For those who have wanted more action, Stargate Universe’s 11th episode, “Space” delivers tenfold. The review below contains only minor spoilers (if you haven’t seen any promos on Syfy, Syfy.com or MGM yet we have them here at WHR!).
In this episode, there is something old (Destiny), something new (spoiler), something borrowed (spoiler) and something blue (aliens [SPOILER]).
What can I say about Robert Carlyle? The actor brings every minute detail of his total acting experience to this character and never holds back. With just a gesture, just a notion, just the way the line is delivered with certain pauses or inflections, he single-handedly portrays the most complicated character in Stargate’s history. The last time we saw Dr. Rush was on the planet in “Justice,” he had just been punched out by Colonel Young.
We know that in “Justice” Rush woke up after the Destiny had left, knowing that Colonel Young had abandoned him. I imagine that Rush got right to work learning the secrets of the alien ship they encountered on the episode “Justice” to try to get off that planet and get back to Destiny. Rush may be self-important, egotistical and a coward of sorts, but with his street style of fighting that he learned growing up, as we learned in the episode “Air”, he can certainly hold his own against the highly trained military personnel of Stargate Command. I hope that we will soon find out what happened to Rush. Did he get the craft open? Did he learn to fly it? Did he find some cool new alien technology? Were there other people or aliens on the planet with him? The rivalry between Rush and Young are delivered brilliantly by Louis Ferreira and Robert Carlyle; I just cannot get enough of the two of them.
Bringing the richness of his collective experiences from his curriculum vitae, Louis Ferreira creates yet another complicated character in the Stargate franchise as Colonel Everett Young. His subtle, deliberate performance as Colonel Young brings an air of mystery about him, and while we were introduced to this level-headed character in “Air”, we now meet a more flawed human being. In “Space,” Colonel Young is dealing with guilt about what he did to Dr. Rush in episode “Justice”. He may even regret his decision. TJ and he have a tender moment where she advised him to speak to her about what is going on because he has recently lost many of under his command. Later in the episode he agrees to share, but he walks in on the middle of something he thinks is one thing, but is something else entirely.
While Brian J. Smith’s film resume is not as lengthy as Robert Carlyle and Louis Ferreira, his Julliard training has prepared him well. He is carving out his own trail to blaze with this rich character on Stargate Universe. He is an impassioned young man who brings depth to 1st Lt. Matthew Scott. In the shuttle, Scott sets off with Greer to protect the Destiny. For a young military officer who has had minimal flight training prior to gating to the Destiny, he does a fantastic job. Brian has many emotional scenes within this episode and his character has many choices to make that cross the spectrum of emotions. He is truly a hero, never desiring recognition to the things he does, but not knowing any other way to live his character’s life. Scott is an interesting cross between soldier and priest.
I will never forget the heart-wrenching scene in “Air” when Chloe watches her father die. That scene made me become an Elyse Levesque fan. The actress has had to deal with a lot of Stargate fan heckling (to downright rudeness) for actions of her character of the show. She has carried herself with the utmost grace and dignity. It has been a pleasure to watch the character grow since “Air” as well. Elyse has made Chloe a credible character. In this episode of “Space,” Chloe is curious when she hears someone cutting into the hull. After the circle of hull drops to the ground, she gazes up. Didn’t this character ever watch science-fiction in her life? Don’t look up at the light! Bad things can only ensue. Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!
David Blue is responsible for my Twitter addiction, having followed him since the very early stages of SGU production. He seems to be a very intelligent and witty person. His comedic timing is stunning. There is a lot said in his inflections and gestures and truly makes this show enjoyable. He taps into the awe and wonder that makes Stargate such a joy to watch. His character, Eli Wallace, was terrific in this new episode, having to take over for Rush when new visitors pop in to say “hello.” Poor Eli! He is still trying to work on the systems, figuring things out, and now he has to handle the space battles. I am always rooting for Eli, as I personally identify most with this character .
This is my first introduction to Alaina Huffman, the actress. I have enjoyed immensely seeing her turn her character into something wonderful. A character description can be written anywhere, but it is with the writing, directing and the acting that will endear a character to its audience or not. Alaina has made 1st Lt. Tamara Johansen endearing by her high degree of insight, knowledge and compassion. In “Space”, TJ takes command. She has some great girl-bonding moments with James. Dr. Caine offers her some alcoholic-like substance and she does not take it. I wonder if this is yet another hint that her character is indeed pregnant (as we know Alaina was pregnant during shooting).
With many acting credits under his belt, Jamil Walker Smith has filled out his role of Msgt. Ronald Greer quite well. I have met many Marines and some of them are exactly like Greer. It was funny listening to him on the commentaries of Stargate Universe 1.0 because his real voice is higher than the voice he uses for Greer. Jamil He has many stellar moments in his portrayal of Greer in the first 10 episodes. Greer continues to have shining moments in the episode “Space.” My favorite moment, however, was near the end when he pulls out a picture and looks at it, chuckles and smiles. I look forward to learning more about his back-story because frankly he is truly a mystery. Or perhaps an onion (peeling back layers and layers).
Ming-Na has played many dramatic roles as a professional actor. Stargate Universe has been a vehicle for her to showcase her talents as well. Camile Wray is a chameleon. As a woman she has to compete in a man’s world, her loyalties always with the IOA and their agenda. She is tough and calculating. However, when she is with her partner, Sharon, as we saw in “Life,” she is a completely different person, like looking at mirror images of each other.
Lending his star power to the series is Lou Diamond Phillips. Only being 2 years older than I am, I have been following Lou’s career since his early days. Even then, you could see he was going to be quite a successful actor. Although the bulk of his roles have been dramas, the actor has quite a charming and personal side as we have seen in interviews and conventions. The last we saw of Colonel David Telford, he was being punched by Colonel Young unexpectedly during a communication-stone-swapping moment. Has Telford remained in contact with Young’s wife? We know his end-game is to get to the Destiny and replace Young physically. I am looking forward to the storyline that tries to get him there. We can always look forward to tense moments between the two of them, and now that Lt. Scott has had some side effects of the stones (from the time he swapped with Telford) with memory imprinting of Telford’s brain to Scott, there is no telling where that idea could take us.
The Wonderful Co-Stars
The fabulous guest-stars have returned. Each one of these actors and actresses has had their roles expanded because of the richness they brought to their characters.
Peter Kelamis (as Dr. Adam Brody) looks like a young Dustin Hoffman and has awesome comedic timing. He has quite an impressive resume. In “Space” his role gets expanded and the division between the civilians and the military grows.
Tygh Runyan was brought into the SGU fold in the latter part of the first 10 episodes as Dr. Caine. He brings a very dry sense of humor to his character and I am looking forward to seeing more character development. It looks like they are already setting him up with a possible love interest.
Julia Benson is another jewel in the SGU franchise as 2nd Lt. Vanessa James. She brings a tough edge to her character, yet she also has a deeply emotional side to her as well. She has some wonderful scenes in “Space.” She also gets to step into a heroine role during this episode, and in a juxtaposition, we get to see her very vulnerable later in the episode.
Cast as Dr. Dale Volker is Patrick Gilmore, who also has an impressive list of supporting roles. I believe his sense of comedic timing allows us to have moments of brevity in the midst of the heavy dramatic scenes delivered by others. It was nice to see Volker, too, becoming more involved in the story line. He and Brody are becoming like inseparable twins.
Jennifer Spence (as Dr. Lisa Park) has made being smart fun. I was impressed with the lines of dialogue she had in the Kino scenes she delivered effortless, especially given all the techno babble. I am so glad they expanded her role as well because we needed more women on the show. Who knew that behind that geeky exterior lay a little minx? Never trust those women scientists. She becomes more involved in the story line in the episode “Space” as well.
Stargate Universe is blessed with a talented crew.
Writing partners Joe Mallozzi and Paul Mullie excel at composing sizzling action episodes, just as they have in multiple episodes of Stargate Atlantis (Enemy at the Gate for example) and Stargate SG-1 (The Quest for example). As usual, I was on the edge of my seat, my adrenaline rushing, always wondering what was around the next corner. At the same time, they provided storylines that helped round out our characters even more, setting the stage for their adventures to come.
Andy Mikita is back in the director’s chair, a symmetry I love since he directed the first episodes that launched Stargate Universe, and now he is directing the mid season starter as well. I enjoyed the odd camera angles during this episode. His decisions on lighting and lens effects served the episode well. Mr. Mikita does a wonderful job guiding the crew and actors to fulfillment of his vision of how the episode should look and feel.
Multiple award-winner Mark Savela and his team of graphic artists find a way to achieve new personal bests each week Stargate Universe has aired a new episode. “Space” blows it out of the universe. Where have we seen this ship before…perhaps in Air III?
The space battles rocked with explosions galore!
The aliens were spectacular! These are not your latex-clad, human-speaking beings.
I can only imagine the painstaking hours that went into the creation of these beings from conception to delivery.
The Director of Photography, Jim Menard, Production Designer, James C. D. Robbins, and Costume Designer, Valerie Halverson, create such beautiful work week after week. It must be a pleasure to act in such an environment where everything created was done with such love of the craft. It makes the actors’ jobs much easier and allows the audience to truly immerse themselves in the Stargate Universe. The alien ship sets were unique. The lighting through all sets enhanced the production. The outfits for all our regulars have not changed, but there was some the new costuming involving the aliens.
Joel Goldsmith has brought a different sound to the Stargate franchise. Every week I feel like I am in the midst of a big cinema production. The music drives the story and when the action kicks in, it propels it forward to put you on the edge of your seat. I have enjoyed greatly the addition of recorded songs to the show. It has allowed an individual or band’s work to be showcased at a time when the music industry has undergone such dramatic changes with digital downloading, and getting one’s music out there for the world to listen is difficult.
“Space” has left me breathless! I hope you’ll love it as much as I did. Have yourself an “SGU is back” party and invite a bunch of people who have not seen this show, making sure to indoctrinate them before they leave. Let’s give the network a through-the-roof ratings for episode 11 and show the actors, actresses and crew some love for the unique talents and massive effort they all bring to us with each new episode. After being off the air for 4 months and nurturing serious withdrawal pains, I’m ready to start seeing my Stargate Universe back on Friday nights.
Join us on Twitter during the airing on Friday (check your local times) and be sure you put a hashtag in as #SGU.