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THE OTHER SIDE
 
RATINGS SCORECARD
GATEWORLD - * * 1/2
FAN POLL - 7.84
SYNDICATION RATING - 2.8 / 2.9 (-15)

Season Ratings
EPISODE NUMBER - 402
DVD DISC - Season 4, Disc 1
ORIGINAL U.S. AIR DATE - 07.07.00
SYNDICATION AIR DATE - 11.12.01
WRITTEN BY - Brad Wright
DIRECTED BY - Peter DeLuise
GUEST STARRING - Rene Auberjonois (Alar), Anne Marie Loder (Farrell), Gary Jones (Technician), Dan Shea (Sergeant Siler), Stephen Park (Controller), Kyle Cassie (Eurondan Soldier), Kris Keeler (Zombie Pilot)
A warring alien race offers to exchange their advanced technology for Earth's help in defeating their enemy.

As Jack O'Neill arrives at Stargate Command after some well-earned rest, he finds Major Carter still hard at work. Someone has dialed Earth's Stargate five times in the past hour and a half. Finally, the S.G.C. is able to establish radio contact. For the first time, a race transplanted from Earth has "called home."

The caller's name is Alar, leader of the inhabitants of the nation-state of Euronda. His people are at war with a rival nation, and are losing. Their underground base is protected by a great energy shield, but more and more bombs penetrate each day. Though they once coexisted peacefully, the enemy of Euronda now occupies most of the continent.

In trying to contact Earth, three Eurondan volunteers went through the Stargate and were killed when they impacted the iris shield protecting Earth's gate.

SG-1 visits Euronda to offer them assistance, and to negotiate a trade for their advanced technologies. Alar shows them the facility, and Carter quickly determines that the Eurondans are at least a hundred years ahead of Earth.

What the Eurondans need is deuterium, found in heavy water, to power their war machine. The people use controlled fusion reactors, but their access to heavy water has been cut off. O'Neill agrees to provide as much heavy water as they need (it is abundant on Earth) to win their war, in exchange for the Eurondan's advanced weapons and medical technology.

Daniel is concerned about the agreement. Jack did not ask anything about their war or their enemy, but simply arranged the exchange (after some first-hand experience with the Eurondan's remote piloting neural interface, used to fly unmanned ships on the surface against enemy bombers). After three unsuccessful years of seeking technology to defend against the Goa'uld, Earth may have finally hit the jackpot -- but at what price, asks Daniel.

O'Neill refuses to listen to him, and demands that he and Carter return to Earth. They consult General Hammond, who is pleased with the wonderful trade agreement. The General agrees, however, to let Daniel try and learn more about the enemy -- before Earth provides Euronda with the means of defeating them.

On Euronda, Alar shows SG-1 the people he is trying to save. Two great caverns are filled with stasis chambers, where thousands and thousands of Eurondans sleep. They will not be revived until they have reclaimed the surface.

Daniel argues that the surface of Euronda, though, isn't really worth fighting for anymore. The atmosphere has been poisoned. But the Eurondan enemy continues, somehow, to survive. Jackson encourages Alar to revive his people and take them through the Stargate to a new world, where they can begin again. Alar refuses. Euronda is his home, and is what he has been fighting for since he was a child.

O'Neill and Jackson continue to clash over the moral question of supporting this war. O'Neill is set on acquiring the technology, and is unwilling to even ask about the enemy being fought. But when Alar expresses misgivings about Teal'c -- asking that he not returnagain, because he is "not like us" -- O'Neill is forced to consider that Alar may be fighting an immoral war.

He quickly apologizes to Daniel, and tells him to find out as much as he can about the war and the enemy being fought. He and Teal'c, meanwhile, return to the stasis chamber to examine the records of those who sleep there. They discover that every Eurondan is young and Caucasian -- "genetically pure," as Alar puts it.

Daniel learns that it was the Eurondans who started the war in the first place. Their enemies are called "Breeders," because they reproduce "indiscriminately, with no concern for genetic purity."

Major Carter, meanwhile, discovers pipes leading from underground storage tanks all the way up to the surface; the Eurondans build the underground base before the war started, to prepare for it. Then, they poisoned the skies to exterminate the "genetically impure."

Faced with the reality that Alar and the Eurondans are racists, fighting a war of genetic cleansing, O'Neill turns against them. Under the guise of piloting the unmanned aircraft against enemy bombers, Jack uses the fighter wing to escort the bombers over the base, destroying Eurondan fighters along the way. Finally, he crashes the planes into the ground over the base, causing it to begin collapsing.

There is no more deal, no heavy water coming, and no new technologies for Earth. With Euronda's world crashing in on them, SG-1 leaves through the Stargate. Alar pleads with O'Neill to take him with them -- he will give them all his knowledge in exchange -- but O'Neill warns him not to follow.

After they step through into the S.G.C., Jack pauses in front of the Stargate. "Close the iris," he says calmly. The barrier collapses in front of the wormhole, and moments later the dialing computer detects a splash against the iris. Alar, presumably, did not heed Jack's warning. Carter stares at O'Neill, not sure what to make of his actions.

ANALYSIS
  • Because of the possibility of a ruse, General Hammond ordered that SG-1's G.D.O. devices (used to signal the S.G.C. to open the iris) be locked out if they did not report back in 24 hours. Normally, the S.G.C. makes contact with an alien world and decides to explore it. But because the Eurondans were the ones to contact Earth, Hammond had to remain cautious that this was not a deception on the part of an enemy of Earth (such as the Goa'uld).

  • As General Hammond pointed out, Apophis is alive and in control of a powerful army("The Devil You Know"). He is not bound by the Goa'uld System Lords' nonaggression treaty ("Fair Game"), and should he choose to attack Earth, there is little they could do to stop him right now.

  • All in all, Alar was not particularly deceitful. He was forthcoming about the war, and what the heavy water would be used for. He showed SG-1 all that there was to see, and offered them all that he had to give. He certainly avoided going out of his way to tell them that the Eurondans started the war and poisoned the sky. But he never tried to hide from them his racist beliefs about "genetic purity." If that were something he was concerned with, he would not have tipped his hand to O'Neill. If he were hiding the reasons for his war, racism against Teal'c would be a luxury that Alar could not afford.

  • The giant Eurondan power generator bears a striking resemblance to Hathor's, also used to create a large force field ("Into the Fire"). This was mos tlikely unintentional, the result of reused CGI -- and not an implication that the Goa'uld were involved in Eurondan affairs.

  • CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
    Jack O'NeillJack O'Neill - Desperate to acquire advanced technology to defend against the Goa'uld, O'Neill is struggling to figure out just how far he is willing to go. Stealing from alien races is against his principles ("Shades of Grey"), but here Jack was willing to avoid the moral issues involved in supporting a war he knew little about. So long as he didn't know, he was content with acquiring the technology and getting out of there.

    But Jack O'Neill is a moral man. Once he was forced to see the possibility that the Eurondans were fighting an immoral war of racial cleansing, he would have no part of it. Even further, Jack seemed to be disgusted with himself and what he almost helped Alar do. This caused him to swing to the opposite extreme: rather than picking up and leaving the Eurondans to fight their own war, Jack helped their enemy destroy them -- then gave the order that deliberately resulted in Alar's death.

    O'Neill has clear motivations, but his desire to defend Earth has come into conflict with his sense of right and wrong. He responded not by embracing what is right, but by destroying what is wrong and killing its leader.

    Daniel JacksonDaniel Jackson - Astonished at Jack's lack of concern for the finer details of a war of which they were about to turn the tide, Daniel put all his effort into searching for hard answers to the moral questions involved. Although he by no means trusts the military, he believes that the S.G.C. has the responsibility of weighing the moral costs of finally acquiring advanced technology. Daniel felt responsible for challenging O'Neill and Alar on this issue.

    Teal'cTeal'c - Whether his reasons are personal, spiritual or physical, Teal'c does not consume alcohol.

    NOTES
  • Nicholas Ballard, Daniel's grandfather, is Dutch.

  • UNANSWERED QUESTIONS
  • How long has the Eurondan war been raging?

  • Will the Breeders completely annihilate the Eurondans?

  • Is Apophis planning to strike Earth?

  • When were the ancestors of the Eurondans taken from Earth, and by whom?

  • Why did Jack go so far in destroying the Eurondans and killing Alar?

  • Is Alar really dead, or did someone (or something) else impact the iris?

  • PRODUCTION
  • Actress Anne Marie Loder, who plays Alar's second-in-command, is writer/director Peter DeLuise's girlfriend. (The two were later married.) DeLuise himself makes a brief appearance in this episode, as one of the Eurondan guards.

  • "I remember coming away from this episode impressed by Brad and Robert's willingness to take chances, especially with regard to our characters. O'Neill kills someone at episode's end -- and I'm not talking in the heat of battle. He gives the order to close the iris and then, seconds later, the Eurondan leader apparently steps through and ends up pasted on the other side. Granted, Jack did warn him not to follow but still -- it was a calculated move on the part of the usually happy-go-lucky team leader.

    "Actor Rene Auberjonois, who played the doomed leader Alar, was a pleasure to work with. Soon after wrapping production on the episode, he swung by Brad's office to tell him Alar had a twin brother who'd be more than happy to make an appearance in a future episode. Two other things stand out for me about this episode. The first was being on set and discovering how they pulled off the chamber-rattling off-screen concussive bursts of the bombings. Director Peter DeLuise would yell: 'Boom! Shake-shake-shake!' The actors would feign being rocked while members of the crew would rain dust and sand down on them, unseen overhead.

    "The second aspect of this episode that will forever stand out for me were those crazy alien glasses that are SO alien that they're completely counter-intuitive. In fact, I believe Rick made a gag of it in the episode by going to take a sip, giving the glass a curious look, then turning it around and drinking from the backside. This was Peter DeLuise at his best and his desire for alien props (from rounded hammers to red spray-painted kiwis) would be a source of endless amusement for Paul and I."
    (Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)

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