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GateWorld
January 8th, 2007, 11:02 AM
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<FONT SIZE="4"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/sg1/s10/1015.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">BOUNTY</A></FONT>
<FONT SIZE="1">EPISODE NUMBER - 1015</FONT>
<IMG SRC="/images/clear.gif" WIDTH="1" HEIGHT="10" ALT="">
When the Lucian Alliance puts a bounty on SG-1's heads, Cameron Mitchell finds himself a target while attending his high school reunion.

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Madeleine
February 6th, 2007, 10:42 PM
At the end of this episode, Vala is sitting in the car tooting the horn. She's had a nice time, but the engine's running and she's keen to get going. I know how she feels.

Bounty appears to be a huge non-sequiteur; last week five new Ori ships came through the supergate, but this week SG-1 are defending the galaxy from a large shipment of drugged seeds, before taking some personal time.

Who's to begrudge a bit of a respite to such heroes as these? No one, surely. There are, however, limits to how much of the private lives of SG-1 we need to see.

Teal'c's segment is handled well, being brief and containing the germ of a possible future role for the renowned shol'va. Daniel's is also suitably concise, and it is good to see him continuing to enjoy the plain old archeological study that was once his career. With Sam we find out how the technological advances gleaned by the SGC are disseminated - piecemeal and deliberatly incompetently. So far so pleasant... but not enough to support an entire episode.

That role goes to Cam, Vala and the bounty hunters of the Lucian Alliance. This week's bag guys came in varying shades of competence; one uses non-drying ink to fake a jaffa tattoo, another advertises her evil nature by wearing black leather in a library. The two sent after Cam are moderately menacing, one even killing a guest. There is even a brief moment of suspense as we wonder if one of the sympathetic guest characters will be sacrificed. Not on SG-1's watch though, they save the day just in time, ready for an unnecessary exchange between the team and the captured bounty hunter as they explain how they trapped him - when the audience knows these things the explanation for the ignorant characters is usually eschewed.

For their part, Cam and Vala do a good job with the material they were given. The script, where Vala is concerned, doesn't hold back much. Knowing how the writers of Stargate love to play with Vala's innate capacity for inappropriate honesty - not to mention equally inappropriate lies - it is inevitable that let loose amongs civillians she loses not a moment in startling the locals. Usually, Valaisms, amusing enough in themselves anyway, are enhanced by the reactions of the rest of the team and by the understanding that they too know Vala is only doing it for effect. In Bounty it is less entertaining. To wind up inoffensive strangers appears unkind. For someone as savvy as Vala to be so hamfisted in social interactions raises serious questions about how well an air force colonel ought to brief an offworlder before letting her mingle with the general public.

Unnerving remarks about her husband aside, Vala's budding friendship with Cam's pal Darrel is rather sweet. As is Cam's reacquaintance with Amy, the unwitting object of his teenage affections. The whole school get-together has a pleasant feel, especially since the writers have taken the unusual step of scripting a high-school reunion without token unpleasant bullies or old enemies. Cam's parents are nice people. Is sweet, nice and pleasant enough for the meat of the episode?

Cam's past and personal life has been a subject of more episodes over the past two years than that of any of his cohorts. While his visit to his hometown was inoffensive and watchable, Cam's roots are simply not terribly interesting compared with galactic adventures or even team interaction, and Daniel, Sam and Teal'c - in whose personal lives we have more investment anyway - are underused here. Perhaps if Bounty had aired a few months ago, or if the episode had made any sort of contribution to the Ori arc then sweet and pleasant might have made a nice change of pace from the portentious, urgent and pessimistic feel of recent episodes.

In the old days of Stargate such one-off episodes would frequently appear in the middle of a batch of goa'uld-based episodes without anything feeling amiss, but then the fight against the goa'uld was necessarily a drawn-out affair - the Tau'ri had inferior resources to the goa'uld, but the goa'uld were prevented from a direct attack on Earth by the Asgard - and the search for new allies and new technology was ongoing and led to many great standalone episodes.

In contrast, with such a degree of urgency to the battle against the followers of Origin, and following on the heels of a string of excellent episodes which have contributed a great deal to that storyline, the placement of Bounty makes the tenth season of Stargate appear to have stalled. No doubt it can be bumpstarted with a good offering next week, and perhaps after such a fast ride as we've had lately it was felt that a refuelling stop was in order anyway. Well, we've had our break from the journey, and it was nice enough, a little staid perhaps; but now let's get moving again please.


Madeleine

Rachel500
February 7th, 2007, 12:58 AM
Romantic comedy is the theme of the day while the actual bounty hunt that gives Bounty its title ends up nothing more than an amusing sub-plot as the Lucien Alliance is once again reduced to a joke and the Ori arc forgotten. Still, the story is mostly well-constructed with good performances all round even if it never shifts out of ‘cliché’ mode and the surprises are never a surprise. While it won’t be setting the universe alight, in the end, Bounty is good fun with some laugh-out-loud moments and there is a definite feel-good factor when the end credits roll just as at the beginning.

The structure of the story provides a good framework for the set pieces from the end to the beginning, and the opening of Bounty is very well done. The SG1 mission is well-executed with fabulous special effects not only with the scanning of the team but also with the actual explosion. The whole segment neatly exudes an air of being business-as-usual for the team while providing the set-up and background for the Lucien Alliance’s bounty hunt of SG1 to begin. It also provides a nod back to the power struggle within the Alliance which comes to a head at the end. That is a major plot hole; while Netan’s demise provides a good conclusion, the implication that the team release a ruthless bounty hunter and allow him to get control of the Lucien Alliance is bizarre given there is no guarantee he won’t end up a worse enemy.

Perhaps the new management of the Lucien Alliance might enable the writers to redraw the enemy into a believable foe, something they are currently not despite best efforts in previous episodes. Bounty does nothing to help with the usual two-dimensional nature; the bad guys are cliché from the seduction acts and the leather ensembles to their actual dialogue. However given the light-hearted nature of the rest of the story, they really don’t require being anything more substantial.

Mitchell taking pity on a bored Vala to his high school reunion provides many opportunities for comic set pieces; Vala telling his mother about their sex life, Mitchell shocked at his mother being OK about them sleeping together, his clumsiness in front of Amy, his high school buddy propositioning Vala, Vala shocking normal people with her tales from her own background. Throwing Vala into a normal Earth situation – and really it can’t get anymore normal than this – does provide some laughs even if her wardrobe at one point seems a homage to Daisy Duke. Claudia Black does a great job at milking the most of every scene for comic effect as does Ben Browder.

Mitchell has never come across more normal than he does in this episode as he gets to be the high school hero and kisses the girl. The romance between Amy and Mitchell is well played out although it might have worked better had there been actual chemistry between the actors. I personally found myself rooting for Vala and Daryl instead. Daryl and Amy are both well acted but they do conform to the expected characterisation of ‘best buddy’ and ‘high school sweetheart’ with little originality as does the rest of the Kansas scenario. The Clark Kent-esque background complete with Mom and Pop adds little originality to Mitchell even if it provides him with additional back-story material, and even the hero with a double life is played out in the end make-out scene with Amy.

Romance, or variations thereof, is also suggested in the other scenarios; Daniel is propositioned in a museum by a beautiful woman (who unsurprisingly turns out to be an assassin); Dr Lee chats up women at the conference he is attending with Sam much to her bemusement. Again, these scenes are played mainly for laughs with even the mowing down of Daniel’s assassin by a bus having a cartoonish Road Runner air to it. Only Teal’c’s scenes are played straight. The attacks on Teal’c, Daniel and Sam do nicely escalate and provide some good action in between the Kansas scenes. It helps keep the plot moving and the episode never feels as though it lags because of that. It comes nicely to a climax as the bounty hunter takes the high school reunion hostage and SG1 saves the day.

Hands up all who got that the SG1 that ‘beamed’ in weren’t the actual SG1 even without the heavy handed hint that the Odyssey was unavailable? Keep your hands up if you also guessed that Sam wasn’t Sam on the stage before the assassination attempt on her? And on a minor quibble why would Sam be walking around with the holographic technology when they go to save Mitchell? Although I admit I did laugh as the team reveal how they did it a la the Scooby gang complete with meddling kids quote.

While the whole is light-hearted, I cannot help but feel that it is a little out-of-place given the end of The Shroud with more Ori ships entering the galaxy and Daniel’s return. It feels like this episode should have been a sober reflection of that situation rather than played for laughs with no hint of the Ori at all within the plot. Stargate has never done dealing with the consequences of one story in those following particularly well but the reset here feels jarring.

Bounty is clichéd with few surprises and the odd one or two plot holes but it is good clean fun in the main and holds its shape as a story very well thanks to good bone structure. Comedy episodes are always a bit hit and miss; some will love it, some will hate it. I personally find some parts funny and the whole amusing enough, and viewed as a stand-alone episode of SG1, it certainly doesn’t diminish the enjoyment of this second half of S10 for me even if adds nothing to the arc overall.

Kales
February 7th, 2007, 10:43 AM
Ladies and Gentlemen, please deposit all expectations of an actual follow-up to The Shroud at the door and prepare to enter ‘bottle-episode’ territory. Anyone expecting to see the ripple effects of the last few episodes play out on the emotional level of our heroes, you’re on the wrong space train. And yet, the journey doesn’t entirely flounder in the dark.


The main plot is entertaining enough. Cameron’s Kansas farm boy origins are interestingly – if stereotypically – portrayed, Vala’s presence and the odd moments it creates are amusing and Cameron’s love interest, the recently divorced and long loved Amy, creates some good scenes. Cameron, adventurer to other planets, stammering and clumsy, is a rather fun moment in itself as is Vala apparently dipping into Jessica Simpson’s wardrobe in Dukes of Hazzard to shoot some cans with the country boys.


What there is of a B plot is also adequate. This episode serves as answer to the age old ‘What do they do when they aren’t running around the galaxy’ query, showing Sam and Dr. Lee at a conference to showcase “new” developments and in the process answering the other query of ‘How do they convince people they invented this stuff.’ Other entertainingly comedic moments are the brief romantic interlude for Daniel showing just how long it’s been since he was propositioned and Dr. Lee’s attempt to ‘Kirk’ it up. What there is of Teal’c’s segment is well done but undermined by the sheer brevity of the sub-plot and more could have been done with it.


Special effects do a good job on the opening sequence, and the reunion is accurate from the balloons to the eighties muzak (presumably because song rights are expensive). Slight plot crater opens up when you realise that, although logically sound, it’s a little tenuous that the jeopardy of the episode hangs on a bad cell phone connection in an episode that states how far our technology’s come through the Stargate.


This episode is pretty much summed up for me in the curious and utterly under-whelmed look on Daniel’s face when his would-be-assassin, after dramatically threatening a mother with a pram, is promptly run down by a bus. It’s average and the pieces proceed to come together in a convenient, predictable fashion. Hologram fake-outs are as predictable as a last minute beam out of a suicide run by the lead. The comedy is – as always – well done, but I found myself looking at the clock in the third quarter and thinking ‘Oh, this is big finish.’ There’s never a sense of drama or of any form of jeopardy. Everyone is uniformly unconvincing if they intend to portray worry for Cameron and Vala or relief at their easily gained safety.


In short, I wish it had been either an all-out comedy episode or they had tried just a little harder on the drama – to the point of including actual drama – rather than this frustratingly round about average middle ground. As it stands, it feels like a good idea executed relatively competently but still carrying an overtone of ‘missed opportunity’ the way Flock of Seagulls carried hairspray.


As strange as it sounds, my biggest problem isn’t with Bounty but with its existence. Whilst it’s not going to have me posting on boards and putting together commemorative wallpapers until three am this morning, it’s still a fun, quirky, informative and inoffensive episode that I genuinely enjoyed. The placing is skewed, given Vala's recent quips about Ebay and pop culture, not to begin on the necessities of blending in as a thief, curiously missing here. But what nagged me throughout is this: approaching the end of the series, we all know they’ve had to condense timelines into a smaller number of episodes... Was this really worth those forty minutes of running time or could it have been better spent elsewhere?


Verdict: 6.5 /10

jonno
February 8th, 2007, 07:09 PM
"To analyse, or not to analyse? That is the question!"

From the spoilers I was expecting this to be dire rubbish. And i was pleasently surprised. Yes, the plot was thin, predictable and mostly pointless. Yes the Lucien alliance are about as convincing a badguy as a mummy in a tutu. Yes, it was disappointing Vala went back to bimbo role (though in a far more likeable way than Prometheus Unbound / Season 9). Yes, Dr Lee still makes me think 'bumbling idiot' every time he appears. Yes it wasn't a classic Stargate story. And Yes there were plot holes and unbelievablity.

But I don't care. At the time, I enjoyed it. The cheap laughs got a giggle. It kept me happy for an hour - and that's all I want Yes, when I analyse it as a piece of work it falls flat on oh-so many levels. But in this case, I don't mind. And i think kudos must go to the principle actors for this, because their performances hid the bad writing and the thiness of the plot. I enjoyed Ben's portrayal of 'guy with big childhood crush'. Claudia did a good job with the funny bits. Amanda has clearly settled back in to Sam after a shaky Season 9, and was good value. Michael brought back memories of classic Daniel, buried in a book. And delivered possibly the best line perfectly. Chris was solid as ever. I really like how he's evolved Teal'c over the years. I even liked Amy Vandenberg - I could see why Cam has a major crush on her. The actors are clearly well settled as a team now, with Ben and Claudia knowing exactly who their characters are.

Plus, there were some nice plot points too. The synchronised team plan in the teaser. The many (very subtle) references to past episodes and technologies; if you've got 10 years of backstory, slip bits in subtly every so often! I even liked the Bus scene. Dunno why.

So - this episode can be viewed in two different ways.

1). As something to entertain you. And it did that for me. I didn't get bored. I even laughed a few times. Teal'c had a staff, which is always good these days.
On thas basis i'd give it a 7/10

2). As a piece of work to be critically analysed. And here there's a string of things that can be critised, slammed and dissected. The poor script has had to be saved by the actors.
On this viewing, I'd give it a 3/10. Poor. Must Do better.


So, the choice is - which view to take? Personally, I go with option 1). My first, surface impressions. All i want is something to entertain me for an hour. Yes - overall storyline is important, but Stargate isn't Lost or 24. Or it didn't used to be ... back in the old days, it was episodic rather than ark driven. The previous 5 episodes in the season have been meaty, serious, "important in the long term" type episodes. And they've been pretty darn good. Bit it's nice to have a bit of fluff once in a while. Something that'll go in one ear and out the other.

So, in conclusion:
This episode was pure filler. And some would say that with only six episodes left in the series you shouldn't do that. I can see their point. But, bearing in mind this will have been completed pre-cancellation, I have no major objection to the idea personally. As for the episode itself, it was not as good as the last few. The plot and story were poor, but the characters were not. And they gave this limp story life and humour, and kept me happy for my hour. And that is all I want from this kind of episode.

entil2001
May 13th, 2007, 03:44 PM
The Lucien Alliance is to “SG-1” as the Genii are to “Stargate: Atlantis”. They are the go-to villains whenever the writers need a generic enemy to fight or complicate matters. As a result, their involvement in an episode is usually disappointing, because motivations are often situational. In this instance, the writers needed someone to send bounty hunters after the team. Who better than the Lucien Alliance?

That fuzzy beginning gets a lot more interesting as the focus turns to each team member as they go about their various mundane activities. Mitchell and Vala end up at his hometown for his high school reunion, Carter ends up at a convention, Daniel is studying, and Teal’c is back to dealing with Jaffa matters. Each is targeted in turn, and the response to each attack is where the fun begins.

The most time is spent with Mitchell and Vala at the reunion, which helps to flesh out Mitchell’s character a bit. It’s all quite consistent with the information given previously, fitting Cam’s down-home attitude quite well. It’s scary to think that Mtichell’s home town was so small that only a couple dozen people attended the reunion (almost as scary as the genetic Cure-esque music).

Daniel’s subplot was a bit odd, especially when the femme fatale was mashed by a bus, and Carter’s subplot would have worked better if the scenes had been cut to a more interesting pace. Those scenes progressed far too slowly. Even Teal’c’s scenes felt oddly paced. A bit more attention to balance early in the episode would have helped.

The reunion setting is played for laughs, and at times, the comedy is a bit too broad. That said, the mixture of the serious and the comic (and even tragic) works pretty well, once the situation begins to fall apart. Unfortunately, it seems to end just as it gets interesting, and the little issue of using alien technology in the middle of a relatively crowded room is never truly addressed.

Unfortunately, as much as the premise seems to promise insight into Mitchell’s character, most of the exploration is fairly shallow and amounts to Mitchell seeing the girl of his youthful dreams. In other words, the usual “school reunion” cliché. There might be some consequence for the Lucien Alliance, but the audience isn’t given much reason to care. With so few episodes left, this average installment is more a reason for frustration than anything else.