Episode Review of Stargate SG-1 Season 1: "Solitudes"

Warning: all of my reviews contain spoilers.

If you have any comments on this review, please email me at the address at the bottom.

Episode Information

Title: "Solitudes"
Written by: Brad Wright
Director: Martin Wood
Rating (out of 4 stars): *** 1/2
Reviewed on: August 16, 2014

Synopsis from GateWorld


O'Neill and Carter accidentally end up injured and alone in a land encased in ice.

SG-1 is under fire and makes an emergency return to the SGC. As the Stargate activates and the wormhole forms, the Stargate is clearly having problems. Daniel and Teal'c return through the Stargate before some problem closes the wormhole and damages the Stargate controls.

Daniel and Teal'c were injured by their violent return through the Stargate. When they recover sufficiently, they describe how they were attacked by Jaffa forces on the other planet. They are certain that O'Neill and Carter were right behind them and should have come through the wormhole. They want to return to the planet and search for their missing teammates, but cannot do so until the Stargate controls are repaired.

Meanwhile, we see that O'Neill and Carter are lying unconscious near a Stargate whose surroundings are encased in ice. Eventually, they awaken. O'Neill is seriously injured, with what seems initially to be only a broken leg, but later turns out to be internal injuries as well. Carter splints O'Neill's leg, and they assess their situation.

The obvious course of action is to return to the Earth through the Stargate, but the DHD does not seem to be present. After some searching, Carter finds it buried within a huge chunk of ice. She begins to chip it out while O'Neill's conditions deteriorates. When she eventually clears enough ice to dial the DHD, the Stargate fails to activate. She thinks something in the controls is broken and begins to chip away at the ice to be able to fix it.

At the SGC, a MALP is sent through to the planet once the Stargate is repaired. It comes under fire immediately and is quickly destroyed, but not before it sends back video showing that O'Neill and Carter are not present.

Daniel begins developing his next hypothesis about where O'Neill and Carter are. He guesses that if the Earth's Stargate cut off before they arrived, then the wormhole would have connected to another Stargate on a planet between Earth and the other planet. He convinces General Hammond to start sending SG teams to explore these other possible Stargates to look for O'Neill and Carter. Unfortunately, the searches over the next couple days don't locate them. General Hammond officially reports O'Neill and Carter missing in action.

Carter is getting more and more frustrated at the fact that their Stargate won't work. O'Neill's condition is worsening rapidly, exacerbated by the cold. As a last resort, Carter tries power cycling the DHD. She tries to dial out, but again it fails. O'Neill orders her to dig up out of the ice to the surface and try to find help that way. Carter resists, but O'Neill makes it his dying request.

However, at the same time at the SGC, the gateroom vibrates slightly while Daniel is brainstorming. He realizes it's possible that O'Neill and Carter are somewhere on the Earth. As he explains to Hammond and Teal'c, there is evidence suggesting that there are two Stargates on the Earth: other planets have Earth cultures that developed after the Egyptian Stargate was buried, implying that a second Stargate was brought to the Earth and used to take away slaves. Daniel thinks the wormhole jumped to the second Earth Stargate and deposited O'Neill and Carter there. The vibration was caused by the second Stargate trying to dial the first Stargate, which can't work.

General Hammond orders access to seismic data to figure out from where the second Stargate caused the vibrations. They discover it is located in Antarctica, and Hammond immediately orders an expedition.

After a lot of work, Carter manages to dig her way to the surface. She looks around and finds ice in all directions, with no signs of intelligent life. She deduces that they are stuck on an ice planet. She returns to O'Neill, who is nearly unconscious, and curls up next to him.

The next thing we know, Daniel, Teal'c, and Hammond are there with a rescue crew. They arrived in time so that both Carter and O'Neill will survive. As the episode ends, Carter still thinks that the rescue came through the Stargate.

The biggest event in this episode is one that no one really seems to think about yet: now the SGC has a second Stargate. We get a feel for how important this is going to be from the long look that Hammond gives the Stargate at the end of the episode. He was worried about his people, yes, but he also knows it's going to be game-changing to have a second Stargate. Of course, right now it's in Antarctica, so it will be a big job getting it dug out and transporting it somewhere useful.

This episode also had a lot of character development. We found out that O'Neill was formerly some kind of special forces member, with his secretive air drop. It makes sense that someone with that kind of training would be tapped to undertake the original mission through the Stargate in the Stargate movie.

We also see how attached O'Neill still is to his ex-wife, Sarah. We knew from the alien mimicking O'Neill in "Cold Lazarus" that O'Neill still cared for her, but here he reverts to asking for her as he is delirious and nearly unconscious. Plus, he told Carter about how thinking about Sarah got him through a tough black op, although that was probably when they were still married.

We already had a feeling that O'Neill would be a survivor in a life-or-death situation, but I think such a situation was relatively new for Carter. While she received training about survival situations, which she carefully runs through, I got the feeling that she hadn't been in such a situation. It fits her personality that she immediately sees the solution to their situation as getting the Stargate working - she's right, and it gives her a problem to try to solve instead of worrying about their situation. In fact, I think Carter would have sat and worked on the Stargate until she froze to death (or couldn't see, and then froze to death) instead of trying any other options. It was up to O'Neill to order her to try exploring the planet around the Stargate. (Incidentally, I got a good laugh from Carter concluding they were on an ice planet. It just goes to show that you can't judge a whole planet from what you can see in one location.)

As a viewer, it's nice to know that O'Neill and Carter will heal and be OK eventually. This survival situation should create an additional bond between them, since they did struggle and survive. It should be the basis of them forming a more cohesive team. O'Neill already had been in tough situations with Daniel (the original Stargate movie) and Teal'c ("The Children of the Gods"), and now this will draw him and Carter closer.

Daniel also got some good screen time here, as he was the one to figure out where O'Neill and Carter were. I liked how he fit in his hypothesis with his archaeological/cultural knowledge as well as the knowledge he's picked up as a member of SG-1 (the fact that the Stargate used to vibrate a lot).

Return to my Stargate SG-1 reviews page.

avondale@astr ;o.umd.edu