Point of View

Summary | Analysis | Notes | Characters | Questions | Production | Review

SG-1 must free an alternate reality Earth from a Goa'uld invasion after duplicates of Samantha Carter and Charles Kawalsky come through the quantum mirror.

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EPISODE #306
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 07.30.99
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 11.06.00
DVD DISC: Season 3, Disc 2
STORY BY: Jonathan Glassner, Brad Wright, Robert C. Cooper and Tor Alexander Valenza
TELEPLAY BY: Jonathan Glassner & Brad Wright
DIRECTED BY: Peter DeLuise
GUEST STARS:

Jay Acovone (Charles Kawalsky), Peter Williams (Apophis), Teryl Rothery (Dr. Janet Fraiser), Ty Olsson (Jaffa #1), Shawn Reis (Jaffa #2), Tracy Westerholm (SF Guard)

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A year and a half ago, Daniel discovered a dimensional mirror that was part of a collection of advanced alien technology on another world. He activated the mirror and was unknowingly transported to an alternate dimension — one where he was not a part of the S.G.C., and where Teal’c was leading a Goa’uld invasion of Earth (“There But For the Grace of God”).

After his return, the quantum mirror was placed in storage on Earth. Now, travelers have come through the mirror: it is Samantha Carter and Major Charles Kawalsky from another alternate reality.

Jack O’Neill is shocked to see Kawalsky, his friend and fellow soldier who died at the hands of the Goa’uld more than two years ago (“The Enemy Within”). Carter is shocked to see her duplicate, a woman with long hair who would never dream of entering the military. And the alternate Carter is shocked to see O’Neill, the duplicate of her husband who had died defending the S.G.C. from the Goa’uld.

The visitors have escaped the Goa’uld invasion (led by the alternate version of Teal’c) of the S.G.C. complex, and hope to live out their lives in this reality. General Hammond makes a request to the U.S. government, and secures permission for them to stay in our universe permanently. But when the presence of two Samantha Carters begins to threaten the life of the alternate Carter — the alternate Sam goes into convulsive shock, caused by temporal entropic cascade failure on the cellular level — they decide that the visitors must go back if she is to live.

To do this, SG-1 will use the mirror to cross over and help free Earth from the invasion. They believe that if they can contact the Asgard in the parallel universe they will come to Earth’s aid, as they have in our reality (“Fair Game”). To do this, the two Carters work together to reactivate the depleted Ancient power modulator that O’Neill built several months ago, when he had the Ancients’ library of knowledge downloaded into his brain (“The Fifth Race”). When attached to the power control systems in the S.G.C., this will allow them to dial the 8-symbol gate address necessary to reach the Asgard’s galaxy.

Our Sam Carter must stay behind, lest she suffer the same fate as her duplicate in the other reality. Kawalsky shows Daniel how to dial the quantum mirror to try and find the correct planet — a much less precise undertaking than dialing a Stargate — and the team goes through. They find themselves in a storage closet with Jaffa passing by the occupied complex.

Teal’c, in full Jaffa dress uniform, confronts his duplicate, offering him the choice to join them in the liberation of this world — or die. Clearly, the other Teal’c is not as enlightened. Our Teal’c shoots him dead, much to Jack’s surprise. But Teal’c is unphased, telling him that our own reality is the only one of consequence. He stealthily takes his place leading the occupying force.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team hooks up the power device and makes it to the Stargate, and implementing an automated dialing program to contact the Asgard. The alternate Carter is stopped by one of Apophis’s Jaffa on her way to the Stargate, but Teal’c uses his influence to help her escape, shouting at him to stand down. Carter disappears through the gate — but Teal’c’s efforts are not without cost. He and the team are captured by Apophis.

He has them bound and forced to their knees in the Gate Room. One by one, he questions them, zatting Daniel when he doesn’t hear what he wants to. Apophis has already killed the alternate universe’s General Hammond. Their is apparently no hope.

But suddenly the Asgard arrive in force, freeing Earth from the Goa’uld occupation. Jackson locates the correct reality to return to (eventually), and the alternate Carter must say goodbye to the man who is almost her husband.

ANALYSIS

  • Area 51 storage contains many items from past Stargate missions, including the virtual reality chair from “The Gamekeeper.”
  • Dr. Carter from the alternate universe uses the phrase, “For crying out loud” during her taped interrogation. The phrase is one commonly used by Colonel O’Neill, which first indicated to the group that Dr. Carter had a more personal relationship with Jack in her reality.
  • In the alternate reality, Dr. Carter — and not Daniel Jackson — made the Stargate work four years ago.
  • The Goa’uld — led by Apophis — have come and started taking over every major city on Earth in the alternate reality and making slaves of the people. The S.G.A. knew they were coming six months in advance, but could not devise a way to stop them.
  • Our was one of a handful of realities Dr. Carter saw that had not been overrun by the Goa’uld. Carter hypothesizes that it is the very differences between our universes that have contributed to our survival: Daniel and Teal’c joined the Stargate program, Carter joined the military, etc.
  • The alternate Carter was prepared to die a horrible death on our Earth. She knew the temporal entropic cascade failure would come, but believed it would take years, not days.
  • SG-1 didn’t owe anything to this one particular alternate reality. Though the mirror revealed a large number of Earths overrun by the Goa’uld, they agreed to help free this one reality in order that the alternate Carter and Kawalsky could return to it.
  • Both alternate realities we have seen have included a romantic relationship between Sam and Jack. In Daniel’s alternate reality trip, he learned that the two were engaged to be married at the time of the Goa’uld invasion. In this alternate reality, they had been married a number of months. Perhaps the significant difference between the universes is that, in our reality, Samantha Carter joined the military.
  • The alternate reality versions of Apophis and Teal’c had “evil” looking facial hair — a tip of the cap by the producers to such classic science fiction programs as Star Trek (episode “Mirror, Mirror”).
  • The alternate Apophis may not have been aboard one of the ships attacking Earth. He came through the Stargate after the S.G.A. was secured, and it is unlikely that he could have used the ship’s Stargate to dial to Earth directly. The seventh symbol (point of origin) for a ship orbiting Earth would be the symbol for Earth itself. When Daniel escaped an orbiting Goa’uld ship, he did not dial to Earth’s gate, but to Earth’s Beta Site for people fleeing from Earth (“The Serpent’s Lair”).
  • By finding the quantum mirror (“There But For the Grace of God”), Daniel has managed to help save two worlds. This is ironic, since he was forced to leave the first alternate reality he found and let it fall to the Goa’uld.
  • In the alternate reality, the S.G.C. (called the “S.G.A.”) had not yet come into contact with the Asgard. In spite of the differences between the realities, the Asgard did quickly come to the rescue of Earth. In spite of their apparently helplessness, with the alternate humans come to be recognized by the Asgard as “the fifth race?”
  • The alternate reality Asgard have the power to bring humans back from the dead (demonstrated with General Hammond). They possess technology more advanced than the Goa’uld (who do have a sarcophagus that can do the same thing), though this technology may be similar to the sarcophagus — but, hopefully, without the nasty side effects (“Need”).

    Presumably, the Asgard in our own universe have the same technology.

NOTES

  • The quantum mirror can be used to access a virtually infinite number of alternate realities. The further one turns the dial, the further away the reality will be from our own, and the less similar it will be. Closer realities are more and more like our own, allowing the user to pinpoint a specific reality with enough looking.
  • The Goa’uld word “kree” means, approximately, “attention,” “listen up,” “concentrate” or “yoo-hoo!”
  • General Hammond has ordered the quantum mirror destroyed.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

  • Samantha CarterSamantha Carter – There are a lot of “what if’s” in this episode, particularly for Sam, who came face to face with what might have been. She might have never entered the military. She might have been the one to first activate the Stargate. And she might have married Jack O’Neill. One wonders just how dramatically our day-to-day decisions affect our lives.
  • Teal'cTeal’c – Teal’c has again demonstrated just how far he is willing to go for his team and his mission. Considering his alternate self to be “the enemy” and probably incapable of making the same decision he did in rebelling against the Goa’uld (or not caring), Teal’c effectively killed himself. He justified his actions by stating that “ours is the only reality of consequence.”

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

  • Why did the S.G.C. never attempt to use quantum mirror after Daniel returned from the alternate reality? And why simply lock it up? Did they not consider that people from other realities could access ours just as easily as we could access theirs?
  • What were the pivotal turning points that made this other reality different from our own? Could Carter and O’Neill still end up together (unlikely, since they both serve in the same military unit)? Could the alternate Kawalsky eventually suffer the same fate as our Kawalsky?
  • Can the S.G.C. contact the Asgard at will, now that the device O’Neill built to power the gate for long-distance travel can be made to work again? Or, was the generator left in the alternate reality? Might it be possible for Carter to duplicate, since she spent so much time over the past few months trying to make it work again?

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • “‘Point of View’ is a sequel to the episode ‘There But For the Grace of God.’ Alternate incarnations of our characters use the quantum mirror being stored at Area 51 to cross over to our universe and ask for help.

    “I love all that alternate reality stuff. One of my favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes is the one [‘Yesterday’s Enterprise’] in which Starfleet is at war and the Enterprise bridge is on fire and Picard jumps over the control board to fire the phasers. In ‘Point of View’ we stage a mini-war inside the Stargate complex. It’s a yard-by-yard, fight-to-the-death type of battle sequence featuring an all-new lighting scheme and tons of destruction inside the base.” (Director Peter DeLuise, in an interview with SciFiAndTvTalk’s Steve Eramo)