode. It was interesting to hear that the Blade Runner homage (which was scripted) had an improvised ending provided by Black. It was also interesting to learn how they don't always get on with their guest stars and it's always a joy to work with considerate actors like Robert Picardo.

SG-1 travels to the Pegasus Galaxy and the city of Atlantis in hopes to find a clue to a weapon that can destroy the Ori. Daniel and Vala use the Atlantis's database to search for the location of the planet where the weapon has been hidden, while Sam and Mitchell join forces with Dr. McKay in an effort to prevent the Ori from using their supergate...

The Pegasus Project is an Atlantis crossover episode which is obviously designed to ease unconverted SG-1 fans over to Atlantis. With Season 10 being the final season for SG-1 (with production switching over to TV movies) this makes perfect sense. However, more use should have been made of John Sheppard and Elizabeth Weir (not to mention the other main cast members who don't even get to appear) as SG-1 fans are already familiar with Rodney McKay.

There are plenty of great moments here, including the revelation that McKay is allergic to citrus fruits (which is why Sheppard always carries a lemon around with him) and Vala's argument with Daniel about what to ask the interactive database for while looking for the planets. Daniel has convinced himself it will be a long and arduous process, whereas Vala has one simple suggest that might work.

William Waring (director) and Peter F. Woeste (director) provide the worst commentary on this DVD. Firstly they rather thoughtlessly provide a needless spoiler about the future fate of a recurring character, and secondly there are a few too many quiet sections where they can't think of anything to say.

A Goa'uld Alkesh ship is shot down as it approaches the SGC. Inside the crashed ship is the old System Lord Ba'al, who has a serious proposition for the SGC. In return for hunting down his clones, the captured Ba'al will tell the SGC where Merlin's weapon is located...

Insiders is a great episode. Cliff Simon's Ba'al has to be one the greatest Stargate villains of all time - and this episode sees at least 20 versions of him gathered together. The visual effects shots are pretty impressive in this episode. Despite the fact that a lot of effects work has had to be engineered in order to have Ba'al and his clones in the same location, at no point does the director show this off (with the possible slight exception of when two captured Ba'als are brought through the Stargate). Instead the story, not the effects, take centre stage. This means that instead of being distracting, whole scenes can go by without you thinking: "Oh look, another visual effect". Which is a refreshing change.

The only scene I found a little confusing was where Carter tends to an injured colleague (I won't spoil the plot by giving any more away). She checks them and then looks at another guard and shakes her head in dismay (in much the same way as clichéd sequences indicate to the audience that the person she is checking is about to breathe their last breath). She then helps this person to their feet and they walk away. I was glad that I wasn't the only one who was confused by this, as on the audio commentary the writer and director are also unclear as to what this sequence meant. It transpires that Carter was shaking her head because the other guard (who is off camera) has just informed her that yet another guard in the same room is dead.

Alan Mccullough (writer) and Peter F. Woeste (director) provide an interesting audio commentary (although in one short section the volume levels between the audio commentary and the episode sound is pitched at the same level - making it hard to hear what is being said). Their reflection on the studio's insistence that no Ba'al jokes were to be cracked in the episode obviously (thankfully) fell on deaf ears. Yes, they are corny, but they are still very funny.

Extras include the four audio commentaries mentioned previously; SG-1 Director's Series: Insiders - Featuring Peter F. Woeste (12 mins behind the scenes look at the episode Insiders); The Ori: A New Enemy (18 min featurette that looks at the Ori. Why they are billed as a "new" enemy is anyone's guess - they've been around for a year now, but still an interesting extra); and Photo Galleries (split into Photo and Production segments).

A promising start to SG-1's final season.

Darren Rea

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