Warning, Stargate spoilers.
Something that annoys me about the first three seasons of Stargate is that the writers had this near-obsession with hooking up Daniel with other women, despite the fact he was married. They handily got around the whole infidelity issue by having two scenarios where his consent was, at best, obtained by deception, and a third the episode after his wife’s death. And in that episode she turns out to be a psychopathic maniac in the guise of a young woman. After that episode, they never look at a love-interest for Daniel, unless you count the way Vala toys with him. Which makes me wonder, was Daniel getting laid only titillating when he was cheating on his wife?
Personally, I wouldn’t have thought any less of Daniel if, say, after a year of Sha’re being controlled by her symbiote, he decided to move on, or just that he needed to get laid. After a year of no sex, in limbo between single, married and widowed, I’d be pretty antsy too, and if I were Sha’re, I think I could understand. But the producers couldn’t take such a brave, realistic (IMHO anyway) attitude towards Daniel’s fidelity, applying traditional expectations of marriage and monogamy to exceptional circumstances.
Mind you, Stargate is renowned for taking storylines and standards from other sources and trying to make them fit into their mould.
But what really bothered me was, since they couldn’t be brave and address the fact that, once in a while, a person needs to get laid, married or not, but they still wanted to give Daniel some action, they went about it by a serious of drug-inducements at the hands of deceptive women. To put it crudely, Daniel has to be faithful, but rape doesn’t count as cheating.
Case #1, Hathor. The base is infiltrated by a Goa’uld Queen, who drugs Daniel and gets him to have sex with her in order to create a new species of parasite. There’s been a lot of argument about whether or not this was rape, because technically the victim wasn’t penetrated, rather did the penetrating. I argue that rape is sex without consent, which fits in this scenario. My point is that the producers seem to take the stance that since Daniel didn’t consent, therefor he wasn’t unfaithful. The producers get their action while still maintaining Daniel’s moral high ground.
Case #2, Need. Daniel rescues a princess to an offworld planet, Shyla, who falls in love with him and, in order to coax his loyalties away from Sha’re, gets him addicted to the sarcophagus, so he’ll stay with her. This gets a bit messy because there was probably more consent in this scenario then there was in the Hathor one, and there’s some debate on the Internet about weather it reflected a subconscious desire to cheat on Sha’re, but the producers were still able to get Daniel laid by compromising his judgement and making the validity of his consent tenuous at best.
Case #3, Past and Present. This is the episode directly after Sha’re dies, and Daniel makes a reference to her recent death. He falls for a young woman, Kera, who actually turns out to me an older woman and sociopath who they met earlier in the series, having taken a youth elixir and amnesiac. This is the only time he actually consents, although it’s still under deceptive circumstances. What the hell was that about? Now Daniel’s single, he can consent to sex? It was a stupid sub-plot which served no purpose other then maybe the producers were sick of thinking up contrivances to have Daniel have sex against his will.
Mind you, in regard to the grieving-widower storyline, they did better then most. I’ve seen TV shows where someone’s partner died and the next episode they’re happily courting someone else.
After Past and Present, we never hear about Daniel’s lovelife, ever again, unless you count a couple of references to Sha’re. Could it be that, now Daniel is free, by anyone’s standards, to pursue whoever he chooses, it’s a boring story? Was the notion of Daniel getting some action only interesting while he was married? This makes me think that there’s a considerable amount of people out there who find infidelity far more titillating then the act of sex – or even just a kiss – itself.
I wonder how much of an outrage there would have been if, at some point before Sha’re’s death, Daniel had come out and said, either in words or actions “˜I’m effectively widowed, I’m entitled to see other women’? He actually says something like this in Need, which is probably where the debate about his subconscious desire to cheat came from, and I was sorry they didn’t pursue it further. But I guess all those people were OK with various contrivances of deception, despite the fact I would have thought they would have damaged Daniel’s state of mind far more then him simply accepting Sha’re was unlikely to come back and therefor he was effectively widowed, with the freedom to see other woman that came with it. But no, that’s bad. That’s cheating. We have to think of something else.
The moral of the story? Fidelity is a virtue, but rape doesn’t count.