aka The evolution of their relationship through canon, and some personal thoughts.
And by “relationship” I mean friendship. In my personal thoughts I might extend that just a tad, but for the most part I'm talking about their friendship. How it started, where it's ended up, and what we hope to expect in the future (provided we see more SG-1 movies).
There will be some spoilers for Ark of Truth in a later part. Hopefully not too specific, but I'll include them in a cut for those who want to remain spoiler-free. This whole thing (from season 1 to the movies) ended up being 14 pages long. Oy. So I'll be breaking it up into a few parts.
So, let's go all the way back to the beginning.
Part 1: “I knew I'd like you.”
Sam apparently had read about Daniel while she was at the Pentagon and was impressed by what she read. When she first notices Daniel on Abydos, she has a HUGE smile on her face, and introduces herself as Doctor Samantha Carter, instead of Captain. When Daniel shows them the cartouche, he and Sam get into a little discussion about the different gate addresses and how the gate still works between Earth and Abydos. It's the first display of The Science Twins putting their heads together to work through something. I love how they finish each other's sentences, and of course Daniel's mention of stellar drift as an explanation receiving the “I knew I'd like you” from Sam. And their babble just goes way over poor Jack and Kawalsky's heads. *grin* Right off the bat they show some nice chemistry. For the most part, Daniel refers to Sam as either “Captain Doctor” (I still love it to this day! *grin*) or “Captain”, while Sam refers to Daniel as “Doctor” or “Dr. Jackson.” There is a moment where she's more informal with him, though. After they land in the prison on Chulak, Sam is trying to rouse him after he was knocked unconscious by Apophis' ribbon device. She refers to him as “Daniel” here.
Interesting footnotes: In the novelization of Children of the Gods, Sam apparently jealous to some extent when she sees Sha're kissing Daniel before they go off to see the cartouche. It's not technically canon, but just something I found interesting. Although I thought it was also interesting when Daniel tells Sam how Sha're was given to him as a gift, and she replied, “And you accepted?” Also, I have a copy of one of the drafts of the pilot (dated October 1996), and in it there seems to be a bit more tension during Sam (her character is known as “Lt. Samantha Clayman” in this draft) and Daniel's meeting for the first time. Sam still introduces herself to Daniel as “Doctor” instead of “Lieutenant”, but Daniel addresses Jack with some mock astonishment to the effect of “Wow, Jack, you actually let another one of 'us' on your team?” referring to another scientist. Sam explains that she's also a Lieutenant in the Air Force and Daniel simply says “Oh.” She rejoins with something like “Oh, so he hates me because I'm too much like you, and you hate me because I'm too much like him. Is that it?” Daniel replies with “No, 'hate' is too harsh a word.” Then the scene continues on as it does in the actual pilot with Daniel asking Jack what's going on and Jack telling him about Apophis' visit to Earth. As it does later on when they're viewing the cartouche (that exchange between Sam and Daniel is almost word for word as it appears on screen). But after a while, Jack and Kawalsky leave Sam alone with Daniel so she can continue photographing the cartouche. Daniel asks Sam something like “How did a woman like you get involved in this” (meaning the Air Force). Sam tells him that she majored in astrophysics or physics in college, and that getting into the military would help pay for her degree, or something to this effect. Daniel asks if she wishes she'd never joined up, and Sam says something like “if you asked me a week ago, I'd say yes, but right now I just can't stay away.” Make of that what you will.
After Sha're is taken we see some nice concern for Daniel coming from Sam, especially in the following episode when she tells him he can't stay awake forever, tries to offer hope for Kawalsky's operation working on Sha're, and mentions that part of Kawalsky remained even when he was taken over by the Goa'uld, offering Daniel further hope. It does make me wonder, though, if there could perhaps be some little spark of jealousy in her whenever Daniel talks a lot about Sha're. I'm flashing forward to Thor's Hammer for a moment to address this. When Sam and Daniel are journeying to the labyrinth to rescue Jack and Teal'c, at one point they stop, thinking they're lost. Daniel asks Kendra again about what it was like when she was purged of the Goa'uld, wanting to know if there's any hope for Sha're. Sam has walked away, leaving them alone. She only returns when Kendra says she thinks she knows the way. I'm not sure if Sam walked away out of respect for Daniel (or both of them), or because she didn't want to hear it because it bothered her somewhat. The shipper in me would say the latter (of course), but I suppose the former is also very possible, and it still shows how much Sam respects Daniel.
In turn, Daniel has shown a bit of nice concern for Sam this early on as well. After the Goa'uld infested Kawalsky knocked her out and landed her in the infirmary, Daniel assured him she was going to be okay and was about to go and check on her. Likewise, he argued the most for getting Sam back from Turghan in Emancipation, even though he was the one who pretty much got her in trouble in the first place. His reaction was interesting when he saw Sam wearing the blue dress. I would expand upon that from a shipper's POV, but I think it would make this meta twice as long. ;) Getting back to concern, Daniel also showed it for Sam in The Broca Divide after she became infected (loved his “you poor man” to Jack upon learning Sam had seduced him). When he asks if Sam is alright and that he should go see her, the equally infected Jack asks why. Daniel replies “because I care about her,” further elaborating that “she's my friend.”
During the early episodes of season 1, there is still some awkwardness there, but they end up having some nice conversations. Like the one regarding Jonas Hanson in The First Commandment (in which Daniel asks Sam what she saw in him). I think episodes like Cold Lazarus show them growing closer. They seem to have no problem invading each other's personal space especially. In most of this episode, Daniel and Sam are the Science Twins again, trying to figure out what's going on with the unity crystals. It's especially cute to see them conspiring to use Teal'c's staff weapon, and their faces when they've been found out (and of course we have Daniel's “Captain Doctor!” for Sam when he sees his face in the crystal).
Again we see the invasion of personal space in The Nox. After SG-1 is revived and Daniel begins caressing Sam's exposed skin, she doesn't smack his hand away or tell him to quit it. He just gets a bewildered “what are you lookin' at?”
There was some interesting tension between them in Thor's Hammer. After Jack and Teal'c disappear, Daniel says he think they could be dead (which sounds a bit – I don't know – impulsive to me). Sam has a problem with that and instead suggests they bring another SG team back and get to the bottom of this. There was the fact that Sam walked away from Daniel and Kendra when he started talking about Sha're again, as I mentioned before. But there was also Sam and Daniel's, for lack of a better expression, “bitch session” further along in their journey. A sort of “logic vs. faith” argument. I think it highlights the way Sam's – at times – overly scientific brain operates, fueled by her desire to just get the desired results (i.e. finding Jack and Teal'c), and Daniel's unquestioned faith in Kendra fueled by his empathy for what she went through as a host, the similar situation with Sha're and the driving hope that this can bring Sha're back to him. Or, something like that. It surprised me because I thought Sam sounded a bit harsh at times, especially when she did bring up Sha're (the “your belief that this can help Sha're doesn't make her reliable” thing), and then there was Daniel's glare at her before turning back to Kendra. My own personal thoughts point to a bit of underlying UST, at least from Sam's side. I have to wonder if any fics were done addressing what went on between them in this episode.
Daniel's disappearance and “death” in Fire and Water deeply affected Sam, as it did with Jack and Teal'c. She is the one to undergo hypnosis in order to get to the bottom of this, and she is extremely upset when she realizes they just left Daniel behind. I don't know what to make of her basically unemotional “maybe we're too late” when they go back to the planet to find him. Unless she is really trying to doubt her own words. She also shows concern for Daniel in Hathor, after the Goa'uld drugged him and then had her way with him. Sam was so gung ho about finding Hathor and stopping her, but she took the time out to see if Daniel was okay when she found him catatonic in the guest quarters.
Singularity, in my opinion, is one of the best, if not THE best, Sam/Daniel episode. Whether from a ship POV or just friendship. As Sam gets attached to Cassandra and worries over the girl, Daniel is right alongside her the whole time. He is sitting outside waiting for her while she is in the VIP room. He offers to help Sam by sitting with Cassie for a few hours. Sam insists she's fine and that she has to do this, but Daniel tells her she doesn't have to do it alone. The little touch on his arm and her “thanks” just shows the level of closeness and appreciation. Daniel is constantly with Sam throughout the episode, whenever they learn something new about Cassie's condition and the object inside her, whenever she is watching the girl, he's just there backing her up. And she's not afraid to get emotional in front of him. I like how he silently supports her when she's talking to Hammond and he informs her that Cassie has to be taken back through the stargate. When they take her to the abandoned nuclear facility and Sam goes down in the elevator with her, it's Daniel who is constantly watching the numbers and lets Jack know that Sam isn't coming back up. He shows tremendous relief when the situation turns out for the better, as shown by his grabbing and hitting Teal'c in the stomach. Finally, the scene in the park at the very end. Even if you're not a shipper, you just have to say “awwww” at the image of Sam and Daniel swinging Cassie between them. They almost look like a happy little family, if just for that one scene. Heck, it's a great team scene including Teal'c and Jack as well. Something which has been sadly missing from SG-1 in recent years.
Enigma shows some interesting interaction between them, which is nearly echoed later on in Message in a Bottle and The Tok'ra Part 1. I know some would say it's just a big (or little) brother looking out for and teasing his little (or big) sister. I myself see it as perhaps a bit of playful flirting. Whatever you see it as, it's pretty amusing. After SG-1 rescue the Tollans and Sam is working on the UAV, Daniel drops by to tell her that he tried talking to one of them, but he only asked questions, some of which were interesting questions about Sam. When Sam tells him she didn't think they were interested in “us,” Daniel replies “Ooh, I didn't say 'us' – I said 'you.'” There is just something playful and interesting about his tone and the way he looks at her closely after saying it. And, of course, there is his stumbling upon Sam and Narim kissing later on. Whether he meant to do it all along or it was a complete surprise, I'm not entirely sure. But the look on his face and his little “whoops” were cute.
Flashing forward, we see it again in Message in a Bottle when Sam and Daniel are studying the orb with Lt. Simmons. Daniel mentions that Simmons gets nervous around Sam due to “maybe a crush.” When Simmons alerts them that he can hear them, Daniel gives Sam a teasing “Whoops” and then “Hey, the artifact.” Again, some would say it's a brother teasing his sister (and that whole brother-sister argument still irks me somewhat – but I'll get to that later). But whatever it is, it shows the ease between them as friends.
Something similar shows up in The Tok'ra Part 1, when Daniel finds Sam talking to Martouf and holding hands with him in a pretty intimate way. His face registers surprise at first when he calls out to her, and then something else that I can't quite put my finger on. It seems almost like discomfort (at least my shipper mind tells me so... *grin*), and it's interesting the way he says “learning a lot about Jolinar?”Sam herself seems a bit awkward at Daniel having found them. When they prepare to follow him back into the tunnels, if you look closely you can see a smirk on Daniel's face as Martouf walks past him. Another thing I find interesting.
Going back to season 1, we see the ease and closeness of the Sam/Daniel friendship again between their robot copies in Tin Man (with perhaps another little foray back into Science Twins mode when they go off to fix the valves) as they sit and discuss how things are different for them being in mechanical bodies. I'm not going to go into TBFTGOG much, but it is nice that Sam doesn't mind having Daniel around and seeing how things are going, even though she'd never met him in that reality and is apparently engaged to Jack (and Daniel's reaction to that fact is somewhat interesting).
When they go off to the coordinates Daniel obtained in the AU, Sam is reluctant at first but then agrees to join her team. She and Daniel have another nice moment on board the ship while they are setting all the C4. He gives her a lingering, almost concerned, gaze when she tells him they're going to go after Apophis who has captured Jack and Teal'c and that she's setting a timer for the C4 to go off in 24 hours. After Daniel gets shot by the staff and orders Jack to go anyway, Sam seems curious when Jack tells her Daniel is staying behind but she doesn't get to react much given what they're about to do. When they make it back to Earth and Daniel joins them in the gate room, Sam's face is cracked in two in a large smile. The relief and happiness is just so evident in her face and she envelopes him in a big hug.
When Sam gets snaked by Jolinar, Daniel is understandably very concerned. He wants to help her but remembers the unsuccessful operation Kawalsky had, and wants to keep the NID away from Sam. It's interesting to note that he is the last person to come see Sam/Jolinar in the brig. It seems hard for him to face her at first, and it's easy to see this is bothering him quite a bit. Probably in part because after what happened to Sha're, it's hard for him to look at another person whom he cares for being a host. We don't get to see Daniel showing concern for Sam after the Ashrak gets her because he's otherwise preoccupied. But we see it afterwards when he visits the infirmary with some flowers for her. This show of concern and affection is really sweet (hey, Daniel has to be allergic to flowers, given the way he sneezed in the beginning of The Gamekeeper...*grin*). Sam has been so affected by Jolinar's sacrifice that she doesn't even react, but Daniel sits on the edge of her bed and attempts to talk to her. Very nice.
When Daniel becomes addicted to the sarcophagus in Need, Sam is very concerned and then very hurt as a result of his behavior. There is a scene where they're about to go back to Earth, and Daniel kisses Shyla goodbye. Sam is at the DHD and she turns to look at them. The look on her face is interesting, as if she is still in disbelief over his mental state (though we shippers might say that's colored by a hint of jealousy, too). While Daniel is in Sam's lab, he displays more irrational behavior when she tells him Shyla used them (the rest of SG-1) to get him addicted. Daniel throws some of her tools down on the workbench, gets right in her face and tells her “you've never really known what love is, have you.” Sam is visibly stung by this, saying “the Daniel I know would never have said that.” She is still concerned for him as his condition deteriorates. She balks at the suggestion that they use the sarcophagus on Daniel again to keep him alive, saying it would screw him up permanently (visions from Jolinar have told her this). Even though we get some nice Jack/Daniel moments during the storage room confrontation, we don't get to see any relief from Sam when Daniel gets better. There have been some nice episode tag fics for Need that have addressed this, though. In particular, Apology by Cyloran.
Sam and Daniel go back to being the Science Twins again in Thor's Chariot, as they look for any weapons to aid them against Heru'ur in the Hall of Thor's Might. They put their heads together to solve the riddle of the runes. They show some nice interaction in Spirits as well, when Sam leads a mission as Jack is laid up in the infirmary after being pierced by a trinium arrowhead. We get a hint of more teasing from Daniel after Tonane tells them to follow him in order to find SG-11. Daniel gives Sam a cute, little grin, and as they are following Tonane he tells her something like, “they may ask you to do some ceremonial dance or something; you should just play along.” We don't get to see the looks on their faces since it's a pretty faraway shot, but I think it's easy to tell Daniel was teasing from his tone of voice.
When Daniel is dying inside Ma'chello's body (in Holiday), we see how upset Sam is. She pleads to him that he has to wake up, and says “You can't die on me now.” What's interesting is that she says “You can't die on me now,” instead of “You can't die on us now.” Probably nothing spectacular on the surface, but still, things that make you go “hmmm.” When Daniel wakes up, he instantly tells her “It's nice to know you don't just like me for my looks,” which you can't help but find sweet. Her relief is overwhelming here, and she gives Daniel a kiss on the forehead. She is understandably angry with Ma'chello in Daniel's body when he won't cooperate and merely considers Daniel a casualty of war.
Going into season 3, let's start with Legacy. When Daniel starts losing it thanks to more of Ma'chello's handiwork and is committed to Mental Health, we see how his condition is upsetting Sam when she and the rest of SG-1 visit him. In FIAD, even though these are all supposed to be visions Sha're is feeding Daniel from the hand device, it would seem she is aware of the bond between Sam and Daniel. We see Sam visiting Daniel in the infirmary with a bag of those chocolate walnut cookies that he loves so much. We see the great empathy coming from Sam, and how it upsets her to see Daniel hurting. We also have the nice Sam/Daniel hug taking place in Daniel's apartment in the wake of his leaving the SGC, and his seeking Sam's advice about what the hand device is capable of doing.
Flash forward to Shades of Grey, after Jack “retires” and Col. Makepeace is to lead SG-1. Daniel disagrees with this and argues that Sam is completely capable of leading the team instead. It was nice to see him going to bat for her here. In Crystal Skull, we get a nice moment as Sam seems to almost sense the out-of-phase Daniel. She asks something like “What was that?” and he says “I think that was me...”
Any questions/comments/things you think I should add to this? Please let me know! This meta discussion is continued in Part 2: Sha're's Death to Daniel's Descension (Both Times).