Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 8: "Covenant"

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Episode Information

Title: "Covenant"
Story by: Ron Wilkerson
Teleplay by: Ron Wilkerson and Robert C. Cooper
Director: Martin Wood
Rating (out of 4 stars): **1/2
Reviewed on: August 3, 2007

Synopsis from GateWorld


This episode did have some excitement and a bit of an outsider's point of view, but it also felt a little muddled.

Alec Colson is a multibillionaire who is also head of a large company that is involved in aerospace technology and many other fields. He arranges a press conference to announce that he has proof that aliens exist, have been visiting Earth, and that the government of the USA, plus those of other countries, has been covering it up. He gives the government 24 hours to come forward and admit the truth.

Colson's company built some of the components for the F-302s, so Carter got to work with him a little bit. She and Daniel are sent to try to convince Colson not to reveal any more, as well as to try to find out what evidence Colson actually has. A number of Colson's company's satellites took images of Anubis's fleet during the attack at the end of last season ("Lost City, Part 1" and "Lost City, Part 2"). Carter is unsuccessful in convincing him to be quiet. Colson believes extremely strongly that the government should not keep secrets from the public, and he's basically on a crusade, now that he knows the truth.

At Colson's next press conference, he not only reveals the satellite images, but he also brings forward a living Asgard. Needless to say, the press and the public are stunned, as is the SGC. Carter and Daniel do some quick research and realize that one of Colson's companies was given Asgard DNA to analyze in the hopes of helping the Asgard with their cloning problems. (They were not told it was alien DNA.) Apparently they kept some of the DNA and clone an Asgard. However, the Asgard clone does not have a consciousness, since the Asgard have designed their bodies to by empty so a dying Asgard's consciousness can be put into them.

At this point, Colson is clearly revealing too much to the public, in the opinion of not only the SGC (and the government), but also the Trust, which is the reformed organization of rogue NID elements. Several actions are taken. Carter does a TV interview where she demonstrates how advanced holographic technology can be used to create the image of an alien, thereby implying that Colson's alien was a fake. Meanwhile, O'Neill contacts the Asgard and gets them to beam up Colson's alien and all associated research, thereby removing Colson's most compelling proof. The Trust, however, takes a more direct approach: they sabotage Colson's airplane, and Colson and his assistants barely manage to land safely. Colson has suspicions that the government was behind this attempt on his life, but Carter tries to convince him that is not the case.

Carter pleads with O'Neill to trust Colson and bring him into their confidence, showing him the whole SGC program. The hope is that if he knows the whole truth, including the enemies they have, he will agree to be quiet. The President agrees, and Carter gives Colson a tour of the SGC, then takes him on a trip to the Alpha Site. She even takes him on a flight in an F-302, since he is a test pilot himself. She tells him about the Trust and their attempts to stop it. As a last effort, she tells him about the events in "Icon", where the revelation of the stargate to the public caused world war. Even after all this, Colson is still convinced that all of these secrets should be revealed.

But when Colson and Carter return to Earth, they find that the situation has changed. Colson's companies are being investigated for financial fraud. Colson's main assistant, Vogler, who has been a life-long friend, admits that he has been cooking the books to keep the company afloat. Vogler had been very vocally against Colson's intentions to reveal knowledge of aliens to the public, and with Carter's probing, they realize why: Vogler has been an agent of the Trust for six months or so. The Trust has been using him to try to keep Colson in check, unsuccessfully. Now, the company is ruined and Colson and Vogler face imprisonment if convicted of this fraud.

Carter and Colson devise a plan to use Vogler to try to take down the Trust. But Vogler is too worried about the possible consequences to his family, and so kills himself. Colson is left without options: his plan to reveal the truth about the SGC is hopeless since he has been discredited, and he faces a trial and possibly prison. Carter convinces him to "disappear", with the government's help, and go to the Alpha Site to help them. He agrees.

Some character comments first. It was nice continuity to see the reporter Julia Donovan again (she was abducted in season 6's "Prometheus"), and very in character for her to remind Carter that she's supposed to get the big story when the stargate program is revealed. It was also good continuity and in character for the reporter Emmett Bregman (from last season's "Heroes, Part 1" and "Heroes, Part 2") to try to get in on any action.

Carter was obviously very conflicted in this episode. She clearly respected Colson enormously, and was very uncomfortable discrediting him on television. Her side of that interview was very clever, because as Colson noted, she did not lie at all. She used misdirection and viewers' assumptions to make the case she wanted. This not only helps her moral qualms, but it's smart planning on behalf of the SGC for when the stargate program really is revealed: they never lied.

I found Colson to be a little too focused on his goal of total revelation. He almost seemed monomaniacal. He is obviously an extremely intelligent person, so it seems hard to believe that he cannot agree with any of the reasons that Carter presented for keeping the program secret. He didn't seem to see any problem with dumping all of this information on the public suddenly. Heck, at least try for a gradual release plan to give people time to adjust! In the end, while I can appreciate the point of view that the government shouldn't be keeping secrets, he was far too zealous for me to agree with him.

Now, on to the Trust. This the second episode in a row where they've done some damage, accomplished what they wanted (most of it, at least), and then disappeared. The SGC really needs to do something about them. What are their current goals, anyway?

Other than making the Trust seem even more powerful, I'm not sure what this episode accomplished. It was a bit of a tease, making it seem that the stargate program was going to be revealed - oh, but maybe not. However, a lot of images got a lot of publicity, and even with the discrediting of Colson, they will be hard to bury. Conspiracy theorists and alien groupies will thrive on the stuff, and Colson's subsequent disappearance will just throw fuel on the fire. But, there was no real progress for any of the SGC's goals, nor any significant developments for the characters.

At this point, it's becoming very hard to believe the stargate program can successfully be hidden for much longer. Heck, I was thinking about how many people legitimately know about the program, and it's adding up. There are all the military service people over the past 8 years, at least. These people will have been cycled through over this time, so there are a significant number of them. Plus, there are additional military people and scientists at the Alpha Site, Area 51, and other facilities. There are government people, such as Woolsey, who know. In addition, there are the incidental people, like the reporters, who have been told. I'm starting to wonder if the government's plan is to gradually reach a critical mass of people who know about the program, so that it can be revealed with little effect!

Finally, what "convenant" did the episode's title refer to? The idea that the government shouldn't keep secrets? Maybe I missed something.

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