History repeats itself as Jack O’Neill has the entire knowledge of the Ancients downloaded into his head just as Anubis begins his major attack of Earth. SG-1 must rush against time to stop Anubis before the knowledge kills Jack.
The true joy of these two episodes lies in seeing all our heroes (Jack, Sam, Daniel, Teal’c and George) gathered together at Jack’s house sharing a drink and trying to avoid talking about the tragedy that awaits Jack. From a drunken Daniel trying to get Teal’c to explain how deep he is to Jack’s Burns as Goa’uld analogy this one scene was the most heart-warming and perfect Stargate moment I have seen reminding me why I fell in love with this show in the first place. Then the bombshell dropped, Hammond had been relieved of command and the all Stargate activity suspended for the time being. Dr Elizabeth Weir has been appointed by the President as the new head of the SGC in an attempt to put a more media friendly face on the program should it ever go public.
If there were not a spin-off being produced, which would feature Weir as a central character and Don S. Davis departure from the series, I would wonder what was the point of Weir character in this story. She did nothing and I mean absolutely nothing at all for the whole hour and a half. She should up, talked to the president and then to Daniel for a few minutes and then did nothing at all but sit around while everyone else did all of the talking. Sure there was a lot going on but surly the writers could have given her at least one scene to shine, one where she doesn’t talk about being overwhelmed by everything. Since Jessica Steen will be replace for Atlantis maybe the producers decided to cut down her involvement to make it easier to accept a new actress in the part but so far I’m not impressed or interested at all.
While Part 1 may have been all talk and set up to save money for Part 2 I still was not board for a single second. After weeks of cameo appearances Jack O’Neill finally took centre stage bringing many of his trademark clueless expressions and sarcastic remarks (“Mr VICE-President”) yet also showing us a man who has to accept that he might be dead in a few days time. These episode tried to remind us who Jack O’Neill is and why he means so much to everyone he works with. I was surprised that Jack’s ex-wife was brought up even if it was a blink-and-miss-it moment but his sudden refusal to talk about it showed that even all these years later some old wounds still hurt. His feelings for Sam were also addressed but thankfully there was none of that “oh I love you” “I love you too” rubbish that some people might have being hoping for, instead they simply understood how they both felt about each other. In fact the way Sam said Jack name at the end spoke more about their relationship then a million soppy speeches could ever do. As good as the Jack/Sam scenes were the scene with him and Teal’c was better. Teal’c, a man of little words, tries to tell Jack how much he means to him. All Jack does is place his hand on the side of Teal’c face and the two men stare at each other and without a single word uttered they understand each other perfectly.
In the background of all of this Kinsey is still trying to push his own agenda and take direct control of the Stargate program. Kinsey is one of the series more repulsive characters always trying to weasel his way into a position of power or control without any regard for others. Now he is Vice President and just waiting for his chance to get the bigger office. But before he can take his seat in the oval office he still has enemies he wants rid of, namely Jack O’Neill. Unfortunately that was Kinsey’s biggest mistake. Kinsey’s reason for having O’Neill removed from the Stargate program are purely personal, the two of them hate each other and Kinsey allowed his hated of Jack to come first. Instead of just lying low and biding his time he tried to get rid of the SG-1 as soon as possible thus exposing his schemes to President Hayes who not going to fall for anymore of Kinsey’s crap. By allowing his hated to control him Kinsey quickly lost whatever power he had managed to obtain and is forced to resign or face, as Hayes warned, be shot.
While Kinsey may be a snivelling pathetic waste of a man who will run at the first sigh of total annihilation Anubis is a more traditional villain and as a result he is caricature of what a villain should be. Anubis is nothing more than carbon copy of Sokar with the same origin story and even the same actor playing the part. Both are a Goa’uld who was banished for being really bad even by Goa’uld standards. In that time they gathered a massive army and return to take over the galaxy. The only difference between them is that Anubis is part ascended ancient with knowledge of their advanced technology which gives him a major advantage over the other Goa’uld. Apart from that there is nothing that standouts about either character with both of them just serving to simply make the heroes jobs even more difficult. Stargate has always had a problem creating good villains for the heroes for fight and while Anubis represent military might to overcome as a character there is nothing truly evil about him. He didn’t even destroy a single city what kind of evil overlord is he anyway.
If there was not going to be a another season after this one this would have served as a great series finale much better than Season Six’s “Full Circle”. While I still rank that episode as the best episode of that season it did not have the epic scale or sense of closure that a true series finale requires. These two episodes had both and a lot more. The battle at Antarctica was massive and perfectly realised confirming that Stargate has the best special effects of any small screen series. The effect of the Ancient weapon destroying Anubis’ fleet was far better than some laser of lighting style weapon we’ve seen before but it did still remind me of the sentinel swarms from the third Matrix film but that film was nowhere near as good as this so I’ll let them off. We had some closure with the threat of Anubis being dealt with and Kinsey finally getting his comeuppance, only the fate of the central characters and the location of the lost city of the title remained unresolved. The fate of Jack would not have been so open-ended had this been the finale episode, although I fear a last minute rescue by Thor would have been hard to swallow so I can imagine that Jack might have died if the show was not to return for another season. As much as this would have saddened me to see him die I would have been able to accept this, as it would have felt like the natural conclusion to the story; Jack giving his life to save the world, how more heroic can you get than the noble sacrifice for the greater good. I can imagine many fans would have been up in arms about this conclusion and they have the right to their opinion but for my money that’s how I think and feel it would have ended.
The fate of the lost city could have been left over by the writers and picked up later when Atlantis started. The resolution of this storyline was nowhere near as important as the character arcs of the central four so I was quite happy for it to remain unsolved as long as we got the emotional ending we needed. Some might find it anti-climatic that the lost city is not discovered at all but that is not what this story is about. It’s about Jack and his quest to stop Anubis and save Earth, with search for Atlantis used as the means to get the hero and villain into finale conflict. This episode was about the climax of that conflict as Anubis is finally defeated and SG-1 save the world…again. The lost city doesn’t have to be found as long as we know that Anubis now defiantly won’t be the one to find it.