Stargate SG-1 Watchguide: Season 3

Season 3 is where the show starts settling into its stride. There are only a couple slow episodes.

Season 3 Highlights

If you’re looking to be entertained, this is the best of season 3:

  • S03E02 – “Seth” – Ever wondered how well the Goa’uld could possibly fare in the US? I think this is the first activity coordinated with the Tok’ra–and there’s plenty of resulting snark.
  • S03E05 – “Learning Curve” – Some SG-1 episodes have particularly gripping moral dilemmas. This is one of my favorites.
  • S03E07 – “Deadman Switch” – Up until now, the culture in Goa’uld territory has been pretty monolithic. This introduces bounty hunter culture–and a fun character, too.
  • S03E09 – “Rules of Engagement” – Saying too much would ruin this. It can mess with your head.
  • S03E12/E13 – “Jolinar’s Memories”/”The Devil You Know” – As the title suggests, this mid-season two-parter relies on the Tok’ra memories Sam Carter retains. It’s intense, but a good story.
  • S03E16 – “Urgo” – A Stargate must-see, included in every fan-favorite marathon, right after “1969” and “The Fifth Race.” A much-needed light-hearted comedy episode for this season.
  • S03E18 – “Shades of Grey” – This is a fun plot episode. Not top-tier fun but a good watch.
  • S03E19 – “New Ground” – This is another morality episode with a light dusting of humor, one of my favorites that I’m sure others find unremarkable.

Season 3 Plot Episodes (with spoilers)

Looking at the episodes from a plot-thread perspective, I’m starting to wonder if Stargate’s success was from blending an episodic show style with plot arcs. While some shows have arcs of six episodes or so, (or five-year arcs *cough*Babylon 5*cough*), SG-1 interspersed its arcs almost at random. That way, it feels episodic but continuously builds on what happened before. Anyway, here’s the concise-ish guide:

  • S02E02 – “Seth” – While this is a milestone for cooperation between the Tok’ra and Tau’ri, these events are later mentioned only in passing.
  • S03E03 – “Fair Game” – While this is a turning point for Earth, Goa’uld, and Asgard relations, it’s a little plot-heavy for my taste. Agreements are set up that establish the strategic context for later Goa’uld episodes.
  • S03E04 – “Legacy” – More anti-Goa’uld tech! And another in the tradition of Daniel-goes-crazy episodes.
  • S03E05 – “Learning Curve” – Earth gets some plot-convenient technology that becomes commonplace in SGC activities.
  • S03E06 – “Point of View” – This AU episode establishes problems with universe-switching that influence some Atlantis episodes.
  • S03E08 – “Demons” – This introduces an alien species with a tiny, underrated thread.
  • S03E09 – “Rules of Engagement” – More Apophis! (Kinda.)
  • S03E10 – “Forever in a Day” – I really don’t care for this episode. But it wraps up the thread with Daniel’s wife.
  • S03E11 – “Past and Present” – Remember that dank prison world with the glowing vines? Yeah, neither do all the characters.
  • S03E12/E13 – “Jolinar’s Memories”/”The Devil You Know” – More familiar Goa’uld! More Tok’ra! More impossible odds! It must be the mid-season two-parter!
  • S03E14 – “Foothold” – This is the most major example of SGC close-calls, and it gets referenced a few times throughout later seasons.
  • S03E15 – “Pretense” – This morality episode brings together the Tollan, the Nox, and the Goa’uld–I mean, Daniel and Jack’s Abadosian friend Skaara. It also establishes the possibility of rescuing hosts. (It also provides material for the fun Zipacna music video.)
  • S03E18 – “Shades of Grey” –  Ever wish something would happen to those creeps stealing other planets’ treasures? What do we really know about the NID, anyway?
  • S03E20 – “Maternal Instinct” – This is the most important plot episode this season. Not because we find out about Daniel’s… stepson, but because we meet Oma, who is critically important later on. (There’s also a music video, but the Internet seems to have lost it.)
  • S03E22/S04E01 – “Nemesis”/”Small Victories” – Aren’t you mad the Asgard aren’t doing much to stop the Goa’uld? Maybe they’ve got their own problems, ones that will haunt Earth for the rest of the series.