Rite of Passage

I’ve just watched the Stargate:SG1 episode Rite of Passage, and thought it rated a mention. Basically, you have Janet Frasier, whose adopted (alien) daughter Cassandra has mysteriously taken ill. Turns out the Goa’uld Niirti, who was researching the genetic mutation of Cassandra’s people before she killed the lot of them to avoid being caught out, was behind it. Cassandra’s life-threatening symptoms have been genetically hard-wired by Niirti, and only Niirti can reverse the effects.

Because Cassandra is the only of her people to survive, Niirti is itching to get her hands on the girl, daring to enter the SG1 compound to do so. She gets caught, and refuses to help Cassie until SG1 promise her safe-passage through the gate, the return of her invisibility device, and a sample of Cassie’s blood. General Hammond agrees to only the safe passage, so they’re at an impasse.

Until Janet knocks out the man guarding her, sneaks into Niirti’s quarters, and, at gunpoint, forces her to cure Cassie. She has a point of fierce determination on her face, and when Niirti remains defiant, Hammond pipes up “I should inform you that the woman holding the gun is Cassandra’s mother’. Niirti, realising that Cassie’s mum isn’t someone she wants to mess with, acquiesces.

What annoyed me about the episode was that, with the possible exception of Hathor, this was the only episode we see of Janet being anything beyond a doctor; rather, showing tactical and negotiation techniques that elevated her to being an airforce Major in the first place. In The Broca Divide she was the one maintaining calm while everyone around her reverted to an animal-like state. In Hathor she was one of the women unaffected by Hathor’s drugs and was able to reclaim the base in a logical manner. In the Line of Duty shows her being a protective parent to Cassie and concerned friend to Sam.

I could go on and on. My point is, the only time we got to see vengeful, vigilante Janet was when it involved her daughter. Not that I don’t believe men aren’t capable of such vengeful vigilantisms, a la Jack Bauer in 24, but with Jack, we got to see him be the vengeful vigilante when it comes to the people who killed his friends, threatened his country, are threatening his country. Kim is just one of the scenarios which call for him to wave a gun/knife/machine of torture around.

And therein lies what I took issue with about RoP. It was like TPTB got together and said “let’s write an episode around Janet” and the best they could come up with was a “protective parent” storyline. Not that I have a problem with protective parent storylines. But TPTB made it clear men like Jack Bauer are more than that, so they should make it clear women are more than that, too.


  1. DragonLadyK says

    After having to deal with SGA’s Jennifer Keller’s constant breaches of basic professionalism and medical ethics, listening to Keller whine about how she doesn’t feel up to her job (during which she is comforted by the men around her and disdained by Teyla in Missing), and watching Keller portrayed as the most incomptent physician in Pegasus (if it isn’t on a scan, it isn’t there) but the most sought-after love interest (McKay, Ronon, Zelenka)…

    I cannot see this episode as anything other than that Janet was SO professional and SO cool-headed that that was the only thing that could possibly shake her. Not revenge, not lust, not fear, not principled hatred: none of those things could make the legendary Janet Frasier lose her cool, no, the only thing that could make Janet lose it was a midbrain-level hard-wired instinct like parenthood. Ah, how I loved Janet. The Stargate franchise was never the same without her decisive competence, and her existence stands in sharp condemnation of Keller.

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