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