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Recap / Stargate SG-1 S4 E7 "Watergate"

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"Are you trying to tell me this water thinks?"
— Col. Jack O'Neill

When the stargate won't dial out, it emerges that the Russians were able to retrieve the second gate from the Pacific ocean after the crash of the Beliskner and have started up their own program. The team is dispatched to Russia to liaise with Dr. Svetlana Markoff, the head scientist of the Russian program, only to discover that everybody on the Russian base is dead and their gate is unable to disconnect from a planet whose surface seems to be completely underwater.


First instance of Russian involvement.

"Watergate" provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Blatant Lies: O'Neill tells Markoff that he's never been on a submarine.
  • Continuity Nod: It's revealed that the Russians salvaged the second stargate from the ocean after it crashed on board the Beliskner in "Nemesis".
  • Cultural Posturing: Daniel does quite a bit of this when the sub starts malfunctioning, lampshading it by saying that he's clearly been spending too much time with Jack.
    Daniel: Given the obvious solid craftsmanship that went into this thing, I don't see how this possibly could have happened.
    Markoff: If you're implying that everything Russian-made is of poor quality, actually, the sub is Swiss.
    Daniel: So they occasionally catch fire but they keep perfect time?
  • Deadly Gas: Markoff reveals that the reason all the Russian officers are dead is because the protocol for dealing with foothold situations is to seal off the gate room and flood the base with "substance 35", aka nerve gas.
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  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The team arrive at the Russian base to find everybody dead.
  • Fake Russian: Marina Sirtis as Svetlana Markov.
  • Harmless Freezing: O'Neill and Teal'c find Maybourne locked in a freezer and are somewhat alarmed to find that he's still alive and apparently suffering few ill effects once he thaws out. This is a justified use of the trope, however, as it's explained that the sentient water possessing him was deliberately keeping him alive.
    O'Neill: Holy frozen bad guys!
  • I Can't Hear You: Daniel and Carter accompany Markoff in the submarine through the submerged stargate, resulting in this:
    Markoff: It is quite beautiful.
    Daniel: What?
    Markoff: The rapid pressurization might cause your ears to block. [to Carter] As you might notice, there is no plant or animal life.
    Daniel: There doesn't appear to be any plant or animal life.
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  • Locked in a Freezer: Maybourne locks himself and O'Neill in the freezer after the water takes possession of Teal'c.
  • Murder Water: The water is full of microscopic intelligent lifeforms, and though it isn't outright malicious it's willing to take possession of people and drown them in order to get back to its planet.
  • Non-Answer:
    Carter: How do you know about the SGC?
    Markoff: I have read extensive files on all of you.
    O'Neill: The question was how.
    Markoff: I learned to read English at the age of six. It is not difficult.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: This episode marks the beginning of the international involvement in the stargate program.
  • Ominous Crack: The glass viewing bubble of the submarine cracks as the pressure of the water increases. Played with in that the glass actually does break, but the water doesn't flood in.
  • Prisoner Exchange: O'Neill suggests that this is why Daniel, Carter and Markoff were all thrown back through the gate after the water sample taken by the Russians was allowed to return home.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The water is capable of taking control of a person's body by entering through their mouth as vapor.
  • Russian Naming Convention: The episode makes a glaring mistake in this area. Dr. Markoff/Markov's name should be Dr. Markova. Russian last names have a masculine and feminine form.
  • Starfish Aliens: Sentient water that can possess people and generate its own energy.
  • Sub Story: About half the episode involves Daniel, Carter and Markoff in a tiny submarine on another planet whose stargate is completely submerged underwater.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Between the members of SG-1 and Dr. Markoff, to varying degrees; O'Neill is the most overtly obnoxious, Daniel is extremely snarky but not hostile, Carter has respect for her as a fellow scientist and Teal'c treats her pretty much the same as he treats everyone. For her part, Markoff acts professionally but is fairly cool towards them and outright admits that she advocated the Russians starting their own program as she didn't trust the Americans to share technology.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When Maybourne and later Teal'c cough up the water as it leaves their bodies.
  • Wham Line:
    Daniel: The Russians have a stargate?!