Suzanne (suzannemarie) wrote in sg1_solutions,

DVD Commentary - Reckoning Part I

I resume a personal saga with the dvd commentary for Reckoning Part I.

Peter DeLuise introduces himself as the director of the episode. Gary Jones introduces himself as the technician, now known as Walter Harriman. (GJ is not listed on the dvd menu screen as a commentator, so the sound of his voice is either a delightful surprise or a heartsinking moment. Depending upon your point of view.) PDL and GJ entertain themselves discussing the various names that GJ’s character has had.

PDL refers to the beginning of the episode as a cold opening. We don’t really know where we are, just a stock shot of a ship pulling into a space station. GJ jokes that it’s a shot of RDA flying home. “To his house in Malibu,” PDL contributes.

PDL describes to the actress playing Ba’al’s representative as wonderful. He goes on to talk about how she’s wearing a barely there dress that’s essentially held together and held on her with sticky tape. He stumbles over his words a bit. GJ calls him being rendered speechless by the dress. This leads to some fun with stilted half formed sentences.

PDL mentions that we know from previous story arcs that there is a different Carter that Fifth has created, but that we don’t suspect yet that the Carter that shows up on screen is not our Carter. PDL: “Or should I say my Carter. Because I directed this. I own her. I can tell her-- Like it was my suggestion that she be pushed to her knees. I was drunk with power that day!” [heh]

PDL tells us that the set is the back of the ubiquitous cargo ship that has gotten so much use over the years.

RepliCarter stabs Yu with her hand-morphed-into-a-sword. PDL and GJ agree that Yu will be feeling that for weeks. The shot goes into slow motion. PDL: “You don’t want to mess with Amanda when she has a blade.” He goes into infomercial mode saying that they’re self-sharpening knives. “How much would you pay? But wait! There’s more!”

Our commenters are silent through the theme. Once GJ’s name comes up in the credits, PDL notes that he has a shared title card with Samantha Banton. “What’s up with that?” he wonders. GJ comments that they do that occasionally depending upon the number of guest stars. PDL wants to know how GJ’s agent allowed that, given GJ’s regular appearances. PDL presses the issue, kidding about how Mel Harris gets a “and Mel Harris” and she’s only appeared on the show a couple of times. GJ explains for the audience that he often gets his own title card (meaning that his name appears by itself) if he’s got more to do in the episode. For some reason, somehow, the conversation morphs into GJ wearing the flight suits and the revealing nature of such flight suits. And that’s really enough said about that.

PDL notes that Isaac Hayes also gets his own title card. GJ notes how long the credits go. You’re getting into the show and all of the sudden Isaac Hayes’s name pops up on the screen. “Isaac Hayes!” PDL comments that we should all know who Isaac Hayes is. He lauds him as the singer of “Shaft,” and Chef from South Park. PDL pauses to note that his own title card (one of them) has appeared onscreen. They have some fun with the term supervising producer.

PDL tells us that the space that Sam, Daniel, Teal’c, and Bra’tac are walking through is the exact same space that we saw Yu being offed in earlier. We get a POV of replicator bugs. PDL refers to it as what he sees when he wakes up in the morning.

After a bit of silence PDL identifies the room that Jack and Jacob are in as an alternate computer/control room. The space is also used for the VIP room or jail cells. GJ says something that I can’t quite make out, which leads PDL to bring up the shared title card again. GJ is not unhappy since the check didn’t bounce. There’s some banter about GJ being the one and only technician, like Highlander. GJ wants to know if that means he should behead all other technicians. PDL advises against it.

GJ refers back to the stock shot of Cheyenne Mountain and talks about reading an article that cited the location as the most heavily guarded place in North America. PDL is surprised. “More than Area 51? …And they let us film there.”

PDL makes a joke about some dots on a computer screen corresponding with marks on a part of his anatomy. GJ comments that that’s the kind of thing fans love. PDL says he’s sure they’ll never hear it because the lawyers will cut that right out of the commentary. Sadly, he’s mistaken about that. Stupid lawyers.

GJ wants to know why people are never wet when they come through the puddle. PDL says that if they were wet on the other side, they’d be wet when they came through. If they were under water on the other side, the water would not come through but the people would be wet when they rematerialize. GJ: “And yet it’s a puddle.”

PDL refers to the rare treat of having both Tony [Amendola] and Carmen [Argenziano] in the same episode.

PDL asks if GJ had been in any previous replicator episodes. GJ doesn’t think so. But they do talk about him getting to fire a machine gun way back in There But for the Grace of God. PDL says that that episode title sealed the fate of all episode titles that followed. They were condemned to be only one or two words.

We see another stock shot of Cheyenne Mountain, with two men guarding the most heavily guarded location in North America. PDL says that Brad Wright always does voices of the men on guard duty whenever he sees it. “Hey, they don’t even know we’re out here do they? You wanna go for a sandwich?” PDL goes on to talk about a different stock shot of a soldier that we often see, with commentary about the way that he holds his rifle.

PDL tells about how Martin Wood spending a weekend shooting all of the stock footage, getting daytime, nighttime, and all kinds of angles. They’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of those shots. GJ says MW is perfect for that sort of stuff. PDL tells a story of MW and BW being invited for a ride along in the jets. They went through all the intro stuff, put on the gravity suits, etc. MW’s plane conked out mid-flight. The pilot had to go through a whole checklist of items to get back on track. He had MW take the stick while he did that. GJ asks if he’s serious. PDL assures him that it’s absolutely true. And that MW was videotaping the whole time. One hand on the stick, one hand with the camera. “That’s how cool, calm, and collected Martin is.” [wow]

PDL is beginning to speak about Sam and Jack, when GJ announces that his own appearance onscreen is imminent. Thor beams Sam out, just as Walter is telling Jack that Thor is preparing to do that. PDL tells GJ that his line read was a single card line read for sure.

PDL reminds us that Michael Shanks does the voice of Thor. He also mentions that he [PDL] will be doing the voice of a different Asgard, Hermiod, for Atlantis. He talks about watching MS do the voice of Thor for the video game and seeing what he was doing as far as an accent. He says that the very first time MS voiced the character he talked really slow, not realizing that the character was going to come back. Once he did, he decided that he was going to have to speed things up.

GJ wants to know why Chris Judge has hair now. PDL says that he’s been lobbying heavily for facial hair or head hair since season two. Like a ritual. Every year he comes in with a full ‘fro, walks into BW’s office saying “come on.” The first year that BW went on hiatus--he interrupts himself to say that BW may have approved the chin caterpillar--CJ was so gung ho to have something. They all tolerated the chin thing for a few episodes until even he realized it was an unfortunate choice and it came right off. Finally in season 8 he was allowed to grow hair. “And that’s how you know it’s season 8.”

The back and forth about the hair leads PDL to talk about his father referring to Teal’c’s tattoo the Mercedes emblem on his head. PDL goes through explaining to his dad what the tattoo is and how the character goes about getting it (cutting into the head and then pouring gold into the cut).

PDL points out CJ’s younger brother Jeff Judge. Then he points out the Isaac Hayes. He says that of all the famous people they’ve had on the show Isaac Hayes was the most beloved. All of the teamsters, everyone wanted his autograph.

GJ verifies that Jeff Judge is CJ’s brother. PDL: “His younger bigger brother. His pipes are even bigger than Chris’s if you can believe it.”

PDL tells us that the scene we’re watching, while set among tents outside, was actually shot on an interior set. He says that they use that same set later as a stand in for Abydos when RepliCarter is torturing Daniel. They use the tent, a bunch of sand, a lot of crates, and some tarp. GJ: “It’s like you’re on a loading dock.”

PDL: Yeah. But it looks fine.

PDL talks about the scene that we’re watching being a huge one for Isaac Hayes. He says normally he says things like “hello children,” and then he’s done. In this one he had a lot to say, that was mostly gibberish that he’s not used to saying. PDL says that he started feeling guilty after awhile that the dialog was kind of hard. But he was talking to a friend of IH’s who was on the set, who said that he loves the show and watches it all the time. PDL sounds so excited by that. “Isaac Hayes is a fan of the show!” GJ asks if he’ll be back. PDL says that there’s a lot of Jaffa politics in season 9, so, maybe.

GJ says he’d like season 9 to have a lot of Technician in it. Somehow that segues into PDL bringing up the title card again. Which prompts GJ to say that he’s getting a pace card. This allows him drive onto the lot without stopping. PDL wants to know if he’s getting a parking spot too. GJ says no. PDL says that the pace card is a big deal. He talks about Wormhole X-Treme and the lot with a kiosk we see in that episode. There are two lanes: the left one that visitors have to check in at, and the one where people with cards can just zip on through.

GJ appears onscreen and he remembers that this is the episode where he talks to Ba’al. PDL tells him that doesn’t happen until the next episode. GJ wants tell PDL about something, but PDL wants to finish up about the pace cards first. So he explains about swiping in with your card and going on your way. Happy talk ensues about driving onto the lot with pace cards.

Now PDL invites GJ to tell the story that he wanted to tell. GJ explains that he spends time on a message board. He references a scene where Walter has to kind of chat Ba’al up because they were waiting for O’Neill to show up. A fan asked him what Walter was going to ask Ba’al when he got interrupted. PDL had instructed him to be doing awkward small talk of the “so... how was your flight?” variety. They talk about how much they enjoyed playing that angle up. They’re both sort of pleased that a fan was engaged enough to want to know what Walter was going to ask.

PDL says that he likes to try to put a little bit of comedy into things. About 51% of the time he gets in trouble for it. GJ asks if he has to go to the “how come room.” He then instructs PDL to tell people about the how come room.

PDL: There’s a room called the How Come Room. And if you do something that is questionable, you have to go to the room and be asked “how come?”
GJ: You know what’s funny? I thought you were the only person to use that term. I was on a shoot recently with Andy Mikita and he said--he made reference to a scene we were shooting and he said-- “you know, it’s got to come across this way because I don’t want to spend any time in the How Come Room. I go “are you serious.” He said “oh yeah. It’s like a thing.”
PDL: It is a thing.

PDL explains that Andy Mikita and Andy Wilson used to shoot all of the B footage. They refer to themselves--since they’re both named Andy--as A squared. AW was the first person that PDL heard use the phrase “how come room.” Mikita undoubtedly picked it up from Wilson since they’re so close. PDL credits Wilson as the originator of the expression.

They talk about how there are any number of ways that a director may choose to shoot a scene. PDL breaks down the particular sequence that we’re watching as an “over” which creates the geographic relationship to the people in the scene. From there, he says, it’s a matter of shooting close-ups and as long as they’re looking in the proper direction, everything’s fine. He refers to it as a simple, non-risk taking way of shooting a show. “There’s tension, you push in, you leave the scene.” GJ refers to it as being inherently what people are used to seeing. People know when the scene is going to cut away.

PDL: Well, yes, but. Brad Wright just told me a story that his ten year old daughter went “it’s kind of boring. They just… and then they push in at the end.” She got it.
GJ: She said that?
PDL: Well she knew. Because she saw this reoccurring theme that was going over and over. Yeah, exactly right. Visually it’s repetitive and it gets boring.
GJ: Are you telling me that Brad Wright’s ten year old daughter took him to the How Come Room?
PDL: In a manner of speaking, yes. ...So we’ve got to mix it up. So I’ll experiment with something that’s off axis [He’s referring to Teal’c and Bra’tac. Off axis means that we don’t see both of their eyes.]
GJ: But there’s a fine line between taking risks and doing something so weird that it takes away from the story.
PDL: Yes. If you distract the audience into thinking or saying “what a great shot!” then they’re certainly not thinking about the story. And we don’t want to do that. It’s all about trying to tell the story.
GJ: But after nine years, you want to push the envelope.
PDL: You do want to push the envelope. And yet, Gary, there are house payments and car payments...

Mel Harris appears on screen and PDL refers to watching an artist. He then proceeds to have some invented dialog involving thirtysomething.

PDL identifies Dean Aylesworth as playing the part of Anubis’s host body. They make some jokes about the sores all over his face. PDL hopes Robert Cooper was pleased with the shot, saying there were others that they could have used.

They engage in a little bit MST3K-ing the soldiers pacing in the Cheyenne Mountain establishing shot.

They admire AT in her tank top. PDL goes on to admit that he’s gotten a lot of letters suggesting that he stop referring to AT’s doe eyes. And requests that he cut out the poo cramp references as well. He says that he does commentaries months apart and doesn’t always remember that he’s mentioned stuff before. [He really is a pretty good sport about the whole thing.] I’m not sure why the reference to the tank top led to that but somehow it did. He gets back to AT in that tank top, saying that guys like it. “That whole I’m so frail and fragile take me thing? That doesn’t... we like girls who can beat us up but choose not to.” [heh]

PDL says that Mel Harris was really only with them for a couple of days to do her stuff for Reckoning and Threads. PDL sidetracks to say that the diner in Threads was a set for Dead Like Me. He gets back to a story about MH wearing such heavy robes for her scenes in Reckoning that it was very warm for her. So she would hike the robes up between takes to become more comfortable. GJ feels it’s a little anti-climactic to learn that she was wearing shorts underneath the robes.

Chris Judge and Jeff Judge both come on screen at the same time. GJ refers to them as the pipes brothers. He then mentions that AT’s husband Alan also has some pipes (well muscled arms). And that Alan appeared in Changeling as a firefighter.

PDL refers to Rik Kiviaho as the new host body for Anubis. He’s someone that PDL worked with on Andromeda.

PDL says that Cliff Simon has a South African accent that you can’t hear very well when the voice is phlanged. He goes on to say that Peter Williams (Apophis) has a thick Jamaican accent which you can’t tell when the voice is phlanged. GJ says that you can tell when he’s spinning records at a convention: “how come you’re not out dancing mon?”

PDL talks about how we’re at the part where we sense that things with Oma aren’t quite what they seem. GJ asks if it’s when we see her become Carter.
PDL: No. We sense that something was wrong.

PDL: Look at her eyes! I’m not going to say that they’re big doe eyes. But they’re glassed over. She’s robot girl.

We have a scene between Thor and Sam which PDL says was actually directed by Andy Mikita. He says it’s fairly common when one director is busy with other scenes to have another sub in to do a segment or two.

PDL loves the bit where Sam is aboard Thor’s ship and then is in Jack’s office mid-stride and mid-sentence. PDL says that the second part was shot first. He’s really pleased with how it came out. He says that AT was great at getting it done. GJ wants to know when she’s not.
PDL: Pretty much never.

Back on Dakara, GJ wants to know how two brothers can look like that (Chris and Jeff Judge). PDL says that for a long time CJ worked out to get to the size he is. He does a maintenance routine and sticks to strict dietary regimen. He compliments him for that, saying that, as he knows all too well, it’s very easy to take too much advantage of the access to the craft services table that’s available all day.

Isaac Hayes makes his reappearance. PDL says we see him already at the bottom of the stairs because he thought it looked undignified to have him clomp down the steps.

They have a discussion of the vices and temptations attached to the craft service table. Frankly, it makes me hungry.

We get the “so...uh” scene between Ba’al and Walter. PDL loves that fans where interested to know what Walter was about to say when Jack finally entered the room. PDL says that he went to the How Come Room over part of that scene. There was a bit of Walter looking at Siler and trading shrugs and “I don’t knows” and then looking at someone on his left and doing the same thing. It was too much, PDL says, of him trying to make it funny and it didn’t need that additional visual. GJ says that main question is whether he [GJ] got in trouble. PDL says he took the rap for everyone, and he says that Robert Cooper was right to call that bit out.

GJ reads “Yu the Great” in the closing credits. This leads PDL on a bit about how the Yu/You jokes would start up every single time his name came up. “Thank God that character got killed in this episode so we never have to deal with that again.”

The credits are rapidly coming to a close, so PDL hurriedly thanks us for listening. He admits that they didn’t pay attention to the episode very much and blames it on being drunk and/or not in their right heads.

I would estimate that maybe somewhere around 10-20% of the commentary actually pertains to the episode their commenting for. It’s a little frustrating for your recapper. There are, however, one or two interesting tidbits buried within the commentary. Reckoning Part II will probably be coming in the near future. Fair warning, as I recall, that commentary really frustrated me.
Tags: dvd commentaries, sg-1: season 08

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