Sunday, October 25, 2009

Classics: SG1 1:18 – Solitudes

Plot Synopsis:

Shortly after embarking on another mission, Daniel and Teal’c come flying back through the gate, after which the gate promptly overloads. Daniel is knocked unconscious for a few hours, but Teal’c is able to report that they came under heavy enemy fire – and that he is certain Jack and Sam were right behind them. As the staff of the SGC hurriedly tries to fix the gate so that they can send a probe through to ascertain what happened to their missing people, we cut to Jack and Sam in an ice cavern – location unknown. Sam quickly comes to the conclusion that they’re in trouble; Jack is critically injured, and the DHD is nowhere to be found.

Jack works to keep Sam’s spirits up while she unearths the DHD from the ice and tries, without success, to connect to Earth. Meanwhile, Daniel comes to and almost immediately gets to work on narrowing down the possible locations where the gate might’ve discharged during the overload. The SG teams, however, are unable to find Jack and Sam on the planets within Daniel’s designated search area, and General Hammond calls off the search.

As Jack fades, Sam tries the reboot strategy and once again attempts to dial home. This time, the ice cavern begins to shake and the chevrons glow, but nothing happens. Back at the SGC, Daniel, suffering a bout of insomnia, feels the tremor and sees the chevrons on the Colorado gate glowing. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, he proposes to General Hammond that Jack and Sam were discharged by a gate somewhere else on Earth. Concurrently, Jack orders Sam to leave him behind and climb up the crevice to look for help. Reluctantly, Sam does this and finds that they are surrounded by barren ice as far as the eye can see. Discouraged, she goes back to Jack and prepares to die – but, fortunately, they are found just in time by General Hammond and the others. The second gate was buried in a glacier in Antarctica.

The Ratings:

Overall: 8.3 – This is a very likable episode. The basic structure is a well-worn television trope, but it is enhanced by the writer’s clear affection for the characters.

Writing: 8

As I am a traditionalist when it comes to fraternization, I’ve never been a fan of the Jack/Sam relationship. This, however, does not detract from my enjoyment of this episode, despite the fact that the basic plot is every ‘shipper’s dream. Why? Because at the end of the day, this episode is nice. I love Jack’s complaints about Sam’s first aid; I love Jack’s matter-of-fact explanation regarding how he came to break nine bones; I love that when Daniel finally wakes up, Teal’c is watching over him; I love that Jack spends the entire episode encouraging Sam; I love that Daniel never gives up on finding their missing men. The caring and humor in evidence draws you in; it makes you like the characters and fear for their well-being.

Acting: 9

Amanda Tapping conveys creeping despair very well. When Jack tells Sam over the radio that he is honored to have served with her and Sam wells up, I really feel the emotion in the scene. Nicely done!

Message: 8

This episode gives you an intimate sense of what makes someone an effective – and loved – leader. The first essential feature is emotional intelligence. Jack, while personally emotionally reticent, is constantly reading Sam’s mood here and responding to it – in this case, pulling her away from discouraging trains of thought and, in one moment, making her laugh. The second important feature is the willingness to sacrifice. Jack, of course, demonstrates this when he orders Sam to look for help without him. Lastly, the third feature is on display back at the SGC: even after Hammond scrubs the search, he is still open to other ideas. Would that we had leaders of this stripe in our present-day society!


JACK: “You wouldn't think jagged bone digging into raw nerves would hurt, but it does.”
SAM: “Sorry, Sir, but I've never done this before in my life. Is this your first broken bone?”
JACK: “No. This…this would be, uh, nine, if you count skull fractures.”
SAM: “How did you manage that?”
JACK: “Little parachuting mishap, over the borders of Iran and Iraq, back in…eighty…uh…”
SAM: “Okay, this is going to hurt, Sir.”
JACK: (after crying out in pain) “I know, I know, I know, I know!”
SAM: “So, what happened?”
JACK: “I hit the ground. Go figure.” – Heh. Yes, hitting the ground does tend to do that.

JACK: “By the way, Captain, we ARE going to get out of here; that's an order.” – Don’t you just love Jack’s sunny optimism?

(Sam and Jack are lying together on the icy ground. Sam is lying slightly on top of Jack.)
JACK: “Oh God! Captain…”(Sam wakes up.) “As much as I might…otherwise think this is nice…”
SAM: “Shhh. Try to sleep.”
JACK: “Is that what we're doing?”
SAM: “You're exhausted; you passed out. I just thought we had to combine body heat or we wouldn't make it through the night.”
JACK: “That's fine. It's just…very hard to sleep…with broken ribs when someone's lying on you.”
SAM: “Sorry.”(She moves.) “Sorry, sorry.”
JACK: “That's better.”
SAM: “Sleep for a few hours and I'll fix the DHD.”
JACK: “Okay. Night.”
SAM: “Night.” (A beat.) “Oh…Colonel?”
JACK: “It's my sidearm, I swear…” – Hee!

(Sam is climbing up the crevice.)
SAM: “Colonel, I can't see the surface yet. It looks like it just keeps going up.”
JACK, on the radio: “Sam.”
SAM: “Yes, Sir?”
JACK: “It was an honor serving with you.” – Aww.

DANIEL: (To Teal'c) “What happens when you dial your own phone number?” (Teal’c stares at Daniel uncomprehendingly. D’oh!) “Wrong person to ask.” – LOL!

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