"Point of No Return" was a silly episode with a somber ending. Full of the usual cliches used to depict the typical sci-fi and conspiracy obsessed geek, this episode was somewhat of a cliché itself. I was a little surprised to learn the true identity and purpose of the aliens, but not surprised enough to be enthusiastic about this latest offering from our favorite cast and crew.
I felt like I was watching a spy show with a sci-fi twist, and was reminded of series' like I-Spy, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and even Mod Squad, all of which I enjoyed watching at one time or another. But that was then and this is now. And now I much prefer the fantastical realism that Stargate generally offers. I don't watch Stargate to get a dose of witty espionage.
I enjoyed such humorous moments as Teal'c's indulging in the joys of a vibrating bed and Daniel's imitation of the Thinker statue on the phony psychiatrist's desk. But humor was not consistently present, even given the lighthearted nature of this story.
The aliens' interrogation of Sam and Daniel was neither suspenseful nor funny, nor even particularly interesting. Both members of SG-1 accepted their captivity in a casual manner typical of U.N.C.L.E. agent Napoleon Solo. The aliens who held them were not bumbling fools, and they did have real guns, thus they seemed to pose a real threat to the well being of their captives. Nonetheless, Sam and Daniel both appeared quite unconcerned -- although it might be argued that Daniel's sarcasm, such as his "Is that a duck?" comment could indicate that he was nervous, given similar statements in previous episodes like "Watergate" and "The First Ones."
I liked the character of Martin. He had a profound innocence about him that lent credence to the storyline. I could even enjoy seeing him again in future episodes. Take away his sci-fi toy home decor, give him back his full memories, and you have a character that could prove to be an asset to the S.G.C. Not only is he familiar with Stargate technology, he is a soldier with a conscience. And though his conscience posed a threat to his alien comrades, who merely wanted to live out their lives in anonymity, they never were a threat to anyone, neither to Marty, nor to SG-1 (though Sam and Daniel could not have known that).
The concept of alien soldiers seeking to escape certain death as they watch their civilization crushed under the greedy and vengeful Goa'uld is a sobering one. The suggestion that one of those soldiers may feel a strong sense of guilt and a need to return at any cost is believable. And the possibility that his comrades would seek to prevent him from doing so without truly harming him might almost be commendable.
Combining these ideas could have resulted in an intensely powerful story. Unfortunately, it has not. Without true suspense and drama, this episode fell far short of what it might have been. Even the humor would have been more effective if it had been balanced with some tension based around the tragedy of the alien soldiers.
I did enjoy some of the more humorous moments: Teal'c as "Murray" smiling with relish on the vibrating bed, then later Marty apologizing for trying to bite "Murray" in his desire to get medicated being among the best. I also enjoyed the special effects associated with the explosion of the aliens' escape pod. Bravo, to a job beautifully done.
Yet I do regret that this episode was not what it might have been. This installment will not ease the minds of those fans who have been disappointed with the turns the series has taken. Hopefully, it will not stand as the point of no return for them. I, however, expect that next week will make up for this temporary little detour.Rating: * * 1/2