Daniel Jackson Is Irreplaceable

Some thoughts on "Meridian" and season six

As you may or may not know, in the penultimate 5th season episode "Meridian", Daniel dies.

The reasons behind this are diverse. If you ask MGM, they will tell you that the character of Daniel Jackson had to be written out of the series because actor Michael Shanks wishes to pursue "features". Shanks himself has stated in interviews that he felt he had to leave because over the course of the fourth and fifth season, Daniel had already begun to be written out and he did not wish his character to become wallpaper.

Whatever the reasons, on January 30th, those who watched Stargate SG-1 on Sky One were witness to the death of a beloved character.

Oh, they took pains to make sure we realized that he could come back, and after all, Daniel has a reputation of dying and coming back. But die he did, and an ugly and painful death it was, too.

When in September 2001 I first learned that Michael Shanks was leaving the show, I thought something along the lines of "they can't do that". At the time, there had already been rumors of his leaving, rumors which were subsequently denied. We as fans had watched Daniel being sidelined by the episodes' plots for months, and Showtime had lost a sizeable amount of viewers because of it. The news that Michael Shanks would not be there in season six caused an uproar. A season-six-free list came into being. Fans threatened to stop watching Stargate altogether. A website devoted to bringing Daniel Jackson back was created.

I watched all this with something of a "wait and see" attitude. Of course I didn't want Daniel to leave, die, ascend or otherwise be absent from the series. After all, I watch the show because of him. On the other hand, wouldn't it be a great story arc? Daniel ascends to a higher plane of existence. He can still be there, albeit in a noncorporeal state, a tiny newborn force of nature, maybe unnoticed by his former team mates. SG-1 meanwhile tries to replace their lost forth. There could be many great instances of the new guy being unable to fill Daniel's shoes. I mean, who can do all the things Daniel did so expertly? Who could know all the stuff he knows, and at the same time be the quintessentially good guy with passion and conviction who keeps the rest of the SGC decent? Lots and lots of "if Daniel were here" and "General, he's not good enough", while Daniel tries to find a new home amidst the beings he now resembles. There could even be one plot with a "Daniel ex machina" solution, where SG-1 really gets in trouble because of the new guy's incompetence, and Daniel uses his new powers to get them out.

They had even taken the first step towards realizing this idea. In "Revelations", season 5's final episode, a gust of wind tousels Jack's hair, who grins knowingly. A tiny moment, but for me, if alleviated a lot of grief and pain caused by "Meridian".

But then, of course, they would have to bring him back.

Again, it could be a great story. In order to save his former teammates from some deadly peril, Daniel would have to descend, thereby giving up his new home. Lots of drama, but then he would be back where he belongs. And no later than episode three of season six.

That would have been a solution I can live with.

But now, I found that Jonas Quinn character (who, after all, can read so fast) was actually in a few short weeks miraculously able to gain all the knowledge Daniel needed years to study, furthermore suddenly discovered a conscience AND was able to be the friend for SG-1 that Daniel was. I'm sorry, but that's it for me. This is a perversion of the team I love and am unwilling to endure.

In my humble opinion, Daniel is irreplaceable to SG-1 and to us as fans. He was the character that we identified with in the feature film, that carried us over into the series. It is the Jack-Daniel bantering that we want to see, the Daniel-Sam sibling relationship and the unlikely friendship between the archaeologist and the jaffa.

Anything else simply is not good enough. And anything else will make me join the season-six-free list and happily ignore everything that went on after "Meridian".

Comments? Suggestions? Let me know!

This page created on 2002-02-10