The inclusion of Richard Dean Anderson in this episode of “Stargate Universe” was a happy anecdote. He’s now a 3-star general.

Totally changed is the senator’s wife, role from a raging alcoholic who’s emotionally out of control to this oddly grounded matron who has to comfort and reassure her daughter. I guess grief is a process.

Oh wait … HEY! A sex scene! Col. Young, (Justin Louis) millions of light years away, used one of the ancient communications stone devices to take over a soldier’s body on Earth to communicate with everyone back home. And he has sex — in that soldier’s body — with his wife. I’ll leave that one out there for you to comment on. We also learned that Young had an affair with Johansen (Alaina Huffman) before any of this all happened. It might has also been the reason she has decided to leave the Stargate/Icarus program shortly before the attack that forced them to evacuate through the Ninth Chevron.

And then, two of the other characters, in two other people’s bodies, get drunk and go clubbing. Elyse Levesque plays a decent drunk. Not great, but decent.

We do learn more about these characters. The senator’s daughter role (Levesque) gets a back story that’s not too surprising. She was a shallow, rich, bitch, whose boyfriend is dating her best friend now. She didn’t have real friends, and she’s beginning to learn that her happy little life wasn’t so great. This is all good stuff. This is character development. There remains much work to do on the three fronts of character development, writing dialog, and acting it out.

The Eli character (David Blue) was also improved. We knew he was an underachieving misfit with a sick mom, but we saw more of his inner monologue. We gets to take over the body of an attractive, fit man and gets to be popular with the ladies for once.

Improvement was made in this episode, but I still can’t help but wonder if this much progress could have been made in three episodes instead of seven. We are also having all of these “good” moments on Earth, instead of on the ship the show is set in.

We learned in previous episodes that the ship, “Destiny” recharges its power by flying through a sun, but each pass doesn’t recharge the batteries to 100 percent. Earth has a master plan to fire the ship’s weapons, to lower the ship’s power, to force the ship to further recharge its batteries entirely by flying through another star, hopefully giving the ship enough power to dial the Stargate back to Earth. We know this fails, because that would essentially end the show. A nice twist is the fact the plan might have worked — or it might have blown up the ship — if Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle) hadn’t staged the whole thing to fail.

Rush showed me something in this episode. He’s spiteful and arrogant, but we’re finally seeing clearly that his goal is to study the ship and learn more about the universe. The ship might be very well able to get everyone back home, but Rush’s experiment is ongoing.

On a side note, it’s so refreshing to continuously see the talent that Carlo Rota brings to the table every time. The man who played Morris O’Brianon in “24” added something to “Stargate Universe” in his brief appearance as a member of the International Oversight Committee.

This was the best episode of “Universe” yet, but it came six weeks and seven episodes later. You get the feeling we’re an an impasse here. They’re stranded. Earth tried to intervene/interfere and failed, and now they have to figure things out for themselves. If this were week four, I think people would be more drawn in to the suspense.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

15 Responses

  1. Michael

    I’ve been sticking with this new edition of star gate but I’am ready to drop it. Episodes have no imagination. The characters are not interesting. They fly though unknown space make a few stops and yet we don’t see any sci-fi encounters. This could be a modern version of the movie Life Boat, the space journey is a wasted advantage to story telling.

  2. Sam

    This Stargate is based on the assumption that character is king, not plot. Thus, it is a breath of fresh air from the standard stale Sci-Fi variety of “new alien/monster of the week.”

  3. Sampson

    Wow, some people are impatient, I for one think the series is AWESOME! And it has the potential to outdoo any and all of it’s predecessors, some people have compared it to ST Voyager, if it is like voyager (different universe and technology) then it’s how Voyager should have been done. If it’s like BSG it’s better than BSG was. I for one give it a 10, and the triangles are great! If the drama is too slow for you then the techno dazzle must not intrest you, and vice versa. quit trying to criticize and just enjoy the story. sam is right who needs a new moster of the week all the time. we could go back and forth between monsters and jungles and time warps to character building and techno dazzling scenes from episode to episode and still be thoroughly entertained. I for one am very enthused about the new series, it’s My new show and I love it! Cant wait for next friday to see the next one. Out!

  4. michael dobey

    This show is different and very good.
    However when you do a great character driven show like this one it would be awesome to have a regular stargate type show on as well. A stargate sg1 return with some new characters etc. at least as a limited series. That would please everyone. But this show is so well done and it is taking it’s time to unfold which will pay off in the long run. They will eventually run into alien life forms or more accurately they are the aliens running into new species but why rush into it?. They can use the stones to have guest characters like Dr mckay drop in so to speak. It would be interesting to see him and Dr. Rush interact!.

  5. bcga

    It’s a character driven show with completely shallow and uninteresting characters! Brilliant!

  6. Koh Lanta

    This was the best episode so far. Lots of little hints and clues to the characters popping up. I`m sure Rush is the eventual Hero here, he had a family (maybe they died and he thinks its his fault) and I feel his heart is really about saving the crew and ship but feels detatched for them (he wasnt invited to dinner EP1)

  7. Psy

    Koh Lanta as for your assessment of Rush I pretty much agree. From the beginning of the series he is the only character I can relate too as he is actually focused on the situation at hand. Also if I found myself on a cool ship exploring the universe I wouldn’t be in a hurry to come home either. Does the ship have a final destination and if so, does Rush think he knows where that is?

    As for the rest of the show the military decided “we have to do something even if its something stupid”. Young got laid, or was it the other guy? Who cares!! Elli got to talk to a pretty girl, that was so exciting!!
    The senator’s daughter got her feelings hurt….

    What I’d like to see at the end of the season is someone cut all the soap opera scenes out and splice the ones that focus on the situation together. I’m sure they might get maybe a one or two hour show worth watching if they did that.

  8. tetrion

    Wow, mindless sex scenes, love triangles and duplicity are great for a daytime soap opera, but this is STARGATE. Surely there is more to this show than a bunch of whining drama queens. Where’s the sense of awe and adventure? So far all we’ve got is two dimensional characters moaning and bitching and NOTHING else. I’m all for character development, but nothing else happens. At least Voyager, BSG and Lost had interesting subplots where they actually do SOMETHING. Seriously, they could have done the same thing sitting around at SGC, or just rename the show ‘Universe And Our Lives’, and await the return to life of Eli’s evil, twin brother to marry Chloe’s lesbian, transsexual, Hispanic half sister (and heir to the senator’s mistress’ fortune). blech!

  9. Psy

    I think tetrion summed it up pretty well, I’m amazed the cast hasn’t walked off the set after reading the scripts.

  10. tetrion

    I can’t blame the actors, after all scoring what seems to be every out of work / washed up actor’s dream milk run with a guarenteed work from an established francise. It will take a few seasons before they will no doubt get annoyed with the constant focus on Chloe, just like Atlantis became the Dr Keller show, and start fleeing in droves. That’s if Universe returns in future seasons (in its current form), going by the general uneasy feelings from most of the fans. Unfortunately, it’s those rabid fanboys that consume anything that has the ‘Stargate’ name, exclaiming it to be the best thing since sliced bread, that will no doubt keep this pitiful series afloat. At the end of the day, the fanboys won’t be enough to keep this series persisting, and it will be cancelled. Somehow I can’t see the ‘Save Universe’ movement being as large as Stargate or Atlantis.

  11. Manuel

    Best episode so far. I didn’t watch much of it, it got boring and unrealistic. And frankly un-serious. But the parts that i did see sure did give promise to a better known Stargate…like the one before.

  12. SirVayza

    Well I have to concede that the gratuitous sex scenes add absolutely NOTHING to the plot development and do little for the credibility of the series, but it’s by no means an end to the storyline.

    SGU is still young and evolving, and you can rest assured that there will be alien encounters, sci-fi action, and character crisis-a-plenty. Though I highly doubt you’ll see the series evolve in the manner of Atlantis. That was pure crap by season 3 and the fans made their feelings clear.

    As far as us “fanboys”, we’re the ones that help support these shows that you can bitch about in online forums after watching one episode. Don’t like it? Don’t watch it, genius.

  13. tetrion

    Let’s see… according to JM & BW alien encounters -nope, sci-fi action -nope, character whining whoops, crisis -yep. Senseless sex scenes / gratuitous naked body shots -yep. Get ready for it, we’re going to get even more of that according to the producers. The whole, ‘it’s only getting started’ line doesn’t fly when we’re 7 episodes in and NOTHING about the characters is interesting, gel or are evolving past a 1 dimensional, wooden cutout. Yes, most successful series are poor in their first season, but this season is CRUCIAL for establishing characters, settings and situations that carry the series to critical acclaim. Universe has NONE of those crucial characteristics that will guarantee successful season renewal. It’s not like it’s only 2 or 3 episodes in, we’re almost 8 episodes in and we’re only established that Chloe is a slut, Eli is a nerd and Rush is a self-righteous tool. The rest of the characters are not even worth bothering with, as quite frankly we’re getting the Keller/McKay treatment already by the writers, where the show is completely focused on them and all the others are just background scenery. Yet, despite its shortcomings, the stories were still somewhat interesting. Universe is just a really bad soap opera set on a spaceship. Tell me, if this show is supposed to be sci-fi, why does 95% of all the air time focus around 1 or 2 rooms? Heck even soap operas have a greater variety of sets than Universe. Also, if they’re so low on rations, why haven’t the crates that appeared in the pilot, reappeared nor been opened? Simple answer, because all the air time is sucked up with all the cast bitching and moaning at each other. There isn’t even an antagonist. Notice how I mention A antagonist not THE antagonist, as there is not even ONE. This BSG clone is essentially the worst parts (aka constant bitching/moaning/sex/grunge without the cylons).

    Yes, we have watched ALL the episodes since the beginning, and nothing has changed. That’s why we’re annoyed. As I mentioned earlier, I’m all for character development, but not at the expense of Science fiction. Also, any writer worth their pay knows that character development does not equal endless whining/moaning/flashbacks.

    Now why do we still watch it, because we’re loyal to the franchise that’s why. Plus, there is NO OTHER space based show on TV. Mindless executives like the ones running StYpDFy only pander to target demographics and neilson ratings. Cerebral space shows don’t rate well with the unwashed masses, as it takes an IQ over 60 to understand them, unfortunately steroidal nitwits, play fighting in spandex will always rate better then a complex, multi-directional storyline about humanity’s expanding consciousness when dealing with space exploration. It’s so much easier to pander to hormonal pubescent teens, with pretty mechanical explosions and T&A… Hence the popularity of the reprehensible Michael Bay movies.

    That being said, people’s charity only extends so far, and sooner or later people are going to get fed up with the frustratingly poor pap regurgitated on TV, and will/have changed over. When enough does it in substantial numbers, hence the decline of ratings, it’s not long before the show ends up in the proverbial dustbin. Only radical changes to the show will guarantee its survival. Unfortunately, the writers are so lazy, incompetent, network driven and used to writing garbage they employ the much despised techniques to up the flagging ratings… The dreaded killing off/replacing of characters, more sex and gratuitous T&A scenes. This rarely works, and it is not long before the show is scrapped, and the writers are fired. Seeing how Universe’s ratings are already flagging, how long before the first character’s head is on the chopping block. We’ve already established that mindless sex scenes, nudity and shower scenes do nothing to boost ratings, and annoy most of the viewers wise to network/writer desperation.

    Until that time we’ll still watch in the hopes that it may improve, but it won’t be for much longer as we’re just fed up with banality of it all. Then we’ll join the mass exodus of all the disgruntled other fans already tuning out of this heaping mess of a show.


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