In the Making

Summary | Analysis | Notes | Characters | Questions | Production | In the Making | Review

Jackson and Mitchell must join Vala on an interplanetary scavenger hunt when they learn that they are still bound together by an alien energy field.

EPISODE #904
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 08.05.05
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 10.09.06
DVD DISC: Season 9, Disc 1
WRITTEN BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
DIRECTED BY: William Waring
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By Joseph Mallozzi
Writer and Executive Producer, Stargate SG-1

Paul was finishing work on "The Intruder" and I was itching to start my first script of the new season, which I assumed would be "Ex Deus Machina." However, when "Ex Deus" was pushed back in the production schedule, I had the opportunity write for the Vala character and took it.

The idea for "The Ties That Bind" came from Rob, who wanted to do a fun romp. He gave me some broad-stroke notions of where he wanted the story to go, then set me loose. I broke the story with Martin, Carl, and Damian, after which Paul came in to tighten up the structure. Finally, the working title of "Treasure!Treasure!Treasure!" was changed to the official title of "The Ties That Bind" (compliments of Brad) and I immediately started work on the script.

I wrote the first draft in a little over a week and, I have to say, it was the most fun I've had writing on Stargate.

  • This episode was long so a few scenes had to be cut -- like the scene where Mitchell and Daniel meet Vala in an off-world tavern after getting nowhere with Arlos, and a scene in the gate room where Mitchell greets Teal'c who has come to Earth to testify at the hearings. Individuals scenes were edited down as well, and one fun sequence that didn't make the cut involved Mitchell's initial exchange with Tenat and Jup. From the script:

      #Tenat eyes Mitchell.

      TENAT: Your name?

      MITCHELL: Cam Mitchell, bounty hunter.

      TENAT: Never heard of you.

      MITCHELL: I try to keep a low profile, let my work speak for itself. Don't like to brag, but I've captured some of the most dangerous criminals around.

      TENAT: Such as?

      MITCHELL: Well ... Grabthar the Hammer.

      TENAT: Never heard of him.

      MITCHELL: The Olsen Twins of Omega 3? Moesha the Vile?

      TENAT: No.

      MITCHELL: Trebek the Destroyer?

      Jup pipes up -

      JUP: Him I've heard of.
  • The force shield protecting the power coil was actually a very late addition to the episode. Originally, we had simply intended for the power coil to be sitting on a raised dais, unprotected. Watching the dailies when Michael reaches out and then quickly pulls back his hand, shaking off the ouchy, we realized, "Yeah. That's going to need a visual effect." Michelle and the gang were only too happy to comply.
  • Casting can make or break an episode and, in this case, the guest stars did a super job. Wallace Shawn's performance has been much-discussed, so I'd like to make mention of some of the others actors: Malcolm Scott, Michael P. Northey, and Bruce Gray. Malcolm Scott is a local actor I've been wanting to cast for quite a while. Interestingly enough, he actually read for the part of Arlos before being cast in the role of the pirate, Caius. Similarly, Michael P. Northey auditioned for another role -- the part of the pirate, Caius, before being cast as Inago.

    We were familiar with Bruce Gray's work on the Toronto-shot Traders, and knew he would be perfect for the role of Senator Fisher. Prior to coming to Vancouver, Bruce requested a conference call with Paul and I so that he could get a better understanding of his character. To that end, he wanted a quick overview of the elements referred to in his scene: the Ori, the Goa'uld, the Jaffa ... It was quite a conversation during which Paul and I tag-teamed to sum up the last eight and half years of Stargate in a nutshell.
  • I have to give credit where credit is due. Paul is responsible for perhaps the most infamous sequence in the episode, Vala's "put down" of Senator Fisher. After receiving notes on the first draft, Paul decided to do a quick pass. He called me into his office and let me read the scene he'd just written. "Think this is too much?" he asked. "Nah," was my response. "The fans'll love it." And they did.