Stargate SG-1: "The Other Side"

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Ragitsu, May 17, 2022.

  1. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Good afternoon.

    It was either "The Other Side" or "New Ground" that got me into Stargate SG-1 during one late night when I was surfing broadcast television. This is a fantastic forty-four minutes. I think this just might be my most favorite episode of the entire show. Not only does "The Other Side" set the (dark) tone for the rest of Season 4*, but it's a great standalone story in its own right. While the Goa'uld are not present, they are the impetus for the team's actions; everyone (barring Teal'c, maybe?) is pushed to their limits in an attempt to acquire advanced technology. Earth almost jumps into bed with Space Nazis.

    What else was fantastic? Rene Auberjonois turns in an excellent performance as "Alar": friendly yet creepy. The world-building is surprisingly compelling, despite the second set being limited to a bunker. The score...the score took me by surprise and I was bummed to find out it was never officially released. Really, my only complaint is that this story would have benefitted from expansion into a second episode.

    P.S. The fact that the death of you-know-who was a mere blip on a computer screen was a subtle yet nice touch.

    * Season 4 in general is mostly about "At what cost power?".

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    Last edited: May 22, 2022
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  2. Romulan_spy

    Romulan_spy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, "The Other Side" is a classic SG1 ep. It's really good. It's your basic "planet of the week" format but told really well. And while it probably was not a huge plot twist that there would be something bad about the planet, the execution is great. The ep drops hints and builds up to the reveal really well. There is a moral dilemma of whether Earth should ally with these space nazis in order to get tech that could protect Earth from an even greater evil, the Goa'uld. Ultimately, I think the ep takes the correct stance and rejects the space nazis even if it means forgoing powerful tech. SG1 is not going to compromise their morals. The ending is especially poignant: just a single blip on the screen indicating that the character tried to escape through the gate and went splat on the iris. And yes, Rene Auberjonois is fantastic in the ep.

    Another great ep for me is "The Gamekeeper" with another trek veteran, Dwight Schultz aka Barclay. Dwight Schutlz is great in the ep. And there is some great emotion too. It's another "planet of the week" type episode with a very compelling scifi premise.
     
  3. Summer Solstice

    Summer Solstice Captain Captain

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    I like "Window Of Opportunity" with its message that it's a bad idea to change the past and brilliant humour.

    I love the massive amount of world-building in Stargate. And all the mythology.
     
  4. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Stargate SG-1 on the whole is brilliant. One of my fave shows ever.
     
  5. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The uniforms of the Eurondans are notably neutral in tone; there are no Hugo Boss-esque threads to give away the surprise here.

    What I found interesting is how thoroughly dehumanizing (sterile?) Alar's death was...a single blip/ping on a computer screen; we didn't even hear the usual thud on the iris. It is somehow fitting that the mastermind behind a genocide wasn't afforded the dignity of an on-screen death.

    (In "The Enemy Within", it was strongly implied that the Goa'ulds (Apophis?) were sending people through...perhaps Jaffa; during that attack, the thuds against the iris were fairly loud. In "Bane", insects roughly the size of a basketball came through the Stargate and impacted the iris; those thuds were quite obvious. I'm 98.7% certain that the camera shifting over to Walter's screen to have us hear a relatively subtle ping was deliberate.)

    The episodic nature of early Stargate SG-1 was a double-edged sword; there was more room for scriptwriters to indulge in their creativity/risk-taking, but not everything/everyone could be revisited. That said, I agree: "The Gamekeeper" sports a neat premise, good characterization (especially for Daniel) and a wondrous score.

    "Window of Opportunity" is the polar opposite of "The Other Side": primarily humorous with a dash of gravitas. By the way, if you pay attention to Jack hereafter, you'll notice he's changed significantly thanks to his many "loops".
     
  6. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    It's come up a few times in fan discussions how horrifyingly indiscriminate the iris is as a form of defense, and I always note that I'm absolutely sure it isn't a coincidence that the one time they brought up the idea of innocent people unknowingly being killed by the iris, at the beginning of "The Other Side," the episode revealed those people had been Nazis. It's the same sort of storytelling cheat where your hero refuses to kill a subdued enemy... so the bad guy lashes out one last time so their death will technically be self-defense.
     
  7. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The early seasons yes. The later seasons became a parody of itself and there was some nonsense with the lucian alliance or whatever.

    SG-1 got so big around the universe the new alien cultures already knew about them

    "Oh. It's SG-1. Nevermind them they're cool/ they're a threat"


    "Ahhh. The infamous SG-1. We meet at last...."
     
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  8. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Season 1 is a bit uneven, but still watchable and a decent introduction to the team.
    Seasons 2 and 3 was when the show experienced a major leap in quality.
    Season 4 is the zenith of the show.
    Season 5 is great, but it's not "excellent" like Season 4.
    Season 6 is when SG-1 begins to slowly decrease in quality, although it is still fun (I, personally, had no problem with either Corin Nemec or Jonas Quinn).
    Season 7 features less Richard Dean Anderson and, as a result, the show took a major hit.
    Season 8 reduced RDA to a guest star and Shanks begins to take on his costar's action role (not to mention attitude).
    Seasons 9 and 10 was about the Ori (who may as well have been called the "Bore-i").

    I noticed that as more-and-more space battles/travel became a part of the narrative, the premise became correspondingly less interesting. Also, the bulk of the Earth/NID episodes were not compelling.
     
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  9. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    I happened to see that episode a few weeks ago. I agree it’d be great to have a follow up, but I’m not sure how much drama it would have. The other side finds the Stargate, the SGC explains how they actually were single-handedly responsible for killing the guys trying to genocide them, and they are best friends.
     
  10. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Early in the episode, Hammond - while Jack is present - relays a crucial piece of information to Alar.

    Then, later on, Alar counters a statement by Daniel; here, Jack is also present.

    Alar knows, at the very least, that stepping through the Stargate is something of a gamble and Jack is aware that the man is duly informed. Did Jack not care whether Alar died...or did he deliberately trick him into effectively committing suicide?
     
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  11. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    I question the rightness of what Jack did at the end of the episode.

    They’d already prevented the genocide. Alar had not only surrendered, he’d promised to give the SGC information that could save billions of human lives, and he acted strictly out of revenge.
     
  12. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    I actually wasn't even thinking about the end of the episode when I made that comparison, just about the issue of people used to Stargates being safe not realizing that Earth's isn't, and how the writers only explored that issue when it turned out the victims were part of an evil society and the audience wouldn't have to feel that bad that they died. In the real world, it'd be very lucky if there was only one time innocent people were unknowingly killed by the iris, doubly so that that one time, they turned out to be loathsome.

    I don't think there's any reading where Jack encouraged Alar to follow them through the stargate, he said in so many words that he shouldn't go after SG-1. I mean, unless you're thinking it was some kind of reverse psychology thing, but I think Jack had made his antipathy towards Alar clear enough by that point what with shooting down his aircraft and whatnot. As for closing the iris behind him... that's what they do when everyone is back home and it's dangerous on the other side. The base could've blown up, Alar could've started firing into the gateroom in hopes of escaping on Earth somehow, anything could come through that stargate. And as for not taking him prisoner... that's getting into weird Operation: Paperclip territory. Even if they kept Alar prisoner, they'd never be able to return him to face justice from the people he actually wronged once his planet's stargate was buried in the rubble of his base, and exploiting his knowledge would be a kind of vindication. Jack would, unilaterally, have given political asylum to a Nazi.
     
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  13. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    He’d be giving one bad person asylum to save billions of good people. Heck, he could have handed Alar over to the NID to give them the Tollan treatment. Not a bad trade.
     
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  14. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I question the value of this acquisition: Alar came across as a politician (maybe with limited military experience?). Imagine squeezing Adolf Hitler for information on how the V-2 rockets were built.
     
  15. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    I also wonder why they didn't try to see if they could still dial that address and say "Hey, guys? You there? We saved you from genocide, little help?"
     
  16. Summer Solstice

    Summer Solstice Captain Captain

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    I think you are talking about "Moebius". It's such a "for the fans" episode that I don't mind that it's incredibly stupid to go back in time 5000 years - that far back and if you step on an ant you might stop your grandfather being born...

    I would also be very unsettled by living in a timeline that I know is different to my own temporal frame-of-reference.

    Perhaps the episode is trying to say that it's impossible to get things back to exactly how they were so good is good enough or perhaps the ending is just another joke about fish...
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2022
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  17. Ragitsu

    Ragitsu Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hey...how about the fact that Jack - a General in the United States Air Force - is capable of making a unilateral decision that could affect all of history? Someone elsewhere mentioned that he probably spent an hour on the phone with the President (Carter and Jackson riding as wingmen) in order to convince the man at the top that this sojourn into the past was a worthwhile risk; I find that potential extra level of authorization to be of no comfort whatsoever :).
     
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  18. Summer Solstice

    Summer Solstice Captain Captain

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    ^ I totally agree!