Stargate SG-1: Janet’s Death Stings Now More Than Ever

The events of ‘Heroes Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’ shocked Stargate fandom but as Kayleigh Dray argues, the tragic death of Dr. Janet Fraiser has only become more affecting in the years since it was broadcast.

content and spoiler warning.
Before we begin, this article

deals with the death of a
character. Please be advised

as you're listening to the
Companions audio articles, a new

series that features our best
stories on the companion. I'm

Rebecca Davis. Today I'll be
reading a piece about one of

arguably the most iconic and
important episodes of SG-1.

Heroes has always been one of my
favourite moments in Stargate

history, and also one of the
most devastating in reading

through this piece I realised
that there are very real and

relevant modern reasons why
losing someone like Janet

Frazier would still hurt to this
day, and why that two part

episode remains so iconic. Janet
stet stings now more than ever,

by Kaylee, Dray, and

Stargate SG-1 is on the surface
of beautifully fun and zany romp

of a sci fi series. We have a
bevvy of suitably wild costumes

usually based on those worn in
ancient Egypt. The villains are

campy and fond of heavy eye
makeup. There is to a bevvy of

new oxygen rich worlds for our
plucky heroes to explore,

usually with suspiciously North
American esque landscapes true,

but sometimes strewn all over
with fairy lights and strange

flora and fauna for that oh so
alien effect. And on the subject

of those aforementioned plucky
heroes, we have a core team of

warm and quick witted men and
women, fine woman, all of whom

are seemingly equipped with as
many jokes as they are bullets,

or in the case of Tilke as many
eyebrow raises as he has mattock

blasts. That's only on the
surface. However, because his

diehard fans of Stargate SG-1
will already know all too well.

The show's true story runs far
deeper than that. The gate

system allows for a new planet
and a new thought provoking

theme to be explored each
episode. Over the years we

retreated to thoughtful hot
takes on everything from

politics and flawed prison
systems, to pandemics ever

relevant in our post COVID world
and the classic good versus evil

divide. Our heroes may have been
plucky, and they may have been

able to find the humour in these
situations, but they weren't

perfect by any means. Colonel
Jack O'Neill still grieving the

death of his young son had a
noticeably short temper at

times. Major Samantha Carter was
sometimes too stringent in her

scientific applications, failing
to see the more human answer to

a problem in her dogged pursuit
of logic. Dr. Daniel Jackson's

unshakable belief and others
morality often led him to

overestimate their capacity for
doing the right thing. And

Tilke? Well, while Tilke was the
very definition of a gentle

giant, his unshakable hatred of
the go old often prompted him to

snake bait and put himself in
danger many times over. War

doesn't discriminate.
Essentially, the Quartet that

made up SG-1 were believably
fallible, although they always

followed a strict moral code and
strive to do the right thing

wherever and whenever they
could. And this fallibility, of

course, came hand in hand with
something not unlike simmering

darkness. Because this show was
let's face it every bit as dark

as it was fun. How could it not
be hidden underneath Cheyenne

Mountain? The Stargate programme
was a top secret military outlet

under the control of the US
government. This meant for

starters, that there was
opportunity for corruption and

thinking about secrets season
two, episode nine in particular,

in which a journalist named
Armand Selleck somehow learned

about the Stargate programme and
relentlessly pursued Colonel

O'Neill in his bid to confirm
the leak and get the ultimate

scoop. The journalist story
never ran Of course, he was run

down by a speeding car in
Washington DC. In his dying

moments, he cursed O'Neill for
having him killed and while him

and reassured a shaken jack that
nothing sinister had taken

place. It was an accident. Yes,
sir. The show forever implied

that Selig's death was no
accident. It meant to that the

continued usage of the Stargate
didn't just allow Earth to forge

new offworld friendships. It
also introduced our planet to

new enemies. And this combined
with the show's penchant for

deep themes and fallible
characters, so our core heroes

constantly thrown into danger at
every turn. So much so actually,

that we often worried that one
day one or all of them would

fail to return through the
wormhole that they will be taken

prisoner or injured or worse.
First of all, killed in battle.

But war as the news constantly
reminds us at the moment reaches

far further than the frontlines,
that one doesn't have to engage

in battle to find themselves
caught up in it. And this is

underlined in Stargate SG-1's
unforgettable two parter heroes,

in which one of the show's most
beloved characters is killed

during an offworld mission. It
was the sort of death that took

everyone by surprise. We knew
that someone was due to be

killed off shore, and we knew
that it would be somewhat

important. We had seen Colonel
O'Neill take a staff less to the

torso after all, and we had seen
an unidentified yet clearly

lifeless body on a gurney back
at the base. We too had seen a

tearful major Carter struggling
to comprehend the tragedy, and

we knew all about her unspoken
feelings for O'Neil. Plus, there

were rumours that Richard Dean
Anderson was planning to leave

the show. It made sense to us
then, that the soldier we'd all

fallen in love with during the
previous seven seasons had been

killed in the line of duty.
Instead, footage accidentally

recorded by Dr. Jackson revealed
the truth. The ever dependable

Dr. Janet Frazier had also gone
through the gate that day

medical gear in hand, and she
had been fighting to save the

life of a wounded soldier. When
a shot from a Jaffar shuttle hit

her squarely rendering the new
protective vest designed by the

SGC useless to save her. Dr.
Fraser our Janet had died on the

spot. Thinking the unthinkable
it was the ultimate bait and

switch by writers because Dr.
Fraiser wasn't someone we

expected to be in the line of
fire. We never associated her

with the horrifying chaos of
battle. Instead, she had served

as the metaphorical embodiment
of safety and healing for the

best part of a decade. Whenever
our heroes had awoken under her

care in the past, we knew all
will be well because her

reassuring presence had long
signified that everything would

be okay. And the idea that she
wouldn't be there anymore to

welcome SG-1 back through the
gate. It was honestly

inconceivable. As Robert C
Cooper, the episodes writer told

GateWorld, anytime we talked
about killing a character, it

was obviously a big deal in the
room. And in that case, we

didn't do it lightly. He added
to me, it was like you have to

occasionally lose someone in
order for there to be any real

jeopardy in order to feel like
there are actual stakes in the

show. If we just lost a red
shirt, I don't think it would

have been the same. One of
SG-1's regular directors Martin

would echoed this sentiment in
an interview with the Stargate

SG-1 Explorer's Unit official
fanclub saying, you know, what

is the difference in heroes from
everything else we've done?

Robert Cooper sat down and came
up with a story that was a

dramatic story inside what we
normally do. Inside the show

that we normally do is an oasis
of drama in heroes. And it

doesn't feel like anything that
we've done before. When you're

going to take a major character
and take them out of the show.

You have to do it that way.
Because it's the only way you

can actually deal with that he
finished. The end result was in

this writer's opinion, two of
the best hours of television

ever aired. Emotional, impactful
and provocative. It left many of

us in tears, including Dr.
Fraiser actor Teryl Rothery. The

script killed me she said of her
character's final episode during

an interview with gateworld I
just wept. It was so sad, and I

still haven't watched it.
Fighting for life. Of course, it

seemed strange that the episode
should have such an enormous

effect on us all. The character
we lost wasn't one of the core

force him after all, her death
occurred off screen. Although

unusually, we were still allowed
to witness it via grainy footage

filmed by Dr. Jackson. She
didn't get a big goodbye or

dramatic deathbed scene. She was
there one moment doing what she

did best. And then she was gone.
Know the success of heroes was

never hinged upon his big death
scene. Instead, it was down to

writers taking the time to shine
the spotlight on the life that

Dr. Fraser To lift and the
endless good she put into the

world. Janet Fraser was an
extraordinary person. Major

Carter said during an emotional
eulogy for the late doctor. She

was kind and funny, and
talented. Above all, she was

courageous. Try as I might, I
could not find the words to

honour her to do justice to her
life. Thankfully, I got some

help. She continued.

While words alone may not be
enough, there are some names

that might do. We often talk
about those that give their

lives in the service of their

While Janet Fraser did just
that, it's not what her life was

about. The following are the
names of the men and women who

did not die in service. But who
are in fact alive today. Because

of Janet. Major Samantha Carter,
Dr. Daniel Jackson, Colonel Jack


Teal'c, Sergeant Connie Smith,
Major Ian Hughes, Senior Airman

Simon Wells. This list of names
served as a fitting testimony to

her character's role in the
show. Each of those lives saved

felt like a tiny glimmer of hope
in a very dark place. Despite

this, though, Dr. Frazier's
death hurt us on a far deeper

level than we realised at the
time, because it reminded us

that nobody, nobody is untouched
by war. All these years later,

the sentiment remains all too
sadly true. Indeed, the

distressing photos currently
being circulated by news outlets

and on social media have
provoked an intense state of

anxiety and sense of existential
threat in many of us, and

prompted many of us to switch
off from what's happening. And

that's largely because these
images feature ordinary people,

people like us, and Janet caught
up in unimaginably horrifying

situations. War must be while we
defend our lives against a

destroyer who would devour all,
but I do not love the bright

sword for its sharpness, nor the
arrow for its swiftness nor the

warrior for His glory, said JRR
Tolkien. I love only that which

they defend. We cannot switch
off from the news. Not really.

And we shouldn't. It's important
to stay engaged with world

events. And it's important to
remember that each casualty

isn't just another number or
meaningless statistic. It's

someone like Janet, someone with
a rich backstory and people who

care about them. Someone whose
absence will be felt by those

who loved them. Someone who's
quiet impact has been felt by

the people around them for
years, even if they might not

have realised that at the time.
That's why Dr. Frazier's death

was so significant. It took the
incomprehensible toll of war and

boiled it down to just one
person. And in doing so, it

helped us to feel that yawning
ache of loss more keenly than we

would have with just another
report from general Hammond on

the countless lives lost. But
while Dr. Frazier's death

hammered home the awful impact
of battle, it also highlighted

the need to protect human life.
As Fred Rogers famously said,

when I was a boy and I would see
scary things in the news, my

mother would say to me, look for
the helpers, you will always

find people who are helping.
Janet was a helper. She fought

to preserve life, not to end it.
Her role in battle was to

protect others, patch up wounds,
and uphold basic human decency.

We too, should do our best to be
the helpers we see in the world.

Because if there's one thing we
learned from Janet, it is that

our desire to do right by other
people is far more powerful than

the desire to inflict fear and
oppression. Goodness will

prevail while evil will not. And
let's be honest, when we all

like to be remembered as a
Doctor Janet Frazier, someone

who put nothing but goodness
into the world I know I would.

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