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GateWorld
July 14th, 2006, 03:46 PM
<DIV ALIGN="center"><TABLE WIDTH="450" BORDER="0" CELLSPACING="0" CELLPADDING="7"><TR><TD STYLE="border:0;"><DIV ALIGN="left"><FONT FACE="Verdana, Arial, san-serif" SIZE="2" COLOR="#000000"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/sg1/s10/1001.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/sg1/graphics/1001.jpg" WIDTH="160" HEIGHT="120" ALIGN="right" HSPACE="10" VSPACE="2" BORDER="0" STYLE="border: 1px black solid" ALT="Visit the Episode Guide"></A><FONT SIZE="1" COLOR="#888888">SG-1 SEASON TEN</FONT>
<FONT SIZE="4"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/sg1/s10/1001.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">FLESH AND BLOOD</A></FONT>
<FONT SIZE="1">EPISODE NUMBER - 1001</FONT>
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As the Ori invade the Jaffa planet Chulak, Vala and Daniel must deal with their leader: Vala's young daughter, rapidly aged by the Ori to serve their purposes.

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The Dude
July 15th, 2006, 09:57 AM
After the obligatory pre-show activities, the Dude had a seat in his Lazy-Z-Boy recliner; a bag a Cheetos at hand. The Dude was fully prepared and in SG-1 mode, ready to go intergalactic, planetary; plan.et.ar.y.INT.eR.Ga.LaC.tIC.

Perhaps because last year's half-season of viewing, the Dude found the team to be synching into a pleasantly humming machine much to the Dude's satisfactory enjoyment. The Dude enjoyed the dialogue which was found to be well-crafted; using technical-jive sparingly enough to give the techno-geekiness it's fill, while simultaneously not causing the Dude's brain to freeze up in a moment of techno-sensory-overload (read: the Sam factor).

The Dude found the little, Ori-girl a nice centerpiece to the Ori conflict; appreciating the complexity of an antagonist who views him/herself as the good guy. The kid even had the Dude wondering if she was, actually, a good guy. Thoughts of Ori benevolence danced in the Dude's head while he contemplated the possibilities and complexities of righteous zeal gone horribly wrong (or, possibly, excellently right?). "What is yet to be revealed about this girl and her Ori compatriots?" the Dude pondered as he continued his cheedery-feast of puffed-cheese-ums; and- more importantly- "Will her inevitable succubi-minxitude surpass that of her melifluous mother?"

Speaking of Vala, the Dude enjoyed the character much more in this episode. The Dude finds the character's quasi-sexual personality to be much more enjoyable in subtext, and not as overtly as has been done in past episodes. The Dude likes Claudia Black, and hopes to see her given further parts such a these in future episodes.

What can the Dude say about the action and effects sequences, but that they were superior. The Dude especially enjoyed the scene in which Mitchell piloted Sam into the landing-bay of the starship. A most excellent scene, well handled in suspense and unique enough in presentation. This brief scene not only epitomizes what SG-1 is, but also allowed Mitchell to subtley put a little more distance between his character and O'Neill's character by relying on his piloting skills to force the outcome of the sequence. Mitchell is passing the Dude's skeptical test of staying power.

The Dude also enjoyed the serpentine commander of the Lucian Alliance. This actor works well in his role, exuding an abundance of hate-to-love-me acting chops while on scene. This may well be the Dude's new favorite face of villainy in the series, and he has only been around a short time which says a lot.

Of the original cast, all still beloved as usual. The Dude hopes to see Sam, Teal'c and Daniel get their fair shair of personal episodes in this season. While still enjoying his favorite character- Daniel Jackson- the Dude hopes the character's pseudo-intellectual-geektitude isn't a casuality in the battle with the Ori. Let's not forget that Jackson is a hero of intelligence, not a hero of brawn.

Marks. The Dude's note to direction: slow-mo in and of itself does not drama convey. Used without subtlety, it can even be jarring.

The Dude was pleased. An excellent way to kick off the summer season.

Flesh and blood grade: A-

Hatusu
July 16th, 2006, 01:06 PM
What a slam bang start to the new season. Will Waring did a terrific job directing this episode jam packed with action, characters, special effects and plot. He also meshed it beautifully with Martin Wood’s Season 9 cliff-hanger finale, "Camelot".

Speaking of cliff-hangers, how long did they leave Colonel Carter hanging in space?

The episode, written by Co-Executive Producer, Robert C. Cooper, starts where last season’s finale ended: the Ori have come through the Supergate, Sam is trapped floating in space, the allied ships are being decimated by the Ori and Vala is watching everything from the bridge of an Ori mothership.

This episode answers who survives the space battle and drives the beginnings of what looks like the main story arc for the new season. Vala Mal Doran has had her "miracle baby" she names Adria, who is growing and maturing at an incredible rate. Adria seems to have been born with the knowledge and beliefs of the Ori; (an Orisi) in other words an Ori version of the Goau’ld Harsisis child. Now, I’m thoroughly sick of the "baby daughter that grows up fast and evil" plot - I’ve seen it on "Xena", and "4400" - but it’s done well thanks to subtle yet creepy acting by the child actresses and by Claudia Black’s convincing disbelief and trepidation. Young Adria is introduced as Orisi in a human form, or as much as they can fit in her little head. Her purpose is to lead the armies of Origin. If I wanted to offend people, myself included, I might call her character a Christ or Joan D’Arc figure. She spends much of the episode spouting Ori truisms, but she does seem to care for and respect her mother, Vala. I found too much of the character tiring, but the strange but attractive eyes on young Adria were a nice touch.

The interior of the Ori ship is medieval/modern, rich with tapestries and brocade fabrics. Little Adria looks like a renaissance angel except for the strange eyes reminiscent of a young wolf. Both Vala’s look and personality have been toned down. I’m glad for this because I now find the character less irritating and more believable. Orin, Vala’s gentle and misguided husband, is again played convincingly by Tim Guinee. I hope they will have a future story focusing on him. There is an interesting tension in his personality between his gentle nature and his religious fervor. I’m sure shippers will enjoy Dr. Jackson in a suit of armor, however I’ve never felt comfortable with the cold "Action Jackson" of recent years. I think the writers should address this change in personality. As it is, I wonder if the writers are having trouble writing the Daniel character without O’Neill as a foil.

The space battle scenes are terrific. I find myself fascinated with the glowy Ori ships. Ben Browder’s performance was more focused and has more power than in the past. He finally seems convincing as an SG1 leader. Matthew Glave, Colonel Paul Emerson, the Odyssey Commander, showed once again that he can be interesting with very few lines.

Oh, and yes, Colonel Carter was rescued from floating forever in space in a daring bit of piloting by Colonel Mitchell . She spends the rest of the episode making repairs to the Odyssey with the Asgard, Kivasir. I would have liked to see more of her, but her performance was on target as usual.


***
This episode is a lot of fun in the style of early SG1 two-parters. Everyone is in the episode; favorite recurring guest stars take part and they all get nice scenes. There are space battles and a lot of action and thrills; the art direction, costumes and lighting are rich and a feast for the eyes and the episode moves very fast. My only quibble is some slightly stiff acting by Michael Shanks. It must have been that suit of armor.

The high quality of "Flesh and Blood" bodes well for the rest of season 10. I highly recommend this for "Stargate SG1" fans who like the classic early episodes. Yeah, that’s me, too.

Bonnie Arbuthnot

Dark Falcon
July 17th, 2006, 08:03 AM
Personally, after watching that heart-stopping Season 9
finale "Camelot", my expectations for "Flesh and Blood" were
low because I thought that there was no way that the
SG-1 writers could possibly write an episode that could be
as good as "Camelot" or even continue where "Camelot" left off.

I was indeed proven wrong.

"Flesh and Blood" didn't just live up to my expectations, it exceeded them! So many events happened and so many special effects are used in this episode that, when I stop to think about it, it reminds me of
SG-1 Season 5's "Enemies".

The flashbacks of the "Camelot" battle that showed us how SG-1
survived were amazing because, again, when you stop to think about it,
it makes you wonder: How can these guys even think clearly in stressfull
situations? Seeing Col. Mitchell hop into the cockpit of an F-302
and fly out while the Korolev is being torn apart truly shows the
audience how he is able to remain focused on his job, no matter how intense
or scary the circumstances are. Mitchell's rescue of Carter demonstated
his creative thinking, something that I haven't seen since "Origin."

It was amazing to see Daniel maintain his sanity while sneaking around
on the Ori ship, especially after being on board a ship that was being blown
apart; a place where people were getting killed all around him. Presumably, Daniel would need a moment to catch his breath. Seeing how quiet and
stealthy he was, I have to say he recuperated very well.

Another pleasant surprise was the fact that in "Flesh and Blood", we got several shots of the interior of an Ori ship. This was something I did not expect to see until "Counter Strike". The artists did a spectacular job at making the interior of the Ori ship look creepy, dark, colorful, and, most
of all, gothic in a way that suits the King Arthur myth. The cyan light that
lit up the hallways was a great touch. The windows, especially the one
in Adria's quarters, which showed hyperspace outside,
when I think about it, gives me a "this is a castle floating in space" kind of feel.

The new character Adria seems to add a horror theme to the Stargate
universe. I had a knot form in my stomach when I heard Adria speaking
like a Prior, especially since she was only a few hours old. Her youth and
intelligent dialogue makes you truly admire the directing of this series.

As for the special effects, they, as I've said before, are like chocolate
milk to my tastebuds. They were truly enjoyable and are worth watching
over and over again.

The battle sequences were spectacular, especially the one on Chulak.
When the Ori fighters flew over the trees of Chulak, it reminded me of the
Puddle Jumper/Death Glider chase sequence in Season 8's "Moebius Part 2."
When the producers of SG-1 made the Chulak Ori/Jaffa battle scene,
they must have used "Moebius Part 2" as a preliminary draft.

In conclusion, "Flesh and Blood" was one of the most fast-paced SG-1
episodes that I have seen so far. It was highly entertaining, enjoyable,
and, most of all, it left us wanting more. As always, the next episode is guaranteed to satisfy our SG-1 needs.

All the SG-1 fans have waited four months to see how our heroes have survived. Needless to say, it was more than worth it, and I hope that
other SG-1 fans feel the same way.

The Doctor
July 21st, 2006, 01:56 AM
It’s been quite a long wait for the season ten premiere after the massive cliffhanger we were left with at the end of Camelot. Flesh and Blood had some seriously high expectations to live up to, and it did without even breaking a sweat (or perspiration).

As season nine was mostly about introducing the Ori as a new threat and slowly starting to show their intentions and methods, at the beginning of season 10 the ships are here to convert or destroy anyone in their path. And to make matters even worse, they have an Ori in human form to lead them on this Crusade. And by the way, she’s Vala’s daughter.

Flesh and Blood didn’t blow me away like some episodes of Stargate SG1 have done in the past, but that was simply because the episode as a whole was done with more subtlety.

Where Camelot was very much about the action and the massive battle at the end of the episode, Flesh and Blood didn’t have a very great deal of visual effects, apart from a few cuts from Camelot and a couple ships being blown apart. The emphasis lay much more with the little things, like the stunning interior of the Ori ship. Atlantis viewers will recognize the way doors are opened to remind us that the Ori and the Alterans were once the same people, but there are mostly differences. Were Atlantis looks very scientific and sterile, the Ori ship looks warm and loving (exactly the way the Ori want to portray themselves). Here we clearly see the difference between the religious Ori and the scientist Alterans.

The episode itself starts with the obligatory resolvment of the cliffhangers left from Camelot. As we saw a 304 blow up, it was easy to believe it had to be the Odyssey, because Mitchell and Jackson were on the Korolev.

However, the writers decided to take it in another direction and I’m glad they did. Sure, I will miss Chekov, but his loss just doesn’t way up to losing the Odyssey and her commander. Matt Glave as Col. Emerson immediately shows why he was allowed to live and lands his scenes with almost perfection. He even takes the edge out of the situation with Teal’c being captured by the Lucian Alliance, with could so easily have become too much, with the simple comment that ‘Teal’c seems to be in a bit of a scuffle’.

Thankfully the writers didn’t try to keep us in the dark about what happened to Mitchell and Jackson for too long, because we all know they’re still alive. Add some suspense about Carters flying pick-me-up and the Lucian Alliance being total asses and this makes that the episode keeps going at a comfortable pass, while the other storyline unfolds.

Because if there is one person who stole the show in every single one of her scenes, it was the lovely Claudia Black as Vala Mal Doran. I was very excited to hear she would be joining the show as a main character and that feeling has never gone away. She simply shone in her scenes with her evil daugter Adria, finding the perfect balance between honest love for her daughter and manipulation of a very powerful enemy. She’s already created a strong bond between Adria and herself and we can be sure that we’ll see more of Vala trying to turn her daughter over to her side (and the other way around).

All three incarnations of Adria were also quite nicely cast. The first time we see her she’s the equivalent of 4 years old and at that moment she’s pretty much a toddler saying her lines. But it’s still quite creepy to see such a little girl spouting about faith and the Ori. The other two actresses cast as the equivalent of a 7 and 12 year old Adria also did a nice job and after one episode, we already have a pretty good idea what kind of enemy Adria is going to make.

The rest of the cast (including the guest stars) also did a very nice job with every scene. Ben Browder’s Col. Mitchell seems to have found his place in the show and Ben’s performance is without flaw. Tapping and Judge didn’t have a great deal to do in this episode, but both made their characters come to life in the most subtle ways (I absolutely loved Sam’s ‘Oh boy’ when Mitchell came to pick her up with the Odyssey).

Daniels pretty much only interacts with Vala in this episode, but their chemistry was fantastic as usual. Daniel also had one of the most important lines of the whole episode. Him saying that he should have just shot Adria showed just how desperate the situation is, as it must be for Daniel to be willing to kill a girl (and Vala’daughter).

Sam kind of summarized the episode at the end with her speech about what it was like nine years ago. This reflects what the writers have been saying for the last year. They are putting Stargate SG1 back to where it began, but now they have the experience to make the story even better.

There is just on thing that bothers me: in Camelot, the plan was to dial out before the Ori could dial in. Why not try it again? Or at least give us a reason why it wouldn’t work.

But that’s about all that’s wrong with this episode, for the rest it is a fantastic ep that opens up a whole new and exciting arc for the rest of the season (and hopefully the seasons yet to come). I give this episode 8 toilet shaped Ori ships out of a possible 10.

Rachel500
October 19th, 2006, 11:57 AM
‘Flesh and Blood’, or as it could have otherwise been entitled ‘A Lot of Winning by the Bad Guys’, provides a satisfying start to the new season delivering a well-constructed story that subtly focuses on the reuniting of the SG1 team and the bond they share against the wider space opera of the Ori’s invasion of the galaxy and the introduction of their new leader.

The Orici forms one thread and is told through the eyes of her mother, Vala. The mother-daughter encounters provide a good vehicle for disseminating information about Adria while also delivering an interesting dynamic as the two characters display a natural worry and concern for the other yet are automatically distanced from each other by their different viewpoints on the Ori with each believing that they can convert the other given time. The thread showcases Vala and Adria as a characters; important given their addition to the Stargate universe as permanent fixtures for season ten.

As this thread is told from Vala’s perspective, the audience sympathises with her as she is creeped out by the truth of her pregnancy and begins to distance herself from the child (in naming her after a much-disliked step-mother) despite her visible maternal bond which she seems unable to resist (intervening when Daniel is about to shoot Adria). All provide Vala with much needed depth while retaining the core of her character as an opportunistic survivalist.

Adria is a refreshing change of pace as an enemy. She is creepy by her very unnatural existence and extremely blood-chilling especially in the way she espouses the fanaticism and propaganda yet has an outwardly youthful innocence. Finally it would seem the Ori arc has a character that delivers a believable manifestation of the Ori as an enemy in a way the ubiquitous Priors never did.

The Ori’s invasion of the galaxy and specifically Chulak forms the second thread and serves two aims: firstly, it reconnects the Jaffa to the Ori arc although the throw-away line of why the Ori have chosen Chulak would have had more resonance and made more sense had they referred to Teal’c’s stand against Prior!Garrick on Chulak that prevented the Ori from converting the Jaffa than harking back to the Jaffa rebellion against the Goa’uld.

Secondly, it emphasises the scale of the Ori’s vast superiority and the inability of our heroes to make so much as a dent in their armour despite their never-give-up-nature (all of which is supported by the special effects both of the scenes of devastation at the Supergate and the battle at Chulak, and in the costume and scenery design of the Ori ship). Mitchell provides the main voice to this thread from the initial aftermath of the battle by the Supergate through their attempt to fight the Ori at Chulak to the final scene as he often notes that they’ve been gotten their butts thoroughly kicked.

While Mitchell exhibits a nicely understated mix of frustration and encroaching realism about their situation, it is also through him that the never-give-up mentality of our heroes is highlighted especially with the juxtaposition of his approach with Bra’tac’s. This is the weakest element of the story overall as the juxtaposition is marred by Mitchell’s anticipation of Bra’tac choosing ‘pointless noble death’ and planting a beaming transmitter on him. Given he or preferably Teal’c could have simply grabbed Bra’tac as Daniel grabbed Vala when the Odyssey beams them out, it seems an unnecessary plot device and as it makes Mitchell look a tad disrespectful of Bra’tac, it is also an unfortunate blip on what is otherwise a showcase story for the character.

The final thread focuses on the reunification of SG1 and Sam is used as the touchpoint here; from her calls reawakening the unconscious Mitchell in his glider, through her own rescue by him in the Odyssey, their rescue of Teal’c from the Lucien Alliance (whose status as villains is reinforced and given credibility through their unnecessary torture of the Jaffa and attempt to take the battle-damaged Odyssey) to her belief in Daniel’s survival and eventual contact with him. She is also utilised as the team’s emotional centre as she is reunited with each team-mate and visibly demonstrates gratitude, concern and joy in turn. This emphasises the bond between them and leaves an impression of a very cohesive team that cares about each other. It makes the overall episode feel like it focuses on SG1 as a team even though they are only together fully for the final scene.

Daniel and Teal’c are very much supporting characters yet still play an important role in the various threads which do reinforce their character’s histories; Teal’c in his connection to Bra’tac, the Jaffa and Chulak, and Daniel in his connection to Vala and the Ori. Even Daniel’s comment regarding shooting Adria because she was Ori and not a child is a nice reminder of the Daniel who once shot up a tank of infant Goa’uld. Landry, on the other hand, feels rather shoehorned into the story although again his impatience with politics and concern for his people is reinforced. Indeed, Flesh and Blood, is a story that seems to truly honour the rich history of the show and its characters through the reinforcement of character history and traits, the use of Chulak, the appearance of Bra’tac and the tease of Daniel’s death woven throughout the various threads.

Overall, the episode delivers a quality story that is well constructed, well acted and solidly directed. All the threads are united together at the end just like SG1 and while there is ‘a lot of winning for the bad guys’, and little good news for our heroes, the stage is set for their continuing battle with a revitalised enemy in the Orici.