Considering the fact that I barely remember the previous episode highlighting this particular world, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to a return visit. And perhaps that’s what the writing staff was hoping for, because I certainly wasn’t expecting this episode to have vast consequences for the defense of Earth. Yet that’s exactly what happened: the SGC got embroiled in a foreign conflict, all based on concerns for planetary security, and ultimately lost ground in the process.
Somewhere in this story, I’m sure, is a commentary on the US national security policies of the recent past. As much as the planet in question was being invaded by the Ori, so are many other planets, and they aren’t engaged in a conflict of mutually assured destruction. Almost from the beginning of the episode, the situation looked hopeless, and as the consequences for interference began to escalate out of control, I couldn’t help but wonder what was gained.
So now, with no change whatsoever in terms of the Ori incursion on the planet, Earth has lost one of its most important assets, along with dozens of highly trained and experienced personnel. Never mind the resources and weapons still on the Prometheus at the time of its destruction. In essence, without firing a shot at Earth on their own, the Ori have managed to cripple Earth’s ability to intercede. If the Tau’ri weren’t in desperate need of the Jaffa and other allies before, they certainly are now! (Unless, of course, another Daedalus is almost completed...)
The progressive destruction of the Prometheus was quite dramatic, though I could have done without the whole “did Sam survive” melodrama. Of course she was going to survive; why even pretend that it might end otherwise? I also liked the fact that Mitchell’s flight experience came back into play, since that’s a fairly substantial aspect of his character.
Considering that this episode was largely a stand-alone installment, it’s good to see this situation exactly a consequence in the larger scheme of things. I don’t mind that kind of basic arc-building. Even “Babylon 5” had episodes that were largely stand-alone with elements that played into the arc structure later down the line. I foresee that this situation will make the SG teams far more important, and that it will push the SGC towards a hunt to find a new weapon against the Ori, since current options are quickly disappearing.
However, all that said, I would rather have episodes that set the team directly against the Ori. Episodes like this are nice when they have surprising impact on the overall story, but if it hadn’t been for the destruction of the Prometheus, this episode would have been a bore. Considering how the quality of the second half of the season has been less impressive than the first half, more substantial episodes would be welcome.