Samantha Carter: Family And Relationships

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Lt. Col. Samantha Carter, Ph.D.


The Tok'ra Part 2

Samantha Carter is the daughter of Gen. Jacob Carter, who was a Tok'ra until his tragic death six years after taking a symbiote (8.18 "Threads"). She also has a brother, Mark, who lives in San Diego and has a son and daughter. Her mother died in a taxi cab accident when Sam was a teenager (3.13 "The Devil You Know Part 2").

Sam had a complex relationship with her father. As a child she and her brother felt he always put his work ahead of his family. They believed this contributed to their mother's death, since she only took a cab because Jacob was late picking her up. While Sam forgave her father, her brother didn't for many years (3.02 "Seth", 3.13 "The Devil You Know Part 2").

In spite of that, it is clear that Sam very much wanted the approval of her father; after all, she followed his footsteps into the Air Force. And by all accounts he was not an easy man to please. He was very disappointed by her refusal to accept the astronaut position he had all but secured for her, so much so that he rebuffed her efforts to get closer to him after he told her had lymphoma, which is often fatal (2.09 "Secrets"). She was clearly distraught that she couldn't share her Stargate travel with him as a way to explain that she had already far surpassed what she would be able to accomplish as an astronaut. They reconciled as Jacob was dying of lymphoma, when Sam came up with the idea to offer Jacob a cure for his cancer in exchange for becoming host to a Tok'ra. She was very moved when Jacob told her how proud he was of her, just before he blended with Selmak (2.12 "The Tok'ra Part 2").

Being a host seemed to have removed a few of the rough edges from Jacob, and he became warmer toward her. She in turn risked everything to save him from torture at the hands of Sokar (3.12 "Jolinar's Memories", 3.13 "The Devil You Know Part 2"). In her subconscious image of him, he was a kind, supportive father who wished her to find someone to love and not deny herself a chance to be happy (7.13 "Grace"). He expressed the same sentiments in reality as he lay dying because Selmak was dying and it was too late to remove him. His dying wish was for Sam to be happy, and he encouraged her not to let rules stand in her way to achieve that happiness. Presumably he was referring to her feelings for O'Neill (8.18 "Threads").

Her relationship with her brother Mark is a bit cloudy. She mentioned to the crystal replica of O'Neill that she loved being an auntie to Mark's children, though she didn't get to see them much. There was no hint of estrangement in her tone (1.07 "Cold Lazarus"). However she later told Jacob she hadn't seen Mark since the children were born, since Mark painted her with the same brush as Jacob (3.02 "Seth"). So unless she saw the children without seeing their father, this is a contradiction. In any case, Sam and Mark now seem to be reconciled, as do Jacob and Mark (3.02 "Seth"). In fact, it was Mark who set her up with a date with Pete Shanahan (7.15 "Chimera").

According to Orlin, her birthday is in May (5.03 "Ascension"), so her birthstone is emerald. (Note, a view of her service record gives a different birth month in 4.18 "Entity").

She also has an Uncle Irving. The alien projection "Urgo" reminded her of this uncle (3.16 "Urgo").

Men and Relationships


In terms of relationships, unfortunately, Sam has not faired too well. She developed a reputation as a "black widow" of sorts, since many of the men she fell for, or who fell for her, ended up dead. A partial list of love interests, either one-sided or mutual, and the current status of the 'being' in question:

  • Jonas Hanson, her former fiancé, was killed while pretending to be a god on P3X-513 (1.05 "The First Commandment").
  • Martouf, host to Lantash and lover of Jolinar, had feelings for Sam which she wasn't sure if she returned, since she had difficulty separating her feelings from that of Jolinar, the Tok'ra symbiote who had blended with her. Martouf had to be killed when he began to act on his Zatarc programming (4.05 "Divide and Conquer"). Lantash died after the Tok'ra base was attacked by the Goa'uld (5.16 "Last Stand Part 2"). Sam learned in an alternate universe, Martouf survived and he and her alternate had a relationship for some time before breaking up (9.13 "Ripple Effect"). During her time with this alternate Martouf, old feelings were rekindled.
  • Orlin, an ascended being, descended in order to be with Sam and then ascended for a second time when it appeared he might die (5.03 "Ascension"). He descended to warn Earth about the threat of the Ori (9.10 "The Fourth Horseman Part 1"). To retain ascended knowledge for as long as possible, Orlin descended in the form of a youth, approximately twelve years of age. To Sam's discomfiture, Orlin explained he still had the same feelings for Sam despite his appearance. Despite his youth, Orlin continued to lose his memories, including those of Samantha (9.11 "The Fourth Horseman Part 2"). Orlin was last seen being visited by Sam at some kind of rehabilitative facility on Earth.
  • Narim, a Tollan refugee, loved Sam from afar for a long time, even making the voice in his home computer sound like her. He was almost certainly killed when the Goa'uld infiltrated and then attacked his planet (5.09 "Between Two Fires").
  • Ambassador Joe Faxon became her husband in a future that did not come to pass (4.16 "2010"). In our current timeline, the two met during negotiations with the Aschen, and Joe (presumably) gave his life to help Sam get back through the 'Gate and warn the others of a biological weapon being sent to destroy humanity (5.10 "2001").
  • Dr. Rodney McKay was blatantly interested in her both as a competitor and potential romantic interest (5.14 "48 Hours", 6.02 "Redemption Part 2"). He departed Earth for a new galaxy with the Atlantis exhibition team (Atlantis pilot, "Rising"). When suffering from a severe head injury, Rodney had hallucinations of Sam which helped him cope through the crisis (Stargate: Atlantis, "Grace Under Pressure"). In another alternate reality, Sam discovered that her alternate married Rodney McKay, who in that universe was a dot com millionaire. The marriage ended in divorce. Sam appeared disturbed by the idea (10.13 "Road Not Taken"). Since Sam has become Rodney's boss on Atlantis, he "formally" announced that he was seeing someone and hoped their relationship could remain platonic (SGA 4.03 "Reunion").
  • Jay Felger, SGC research geek, dreams of winning Carter's heart, although he is painfully awkward around her (6.08 "The Other Guys", 7.09 "Avenger 2.0"). Felger is also presumably still breathing.
  • Agent Malcolm Barrett seemed to have some sparkage with Sam, and showed an interest in her social life (6.14 "Smoke and Mirrors", 7.19 "Resurrection"). Sam has always rebuffed his advances. He specifically asked about her single status during a hunt for Ba'al, but she cryptically responded she was "not exactly" single (9.07 "Ex Deus Machina"). Whether this indicated another love interest or was just Sam's way to shut Barrett down is unconfirmed. At one point, Ba'al threatened to kill Barrett to force Carter to provide access to the SGC computer (10.04 "Insiders"). She complied as a delaying tactic and believing Ba'al would be unable to escape. Later, she realized Barrett must have been brainwashed by the Trust because of his actions during the incident. Barrett later recovered (10.05 "Uninvited"). Presumably Malcolm Barrett is still alive and well.
  • Replicator Fifth went to great, if demented, lengths to show his love for Carter while torturing her (8.01 "New Order Part 1", 8.02 "New Order Part 2"). Sam used his feelings for her to convince him to set her free. Fifth was betrayed and destroyed by the human-form replicator of Carter that he had created in her image (8.11 "Gemini").
  • Pete Shanahan, police detective, wooed Sam on a more long-term level, and they became engaged (8.07 "Affinity"). However as their wedding approached, Sam grew more and more uneasy with the idea of domestic life in contrast with her world-saving job. Her feelings for O'Neill apparently added to her anxiety, and in the end she broke up with Pete before the wedding (8.18 "Threads").

Jack O'Neill

Fire and Water

Carter's feelings toward Jack O'Neill have clearly evolved over the course of their service together. Early on she was eager to prove herself to him, which she succeeded in doing. There were times when she looked to him for comfort (1.13 "Fire and Water") and others where she provided it (1.18 "Solitudes"). She inflicts her technobabble upon him, while enduring his teasing or lack of interest (7.01 "Fallen", among many others) There is no evidence that they spend much if any time together away from work, though each has visited the other's house (5.03 "Ascension", 7.21 "The Lost City Part 1", 8.18 "Threads"). As Sam put it to Mr. Bregman in the documentary he was producing, "Uh, we don't get much time outside of work. When we do, um, our personal interests are a little different." (7.17 "Heroes Part 1")

For many years, Carter's feelings for O'Neill were less than explicitly stated, though there were a few instances in which she showed feelings for him that might be beyond platonic:

  • While under the influence of the histaminolytic virus acquired in the Land of Light, Sam threw herself at Jack in the locker room and attacked him when he resisted her amorous advances (1.04 "The Broca Divide").
  • When a Carter from an alternate universe came through the quantum mirror seeking assistance, she discovered the Jack and Sam in that universe were married and Jack had been killed. This at least gave our Carter pause to think about the nature of their relationship (3.6 "Point of View").
  • When Jack went missing, Sam spent every waking moment driving herself relentlessly to find a way to bring him home again (3.17 "A Hundred Days").
  • While on a mission to destroy Apophis' new ship, Sam was caught behind a force field. Jack refused to leave her behind, even when she encouraged him to go so he wouldn't be blown up with the ship (4.03 "Upgrades"). He later admitted that he could not acknowledge his feelings for her even to himself, when accused of being a Zatarc—a Goa'uld "sleeper" programmed to assassinate. He said would rather die himself than lose her, and that he cared for her a lot more than he's supposed to. We did not see her side of the Zatarc interrogation, but we presume that she said something similar about him in order to clear herself on the machine (4.05 "Divide and Conquer").
  • After having her personality replaced with a falsified memory stamp, she believed she was a former miner named Therra. Jack (as Jona) said he remembered "feeling feelings," possibly for her, but was vague about the admission. She was openly fond of him, and spent much of her free time with him, even leaning her head on his shoulder during a rest period. Once their memories began to return, Carter once again called him 'Sir', putting an end to any changes that might have lingered from the mind stamps (4.10 "Beneath the Surface").
  • When the colonel was missing, trapped with Maybourne on a deserted moon, she became uncharacteristically impatient and abrupt with the scientists trying to find him. When hope of finding him started to wane, she wept openly on Teal'c's shoulder over the loss (6.15 "Paradise Lost"). Her behavior during the search for O'Neill was used by Vice President Kinsey as evidence of a highly inappropriate relationship between Carter and O'Neill, when Kinsey spoke against SG-1 to President Hayes (7.20 "Inauguration").

In those earlier years she seemed to hold their military mission in higher regard than any personal gain she might get out of a closer relationship with O'Neill. While on P4X-347 under the influence of the hypnotic Light, Jack made clear to her the importance of maintaining chain of command regardless of how long they might be marooned off-world, though she was ready to drop it and was openly argumentative toward him (4.18 "The Light").

However in their seventh year on SG-1, Carter came to some realizations about the nature of her feelings for O'Neill while she was injured and alone aboard the Prometheus (7.13 "Grace"). In her conversation with her subconscious vision of O'Neill, Carter admitted that she cared for O'Neill and questioned whether they would ever have a chance together, even if she quit the Air Force. However it was clear she wasn't sure how he felt about her, and finally she had an epiphany: she'd been setting her sights on him because he was unattainable, to avoid the chance of being hurt by someone else.

This realization freed her to pursue other relationships, which she did with Pete Shanahan. O'Neill was very supportive of her involvement with Pete, noting the budding romance must be special if it were 'humworthy' (7.15 "Chimera"). When things got even more serious and Sam was considering whether to say yes to Pete's marriage proposal, she asked O'Neill for advice on having a family, and he was once again supportive of her (8.07 "Affinity").

However, while she continued dating Pete, it was clear she had not fully resolved her feelings for O'Neill. When O'Neill was struck by a staff weapon blast, she left her position to go to him while the battle was raging. While grieving for Janet, she admitted to O'Neill that she was glad he was alive, and her concern seemed to be more than that of a friend and subordinate (7.18 "Heroes Part 2").

After O'Neill took the Ancients' download, knowing that his mind would be taken over and that he might die, Carter twice tried to share her feelings with him. The first time, they were interrupted by Daniel and Teal'c's arrival and O'Neill's home, and the second time, O'Neill cut her off with brusque "I know" (7.21 "Lost City Part 1", 7.22 "Lost City Part 2").

Finally, nearing the date of her marriage to Pete Shanahan, Carter went to O'Neill's house. She told him she was having second thoughts about the wedding and that there was a reason she was telling him about it. However they were interrupted by O'Neill's girlfriend, Kerry Johnson, and Carter was never able to say what she had come to say. In any case, perhaps prompted by Jacob's dying words telling her to find a way to be happy, Carter broke up with Pete (8.18 "Threads").

Later, O'Neill was promoted to Major General and transferred to Washington, and she was transferred to Area 51 on her next promotion. Whether or not either acted on any romantic feelings is unclear, but technically as head of Homeworld Security, General O'Neill was still in Carter's direct chain of command. Once when injured, she mentioned "fishing" was a password to personal computer files--a hobby more associated with Jack O'Neill (10.13 "Line in the Sand"). When Sam later was transferred to Atlantis, she brought pictures of all of her old teammates, including more than one of O'Neill, as well as pictures of her father and Cassandra; these pictures decorated her office and personal quarters (SGA 4.03 "Reunion" et seq.).

Pete Shanahan


Carter met Denver cop Pete Shanahan through her brother, who is a friend of Pete's. She had opened herself to the possibility of a relationship after her bout of self-examination on the Prometheus. As their dating became more serious, Sam seemed very playful and happy when with Pete, and it was clear that he was very much in love with her.

Pete had a bit of trouble in his childhood, and a cop helped him out. That in turn inspired his career choice. Unhappily, his wife divorced him over the long hours and uncertainty.

Pete could not overcome his curiosity about Sam's job, which he did not believe involved deep space telemetry. She finally had to admit that she wasn't allowed to tell him. That only piqued his curiosity further, and he followed her to the stakeout of Daniel's house. When Pete was injured in the ensuing battle with Osiris, he was taken to the SGC hospital. Because he had seen so much already, Sam was given permission to tell him all about the Stargate Program (7.15 "Chimera"). Presumably their dating continued, although Sam continued to demonstrate feelings for O'Neill as well.

When Carter was taken prisoner by Fifth, Fifth presented her mind with an idyllic existence, married to Pete and living on a farm on Montana. Fifth must have believed this would be an effective way to insert himself into her subconscious in a form that she would love and trust so that she would eventually believe the false life he had created. She realized the man in the dream was not Pete when he began to express resentment toward her (8.02 "New Order Part 2").

Things progressed and some time later, Pete told Sam that he had put in for a transfer to the Colorado Springs PD. She was very happy to hear that, and in the next moment he produced a ring, and presumably proposed to her. Carter did not say yes right away, and expressed to O'Neill her doubts about being married given the risks they take going through the 'Gate and about having children in such an environment. O'Neill thought it would be possible to have children but admitted that if things had been different for him, he would no longer be there. Finally after more than two weeks of consideration and a successful rescue of Daniel which Pete participated in, Sam gave a sincere and enthusiastic 'yes' to his proposal (8.07 "Affinity").

As the wedding approached, however, Carter seemed reluctant to participate in the preparations and was embarrassed to even be caught talking to Pete about them. Pete's meeting with Jacob was awkward to say the least, and Jacob was not overly impressed. When Pete showed Carter the house he had placed a down payment on for them, she reacted more with trepidation than pleasure. Her case of cold feet building momentum, she went to visit O'Neill to discuss her misgivings and the reasons for them, but she was interrupted by the presence of Kerry Johnson and then by news that her father was very ill. On his deathbed, Jacob told her he wanted her to be happy and implied that he didn't believe she was with Pete. The combination of her fear of Earthly married life, her father's lack of enthusiasm for Pete, and her persistent feelings for O'Neill was too much for the relationship, and Carter broke up with Pete in front of the house he had planned to buy. Pete was not completely surprised and did not beg or lash out at her, to her surprise. He said goodbye and walked away, and it is unlikely she ever saw him again (8.18 "Threads").

Other Relationships

Rite of Passage
The Gamekeeper
Paradise Lost
Collateral Damage
Family Ties

Carter loves children and adores being an auntie, even though she has doubts about the practicality of being a mother given her career. While on P3X-774 she was enchanted by Nafrayu, a young Nox boy, but O'Neill jokingly suggested that she not bring the child home with her (1.07 "The Nox").

She also took quickly to Cassandra, a Hankan orphan and the last survivor of her people (1.14 "Singularity"). When Dr. Fraiser discovered the little girl had been converted into a bomb by the Goa'uld Nirrti, Sam refused to leave her even when she believed she would die with the girl when the device inside Cassie exploded. She and Cassie were very close after that, and in a sense she helped Janet to raise Cassie. Sam played chess with the girl every Saturday when she was at home (5.06 "Rite of Passage").

When Janet was tragically killed, Cassie was about 18 years old. Sam took some responsibility for Cassie still, leaving Teal'c to go pick her up at one point. It can be assumed that she continues to act in a guardian role to Cassie (7.18 "Heroes Part 2"). When Cassie was going through an unspecified "difficult time", Sam transferred to head Research & Development at Area 51 to have a job with stable hours and allow her to be a stable presence for Cassandra (9.07 "Ex Deus Machina"). Presumably Cassandra is doing fine now, since Sam has since transferred back to the SGC and SG-1.

Sam was also quite fond of Merrin, an Orban child-genius who helped her create a naquadah reactor. Merrin was surprised to discover Sam's delight at solving problems on her own, rather than being given the knowledge, as Orban custom dictated. This was part of the girl's legacy when she underwent the Averium procedure and gave her knowledge to all Orbans. Sam also taught Merrin to draw, showing her a stick figure of herself (3.05 "Learning Curve").

Her best friend was Dr. Janet Fraiser, as evidenced especially by the way they raised Cassie together. Janet was the one Sam could talk to as an equal and confidante, and they worked very well together. Janet's death undoubtedly left a huge hole in Sam's life.

She has a very close relationship with Daniel. Daniel seems to understand her, and that makes him very special in her estimation. While in the virtual world on P7J-989, Sam was witness to one of Daniel's most private and traumatic memories: the death of his parents as a child (2.4 "The Gamekeeper"). This event brought them even closer together afterward. She believes her relationship with Daniel has changed her for the better, and confessed this to him as he lay dying of radiation poisoning (5.21 "Meridian"). She was distressed that no memorial or grieving period was observed after his ascension (5.22 "Revelations"). She praised him very highly as she was trying to convince him to return to Earth and learn about who he was after his return (7.01 "Fallen"). She has grown very warm toward him over the years, and seems to have a playful, fraternal relationship with him (8.09 "Sacrifices").

Sam is also very close to Teal'c, and he is very supportive of her (2.15 "A Matter Of Time", 6.15 "Paradise Lost"). They have discussed and compared their personal lives (8.07 "Affinity"). They joke and tease each other, even in Teal'c's dreams that note their interactions (6.17 "Changeling; 10.04 "Uninvited"). In general, they are very comfortable around each other (7.08 "Space Race", 8.01 "New Order Part 1"). After all, they've saved each others' lives many times. Teal'c composed the eulogy Samantha gave for Janet Fraiser when she was too overcome by her grief to know what to write (7.18 "Heroes Part 2"). During the fifty years together on Odyssey, Teal'c and Samantha appeared to grow particularly close (10.20 "Unending"). However, Teal'c is the only one of the pair to have those memories as time was reset. Teal'c made a point to meet her in her lab when she was about to leave for Atlantis when she asked for a favor (SGA 4.03 "Reunion").

Samantha has a comfortable working relationship with Cameron Mitchell. They refer to each other by nicknames of "Cam" and "Sam." (9.01 "Avalon Part 1"). She was also part of the delegation who presented Mitchell with his Medal of Honor while he was still in his hospital bed (9.01 "Avalon Part 1"). She has taken time to comfort him when he has been obviously been working through some traumatic emotional issues (9.12 "Collateral Damage, 9.14 "Collateral Damage"). However, like the other veterans of SG-1, Sam shows her concern at some of Mitchell's impetuous decisions (9.16 "Off The Grid", 9.18 "Arthur's Mantle"). She also enjoys teasing Cameron about losing his pants on missions (10.08 "Memento Mori").

Samantha first knew Vala Mal Doran as the woman who had hijacked Prometheus and later risked her friend Daniel's life with the kor asek bracelets, and Sam's expressions showed some dubiousness of Vala as an ally in their initial encounter and when Vala was a probationary member of the SGC, especially when Vala took unconventional steps with Goa'uld technology (9.06 "Beachhead", 10.05 "Uninvited", 10.09 "Company of Thieves"). However, despite her misgivings, she and Vala seemed to bond as teammates on SG-1. Sam took Vala shopping for a girls' day out, and later was the one to commiserate with Vala over a bottle of wine after Vala's failed reunion with her father (10.18 "Family Ties").

Biography Articles

--Michelle 14:07, 11 Oct 2004 (PDT)