“Threads” is an extra-length episode that was originally broadcast in a 90-minute slot, and our kid really hated it. Their goal was to wrap up absolutely everything, all the outstanding continuity, clearing the decks for a big, fun two-part finale without all the weight of loose ends. This one even introduces a whole new loose end: O’Neill has been seeing a CIA agent named Kerry for a few weeks, but that gets wrapped up as well, so that he and Carter can finally begin a relationship. But wait, you say, wasn’t she engaged to Pete? The guy who’s been barely mentioned and not seen since “Affinity”? Yeah, she breaks off their engagement. And her father dies, so it’s farewell this time to both Carmen Argenziano and David DeLuise, making their final appearances in the series.
Okay, so technically O’Neill and Carter don’t actually formalize anything onscreen. Then there’s the fact that the series continued with occasional guest appearances from Richard Dean Anderson showing that his character does not actually retire from the USAF as it is strongly hinted here. But I’m pretty sure that “I can’t believe we didn’t do this years ago” is all the meat that fans of that ship needed. It works, offscreen, from here if you’re willing to let it.
Our son was very, very bored with this one. It’s all talking, with the action offscreen. On Earth, it’s deaths and breakups, in space, all the money for big battles needed to be spent in the next story, and then there’s the Astral Diner. Happily, mercifully, this story also mostly wraps up all the business with the higher planes of existence, and finally answers the problem posed two years previously why Oma Desala never stopped the supervillain Anubis.
But it’s all so dopey! Daniel is trapped in a diner whose appearance was pulled from his memories, and populated by Ascended Beings who ignore him while he and Oma Desala and a mysterious loudmouth argue about free will and death and good and evil and coffee. It all plays out precisely like those deeply bizarre tangents that Steve Gerber would write in 1970s Marvel comics like Man-Thing and Omega the Unknown, where you thought you were buying a comic with a monster or a superhero and you got people on roller coasters having a mid-life crisis and talking directly to the reader. That fine character actor George Dzundza plays the loudmouth in the diner, and his identity is a nice surprise, but I’ve said before that the higher plane of existence business has been the weakest thing about Stargate and they were determined to wrap it up as goofily as possible, weren’t they?
By this point, the continuity around the characters is so rich that they can do an episode where the Stargate is not mentioned and the prop doesn’t actually appear onscreen at all. It introduces a new recurring Earthbound threat called the Trust, made up of those members of Maybourne’s old NID that hadn’t been arrested already. The business of other interests on Earth having their own designs on alien tech has been a thread since season two, but it works better with somebody really slimy in charge for the audience to hate, like Maybourne or Kinsey. This introduces three bad guy characters, but far too briefly. We don’t even get to hiss at them much, and two of them will get killed off in their next appearance. That’s no way to do it.
The meat of the story, though, is Teal’c taking an apartment offbase, in what must surely be the most crime-racked neighborhood in all of Colorado Springs, and befriending his neighbor, played by Erica Durance. I was afraid our kid was going to give this the thumbs-down because it was leading into the land of smoochy stuff, especially with Carter surprising the audience by accepting her boyfriend’s proposal. He enjoyed it a lot more than I thought he would. Happily, Teal’c beating up wannabe tough guys and knocking out purse-snatchers with well-thrown avocados is just as entertaining for a boy his age as gunfights on alien planets. The best moment, however, is Carter delivering a rather brilliant rant about society’s pressuring women to neither be alone nor accept anything less than the absolute love of their life, and, after a perfectly-timed, awkward beat of silence, Daniel asking “How are things?”
The Sci-Fi Channel definitely made the right choice in airing these two episodes as a single feature. Part two is far better than the first half, and illustrates just how badly the show needs Richard Dean Anderson’s wit and light touch. Somebody must have realized that if he ever were to leave the show, then they will have to radically rethink all the personal dynamics of the cast. Amazingly, they get it just about perfect in year nine, and it’s such a shame the program will eventually get bogged down with such unpleasant villains.
So anyway, we’re back on familiar ground, with Erector-set bug Replicators getting blasted into blocks and weird new weapons being developed to stop them. Unfortunately, there’s a Human-form Replicator who’s got Carter in what can only be described as a virtual reality prison, which seemed about ten years behind the times in 2004 and is so predictable that even our son wasn’t surprised when he starts looking like Carter’s boyfriend Pete, who was introduced in “Chimera” and has been offscreen since. Still, everybody else’s plot is interesting.
And back on Earth, there’s a really fascinating development which the show sadly doesn’t really use anywhere near as well as it might have. Three villains had come to Earth in part one, and that fellow in the middle, Camulus, played by Steve Basic, says he doesn’t want to go back with the rest. He asks for asylum on Earth. We’ve never had a Goa’uld switch sides like this before, but he knows that he’s lost and doesn’t have the resources to fight Baal.
We did give our son a big clue in that Torri Higginson’s character would be moving over to Atlantis, but the other predictable thing for him is the closing revelation that O’Neill, promoted to brigadier general, gets to be the new commander of the SGC, which will allow Richard Dean Anderson to take a regularly short workweek and not have to go out on location shoots as often. It’s a move that makes a lot of sense, apart from SG-1 not getting a fourth member to replace him. The program has shown us repeatedly that four is the ideal number for a unit. Until it becomes five, anyway.
This is the episode that introduces David DeLuise as Pete, Sam’s boyfriend. You get so used to the fellows in this show having space girlfriends that Pete being a cop from Denver seems so bizarre. Sam took all the hallucinations of the fellows from a couple of episodes ago to heart and had her brother fix her up with somebody. She’s so in like with him when this one starts that she starts humming the program’s theme tune. We asked the kid, who really didn’t enjoy this story much at all, whether he thinks the relationship will last. “He’ll probably get taken over by a Goa’uld,” he said.
Speaking of whom, here’s Anna-Louise Plowman back as Osiris. She hasn’t been seen since the end of season five, probably because there wasn’t a really good reason to bring Osiris/Sarah back during the season where Daniel wasn’t around. She’s trying to poke and prod at Daniel’s subconscious to find some Ancient Secrets, and the two plots come crashing together when Pete decides to stake out Sam while she and the team are staking out Daniel’s house to catch Osiris in the middle of the night. Osiris gets extracted and, presumably, killed, and Daniel’s old girlfriend isn’t seen again.
But Pete’s going to stick around for a little while. I paused the episode to comment, with a growl, that Pete’s pillow talk is absolutely appalling. I don’t know what it is about teevee boyfriends, but I’m willing to wager that if I’d been wining and dining Major Carter and she shared that she does classified government work on deep space telemetry that occasionally requires her going out of the country with no notice, I’d respect the “classified” bit and wouldn’t poke or prod and certainly not use the trust guilt card on the first freaking morning together. How soon until this fling ends, again?