PDA

View Full Version : COLUMN: Beating the Big One



GateWorld
August 5th, 2004, 10:22 PM
<DIV ALIGN=CENTER><TABLE WIDTH=420 CELLPADDING=0 CELLSPACING=0 BORDER=0><TR><TD><DIV ALIGN=LEFT><FONT FACE="Arial" SIZE=2 COLOR="#000000"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/articles/columns/chevronnine/beatingthebigone.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/articles/columns/chevronnine/graphics/bigone.jpg" WIDTH=160 HEIGHT=120 ALIGN=RIGHT BORDER=0 HSPACE=10 VSPACE=3></A><FONT SIZE=1 COLOR="#666666">CHEVRON NINE:</FONT><BR><FONT SIZE=4><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/articles/columns/chevronnine/beatingthebigone.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">BEATING THE BIG ONE</A></FONT>
<FONT SIZE=2><I>Unlocking the Stargate writing team's<BR> neatest death-avoiding techniques</I></FONT>
<FONT SIZE=1 COLOR="#666666">BY - </FONT><FONT SIZE=1>David Read</FONT><BR><IMG SRC="/images/clear.gif" WIDTH=1 HEIGHT=8 ALT="">
From the sarcophagus to androids to ascension, we examine <I>Stargate</I>'s history of teasing -- and beating -- death.

<FONT SIZE=1><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/articles/columns/chevronnine/beatingthebigone.shtml">READ MORE ...</A></FONT><BR CLEAR=ALL>
</FONT></DIV></TD></TR></TABLE></DIV>

Erik Pasternak
August 5th, 2004, 10:50 PM
Very good job David, I enjoyed reading it.

Bagpuss
August 6th, 2004, 12:10 AM
Very interesting points raised,David.
Good reference sources too.I'll check out some more of those later. :)

Bandersnatch
August 6th, 2004, 05:45 AM
<DIV ALIGN=CENTER><TABLE WIDTH=420 CELLPADDING=0 CELLSPACING=0 BORDER=0><TR><TD><DIV ALIGN=LEFT><FONT FACE="Arial" SIZE=2 COLOR="#000000">But have certain instruments been used too often? In the first few seasons the sarcophagus was often front and center, messing with the minds of our heroes. In recent years it was used again to resuscitate Jack, dropping him into the clutches of Baal to die multiple times over. It even brought Teal'c back to Apophis' side ("Enemies").
</A></FONT><BR CLEAR=ALL>
</FONT></DIV></TD></TR></TABLE></DIV>

The quote I have posted above from the article captured my attention the most. It's something I had been thinking about this morning, and I found it kind of spooky to see the article posted when I checked out GateWorld. I was interested in the fact that the author thought that <I>Stargate SG-1</I> may have used the sarcophagus too many times. When I saw this, I thought: "It's what we'd do if we had one here, today." Through the reoccurring roll of the sarcophagus, we see what people today would do if we had such a powerful device at our disposal. Often when an injury came to be on the show, the characters would suggest trying to find one -- just as we would do today. If there was any chance to save someone of importance from undue suffering or their ultimate death, we would use it, no matter what the cost.
So I don't believe that the devices <I>Stargate SG-1</I> uses to keep their characters on the doormat of death are over used. As the author stated, they can't kill off any of the foursome (and when they had to remove Daniel the outcry was deafening) without the show losing integrity. They're discovering technology that could very well be out in our Universe somewhere being used by some other race of beings. The show illustrates how we would most likely react to such a discovery. Loyal Gaters also know all too well the feelings that tug at their heart when someone from "their team" goes down for the count. It's just another tool the brilliant writers at <I>Stargate Productions</I> use to draw us back to the show every week for a brand new trip through that big, gray ring, that flushes horizontally.

Ugly Pig
August 6th, 2004, 10:44 AM
Good column. It occurs to me after the comment about the sarcophagus being seen often in earlier seasons that it appears to be almost completely forgotten now. IIRC, we haven't seen it since 'Abyss' and it was only briefly mentioned in one season 7 episode.

It's also interesting that even now after seven years, the SGC have yet to get their hands on one. This is obviously to keep it from being an "easy-out" whenever someone get injured/sick/killed, but with all the Goa'ulds SG-1 have knocked off it would make sense "in-story" that they'd have come across one by now...

Mar9645
August 6th, 2004, 07:25 PM
All the wonderful concepts and devices listed in the article are why I like science fiction so much. They are the encouragement to hold onto the hope of something better than contemporary reality.

Cheating death is one of the classic themes to solve; symbolically, good overcoming evil. The premise of the "Reclaiming Death" article was a way to rationalize a very bad piece of storytelling and an even worse creative decision. Stargate SG-1 isn't and never has been about ordinary death.

In classic literary terms, only the epic hero/heroine can redeem life from death. The question looms now in Stargate SG-1, even more than it did before: Who is the epic hero/heroine who will be sacrificed to vanquish death? The answer was NOT in "Heroes". There is still a debt to be paid.

TheKatGoddess
August 6th, 2004, 08:37 PM
I really liked that. It was very enlightening, and for me, it made me rethink just how many times and ways death had been averted or reversed.

Chirp
August 7th, 2004, 09:23 AM
Ok point taken :cool: Your points of aluimatation of death and barrie me is very good ;) Even though barrie me has a hole or whole(depending on what plane of existance you what to be on) new meaning. Your catagories of death is very enlighting ;)

ShadowMaat
August 7th, 2004, 09:48 AM
On the subject of sarcs...

It's also interesting that even now after seven years, the SGC have yet to get their hands on one. This is obviously to keep it from being an "easy-out" whenever someone get injured/sick/killed, but with all the Goa'ulds SG-1 have knocked off it would make sense "in-story" that they'd have come across one by now...

I'd like to know why the hell Stargate Command doesn't have a sarc. In terms of the story I should think it would make sense to keep one around. Maybe even have a couple so that one can be dissected and studied and reverse engineered to check properties and see if anything else useful can be learned.

Yes, sarc use corrupts the mind... eventually... but Lt. Red Shirt isn't going to go evil just because he was healed in the sarc after one fatal incident. I mean, if he's getting killed on every mission, OK, maybe a sarc isn't the answer (transferring him off the base would be a best bet), but if it's just once or twice, what's the danger?

In terms of the show itself... Well, it's said that having a sarcophagus is too much of an "easy out" for plotting, but since TPTB seem to be using ascension for much the same purpose, then what's the point? Instead of a quick trip through the sarc, Lt. Red Shirt now gets to have a mystical experience on a higher plane of existence before returning to complete his duty here on Earth. Gimme a break. Ascension is, if anything, an even bigger cop-out than the sarc. At least use of the sarc carries some eventual danger.

I'm not saying that once a character dies s/he should stay dead, but the "Get out of death free" card should be used very sparingly or it cheapens death and makes a mockery of the storylines and the characters' sacrifices.

For a long time SG-1 did a very good job of NOT overplaying it, but recently (thanks in large part to Full Circle) I feel that the show has failed to have a proper respect for death. It no longer seems to matter if a character dies. All you have to do is ascend him/her and wait for the proper storyline to bring him/her back. Where's the fun in that? Instead of getting the full impact of Lt. Red Shirt's death, you just shrug and say, "Oh, they'll bring him back later." That isn't good storytelling in my book.

Shipperahoy
August 7th, 2004, 10:15 AM
Spoilers for Heroes Part 2 Season 7
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
I think that's probably a big reason for Heroes. I think that killing Janet was a way to show that there isn't always a get out of death free card. It showed that people die in combat and usually they stay dead. I'm with you on Full Circle. I completely agree that it sort of cheapened Ascension. While I miss Janet I'm sort of glad they did an episode like Heroes because it made death...well...death again, if you know what I mean.

ShadowMaat
August 7th, 2004, 10:20 AM
Spoilers for Heroes Part 2 Season 7
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
*snip*
While I miss Janet I'm sort of glad they did an episode like Heroes because it made death...well...death again, if you know what I mean.
I just wish I trusted TPTB to keep her dead and not find some cheap gimmicky way around it.

AU eps carry that danger, too. It's a way to bring someone back without really bringing them back. I didn't mind it with Kawalsky because as much as I liked him, he was only in the first few eps and that was it. Bringing Fraiser back for an AU ep would, IMO, carry an entirely different context.

Which is not to say that if TPTB find a believable way to do it I won't like it, I just highly doubt they'd be able to find a believable way. :P

Ugly Pig
August 7th, 2004, 11:01 AM
I'd like to know why the hell Stargate Command doesn't have a sarc. In terms of the story I should think it would make sense to keep one around.
Well, the "in-story" reason is that sarcophagi are hard to come by. They are heavily guarded by the Goa'uld which is why the SGC haven't tried to recover one. (Meridian)

Edward
August 9th, 2004, 09:17 PM
I just want to add another way caracters in stargate have beat death. The ascard (Pardon spelling) can clown their bodies and transfer consienious into their new bodies. Thor has even been able to live in a g'aould computer.

Erik Bloodaxe
August 9th, 2004, 09:51 PM
Good article, but I've just got a couple nitpicks. ;)


Borrowing from Carter's theories regarding stellar drift and planetary shifting, if you were able to travel backward or forward in time there would be a huge chance that you would wind up in outer space, as orbital paths are constantly changing and,

No, you actually wouldn't wind up in deep space, for several reasons. First of all, this statement assumes that space and time are separate, which isn't true; space and time are a combined "fabric", so much like ordinary travel through space causes you to remain in your own timeframe w/ a relatively small change in time, time travel should essentially keep you w/in your own "space frame" w/ a small change in that (actual change likely similar to staying still for a very long amount of time). The bigger reason you wouldn't end up in deep space is gravity: unlike light, gravity can actually "leak" beyond the usual four dimensions into other branes of the cosmos, and very much be able to keep you anchored to your particular planet and keep anything like cementing yourself in a certain point in space (causing you to wind up just as much in deep space w/ the passage of time as the above-mentioned conception of time travel) from being possible. :) This is why when theoretical physicists come up w/ ideas for devices that just might twist the laws of physics just right to permit time travel, they never have to consider the possibility of the trip sending you a great distance from home (well, except in the case of the wormhole method :P ). All in all, it's pretty irrelevent in Stargate's case though, since they very much were doing space travel at the same time as they not only had to be propelled through time, but also across the country in a couple instances to get to the exit mouth of the gate. ;)


it's believed, the galaxy is constantly revolving around a larger interstellar body.

What?! Where'd you get this, just out of curiousity? There is no intergalactic (interstellar implies something within the galaxy) body that our galaxy is moving around. We have satellite galaxies that go around us, but we are not a satellite ourself. The way galaxies move are away from each other, and within their home cluster; there's nothing that they actually revolve around. If you meant rotating (around the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy), that's true, but it's very different from revolving. ;)


To do so you would have to crack the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Technicalities aside, time travel used sparingly is a great tool for good story-telling.

I'm not sure what the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle has to do w/ time travel; assuming time travel really could fling you into deep space, we can predict the orbital paths of the planets and movement of the galaxies (and pretty much any macroscopic body) that we could compensate and know where we need to be. The Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle has to do w/ microscopic particles and the only real way it relates to time travel is essentially by preventing you from being able to predict the future. ;)

Sorry about the nitpicks, but I felt I had to point that out since theoretical physics is the area of my major and such misinterpretations are a pet peeve. :D

-Bloodaxe

KorbenDirewolf
August 10th, 2004, 12:56 PM
Well, the "in-story" reason is that sarcophagi are hard to come by. They are heavily guarded by the Goa'uld which is why the SGC haven't tried to recover one. (Meridian)

I for one, am still unwilling to believe that the SGC didn't unload any of the junk from their mothership.. I'm sure Cronus had a sarcophagus onboard. Maybe it all just went to Groom Lake.

edokun
September 30th, 2004, 09:19 PM
Good article! I am surprised, however, that the Quantum Mirror in "There But for the Grace of God" and "Point of View" is not mentioned. Pulling a character from an alternate reality and putting him/her is sometimes done in science fiction (mind you, I'm thinking of William Shatner's Star Trek universe where he did do that with some characters). We got to see Kawalsky again. :-) I'm still placing a few cents on a bet that is how Janet Fraiser may return one day ... Given that there is no Janet in one reality and another crosses over, maybe that "problem" of having two Sam's won't happen.

David
October 1st, 2004, 05:38 AM
I'd imagine there are plenty of Fraiser fans who are more than eager to agree with you! :)