ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 01.20.06
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 01.29.07
DVD DISC: Season 9, Disc 4
DIRECTED BY: Peter DeLuise
STORY BY: Brad Wright & Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
TELEPLAY BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
Review by Livi Dolgin
Writer and executive producer Joe Mallozzi warned fans that this would be a show for the die-hard fans, and he wasn't kidding. Multiple SG-1 teams mean plenty of characters and issues from previous episodes. But the story provides a mere background to all the inside nods and references.
"Ripple Effect" uses the possibilities of a multiverse to set the stage for various versions of SG-1 to arrive. The episode sends us on a long trip to nowhere to do nothing once they get there, just to allow two and a half versions of SG-1 to interact. The story explores the idea of competing with yourself to the Nth degree, though with little originality.
As a reward for die-hard fans of the show, this episode provides an opportunity to be a knowledgeable insider. Recalling events from previous episodes gives continuity to the show and strokes long-term fans. If you aren't an uber-fan, you don't have to watch all eight and a half seasons to catch up. Capitalizing on the show's extensive backstories is a lot of fun.
Not finding a unique solution, however, is a cop out. I felt as though I were watching a patchwork quilt of the old SG-1. Take a problem from "A Matter of Time" in Season Two. Add a dash of multiple Carter's from "Point of View" in Season Three. Sprinkle some déjà vu from at least 14 more episodes of seasons past. Don't forget to bring back the dead from Season Four and Seven. Throw in an alien. Then add plenty of 'ship to stir up the fans. Presto, you have "Ripple Effect."
The episode's main premise is to stop the convergence of multiple realities and get the stranded teams home. The "real" SG-1 soon learns that not all teams are exact duplicates -- some of them are more desperate to save their worlds than others. But none of the duplicate teams are evil, just pressured. Mitchell's Star Trek reference about beards and evil twins had to make a few viewers giggle. I suddenly got the image of a bearded Mr. Spock in Star Trek -- which goes back to the idea that "Ripple Effect" requires extensive background knowledge of not just SG-1 but also sci fi shows back to the 1960s.
Finally this season, the team was together if only to fight with themselves. We see Mitchell at his slap-happiest and most treacherous. Browder is fun to watch acting his heart out. But the others are wallpaper. Tapping must be getting tired of acting with herself. However, the visual effects were seamless showing all the multiple Carters.
The problem I had with multiple Carters trying to solve the riddle of how to get the other teams back home was simply this: 18 Carters equal one Carter. They all have the same mind. While the problems pressuring each SG-1 might vary, the characters involved were almost identical. Both SG-1's could anticipate their own actions against one another. This is kind of like playing poker with your spouse, since it's all your own money.
Oh, the gang got to take a pony ride on the Prometheus to a black hole and back to the barn. As a result, we learn there's a previous solution on file. All those Carters and the teams didn't really solve any problems. For a quick and easy solution, just back look to "A Matter of Time." I kept wondering if the other realities had other SG teams working on the situation. It would have been fun to see some of that as a counterpoint.
And even considering royalties, would it have been too much to include a canned shot of the old team with a Colonel O'Neill arriving through the gate yelling, "What?" At least Dr. Fraiser mentions a General O'Neill.
I loved seeing Dr. Janet Fraiser and Martouf again. Jerking the shippers' chains must have caused screams around the world and grins at the head office. Daniel and Janet exchanged big, significant hugs. Then Janet and Martouf went to work on the Sam/Jack shippers. Janet and Martouf allude to Carter's personal life, leaving open the resolution. We hear Sam got married; got pregnant; took maternity leave; and shacked up with Martouf for a while.
At least Martouf survived Black Widow Carter in one reality. Had he finished kissing her in this one he would have taken his life in his hands. A Martouf/Sam 'ship was just more fodder for fan loyalists.
Can it be that this reality's S.G.C. are the bad guys for wanting to save this planet at the expense of all the other Earths? Teryl Rothery showed us again why we miss her character. In earnest distress, Dr. Fraiser makes a speech to save the alternate Earth populations.
And a Tok'ra as an SG team member is a great twist. JR Bourne played Martouf for all his pathos and kindness. Beau Bridges's Landry gives Janet the recently found cure to the Prior's plague, and thus avoids having the fans hate his guts for all eternity. My question would be how do you know it's the same plague? If we watch for another nine seasons, maybe we'll find out.
It isn't often that fans are so generously stroked. Overall, "Ripple Effect" is a pleasant, fluffy romp for the faithful.
Rating: * *