So, SPOILERS if you have yet to watch it. My initial, unspoilery reaction: Wow, I didn't expect the second half of season 10 to be better than the first half. I'm enjoying this more than I'm thinking that it lacks in some way--in fact, I feel like I'm watching "real" SG-1, which I haven't really felt since "Moebius" and the end of season 8. The fact that the password to Sam's personal files is "fishing" just about killed me. It's the tiny details like that which make me a happy fan.
This episode has no Daniel in it, and I'm sure that's enough reason for some people to dislike it. But there's a more subtle side to that dislike, which feliciakw and I were discussing yesterday.
We were both thrown by the disconnect between the angsty tag to last week's episode (where everyone (especially Vala) is focused on finding Daniel, or at least finding the planet where he'd managed to get himself left behind in the hands of the Orisi), and the beginning of this week's, where Cam and Carter and the team as a whole are thrilled that their new phase generator works, and getting ready to test its concealing powers on a village that has just been approached by a prior (sp?).
However, it bothered me less than it might have for two reasons: for one, given that we know they tried to find Daniel, and that they don't know where the Orisi is, I found it completely reasonable that the team would be working on fighting the war while waiting for intel about Daniel on which they can act.
And second, Cameron sold me on that way of looking at their behavior when he says to the wounded Carter, "We've already lost Jackson. We can't lose you, too." The only mention of Daniel almost has to be dragged out of him. This says to me that it's too painful a subject for them to be discussing much. If I were writing fic to fill this in, it would be that SG-1 was ordered to stop looking for Daniel, and because they didn't have a specific place to look anyway, they obeyed, but it's hard for them to handle so they're not talking about him.
Would I have liked that stated or more obviously shown? Sure. But it doesn't really bother me that it wasn't.
I found the discussions between Vala and Tobin (nice to see him again!) much more interesting that the usual Ori stuff we get. Not that there was any huge theological depth there, but the need to think for oneself in following God is a huge part of my own belief system (and of most orthodox Christianity, believe it or not). So I enjoyed Tobin's struggle, and his choice at the end to defy the prior who twists the words of the Book of Origin to justify mass murder.
Otoh, that's basically a stop-gap measure, or a beginning: something that encourages Tobin to use his own mind. Origin isn't a real religion and the Ori are not gods--they wrote the book and made up the rituals in order to use human beings as fuel. There may be some truths in there, but Origin is, from its very source, a sham.
(In other words, though I myself have sometimes used Vala's type of arguments with Christians whom I thought were interpreting the Biblical texts in morally wrong ways, I do believe that my faith has its roots in truth rather than just a little bit of truth slipped in to sweeten the lies. If the show is trying to make a parallel, it doesn't go very far.)
Okay. We've seen various members of SG-1 injured and near death numerous times. The closest thing to this that I can recall, complete with being essentially stranded and the slow approach of death, is first season's "Solitudes" (feel free to chime in with any I may have forgotten).
The conversation between Cam and Sam, about God and science and death, was lovely to me. We've never gotten a peek into this side of Sam's psyche before, and yet--it was pitch-perfect to the character, I thought. Science and knowledge have been her saviors and her superpowers (indeed, even in this episode they enable her to save the village), and yet when she finds herself staring death in the face on an alien planet with no good chance of getting home, she finally voices something that I imagine she has wondered for years: is there someone on the other side of death, Someone real?
Cam's response, talking about his grandmother and how he would only pretend to listen to get cookies, was kind of adorable.
Now: I detest it when people say that it doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you believe in something. Not true. If you believe in a lie, the results will be predictably bad. However, I give Cam a complete pass in this case, because he was doing everything he damn well could to get Sam to focus on staying present, staying awake, staying alive. And if it took sidestepping her detour into wondering about God, well, that was his job as her uninjured comrade, and I love him for it.
In sum: Stargate SG-1 may actually yet win my respect for approaching the subject of God and religion. It hasn't yet, but these were miles closer than in any previous season. Also, any episode that brings me near tears is doing something right. :-)
I need a Cam icon. And a really good Sam Carter icon. Recs, anyone?