10.13 "The Road Not Taken" Episode Guide

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An experiment goes wrong, leaving Carter trapped in a parallel reality where martial law has been enforced and the Earth is under attack from the Ori. But the impending threat from the Ori is the least of her concerns when it becomes clear that President Landry may not allow her to return home.

Guide | Transcript

SciFi.com Official Summary

Carter's dimensional-shifting device has shown promise against the Ori, but it still needs a lot of work. Accordingly, at Stargate Command, Carter runs another test on the complicated piece of technology. Unfortunately, her test coincides precisely with another test on an extremely dangerous power generator built by another Carter in an alternate universe. As both devices interact, an explosion kills the second Carter. Then a trans-universal bridge pulls the original Carter into the other universe.

Carter is trapped in a strange new world. Gen. George Hammond leads Stargate Command, and Hank Landry is President of the United States. The Stargate program has been public on this Earth since a Goa'uld attack forced the United States to endure riots and international anger by revealing its cosmic secret. Worse, this Earth is under an immediate threat of Ori attack: A fleet is only days away, and everyone fears that the planet's last hope to defend itself died with this world's Carter.

As President Landry hunkers down in Stargate Command for safety and billions of humans turn to SGC for protection, Carter steps in to save the day. In a spectacular feat of science and engineering, she hides the entire planet from the Ori's ships with her dimensional-shifting device. Earth is saved.

Overnight, Carter becomes an international hero. President Landry drags her to press conferences and swanky cocktail parties, using her to seize even more political power. Soon, however, Carter notices that Landry has seriously compromised American freedoms for the sake of security. The Secret Service carries Goa'uld torture devices, and elections have been suspended. Furthermore, Landry refuses to allow Carter to construct a trans-universal bridge back to her own Earth — because he wants her by his side as a figurehead for his increasingly dictatorial administration.

With presidential goons shadowing her every step, Carter seeks out two unlikely allies. The first is Cameron Mitchell, who's been confined to a wheelchair since his F-302 accident in Antarctica. He's deeply embittered by the shabby way his government has behaved, toward him and its citizens. The second is the ex-husband of this world's Carter: an eccentric, quick-witted and successful businessman … named Rodney McKay. Both men are very different than the men Carter knows, and if she can't persuade either one to help her, she may never escape from this world-gone-wrong.


Guest Stars


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Production Notes

  • "I've always been better pitching on paper than delivering verbal pitches, so I wrote up a bunch of story ideas for both shows: Extreme Measures, In the Darkest Recesses, The Kindred, Suffer the Children, Yesterday Today and Tomorrow, The Tainted, and Morpheus. [...] Yesterday Today and Tomorrow is a time travel story (x2) that I've wanted to do since last year." — Joseph Mallozzi in his GateWorld Blog, November 13, 2005.
  • "The next couple of weeks will no doubt be spent reading and commenting on scripts, revising, and hopefully breaking some more stories. I'd love to get cracking on the big SG-1 mid-season quest two-parter or the time travel, What If?, story we briefly discussed (hopefully, no producer's head will explode this time, unlike the time we broke Moebius I and II)." — Joseph Mallozzi, Gateworld Blog, January 2, 2006.
  • Concerning "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow": "It's not episode 9. And hopefully, it will be in the back half of season 10." — Joseph Mallozzi, SG1Solutions, January 20, 2006.
  • "When writers are coming up with new ideas, it’s often the case that one story, or part of a story, is too similar to a story idea that has already been written or agreed upon (or purchased, as is the case with freelance writers). When this happens, we say the idea “steps on” the other. And that happens quite a lot. So often really good ideas get squashed because they would be repetitive. And it happened on SG-1 just recently with two stories that at first glance don’t appear to be too similar but once you take a good look at them they are. Joe Mallozzi had come up with a time travel story, and Alan McCullough was working on an alternate reality story. Now it doesn’t take a genius to realize that if you go back in time, and change the future, that you’d be dealing with a present tense alternate reality. So they stepped on each other. And only one went ahead. But you’ll have to wait until later in the season until I tell you which one went ahead… but I’m taking the political middle ground – in my opinion, both episodes would be a lot of fun." — Alex Levine, Script Coordinator, SciFi.com Blog, July 25, 2006.
  • "And apparently there's an episode coming up where Carter ends up on her own in an alternate universe and proceeds to change the course of things in that universe." — Amanda Tapping, TV Guide Insider Q&A, July 2006.
  • "The Road Not Taken: Sam is in some sort of explosion. After that, she sees someone she did not expect. She seems to be phase-shifted to another dimension, because the people think she is Major Carter and she saved the world from an alien attack. She's even appointed Special Advisor to President Hayes, but then things start to go wrong." — SpoilerFix.com, August 6, 2006.
  • Amanda Tapping, TV Zone Special #74, January 2007:
"My favourite episode this season is The Road Not Taken, an alternate reality type of story that is very topical as well.
"It's basically about what happens if the Stargate programme was revealed, and in the case of this episode there is pandemonium, riots and international discord. Carter ends up in this reality that's facing imminent destruction by the Ori and she figures out a way to save them. In doing so, she becomes a hero of sorts for this planet, but an unwilling hero. Sam doesn't want to be the mouthpiece for this particular administration and its ideology, so she desperately tries to get herself out of this predicament. At one point, Carter runs into an alternate version of Mitchell, and Ben and I got to play this really cool, intense scene together. We get to see what happened to Mitchell after he decided to buck the system and stand up for his principles. We also look at Sam's relationship with an alternate Dr McKay [David Hewlett].
"The episode is a fascinating take on how governments deal with social unrest and the kind of ego that this particular administration has. I don't want to sound like I'm getting up on my soapbox, but politically speaking a great deal of the story rang true to me. I thoroughly enjoyed working on it.
"Oddly enough, the rest of the SG1 cast doesn't show up in the episode until the very end, but I got to do some scenes with Beau Bridges [Hank Landry] and Don Davis [General Hammond], who I absolutely love. It was amazing to have Don back with us, and I'll always treasure having worked with him again."
  • Alan McCullough, writer, TV Zone Special #74, January 2007:
"Carter is trying to repair and refine the modifications that she made to the Arthur's Mantle device based on the malfunction in Line in the Sand when all of a sudden, and for no apparent reason, she's pulled into a parallel universe. Carter wakes up to discover that Major Lorne (Kavan Smith) from Atlantis is leading the SG1 team. There's no sign of Teal'c, Vala, Daniel or Mitchell, and in this particular reality, Earth is in a state of war. Upon her arival, Carter accidentally kills this reality's version of Sam Carter, and ends up taking her place. As the story plays out, the Ori are about to attack and our Sam is immediately pressed into service to try to save this reality from the enemy, and in doing so then figure out a way back to her own reality.
"The interesting thing about this episode is that, by Act Two, it goes off in a totally different direction. Carter has succeeded in saving Earth and has become a celebrity. The rest of the story is mainly about her dealing with her new-found notoriety in a world that's so screwed up. So it becomes a very interesting character piece for Amanda Tapping, who did an excellent job. Because the rest of SG1 didn't exist in this reality - they only show up in a couple of scenes at the beginning and at the end - she had to pretty much carry the whole episode herself, and she was more than up to the challenge of that," praises McCullough.

Further Reading

--DeeKayP 06:55, 1 August 2006 (PDT)