Stargate SG-1 Review: Lazarus Rising
SG-1 goes to a planet that has many blue crystals. Most are broken, but Jack finds a whole one. He touches it and passes out. The crystal transforms itself into an exact duplicate of Jack who goes back to Earth in his place.
This is possibly the most un Stargate like Stargate has ever been. Having the locations be where they are for pivotal parts of the story certainly gives this one a different feel. There are certain scenes that if you were to view them out of context really don’t feel as though they are in an episode of this show. Not that that’s a bad thing though, just something I thought was worth mentioning. For the most part, this is a marked improvement over the previous few episodes. It really focuses on Jack and his painful past, even if it isn’t Jack himself who is there for the real emotional parts until the ending. Knowing the history of what happened to Jack’s son, Charlie, is bad enough, but here we are taken back to the moment where the young boy stumbled upon the gun. It’s a pretty effective and chilling moment when the shot is heard. It’s also much more personal than we tend to get with Stargate. Every character does get a chance to take centre stage at some point in the shows mammoth run, but rarely is it ever quite so intimate at delving into events of the past.
It’s a shame then that while the flashbacks do what they need to do, they feel far more dated than they need to. That’s largely due to the whimsical score and slightly blurred filter used each time they happen. This one does also suffer from the fact that it is purely a standalone episode when it shouldn’t be. This should be visited again in depth but instead, it is rarely mentioned and as far as I’m aware, this is the last time we even get a mention of Sara- let alone see her again. Granted this is more the fault of Stargate as a whole rather than this episode in particular, but it is a shame. Thankfully, Charlie is referenced several times just through Jack’s actions as the series progresses; Skara is a prime example of this. Richard Dean Anderson does a fine job of portraying this crystal version of Jack as almost an infant like persona and is able to convincingly add layers as the figure becomes more aware of what happened.
What this episode lacks, Anderson more than makes up for in his performance and adds real conviction to a plot that in lesser hands could have been shaky at best. He also adds good value as the real Jack who is understandably frustrated at being left behind and instantly locked up upon his return to the SGC. His best work here though is saved for the episodes end when he see’s ‘Charlie’, it’s just a powerful moment and beautifully executed. The effects of the alien planet were visually great too and added to the feel of this being a different kind of episode. There were no primitive tribes or forest dwelling locals here, this was a bright, and importantly alien, looking planet- great work with that. There are some comical moments scattered throughout too. Teal’c, in particular, stealing the best with his bewildered experience watching television and deciding that Earth is a place that is unsafe to be around without his staff weapon. It’s a fair point Teal’c, one that hasn’t changed in the 21 years since.
I loved Daniel and Carter lying that he had permission to fire the staff in the gate room too; watching the trademark humour that this show is known for slowly coming into play is fun. The crystal life forms themselves were an interesting idea, but they feel a little underdeveloped. I was left wanting to know more about the history there and all we really had was the one exposition scene. The scene itself was good though and watching the crystal take Carter’s form partially was an interesting moment. But how irresponsible do Carter and Daniel come across when the entity reveals it will die unless it gets home? They just discuss it and how important a discovery it is while the poor thing sits there dying. You’re trying to make friends here SGC- sitting around chatting while something is dying is not going to help with that goal.
A great episode for Richard Dean Anderson this. Comparing the two different versions of Jack here really shows what a fine job he did.
Sam : I’d love to get this into the spectrometer at Stanford
Teal’c : What is a Stanford?
Teal’c : You received permission for me to fire my staff weapon in the gate room?
Carter : Oh Yeah
Daniel : Absolutely
Teal’c : Yours is a strange world.
Daniel : So’s yours
Connor: Kill me.
Jack: You sure? I’ve come all this way.
Not perfect but a largely more enjoyable instalment than the previous few with a fantastic dual performance from Richard Dean Anderson.