Hey Stargate Universe Fans
As most fans know, Stargate Universe comes back on 02 April after the painfully long hiatus with the episode Space, written by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie. Here at WormholeRiders News Agency, we were lucky enough to be given early access to the episode, and thus what follows is my (mostly) spoiler-free take on a very cool episode.
In terms of character development this episode was, quite frankly,rather huge, and it marks what I would call a turning point for the series. I was rather surprised to see it come so soon in the first season given that you often don’t with fledgling series; but when you consider that the creative minds behind SGU have 15 seasons worth of Stargate behind them, I suppose I shouldn’t be too taken aback.
I’m not going to go into any sort of detail given that I don’t want to spoil big developments from the episode, but suffice it to say that not only do we see some pretty significant developments for Col. Young (Louis Ferreira), Chloe (Elyse Levesque), Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle), and Camille Wray (Ming Na), but we also start to see more focus on some of the characters who have been in more supporting roles thus far; in particular, Brody (Peter Kelamis) and Volker (Patrick Gilmore). As you may expect, given the developments at the end of Justice, Eli (David Blue) is left to pick up the slack in terms of all everything which Rush was responsible for aboard Destiny which causes quite a bit of strain during their first space battle.
“Hey! First real space battle over here!” – Eli
As you may have noticed, we often see a montage of sorts at the beginning or end of an episode – sometimes both – and Space was no exception. Initially, I wasn’t too sure about whether I really liked the addition of the more ‘popular’ music to the show, but I must admit that the song choices have been particularly apt, and I really enjoyed the use of Rob Thomas’ “Now Comes the Night” over the ending montage of Space. I found some of the lyrics particularly suitable given that most of the people on Destiny have left family whom they love behind and must be feeling extremely lonely.
I really enjoy that the montages give us snapshots of the characters in which the actors manage to convey so much without ever saying a word, and I think that that ability is a testament to the skill of all the actors involved in SGU. After Space, I am particularly curious about some of Sgt. Greer’s (Jamil Walker Smith) history, and I hope that in the coming episodes we discover more about his backstory. I think it would be interesting to learn how long TJ, Lt. Scott (Brian Jacob Smith), and Sgt. Greer have been serving together since they seem to be closer as friends than many of the other military people with whom they routinely interact.
Jamil Walker Smith as Sgt. Greer
One thing I have enjoyed about SGU so far are the little moments scattered throughout the episodes which add so much to our view of the characters. I find that these moments give us small glimpses into daily life on Destiny and pull us into the reality which the characters face. The juxtaposition of everyday mundanities against the backdrop of a spaceship is part of what makes such moments so compelling. It is these moments, combined with the interactions between characters, which make them seem so much more relatable. One of my favourite such moments from Space involved something of a “foot-in-mouth” situation for Lt. James (Julia Benson), and who among us hasn’t had one of those moments? This certainly isn’t a new thing to Stargate, but it sometimes feels like we get to see more of such moments in SGU given that there is a bit more focus on the quieter moments rather than action.
Speaking of action, I loved the battle scenes in Space. I really enjoyed that we got to see the shuttle in action, and that it seems to handle pretty well in a firefight. One thing in particular which struck me during the battle sequences was that the motion of the ‘camera’ in space was markedly different from that which we usually see during the course of the episode within Destiny. I find that I prefer the closer camera shots which are routinely used while portraying the scenes on board the ship because they pull you into the situation and heighten the connection with the characters. I do think that the long panning shots have their place, but I have been enjoying the almost documentary-like feel of SGU so far – it certainly serves to ratchet up the tension during the battles.
Shuttle in Action
Much as I loved the episode as a whole, if I had to pick a favourite element to Space, it would be the aliens. Hands down, they are just plain awesome. I am really hoping that we see more of them this season, even if they aren’t a “big bad” in the way that the Goa’uld were for SG-1 or the Wraith for Atlantis. That being said, there is really no comparison between these aliens and the other races we’ve met previously – they certainly feel the least humanoid to me. Granted, the Goa’uld were snake-like, but they inhabited human hosts, so they at least looked human for the most part. But these aliens (and I really hope we get some sort of working name for them soon so that I can call them something other than ‘the aliens from Space’) are fascinating in every respect; kinesiology, physiology, language, and demeanour, to name but a few. I really would love to learn the inspiration for the race and how the visual effects gurus of SGU, led by Visual Effects Supervisor Mark Savela, went about creating the look and feel of this new species.
There was a statement, which I am paraphrasing, made by SGU creators Brad Wright and Robert Cooper which stands out in my mind from when SGU was first announced: they promised that alien races which we encountered would not speak English – unlike most of the aliens from previous Stargate series. In keeping with this promise, the language barrier was overcome in a rather intriguing fashion in Space.
One thing I love about science fiction is its ability to make us think, to bring up issues and address issues which are present in our everyday lives, albeit often in more incredible locales. Even though Stargate has dealt with transfers of consciousness many times before, for some reason it was the instances in Space which really caught my attention. It makes me wonder about how consciousness, or the concept which we call consciousness, could develop in an alien race. This question is perplexing enough when you consider that we don’t even have a definition for how the phenomenon develops in humans, let alone considering how it may develop in an entirely different species.
Fighting the aliens
The solution to the language barrier which we see in Space also caught my attention in that it makes me wonder about how neurological processes give rise to memories and experiences. There are studies which suggest that consciousness is not rooted in one specific part of the brain, but rather that it is the complex patterns of neural activity which give rise to the phenomenon. My own little hypothesis is that if there really did exist a device similar to the communication stones, it would work by linking two individuals and somehow synchronizing or mimicking the brain activity such that it, in effect, transfers the consciousnesses of the two individuals involved.
If devices like the communications stones – which were used in a very neat way in Space, by the way – actually do involve some sort of neural synchronization, it may explain why we have already seen a bleed-through effect. If you recall back in the episode Life, Lt. Scott was having ‘memories’ of Col. Young’s wife after swapping consciousness with Col. Telford (Lou Diamond Phillips); this could be explained by the fact that using the use of the stones, and the resulting neural consequences, may leave echoes, so to speak. Once neurons have fired in certain patterns, they tend to ‘remember’ that activity – this is the basis for learning and how our brains develop. Thus if the communications stones, and other like devices, involve physiological modifications of neural activity it could have more lasting consequences.
This brings me to the point that I wonder whether we will see further repercussions from Space for a couple of the characters; namely, certain characters who had more prolonged contact with the aliens. The storyline in Space might have lent itself rather nicely to a multiple episode arc, and while it would have been rather fascinating to see more of certain events, I also like that it wasn’t drawn out. It always piques my curiousity even more about future episodes when an episode such as Space leaves me with so many questions. So far in SGU we have seen rather long-lasting consequences from events and I have been enjoying seeing ripples from previous episodes continuing to have an effect even now.
Alaina Huffman as Tamara Johansen (T.J.)
I do wonder about when we’re going to see more of TJ’s (Alaina Huffman) past and what exactly happened to make her want to leave Icarus Base. Presumably it was because of something between her and Col. Young, but this is based more on hints that we’ve gotten in previous episodes than any sort of confirmation. I have my own guess about where we will see her character go based on a small moment in Space and some comments on Mr. Mallozzi’s blog regarding how they’ve dealt with similar situations before; more specifically, the fact that they have written a couple actresses’ pregnancies into the storylines of past Stargates.
If you haven’t already watched it, check out MGM’s promo for the second half of Season 1 of SGU:
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As always, thanks for reading and visiting WormholeRiders News Agency!