10.13: The Road Not Taken


Non Bio
Staff member
Jan 5, 2001
Way on Down South, London Town
This was not the episode described in my TV guide, which was about the discovery of a new Prior, but it is the 13th episode.

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.

I have to admit to liking 'Alternative Reality' stories. So, even though the first half of this bore a striking resemblance to the first season episode 'There But For The Grace Of God', I still thought it great, and a vast improvement on last week. (Same writer credited, Alan McCullough, as last week though.)

After saving Earth from the Ori attack, the episode moved on into new territory; what would have happened if the Stargate programme had been revealed after the attack by Anubis.
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."
I thought it was very well done. You can see the allegorical references to "9/11" in there. My only criticism was the usual quick wrapping up of the story in the final five minutes, with no explanation of how Carter got back, except that Rodney McKay was involved. So, not only does he save 'Atlantis' every week, he's now saving 'SG-1' too!!


Certified Space Monkey
Jun 26, 2002
I also like 'alternate reality' episodes, the 'what if?' questions always intrigue me. I also thought that this episode was an improvement on last weeks as well. It was good to see a distopian parallel universe which could easily have been ours given slightly different circumstances.
The Road Not Taken was a more highly politicised episode than I think we have ever seen. There are the references to "9/11" in there, as well as certain veiled swipes at the current US Administration.

I liked the scene between the alternate Mitchell and Carter, how he had been duped into becoming a PR puppet for the President, and how far the White House was willing to go to make sure he didn't speak up. He also alluded, I think, to 'Guantanamo Bay' style treatment in saying he was held without charge, and the tone in which he said it.

It was also nice to see Carter in something other than the usual fatigues. Nice to see her looking more feminine every once in a while to remind us of the non-military side of her.


Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2002
I love alternate universe / timeline stuff, but not this episode.

Other alternate universe had a lot of action combined with very cleaver thought provoking changes and nods to shippers. Not to mention better explosions.

This episode was more like hmm . . what can we do on a limited budget.
I know throw carter in with some alien device and have her disappear.
Like that's never been done before! Oh, but lets make it an alternate universe story so it isn't total deja vu.

Now the media driven extreme universe thread was kind of original for Stargate, but not that original in general, plus it was really boring. How many thousand times do we have to see freedom of speech stories? It's been done before and 100 times better than this episode!

And I'm not entirely sold on 9/11 references and related poltics.

Did you know that there was a voluntary censorship about development of a nuclear bomb? They passed one testing situation off as an ammo dump explosion.

Also the extreme measures used to get power reminded me of the extreme measures used during WWII to get materials. Ever heard of victory gardens? Collecting car tires? Apparently Silk for parachutes was in such high demand that at one point Silk for parachutes couldn't be purchased.

Also at one point during WWII the government was basically running some public companies.

The reference to Guantanamo Bay makes my eyes role. The prisoners there often get better treatment and food then there home country. Some people just don't try to discover the reality behind the lies.

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