Stargate SG-1 Review: Brief Candle
SG-1 goes to a planet called Argos, and Daniel even helps deliver a baby. Then the team is invited to one of their celebrations. All was well, up until to the moment they find out that something isn’t quite as it seems; the Argosians age faster than the normal humans, and it isn’t a natural phenomenon. To make matters worse, Colonel O’Neill starts to suffer from this fast ageing himself.
Let’s address the elephant on Argos here and get that out the way. Whichever way you look at this, Jack was drugged and then had sexual relations with that woman; in short, he was date raped. It’s a glaring issue that overshadows the episode and to make it worse, the rest of the team don’t even give that issue a second thought! What if Carter had been in Jack’s position here? Would it have been the same kind of reaction if this was her? I highly doubt it, but because it’s Jack- apparently it’s no big deal. It’s hugely irresponsible writing from Kathryn Powers who despite these two missteps (the other being Emancipation) does go on to write some decent episodes in the future (including the following one). Something like this could be pushed to the back of your mind somewhat if the rest of the episode was good enough to be a distraction, but sadly for Brief Candle it isn’t the case; despite the best efforts of Richard Dean Anderson who does all he can with an ageing Jack O’Neill.
It has to be said that the resolution to all this was muddled at best too. The deus ex machina that he was never ageing at all just made no sense and was hastily rushed over at the end of the episode. It was frustrating seeing as Jack’s plight was the driving force of the whole story. As a concept though, it was a good one. The Goa’uld are exactly the sort to mess about with a culture in this way for an experiment and there was something quite touching about the Argosians and the way in which they are just happy with what they have. That being said though, it is a shame that (from memory) we don’t really get the chance to catch up with how they are doing, I’m sure they are referenced, but there has to be a story in the fact that SG-1 have come along and essentially changed an entire civilization; it feels like a missed opportunity.
Also, a little clarification on how this ageing process worked would have been nice. The bodies ageing at a rapid rate is one thing. Back to Richard Dean Anderson though and he does keep the episode watchable, even if he doesn’t have the best of scripts to work with. Despite the issues I have with the plot, there is some amusement to be had in his embarrassed hangover scene; I loved his beeline for the pond to ease the pain and he gives a good old man impression. He’s let down however by horrible dialogue including the “sweet Kynthia” moment, which for an old man is fine but while he looked old, it had only been a few days; something that seemed to have been forgotten in the writer’s room. Instead, he was portrayed as if he had genuinely lived 80 something years. What Brief Candle does have going for it though is SG-1 themselves. The banter and camaraderie between them is growing by the episode and already just a few episodes in the central four are able to elevate an otherwise lacklustre story.
- When Jack is being led into Kynthia’s room, it didn’t take much to distract the rest of SG-1 from going to check if he’s alright. They’re about to go after him and all it took was them being handed something to drink to decide against it. It’s very odd, especially given that Jack went from acting fine to plastered in about two minutes.
I Know That Face
If you recognise Bobbie Phillips (Kynthia) then it’s not from anything recent. She seems to have stopped acting years ago but you may know the face from an excellent third season episode of The X Files where she played Dr Bambi Berenbaum in War Of The Coprophages.
The Stargate Costume Of The Episode Award
Daniel : A hundred day celebration? I guess we should pace ourselves
Sam : How many babies have you delivered?
Daniel : Uh…two. Counting today
Daniel : Are you kidding? It’s a paradise!
Jack : Oh, sure. Have an apple, what could happen?
Richard Dean Anderson tries his best but this another weak spot for the early episodes of the show.