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Rita Lewis Avalon, Parts 1 and 2: Season 9, Episodes 1 and 2
02 August 2017
: what a fantastic job reviewing these controversial episodes and explain to this Scaper why Ben pla...

The Ben Browder News Blog

3 minutes reading time (683 words)

Collateral Damage: Season 9, Episode 12


Ben gave one of his finest performances of the series in Collateral Damage. The episode is one of the rare gems amongst the Stargate series where the focus is more character-driven, as opposed to the usual action/cool pseudo-science/plot-driven stories.

Cameron and the team are visiting Galara and learning about a memory device which promises to enhance education, by implanting the memories of others into one's mind. Cameron and the leading scientist on the project - beautiful Reya - find themselves mutually attracted and go to spend the night together. But the next morning Cameron wakes up groggy, covered in blood, and discovers that Reya has been brutally murdered. What's worse is a fake memory has been implanted in his mind, making him think he is the one who killed her. Now SG-1 must help him uncover the truth.

Ben portrayed Cameron's inner torment with a remarkable depth, sensitivity, and a pain so real you can practically feel it through the television screen. Cameron is forced to relive not only the false memory of the murder he didn't commit but the pain of recalling an incident in Afghanistan, wherein Cameron was given bad intel and bombed a truckload of innocent refugees. He also relived the traumatic moment when, as a little boy, he saw his father (a test pilot) in hospital after his father's legs had been amputated.

Ben's eyes, expressions, and tone of voice radiate Cameron's guilt and sorrow. The scenes between Ben and Amanda Tapping as Samantha - who shows great concern and compassion for her comrade and friend - are especially moving.


Towards the end there is a wonderful scene between Ben and Beau Bridges, as General Landry tells Cameron he read his file and that he knows what happened in Afghanistan. Cameron admits he very nearly quit the Air Force because of it, but his father Frank convinced him to stay.

This is one of those rare, in-depth episodes where we learn about Cameron's past, but not merely from the script. It is Ben's powerful performance which gives us to understand that Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell is a deep feeling and far more complex man than he appears to be at first glance.

Collateral Damage Review 1

By Rita Lewis

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 This is probably my absolute favorite episode of Stargate SG-1. It is a showcase for Ben's acting as Cameron is mind-frelled using a Goua'ld mind-altering machine in a case of jealousy and murder. We learn a lot about Cameron's past, both his childhood where he experienced his father's disability and his own near-past as an Air Force bomber pilot in Afghanistan where he killed an innocent caravan through faulty intelligence and almost decided to quit the military in his pain and guilt.

We learn again that Cameron is a complicated man. Ben developed a lot of depth into a character who started out as a joke: a happy go lucky punching bag. The writers must have seen Ben's ability to go deep and began to flesh out Cameron Mitchell into a full grown man with guilts, loves, loyalties and passions.

Ben's performance is stellar as Cameron was drugged and had his memory edited to think that he killed an important scientist who he'd taken home on Galara. He was bereft and totally shaken by the idea that he'd possibly murdered her in cold blood with a blunt object. His emotive eyes tell the story and you can feel his character's exhaustion and terror. Again, acting with Amanda Tapping is a revelation and their give and take as Cameron and Sam together are forced through a torturous repeating of this memory to try and find where it was added.

The writing is really good for once. Cameron is caught in a cover-up of a fit of jealousy brought on by the ex-husband of the woman he'd had that one night stand with. The ex-husband was finally unmasked as the killer when Cameron had to bring up a similar emotional distress and he remembered that incident in Afghanistan. Again, Ben's ability to emote so strongly sold what basically was a dream.

External Publication

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