Stargate: SG-1
Volume 54 (Season 10 - Vol 5)

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 03 December 2007

Barely surviving the bombing massacre of a peaceful Jaffa summit, Teal’c must go rogue to track down and stop a Jaffa leader named Arkad who plans to take control of the Jaffa nation and deliver them to the Ori...

Talion is a Teal'c episode that sees him go all Terminator as he sets out to avenge the needless death of so many of his kind. It also includes possibly the best Teal'c line in the history of Stargate: "I am leaving. You are about to explode".

This episode also sees the return of Dr. Carolyn Lam, as well as the appearance of British actor Craig Fairbrass (who Eastenders fans will remember as Dan) as Arkad. I'm still not sure he was the best choice for a Jaffa leader. A cockney alien stretches the bounds of believability to the point of breaking. He's also not overly believable when it comes to delivering his big scene at the SGC and he seems to have discovered yet another way of pronouncing "Goa'uld (as "Go-Old"). What next? A Prior with the accent of a New York cabbie?

Fans that like to nit-pick about continuity will also be pleased to see a very obvious mistake in the editing process. As Teal'c leaves the tent we see a slow motion shot of him and people are running in front of the camera. The next shot shows the first explosion, but just before it goes off we see villagers walking, but none of them are running. As there were subsequent explosions it's obvious that the scene with Teal'c was supposed to follow the first explosion, with the villagers running in confusion and panic.

This episode gets bonus points for showing Teal'c as the warrior that he once was; uncompromising and brutal when he needs to be. There are some great action sequences too that really help to sell this episode.

Andy Mikita (director) and Christopher Judge (Teal'c) provide the audio commentary on this episode. Highlights include the fact that Mikita was, at first, uncertain about Fairbass's accent; and the fact that executive producer, Robert Cooper's daughter has a brief speaking role.

Vala’s father, Jasec, contacts Stargate Command wishing to trade information about a series of planned attacks on Earth in exchange for sanctuary on the planet. Vala hasn't spoken to Jasec for years and is not overly happy that SGC don't heed her warnings that he is a manipulative con man...

Family Ties stars Fred Willard as Vala's father, Jasec, in this story about family and what they mean to us. To be honest, if Fred Willard hadn't pulled out all the stops, this episode would have fallen flat on its face. The episode really rests on his shoulders - if we don't warm to him as a charming rogue, a man who is just trying to make money any way he can, then the story is pointless. This episode also sees General Landry making an effort to get back in touch with his estranged wife.

There is also a great dig at the network for cancelling the show:

Carter: "The Stargate program just doesn't get the support it used to from the people in charge."

Jasec: "Why not?"

Dr. Lee (in the background having solved a problem): "Eureka!"

Jasec: "That's too bad, because after all your Stargate program has accomplished for this network of planets I would think that the decision-makers would show it the respect it deserves."

While most of the above is pretty obvious, I wasn't aware (until I listened to the audio commentary) that Eureka is the name of the show that replaced SG-1 on the network. Incidentally Lexa Doig, who plays Dr. Lam, guest stars in an episode of Eureka.

Joseph Mallozzi (executive producer) and Paul Mullie (executive producer) provide the audio commentary. Here they point out that this episode was shot a few weeks after they knew the show had been cancelled; the fact that they had to redress Jasec's apartment after the set dresser went a little crazy; and the fact that Teal'c had to have a line overdubbed when he said "two" instead of "three" in the line: "Three words... 'be less annoying'" - apparently no one noticed it until it got to the editing stage.

In an elaborate plan using Vala as bait to capture Adria, SG-1 themselves are surprised when Ba’al intercepts Adria from under them to use in his own evil plan...

Dominion really would have worked a little better if it had been a two-part episode, possibly even rounding off the season. There's too much here to cram into a 40 minute episode. We have Ba'al and Adria; Ba'al's plot to take control of Adria's army; and Adria's plan which makes little sense if her Ori army is still intact.

There's (I'm assuming) an unintentional Carry On moment as Landry asks: "Ba'al's in Adria?" There's also a couple of jokes that revolve around Vala dreaming that she was on a Strictly Come Dancing style show. Now, whether Claudia Black was actually on a show in America that was similar to this, or another member of the SG-1 cast was, is uncertain. It's never discussed in the commentary, and it could just be the writers poking fun at such a lame show.

Alan McCullough (writer) and William Waring (director) provide the audio commentary where they discuss the Comic Con auction winner who appears in the episode; a funny line that Ba'al actor Cliff Simon ad-libbed but was cut from the final edit; and the fact that Dan Shea was knocked out during a stunt.

With extinction imminent, the Asgard hand over all their knowledge and technology to SG-1, but not before the Ori launch an attack trying to intercede...

Unending is SG-1's final episode, in 40 minute form anyway. In all honesty I thought it was a bit of a disappointment really. I suppose it's a neat way of saying goodbye (for now) to the characters we've come to know and love, but after eleven years I was expecting a little more. It's certainly not the conclusion that many would have hoped for. Now, episode 200 was something special, this just feels just like a normal (albeit cheap) episode, but with a heart-warming final scene (which frankly could have been tacked on to the end of any other story the writers had come up with).

There were a few too many elements taken from Star Trek: The Next Generation's final episode All Good Things. Stick with me on this. There's the whole time rift thing that needs to be tackled in order for them to go back to their own time; the fact that we get to see our heroes as old and wrinkly versions of their selves; and the fact that we get to see alternate futures that span into the characters' old age.

I was also a little unsure as to how I felt about the fate of the Asgard. It just felt so forced, and very unnecessary, to have this included in the final episode - but then I never particularly liked these Muppet rejects anyway. And what were the Ori doing anyway after losing their leader? Would they still carry on as normal?

Robert C. Cooper (executive producer / writer / director), Jim Menard (director of photography) and Amanda Tapping (Carter) provide the audio commentary and, sadly, yet again I was unimpressed. While this wasn't a bad commentary, there were only really two moments that I though were noteworthy. These included Tapping revealing that she and Chris Judge subtly attempted to imply that Carter and Teal'c also have a relationship; and the fact that Judge, Tapping and Michael Shanks all managed to - after wrapping the final shot and having an onset party - head on up to the observation room overlooking the gateroom and steal a private moment looking at the gate in the same way they did when they fist saw the gateroom on the very first day the went onto the set.

As I mentioned earlier, if this had been it for SG-1 I would have been sorely disappointed, but as the show will continue to live on through a number of TV movies it's not such an issue.

Extras include the previously mentioned audio commentaries; Stargate SG-1 Directors Series: Unending, featuring Robert C. Cooper (15 minute behind the scenes look at the final episode); Deleted Scenes with Introduction and Commentary by Joseph Mallozzi (23 minute look at deleted scene (with optional commentary on the episodes Morpheus; The Quest and Memento Mori; Photo Gallery; and Production Design Gallery.

Again, sorry to harp on about it, but even the extras lack any real acknowledgement that the America's longest running sci-fi TV series has come to a close. It's such a shame that it went out with a bit of a whimper.

Darren Rea

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