Thursday, July 14, 2011

Parallel Episodes: It's Alive!

It's never been alive on your world before. It never occurred to you to check and see if it wasn't exactly the same as it's counterpart. Why would you ask the ground if it minds being stepped on? Why would you question your right to eat a tomato? And yet, this is scifi, and you never know.

Today's parallel episodes are Watergate from Stargate; SG-1, and 42 from Doctor Who. Before I proceed any further I simply must point out the interesting coincidence that both episode titles rhyme with the show title. Try it. "Watergate - Stargate, 42 - Doctor Who." Fascinating. 


The TARDIS is thrown off course in response to a distress signal and ends up somewhere in the farthest parts of a cargo ship. Turns out the cargo ship is a sort of illegal fuel harvester, the engines have been sabotaged, and they're heading straight for a nearby sun. The title comes from the fact that they have only 42 minutes before impact with the sun.

Well, around 32 minutes into this the Doctor has to go outside the space ship and comes back in genuinely terrified. The ship had been harvesting hydrogen from the sun, but guess what? The sun was alive. It's a life form, and they'd hurt it, and it wanted vengeance. Cue all kinds of terrible things to happen for the remaining 12 minutes of the show.


 The Americans are always our heroes, and they just aren't quite stupid enough for this to happen to them, so suddenly the Russians have a Stargate of their own! And of course, they're the Russians, and they don't know anything, so they call in SG-1 to help them when their gate gets stuck open.  They'd found a world that's completely underwater and had build a submarine to explore it, and had brought back a sample of the water for analysis.

When SG-1 arrives on the scene the sample has gone missing and everyone in the base is dead. So they take the sub and go to explore the world to find out why the gate won't close. They get very stuck. Because guess what? The water is alive. The Russians took a sample away, but it's a life form and they hurt it. It wants the sample back, and it holds the sub as hostage until it's returned.

The Parallel: Is it also a coincidence that they deal with Fire and Water? So, in both episodes we had a large, usually non-sentient life form that had part of it taken away and wanted it back. In both there are lives at stake, and in both it happened through an act of stupidity on the part of people who aren't main characters.

What did we learn from these two episodes? Always scan for life before taking anything away from a large usually non-sentient body. As for which one I liked better, it would have to be 42. Because Doctor Who is awesome that way. And a raging sun is a lot more terrifying than relentlessly crushing water.

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