Stargate SG-1 season 8

I won’t be giving the same attention to reviews for this season, because as previously mentioned, the entire season is really more SG-1: Coda than a main SG-1 season.  In fairness to the cast and crew as well, in this season they not only have a reduced budget and changed character mix, but they’re also doing full simultaneous production of Stargate: Atlantis.  As well, Richard Dean Anderson was only working 3.5 days a week instead of 5.  With less money, a changed cast and their attention elsewhere, season 8 is just kind of an awkward caboose stuck on seasons 1-7.

Having basically completed their story arc in the previous season, they’re kind of lost for something to do.  Basically the Replicators, Ba’al and Anubis continue as enemies.  The Trust (NID version 2) shows up, inevitably in bad episodes.

Honestly, you’re better off ending at 7×15.  Only watch this season if you really can’t let the characters go, but be aware it is a very diminished SG-1.  The team going through the Stargate together and having an adventure on an unexplored planet is over.

If you want a reasonable plot with action and a (re)conclusion to the series, just watch 8×16 through 8×20.

The terrible photoshop for the DVD cover strikes Teal’c, again.

8×01 – New Order, Part 1 – skip

This is just all positioning, with (new actress) Dr. Weir.  It doesn’t make sense for the Goa’uld to come to Earth, but in the real world of making the show, using the base set is much cheaper than doing a different set or shooting on-location.

A good scene between Carter and Teal’c addressing the reality of trying to bring more character life into the show – Carter has to abandon Pete all the time, sometimes for likely suicide missions, and Rya’c and Bra’tac basically just do their things in the background.

Dr. Weir has a satchel behind her desk.

I guess the large black watch that Daniel very prominently puts on is the new GDO?

8×02 – New Order, Part 2 – watch

This is a reasonably entertaining episode, as usual enlivened by Jack.

Another take on the impossibility of Carter just settling down and living a happy life with Pete somewhere.

Seems rather unlikely Camulus would ask for asylum but this is necessary to set up future episodes.

Sets up the Replicator arc.

Unfortunate that Hammond isn’t present to do a full farewell to the team.

Ridiculous as usual that they do ceremonies right in front of the gate, where an incoming wormhole would vapourize them.

Dr. Weir has a satchel on her desk.

8×03 – Lockdown – skip

This episode shows the problems of the constraints of just using the base set (and Jack no longer going on missions).  There aren’t actually that many things you can do entirely on the base – it’s pretty much only foothold + selfdestruct, every time.  There’s only so many times you can tell that same story.

The actor who played 1969 Hammond shows up as an SGC airman.

As far as I know, planet KS7-535 is the only time we ever hear of an alphanumeric planetary designation that doesn’t start with a ‘P’.

8×04 – Zero Hour – watch

This is ok, it’s reasonably amusing as one would expect for an episode centred around O’Neill.  It’s the first episode where we see Harriman in his role as O’Neill’s aide (which is a pretty cool role for Richard Dean Anderson to give to the actor, after 7 years of reliability as a secondary character).  Filmed mostly on base set to save money.  It is about the only other mostly-base-set kind of episode they can do (negotiations plus focus on “days in the life of the base”).

If you want more details, see Wikipedia – Zero Hour.

8×05 – Icon – watch

This is ok, but a standalone episode.  It’s one of the most emotionally complex episodes, and with an unusual narrative structure (mostly telling the story in flashback, for a while).  It’s also one of the few episodes where the team (and Daniel Jackson in particular) directly kills humans.

8×06 – Avatar – watch

Also ok, also a standalone episode.  I had thought there were a limited number of ways in which they could save money by using the base, but I hadn’t imagined the virtual reality foothold situation.

It of course makes no sense to connect people to a simulator that can cause brain damage if shut down.

The plot is more or less Edge of Tomorrow (2014) except Stargate did it in 2004.  There are also very explicit references to the videogame nature of the narrative (unlike in Edge of Tomorrow).

8×07 – Affinity – skip?

Another standalone episode. It starts off ok, basically a meditation on the fact the characters are all trapped in the SG-1 narrative.  They are all superheros (as Pete explicitly mentions in this episode) with all of the associated danger for themselves but more importantly for anyone they come in contact with.

Teal’c moves off-base after seven years and it doesn’t work.

Sam says yes to Pete’s proposal of marriage, but we are well aware of all the challenges they face in having a relationship.

Goes from a day-in-the-life episode about the challenges of SG-1 in the outside world when they’re not being SG-1, to a rather dark place.

The Trust (basically NID version 2) which is always a bad sign.  Warehouses, skullduggery.

It seems unlikely that Teal’c would have such good driving skills.

The girl seems remarkably blithe about what she has just done.

8×08 – Covenant – SKIP

It’s just bad.  All interiors.  Bizarre over-acting emotional scene near the end, followed by very dark ending.  The Trust (NID version 2), as always a sign of a terrible episode.

8×09 – Sacrifices – skip

Another episode written by Christopher Judge, with Jolene Blaylock again.  (It’s the fourth episode he wrote.)

Horses in Stargate Command.

Rya’c has a satchel, Ishta has a satchel, lots of people have satchels.

8×10 – Endgame – SKIP

The Trust.  Warehouse.  Cayman Island bank account.  Glowing blue liquid.  Millions killed to make a plot point.


8×11 – Gemini – skip unless you really like Amanda Tapping

Basically the start of the (short) Replicarter arc.

Once again the budget constraints drive plot decisions that make no sense.  You invite the killer robot to the Alpha site?

Plus which Teal’c would have disintegrated Replicarter before she could touch Carter.

This season is very big on having imaginary scenarios in SGC where various characters get shot (another aspect of the budget cuts).

They also cheap out by not having Carter in the same room as Replicarter for a while, and by not showing bullet damage to Replicarter.

Vaguely interesting to see Tapping play against character.  Not bad plot twist.

Some strange thing going on with sleeveless outfits, which I don’t think Carter has ever worn before.  First Carter and then even more oddly Replicarter, who doesn’t actually have clothes, but nevertheless remodels her external appearance for no discernible reason.

8×12 – Prometheus Unbound – SKIP

Vala Maldoran.  Could be thought of as a prequel to season 9.  Creepy inappropriate character.

Unsuccessful attempts at comedy including ridiculously awkward scientist.

Even the presence of General Hammond can’t rescue this episode.

Does raise the question of why SG-1 never uses the supersoldier suit.

8×13 – It’s Good to be King – skip

Comedy episode with return of Harry Maybourne.

Harmless but no point in watching.  Makes no sense they would send the entire team while there is a giant war underway.

The main purpose of this episode is to introduce the Time Jumper, a time machine which will be used later in the season.

8×14 – Full Alert – SKIP

The Trust.  Stuff happens on Earth.  Kinsey.  All signs of a bad episode.  And indeed the episode is terrible.

8×15 – Citizen Joe – clip show – SKIP

Standalone comedy episode.  A clip show.  Basically a bit Martin Lloyd all over again.  Unfortunately in the attempt to poke fun at themselves, they diminish some important and poignant moments in the show.

8×16/8×17 – Reckoning – watch

The actual plot of the entire season is all packed into these two episodes and the secondary conclusion in 8×18.

It’s an exciting season finale.  It’s well-done.  Daniel vs. Replicarter is particularly good.

Is it an awkward way to (re)-end the Goa’uld arc?  Yes.  As Master Bra’tac says, “years of effort, all but undone in a matter of days”.  The elaborate stepwise Goa’uld domino effect turns into a particularly ignoble end for Lord Yu followed by a Replicator wave.  But what can you do when you’ve already ended the series and the arc in the previous season?

Jack mentions they have a time machine (it was acquired in 8×13).

8×18 – Threads – watch

Essentially the (second) series finale.

If you’re a fan of JackSam, then this is a pretty clean ending to the series.  If you are not, then not so much.

The Daniel/Oma/Anubis arc is cleanly closed, with the diner being a nice approach and the conclusion signaled but unexpected.

The focus on JackSam leaves Teal’c and Master Bra’tac quite ill-served.  This is their moment of triumph.  While neither is big on emoting, they could have cut a JackSam scene and put in a scene of Teal’c and Bra’tac looking back on how far they have come in their long lives, hailing the fall of the false gods and the rise of the Free Jaffa.

The closure of the Jacob/Selmak is good and appropriate to give an overall sense of finality to the episode, except for the parts where it intersects with the Jack/Sam plotline.

If you’re on Team Pete, as I am, this is a disappointing episode.  If you’re on Team Jack, then probably you like how it goes, although it doesn’t take things all the way to the logical solution.  I hadn’t remembered just how very much of the episode was Jack/Sam.

The closing scene with the SG-1 team safe and hanging out together fishing in Jack’s fishless pond is a good and satisfying conclusion to the giant 8 year SG-1 arc.

8×19/8×20 – Moebius – watch

Comedy echo-ending of the series.

Another arc closes as befits the finality of this ending, although one wonders where Ernest is and why Daniel is totally dry when everyone else has an umbrella.

More minutes than I would have expected taken getting to them to the improbable choice that leads to them being positioned in the necessary time and place.

Unlike in some previous attempts at self-satire, there is very good use of humour.

There are many many jokes in the episode that work well.  Basically there is a single off-note when AlternaJack makes a comment about AlternaDaniel, and the episodes could have done without MacKay entirely, but everything else is very well done.  I won’t touch on all the jokes or character re-appearances – if you’re a fan you will enjoy them.

I enjoyed the skill with which Tapping and Shanks stepped into their goofy alternate characters, after 8 years of their primary roles.  And it is nice to see General Hammond again.

As for the gift to Team Jack, it does actually make sense that mousey Alternate Sam would be attracted to Alternate Jack, and a reasonable amount of sense that bored and lonely retired Alternate Jack would be attracted to Alternate Sam.

I actually do sympathize with the writers’ dilemma on JackSam.  TV shows have real constraints (constraints which make them rather poor as relationship guides).  In particular, you have a main cast that you pay full-time, and then a bunch of secondary characters on contract.  Putting main characters together costs you nothing and adds minimal complexity to the show, plus it pleases some fans.  Giving main characters other relationships just introduces issues: what are you going to do with Pete?  Does he just show up sometimes?  Do you spend minutes in episodes where he doesn’t appear explaining why he’s not there?  The writers even play with this issue in 8×01 – are you going to review the current status of every fan-fave secondary character at the beginning of every episode?  What if the episode calls for Sam’s home life, or Sam in danger, and the actor who is Pete isn’t available that week?  This is why almost every long-running show tangles the main characters up in various combinations of relationships or near-relationships with one another.  Every time you match two main characters together, some fans are happy and some are dismayed.  It’s a difficult problem to solve.  I personally think they would have been better never conjuring up SamJack in the first place, or leaving it as an alternate-universe scenario.

The show made pretty good use of alternate universes, in particular making it clear the extent to which the timeline we see in Stargate SG-1 is improbable.  In almost every other timeline, Teal’c doesn’t betray Apophis and the Earth is invaded.  But that wouldn’t make for much of a show.  Fortunately, we get to see the improbable space opera.

Overall they did a solid science fiction show, with a great team dynamic, action and humour.

After this in seasons 9 and 10 it’s a different show, basically Fargate: The Ori.  I won’t be reviewing those seasons.

PREV: Stargate SG-1 season 7

Stargate SG-1 seasons 1-7: An Appreciation

I was going to continue on to review SG-1 season 8, but I decided I really have to pause and look back first.  SG-1 is actually three different shows:

Seasons 1-7 have a single big story arc, with main and supporting characters that continue through all seven seasons.

SG-1 season 8 is really SG-1: Coda.  General Hammond is mostly gone, Dr. Frasier is totally gone, Jack is in command.  It’s an echo of what 1-7 were but it no longer has the same dynamic.

SG-1 seasons 9-10 is really Stargate: The Ori, a kind of SG-1 sequel.  It’s not the same show at all.  The mythology is different (Arthurian rather than Egyptian), there are three new main characters and one new minor character, the tone is different, the enemy is different.  I won’t be reviewing seasons 9 and 10 at all for this reason.

Stargate SG-1 seasons 1-7

The series opened on July 1997 with the appearance of Apophis through the gate, and ended in March 2004 with the death* of Anubis.  The Goa’uld are basically defeated, the Replicators are defeated, Anubis is defeated.  The overall arc is the Goa’uld coming to Earth, seven years of trying to find technology and trying to keep them from attacking Earth, and a grand CGI battle finale where it turns out the weapon they needed was on Earth all along.  This is a reasonable arc particularly considering it wasn’t pre-written and pre-planned from the beginning.

The show has General Hammond as the father figure and a kind of symbol.  He represents ideals of morality, honour and self-sacrifice.  There is a reason he wears a white shirt, he is basically an embodiment of Good, in the same way that the Goa’uld are embodiments of Evil.  Hammond holds the fort while his children, if you will, go and explore.  His anxiety for them is our anxiety for them.  He keeps us grounded on Earth even as SG-1 explores the galaxy.

To a lesser but still important extent, Dr. Frasier plays a motherly role, soothing the team’s cuts and bruises when they return home.

The team of SG-1 has a really strong dynamic, with Jack bringing humour, Carter as an incredible character bringing intelligence and strength, Dr. Jackson bringing humanity and moral clarity, and Teal’c as the silent warrior.

The recurring minor characters give a sense of continuity and round out the cast.

As with all good shows, this character chemistry and continuity creates a family, a community that we want to be a part of, a place we want to visit once a week.

SG-1 does things that will never be done again.  First of all, it is a big-budget show.  Despite being considered “secondary scifi”, it had a budget of over a million dollars an episode.  This was a serious production; they spent over 150 million dollars in the first seven seasons of SG-1.  Second of all, due to the era it spanned from 1997 to 2004, almost everything in the show is real, rather than computer-generated.  This gives a very different feel to the show.  The set is real – there is a physical gateroom with a gate, facing a first level control room and an upper level briefing room attached to Hammond’s office.  When they step through the gate, they go to real locations (mostly in the woods of BC).  When they dodge explosions, they are real explosions.  The combination of set and on-location shooting with live effects give a sense of solidity and brings reality to the off-world adventures.  No one is ever going to spend this kind of money on an SF show again, and no one is ever going to build real sets and shoot on location again like they did.

They did a very difficult thing, which was maintain the show and let the characters and situations evolve over time based on each episode.  They manage the transition from early mystery to ongoing adventures with a good conclusion, a transition which both Lost and Battlestar Galactica blew completely.  They also behind-the-scenes managed to transition from Showtime to Sci Fi channel, and to keep the show on track despite the events of September 2001.

They had their mis-steps, in particularly the lost years of seasons 5 and 6, but they did get back on track for a strong finish in season 7.

Overall the show manages to be fun and interesting, and to do real world-building, where the canon of the show builds up over time and there are both standalone episodes and story-arc episodes.  SG-1 is solid science fiction.

Stargate SG-1 season 7

In this season, both Teal’c and the show get their mojo back.  They return to the strength of the show, which is the team going to a planet, facing a challenge, and surmounting it.  Some episodes are standalone science fiction, some introduce elements that are woven into future storylines, and some are part of the main Enemy Arc (in this season, Anubis and the Goa’uld).

Unfortunately and almost inexplicably, after a string of strong episodes, the season falls apart starting with 7×17.  The season just sputters out.  In the final double they try to push JackCarter again.

In many ways, in terms of team integrity and character development, it would have been better if they had ended the entire series with 7×15 Chimera.  If you stop watching there, you will have a more-or-less satisfying conclusion.

Whomever did the photoshop for the DVD/iTunes cover managed to screw up Carter’s face and Teal’c has an odd and uncharacteristic smile.

SG-1 Season 7 started in 2003.  Season 1 of Stargate Atlantis started in 2004.

It is kind of sad that they fixed their misguided trajectory two seasons too late to get breakout status and transition to doing movies.

6×22/7×01/7×02 – Full Circle/Fallen/Homecoming – watch

This is a three-parter, you really need to watch all three episodes.

Introduces the storyline that will lead to Atlantis in the next season.

Daniel is twice referred to as having been found “in the forest” although he is shown being found in ruins in a desert-like terrain.

This may be only the second time that we see Hammond off-world, an event so notable that Carter comments upon it.  The first time was in 3×01.

7×03 – Fragile Balance – watch

This is basically a light episode to relieve the tension of the preceding three-parter.  The actor is good at playing Duplicate Jack.

The conclusion is ok, until you think about the fact that it’s a guy in his 50s going back to High School in the body of a 15-year-old, which is kinda creepy.

7×04 – Orpheus – Master Bra’tac! – watch

Trying to work out some of the consequences of Tretonin.

7×05 – Revisions – watch

A good commentary about what can happen if you only get your information from electronic sources.  A solid science fiction episode.

7×06 – Lifeboat – watch

Good science fiction and a chance for Michael Shanks to show his acting abilities.

7×07 – Enemy Mine – watch

This is a good episode.  In the background it resolves the civil war Daniel started in 5×07 with (very improbably) a negotiated peace.

On the downside, Chaka is played by Patrick Curry instead of Dion Johnstone and Curry just isn’t very good.  It’s possible the suit doesn’t fit well.  Anyway he never opens his mouth, everything his says is mumbled through his teeth.

The episode is Daniel Jackson centric, and pretty much a direct companion to 4×08.

This the first time we see Major Lorne, who will show up again.

Enemy Mine of course a reference to the 1985 movie of the same title.

7×08 – Space Race – watch

Comedy-adventure with main focus on Sam.

The alien was first met in 6×18 (played by Dion Johnstone) and returns played by Alex Zahara (who just played Iron Shirt in the previous episode 7×07).

An unexpected brief burst of racism in the plot doesn’t fit with the overall tone of the episode.

7×09 – Avenger 2.0 – SKIP

Yet another comedy episode, with Patrick McKenna, Canadian comedian.  Follow-up to The Other Guys 6×08 (which would have been better if it had all been a dream).  Dr. Felger is basically the Lt. Barclay of SG-1.  Fortunately after this episode Dr. Jay Felger is not seen again.

Very weak comedy that depends on Dr. Felger being a loser scientist stereotype plus assorted sexism.  I didn’t find it funny at all.  It’s best if you decide 6×08 and 7×09 never happened.

It doesn’t make sense that Felger is doing his research at SGC rather than Area 51.

Ba’al continues to be a major bad guy (although not actually seen all season).

Also SGC can send software into the gate network.

7×10 – Birthright – skip

So you’re Christopher Judge (Teal’c) and you’re writing another episode about your own character, and you think, hey, I have an idea, what if Teal’c goes to a planet where there are only women.  Attractive women.  Attractive and scantily, tightly-clad women (rather improbably, since neither is appropriate for a warrior).  And what if say, the leader is the most attractive (Jolene Blaylock, who played T’Pol on Star Trek: Enterprise) and what if she sleeps with Teal’c and what if…

Well you get the general idea.  It’s a wonder Teal’c didn’t wake up and find it was another dream.

Some rather off-colour humour, including hopefully the only time on the series that Jack says the word “penises”.

7×11/7×12 – Evolution – watch

The midseason double.  Michael Shanks wrote some of part 1.

This is ok, a bit weird on the Honduran plotline and Burke subplotline.  The tone is just a bit off.  Also a very un-Stargate topic.  Some unexpectedly off-colour final comments from Burke.

Plus which, guy was shot and has been lying in the jungle for days, but he’s fine and still perfectly shaven?  They get two suits of super-armor and four arm-shooter weapons, and all they use is one arm-shooter?

Daniel’s long-neglected grandfather (from 3×21) is mentioned, but they still don’t actually go talk to him.  I guess one is to assume he somehow found writings and copied them, not actually wrote them in obscure ancient Goa’uld (which seems to have a rather conveniently large number of “obscure dialects”).

The ring effect is cool, and I guess since we’ve never seen rings used that way, their behaviour is reasonable.

A major role for Dr. Lee, who continues to show up frequently after this.

7×13 – Grace – WATCH

This is an excellent episode, one of the best in the series.

For a show so often driven by action and explosions, this episode creates the perfect sense of space, quiet and solitude necessary for the story.

The use of the various other characters as avatars, drawing on their roles in the series, is very apt.  Teal’c gives a (plausible) warning of danger.  Daniel gives a (plausible) scenario for interspecies communication.  Jacob gives fatherly advice.  Carter gives herself the solution without realising it.

The writers finally give Carter an opening to escape the artificial O’Neill relationship they have been trying to conjure for seven years, admitting that it closes off possibilities for love and that it is a kind of safe choice that kept her from having to take any emotional risks.  (The Jack/Sam relationship is ill-conceived by the writers on many levels, including the fifteen-year age gap, the work authority hierarchy, and the total lack of chemistry.)

The episode also gives a possible clue as to why Sam may be reluctant to have a relationship.

A great performance by Amanda Tapping.  She received a well-deserved award (a Leo for “Dramatic Series: Best Lead Performance by a Female”).

7×14 – Fallout – skip

Contractual obligation episode?

This isn’t a terrible episode, but it’s just a kind of pointless standalone.  You’ll never see Jonas Quinn again.

The negotiations subplot is pretty annoying.  Why would they have Jack (and Teal’c) sitting in on the negotiations?  Everyone knows Jack is terrible at negotiations.  Which leads to the remarkably unfortunate “that’s what you get for dickin’ around” line from Jack.  A phrase one hopes he never utters again.

It seems remarkably improbable that they programmed their descent graphics display to include the option for a tiny side tunnel.

It doesn’t make much sense that after mistrusting Kianna Cyr all of a sudden they decide they should all risk their lives for her.

The countdown to the surface doesn’t make any sense either.  If they only make it to within 100 metres of the surface, they can just dig them out.

The ending, with secondary-Jackson (Quinn) and his secondary-girlfriend (Cyr) having to go through the gate to obscurity, never to be seen again, while Dr. Jackson gets to continue on being a star… awkward.

The idea of a Gou’ald being able to love is vaguely interesting I suppose, but also doesn’t really lead anywhere.

7×15 – Chimera – watch

Building on the opening they gave Carter in 7×13, she finally gets a boyfriend.  And there’s actual chemistry and humour, unlike the strained and artificial writer push for O’Neill-Carter.  (The boyfriend is yet another DeLuise, not that this particularly matters.)  Also the relationship includes, not to put too fine a point on it, Carter finally getting laid after 7 years.

Almost everything in this episode works well.  The interaction between Sam and Pete is just the right level of playful, with genuine chemistry.  The elevator scene is just the right tone. A nice light touch on the Sam-Jack interaction, either some improv or some very good writing and acting on the quarks line, Sam breaking the fourth wall, Jack coining “humworthy”.

(For the elevator scene Stargate Wikia reports Amanda Tapping wanted to hum the MacGyver theme but couldn’t remember it.  In fairness, MacGyver ended a over decade before this episode filmed.)

The only awkward element is Pete basically stalking Sam, although one can somewhat forgive this as part of the necessary plot mechanics of getting him to the right place at the right time.

We also get to think about the fact that Sam has basically the same problems as a superhero – she has a secret identity, and anyone she is involved with is in huge danger.  It’s hard to have a relationship when your actual job is a matter of Top Secret national security and you have many enemies.

In many ways, by releasing Carter from the artificial O’Neill relationship and by closing the second girlfriend-is-a-goa’uld arc for Daniel, this episode would have been a good concluding one for the series.

7×16 – Death Knell – watch

The main plot of this episode is actually the crumbling of the Tok’ra-Jaffa-Tau’ri alliance, to some extent it is the “death knell” of the alliance.

The subplot of this episode could have been called “Grace Under Fire” – in some ways it’s a companion to 7×13 Grace.  That episode is a reminder of the challenges of Carter’s internal life – working to come up with brilliant solutions despite physical and emotional constraints.  This episode is a reminder of the challenges of Carter’s external life – incredible physical danger and exertion yet a requirement for constant intellectual ingenuity.  However, Carter’s storyline this time only really starts about 20 minutes in, and is told very economically

They are both a reminder of the issue raised in 7×15, which is that Carter lives an incredibly dangerous life, which adds additional barriers to having a relationship with anyone outside of the SG teams.

This episode is a sort-of closure to 7×11/7×12 Evolution.

7×17/7×18 – Heroes – SKIP

Just a bunch of terrible things all together.  Supposed to be a kind of celebration of heroes and I guess supposed to be humourous.  Fails on both counts.  Has Senator Kinsey (always a bad sign) – a character basically designed to be disliked.  Introduces Woolsey (Robert Picardo) – a character designed to be annoying.  Adds Saul Rubinek playing an annoying, intrusive and disrespectful character.

Carter says in-show that the filming is to document the 1000th trip through the gate, it’s actually a special double episode in part because 7×18 marks the 150th episode of the show.

You can get a faint taste of what they were probably aiming for, a kind of light self-satire in the vein of Wormhole X-Treme, but it just doesn’t work.  At all.

Part of the awkwardness is that Saul Rubinek is essentially playing an outsider observer, which is to say, he is in the role of a fan – much in the same way the character of Q gets to be an observer of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  This fan role is very hard to write well though – it usually comes off criticising the fans as obsessive and annoying.  Q often walks that line with limited success.  It works best if the show is clearly in on the game of making fun of itself, as in SG-1 5×12 Wormhole.  Unfortunately, neither the actor nor the writers manage to make this work in 7×17 – Rubinek just comes across as persistently annoying.

The only scene that works for me at all is when he asks Carter about the blinkenlights in the SGC control room – which one can imagine a fan touring the base doing – “why don’t you ever explain what all this equipment is for?”  The answer is perfect, which is to remind viewers that SG-1 is essentially an opera – we only see the most dramatic moments of characters’ lives.  No one would want to watch the months of Carter staring at a screen, trying to make the gate work, nor would we want to know her day-to-day work of incredibly technical research about the gate and other things.  So yes, mostly we see the gate spinning around, because it makes for good TV (although I always thought it was liquid nitrogen coming out from supercooling the superconducting interfaces, not steam as Sam says).

In addition to being full of annoying minor characters, the worst part of this episode is that an important character dies.

Apparently they thought the show was going to end this season, and wanted to make a major statement about heroic sacrifice.  (Although they also thought they show was going to end in seasons 5 and 6 as well.)

According to Stargate Wikia, ‘At the 2008 Comic-Con, Amanda Tapping, Martin Wood, Michael Shanks, and Christopher Judge all agreed “Heroes, Part 1″ and “Heroes, Part 2″ were the best in the Stargate SG-1 series.’  I just don’t understand this.  Both episodes are terrible.

7×19 – Resurrection – skip

A standalone episode.  Written by Michael Shanks, directed by Amanda Tapping.  It’s basically like a different genre trying to fit into the Stargate world.  In some ways like Atlantis 5×19 Vegas, although not as extreme a genre shift.

The episode is not completely terrible, but it basically doesn’t contribute anything either.

7×20 – Inauguration – a clip show – skip

7×21 – Lost City, Part 1 – skip

All you need to know is Jack gets The Knowledge in his brain again.

7×22 – Lost City, Part 2 – watch

This is a reasonable season finale, despite having to endure VP Kinsey doing his usual over-the-top bad guy.

Dr. Weir is a completely different actress from the main Dr. Weir we see in season 8 and in Stargate Atlantis.

First time we see a ZPM (Zero Point Module).

Last season that Don S. Davis is part of the main cast.

You can think of 7×22 as a kind of partial conclusion of the series, with the final conclusion coming in 8×18 and then in a kind of comedic echo-conclusion, in 8×19/8×20.

For the season overall, there are some issues, most notably with the Evolution double.  You have a super-suit that can resist all kinds of weapons, but you never actually wear it for fighting (although it’s vaguely possible that it led to the developments that Dr. Lee was working on in 7×17).  Plus which, you have nuclear bombs, but you don’t either bring one to Anubis’ secret base, or send one through the gate to Anubis’ base (wrapped in a super-suit, so that it gets through the shield)?  You just kind of… visit the secret base and then leave, like a sort of extremely dangerous holiday.

On the plus side, the season breaks out of the “go do a thing to a Goa’uld” model that the series sometimes got stuck in.  Season 7 was much more about characters and adventures.

It’s a testament to the strength of the show that seven seasons in, they were still able to deliver up strong, entertaining episodes.

NEXT: Stargate SG-1 season 8

PREV: Stargate SG-1 season 6

Stargate SG-1 season 6

The Daniel-is-dead season.  Basically he agreed to guest-star only if he liked the script, and then he agreed to come back in 7 because thought being de-ascended would add enough new interest to his character (and presumably whatever other disputes he had with the show were sorted out).

If you want to stick to the Daniel track, the only episodes to watch are x06, x19 and x22.

This entire season is basically SG-1 vs Anubis.

You can read episode summaries as well as detailed episode walkthroughs on Stargate Wikia.

SGC gets various fighter ships and a spaceship this season.  Col. Simmons finally gets his well-deserved demise.

Whomever does the photoshop for the DVD/iTunes covers screwed up Teal’c, he almost looks like a cartoon version of himself.

I’m not going to list all the episodes.

6×06 – Abyss – watch

A good episode for Jack to show his acting chops.

There is an issue with the sarcophagus though.  In the first few seasons, it always repaired body and clothes.  Here it only repairs body.

6×12 – Unnatural Selection – watch

This is a key episode to understand future developments with the Replicators.

6×19 – The Changeling – watch

This episode is a major change for Teal’c and the Jaffa.  Although Tretonin (first seen in 6×10) is a pretty handwaving way to address what had previously been understood as the symbiote itself playing an active role in sophisticated body repairs.

This episode was written by Christopher Judge (Teal’c).  It’s the second episode he wrote (first one was 5×18 The Warrior).  I guess one way to ensure you get the lines you want is to write them.

Story: Christopher Judge & Brad Wright
Teleplay: Brad Wright

6×22/7×01/7×02 – Full Circle/Fallen/Homecoming – watch

Skaara is seen for the last time.

Another planet is destroyed.

Daniel fights Anubis.

Daniel Jackson gets de-ascended in 7×01.

NEXT: SG-1 season 7

PREV: SG-1 season 5

Stargate SG-1 season 5

Daniel appears farthest back on the DVD/iTunes cover for this season, which echos what happens to his role this season.

Season 5 is basically the nadir of the main SG-1 team, continuing its decline from breakout “six seasons and a movie” potential to fating it to live in SF obscurity.

Many dark episodes with impossible choices.  Everyone angry.  Angry Jack, angry Daniel, angry villagers, even angry Dr. Frasier.  No fun.

The overall theme of the season is fallibility.  Teal’c goes from calm to obsessed with revenge.  Jack goes from a strong leader to angry with everyone all the time.  Sam goes from Stargate expert to her technical decisions causing problems.  Basically they go from hypercompetence to hyperfallibility.  Daniel goes basically nowhere.  This is no fun to watch.

It’s worth mentioning that part-way through the season, between 5×12 and 5×13 the events of 2001-09-11 happened in the real world, which can’t have had a positive effect on the mindset of the writers and everyone else involved.

A good article from 2002, albeit with many spoilers, is’s Fan rebellion threatens “Stargate” (note that 2002 is after the end of season 5).

You should basically just read a plot summary of the season and skip watching the episodes.  Be aware that a number of my plot summaries include episode spoilers, unlike in the writeups for previous seasons.  There are episode summaries as well as detailed episode walkthroughs on Stargate Wikia.

5×01 – Enemies – direct sequel/conclusion of 4×22 cliffhanger – watch

Why didn’t they Zat Teal’c? Why would they risk shooting him?
Why don’t they Zat him to undo the problem?

End of the Apophis arc.
Start of the Replicators arc.

Dr. Jackson doesn’t have anything to do.

5×02 – Threshold – Master Bra’tac! – watch

Dr. MacKenzie is always useless.

Teal’c sweating out his madness is kind of tedious.

Why doesn’t the Zat gun undo it like it did for Seth’s mind control and for the mind control Apophis used on Rya’c?

Dr. Frasier’s decision makes no sense.

Basically a replay of Teal’c’s history.  A history which doesn’t particularly make sense, considering his father was First Prime of Cronus.  But nevertheless the story of how he became who he is.

Master Bra’tac announces that at 137 he has at most two more years to live.

Overall a good episode for Bra’tac and for Teal’c.

Given that the previous episode closed the arc begun with the series premiere, this is a reasonable coda to give fans time to come to grips with the fact that the show has to start onto new material.

5×03 – Ascension – watch

This is an ok episode, although Sam’s behaviour is a bit odd.

It introduces the concept that there are many ascended beings, and that humans can ascend.

Unfortunately this episode introduces Col. Frank Simmons (same actor as Q in Star Trek: TNG).  He is part of the terrible NID arc.  All I can recommend is fast forward anytime he appears on screen.  It doesn’t make sense that he wears a suit while everyone else wears a uniform; it is an obvious on-screen choice to make us dislike the outside suit being imposed on us.

5×04 – The Fifth Man – watch

This is an ok episode, except for Col. Simmons who should be fast-forwarded.

It doesn’t make any sense that the alien doesn’t use its powers to deceive the Jaffa though.

Dr. Jackson doesn’t really have anything to do.  He’s wearing that weird bandana-hat thing again too.  Jack is wearing what looks like to be a warm black toque.  I expect it was a cold shoot.

5×05 – Red Sky – skip

I tried to find something redeeming in this episode, but part-way through, as Jack switches into full angry lecture mode, it just falls apart.

Yes I suppose it’s good to remember that SG-1 makes mistakes, they aren’t using the technology properly, they can’t always rely on more advanced civilisations to rescue them.  But where’s the fun in that?

5×06 – Rite of Passage – watch

This is ok.  More or less the completion of the Cassandra arc.

5×07 – Beast of Burden – skip

Daniel starts a civil war.

5×08 – The Tomb – watch

This is an ok episode, but it has Angry Jack again, jackass Jack.  Angry at the Russians.  Always angry.

Why don’t they put the injured soldier in the sarcophagus?  I guess we’re to assume the Russians broke it?

It also portrays the Russians as being rough and untrustworthy, very different from the tone in Watergate.

Samantha briefly wears the Tilley hat before going through the Stargate.  Daniel wears his ridiculous bandana-hat.

5×09 – Between Two Fires – skip

Basically they destroy the entire new Tollan homeworld in order to make a plot point.

Blah blah government conspiracy, untrustworthy, politics, evil, blah blah blah.

Plus which it seems like one of those phase-shifting bombs would have come in handy.

5×10 – 2001 – SKIP

Senator Kinsey appears, always a sign of a terrible episode.

Sequel to 2010 episode (4×16).

Government negotiations, politics, evil, conspiracy, blah blah blah.

World’s most convenient library featuring exactly the newspapers needed.  Handy.

Plus which the gate address they gave the Ashen probably destroyed their entire planet, killing everyone.  Stay classy, SG-1.

5×11 – Desperate Measures – SKIP

Maybourne AND Colonel Simmons, always a sure sign of a terrible episode.

Entire episode on Earth.  Wow, good thing they have that Stargate to explore the galaxy.

Kidnapping, conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, anger.  The usual season 5 mess.

5×12 – Wormhole X-Treme! – the 100th episode of SG-1 – ?

It’s ok, just them making fun of themselves.  You can watch it but it’s a pure inside-joke show.

As plots go, it doesn’t make much sense that Martin Lloyd would go back on his medication.  And nothing the other soldiers do ever makes any sense.

More or less a sequel to 4×11.  I wonder again why a bunch of soldiers are experts in memory-altering chemicals.

Because of the suckiness of season 5, it of course includes some NID junk.

It 4th-walls in the “Making Of” coda at the end.

5×13 – Proving Ground – SKIP

This episode only works, for the short duration that it does, because the viewer won’t believe that they would use their actual planet-saving secret base as a training facility.

This is because no real organisation anywhere would ever jeopardize a key asset in this way.  One wrong move and an offworld team is dead, or a bomb comes through the gate, or the Stargate is permanently broken.  It’s insane.

IF they were going to do a training run like this they would do it in Hathor’s copy of SGC or more likely their own copy of SGC.  They have lots of money.  Making a fake base would be easy.

Plus which, who reveals all the details of the most Top Secret of Top Secret programs BEFORE deciding who will be on the team and need to know?  Rejecting a bunch of young ambitious people right after you fill their heads with Top Secret information is a recipie for disaster.

So it’s basically best if you assume this episode never happened.

In terms of the episode itself, it takes place entirely on earth, which is almost always a bad sign (although cheap for the producers).  I guess it’s some kind of 44-minute-long audience test with these characters, as part of this season’s endless attempts to reach the young male demographic and to figure out how they can twist their show to make it more popular.  Halley returns (from 4×19).  The other female candidate is played by Grace Park, who would later go on to fame as Number Eight in Battlestar Galactica.

They use the Intar weapons from 3×09.

Lieutenant Kevin Elliot takes part in the 5×15/5×16 mid-season double episode; it’s possible his character was created in part just for that purpose.  Lt. Grogan reappears in 5×20.  The other candidates are never seen again.

5×14 – 48 Hours – SKIP

This episode has all the elements of season 5 disaster: Maybourne and Col Simmons, plus almost the entire thing takes place on earth.

What you need to know:

  • Tanith is thankfully, if anticlimactically dead.  The tedious Jaffa Revenge arc is closed.
  • As we heard previously in 5×05, Carter has bypassed lots of gate protocol things, in trying to get it working without a DHD.  She ignores something like 220 out of 400 possible gate result codes.
  • The gate stores incoming “patterns” in a buffer.
  • Patterns can be reintegrated long after the gate has shut down.
  • Daniel gets the exciting task of negotiating with the Russians (which he does quite well).
  • Russian DHD kablooie.

Why don’t they ever take a DHD from some useless planet that they will never visit again?

Why do they show Simmons interviewing the Goa’uld in a luxurious, furnished cell, but later show the Goa’uld in a bare cell?

Teal’c carries the giant deathglider gun from 5×04 The Fifth Man.

This is the introduction of Dr. McKay, a kind of mysterious SG character.  Like everyone introduced this season, he is hyperfallible and cartoonishly annoying.  As with Kinnsey and Simmons, you’re supposed to viscerally dislike him.

He’s there more or less to lecture Carter about how imperfect she is.  As a character, it’s not clear what they were thinking.  Is he maybe some sort of parody of the Stargate superfan, hyper-picky, hyper-geeky, hot for Carter?  He continues the lamentable trend of SG introducing hyperfallible annoying scientists.  Basically other than Carter, every scientist we meet in SG is a loser.  McKay’s throwaway line “I wish I didn’t find you so attractive. I always had a weakness for dumb blondes.” is despicable.  The desire of the writers this season to take everyone on SG-1 down multiple pegs is wildly misguided.

People want to like their television “community”, they want the team to be something they can imagine being a part of, something to aspire to.  They want heroes.  This show was delivering heroes.  Bringing in all this X-Files human imperfection stuff breaks the show.

McKay, oddly enough, goes on to be the main character of Stargate Atlantis, where eventually almost every episode is a McKay ex machina, where he pulls out some technobabble miracle solution at the last minute.  I guess this means he really was a relatable character for the fans, otherwise his lead role is inexplicable.  I assume they made him Canadian as some sort of satirical revenge on their nice Canadian hosts.  He continues to be hyperflawed and hyperannoying, although eventually they writer-declare him to be desirable enough that he wins Jewel Staite’s heart, perhaps the most improbable of all the McKay improbabilities.

He does have the occasional good episode, McKay and Mrs. Miller (SG Atlantis 3×08) as a mostly comedy episode is the best episode of Atlantis IMHO.

5×15/5×16 – Summit/Last Stand – skip

They do assemble many pieces of previous episodes together for this mid-season double, which shows either they had planned the season well, or they were very good at writing quickly.

Begins the Anubis arc.

In this mid-season, the combination of the decisions the writers have made and the direction the show has gone begin to weigh heavily on the story.

What you need to know:

  • Daniel dresses up as human slave, if that’s your kind of thing.
  • The Tok’ra make a symbiote poison.  This is a kind of sucky weapon, as it will also kill the Tok’ra and the Jaffa.  Genocide is a poor way to win a war.  Plus a superweapon that will kill your own people is a bad weapon.
  • Daniel makes a series of bad decisions which through writerly magic work out fine.
  • Lt. Red Shirt (Kevin Elliot) dies, with Martouf’s symbiote Lantash.
  • The bad guy is Anubis, whom we’ve never heard of before.
  • We meet Ba’al, who goes on to be the “new Apophis” as the lead bad guy in future seasons.
  • Most of the Tok’ra die, because everyone in season 5 must suffer.

So basically all you need is: Daniel does nothing, the bad guy is Anubis, and SG-1 escapes unharmed as usual.

The second episode ends rather abruptly.  We’re supposed to be moved by Lt. Red Shirt’s last stand, and to get final closure from the Martouf arc.  But we could care less about Lt. Red Shirt, and we identify with Martouf, not some imagined symbiote inside Elliot.

If they hadn’t blown this by pre-killing Martouf, they would have had an actual poignant ending by Martouf/Lantash sacrificing himself.

We don’t even get to see the final escape, because the Elliot/Lantash sacrifice is supposed to be the big finish.

Also all of the crystals look exactly the same, despite the shapes Lantash keeps claiming for them.  This is perhaps a slight bit of humour, as emphasized by the “diamond” request for the last one.

I can’t imagine Shanks can have been very happy with Daniel’s role in these episodes.

5×17 – Fail Safe – skip

This is basically a direct sequel to 5×16.  Again the choices made in the season weigh heavily.  They want to call on their allies, but Jack just argues with the Asguard (again), the Tok’ra are mostly dead, and the Tollan are all dead.

This last point is particularly irksome.  Ok so first of all, Anubis has infinite technology, what does he need with the Tollan to make him weapons?  I guess we’re supposed to believe only the Tau’ri have access to enough Trinium?  It vaguely makes sense (assuming Anubis has infinite technology) for him to destroy Tollan, although having access to all their already-built gadgets along with lots of technologically-advanced slaves seems like it would be handy.  Second of all, SG-1/Earth is just like “Tollan?  Screw you guys.”  So you have the gate address and the planetary location for the most technologically-advanced people other than the Four Races, and you don’t try to at least go and pick up some gadgets?  Let alone try to rescue anyone?

And their plan makes no sense.  “We have only 11 days before the earth is destroyed, so let’s go with a plan that takes almost exactly 11 days, what could go wrong?”

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the episode where Michael Shanks decided to pitch it in, because he literally has nothing to do.  He seriously just sits or lays around the ship with obviously, clearly nothing to do, radiating boredom.

As a minor note, the sky coordinates at the beginning are wrong.  Coordinates are not in hours, minutes, seconds, they’re in degrees, minutes, seconds.  Some amateur astronomer that guy is.

Also I’m not sure the Red Sky people (planet K’tau) can be all that happy with Jack, what with him denouncing their gods and all.  Seems unlikely they would be happy to let him back in to their holiest temple.  I’m not sure the Tok’ra would have either resources or interest to help, what with the failed plan and most of them being dead.

Jack gets in some good lines.

It seems to me that a short-hop hyperspace jump through the middle of a planet can’t be a good idea.  Although in fairness nothing in the Stargate universe rules prohibits it.

5×18 – The Warrior – Master Bra’tac! – watch

The explanation of the staff weapon being useless is some good show canon.

The Tek’ma’te (a greeting of respect) / Tek’ma’tek (“Friends well met” / “We come in peace”) banter is good.  Presumably it fixes variations in pronounciation in previous episodes.  It’s not clear why the warrior would challenge O’Neill with “tek’ma’te kree!” though, other than to continue to garble up the language.

This episiode was written by Teal’c (Christopher Judge).

Suicide bombers.  Angry Jack shouting that they should change their entire society.  All part of the season 5 gloom.

It is very generous of Lord Yu to send Teal’c back.  Presumably this is to ensure the demise of Imhotep?  But that is a pretty generous considering he was going to bomb Imhotep to oblivion anyway.  That being said, it is roughly in line with his personality as the most reasonable of the System Lords.

5×19 – Menace – watch

Ok, so this is an ok backstory for the Replicators.  Although it makes no sense they went to another galaxy instead of staying in ours.

Plus which

1. If you arrive on a planet, and everything is destroyed except for a single structure containing a single object, DO NOT TAKE THAT OBJECT

2. If you find a robot on a destroyed planet, maybe it’s, you know, a KILLER ROBOT

3. If you find a potentially dangerous thing, do not bring it back to the BASE ON YOUR HOME PLANET

Plus which, WTF does Carter care about “advanced robots” anyway?  They already have a guy who can make them advanced robots whenever they want, which they mention within the episode.  But instead of say, investigating Harlan’s technology, or helping him to get a permanent powersource so that he doesn’t have to spend eternity alone is a crumbling power plant, they just… leave him there.

Anyway basically everything from the moment they discover she can make replicators makes no sense.

And Daniel is mean to Jack.  Because in season 5 everyone must be angry and self-righteous.

5×20 – The Sentinel – watch

This is a good episode.  Although it’s not clear why Daniel Jackson works on the forcefield and not Carter, other than to give him something to do.

Lt Grogan (from 5×13) unexpectedly reappears, despite being basically a non-character.  The last gasp of their “let’s have handsome young men on the show, the kids today like that” strategy.

5×21 – Meridian – ?

Daniel and New Daniel (Corin Nemec, character name Jonas Quinn).

Kelowna (country name) is one of a relatively small number of Canadian inside jokes on the show.

This was when Shanks had had it, and they thought they could just slot New Daniel in as a replacement.

You can skip or watch.  Basically dead ascended Daniel.  Slow horrible death.  Plus which he wants to die.

The fan response was, shall we say, not positive to this development.

5×22 – Revelations – watch

We learn that at some unspecified time and in some unspecified way the Replicator-creating robot was sent to the Asgard.

Overall a good episode.  A bit more info about Anubis.

NEXT: SG-1 season 6

PREV: SG-1 season 4

Stargate SG-1 season 4

Sadly, Stargate started on a different direction in season 4, a move which some feel took it from breakout “six seasons and a movie” potential to fating it to live in SF obscurity.

A good article from 2002, albeit with many spoilers, is’s Fan rebellion threatens “Stargate” (note that 2002 is after the end of season 5).

That being said, some of my favourite episodes are from this season, between the terrible Anise arc and the terrible NID arc.

4×01 – Small Victories – concludes cliffhanger from 3×22 (season 3) – an ok episode – watch

The submarine subplot makes almost no sense. Plus which they might as well have put Baker and Stewart in red shirts.

The Asgard subplot with Sam is not bad, with some good special effects.

I don’t know where they got the submarine set, but it was very good.

Thor demonstrates that, like the Nox, the Asgard can open a gate wormhole without needing to do a dialing sequence and without an initial energy burst.

4×02 – The Other Side – the general storyline is good, but the team interactions are completely off – Jack is way too hostile and dismissive towards Daniel – skip

Plus which, Jack and General Hammond display the exact opposite perspective from the one demonstrated in 3×18. What happened to the moral centre of the show? This loss of moral centre is emphasized by how they chose to end the episode.

4×03 – Upgrades – Tok’ra Barbie (Anise) – skip

Jack’s tone wrong. Daniel’s tone wrong. Tok’ra tone wrong.
The start of the three Anise episodes, probably the least-liked arc in the entire series.
Anise’s presence and outfits were basically inspired by Seven of Nine and take the show in a sexist direction it never had before.

‘This was a time during the show when we were trying to bump up the ratings. We took our cue from [the “Star Trek” character] Seven of Nine, thinking that might help the show and in fact the show didn’t need help. It was perfectly fine the way it was…’

Above quote from Peter DeLuise in the (spoiler-filled) Fan rebellion threatens “Stargate”.

4×04 – Crossroads – Tok’ra Barbie – gratuitous Jaffa – skip

Tone is all wrong. Jack very confrontational with Tok’ra. Teal’c, who is married, inappropriately attracted followed by very inappropriately happy.

4×05 – Divide and Conquer – Tok’ra Barbie – skip

One of the least-liked episodes. Sam and Jack, stuck in the “single male and female leads must be attracted to one another” TV trap, forced to, humiliatingly, re-live and expose their attraction. An attraction which appears to exist entirely in the mind of the writers, because there is no evidence of this chemistry on screen. Plus which, we don’t need a lie detector to hammer this forced relationship home, they already did an entire segment on alternate-Sam’s grief in the second mirror universe episode (3×06), plus which Jack and Sam are also married in the first mirror universe (1×20). Yes, we get it, they like each other (according to the writers).

On this plus side, this is the last time we ever see Tok’ra Barbie.

“[negative fan reaction to] the continuing presence of the Anise character, introduced in response to then President of MGM Television’s Hank Cohen’s request for ‘a sexy female alien’ (a suggestion he got to repeat onscreen when he played himself in ‘Wormhole Extreme’).”
(Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)

Above from Gateworld.

This is also the end of the Martouf arc.

4×06 – Window of Opportunity – humour with an unexpectedly poignant ending – watch

After a string of dismal episodes, rather surprisingly the best comedy episode of the series.

According to the Wikipedia article, much of the humour was inserted when it became evident the episode would run significantly short.

4×07 – Watergate – this is a good episode, with some humour – watch

Marina Sirtis is added to the list of Star Trek TNG stars who have appeared in Stargate (previously in this season we saw Odo, and in 2×04 we see Barclay).

4×08 – The First Ones – this is a very good episode – watch

A strong episode for Daniel Jackson.  Very good makeup, must have taken hours to put on.  Dion Johnstone very good as the Unas. Dr. Rothman appears, having previously been only part of Daniel’s dream and in Crystal Skull.

It’s in this episode that Dr. Jackson wears the odd bandana-cap that he has on the DVD/iTunes cover.

4×09 – Scorched Earth – overall a good episode – watch

We’re dropped in media res, with SG-1 very good friends with people we’ve never seen before. Jack’s final decision seems, shall we say, not very team-spirited. The ending is a bit deus ex machina, but overall the no-win scenario is interesting to watch play out. The lead male Enkaran is later Mr. Gaeta in Battlestar Galactica.

4×10 – Beneath the Surface – this is a standard “aliens kidnap team and brainwash them to be workers” episode – it’s ok but you could easily skip it

Jack this season is particularly judgmental. The writers continue to try to push Sam/Jack. Stop trying to make fetch happen.

This episode aired before the very similar ST: Voyager Workforce.

4×11 – Point of No Return – mostly a comedy episode but dark – it’s ok, but the conclusion is sad – skip

How would Sam have learned how to pick locks?  Why are they so sceptical when he has exact information?  Why are his friends so violent?  What do his friends think they will accomplish?  Why are a bunch of soldiers experts in memory-altering chemicals?  The plot makes more sense.

Introduces Martin, who will be seen again.

4×12 – Tangent – this is a very good episode – watch

Classic science fiction problem solving.  Jack’s helmet visor appears to be made out of duct tape though.  I guess they couldn’t find two prop helmets that were the same?

4×13 – The Curse – this is a good episode – watch

Another episode that is basically all Daniel Jackson.

Sarah is basically New Sha’re.

Starts Osiris arc.

4×14 – The Serpent’s Venom – a good episode – watch

The Teal’c subplot is dark, but good.

The other subplot is good.

4×15 – Chain Reaction – SKIP

The start of the long and much-disliked NID cloak and dagger arc.

A bunch of people wandering around the earth, doing a bunch of political intrigue stuff.  Passwords, hacking.  Junk.  No exploration, no other planets.  A bunch of people going blah blah blah.

Senator Kinsey is a particularly annoying stereotype.

4×16 – 2010 – skip

Aired January 12, 2001.

This is basically the opposite of the 1969 episode (2×21) in every way.  A pseudo-futuristic future (from the standpoint of 2001).  Opposite in that it is in the future, opposite in that it is heavy and conspiratorial rather than fun.

The only interesting thing that happens is Chevron Guy Norman Davis begins his long journey to becoming named Walter Harriman.  The first step being Richard Dean Anderson in improvising dialogue, calls him Walter.  This is particularly ironic as this is the first time we see Chevron Guy’s nametag clearly and for several seconds, and it says Davis for his last name.  In theory that should make his name Walter Davis or Walter Norman Davis, but that didn’t end up being the case.

Stargate Wiki dubs him Norman Walter Davis Harriman.

The reason for his being called both Walter Davis and Walter Harriman was that, originally, his name was supposed to be Walter Davis but it was changed in season 8 by the show’s writers, due to the existence of a “real” Walter Davis in the U.S. Air Force.
“Norman” was a result of the name “Sgt. Norman Davis” being visible on his uniform during many episodes of SG-1.
The name “Walter” came from an ad lib made by Richard Dean Anderson during the Season 4 episode 2010.

from Stargate Wikia

His name has been a source of confusion for many fans of Stargate SG-1. Originally, he was simply “Technician” or “Sergeant”, listed as such in the show credits.[18] At some point, some of the writers gave him the name “Norman Davis”, which came with a name tag, but was never used in dialogue. In the episode “2010”, Jack O’Neill refers to him as “Walter”. Later, in the eighth season of “Stargate SG-1″, the character is addressed as “Sergeant Harriman”, with “Harriman” actually basing on General George Hammond addressing him as “Airman” what was misheard by fans because of Don S. Davis’s Texan accent, resulting in the final name of “Walter Harriman”.

from Wikipedia

4×17 – Absolute Power – skip

In and of itself, this is an ok episode. It’s also a reasonable conclusion to the Harcesis arc.

But as part of the series, it’s the same season 4 failings: mostly on Earth, mostly the team fighting with one another.
No team working together, no team exploring other planets. People are mean. It’s not funny. Who wants to watch that?

4×18 – The Light – skip

As a standalone this is ok.
In the context of the season and the series though, this is just another episode of death, anger and shouting.
Who wants to watch that for entertainment?
There’s no fun, no camaraderie. Just a heavy-handed drug addiction story.

The beach walk does feature a rare instance of O’Neill wearing a Tilley-style hat, which is what Dr. Jackson usually wears. The team actually has standard hats they wear:

O’Neill – a baseball cap
Carter – a square “military-style” cap
Jackson – a Tilley-style hat, usually with the strings hanging down
Teal’c – no hat

Dr. Jackson does in this season wear a weird bandana-wrap cap thing a couple times though.

4×19 – Prodigy – skip

This is kind of an episode with no point. Dr. Jackson doesn’t show up at all. The actual real Chief of Staff of the US Air Force at the time, General Ryan, does. I guess the main objective was to audience-test a younger, angrier mini-Sam? Wildly over-the-top annoying scientist Dr. Duncan Hamilton.

First appearance of Dr. Lee, who becomes a good amusing ongoing character.

The glowing bugs are similar in appearance to the ones in Stargate Atlantis The Defiant One (1×12) but completely different in behaviour and abilities.

4×20 – Entity – watch

Good team dynamic, good story. Some classic O’Neill humour of greater and lesser amusingness.

Similar storyline in Stargate Atlantis The Intruder (2×02).

4×21 – Double Jeopardy – amusing – watch

Directed by Michael Shanks (the only episode of SG-1 that he directed).
Dr. Jackson basically appears only very briefly, which is understandable what with him directing.

Concludes arc begun in 1×19. Although in 1×19 “comtrya” clearly meant “better”, not hello.

Does a good job of indirectly critiquing the SG-1 standard operating procedure, which is to show up, disrupt the entire society, get people to risk their lives fighting the Goa’uld, and then tell them that they can just bury the gate and everything will be fine.

Completion of Cronus arc. Completion of robot arc.

It seems unlikely that Robo’neill would trust Darian after what Darian did.

4×22 – Nemesis – direct sequel to 4×21 as well as bringing in other elements from the rest of the season – watch

This is a problematic episode.
The Jaffa Revenge thing makes no sense. Teal’c is a calm and honourable warrior, not an obsessed Jaffa who delights in the torment of his enemies. To some extent Teal’c deserves what he gets for pursuing his ridiculous obsession.
The Tanith escape makes no sense. The Tok’ra are supposed to be hundreds or thousands of years old, they’re guarding an enemy known to be deceptive, and they somehow fall for the “pretend to be ill in your cell” gambit, even with a Zat gun pointed right at Tanith.
Plus which, telling Tanith they have deceived him doesn’t seem like the cleverest way to trap him.

Dr. Jackson has nothing to do.

O’Neill wears the Tilley hat again.

Blowing up the sun is a cool plan, but how does the gate stay active long enough? How do they not experience the time distortion again?
Are we supposed to handwave that the shield blocks the time distortion and that the black hole powers the gate?
How do they see the supernova “coming towards them”?
Are we supposed to handwave that their sensors can see faster than light?

Some good humour.

Directly followed by sequel in 5×01.

NEXT: SG-1 season 5

PREV: SG-1 season 3