It’s one of the greatest love stories never quite told. Sam Carter and Jack O’Neill are a classic Stargate couple, who developed powerful feelings for each other in their years of service together. But of course Colonel O’Neill was Carter’s commanding officer, and Air Force regulations wouldn’t allow them to ever get together.
Romance may have never played a big part on Stargate SG-1, but the Sam-Jack Shippers have always been a vocal part of fandom. In honor of Richard Dean Anderson and Amanda Tapping‘s appearance together at Wales Comic Con this past weekend, we’re rounding up 10 of the shippiest episodes of Stargate SG-1.
Ready to get your ‘ship on? Here is the arc:
Stuck on a glacier with no hope of rescue. Temperatures are dropping. The Colonel’s leg is broken. No civilization as far as the eye can see. And no matter what Captain Carter tries, the frozen Stargate will not dial out. “Solitudes” is where the Sam and Jack ship started for many fans (if you overlook an uncomfortable locker room kiss back in “The Broca Divide”).
With their fates evidently sealed, Sam gives up the fight and plays into Jack’s delusion that she is his former wife, Sarah. Together to the very end.
POINT OF VIEW
The quantum mirror allowed for these classic “what if” stories — alternate timelines where the lives of our characters turned out very different. In this case, Dr. Samantha Carter comes through from an Earth recently conquered by the Goa’uld. She has also just lost the man that she loves: her husband, Jack O’Neill. Now our Jack must handle the mission of freeing another reality from oppression, while Samantha is grieving the loss of his other self. Cue the hugs and tears.
A HUNDRED DAYS
This third season episode isn’t important to shippers so much for what happens between Jack and Sam as it is for what happens when the two are apart. A meteor strikes the Stargate while SG-1 is evacuating the small human settlement on Edora. The gate is buried, and Jack is stranded on the planet for more than three months. But as he eventually lets himself embrace a life he thinks might be permanent — and fall for another woman, Laira — Sam is back on Earth fighting for a way to bring him home.
“A Hundred Days” forced Carter to confront her true feelings for her commanding officer, and how those feelings could impact her job. In that respect, it laid down an important cornerstone for the extended shippy storyline to come in Season Four …
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Jack and Sam’s relationship turned a corner in the fourth season, after a mission gone wrong nearly resulted in Carter’s being left behind in enemy hands. But Jack refused to leave her behind — the same thing he would do for anyone on his team, yes. But in the days that followed another crisis forced the two of them to be honest about those feelings they have, but cannot act on.
On the eve of the signing of an historic alliance between Earth and the Tok’ra, one or both groups may have been infiltrated by a za’tarc — a Goa’uld-programmed assassin who doesn’t even know he (or she) is working for the enemy. The only test for this brainwashing is a piece of technology, which reads a subject’s memories and measures whether they are being truthful — even with themselves. Suspected of being a brainwashed by the Goa’uld, Jack and Sam both have to admit that they care about one another … a lot more than they’re supposed to.
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
Stuck in a time loop, O’Neill and Teal’c realize that they can do pretty much whatever they want without any consequences. They play golf through an open Stargate. They learn Ancient. Jack takes up pottery. And he eats … a whole … lot … of Fruit Loops. But as one loop draws toward its inevitable end, he decides to act on that forbidden love. With only seconds left on the clock he hands General Hammond his resignation, and plants the biggest kiss on Sam that Stargate Command has ever seen.
By the way: That knowing look that he gives her at the start of the next loop? That look stays in the history books, because that is the loop when the cycle is finally broken.
BENEATH THE SURFACE
If their ranks and their working relationship are ultimately what keep Sam and Jack apart, what happens when all of that is stripped away? After SG-1 pays a visit to P3R-118 they find themselves not only captives, working in an industrial underground, but also with their memories wiped. Jack, Sam, Daniel, and Teal’c don’t know who they are, but rather have had false identities imprinted onto their minds. As they struggle to discover the truth, Sam and Jack — or “Therra” and “Jonah” — gravitate toward one another.
Eventually Samantha Carter moved on with her personal life, even getting engaged to another man. But a part of her never let go of that love that cannot be. When she found herself stranded, alone in a nebula on a deserted Prometheus (and with a head injury), Sam couldn’t stop her mind from going there. Her friends appeared to her, one by one, as hallucinations. And as she considered her past and her future — if she had one — Sam imagined one, brief moment of closeness with Jack.
After breaking off her engagement to Pete, it’s the moment of truth for Samantha Carter and her feelings for Colonel O’Neill. If there is any way for them to be together, it’s going to take them fessing up and confessing their feelings openly. Carter gets up the courage to drive to Jack’s house, sits in her car for a while working up her nerve, and when she finally speaks with the man with whom she’s been through so much … ahhh, there’s another woman.
Jack is now in a relationship with Kerry Johnson — though, to her credit, she ends their relationship after recognizing what Sam and Jack have unresolved between them. So with Jack eventually leaving Stargate Command to take another post, is the way clear for romance?
You know why this one is on the list. It’s not for an invisible Jack loitering in the women’s locker room. It’s not for the elated look that Sam gives with the General shows up unannounced. It’s one scene and one scene only. It’s a very Stargate wedding, as the Wormhole X-Treme! story spinning turns to the audience’s desire for long-term, on-screen relationships to finally be paid off. There are close friends, an Asgard transporter beam, and … happily ever after.
If Jack and Sam really did get married in the following years, do you think it looked something like this short fantasy sequence? Well at least it makes a fitting end to our list.
If you make use of this list in your rewatch we’d love to hear about it! What Sam & Jack moments from other episodes stand out for you?