What Has Been Cut?
You probably won’t notice most of the trims on your first viewing, unless you compare it side-by-side with the original or listen to the audio commentary, where they are pointed out. (I watched the episode while throwing an occasional glance to our screen capture gallery, so that I could tell when a scene was longer, shorter, cut, or moved to a different spot.) In many cases the same material is there — but it’s been moved to another part of the episode, or a different take was used. Some deletions are rather insignificant, overall. Others, of course, account for full scenes and other elements that will surely be controversial among Stargate fans.
I want to hit just a few of the high points below. This is far from a complete list. We’ll be adding a full catalog of changes to the “Children of the Gods” entry in the Season One episode guide after the DVD has been released.
Samantha Carter’s introduction into the Stargate universe stands out like a bit of a sore thumb compared to her characterization later in the series. In particular, that infamous line — “Just because my reproductive organs are on the inside instead of on the outside doesn’t mean I can’t handle anything you can” — is loved by some and hated by others. I think it was bad dialogue, and doesn’t fit with the personality of the Sam Carter we know and love. Thankfully, it’s gone now. Final Cut still presents a strong scene where the character still defends herself to a group of pig-headed male officers, but she doesn’t come across as harsh and snide any more.
If that dialogue hit the cutting room floor due to characterization, another was lost because it violated series canon. While Charles Kawalsky and Jack O’Neill were certainly chummy in the episode, it was later established that they were close friends and had served together for years (check out Season Two’s “The Gamekeeper,” or even the very next episode of the series, “The Enemy Within”). Why, then, does Kawalsky tell Jack in the S.G.C. holding cell that he didn’t know O’Neill had a kid? The line that created a distance between them is gone now, and as a result the bonding scene between the two plays stronger.
The original episode included a harem scene, with the women Apophis had abducted. This scene does not appear in Final Cut.
Much of the plot is driven by Apophis’s search for a beautiful woman to play host to his queen, a parasitic Goa’uld symbiote. He abducts a woman from Earth in the opening scene, and later, Daniel’s wife Sha’re on the planet Abydos. In the original, the women are kept in a harem and paraded one-by-one before Apophis and the snake queen. In the Final Cut, the harem scene is gone. Now the Earth officer is brought to Apophis before Sha’re is even taken. That change of placement helps that plot to move better (Apophis has failed, and now needs to go find another candidate) and the harem scene isn’t missed in the least.
Perhaps most controversial is the removal of the original episode’s full-frontal nudity, as Sha’re is stripped naked before Apophis. This was not merely gratuitous nudity for a 10 p.m. premium cable show; it served the story in depicting the Goa’uld’s grotesque violation of the character. When the symbiote examines Sha’re and then takes her as its host, it is nothing short of rape. Fortunately, all of that is retained and appropriately conveyed without the use of nudity.
Stargate would quickly establish itself as a family show, and I have to agree with Wright — the nudity just didn’t belong there. Whether or not you think Americans are prudish, that’s the culture of North America, and Stargate fans should be able to watch the first episode with their kids.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the story ends on a different note. As a series pilot, the original dovetailed into the following episode by revealing that Kawalsky had been infected by an immature Goa’uld symbiote, who escaped the pouch of a fallen Jaffa. To keep the Final Cut a self-contained movie, both that implantation shot and Kawalsky’s glowing eyes are appropriately removed. Now the story has a satisfying conclusion that focuses on the SG-1 team.
NEXT: What has been added?