Season One Episode 3: The Enemy Within
First off I will say that this won't be a very long review... (Note from Andrew: Coulda fooled me! :-) ) because as episodes go this one doesn't really have that much to either make fun of or comment on. It's one of those episodes that's not boring; it's just that there isn't really a diversity of content, so it's more difficult to review... at least for me, that is.
First off I must just say that Jay Acovone definitely proves his acting chops in this episode. His breakdown when he's strapped on the bed, with the little hole in it for his head, is really some amazing acting. I mean...it's totally what we would all do if we found out there was this evil thing wrapped around our spines and eating our brains (okay...it's not really eating his brain, but...). He just starts freaking out "KILL IT!!! KILL IT!! KILL IT!!!!" ....highly understandable.
I was reading in the Dialing Up guide to SG1 seasons 1-5 that they couldn't get John Diehl back to play Kawalski (Gee whiz...you gotta give Alexis Cruz and Erick Avari credit for being the only original actors COOL enough to actually want to come back and reprise their roles! (Note from Andrew: You can say that again!) I could be forgetting someone else...but I am pretty sure they are the only ones. They get like fifteen coolness points for that) because he didn't want to do a television series. Which I kind of think is funny because then they decided pretty much that they would get someone else to play Kawalski and then just kill him off in the second episode. This confuses me....why not just say "Johnny boy....we've got the perfect solution...you come back for the first three episodes and then we'll kill ya off!" Maybe he would have come back then. But that said, I am glad they got Jay Acovone because he really does the character justice. He does what Richard Dean Anderson does, totally make the character his own. Although I still think it's kind of sad that pretty much they use poor Kawalski as a vehicle to get Teal'c to be able to be on SG1... they needed some kind of mission for him to complete to get him to be accepted by the real jerks who wanted to take him back and study him. Once again.... that said, I give Jay props for acting it out in real style. Knowing that he was only going to be a one-note (at least in the beginning) could have made for some shoddy acting but he really gives it his all and makes sure you'll remember him; other actors might not have tried as hard.
I also really appreciated the character development we got between O'Neill and Kawalski. I loved that part especially when he was talking to him and he just says " Listen, I gotta ask you something. It's not easy for me." and Kawalski says "We're friends." and then O'Neill says: "If you don't make it, can I have your stereo?" It's a classic moment. I gotta say this episode (since remember I've seen up to season 7 episode 3, but only have seen each episode once and wanted to rewatch and review them up to where I am now) is SEVERELY lacking Dr. Janet Fraiser. I mean, it's funny cause normally I am just kind of like feeling ambivalent to that character but when watching an episode without her suddenly I realize she kind of ties the whole team together when they are on base. I don't know why...but when she's not there it feels kinda lame! It's kind of a shocking revelation to me. (Note from Andrew: Well, now I feel like a rube; I came into this with you having 6 seasons of experience under my belt... and I never noticed this! Very insightful, hon!) I think partly it's because we know she really cares about these people and finding solutions, so we get that side of the drama too. Like Teryl Rothery plays a good character, she brings a dimension to the show in that she's really a character too, she's not just some doctor-type person who feels 2 dimensional and we never really grow much of an attatchment to, like, say, Nurse Ogawa from Star Trek The Next Generation (although, in her defense she was never given more lines than "Yes, Doctor." Although I still must say I give Patti Yasutake ALOT of credit for continuing to appear in a show where her character got basically no development) She's one of those people who I feel like should have gotten her name in the opening credits because she feels so integral to the show.
Another thing I really appreciated was O'Neill being so ready to help Teal'c through the whole episode, it's kind of a rare thing to see O'Neill handing out his trust so readily to people and I love that Teal'c has his full trust from the beginning. One of my favorite lines is when Teal'c says that he will prove his allegiance and O'Neill just says "Teal'c, I sure wish you didn't have to."Also LOVE that part when Hammond yells at Kennedy "Just what kind of an officer are you Colonel?!" That's just sheer awesomeness. It's like....if I was sitting at the table I probably would have done one of those highly annoying and obnoxious fist pumps because I just wouldn't have been able to help myself.
Okay two things that are weird with this episode. When Kawalski first escapes and it's RED ALERT everywhere....pretty much no one is acting as if it's Red Alert at all. I mean when Kawalski gets to the Dialing room everyone is just kind of like "doo-dee-doo" with their pens and papers and keyboards. It's highly.... not so good for security.
The other thing is the whole "that was just a dead husk" thing feels like a bit of a stretch. Well...okay...it was a dead husk but it's kind of like they severed all of these little tendril things (as far as we can tell, all of them) and took it out and then...it's like that was a husk and the thing became 'one' which means it's undetectable by anyone? (Note from Andrew: Agreed; they clearly hadn't established the symbiote 'rules' yet, 'cause I don't think this works so well within known symbiote M.O.) Like, A. They had that active scan thing going on the whole operation- and B. I am SO sure they probably would have done a few follow-up scans to make sure they got everything (Well...at least Dr. FRAISER would have....) so it just seems unlikely. Plus, is this something we hear about ever again (keep in mind...only seen each episode ONCE so I could be not remembering...which is why you get the 'Note from Andrew" since he has them all pretty much memorized... I am working my way toward that.) at all? (Note from Andrew: Nah-uh. We see symbiotes posioning the hosts when they die in an act of spite, die in the host and get absorbed by the body leaving Naquadah in the bloodstream... and pretty much being un-removable... but never 'hiding' during a surgery or producing a 'husk.' In fact, they turn out to be amphibious, not reptilian, so the shedding-their-skin doesn't really work.) That the Goa'uld parasite can shed it's whole outer body and become like one eighth of what it looked like before? Cause I am pretty sure any time we've seen a mature host that's taken over someone it's looked exactly as long as the so called "husk'.
That was another thing...HOW COOL....like I mean seriously....HOW COOL of a way to die is that? I mean Teal'c was holding Kawalski's HEAD in the event horizon and then they just shut it off!! I mean...wow...pretty good way to die (I mean as an actor...not like in real life or anything). I appreciated that they really kind of let you see a little bit of the damage but it wasn't like he fell forward and his head crashed into the camera and his brain slid down the screen letting us see the full glory (Note from Andrew: Or would that be 'full gory?') of what had just happened (okay so I am exagerrating what other tv shows do...but you get the idea). Although I must say that when I was watching it I was appalled and shocked when part of his brain falls out onto the floor....that is until I realized it was the Goa'uld actually...and then I was kind of like... "ohhh." Although I realize it sizzling and shrinking was for dramatic effect, that was also a little weird. I think I just really need to read up more on how the Goa'uld take over people is all...cause the whole thing seems really confusing. Especially seeing as how they can go through your back, neck, head, mouth....bleah...and bleah. (Note from Andrew- any way that they can burrow through to the spinal column/brain stem...) It's like....and then do they attatch to your brain once they've gotten full control over you I guess? I guess it's like when they aren't fully integrated that's when they use the little filament tendrils to reach into the brain? These are all questions I am committed to finding the answers to....and many of them I am sure will be explained once my husband gets home from work. Until then.