Back when I first envisioned this episode, there was no beast.  No hunt.  It was a story about T.J. trapped off-world, displaying great courage and inner strength in keeping a group of scientists and wounded soldiers alive in an inhospitable off-world environment while Varro and Young headed the rescue op to save them.  Initially I was thinking freak alien sandstorm – whipping wind, low visibility.  Perhaps the team had to hunker down in tents.  Had they brought tents with them?  What other challenges might an off-world sandstorm present?  Hey, why not ask the expert?  And so, I fired off an email (titled: Up on your xenometerology?) to the show’s Creative Consultant, author extraordinaire John Scalzi and asked him for some input.  John responded with a few reasons why the sandstorm would make sense given the alien setting (atmospheric pressure), their unpredictability (“usually due to a cold front sweeping across hot, dry land setting up vibrations in dust/sand that cause the sand to “leap” and become airborne”), their potentially lengthy duration (“(because of convection currents between the warm ground and cooler air”) and also threw out some cool suggestions for added complications:

“1. Although any sand at high speed will mess with you, for extra added danger think of some sort of igneous, glass-like sand/dust, which would be extra sharp and slice-y;

2. Sand storms can create and hold a negative electrical charge, meaning that you have an excellent excuse for apparently random, plot-complicating lightning strikeswithin the storm itself.”

Pleased, I sat down to hammer out the outline.  Unfortunately, the more I thought about it the more apparent became the challenges of staging an on-set sandstorm.  Sure, we’d done it in the past (SGA’s “The Last Man” or, more recently, next week’s episode “Common Descent”), but those instances had been fairly self-contained and, more importantly, brief.  I could, of course, stay in whatever shelter they’d managed to find but, in that case, the story became more about the rescue than about the attempt to return to the gate (which, in the end, is what it ended up being anyway).

Ultimately, it was Brad who offered the key to the solution – dropping the potentially pricey sandstorm for a beast hunt, a different direction that would allow me to explore the Greer character as well.  And the story fell into place.

Given that the focus of the story would shift to Greer, I nevertheless wanted to explore the T.J. character.  While she would still display the courage and inner-strength that makes her an excellent soldier, the more intimate setting would afford me the opportunity to find out a little more about her – her life before she stepped through the Icarus gate, maybe a suggestion of the events that helped shape her.  And so, as I built the story, I built a little Tamara Johansen backstory as well, drawing on some of what had been established in past episodes (particularly in one of Exec. Producer Carl Binder’s episode in which T.J. happily recalls going camping with her father) to create some flashbacks I interspersed throughout the episode.

Unfortunately, the episode ran long and, as much as I hated to do it, I had to cut the flashbacks.  At the end of the day, they were the one element that could be extracted without really affecting the story.  I broke the news to Alaina but promised that flashbacks would find their way into a season three episode or, at worst, onto a dvd special feature.

Alas, with the show’s cancellation, I’m not sure if and when those flashbacks will see the light of a t.v. screen.  But, just  for you blog insiders, here they are:

The first flashback isn’t so much a flashback but a quick flash that introduces the conceit in the first act by having Tamara coming to in the cave to glimpse her father standing over her:



The cave is dark and dank, illuminated by the daylight streaming in through the opening.


Tamara on the ground, eyes shut, hears the voice of her father

STEVEN (O.S.): Tamara.  Tamara.

Tamara stirs, open her eyes.  Looks up at –

Her father’s reassuring face looking down on her –

STEVEN: Tamara?


Tamara blinks, looks up again to find –

An agitated Reynolds crouched over her –

REYNOLDS: Lieutenant.  Thank God.

The next flashback establishes the strong bond between father and daughter and suggests how much of T.J.’s strength of character developed from this relationship.  Her father pushes her to keep going, to not give up.  She perseveres and ultimately succeeds.  Later in the episode, she’s the one who assumes her father’s role, pushing Reynolds to stay strong and not give up hope:


TAMARA: I’m not leaving you behind.  And I’m going to need your help when the time comes, so you’re going to have to calm down.  Pull it together, right? Can you do that for me?

REYNOLDS (takes a deep breath): Yeah.

Tamara redirects her attention to the radio, forcing open the casing and setting it down on the cave floor.  She considers the exposed components, then throws a look at a shivering Reynolds trying to keep warm.



A family outing.  Twelve year old Tamara looks on as her father, STEVEN JOHANSEN, teaches her to make fire.  Steven looks on as Tamara attempts to generate enough heat with her bow drill to produce an ember.  She grows quickly frustrated, sets the tools aside.

STEVEN: Tamara –

TAMARA: I can’t do it.

STEVEN: Of course you can.  Like most things in life worth having, it requires a little patience. (beat) Do you want me to show you again?


A determined Tamara takes up the tools and tries again –

STEVEN: That’s it.  Keep going.  Keep going.  Okay.  You’ve got it!

An ember glows.  Tamara places it in the bird’s nest-like tinder bundle, blows on it.  Smoke.  Flame.  Then fire.

STEVEN: Great job, sweetie.

An ecstatic Tamara nurtures the fire with twigs and branches.



Tamara eyes the shivering Reynolds.

TAMARA: It’s getting cold.

She gets up, starts gathering twigs and branches.

Having established T.J.’s relationship with her father, I use it to explore a little more of Tamara’s backstory – specifically, why she ended up in the military instead, of, say, medical school…



Tamara finishes starting a fire in recessed part of the cave.  She throws a look to a shivering Reynolds.

TAMARA: Here we go.

He moves in closer.

OFF the fire –



An older Tamara, out on a camping trip, sits by the fire.  Her father joins her.  We see camping equipment, tents in the B.G.

STEVEN: Your mother and sister are exhausted.  They’re already asleep.

TAMARA: Well that just means more smores for us.

They get to toasting.  Beat.

STEVEN: Not getting that scholarship isn’t the end of the world, sweetheart.

TAMARA: No, but it is the end of medical school.

STEVEN: Not necessarily. (beat) I really should wait until morning and tell you when we’re all together but…

Off Tamara’s look –

STEVEN: You’re still going.  Your mother and I are going to pay for it.

TAMARA: No.  You can’t afford it.

STEVEN: Actually, we can.  You’d be surprised how much we managed to save up over the years.

TAMARA: That’s YOUR money…

STEVEN: That was always meant for you and your sister if ever you needed it.

She looks at him and it’s pretty damn clear he’s not going to be talked out of it.  She gives him a huge hug, barely able to contain her emotions.

TAMARA: I’ll pay you back.  I promise.

STEVEN: You can pay us back by getting that degree and being happy. (beat) And acting surprised when your mother and I tell you again tomorrow.

They share a smile and get back to the smores.



Tamara deep in thought.  She snaps out of it, renews her tinkering with the exposed radio.  She steals a glance at her watch.  Reynolds catches it.

REYNOLDS: How’re we doing for time?

TAMARA: We’ve got six hours before Destiny jumps.

Of course, even the best-laid plans…


TAMARA: You’ve got two choices.  You can either suck it up and make it back to Destiny with your head held high, or you can force me to save your sorry ass, and live with the shame.  Understood?

REYNOLDS: Yes, ma’am.

He drops his gaze, ashamed.  Tamara, clearly pissed, throws a look to the cave entrance –



SARA JOHANSEN, Tamara’s younger sister, is packing some of her father’s personal items to take to the hospital.  We hear the O.S. front door slam shut and –

TAMARA (O.S.): Hello?!

SARA: I’m upstairs in dad’s room!

She continues packing.  Beat.  Tamara comes in.

TAMARA: I tried you from the airport.  How is he?

SARA: Better.  He’s in intensive care.  Mom’s with him.

She shuts the suitcase.

SARA: I want to bring him some of his things, make him more comfortable.

TAMARA: Okay.  Let’s go.

SARA: Tamara.

Tamara holds up.

SARA: It was a serious stroke but the doctors think Dad’ll make a full recovery.  The thing is – he’s going to need rehabilitation and constant care when he goes home.  It’s going to be expensive.

OFF Tamara as she realizes what her sister is saying –



Tamara redirects her attention to the radio.  As she fiddles, the radio STATICS IN AND OUT.  Reynolds perks up.  She fiddles some more, snaps the back casing shut, and keys the radio.

TAMARA: This is lieutenant Johansen.  Over. (beat) Is anyone out there?

Which, ultimately, sets up our final flashback – and the reason behind Tamara’s decision to choose the military over med school –


YOUNG: How’re you doing?


Young nods.  He looks like he wants to say something, thinks better of it, and leaves.  Tamara takes a seat at the foot of the bed, clearly conflicted.  Deep in thought –



Tamara stands in the doorway, watching her sister feed her  bed-ridden father.  She steps in.

TAMARA: I’ll take over.

Off Sara –

TAMARA: I want to tell him.

Sara nods, hands Tamara the plate of food, and leaves.

STEVEN: Tell me what?

Tamara takes a seat bedside and offers up a brave smile.

TAMARA: You’re getting a private nurse.  She’s going to help us take care of you.

STEVEN: We can’t afford that.

TAMARA: Yes, we can.  He realizes –

STEVEN: No.  That money is meant for you, for medical school.

TAMARA: I’ll still go to medical school.  I’ve found another way to pay for it.

Off Steven –

TAMARA: I’m joining the Air Force.

Her father gauges her, realizes that there’ll be no talking her out of this.

STEVEN: Sweetheart, are you sure this is what you really want?

Tamara puts on a brave face for her father, taking his hand.

TAMARA: What I really want is for you to get better.



Tamara, sitting on the edge of the bed, emotional.

So that’s what you missed.

45 thoughts on “April 13, 2011: Those deleted flashbacks from SGU’s “The Hunt”!

  1. @there was no beast. No hunt

    I’m happy you came to your senses and added these two elements, it gave everyone, including Varro a chance to shine, and turned what could of been a mediocre episode into a brilliant one.

    I’m also happy this is likely the least SGU like episode this whole season, you clearly haven’t lost your touch when it comes to writing classic Stargate eps, but of course this time you added some minor SGU elements. You and Paul seem good at doing that.

    I can honestly say if it wasn’t for you and Paul doing episodes in Season 2, and in some ways Brad, I probably would of stopped watching Season 2.

  2. Nice scenes, Joe…it’s a shame they weren’t included. Thanks so much for sharing!


  3. Repeat after me. “SGU was all a dream”. It didn’t really happen. These 2 years didn’t happen. Filming on the new show to carry Stargate on beyond Atlantis Season 7 is just starting like it always does this time of year. It is raining in Vancouver. Everything is as it should be.

  4. I’m kind of starting to hate the TV business. SGU has improved a lot each half season and this last half season is no different. I really hope MGM sees the potential remaining in these characters and their story and gives you a go ahead on at least 1 or 2 movies. As well as more SGA and SG1 movies of course.

    I really liked the idea with the creature recognizing and respecting intelligent life and the way you made fun of the very same thing earlier in the episode:

    Park: No, you guys can’t kill those creatures. And this has nothing to do with being a vegetarian. We don’t know anything about them. They could be intelligent.
    Scott: We just saw one of them eat its own vomit. How smart can they be?

    Great episode. Thanks for the entertainment! 🙂

  5. Repeat after me. Damn, I wish those flashbacks had made it into the episode. Or, the very least, season 3. 🙁 Thanks for sharing.

  6. Those would have been awesome additions to those scenes! Maybe a special extended episode on the DVD? Anyway, thanks for sharing those and adding to the episode for us.

  7. C’est tellement dommage de ne pas avoir inclut ces scènes capitales dans l’épisode.

    Pourquoi ne pas les ajoutées au site officiel, comme pour les épisodes Kino ?

  8. @Repeat after me. “SGU was all a dream”.

    If only you could change that too

    >“SGUs cancellation was all a dream

    Anyway one of my major complaints really was the gloomyness of some episodes, you know the way some can be really depressing how they end, it was nice to see all the characters happy, laughing and actually being a team, a group even, working as one and getting the reward for doing it. It’s a shame we didn’t see more episodes like this before, it may of got people to stick around longer and the ratings probably would of been better.

  9. Why do you tease me?? TJ is by far my favorite character and while I enjoyed seeing her toughness and resilience in this episode, I would have loved to have seen all of this back-story with her father. It would have added just that little bit extra to an overall great character episode. Any chance we’ll see it in the DVD extras now that a S3 is out of the picture? Please say yes!

  10. Even just reading those flashbacks I started to tear up, it is a pity such great scenes didn’t make it, I don’t know how you managed to chose what to take from such a wonderful episode anyways. I hope settling into Toronto is beginning to get easier!

  11. I missed the first five minutes of the episode (thanks to not knowing which of the over 600 channels Bell offers at the U of M in their coffee shop/pool hall IQ’s) so I didn’t realize until today that the original “mission” had been to hunt for meaty food on the planet. Haha, joke’s on me I guess…

    I truly hope that MGM gives SGU at least 2-3 movies (big screen would be beautiful and well-deserved for ALL involved, but MOW’s would be alright as well) to finish telling the Destiny storyline with. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’ve always thought SGU to be a BRILLIANT television series, and hopefully it doesn’t fade at the end of this season.

    My apologies for not getting on here as often as I’d have liked, but acting school has been keeping me super-busy, with our fim practicum on now (a short drama on Rasputin) and our theatre practicum coming up right after (“Spring Awakening”, the non-musical one), it’s a wonder I know which way is up! However, there was a little something I did for class as an exercise that I thought you might be interested in…a friend of mine taped it for me after I did it as our assignment, hope you enjoy it:

    I hope Jelly and Maximus and the rest of the four legged gang are doing well, take care!

    All the best,

  12. Loved your flashbacks – at least what I could read through my tears. Now I can’t see to type. I love reading the words maybe more than seeing them acted out. You really should write a novel. Move into your new haunted house, then write a novel about it. I promise I will be the first to buy your book.

  13. Putting a story together seems a lot like putting stones into a polishing machine. One of you provide the basic idea/rock, and as it tumbles about/gets vetted by the others, it is increasingly polished to a smooth, beautiful product. Or perhaps you are sculptures. Taking a rough idea and (usually) carving a flawless work of art out of it. The glimpse into the process is apprecaited. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  14. Wow Joe! Ditto what das and Merced, Gforce and Steph wrote. Those flashback scenes were excellent. Really would have liked to view them. Alaina would have done us proud.
    Thank you for sharing them with us 😀

    @ das Is kitty doing any better? She is still in my prayers, as are you & Mr. das 😉 be comforted.

    Now I’m off to read up on Windows 7. I was given a new laptop at work today and discovered it had this new OS. Nice of them to warn me. I couldn’t do much with it all afternoon, except hunt for my files and get email working.
    Good on ‘ya IT Dept.


  15. So I finally watched “The Hunt” and wow. WOW 😀

    I’m not much of a shipper of anyone on SGU – I’m odd because I don’t want to see TJ and Young together romantically, but I adore getting them in the room together and watching the angst explode all over the place (the last scene with Varro, priceless).

    I have to admit that it’s hard knowing that every episode is one close to no more 🙁 SGU quickly became one of my top shows, the acting, the writing, the stories…all of it is top-notch and it pains me that SyFy ditched it. Why can’t they do television based on quality??

    Anyway, I wish we could have had the flashback scenes as TJ is hands down one of my favorite characters (although I’m hard-pressed to pick a favorite – I’m probably a bit biased because I met Alaina Huffman at a con and she was just amazing). I wish we could have a third season 🙁

    Here’s hoping for the movie(s). SGU was a great show. One of the best. Thanks for the behind-the-scenes. Even if it didn’t make it into the episode, it’s nice to hear what the writers think of a backstory.

  16. Excellent episode Joe, great writing, and thanks for sharing the could have been scenes. Rush is such a prankster, glad Brody was ok.. Will miss sgu, but I am looking forward to your next big adventure story there in Toronto. Have a great day!

  17. Thanks for sharing the TJ backstory. Maybe it can still be used in the movies. 🙂

    Concerning THE HUNT that was aired, was that Cpl. Marsden that was killed? Say it isn’t so! :O

  18. Thank you very, very much for sharing that with us. What a beautiful story it tells!

  19. Thanks for sharing, Joe. I need to grab a full night’s sleep before I properly wallow in this blog entry’s awesomeness. Hasty impression: there wasn’t this much white space in your chicken breast recipe.

  20. Hello.

    Thank you for that. I hope we see a producers cut on the blu- ray.

    Best wishes,


  21. Hey Joe, I enjoyed “The Hunt” Rush made me laugh trapping poor Brody in the stasis chamber, and Eli’s reaction was priceless.

    Not to be ‘that guy’ but I don’t understand how that beast had the physiology to carry two people a considerable distance and up a ravine to that cave.

    Oh, and a friend of mine made a great comment about the Volker/Park story line: “Once you go Greer, you never steer.”

  22. It was such a good episode! But ya know… (yeah you have heard it before)… you all write like white boys, lol. Christian white boys. All the jews are nebbishy nerds. The black men are Teal’q/Ronon/Greer noble soldiers. Come on, give me a jewish warrior and a brilliant scientist black man. I admit, you upped it with Sam Carter (after Jack was gone), Vala and Camille (I find most of the rest of the women either plastic or insipid). Hopefully if there are more SG worlds, you can give me that hunky jew and genius black man!

  23. If we could not have seen it, this is definitely the next best way of knowing the backstory (don’t know if it will make it into the DVD coming out, but we can only hope). It was kind of you to share it with us.

  24. Much appreciated! TJ is a great character, truly the heart of SGU. I also love reading your script style; much more succint than mine. I spend most of my editing time getting rid of all my overwriting; I’ll write five lines of action and try to get it down to just three, then just one. Too much novel in my brain.

  25. @2cats wrote

    …Now I’m off to read up on Windows 7. I was given a new laptop at work today and discovered it had this new OS. Nice of them to warn me. I couldn’t do much with it all afternoon, except hunt for my files and get email working.
    Good on ‘ya IT Dept…

    FYI Micro$oft does not sell Windows XP user license anymore. You can only downgrade the Windows 7 Pro version to XP Pro version. Think the IT Dept. all over are handing out Windows 7 machines now since Micro$oft is not supporting XP much longer. I presume you didn’t have the mis-fortune of using Windows Vista. Most work machines still runs Windows XP. Vista is FAIL!!

  26. You still have so much to say in the SGU saga. Are you considering writing for the books?
    Hubby and I enjoyed the episode and loved the ending. It was fun seeing Rush “interact” with the fellas.

    Das: I’m very sorry about your cat.

  27. WOHOO, just for you
    New Chili Pepper Crowned World’s Hottest

    Back to the episode… for whatever perverse reasons, I have always been a fan of Rush, so I quite enjoyed him punking Eli and Brody. Well really Eli since Brody wasn’t aware for more than a millisecond, lol. I HOPE Rush knew it was safe, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Sadly, I suspect if it had it gone WRONG he’d never have admitted he did it and let the guilt be on Eli. But it was fun to watch.

    Goodbye Lucian remnants. How many crew have died so far… anyone keeping count?

  28. Joe:
    I loved this episode but I am truly sorry the TJ flashbacks did not make it. I could have done without the Volker-Park story line, but it is just my partiality to TJ. 🙂

    The last scene with Varro-TJ-Young was priceless. It was beyond awkward.

    I am not sure we learnt why Varro is better for TJ than Young. I am curious what your take is on this.

    All in all, I would say life on Destiny sucks for everyone, but it is one endless nightmare for Young. If there were a season 3, I would surely lobby for giving him some respite. Did I say Young is my favorite character? Lol.

  29. @but I don’t understand how that beast had the physiology to carry two people a considerable distance and up a ravine to that cave

    Huge beast with 6 legs(Does it even have arms) powerful looking body with muscles, it could of just grabbed TJ and the other guy and dragged them off whilst using the other 4 limbs to move, beast looked so big and strong it probably would of been a breeze. Or it could of carried one of them by the scruff of their neck whilst dragging the other.. So many ways, guess only Joe knows the answer to that..

  30. @csiguci: Young is my favorite character too. I felt sorry for him during that last scene. He did handle himself well though.

  31. Joe,

    The Hunt was a great episode. One of SGU’s best, IMHO. Varro is a great character, and it was satisfying for Young to finally realize that.

    TJ rocks, as usual! And it was a nice twist, making the creatures intelligent. It was fun to see Rush “play” a little bit with Eli and Brody, instead of losing his cool. Passive/aggressive FTW.

    My wife and I discussed how well the show is really coming into its own now…and how much it sucks that it will never get the chance to.

  32. Hey Joe!

    I have a question about stargate travel:

    Does stargate travel guarantee continuity of consciousness? Or could one argue that the person is killed on one end and an exact replica is recreated on the other end?

  33. Joe, thanks for providing missing scenes with TJ. I’m certain Alaina was brilliant, just wish we could have seen them.

    I think the scene with TJ/Young/Varro at then end worked better without the additional scene. In MHO, it worked better as TJ’s indecision over which man she prefers as a companion. Young’s closed eyes and swallow before turning to TJ was wonderful, my heart cried out for him. He’s just so beat up – I love his character.

    I am curious though about your reasoning for TJ/Varro over Young.

    And poor Marsden – please tell me he survived … he’s such a likable big lug.

  34. Thanks for the flashbacks. They give a lot of insight into T.J. but I think overall, it would have been a bit of a distraction.
    There were already two stories going on – the away mission and the stasis pods. This would have introduced a third track and might have detracted and distracted from the others.

    I really liked the episode. No spoilers. But Rush is certainly a stinker!

  35. I agree with the above user who said that these flashbacks would have been a bit of a distraction. Instead, I would have liked to see what exactly happened with Young on Icarus. That’s the only “mystery” somewhat relevant to the rest of the story. How she ends up in the army, not so.

    I hope SGU continues and finishes its story in 2-3 books btw. Of course, I’d prefer tele-movies, but I don’t see these happening, so if books are cheaper to produce to conclude the story, I’d still be happy.

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