Questions/comments/additions to this discussion always welcome.
Part 2: Sha're's Death to Daniel's Descension (both times)
After Sha're's death, we see less of an abundance of nice Sam/Daniel scenes. Oh, they're there, but especially in season 4 we see a lot more Sam/Jack interaction (especially some that I find a bit unpleasant – but that's for another day). Even though Sam was with Joe Faxon in 2010, she and Daniel still interacted like good friends. They shared a nice scene when they went on a tour of the SGC incognito. They searched out Marty's house together in Point of No Return (and ended up getting captured together). They both wanted to interact with the computer entity in The Entity and Sam was subjected to some playful teasing by Daniel. In season 5 we didn't get a whole lot of interaction between them, and some pretty awkward stuff in a few episodes towards the end. In Fail Safe, we return to the finishing of sentences, but upon Jack's inquiry Daniel says it's “just some astrophysics thing.” Whether he did that just for Jack's benefit or not, I'm not sure. There was also his reply to Sam in The Sentinel, when she and Teal'c were shooting at the enemy, she was asking Daniel to hurry up in figuring out how the thing worked. Daniel returned with something like, “I'm sure I could if you weren't being so loud out there.” I'm not sure if any of this is due to the fact that it was right before MS' departure and things were strained, or what.
Meridian is an ep that has produced a lot of controversy I've noticed, and some arguments showing Sam as a hypocrite who only cares about getting the naquadria and not about Daniel. Yes, Sam did seem quite concerned about that, but what I gleaned from it was that she didn't want Daniel's sacrifice to be for nothing. And that WAS her primary mission objective – to get the naquadria. So, there are some Daniel fanatics who think it's awful that Hypocrite Sam is crying at Daniel's bedside because she cares more about the toys than him. Which, I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. We didn't see a whole lot of concern for Daniel in this ep. We did see it from Jack, Teal'c, Jacob, Janet, and of course Sam, but perhaps not as much as some of us would have liked. We still had the Jonas/naquadria subplot to deal with and we only had 43 minutes to wrap the whole thing up. If this had been a two-parter, I'd bet we'd see a lot more in the way of concern for Daniel. But getting back to the point of this meta – we see how Daniel's dying is affecting Sam. She admits how much she respects and cares for him. In the next episode, she's still grieving quite a bit, sitting in his office, touching his journal and his glasses. It's as if she feels the need to be close to him in whichever way she can, as if she doesn't want to accept that he's really gone. She pretty much blows up at Hammond for wanting to have a funeral. She mentions to Teal'c how much SG-1 has meant to each other as a team, and how she'd rather have Daniel back.
Throughout the course of Season 6, we see how Daniel's departure is still affecting her. She admits to Teal'c in Paradise Lost how upset she is when Jack is missing – that first Daniel is gone, and then Jack. I was quite disappointed in the fact that we didn't have Daniel there for Sam while he was ascended, the way he did for Jack and Teal'c. I realize MS probably wasn't available to appear in such an ep, but it's still disappointing. I think it would have been nice for him to show up in Metamorphosis, when Sam was subjected to Nirrti's scanning. I've seen a fic or two that includes such a notion, but it would have been nice to see it on screen as well.
His reunion with SG-1 in Full Circle was also disappointing as far as the Sam/Daniel dynamic goes. When he greeted them on Abydos, he pretty much brushed Sam off. Sam seemed a bit disappointed by that, especially when Jack and Teal'c admitted Daniel had visited them but not her. MS and AT apparently wanted this addressed, so they filmed a scene in which Sam asks Daniel why he didn't visit her. He replied he didn't think she needed him like Jack and Teal'c did (which, again, I think is a pretty lame excuse because she was suffering in Metamorphosis; but then again we shippers (and possibly non-shippers) could come up with another explanation for it). Sadly the scene never made the final cut, but from what I've heard TPTB never planned to put it in anyway; they just filmed it to make MS and AT happy. Which, I'm sorry, but it's sad. I wish this scene would have seen the light of day in some form.
Fortunately, we get some nice Sam/Daniel scenes when Daniel descends and is found by SG-1 in Fallen, the Season 7 opener. Sam instantly reaches out to touch Daniel and he pushes her hand away, probably because he is unsure since he'd lost his memory. Jack tries to talk Daniel into coming back to Earth with them, to no avail. Then Sam enters his tent and tries herself. She tells him all about himself, about what a great person he is (including “You were...are... brilliant”), and about how his death affected her (“it was one of the toughest things I've ever had to go through”). He then tells her he'll think about it and, as she's about to leave the tent, he asks her what we shippers refer to as The Question: “Was there ever anything between us?” I know many people say he asks her this because of the grandiose way she refers to him. It's interesting to note that Sam hesitates before answering him, looking quite awkward, and then she replies, “No, not in that way. We were really, really good friends.” And note that she didn't say “we were like siblings” or anything like that. Daniel gives her a little smile on his face and concedes, “Okay.” It is shortly after this that Daniel announces he is going home, which makes it seem that it is Sam who finally convinced him to go back with them (yes, Jack probably helped, but I think it was Sam who pushed him toward the decision).
Throughout Season 7, we get some very nice interaction between Sam and Daniel. Even though the writers were trying to push the Sam/Jack angle as much as they could when they weren't writing Sam with Pete, we still got nice interaction for the most part between Sam and Daniel. In Orpheus, they are working out together in the gym and discussing the movie Signs. Daniel starts spacing out and Sam shows concern for him. She also helps him to find the planet on which he witnessed Bra'tac and Ry'ac being held as slaves while he was Ascended. In Space Race, we also get some nice interaction. Daniel visits Sam in her lab as she is preparing for the race and seems concerned that she's so gung ho over it. Sam returns in amusement, “Gung ho?” And finally at the end of the episode, Sam runs into him on base and they discuss the outcome of the race. Daniel tells her “you're just sorry that you lost,” and teases her. Whether you are a shipper or not, it was a very sweet display of friendship, showing the ease that comes naturally between them.
A lot of people, mostly Daniel fanatics, hate that Sam shows no concern for Daniel in Evolution. I agree that we didn't see a whole lot of concern from her, but it was there. Sadly there were two different plots going on in these episodes: the Daniel in Honduras one, and the Sam, Teal'c and Jack on a mission with Jacob to stop the supersoldiers. I wasn't happy at the fact that they chose to have Jack ask Sam about lunch at the end of the episode instead of, again, showing concern/relief for Daniel. I think the writers dropped the ball somewhat with that.
Grace is another one that a lot of anti-Sam/Daniel people point to Sam not thinking very highly of Daniel. True, I wasn't thrilled with the way she had her vision of Daniel be annoying, AND that she asked him “where you this annoying when you were Ascended?” But I try to rationalize it as Daniel being that way on purpose. To constantly be at her so she wouldn't give up and would get herself out of this mess. To me that shows that Daniel has always been very encouraging of her and wouldn't let her rest until she came up with a solution.
And yet again, Chimera is another episode that the Daniel fanatics use to bash Sam. I've heard them say that she totally brushes him off just so she can hop into the elevator with “Sir.” Yes, I wasn't crazy about that scene either. I didn't like the way Sam told Daniel he should “talk to someone” before getting in the elevator (and poor Daniel saying “I thought I was” to no one in particular). I don't think she was actively searching out Jack, I just think it was poor writing. She does show concern for him later when he is in the commissary with his head down. She sits next to him and touches his arm.
Despite all the Sam/Jack scenes in Death Knell, we see how much Daniel cares for her as well. When Jacob is in the infirmary and Daniel goes to visit him, he tells Daniel “you didn't come here to ask about my leg, you wanted to ask about my daughter.” Daniel gets a faint smile on his face and nods tiredly. We see how Sam's disappearance is affecting him. He also blows up in the briefing room scene with the Jaffa and Tok'ra, saying “I'm sorry, this is nuts! My friend almost died out there and all you want to do is walk away!”
And despite the whole Pete thing and the pushing of S/J into Season 8, we still nice Sam/Daniel interaction. When Sam is kidnapped by Fifth in New Order, we see Daniel's concern for Sam, the way he calls out to her on the planet (when they see the life sign), and his relieved smile when he, Jack and Teal'c find her. They interact nicely in Avatar, again showing no qualms about invading each other's personal space while they are sitting around the computers. Despite all the Sam/Pete in Affinity, we see Daniel concerned for Sam when she rants on about society's expectations for the perfect relationship.
And yes, before you say it, there is something else that sticks in my craw about this episode. Ever since I've first watched it, I hated how Sam seemed to show no concern for Daniel after he'd been zatted by the Trust in the warehouse. They just showed her trying to figure out how the Trust got out of there, and then ended the episode on Sam snogging Pete behind a truck. I don't blame Sam for that, though. I blame whomever wrote this scene and the person who decided to keep it in. For the record, Amanda thought it was very unprofessional of Sam and didn't want to do the scene, but she was overruled. It's another crazy thing that I handwave.
But enough of that. She goes back to interacting nicely with Daniel in Covenant, mostly when the two of them visit Colson. I like the scene when they get back in the car, and Daniel tells Sam he has a bunch of voice mail messages from Emmett Bregman. It's just little things like this that convey their closeness and easy friendship so well. We see the same thing in Sacrifices, especially the scene where Ry'ac and his bride-to-be arrive at the SGC. I love the way Daniel puts his arm around Sam and she takes hold of his hand. I know it's only supposed to be cute (and it is), but again it shows how close they are.
And we get even more nice interaction in Endgame. They show how well they work together when they check out the warehouse where the Trust were holding up and when they visit Area 51. When Sam is taken on board Osiris' Al'Kesh (which the Trust now have), we see how concerned Daniel is as he interrogates the scientist from Area 51. He insists to Jack that he go after them and rescue Sam ... alone. He ends up getting captured as well and is sat next to Sam. When he does, they look at each other and exchange these “Heh, well here we are again” grins. Again, displaying all they've been through together and the closeness between them.
When RepliCarter visits in Gemini, I know a lot of people (mainly S/J shippers) point to the scene where she has Sam, in simulation, go on a killing spree in the SGC. She kills Daniel in cold blood but then hesitates to kill Jack. So, therefore, she must hate Daniel and secretly want to kill him, but she can't kill her love interest, Jack. Huh? Okay, maybe people see it that way and maybe the writers secretly wanted to convey that. But the way I try to explain it is that she'd just killed Daniel and when she was about to kill Jack, it dawned on her what she'd just done and was going to do, and it was all too much for her. Handwaving again, I guess.
Reckoning (at least Part 2) and Threads are a few more controversial episodes. I know some people have again pointed to RepliCarter killing Daniel as proof that Sam hates/doesn't care much about Daniel, because she says that she is aware of Sam's feelings as well. But how do we know she wasn't lying to Daniel? How do we know that this is exactly what she meant?
Yet more people say that Sam didn't seem to be upset over Daniel being dead, and that she was angsting over “Sir” again. I'm sorry, but from Sam's behavior at the end of Reckoning Part 2, I gathered that she was upset. At that point they didn't know what Daniel's fate was. They only knew he had been kidnapped by the replicators. Sam wondered if Daniel had something to do with all the replicators stopping. She was on the verge of tears at the end of the episode. In Threads, Jack seemed to not want to believe that Daniel was gone. I've heard some people say that Sam just wanted him to be dead so she could get back to “Sir.” Yes, they spent a huge chunk of time on Sam's love life and her seeing Jack and all that. I wasn't happy about it. But we didn't see Sam come out and officially declare anything. This is a woman who no doubt has had a lot nagging at her in a short time. Her friend has disappeared and could very well be dead, she is having second thoughts on her engagement to Pete, and her father is dying. That's a lot to cover in 60-something minutes. And I wish they had spent more time on Daniel's predicament and his friends' reaction to it, but sadly we didn't. I've had a few people tell me that Sam seemed “pissed off” when Daniel “returned from the dead. Again.” I must have missed that. Could someone point that scene out to me? She seemed a bit awkward when he appeared only wearing a flag, but she was grinning (hmm... leering? *grin*). I didn't like how this episode played out for the most part, but luckily it's something that can be fixed in the realm of fanfiction.
Moebius, at least part 1, featured some very nice team (Sam/Daniel included) interaction. And the AU that was created was a lot of fun. Even before I saw this episode, I read an Amanda interview in which she stated that she and Michael had a lot of fun doing these hilarious AU versions of their characters. I personally thought the AU Sam and AU Daniel were cute together. They were both scientists who weren't all that happy with what they were doing. I loved how AU Daniel told her that they are a team, and he wouldn't let her get shut out of the project. I've read some nice missing scene fics that show their relationship going a bit further; for one, “As Long As We Have.” There has a been a ship started for this pairing called “DARter.” It can be a lot of fun. It's a shame that it went to waste and the AU Teal'c had to kill AU Daniel.
Continued in Part 3: Season 9 and Beyond.