Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 7: "Avenger 2.0"

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Episode Information

Title: "Avenger 2.0"
Written by: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Director: Martin Wood
Rating (out of 4 stars): 1/2
Reviewed on:June 4, 2007

Synopsis from GateWorld


If I ever see the character of Jay Felger again, it will be far too soon. This episode was obviously supposed to be funny, but I found it at best annoying and at worst insulting. Nevertheless, there were a very few nice touches.

Dr. Jay Felger (from season 6's "The Other Guys") is the center of the show, and frankly, his character isn't worth it. Felger has apparently shown little in the way of successful results after years of research at the SGC, and General Hammond is ready to get rid of him. (I imagine he'd be sent to another "second string" research complex, such as at Area 51.) Felger gains himself a reprieve by saying he's got a revolutionary project in the works. He gets a short time to prepare to present the idea to General Hammond and Carter.

Of course, Felger doesn't actually have a revolutionary project in the works. He's just desperate to remain at the SGC. He clearly still idolizes SG-1 and now believes that he's almost one of the team after the events in "The Other Guys". His former coworker, Simon Coombs has disappeared (although he is mentioned in passing), and he's now working with a female scientist, Chloe. While I appreciate adding a woman to the show, the character has one of the most annoying, high-pitched voices I have ever heard - I kept hoping that the actress was altering her voice in some way and that she doesn't really sound that way. In addition, her character doesn't end up being much more than a glorified secretary and go-fer, who moons after Felger (for no reason understandable to me).

Felger comes up with the idea of a computer virus, called Avenger 2.0, that can be uploaded into a stargate's dialing computer and then scrambles the meaning of the gate symbols so that the stargate cannot be used. Carter is impressed enough with the idea that she sells it to Hammond, who assigns Carter to work with Felger to see the project through.

This leads to a scene at Felger's apartment that is annoying to me on many levels. First, Carter drops by Felger's apartment unannounced, because she was "in the neighborhood". What - she knows where Felger lives? It's pretty rude to visit a coworker (but not a friend) after hours without calling them up ahead of time. We are then supposed to find the disarray of Felger's apartment funny - but how many of us keep our places company-ready at all times?

I will say that someone really did their homework on adding the geeky touches, though. Felger is working on painting miniatures of the stargate and various people, which one imagines are SG-1 and himself. He also has action-figure dolls, one of which is suspiciously blonde and female. Where does he buy this stuff, for a top-secret project?

Felger, Carter, and Chloe collaborate and get the virus working, and then do computer simulations on its effects. Where is the rest of SG-1? Daniel is off-world helping a community relocate since the orbit of its current plant is de-stabilizing. The resulting stresses from tidal forces is creating earthquakes and flooding on the planet. This is a very believable project for Daniel to be working on. O'Neill and Teal'c are off-world, trying to negotiate between various rebel Jaffa leaders who all have different ideas of how the rebellion should be run. This is a great thing to mention - the idea that the Jaffa rebellion is on-going and not always going smoothly is good to hear about.

Once Carter feels the virus is ready, she asks Hammond for permission to test it on a stargate on one of Baal's key planets. He gives the go-ahead. Somehow jumping into this kind of testing seems very rushed. I'm not sure what kind of test could be done that is between computer simulations and this test, but it seems like there should be something. After all, how many of their projects actually do work right the first time?

The virus appears successful initially, as the targeted gate can no longer dial out. But then it appears to spread to neighboring gates, even though it was not programmed to do so. Hammond orders the recall of all teams, but only a few get back before the entire stargate system is infected. I can only imagine the Asgard somewhere shaking their heads at the actions of the rash and ignorant humans, again.

Of course, Daniel, O'Neill, and Teal'c are stranded off-world. The SGC's stargate is still working (since it doesn't have a DHD, but a home-built dialing system instead), so the SGC can communicate with them. Daniel and his refugees are on the verge of being flooded out. As for O'Neill and Teal'c: in typical Jaffa style, once the stargate on the planet they are on quit working, they all accused each other of sabotaging it and began fighting.

At this point, Felger crumbles. Carter calmly focused on what could be done: getting as many off-world teams home as possible. Felger can think of nothing except how to deflect any blame. However, he does realize that he is responsible, even if the virus did somehow exceed his programming. In a scene that almost makes him sympathetic, he tells his mother in a phone conversation that he really screwed up this time.

Felger and Carter devise an anti-virus, which they upload to the original test stargate. However, it doesn't work. Felger flees the base, and only returns when Carter tracks him down.

Felger and Carter realize they can upload an anti-virus that will work, but they have to go and upload it in person to the test gate on Baal's planet. Hammond gives the OK for the two of them to proceed. I did like that Carter was trusted to be not only intelligent enough, but also capable enough in a military sense, that Hammond felt that she could do the mission without backup (other than Felger). Of course, had the rest of SG-1 been there, I'm sure they would have gone with her.

Once on Baal's planet, Felger realizes that his original virus, Avenger 2.0, has been altered, presumably by Baal. Carter surmises that Baal realized taking down the gate system would be to his advantage, since he has the largest fleet, so he took the virus and altered it to spread throughout the network. So, Felger is off the hook for the original scenario. This also establishes Baal as being somewhat more knowledgeable about how the stargate works that the typical Goa'uld.

As Baal's Jaffa attack and Carter fends them off, Felger tries to apply his anti-virus to the stargate. O'Neill and Teal'c miraculously arrive to save the day in a new al'kesh. It's not clear how they acquired it - O'Neill says they got tired of waiting (for the gate to work again). Did they win it from some bored Jaffa at poker? Does it permanently belong to Earth now? At any rate, Felger finishes with the anti-virus, and the stargate network is restored.

What is the result? Carter and Felger clearly state that not only is the gate network restored, but that a "patch" was included that will prevent anyone else from trying that trick again. That's a nice bit of ass-covering, or else any Goa'uld with a little know-how could take down the gate network. It's a nice touch that O'Neill made Carter promise not to tell Hammond about the new al'kesh so that it could be a surprise.

So what did I dislike so much about the show? The character of Felger was obviously supposed to be a stereotypical geek: really smart, but no common sense, no fashion sense, and no sense of how to deal with women. While some mild ribbing along these lines can be funny, these traits of his were carried to such extremes that I found them unbelievable and insulting to all the "geeks" that he was supposed to represent.

The final scene of the show had the last insult. In fantasy scene (paralleling the last scene in "The Other Guys"), Felger imagines Chloe falling for him, and then Carter and O'Neill walking in; Carter becomes jealous and proceeds to start a knock-down-drag-out fight with Chloe while Felger and O'Neill watch. I realize this is a fantasy scene, but it's completely degrading to the women. It's also insulting to think that O'Neill would happily watch such a scene, although I realized this was because Felger was imagining that he and O'Neill were so similar their reactions would be the same.

Did any good come from the show? The SGC got an al'kesh. They failed to learn the value of not messing with what they don't understand - I would think some of their allies would be pretty miffed at having the gate network offline for so long, not to mention the unknown number of lives that were jeopardized. We really, really, really learned that Felger is a complete screw-up. Will he remain at the SGC? I really hope not.

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