Stargate SG-1: The First Commandment

I could pretty much summarise The First Commandment (episode six) in six words: Apocalypse Now on a TV budget. Why does this exist? Were Robert C. Cooper and Dennis Berry just really big fans of the movie? If so, you'd think they'd be less keen to do a shitty rip-off of it. It's a mystery.

Apocalypse Whenever
The episode starts with SG-9 in trouble, captured by the inhabitants of the world they've been sent to, but it quickly becomes clear that the locals are being led by some Earth-humans. This provides the motivation for SG-1 to go in after them and is probably all you need to see to realise where this episode is headed.

Those weird helmets remind me of old Doctor Who aliens.
One weird twist is that the Col. Kurtz analogue (Capt. Jonas Hanson) is Carter's ex. Like everything else about this episode, I don't get it. Why did they feel that that was necessary? Why did they feel that any of this was necessary?

There's also the mandatory sci-fi element, which in this case is the extremely high UV radiation from this planet's sun. Basically, the locals have to live in caves because you die if you spend too much time outside in the day. And for some reason Jonas has them working outside during the day, which they do because they think he's a god. And he also puts prisoners out in the sun as a form of execution.

Also Roger Cross is in it. You know him from everything.
And even though I know that UV radiation can penetrate cloud cover, I still think it's weird how this entire episode is overcast. There's people supposedly dying from the sunlight, and not once do we ever see any direct sunlight. I don't know if that was intentional or if they just happened to be filming in shitty weather, but it stands out and is distracting.

So Sam goes to talk to Jonas and finds out he's got this radiation shield device, but he can't get it to work. At the same time, the rest of the team get the same information and Teal'c figures out that there must be a second device; the reason Jonas can't make it work is that you need both.

Looks impressive though.
The episode climaxes with Jonas claiming that he can prove his divinity by activating the shield and SG-1 proving him a liar by doing so themselves. And then there's a weird bit about how Sam couldn't bring herself to kill Jonas when she had the chance and Jack basically tells her that it's OK because not being a killer is better - except we already know from the first episode that she's probably killed a bunch of people?

Maybe not up close and personal like this though?
This episode is a mess. The plot's fairly straight-forward, but it's obfuscated by all these attempts at depth and references to other, better works. It's not one of those things where you can even say "I see what they were trying to do" because I don't. It seems to be a bad idea, poorly executed.

From inside, it just puts an orange filter over everything.
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