[Contains vagina monologues and SPOILERS!!!]
Season ten of Stargate: SG-1 saw Claudia Black promoted to main cast member status, and her image added to the opening credits… though it wasn’t until ep #10.9 (“Company of Thieves”) that ‘Vala Mal Doran’ was shown wearing the official SG-1 uniform, and dashing to catch up with the rest of the team, before they step through the gate. But how adorable was it when it happened? Totes adorable!
As I said in my previous post, I think Black was a great addition to the cast, and Vala was a great addition to the team… though she didn’t seem quite as dangerous in these eps as she was back in the day, kicking Daniel’s ass as an anti-hero antagonist. She’s a lot more child-like and cuddly here, which was kinda cute, but she also seemed less capable and competent, and more likely to be used as comic relief, than as a serious threat to anyone. I thought Black pulled some very silly faces at times too… though that’s probably because I was watching her so obsessively whenever she was on-screen (even when she was in the background), rather than whatever/whoever she was reacting to. There’s an interesting deleted scene on the final disc, where Sam (Amanda Tapping) offers a friendly ear to Vala, if she has any worries about settling in on a new planet, and it’s a shame it was cut for time, because I’d liked to have seen more of that kind of female bonding going on… it certainly made a change from Vala flirting with (and jumping on) the male team-members all the time!
Still, Vala did get some pretty good storylines this season, the most prominent of which saw her giving birth to the half-human ‘Adria’, who grew at a supernatural rate to become Queen of the invading Ori space-armada. In ep #10.1 (“Flesh and Blood”), Adria was played by a succession of child actresses, to show her development… starting with Emma Rose (age 4), then Jodelle Ferland (age 7), and finally Brenna O’Brien (age 12). The next time we saw her (in ep #10.7 “Counterstrike”), she’s all growed-up, and being portrayed by the exceptionally beautiful Morena Baccarin (as part of the production team’s continuing mission to recycle former cast members from as many other “space opera” shows as they can!) It was great seeing Black and Baccarin sharing scenes together, and the mother-daughter dynamic between Vala and Adria gave them a lot of interesting notes to play, making for a pretty compelling season-spanning arc from the baby’s “miraculous” birth to her equally unusual and untimely “death” (though I already know that Baccarin will return, in one form or another…)
As for the (rather scarce) supporting cast members: Apollonia Vanova appeared in ep #10.1 as a Russian ‘Weapons Officer’ with an awesome bob, serving aboard the scuttled Korolev starship. Sarah Strange appeared in ep #10.3 (“The Pegasus Project”) as ‘Morgan Le Fay’, an ascended being posing as a hologram, in order to tip Daniel off to the whereabouts of a magickal weapon that might help destroy the Ori. Hurrah! This ep was a crossover with Stargate: Atlantis, which I haven’t seen a single episode of, so I had a little trouble following what was going on sometimes… though I did at least recognise Torri Higginson as ‘Dr. Elizabeth Weir’ (2.0). Aisha Hinds appeared in ep #10.12 (“Line in the Sand”) as ‘Thilana’, the leader of a small village on an alien planet that SG-1 attempt to conceal from the Ori, using fancy phase-shiftin’ technology. Jody Thompson appeared in ep #10.15 (“Bounty”) as an unnamed ‘Female Assassin’ who attempts to seduce, then shoot Daniel, while he’s out book-learnin’ in an off-base library. She doesn’t last very long, but she sure does get a surprising and memorable death scene! And Anne Marie DeLuise appeared in the same ep as ‘Amy Vanderburg’, Cameron’s unconsummated high school crush, who he reconnects with at a reunion (before more alien bounty-hunters rock up to poop his party). There were also a couple of fleeting appearances by Lexa Doig as ‘Dr. Carolyn Lam’, but she was absent for the bulk of the season because she’d just had a baby (apparently the actresses on this show were running some sort of weird maternity-leave relay race?)
Overall, I thought this was a very strong season… perhaps the strongest I’ve seen so far… and I think it’s a damn shame the show was cancelled just as the new team were finding their feet. In fact, the finale (#10.20, “Unending”) was one of the best eps they’ve ever done, despite the fakey old-person make-up… so at least they went out on a high, right?
Oh, and I can’t really end this post without mentioning ep #10.6 (“200”), in which the writers chose to celebrate the achievement of reaching the two hundred episode mark, by throwing a load of random “dream” scenarios and parodies at the screen. My fave (by a mile) would have to be the hilarious Team America-style reimagining of scenes from the original Stargate movie and pilot, using puppets of the cast… seeing Daniel’s puppety hand trying to draw on the wipe-board had me cracking up every time. My least fave (by many, many miles) would have to be the Farscape parody, because it was such a shallow slight on a far superior show (imho)… seeing Tapping dressed up as ‘Chiana’ and trying to do the trademark head-tilt was just plain wrong, dammit!