Stargate SG-1: Ripple Effect

Last Friday’s Stargate SG-1 episode proved to me once and for all that the folks behind the franchise don’t see any purpose to Sam Carter beyond her love life’s ability to titillate the audience.

In this episode, SG-1 met up with a number of other “SG-1” teams from alternate universes. In these other universes, events could be any degree of different or similar to the timeline our SG-1 knows. There should be alternate universes in which Jack O’Neill never left, in which Daniel’s wife never died, in which same sex couplings are viewed as good for morale among military team members, and in which puppies are considered an American delicacy. We are assured early in the episode, by Sam no less, that the possibilities are infinite.

Out of all these possibilities, we get a virtual tour of Sam’s alternate lovelives. Oh, and Sam’s sorely missed best friend, Janet (Teryl Rothery) – killed off in Season 7 because Robert C. Cooper had read the thinking behind the death of Chewbacca in the Star Wars post-Jedi novelizations – turned up, but that seemed to be more important to Daniel and Teal’c than it was to Sam. She was a bit distracted by the return of a much less integral character who died in Season 4 – Martouf, a cute guy played by J.R. Bourne.

In this episode, we learn that one of the Alternate Sams recently had a honeymoon. We learn that another one dated Martouf, then dumped him and is now pregnant with someone else’s child. We learn that Jack O’Neill is still running the SGC in one of the realities.

There was, apparently, a deleted scene in which we would have learned of an alternate universe where Daniel’s wife never died and is still helping them fight the bad guys. But the exploration of that integral arc, which hails all the way back to the movie, was cut for time. What’s disturbing is that there were no deleted scenes that would have featured Sam re-bonding with Janet. Sam’s platonic relationships are simply not of interest to the writers. Strangely, the platonic bonds between Daniel and Janet and Teal’c and Janet get a little bit of airtime. Is that because they assume we’ll read sex into it? “Hey, dude, there’s a man and a woman on the same screen so they must be doing it!” Or do they sometimes comprehend that we can cry over deep bonds of friendship as easily as bonds involving exchanges of bodily fluids? Why was Sam denied this sort of emotional charge?

Why is she always denied emotional outpourings that are more complex than weeping over her love life? And why is her love life always more important than her accomplishments?


  1. sbg says

    Because it gets people all worked up – and it doesn’t matter whether they’re foaming at the mouth from rage or glee. TPTB expect that reaction. They want it. I admit I get frustrated when it happens just exactly like that. I expected it to happen with this episode while I watched it and realized it was indeed a very Sam-heavy episode (For good reason. It’s not like Daniel or Teal’c or Mitchell know a thing about this on a useful level.).

    And, yeah, I noticed the shoehorning in of all the romance aspects…but to me, I can’t get upset about it anymore. I’ve come to anticipate it and gloss right over it so I can actually enjoy the show. I don’t think the battle for fair treatment of Sam is one that can be won.

    For the record, I don’t think she needs that much redeeming, as her crimes aren’t really felonies to me, but misdemeanors. The way people talk about her, though, one would think she was an axe murderer. 😉

  2. says

    That’s why I don’t like Sam Carter as a character. She seems very flat other than providing techno babble because we never really get to see her life outside of the base. And then when we do it’s just bad.

    Personally I liked the Vala Maldoran character that had a few episodes at the beginning of the season. She at least seemed more interesting than Sam.

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    Vala will be there full time next season, in case you aren’t aware. :)

    Sam had a lot of potential early on, I felt. In the first season, she had some spark and some quirks that could easily have become interesting with a little development. But by season 2, she’d become robotic. Since Amanda Tapping seemed to play into it just fine, my guess is they thought they were putting across a very professional military woman. Which is a laudable exercise… but there was no need to remove her personality.

  4. says

    Well, all I can say is, I’m definitely going to have to start watching more Stargate next season. I’ve watched some episodes but that’s only because of the edition of Ben Browder. He’s fresh blood for the show and he was so great in Farscape.

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