By Tere Campbell
"Redemption, Part 2" concludes the season opener with SG-1's usual panache. Written and directed by the same team who brought us "Redemption, Part 1," Robert C. Cooper and Martin Wood supply continuity in style and story for the transition between episodes.
This episode marks a lessened appearance by Richard Dean Anderson due to a noticeable knee injury, and his discomfort is clearly visible on his face in the long walk to the elevator with Sam. Even though we know the behind-the-scenes reason for Jack's reduced screen time (the actor slipped and hurt his knee while carrying his daughter), the character's absence is blatant. Jack just disappears in the first half with no explanation.
"Part 2" is a very Carter-heavy episode, highlighted by her sparky contact with McKay. McKay continually baits her, and his suggestion that they need to "get over this whole physical attraction thing" draws a retort filled with hidden meaning. Sam's assurance that she can "act as though it never happened" is a clear reference about something else she's been good at covering; her attraction for the Colonel.
In an odd bonding scene between Sam and McKay in the infirmary, she steers away from the personal with him, firmly establishing her preferred distance with him even when he compares her scientific abilities to an art form. McKay vacillates between redeeming his character by providing needed assistance and berating her in front of Hammond.
Later, after a peck on his cheek, she acknowledges it's bad for him if she actually likes him. Is she just yanking his chain (because she can) or does a part of her give thought to the number of men she's cared about or befriended who have met their untimely ends? Is her kiss to McKay one of jest or one of doom?
McKay's affect on Carter is fun to watch. I'm looking forward to see why such time was invested in him this episode and I'll be greatly surprised if his character isn't brought back at least once more before the season's end.
Sam's snarky attitude is a refreshing change from the techno-babble queen we had for a lot of Season Five. Whether it's from being around Jack way too much or that she's decided that life is too short not to enjoy it, Sam's funny, snide comments and devil-may-care attitude is an exciting change for the character. She's dropped her tight control and is more open to all about her feelings, whether it's with a pat to Quinn's arm in the gate room following his question, her weighty "good luck" to Jack before the hyperspace maneuver, or her visible relief that he survives the mission.
Jack's decision to add Jonas to the team comes off as an off-the-cuff remark in Hammond's office, presumably under pressure to add a Russian to his team. However, Teal'c, Sam and Jonas provided valid arguments as to why Jonas should be given the chance to be on the team; that a person is more than the sum of his actions. Jack's convictions generally drive his decisions and when he makes up his mind, he's not going to change it to placate politicians. Jonas shows pluck when he corners Jack and asks outright for consideration. I'd say Jack's mind is made up before the elevator doors close.
Notebooks in hand, always drinking or eating, watch on his right wrist; Jonas' quirks are coming out. He also has a quirky way of looking at situations, as we saw in "Part 1" with his stating the obvious when it came to Colonel Chekov's behavior. Jonas' innocent question about how the Stargate was installed in the gate room provides the spark for Sam. He's obviously been watching her work style, as it's clear on his face that he knows he's planting seeds for Sam with his question. Will he continue to see solutions through fresh eyes as he joins SG-1, or will Jonas continue to be encumbered by his inability to act in "Meridian?"
Less time is spent in "Part 2" focusing on Teal'c and Rya'c's storyline, and I find it difficult to swallow that they'd mount an attack on a heavily-defended planet without more warriors. It is very nice to see Teal'c and Rya'c become more comfortable with each other, given the great time spent apart and the resulting emotional distance between the two. Bra'tac taking on Rya'c as a protege to continue to train great warriors provides another binding link between father and son.
Teal'c's statement that the gate weapon used by Anubis was the Ancients' technology seems out of the blue, though. When has Teal'c seen anything remotely similar to the giant circular weapon, and why would the Ancients have had a weapon of destruction to destroy the very same gates that they built? I've gone through my memory trying to make a connection, and come up short.
New and improved special effects pepper the episode, starting with an updated look to the hyperspeed warp effect seen when the cargo ship was hurrying to the planet. The cargo ship used by Teal'c and friends has been redecorated with the new fluffy clouded sky finish seen in Osiris' ship in "Revelations." In addition, the palm scanner that controls the iris, first talked about in "Show and Tell," makes its on-camera debut.
The EM generator is very cool to watch, spinning to emit its pulse, as is the ripple effect when it sends the wave through the event horizon. I'm intrigued to know why they have one on base, though. It doesn't seem to be an item to keep on hand considering the damage to base electrical infrastructure it causes.
I must say again: I really like the cinematic music, the increased lighting within the S.G.C., and other subtle changes in the way the first two episodes were directed. Here's hoping those style changes stick for future episodes.
"Redemption, Part 2" winds up with the eternal question as to why the need to rush the endings, this time in an effort to get SG-1 through the gate with its newest member as the closing shot. However, I think I'd have much preferred being left hanging until the opening of the next episode to have seen Jonas make the team.
There's sarcasm, humor, angst, great effects, and a wide open future for us as the four step through the event horizon. Bring on the rest of the season!
Rating: * * * 1/2