Stargate SG-1: The Enemy Within and Emancipation
Stargate SG-1 – Season One – Episode 3 – The Enemy Within
Television episode numbering is a funny thing. Stargate SG-1’s first episode after the pilot is either counted as Episode 1 of Season 1 or Episode 3 of Season 1.
The third person from the original Stargate team in the movie, Major Charles Kawalsky, a good friend of Jack O’Neill’s, is infested by a Goa’uld symbiote. The medical staff at Stargate Command conduct an emergency operation to remove the Goa’uld, but the operation is a failure. As the Goa’uld tries to escape Earth by going through the Stargate, Teal’c proves his loyalties once and for all by forcing the Goa’uld’s head (Major Kawalsky) into the Stargate event horizon as Jack O’Neill terminates the wormhole, effectively cutting the back of Kawalsky’s head off, killing the Goa’uld. As Jack O’Neill remarks, “my friend died on the operating table.”
This is a great “first” episode for the series. It was always problematic having a brand new team that goes through the Stargate each week while still having members from the original team in the movie. Basically, Major Kawalsky had to go away, and killing him was a good move, especially because it showed in a little more detail just how a Goa’uld takes over and controls a host body.
Teal’c is more firmly established as a character in this episode. He served an important purpose in Children of the Gods, but this is the first time he’s really seen as a new character. Richard Dean Anderson firmly steps into the role of Jack O’Neill in this episode as well, as he portrays the Jack we’ll see throughout the series; there is very little of Kurt Russell Jack O’Neil in this episode.
I appreciate that the show sets up Earth as the home planet for all humans in the galaxy in this episode. Sure, it’s a very strong evolutionary tone, but it is necessary for good storytelling.
Stargate SG-1 – Season One – Episode 4 – Emancipation
And here it is. Possibly the very worse episode in all of the Stargate franchise. This episode is terrible…fitting that they got it out of the way early on.
SG-1 visits a new planet, where they encounter a group of Mongols abducted from Earth centuries ago. Unfortunately, these Mongols are highly sexist, and will kill any woman who speaks or dresses like a man. Therefore, Captain Sam(antha) Carter has issues with them, is kidnapped and traded by one of the Mongol ruler’s sons in exchange for the woman of his dreams. SG-1 rescues Carter, but not until Carter has to defeat in hand to hand combat a warring Mongol chieftain who would slay his own daughter. Having established her dominance and independence as a woman, Captain Carter and SG-1 leave the planet bringing back a new found anesthetic to study.
This episode fracking sucks. No one likes it. The cast doesn’t like it. The shows producers don’t like it. The networks that re-air SG-1 refuse to air it. The only person who seems to like it is the woman who wrote it, especially because it is remarkably similar to other episodes on other shows by the woman.
Basically, this is Stargate SG-1 channeling the spirit of Star Trek, specifically it’s overtly liberal preachiness. While I’m all for equal rights for women, and agree that in the past they have been mistreated (and it’s only been a foundation in a Judeo-Christian worldview that has helped free women from being viewed as simple property), science fiction, when done well, does not bash you over the head with its message. Suggest, don’t shout.
Thankfully things get better after this episode…