back in SG1 season… before ethon at any rate carter was trapped on the prometheus alone and ghost O’Neill and her ghost dad showed up to give her dating advice. apparently people liked that one, but uncultured teenage me found it boring. but, you know what? i have it on dvd and i’m going to watch it again and give it a fair chance to shine.
The Setup (sg1 S7 primer):
sg1 goes into the galaxy and fights the goa’uld. after the first goa’uld attempt at invading 90s earth sg1 steals a bunch of Goa’uld death gliders which are picked up by a space shuttle. the NID over at area 51 shove fins and air force stickers on it and that almost kills jack and teal’c near jupiter. un-peturbed by this they study some goa’uld things, dig up naquadria and make the x302, later f302. that also sucked. then Q shows up to make the prometheus with carter. then that sucks too but fortunately the asgard show up to fix everything. then the prometheus sucks again because fuck naquadria. Stargate Barclay crashes the network but jack and teal’c steal a bomber which they put in the prommie for it’s trip back to earth for the asgards to unfuck again. meanwhile carter’s dad is a tok’ra (good goa’uld, also horny as fuck goa’uld) and she’s kind of being shipped with jack… well not literally, technically she’s being shipped around on the prommie
so the prommie is making a succession of jumps back to earth using an alkesh hyperdrive, designed for a guitar pick shaped bomber not a (admittedly diddy) earth battlecruiser so it’ll have to make cooldown stops once in a while. captain colonel expendable and his first officer LooksLikeMy6thForm’sMediaTeacher, no the other one, erin gant are leading this mission and carter is… so damn cute… when they get her hair right at least. mckay may be fighting a lost cause but you have to admit he has a most excellent taste in people to stalk. she’s here because she wants to science a space cloud that’s not a nebula because she’s the goa’uld damned scientist on this show and is super excited about this kind of stuff. then someone attacks in the skull shaped ship from gunmen of the apocalypse. knowing earth battlecruisers and their offensive capabilities… hello VR cowboy carter.
and it turns out this isn’t in one of those seasons with the slow ass pan shot intro. yay!
instead of cowboying the hell up expendable captain decides to run away and rely on the shields, pity these are shitty tau’ri shields and they end up pummelled. carter tries to warp them inside the nebulawhotzit because scanners but is hit on the head and knocked out by camera jostle.
waking our heroine discovers that this ship full of people she knew and l… knew is a strong word, is now empty, and in the nebula, and there’s now a creepy little girl running around singing twinkle twinkle little star, which doesn’t seem all that scary until you consider that outside is space and everything suspicious is worthy of Dutch angles. carter tries sciencing her way out but to no avail so falls back to the only logical solution: declaring herself captain & captain’s log writer and going space crazy. an imaginary teal’c shows up to tell her to stay the fuck awake, imaginary jack… wait no, boy his influence sure rubbed off on imaginary daniel over the last 6 minus 1 seasons of imaginary sg1. snarky ass daniel tells her that she’s gone space crazy. good to know doctor.
meanwhile on earth real jack, daniel, Teal’c and General Hammond get agitated and set out to look for her, not with any hopes of success but it’s a thing to do.
how’s things aboard the USS crazy? carter is talking to her imaginary dad about her sex life, tell me it’s not just me who finds that weird, and he has a few pointers: get on the interstellar dating scene, be more hip and stuff, the power of love, etcetera. then she gets tinnitus hearing the ship creak like it’s… oh, that’s real and this cloud is corrosive. she tries to science some more by flushing air out of the lower decks for propulsion but almost kills imaginary girl, who is named grace by the way. it’s ok though as imaginary teal’c comes along to spout some “matrix shit” at her and imaginary daniel comes up with theory “clouds are people too, speak to grace about stuff”. she does and grace is apparently touchable to carter, the plot thickens, as they share time blowing bubbles. imaginary jack shows up, finally, to be like “you’re only pining for me because you can’t have me so i’m a safe bet, also kree your ass up colonel and save yourself!”. then they imaginary imaginary make out because when you’re hallucinating better make the most of it.
real jack however doesn’t want to talk about it. “but we really missed you when you went on that camping trip with your old pal harry on that moon, so shared feels dude” says teal’c. (to further explain: jack has a Nemesis called Harold Mayborne, he’s an Ex Rouge NID Leader and they’re totally best friends despite this. they once got trapped on a planet by a thing that made them eat only weasel bones for a week, or something. Jonas Quinn medicine woman was there, i think.)
meanwhile carter solves everything with batman ’66 logic: fucking bubbles, ergo phased not cloaked, ergo submarine off with those guys ergo crew returned. carter is tucked into a hospital bed, Janet Frazier is not dead yet so she has the best care the sgc has to offer, and she and get real jackeil O’Neill talk about stuff, presumably ‘reconcile’ in some manner.
Dr Lt Colonel Samantha Carter PhD being a badass? check, Character development and nods i really didn’t notice on my first watch through? check. crazy people? Check. i’m not sure about award winning but it was actually pretty good. plus everything is left a little vague so we can all interpret the ‘hallucination’ characters whatever way we want and we don’t waste time getting to know unknown alien ship (Grace)’s dudes. my own personal take on carter’s psychology for this episode is this:
“Grace” is herself as a child, more specifically all the things she misses having been when younger: Spontaneous, Trouble Free, not having to give long technobabble speeches, though as we see still smart enough to get them. you could say that that’s too obvious but hey, why build a house when all you need is an umbrella?
Her Friends represent the aspects of her personality that she associates most with them:
Daniel is curiosity and reasoning, he urges her to study the cloud and interact with the young girl, he makes leaps in logic for her.
Jack: :Leadership and a thirst for action. teal’c takes on the role of her own personal paranoia which seems a little OOC for him, i guess it’s insight on how carter sees him.
and Jacob Carter/ her father? well i’m pretty sure he shows up because even after prolonging his life with the tok’ra symbiosis she and him didn’t spend nearly enough time bonding.
What/Why were they? her mind working overtime on a insignificant sleep budget with a head injury? manifestations brought on by the space cloud? maybe she’s always heard voices in her head and that’s why she’s so smart? who knows, it’s vague enough that it can be whatever you want to believe.
Grace Under Pressure
which brings us to today’s offering Grace under Pressure, the premise? “grace got awards, let’s do that again but with rodney in a submarine, with david bowie and Freddy mercury.”. which sound like reusing an old concept again, but grace is already like 5 episodes of star trek, and christmas carol. so i’ll give it a pass.
Rodney and Chief Burns are test flying the jumper that got shot down in that boring episode with welshy. as Charlie regails our scientist friend with tales of how Spanish tomatoes are going to disprove all his theories in a hundred years time (?) we learn why you don’t test drive on an ocean planet as they hit the drink… fighter pilot slang drink aka ocean, not regular slang drink aka booze.
atlantis calls them up to see if they’re all right, nope. head injuries all round and 1200 feet down and sinking. oh and then the windscreen starts cracking so… yeah, things are looking grim. they retreat to the rear compartment but the door won’t close. mustache charlie suicides to rodney’s rescue by staying behind in the cockpit and closing it UN-manually. his apparent death is later retconned in a tie in novel to “rescued by darcy bussel”. but rodney doesn’t know that and is rather distraught by this, going through the first stage of crisis management “why the fuck did you do that for”. As the transmitter is in the front he needs to enable the backup and deal with all the water blocking the signal later. he does attract a space whale though so that’s good.
Rodney attempts to fix everything because he’s the guy who does that. while fixing up some life support and yelling at the ship he breaks into the second stage of crisis: space crazy. he can’t solve it so he hallucinates the only person he wouldn’t admit is smarter than him, Lt Colonel… still so fucking cute. how can he hallucinate someone smarter than him? i have a theory for that. so instead of telling him that he needs to get laid (because, let’s face it real sam wouldn’t go through with that last time they met) she instead tries to persuade him to trust that his friends will never leave a man behind, and all that. naturally rodney’s like “no, none of them are as good at my job of apollo 13ing as i am” and goes into the 3rd stage of crisis: blaming radek.
oh and he names his whale after her. dick.
we hit rock bottom (literally) and Mckay is ok with this but Sam takes a break from arguing with him and is like “rodney, we’re leaking now, fix things with air pressure like in vaudeville upturned canoe scenes from carry on films”, and he does. things still flood though and as things are looking down rodney tries to set things up for his daring self rescue while imaginary carter swims around in her imaginary underwear trying to distract him from using up so much power. of course he’s arrogant, stubborn and all that so he naturally goes ahead and blows up 5/6ths of a solar system… i mean wastes half of his time left on trying to escape. consigned to his watery grave rodney heats the water with his remaining power and waits for death. imaginary carter is sure that he’s going to get rescued. sure enough shield noises happen and sheppard knocks on the door but rodney understandably is sceptical of reality. the ghost of carter’s past is like “no, your team are just that good” and sure enough it’s shep and Zelenka with a shielded jumper here to save the Mudder Fing day. how
well you see meanwhile at Atlantis zelenka does a box plot to work out where the jumper crashed and sheppard starts cannibalizing another science project for cabling and they come up with a plan to save the day using the jumper’s cloak as not a cloak or a phase but a shield. and they found him by following sam the whale. the day is saved i guess.
would have been brilliant if the order of the episode was as it was in my summary but no, they had to cut back to atlantis every 5 minutes. way to kill the tension guys. in this episode Carter is the manifestation of rodney’s doubts with his plans to rescue himself, his self awareness and his teamworkiness. the conflict in this episode is rodney trying to persuade himself subconsciously that he should just wait it out, and the bit of him trying to do that is the bit of him he doesn’t listen to and usually needs other people like shep, radek and weir around for. if you show us that guys are coming to rescue him then we know that our rodney is wrong and the rodney-carter is right, if they’d left it ambiguous then that scene at the end where he’s questioning whether he’s hallucinating sheppard or it’s real? tension off the charts. Carter Vs Rodney? both have legitimate arguments if we don’t know what’s right. still it’s pretty damn good. by the way the stargate wiki summary for this is golden in terms of wiki humor: “wearing pink! outfit”. please don’t change it.
also my theory for how Rodney’s smarter than himself: “Petty, arrogant, bad with people”, if he though he could be wrong he’d be right later more.
which is better? i’m going to have to go with Under Pressure because the deadly danger that’s about to kill him isn’t solved by a Russian slipping on a banana peel but one and a half rodneys arguing with each other about whether to be patient or not.
also do all supergenii have their sanity fragilly nestled in their forehead because damn this happens way too often to be a coincidence.