Sunday, 28 August 2011

Tin Man

I watched this episode twice - once for enjoyment, and once to listen to the GateWorld fan commentary, which I'll get to at the end of the post.

This is a really interesting episode, and I wish I could remember exactly how I felt when watching it the first time around. When visiting an alien planet, the team are knocked out and then awake to find that a strange local, Harlan, the only one left of his race, has made them 'better', but won't say how. On returning to Earth they discover that he's made robot copies of them and transferred their consciousnesses. After being kept in confinement by the suspicious SGC staff, they suddenly start to run out of power and are sent back through the gate to Harlan's planet, where they immediately begin to recover. Harlan, for vague reasons, won't transfer their minds back into their organic bodies, and it's not until the end of the episode that they discover (along with the audience) that their minds weren't transferred - they were copied. This presents a problem - the robots are just as 'real' as the originals, and as far as they're concerned are the same people who came through the gate. They have to accept the facts that they're going to live for thousands of years (based on Harlan's age of over 11,000 years) and the whole time is going to be spent maintaining the failing facility they were created in. That's exactly the same as the 'real' team coming to terms with this. Could you do that? I couldn't.

The action of the episode mainly comes from robot-Teal'c - Harlan clearly didn't understand how Jaffa worked when me made the robot, and copied both Teal'c's and his larval goa'uld's consciousnesses into it. Eventually the goa'uld manages to take over from Teal'c's mind and attacks O'Neill. Harlan has to destroy the robot, and creates a new one with the understanding that he must only copy teal'c's personality this time. There's still an issue that isn't brought up properly - Teal'c will have to get used to living without his symbiote. The physical superiority of the robots to humans negates the need for a replacement immune system, and he's probably stronger than he was when he was a jaffa too. But he can never kel'no'reem again, something he's been doing almost all his life. In this aspect, it's kind of a precursor to the jaffa uptake of tretonin in later seasons of the show.

Now, a few words about the fan commentary. It took me a while to get it synched up properly, often pausing the wrong thing to try and let the other catch up, but I got there eventually. It was an interesting idea, but it didn't hold my attention too well. I felt the 2 commenters just didn't have enough to say about what was happening, and it wasn't as interesting as cast or crew commentaries. I'll listen to the season 2 commentary too when it comes around and if I don't enjoy it, I'll skip them from then on.

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