Overall Rating: 7.0
I find this episode entertaining, and it has its heart in the right place, but there's nothing that particularly stands out about it.
Find the cute story here.
I think the only reason this rather tame episode works as well as it does is the perspective shifts. We hear the SG recruits talking about what they're experiencing and see the difficult boot-camp-like process for how brutal it might be...and we also see why Jack is so hard on the SG-hopefuls from his own point of view. This nice contrast lets us root for the newbies...especially Jennifer Hailey - who is super adorable and kind of aweomse! - while still appreciating our regular cast and the challenges they face. It makes us happy when the recruits are put through their ultimate test and pass...we enjoy that Elliot has fun shooting Jack...all of this even though the "twist" is really badly telegraphed and everyone knows that this is all a test from about minute 18 or so when important people start getting shot.
Otherwise, this plot would have been one of those "cute idea, but doesn't work on TV" kinds of shows where you call the plot developments well before they happen. I'm guessing when this idea was pitched that the writers all went "we need a way to like everyone involved and to turn this into something unique or it'll die." Good on them for finding the one way to make this a serviceable episode in a franchise where no one would believe for a second that leading characters would actually die. Make it obviously fun and run with the telegraphing as though you intended it. :)
Average script gets a small boost by the use of changing perspectives and effective humor.
I still say Elizabeth Rosen was a nice find for this role (Hailey) and that the Gate writers do a better than average job finding talented actors to fill in the guest star roles. RDA is also on his game this week as well with the straight-faced (sometimes adlibbed) humor takes.
Not much to write home about in terms of a message in this one though...it's life and fluffy fun.