With all our thanks to SyFy, MGM Studios, and NBC, WormholeRiders were granted the privilege to preview Stargate Universe episode 10 ‘Justice’ before the air date today Friday December 04, 2009 on SyFy in the United States. There was something special about the digital copy we received that we will return to a bit later in this pre-review. This little ‘jewel’ made the episode 10 preview most enjoyable, in fact downright awesome!
Before starting the mid season ‘finale’ review of Stargate Universe, some people have wondered where WormholeRiders have been lately (on Twitter). Well, we have just finished reviewing the last episode, viewing multiple times to extract the Single Effect in addition to utilizing the first half of Stargate Universe for perspective. Also our many other activities are relatively simple (tongue in cheek). Things like our 2010 and 2011 convention planning and scheduling. Additionally over 1/3 of our staff was recently hit with Swine Flu and the work load transferred to those who were unaffected. Yikes!
On this note, before proceeding, I will discuss the various conventions and other interactions with the fans of the MGM Stargate Franchise that we have had of late. We have talked with a number of fans who were set against Stargate Universe for many reasons we have previously discussed. The good news, as promised by Martin Gero consulting producer and writer for Stargate Universe at the Los Angeles Creation Entertainment Stargate Convention, SGU is not only much like the Stargate we love, it IS the Stargate we have all enjoyed for 15 episodic years since the movie. Most seem to be accepting the fact that Stargate Universe is the new de-facto Stargate reference standard, but not all. However, the number of people unhappy seems to be declining as the series progresses and they began to realize they may have rushed to judgment.
Let’s get to work on this Stargate Universe pre-review. Caution MINOR SPOILER ALERT! We will not reveal the actual story-line of episode 10. It is our pre-review policy to not do so. However, I will make a few comments about some truly interesting details in our review from the mid season finale.
With this pre-review and extending through December 09, 2009, we will continue a special news reporting series we have appropriately called “10 Days of SyFy”! What fun we have had doing our reviews of Stargate Universe! WormholeRiders will be doing two in depth reviews, one by this author before release of the December 04, 2009 episode (aptly named ‘Justice’) and a post December 04 air date review by PlayItGrand!
Another mid season (non Stargate Universe) review will be written and posted very soon by our very own RadioStar as well!
This reviewer will concentrate on the mid season finale, on episode ten with perspective on previous episodes. We are not discounting the fantastic work accomplished by the Stargate Universe Team in the first episodes by any means. We have previously written extensive reviews of the ‘darker’ and highly complex nature of these episodes that literally built the foundation of SGU while the crew of Destiny struggled to survive.
The first five episodes accomplished their task of building the foundation, properly I might add for the Single Effect desired by the creators of Stargate. This review focuses on episode ten for one simple reason; this episode represents the turning point where the adventure, excitement and where humor has been correctly re-infused into the series as we long expected it would. The story-lines return to the Stargate “fun” of the past 15 episodic seasons in Atlantis and Stargate SG-1 has made most Stargate Universe fans happy. I say most but not all because there is a minority who never seem to be happy with the wonderful gift we have all been given by TPTB. First this minority complained there was no Stargate. Then when provided in Stargate Universe, they complained again. Oh well I guess you cannot keep all the people happy all the time.
One last note on this subject; I have personally visited scores of web sites and observed the comments turn from decidedly negative to very positive as the Stargate Universe story unfolded. In virtually every instance except one malcontent site and one on-line reporter’s views that I shall leave unmentioned, the tone of the discussion has become very positive. This is a very good thing for the Stargate Franchise
So let’s work backwards and focus on Stargate Universe episode 10. Shall we get started? Why focus on episode ten? It allows analysis that proves each previous episode did implement the Single Effect each time to setup the next chapter. The majority of this review will focus on episode 10 since it has yet to air while all the others have been seen by the viewing public. We will point out significant aspects from previous episodes six through nine as they relate to what happens in episode 10.
‘SGU Episode 10 – Justice’: Simply another outstanding episode by the creators at Bridge Studios, SyFy and MGM Studios! Particularly nice is that we get to see the entire ensemble cast in a few scenes. As well, all of the lead actors and actresses demonstrate their many talents to prove why they were selected as the stars of Stargate Universe.
When you find out who gets punched out by whom this week, and what the heck is going on, and who does something totally (maybe not) so unexpected, we fully expect a number of fans to yell, holler, and say hurray!
Generally a lot will say “See I told you so!” about who the ‘bad guy’ really is this time around! SPOILER: I for one was saddened by the fact that Destiny will be missing two crewmen at the end of this cliffhanger episode. Will they return? Tune in to see for yourselves! No names will be mentioned, but as Gerak from Stargate SG-1 would say; “We Shall See”.
And when you see who, you are simply going to go crazy in a very good way! However, the so-called ‘bad guy’ may in fact turn out to be the good guy at the end of the day in episodes 11 forward! Yep, it is that good. We asked, and now we receive.
And that little ship we saw fly off of Destiny in the third episode? Well folks that may in fact turn out to be not so little! It’s appears to be all tied clearly into something from the series pilot of which we are already aware…Aliens! Remember that it only looked ‘little’ against the huge mass of the Destiny. Well get ready peoples! It is clearly yet another return to the Stargate we all know and love with a plot that is sure to blow away anything else you have seen to date. This ‘little’ gem will be revealed at the very end of the tenth episode with one of the only persons aboard Destiny who could possibly figure it all out! Is it Rush? Is it Eli? Tune in to SyFy, Space, or SkyOne. Only then will you know!
Speaking of justice, when you see the nature of the crime committed and who ‘Justice’s’ Prosecutor is and who the Defense Council is, it will simply blow your mind! Stargate Universe’s ‘Justice’? Prosecutor? Defense Council? Yep… Someone is in real trouble and is being accused of a very nasty crime! By the end of the episode the exonerated individual shows his true colors, which means potential trouble for everyone aboard Destiny! Yikes!
Before finishing our comments about episode 10, we should mention there are many great visual cinematic sequences in ‘Justice’ as there have been through the first half of the season. This included one specific scene outside near the end that looks an awful lot like the sets for previous Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis episodes (shown above). No complaint, the scenes are all very nicely done and I enjoyed seeing something that is the foundation of where Stargate Universe story will be going in episodes 11 and beyond.
In closing on an overview of episode 10; What made this preview special to me is that the digital copy provided was what I will refer to as the ‘directors cut’ pre-release version sans sound effects and music. No kawoosh of the gate, no sounds as the ship flies through space and no music either.
I loved the SGU directors cut pre-release version minus music and sound effects! We have seen similar before at Stargate conventions we cover when MGM and SyFy allowed the fans who were attending to see what they miss on Friday nights on TV while at the cons! For dramatically oriented people, watching episodes in this fashion is a real treat! As a person who used to act and do special lighting, special stage effects, and sound effects for stage plays “in a past life”, these are very special to me.
Why? Because without music or sound effects, the dramatic scenes either work or they do not. The actors must carry the scenes or they do not ‘work’. Much like a stage play dress rehearsal without sound effects, it is here that the acting talent shines through. Don’t get me wrong, I love the final ‘cut’ with sounds too, but this factor was something wonderful to behold!
By the way … It “worked” very well in SGU S1x10 and was proof the actors make it work! I am hopeful that when the extended edition full season DVD’s are released, TPTB will include many if not all episodes using these for the director’s commentaries. They are truly remarkable!
So friends stand by for a real shocker of an episode. ‘Justice’ is the tasty icing on the cake of an excellent 10 episodes. ‘Justice’ very solidly sets the stage for the second half of season one of Stargate Universe. We are in for real fun when episode 11 starts the second half in 2010!
Lastly, our second mid season review now in draft by Play It Grand for publication before we end our ’10 Days of SyFy’ will address many other important items such as music, cinematography, and special effects. Play It Grand’s report will be published early next week.
Now let’s talk a bit about the actors and characters themselves as episode 10 winds down the first half of Stargate Universe. Each has made the entire series a success.
Robert Carlyle has once again outdone himself in ‘Justice’. When you find out what happens and what Dr. Rush has been up to you will scream bloody murder. And that is no exaggeration. Gone is the curled lip we have seen in Dr. Rush’s facial expressions. As Rush implements ‘his plan’ to save the Destiny, the crew and it’s (his) mission your jaw will simply drop to the ground! Either as the protagonist or the antagonist Robert Carlyle clearly outdoes all the good and bad we have seen previously. Sure to play a crucial role in the second half of season one, the last sequence with him is a shocker that will get your imagination rolling about what is too come. In the United States, SyFy says “Imagine Greater”. We have no doubt you will be imagining a lot about dear Dr. Nicholas Rush! You are simply a wonderfully talented actor Robert Carlyle!
Louis Ferreira is the lead actor playing Colonel Everett Young. Louis will leave you speechless by the ending sequences of ‘Justice’. This actor is so good he’s simply ‘bad’. Each week we have seen his sincerity clearly come across as very real. But what Colonel Young does at the very end of the episode will make you think long and hard about all his interactions previously. We cannot say more without revealing the story and spoiling it for everyone, but suffice it to say a monumental showdown takes place and we are left wondering who the good guys really are in Stargate Universe? The very last seconds with David Blue tell the tale of the future with very few words needed. A perfect portrayal Louis, thank you!
Importantly you will see David Blue really come into his own with the Kino’s and his documentary video log of the struggles on board Destiny. Eli’s Kino’s provide the most important evidence about the ‘crime’ in ‘Justice’. David’s portrayal of a young innocent growing into an ‘old man’ (very quickly) happens right before our eyes. It is something I think we all can relate to. I am sure you will be torn every bit as much as Eli is. Great job David! We cannot wait to see how you deal with the conundrum you are confronted with in the episode I have just watched and for what is too come! Your dramatic talents will obviously play a pivotal and critical role in the growth of the Eli character in episode 11 through episode 20. David, your performance is truly inspiring! Thank you David …. for being you!
Lou Diamond Phillips Cast as a leading actor up to episode nine “Life’ when he gets punched out by Colonel Young. Lou’s character is not part of episode 10 as discussed by Martin Gero at the Los Angeles Stargate 2009 Convention. Why? Because of his inappropriate ‘behaviors’, and his ongoing conflict while interacting with the crew. Although not mentioned directly, we suspect General Jack O’Neill put Colonel Telford “on the bench”. Based upon what has happened in episode 10, we are hopeful to see a return of Lou Diamond Phillips in future episodes. We can say this: Lou you are a wonderful actor and we thank you for the incredible performance as Colonel Telford!
Brian Jacob Smith. What can we say but what an excellent Stargate Universe ‘leader’ in the makings! And he may well get his chance once everything is ‘sorted’ as the folks in the United Kingdom might say! Aptly demonstrated in ‘Justice’ (as in every episode), the show would not and could not be Stargate Universe without Brian. His performance in the last two episodes has been heart rending to say the very least! The control this fine actor illustrates for us make every scene he is in so real, so intense that one always sides with Matthew Scott even when the past mistakes in his life are put in front of our noses for a ‘sniff’. We not only look forward to seeing Brain in the second half of Stargate Universe, we can now understand the consequences of his ‘randy’ behaviors as we witnessed with Second Lt. Vanessa James (Julia Benson). Matthew Scott is a father with a past! How many more children does he have (or will he have?) Only time will tell. Keep up the great work Brian and we look forward to seeing you in Vancouver in April of next year!
As we reported very early on in our review of the pilot, Ms. Ming-Na’s, Elyse Levesque’s and Alaina Huffman’s characters were expected to grow. Indeed these superb actresses have grown quite significantly.
Each of these very talented actress’ performances are very enjoyable depictions of what real life is all about. They are more than believable, they are fantastic! Great job ladies!
Ming’s Camile Wray character is just fantastically done in ‘Justice’. It even exceeds her performance in episode nine’s Lesbian love with ‘Sharon’. Ming once again shows us how great an actress she really is. Some said early that it was a waste of her talent to be in Stargate Universe. After watching episode 9 ‘Life’ and her role in ‘Justice’ we will refrain from telling detractors just how incorrect they were. What we have enjoyed reporting previously is that Camile DOES know much more than was revealed in the pilot and is more powerful of a character than anyone ever anticipated or expected. Can anyone say I.O.A.? Something akin to Dr. Weir in Stargate Atlantis or Robert Piccardo in Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1, Camile is going to teach us all she is every bit a qualified member of SG Teams as anyone who ever came before! Just wait until you see Ming and Jamil Walker Smith interact … It’s a scene we have all been waiting for and it will knock your socks off!
When we first started to read reviews about Elyse Levesque people were complaining about her performance in the pilot. We were frankly quite relieved. Because they complained about such matters in the first place it meant the job had been done correctly. Why did Chloe cry? Because of the death of her father, Senator Alan Armstrong the Ted Kennedy character. As if any of us would not cry over the death of a family member, let alone our fathers. We were relieved because it meant that the creators exacted the precise reaction desired. Remember the Single Effect? Well folks that complained, you were expected to complain! Elyse has done a fantastic job in Stargate Universe and her role in episode 10 proves that beyond a shadow of doubt. You did it Elyse! Great work!
Everyone liked (or like me loved) the TJ character, even when I was tweeting after working on these reviews all night and then forgetting who I was sending a tweet to and made the mistake calling her Elyse! Yikes. I still do not know if my apology was accepted by Alaina, but I hope so! I will likely never live down that mistake, but I can say this honestly; Alaina Huffman is a brilliant actress who has shown the flexibility of her talent in several episodes including ‘Justice’. Notable is her subtle displays of emotion that make TJ so enjoyable. We are still waiting for the revelation about her and Colonel Everett Young. But we have seen that she is a professional on screen in Stargate Universe and as legendary Paul Harvey used to say; “and now for the rest of the story”. Wonderful acting Alaina. We love seeing Alaina in action and will definitely look forward to see you soon in episode 11 and beyond!
What about our favorite troublemakers Josh Blacker and Jamil Walker Smith? What the heck are these two up to in episode 10? Well you will not be disappointed, take my word for it. And one of them will make a mark we may never see again in Stargate Universe.
Josh plays a very heavy role in ‘Justice’ and does a great job with a very difficult scene that will shock some and perhaps relieve others. I for one think his portrayal is excellent but very sad. The character development Josh Blacker has put into Sergeant Spencer has been very believable and we can only say at this time, Thank you Josh Blacker!
Sergeant Greer played by Jamil Walker Smith is another example of an outstanding actor for whom we should all be thankful. We have witnessed his character display many excellent behaviors, and his contribution to episode 10 is without equal. In this episode Jamil quite literally explains all of what has come before. Critically we find out that he is not crazy and is actually a very thoughtful individual. In a special sequence with Ming-Na we see Jamil shine as we knew he always would. Obviously a critical character to the story coming just up ahead, we relish seeing Greer in the months and hopefully years ahead. Thank you Jamil Walker Smith for Sergeant Greer! Excellent!
Now on to several supporting roles we hope to see much more of in the future.
Julia Benson. Second Lt. Vanessa James. Caught in the act with Brian Jacob Smith as mentioned above, Julia is a delight to behold. I’ll share this with you, don’t mess with Benson as Lt James. She’d likely kick your butt all the way off of Destiny!
The very lovely and talent laden Jennifer Spence as Stargate Universe’s Lisa Park. We only see a bit of her in the ensemble casts moment, but we are hopeful her role expands as the series moves into the second half and in season two. Her performances are precise and oh so wonderful. Could she or Lt James be carrying Matthew Scott’s next child. Well, nature has a way with these things and I would not be surprised if the stork brings a little bundle on board Destiny in the second season!
As Adam Brody, Peter Kalamis has done a very convincing job. Of particular note are his scenes with the rude Dr. Rush. Based upon what happens in episode 10 with the ‘bad guy’ stick on that planet, we are sure to see a lot more of Adam in the second half of SGU. Great work Peter! Thanks!
Patrick Gilmore is a favorite of mine. His character, Dale Volker is simply wonderful for the sincere portrayal on Stargate Universe. Patrick attended the recent Los Angeles convention and I had hoped for an opportunity to speak with him about his role. Unfortunately, with two conventions to cover, it was an impossibility. Suffice it to say Patrick’s character will be back and he adds much to the flavor of Stargate Universe.
Ona Grauer as Mrs. Emily Young is a delight! First seen in Stargate as I recall in the pilot episode of Stargate Atlantis as an Ancient in the city, this beautiful and mesmerizing actress was last seen in episode nine with Lou Diamond Phillips and Louis Ferreira, Ona’s portrayal of a woman caught in the turmoil of a potential divorce and budding relationship with Colonel Telford will hopefully be seen in the second half of season one. We cannot get enough of Ona and thank her for her truly delightful talents!
I could go on and on, but even a reporter has deadlines too, so I must end this review!
Before I conclude this pre-review, let me say a few words about the characters from the other ‘Stargate series’. Everyone we have talked with loves seeing Richard Dean Anderson whenever he reprises his role as General Jack O’Neill created in the Stargate SG-1 series. We hope to see much more of RDA as the season progresses in the future too! Also coming are more potential appearances by other well know Stargate characters like Michael Shanks, Bill Dow, and hopefully many others.
Martin Gero confirmed these facts at the Los Angeles Stargate Convention earlier this year. With all these outstanding contributions, the creators have anchored Stargate firmly in the heart and minds of almost all Stargate fans. This author is convinced the creators know precisely what they are doing and we wait in avid anticipation for Stargate Universe’s second half! Thank you.
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Kenn of #TeamWHR