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    FAN REVIEWS: Bad Guys

    Visit the Episode Guide

    SG-1 realizes they have stepped through the gate into another planet's museum -- but are mistaken for a band of zealous rebels who have taken hostages.



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    Last edited by GateWorld; February 6, 2021, 09:49 PM.

    Bad Guys is a wonderful reminder of the classic Stargate era as the team go off-world, run into trouble and have to resolve the situation through their own ingenuity, bravery and skill in order to return home. The story is simple yet well-told, played straight with a lot of the comedy arising naturally from the situation of SG1 acting as kidnappers, with all of the characters present contributing to the team. While there are questions over season production, the rest of the episode is accomplished and the cast deliver a good performance.

    Although not challenging, the actors seem to revel in the material. There is an intangible sense of enjoyment that seems to transmit itself from the screen to the audience. Even the guest cast while remaining fairly two dimensional in characterisation make the most of their scenes and add a credibility and humanity to the alien culture. Perhaps there is a complaint that the alien planet is far too Earth-like but the parallel seems to be deliberate with a direct comparison between Daniel and the alien historian/researcher Cicero, and the refusal to give into political terrorism. The similarity also quickly provides empathy for the alien culture. Quartus, played to perfection by Ron Canada, is particularly impressive as the Chief Security Officer trying to do his best in difficult circumstances.

    What is also a little startling is the similarity between the museum and Mitchell’s high school in Bounty. There was one shot of the corridor and a side display cabinet where I almost expected to see a poster proclaiming ‘Peter DeLuise for Class President’ hanging in its window. Maybe it’s an unfortunate consequence of the two episodes airing closely together but also unfortunate is the reference to the absent Carter. In terms of the events that have taken place since Road Not Taken, the excuse used for her absence makes no sense at all although there are undoubtedly similar themes in Bad Guys to that episode. It is a minor quibble and no doubt those interested in a Sam/Jack romance can think of an alternate reason why Sam was away in Washington, but both the set design and the reference suggest a lack of sense-checking from a season perspective on the production side. Again, just as with Bounty, the audience is left wondering why the team are focusing on what could be seen as a trivial activity (treasure hunting) instead of dealing with the enhanced Ori threat especially as the obvious justification that any weapons found will help is not used.

    Otherwise, the episode is very well put together with the direction and musical underscore deserving a special mention for evoking a great sense of tension in the final act. The scene where a surrounded SG1 talk Quartus into letting them go is very believable, with Ben Browder putting in a very credible performance. Browder does a great job displaying a Mitchell who has learned from his experiences to date with SG1 but occasionally displays his inexperience such as in the early discussion about the likelihood of an actual DHD being found on the planet.

    If the story makes good use of Mitchell, it also makes good use of Vala. Her past skills and experience are well-displayed in the scene with the retrieval of the bomb from the display cabinet and in her handiwork to make the Gate work. This story naturally allows Vala to contribute without seeming contrived and is obviously helped by the absence of the usual fix-it person for the team, Carter. Personally, I did feel the absence of Sam even though the story flows well. Possibly because there was a role for Sam with even Daniel commenting that they should have brought someone who knew what they were doing with the Gate although Vala’s MacGyvering is ultimately successful.

    The scenes of Daniel and Teal’c as kidnappers are very funny; Chris Judge captures Teal’c’s disbelieving expression of Daniel’s attempt to be threatening at the end of the demand call with Quartus perfectly and Michael Shanks manages to convey Daniel’s frustration, awkwardness and naivety at being a kidnapper equally well. The funniest moment though has to be Teal’c zatting a hostage and attempting a friendly expression while telling the screaming girl to ‘please remain calm while we try to rectify this most unfortunate circumstance.’ Comedy is also provided by the bumbling security guard especially during the exchange between him and Daniel.

    The humour flows naturally within the story and Martin Gero deserves credit for a tightly written script. Equally Ben Browder deserves a mention for coming up with the initial idea. It has been well documented that Browder watched all of the SG1 episodes and here the influence of classic Stargate in the concept can clearly be seen. It is a joy to see the team travel through the Gate, get into trouble and have to get out of trouble through their own ingenuity without a handy naquadah generator showing up (even if it was mentioned), or the magical beam-out fairy. With a little tweaking, this story would have fitted in with ease into the earlier seasons of SG1. Perhaps it would be worth the writing staff sitting down to watch some Stargate marathons themselves in future to stimulate some creative ideas.

    Overall, there is little to complain about in Bad Guys and a lot to appreciate. It’s fabulous to see that the original concept of Stargate can still be used to tell a simple but interesting story that gets that mix of humour and drama that Stargate does so well absolutely right. Someone really does need to step up to sense-check episodes for content from a season perspective but that said, as a stand alone episode of SG1, and although not without its flaws, Bad Guys deserves to be considered a highly enjoyable classic.
    Women of the Gate LJ Community.
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      As SG-1 visit a new planet to seek a possible weapon against the Ori soldiers, Bad Guys harks back to the old days of exploration, First Contact scenarios and artefact-hunting for SG-1. The initial premise seems to overlap a great deal with episodes such as New Ground and Icon, as SG-1 meet offworlders who are technologically advanced yet ignorant of life beyond their planet, and who live uneasily alongside another faction on their world.

      In execution, Bad Guys could not have been more different from its worthy and challenging predecessors.

      Where New Ground examined the polar reactions of the academic and the military mind, and Icon posed the unsettling question of what would happen when SG-1 upset the social order of a world simply by visiting it to say hello, Bad Guys is primarily a lighthearted romp. It is an inspired move to subvert the standard pattern, in which SG-1 meet new people who don't trust them but win them over in the end by being upstanding and sincere. Instead, SG-1 are literally bad guys and aggressors, who escape unscathed only due to the decency of the offworlders themselves.

      Although little time is taken to explore the ramifications of SG-1's false perfidy, the succinct exchange between the team as they discuss their options is just enough to give this episode a necessary moral centre.

      Nice use is made of the team as they inhabit their assumed roles with predictably diverse levels of enthusiasm. The humour provided by our team is broad, but played straight by the regular cast, and very effective for that. The sometimes farcical attempts of the good guys to act and think like proper hostage takers are deftly written, and poke goodnatured fun at the tradition of film and television kidnap drama.

      Less successful are those guest characters whose purpose was to provide laughs. Security guard Jayem advertised with every line that he was a Comedy Character(TM). Unfortunaltely, he wasn't actually funny. Jayem is a buffoon in the tradition of Felger, Lucius and Martin Lloyd, displaying no self-awareness or subtlety and hence devoid of all credibility. Like the screaming woman, Jayem's behaviour is too contrived and deliberate in comparison to the more natural portrayal that other performers bring to the episode.

      Quartus the negotiator is a believable and at times sympathetic antagonist. The naive and friendly Cicero, a successor to Nyam, Jonas and Daniel himself, shows independance and depth of character. The government official who offers himself as a hostage is pompous but inoffensive and realistic. Together, they give an impression of a multifaceted society; and for once, a society which does not need the help of Earth.

      Had these alone formed the background for SG-1's exploits this would have been a superior standalone episode, with a firm foundation of serious matter to balance the quirky nature of SG-1's dialogue. If Bad Guys had set out to be first and foremost a drama, with comedy arising from the regular characters' own wit, from their frustrations and from their being forced into the unnatural position of being the villains of the piece, it could still have been a great comic episode. It is let down by its desire to prove its comic nature whenever an opportunity exists - and often when one doesn't.

      But Bad Guys is a very watchable episode. The museum is a minor treat, with the Horus Guard headdress and other familliar artefacts. The design of the sets and the costumes are pleasing; the spacious airy hall the bright colours of the party clothes are a far cry from the mediaeval villages that have characterised so many of the offworld planets recently. The story is entertaining and the downbeat ending is a welcome contrast to the security guard's antics. Cam and Vala are on particularly good form, and each of the four regular cast members puts in a hugely enjoyable performance, particularly Michael Shanks as an unwilling and not terribly convincing thug.

      In the grand scheme of things, Bad Guys will not be remembered as a gem amongst the hundreds of episodes of Stargate, but neither will it stand out as a dud. Bad Guys will sit nicely amidst the average everyday episodes that make up the bulk of the show that we are such fans of.




        The main issue with the tenth and final season of “SG-1” has been consistency. While many were shocked when the end of the series was announced, that was more a matter of timing. The series had managed to avoid the chopping block for half its life, after initial cancellation at the end of the fifth season on Showtime. Knowing all of that, it’s surprising how little time has been spent clearing the decks and wrapping up plot threads.

        For instance, who expected the producers, with only a handful of episodes left, to trot out a stand-alone installment with only the most tenuous links to the overall season arc? Granted, this was the problem with the ninth season as well, and a problem with the second half of nearly every season for shows given this “split season” format. The first half seems to be dominated by plot-heavy material, and the second half seems to deviate into stand-alone territory.

        Knowing all of this, it would be easy to dismiss this episode and let frustration take its toll. That would be an unfortunate mistake, because taken on its own, this is a fairly amusing episode. No matter how serious the situation seems to get, there’s an underlying comic touch. This has been the hallmark of the series since its inception (though it was once a bit more subtle), and this episode keeps the tradition alive.

        Beyond its surprising entertainment value, the episode is notable for its unusual guest star. Joshua Malina is better known for his dramatic work (“West Wing”, “A Few Good Men”) and his dry comic delivery than his appearances in genre television. At first, I thought my eyes and ears were deceiving me! Malina’s presence is both positive and negative. It’s positive in that it lends a certain legitimacy to the series, even at this late hour, but negative in that his character lacks depth and his performance pales to his better-known work.

        That said, this is “SG-1”, and few members of the audience are looking for scripts on the level of an Aaron Sorkin. It’s all about the entertainment value, and the episode delivers that (and some twists and turns) rather well. If one can overcome the frustration of yet another stand-alone episode when so little time remains until the end, this is a pleasant hour’s worth of diversion.