Today we have Carter stuck on a ship by herself and Carter stuck in a drill with three other people.
We begin on the Prometheus finally fixed after last season and operating as expected, with Carter on board to help with the new shakedown trip back to Earth and so that she can divert the ship to explore a scientific anomaly nearby. After stopping however the ship is engaged by one of unknown origin who follows them into a nearby gas cloud that the ship attempts to hide in. As they attempt to make it however Carter is knocked unconscious, only to wake and find herself the only passenger with no escape pods left on the ship and the ship unable to move.
While attempting to fix the problems on the ship Carter begins experiencing hallucinations of her teammates, at first from Teal’c who warns not to sleep due to her untreated injuries though she falls asleep anyway. Later she also begins to hallucinate the presence of a young girl who keeps wanting Carter to interact with her. While trying to fix the engines Jackson appears as well to annoy her, stating that the hallucinations are acting out her subconscious thoughts which in the case of Daniel is the belief she’s missing an opportunity by focusing just on fixing the engines. Later while walking the corridors she hears the hull creaking, with the outer hull slowly being eaten away by the gas cloud.
Meanwhile at the SGC the base is starting to get worried by the lack of contact from the Prometheus which was meant to update them some time ago. Given the belief that the ship likely tried to get to a planet if they were in trouble the base begins exploration for any sign of the ship or its crew.
Back on the ship Carter is once again confronted by Teal’c who expresses her fear that the situation is similar to the mind-probing by the Human-Replicators and that they’re expecting her to give away information about ship systems by trying to fix them. Instead Carter decides to carry on with trying to escape, this time by flushing atmosphere from the ship to achieve motion but stops when she sees the girl in one of the areas being flushed. While trying to find the girl Carter is once again confronted by Daniel, who expresses the idea that the cloud is sentient and is responsible for the presence of the girl and that Carter should try communicating with the cloud before she falls unconscious yet again.
When Carter wakes up she’s met by yet another hallucination, this time of her father Jacob. Here the old soldier talks about his failings as a father and his regrets when he to older, reflecting Carter’s subconscious belief that her work at the SGC has seen her sacrifice other parts of her life, in particular her relationships and friendships outside the SGC.
At the SGC the exploration of several planets turns up empty, with O’Neill getting fed up with the lack of progress. While in the changing room Teal’c tries to get him to talk, letting on that Carter reacted similar to how he’s behaving when O’Neill was stuck with Maybourne on the moon during the events of Paradise Lost but O’Neill instead stays quiet.
Over on the still-stranded Prometheus Carter is finally confronted with a hallucination of O’Neill who confronts her about her feelings for him and that there’s the possibility that she may simply be holding onto her feelings for him as it’s the safe and obvious option while exploring outside the SGC may mean heartbreak she wants to avoid. After having dealt with all her fears and anxieties Carter finally figures a solution with the help of the hallucination of the girl which allows her to get the ship moving. Before leaving the cloud however she decides to help the alien ship in return for her crew and a peaceful parting of ways.
Later on Carter wakes inside the SGC infirmary and is greeted by O’Neill, who reveals that her ordeal only lasted four days in total though due to her deliriousness at the time she thought it had gone on for weeks. As she says goodbye and drifts off to sleep again she hears the voice of the small girl for a final time.
So after the rush and action packed midseason two-parter we go straight back to a far slower affair than the show has done for a longtime now. Apart from the beginning and the end the episode features no action or glitz, instead focusing more on character development, in particular that of Carter.
The story of the episode entirely revolves around her character and allows the writers to explore a character in a Carter-centric episode which we haven’t had for seasons now, with the last episode to truly focus on her development was probably season five’s Ascension. Here they try to make up for 5 seasons of minimal character development and they do largely succeed in that regard, with Carter having to deal with issues that went unmentioned from previous adventures while also exploring more deeper life issues that have slowly developed over the course of the entire show.
These issues are well-juxtaposed against the people she knows and depends on appearing before her, with seasoned warrior Teal’c representing her fears, Daniel her want and need to explore and discover, her father the opportunities missed and regrets she has accumulated, and O’Neill the man she’s been stuck on for so long. The placing of these areas for each character is well done and feels believable, even with the out of character callings of her first name with remains relatively unused in the show, with even Daniel and her father using “Sam” rather than her full name.
Despite this success of exploring the issues is does highlight the fact that out of the four main cast Carter has largely been left on the sidelines as a character compared to the others, with Teal’c and O’Neill getting at least one episode a year to explore their dangling personal issues. While Carter is a great character in the moment of the episode it can’t help but be noticed that while all the others have stories and adventures to call back to outside the SGC her history even after this episode is sadly blank, with her most recent personal outings having been the Air Force Academy which is hardly fun for the whole family. Thankfully though this episode and latter half of the season does see her expanded as a character and actually have a life outside the SGC.
Regarding the episode itself the only real weakness is that compared to the general tone of the show the stark change in focus does make it seem to drag on far longer than most, likely disappointing the viewers who are more in it for the action-adventure than the character side but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing given how it’s a 22 episode season format.
In the end the episode breaks new light and reinvigorates a character who has largely withered for the last several seasons, putting energy into exploring life outside the SGC more and more.
· The unknown ship in this episode does remind me a lot of the Covenant in Halo.
· How Earth still has only one ship is beyond me as pretty soon they pump them out like sweets.
Quote of the episode: “Thank you, Sir.”
“Think nothing of it. I’ve got plenty of that.” – Carter and O’Neill
The SGC are receiving a visit from Jonas Quinn, back to visit the SGC to inform them of developments on Langara regarding exploration of their Goa’uld history. He reveals that naquadriah, the radioactive version of naquadah that powers the Tau’ri’s more advanced ships, is in fact not native to the planet as they had suspected but is in fact naturally converted naquadah and that the process that changes them from one to the other is still ongoing and is beginning to threaten the stability of the planet itself.
Carter goes to Langara with Jonas to look at the data, along with Jonas’ assistant Kianna, where they find that the situation is much worse than they though. Frequent tremors start to occur on the planet, suggesting that the situation has gotten progressively worse and worse and that if the biggest located deposit explodes after conversion it’ll likely render the planet uninhabitable. The worst discovery is that the cause of the increasing chain-reaction was the test detonation of the naquadriah bomb by Kelowna.
While Carter and Jonas are on Langara the rest of SG-1 stay at the SGC to help with the moving of the people of Langara to another planet if things continue to get worse. Quickly it becomes clear however that while the three nations of Langara (Kelowna, Tirania, and Andari Federation) have made progress to working together issues between the three start to rise almost immediately, such as requests for a planet each due to long hatreds. The revelation of the cause of the imminent catastrophe sets back negotiations further, with O’Neill and Teal’c wanting to let them deal with it themselves given how they’re deadest on refusing help.
Back on Langara Carter and Jonas put together a plan to trigger another earthquake deliberately to cut the naquadah vein in half and stop the rest from being converted to naquadriah. This is to be done with a small bomb supplied from the SGC to be delivered by a manned mining vehicle that the Kewlownans have. In private Kianna tries to get Jonas to remove the reliance on the SGC, stating that they have an agenda regarding the naquadriah, but Jonas convinces her to trust them like he does before it’s revealed that the two have a relationship that goes beyond work colleagues. Later Kianna goes back to the lab alone and injects herself with an unknown substance. Carter however becomes suspicious of Kianna given her advanced knowledge and later confirm that Kianna is indeed a Goa’uld.
Despite Kianna’s true nature Carter realises they have no choice but to trust her to control the drill as no one but the Goa’uld has any idea of how to control the drill fast enough. With Teal’c joining the three of them the team begin their descent into the planet encountering a number of problems along the way including a large magma deposit. Eventually the drill stops functioning, having been damaged by the journey downwards, leaving their only option being someone drags the bomb through the crack themselves, a likely suicide mission that Kianna volunteers for knowing that as a Goa’uld she’s the only one who can make it without dying.
At the SGC Daniel finally has enough of the squabbling delegates, who can’t agree on simple things such as a selection process for refugees. Instead O’Neill decides to intervene and plays a ruse that the idea of relocation is off due to their inability to move forward with the process. This finally gives the three representatives the message to stop acting like children but by then the mission has already been completed anyway.
Near the drillsite Kianna successfully delivers the bomb but barely makes it back alive. Despite the attempts of the SGC to help her the Goa’uld dies but chooses to save the host rather than kill her as well. The team say farewell to Jonas before he and the host leave for Kelowna.
And here the show goes back to normal, with an episode about terrible things happening to a planet and the SGC are the ones to save the day again.
Here the show uses the usual story with the Langarans which is that their politicians are utterly useless. Even though their society had taken some steps after the start of the season the leaders are still shown to be squabbling children who couldn’t agree to a drink order let alone saving the lives of their citizens. In a rare showing even Daniel eventually gets tired of the diplomatic effort, agreeing to O’Neill’s ruse to scare them into following the SGC plan. Instead for the majority of the episode follows the military/science team trying to solve the problem themselves without the government, with the civilian scientist also being a Goa’uld.
This again brings about the slight shift the show sometimes take into almost glorifying the idea of a military dictatorship as they are shown to be the ones to get things done while the civilians just dick about blaming each other. This is understandably a controversial line to take, even more so at the time of the Iraq War where it was slowly feeding into public anger at both the military and government as by 2004 the war was already starting to go out of control.
The Goa’uld in the episode is probably the most stark contrast present. Until know the Goa’uld have always been very one-dimensional characters despite some of the newer additions like Ba’al starting to expand that field. Here however the Goa’uld inhabiting Kianna is shown to be quite complex for the episode, not only displaying actual feelings for Jonas but a willingness to put herself in danger for the sake of the mission, with Goa’uld in the past even refusing to work together for self-preservation. What is however left quiet is how fucked up Kianna is likely to be in the future given how she was effectively trapped in her own body for the entire of the relationship between herself and Jonas.
Overall the episode is an action-packed one involving the team saving yet another planet from destruction but does raise some awkward situations that are never resolved.
· Hey we just happen to have a bomb while you have a drill! Convenient much.
Quote of the episode: “This is diplomacy, Jack. This is the way the game is played. It takes patience.”
“Yeah well I’m fresh out.” – Daniel and O’Neill