[Contains all the knowledge of The Ancients and SPOILERS!!!]
My hopes that Stargate: SG-1 might embrace a more international and less jingoistic stance were raised and dashed again by ep #6.17 (“Disclosure”), in which representatives from the Chinese, French and UK governments are officially informed about the Stargate. Sadly, instead of seriously exploring the question of whether the American military really should be running a galactic diplomacy/defence programme all by their lonesome, this story was just the framework for a drum-beating clip-show, which ended with Thor descending from the heavens to play “deus ex machina”, and state outright that the Yanks are the only humans the Asgard trust, so everyone else should just keep their noses out. Meh. Although the Russians were allowed to have their own team operating out of SGC, we only see them once, in ep #6.16 (“Metamorphosis”), where they’re mostly used as cannon-fodder… and their deaths in the line of duty do nothing to change Jack’s childish, knee-jerk prejudices. In fact, he’d rather replace Daniel with an alien who was partially responsible for his friend’s death and subsequent smearing, than with a foreigner from his own home planet! To be fair, I was quite glad to see ‘Jonas Quinn’ (Corin Nemec) join the team at first, because he had such an upbeat and smiley energy… but that wore off after a couple of episodes, and he devolved into a fairly generic placeholder, until Michael Shanks returned to reclaim his spot.
In a seventh season two-parter (ep #7.17/18, “Heroes”), the inviolability of America’s Manifest Destiny was once again questioned by a pesky, interfering outsider… this time a manipulative documentarian embedded by the outgoing President, who’s met with a stone-faced wall of silence and denied access at every turn. He ranted futilely about freedom of the press and fascism, before being humbled by the selfless sacrifice of Dr. Fraiser (Teryl Rothery), who was blasted by a Jaffa’s staff-weapon while tending to a fallen soldier. I have to admit, I was quite moved by her death and subsequent funeral… though it once again underlined the fact that she’s really the only regular character I gave a damn about. This was followed by another clip show (#7.20), in which a newly inaugurated President is made privy to the stargate’s existence, and hears impassioned arguments both for and against allowing the American air force to retain sole control of the programme… though, as in “Disclosure”, the case against the SGC is made by a conniving, villainous straw-man, rather than by anyone we’re actually meant to respect or listen to. Nonetheless, General Hammond is subsequently retired, and replaced by a civilian commander, ‘Dr. Elizabeth Weir’ (eps #7.21/22 (“Lost City”)). Although I should have been thrilled by this development, the fact that Jessica Steen was another conventionally-pretty blonde actress, who could easily be mistaken for Amanda Tapping (Samantha), caused me to roll my eyes and sigh for the lack of diversity…
As far as notable female guest stars go, the sixth season was pretty barren, but the seventh season was far more fruitful: Glynis Davies appeared in ep #7.02 (“Homecoming”) as ‘Noor’, an ambassador from an enemy nation on Jonas’ world, who had also been kept in the dark about their stargate’s existence. Ep #7.10 (“Birthright”) was stacked with actresses, as SG-1 encountered the Hak’tyl Resistance, a group of badass Jaffa warrior-babes, who had renounced their “god” Moloc over his policy of sex-selective infanticide. Their leader ‘Ishta’ was played by Jolene Blalock, of Star Trek: Enterprise fame, while prominent members of her tribe were played by Christine Adams and Simone Bailly (who will apparently recur in a future eps)… and Kirsten Prout put in a rather adorable (pre-Elektra) turn as ‘Nesa’, a young girl whose impending death sets the whole story in motion. Fun fact: Nesa is taken back to the SGC to be looked after by Dr. Fraiser, and several years later Rothery and Prout would be reunited as mother and daughter in Kyle XY. “Pretty Little Liar” Sasha Pieterse appeared in ep #7.13 (“Grace”) as the eponymous manifestation of a sentient interstellar cloud (!), that Sam sees after being knocked unconscious and stranded aboard a deserted starship.
Emily Holmes appeared in ep #7.14 (“Fallout”) as ‘Kianna Cyr’, a close colleague of Jonas’, who turned out to be secretly harbouring a Goa’uld symbiote. I was hoping this was going to be a longer story-arc, exploring their characters’ divided loyalties and opening the door for more Goa’ulds to “turn traitor” and join the Tok’ra resistance movement… instead the writers just had the symbiote die off-screen, so Kianna and Jonas could walk off into the sunset/stargate all fine and dandy and conflict-free.* Bo-ring! Likewise, Daniel’s recurring love-interest/antagonist ‘Sarah Gardner’/’Osiris’ was written out of the series in ep #7.15 (“Chimera”), following an attempt to extract vital clues about the location of a resource-rich “lost city” from his unconscious mind, using a mind-probe-thingy. She’s honey-trapped in his bedroom, and shot up with tranquillisers, before her symbiote is removed (off-screen) and she’s never seen or heard from again! To quote the episode’s wiki-page: “From a real-world respective, the characters’ storyline was likely wrapped up to save the cost of flying Anna-Louise Plowman back and forth from her home in the United Kingdom”. Cheapskates!
* I think it’s worth noting that Nemec wrote the outline for this episode, in which his character got a cute love interest to mack on… and Christopher Judge wrote the ep in which his character (Teal’c) spent several scenes snogging Blalock! Tsk, tsk.