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"Stargate SG-1" There But for the Grace of God (1998)

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

In an Alternative Earth

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
4 June 2015

Jack, Sam, Daniel and Teal'c arrive in an alien facility on planet P3R- 233 and Daniel collects objects in a separate room. Teal'c warns that the place is radioactive and Jack summons the team to return to the Stargate Command. Daniel activates a mirror-like object and touches it; then he does not find the group and believes they have returned home. Daniel returns to the SGC and is arrested. Soon he learns that the persons do not know him and are allocated in different positions and he concludes that he is in an alternative Earth. Further, Earth is doomed under massive attack by the Goa'uld.

"There But for the Grace of God" is among the best episodes so far of "Stargate SG-1". The idea of an alternative world is interesting and funny to see the different behavior of characters that we are used to see. The conclusion seems to be promising with Daniel believing that the Goa'uld will attack Earth very soon. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "There But for the Grace of God"

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One of the best episodes in the series' history

Author: GusF from Ireland
3 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is my favourite episode of Season One. I'm very partial to stories about parallel universes / alternate realities - I'm a huge fan of the "Star Trek" mirror universe - and alternate history is one of my favourite genres so this was right up my alley. Aside from that, however, it also tells an excellent story which lays the groundwork for the series' first season finale. Like many of the best parallel universe / alternate history stories, it paints the picture of an Earth in turmoil and makes the audience realise just how much is at stake by showing us the worst of all worlds and the consequences of inaction.

For me, one of the most engaging and engrossing aspects of alternate reality stories in and out of "Stargate" is the fact that things are very often the same but different. Here, for instance, we have General Jack O'Neill in command of the SGA instead of Colonel Jack O'Neill in command of SG-1. His job isn't what is the most different about him, however. In most respects, his personality is much more similar to that of the film incarnation of Jack, which makes perfect sense as it was the events of the film which helped the normal version of Jack get his life back together and come to terms with Charlie's death. In no small part, that was due to Daniel's good influence on him. Without Daniel being there for him at a crucial juncture in his life, Jack is, quite frankly, a cold and nasty bastard who is much less likable (for most of the episode, anyway) and much more militaristic than the normal TV version of Jack whom we all know and love. Needless to say, he didn't commit suicide as he was planning to in the film so he must have found some way to deal with Charlie's death but I wouldn't be surprised if this version of Jack detonated the bomb on the surface of Abydos rather than beaming it aboard Ra's ship. He seems rather trigger happy as regards nuclear weapons. I don't think that our Jack would contemplate using them against an inhabited planet. Towards the end of the episode, however, the character shows some of our Jack's warmth and humour and I think that that may be due to Daniel's presence. He really brings out the best in Jack. Plus he can't be all bad if Sam is in love with him.

All of the other characters are more similar to their counterparts from the prime reality. With the exception of her hair and career path, the alternate Sam is practically identical to our Sam: a warm, extremely intelligent and capable woman who is always able to keep a completely level head in a crisis. Given her lack of military training, she is presumably somewhat less capable in terms of physical combat but that's the only real difference that I can think of between the Sams and it doesn't even really come up. Colonel Hammond is much the same as General Hammond, if slightly more severe though nowhere near as much as General O'Neill. His speech to his troops in the Gate Room commending them on their bravery and telling them that it was an honour serving with them is textbook Hammond. Of course, we don't see the alternate Daniel in this episode but he seems to have been much the same as our Daniel was prior to joining the Stargate program, if a bit less sensible for not accepting Catherine's offer.

When it comes to Teal'c, the biggest difference is really his ponytail. He is essentially the same man as our Teal'c was prior to the events of "Children of the Gods": a good man who is forced to play the role that his completely amoral society would have him play. I would attribute Jack's failure to convince him to turn against Apophis in this reality not to the differences in Teal'c's personality but the differences in Jack's. He may well have been more successful if he hadn't sent the bomb to Chulak, killing Drey'auc, Rya'c and (probably) Bra'tac in the process. I admit that I missed some of the subtlety in previous viewings but the look which this Teal'c gives Daniel in their only scene together speaks volumes about his character in my book and yet only communicates one single solitary word to Daniel: "run." He allows Daniel to escape through the Stargate because it's the right thing to do and, in my mind, deliberately avoided killing him by only shooting him in the arm so that he would have a chance to live on. It's a shame that he himself died only moments later, never knowing the life that he could have had as a member of SG-1.

One of this episode's greatest assets is the wonderful character of Catherine Langford as played (brilliantly) by Elizabeth Hoffman. While I was always a fan of Catherine, watching this episode and "The Torment of Tantalus" has made me appreciate just how great a character she was. It's such a shame that this is her final appearance on the series, notwithstanding the middle-aged version's brief cameo in "1969". I wish that she had appeared in at least two or three episodes per season, frankly.

Another thing that occurred to me about this reality is that its differences from the normal one mean that it's fairly unlikely that any of the events portrayed in the series to date happened here. Needless to say, the events of the Daniel- and Teal'c-centric episodes definitely didn't take place but I can't think of events from any other episodes which definitely did take place (especially since SG-1 is seemingly composed of entirely different people) except for the discovery of the Abydos cartouche and even that must have surely occurred under very different circumstances than those portrayed in "Children of the Gods", perhaps even during the events of the film, since Daniel wasn't involved.

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0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

good story with action

Author: trashgang from Midian
23 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The ending of season one did deliver the best, I guess the production team was still searching in what direction it wanted to go because we do had a few episodes that didn't make sense at all but There But For The Grace Of God did somehow remind me of the storyline of another excellent series Fringe.

Daniel Jackson is exited about bringing some artifacts from another planet with him to do some research but SG-1 doesn't agree and are walking towards to stargate to return to earth. Daniel stays a while and touches a mirrors like object he activated. He's knocked out by touching it and wakes up after a period to see the whole SG-1 team but with one problem. They don't recognize him. Jackson is in a parallel dimension. Nobody seems what he was and here we do have what everybody sees coming, the love between Carter and O'Neill. Again some jokes are here to catch about that particular issue. But what makes this episode rather strong is that earth is almost destroyed by attacks of the Goa'ulds. Daniel tries to convince the parallel world to help his world.

You never see the destroyed world but we do have a real fight going on and also for the first time people are being shot dead and some have open wounds. A major step into the series were dead people and blood never were shown.

Gore 0/5 Nudity 0/5 Effects 3/5 Story 3/5 Comedy 0,5/5

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