Why the Stargate fandom can officially declare Sam/Jack canon (even though the producers forgot to mention it)
Although the relationship between Samantha Carter and Jack O'Neill has never been officially confirmed, it has been hinted at in both SG-1 and SGA, as well as in interviews with writers, producers, and cast members.
Joe Mallozzi (producer) said in this blog post
“Jack and Sam could have gotten together after Jack’s retirement, but it was never made canon because, quite frankly, it wasn’t my call. Still, despite the lack of official confirmation, it was only natural that they should get together after the events of Threads and, in my mind, they have been together ever since.”
If, for some reason, you don’t think that they got together, here’s a big list of reasons why, as soon as they possibly could after the frat regs that had been keeping them apart for so long no longer affected them, they finally managed to have a proper romantic relationship, as well as some proof that was slipped in to SGA and SG-1 when they did.
I’ve tried to take my ship goggles off for this, and to only pick out moments that objectively show the relationship between Sam and Jack (and have, in doing so, had to miss a few of my favourite episodes off the list!), but despite that there’s still a hell of a lot of support for this perfect ship.
Let’s start from the initial attraction undeniably evident from as early as the 5th episode.
- Episode 1.05, “The Broca Divide”, in which Carter, affected by an alien organism, seduces Jack in the locker room. This in itself might not mean anything other than that, in her ‘primitive’ state of mind, she sees him as “the leader of [the] pack”, or the one who “would give [her] the strongest offspring”. However, the way Jack responds to her advances suggests an underlying attraction; “not like this” implies that he might, under other circumstances, want her.
Jack: Carter! Wait! What the hell is going on?
Sam: I want you.
Jack: Why? I mean no! … Carter, this is a little out of line, don’t you think?
Sam: Want me?
Jack: No. No, not like this, for crying out loud.
- Later, after everybody has recovered from the disease, Sam and Jack share a flirty moment in which he expresses, albeit jokily, his concern that “if [the scar from her stab wound] doesn’t heal properly, [she’ll] never wear that sweet little tank top number again.” Despite being phrased in a teasing or joking manner, this comment does highlight the fact that he did, in fact, notice 'that sweet little tank top number’.
Now, just to get a nice solid foundation for this totally canon relationship, let’s list all the episodes of SG-1 in which Sam and Jack actually mention their feelings for each other.
- Although there are a few moments in the first couple of seasons, we really get a sense of their feelings for each other building up towards the end of season 3 and the start of season 4, culminating in episode 4.05, “Divide and Conquer” - an episode which nobody can deny was shippy. They both acknowledge that there’s something between them in order to avoid being killed or put in stasis.
Sam: Sir, when you wouldn’t leave me, are you sure there wasn’t something else that you’re not admitting?
Jack: What are you talking about?
Sam: Something neither one of us can admit given our working relationship, our military ranks?
Jack: Oh! Oh. That.
Jack: [During the zatarc test] I didn’t leave… because I’d have rather died myself… than lose Carter.
Jack: Because I care about her. A lot more than I’m supposed to.
- In episode 4.06, “Window of Opportunity”, Jack is trapped in a time loop. In one of the loops shown he hands Hammond his resignation before kissing Sam in the middle of the control room.
- In episode 4.10, “Beneath the Surface”, SG-1 are given false memories and made to work in an alien power station. One of the few things that Sam and Jack can remember is that they have feelings for each other. The DVD commentary for this episode revealed that Jonah/Jack and Thera/Sam were originaly going to kiss to confirm they were in a relationship, although this was dropped because they had already kissed earlier in the season.
Sam/Thera: You know there are things about this place that I like.
[She looks at him and smiles and he understands what she means.]
Jack/Jonah: Would it mean anything if I told you I remember something else?
Jack/Jonah: I remember feeling feelings.
Sam/Thera: For me?
Jack/Jonah: [sarcastically] No, for Tor.
[Sam/Thera laughs at him.]
I don’t remember much. But I do remember that.
- After they acknowledged their feelings in Divide and Conquer, they decided to do nothing about it, although neither of them can just forget it. The next time either one of them admits it is in “Grace”, episode 7.13, when Sam talks to a hallucination of Jack.
Sam: Came to give me a pep talk?
Jack: It’s what friends are for.
Jack: Hey, this is you talking here. Might as well be honest.
Sam: What if I quit the air force? Would that change anything or is it just an excuse?
Jack: I would never ask you to give up your career.
Sam: Because you don’t feel anything for me?
Sam: I’d let you go right now if I knew.
Jack: That easy?
Sam: I didn’t say it would be easy.
- In “Lost City Part 2”, episode 7.22, Sam gets another attempt to say what she went to his house in “Lost City Part 1” to say, but Jack interrupts because he already knew, like Daniel, why she was there.
Sam: Sir, at your house before Daniel and Teal'c showed up, what I was gonna say was…
Jack: I know.
- Finally, in “Threads”, episode 8.18, Sam tries again to talk to Jack about things after Pete buys a house, but is interrupted by Kerry.
Sam: I’ve been sitting in your driveway for the last ten minutes, trying to work up the nerve to come and talk to you… The truth is, I’ve been trying to work up the nerve for a lot longer than that.
Sam: The… the truth is, I’m having second thoughts about the wedding.
Sam: See, the thing is, the closer it gets, the more I get the feeling that I’m making a big, huge mistake.
[Jack, looking slightly uncomfortable, glances into the house.]
Jack: Look, Carter, I don’t know what…
Sam: I’m sorry to bother you with this, but uh, see, there’s actually a very good reason that I’m bothering you with this, and if I don’t tell you now, I might never…
- Later in Threads, Jack comforts Sam while Jacob is dying, and promises he’ll always be there for her.
Jack: Come here.
[Jack puts his arm around her. Sam holds the hand around her shoulder.]
Sam: Thank you, Sir.
Jack: For what?
Sam: For being here for me.
Let’s not forget the alternate versions of Sam and Jack who are canon…
- Episode 1.20, “There But For The Grace Of God”, in which Daniel goes to an alternate reality where Sam is a civilian. Before Alt!Jack dies he and Alt!Sam hug/kiss goodbye, and, in response to the look of confusion on Daniel’s face, Catherine says “I take it they’re not engaged in your reality.”
- Episode 3.06, “Point of View”, in which an alternate version of Sam arrives at the SGC. Jack is remarkably unphased by the fact that in her reality they were married, and by the fact that she kisses him later on.
Jack: I take it where you’re from we were…
- Episode 8.20, “Moebius Part 2” and the first part are, notably, immediately after Threads. Even in this vastly different reality in which Sam and Jack aren’t even a part of the Stargate programme, they still end up together.
There have also been plenty of times when other characters have picked up on it.
- Episode 4.20, “Entity”, in which Sam is taken over by an alien virus.
Hammond: We may have to make some difficult choices. I know that Major Carter means a great deal to you.
- Episode 3.17, “A Hundred Days”, in which Jack is trapped on an alien planet and Sam works non-stop to rescue him. Janet feels the need to check that Sam’s feelings for Jack aren’t going to be a problem.
Janet: You miss him.
Janet: Is this a problem?
- In episode 6.15, “Paradise Lost”, Sam breaks down on Teal'c’s shoulder when Jack is stranded on an unknown planet. Teal'c later references this during “Grace”, episode 7.13, saying
“When Colonel Maybourne and yourself were stranded off world, Major Carter felt a similar sense of frustration. She despaired at the thought of never seeing you again.”
- They don’t always have to be obviously angsty due to some seemingly irreversible separation, either; in Threads, Jacob tells Sam not to let the Air Force’s frat regs (the only reason Sam and Jack can’t be together) stop her from being happy.
Jacob: I just want to know you’re gonna be happy.
Sam: I am.
Jacob: Don’t let rules stand in your way.
Sam: What are you talking about?
Jacob: You joined the Air Force because of me.
Sam: I love my job.
Jacob: You can still have everything you want.
- Also in Threads, Kerry Johnson, a character who has only met Sam twice and been involved with Jack presumably only since the previous episode, breaks up with Jack and asks him why he isn’t with Carter. In fact, she encourages him to retire so he can be with her.
Kerry: You have issues. It’s okay, we all do. There’s just one big one in particular that I don’t think I can love with… live with. I need to get out before I get more involved. We can still work together, can’t we? I’d hate to have to ask for reassignment. This is really important to me. We agreed this would never affect the job.
You know, there’s just one thing I don’t understand.
Jack: Just one?
Kerry: Is the Air Force the only thing keeping you two apart? Rules and regulations? Because if it is, you’re making a very big mistake.
Jack: And you know what I should do?
Kerry: Don’t get me wrong, you’re considered invaluable to the program by the Pentagon, but the President has appointed a civilian to run the SGC before. Just a thought.
- In “Lost City Part 1”, episode 7.21, Daniel arrives at Jack’s house as they are on the verge of saying something, and is fully aware of the fact that, now Jack’s in danger of losing all that he entirely, Sam might want to do or say something in light of that; when he walks in and sees them on Jack’s couch he says “Oh, sorry are we interrupting anything?”
Finally, some miscellaneous references to their relationship that take place after season 8 of SG-1.
- The deleted scene [x] in SGA’s “Trio”, 4.16, in which Sam talks about her complicated romantic relationship with a guy in Washington who’s going to retire soon. Sound familiar? Joe Mallozzi referenced this scene in his blog entry on Sam and Jack’s relationship (source above), saying
“An attempt to suggest [that they have been together since the events of Threads] in season 4’s Trio unfortunately ended up on the cutting room floor when the episode ran long.”
- In episode 9.07, “Ex Deus Machina”, Agent Barrett and Sam are talking about how she broke up with Pete, and she says that she’s “not exactly” single, though she doesn’t clarify this statement, implying a complicated relationship - but a relationship nonetheless. This is incredibly similar to the relationship mentioned in the deleted scene in Trio, i.e. Sam and Jack.
Barrett: So, you’re single again?
Sam: Not exactly.
- In episode 10.12, “Line in the Sand”, Sam says that her laptop password is 'fishing’. Fishing is something that is almost synonymous with their relationship (he always asked her to go with him but she never accepted until Threads) so her use of it as a password suggests that it (and he) is still very important to her.
- On the shelf behind Sam’s desk in Atlantis, she has several photos, including what appears to be one of her Jack fishing, as seen at the end of both 'Threads’ and 'Moebius’. (Images: [x] and [x])
- When Sam arrives in Atlantis at the start of SGA season 4, a framed picture of Jack can be seen in her personal belongings as she unpacks. (Image: [x])
- In episode 10.06, “200”, Vala suggests that Marty includes a wedding scene in his film and, though she has never been on screen with Jack and Sam together before, she describes 'their’ hypothetical wedding scene. While this wedding obviously can’t be considered canon, it does highlight the fact that Vala has picked up on their feelings for each other and possibly that their relationship is established enough for her to make reference to it.
So there you have it. Conclusive evidence that, not only were Sam and Jack attracted to each other, they also had the potential to fall in love once the regs were out of the equation - which they did. There was no reason whatsoever for them to stay apart after he left her chain of command, so I think we can all agree that, given their obvious feelings for each other - which had lasted at least four years prior to Threads - they would have done something about it.
EDIT: Since I wrote this, Joe Mallozzi has said the following, in this blog post:
“There’s a dinner scene in the first draft of Stargate: Revolution that made it pretty clear that Jack and Sam were, in fact, together.”
So there’s that…