Welcome Stargate Universe fans!
If you have not seen this episode called “Lost” and wish to be spoiler-free, please be warned: The following review has complete spoilers.
I want to thank WR_Systems for taking over my review duties for SGU the last two Fridays while I was visiting Lou Diamond Phillips in Dallas for his new movie “Transparency” (a write up is coming soon about that) one weekend, and the next weekend an autism conference to help my son. He did a great job and I very much appreciate the team effort. I missed watching the episodes “live” on Syfy and Twittering with all the people I’ve come to know while the episode is airing. It has become a tradition.
This episode, “Lost”, was packed with so much that I had to watch it several times to make sure I did not miss anything. Martin Gero (currently working on Bored to Death), who gave us many memorable episodes in Stargate Atlantis, was back in the writer’s chair. Rohn Schmidt was on board for this episode as director, having been director of photography for the episodes Air Parts 1, 2, and 3.
It was a pleasure seeing Riley (Haig Sutherland) back. After seeing Kino 24 “Wait for It”, I have a new perspective on the whole crew, including a less serious Riley who finally cracked a smile in addition to a hearty laugh. It seems Riley wants to take over Eli’s duties on Kino footage (if you remember Riley and Eli were Kino-partners-in-crime while trying to take a peek of Lt. James (Julia Benson) in “Darkness.” When the Kino suddenly loses power, it was funny that Rush was quick to say, “It wasn’t me”, having been annoyed with Riley for not participating in active efforts to get the four crew members back.
Lt. Vanessa James (Julia Benson) has a wonderful character moment with TJ (Alaina Huffman) who is playing both ship counselor and friend. She confides that her relationship with Scott was not just a fling to her. As I was watching, I was feeling a great amount of sympathy for her character, trying to imagine how difficult it must have been as both the leader of the mission to rescue Scott, Eli, Greer and Chloe, but also having romantic feelings towards one of those individuals, and having failed to return them to Destiny. Julia Benson plays her character well with just the right mixture of badass and vulnerability. I hope the writers continue to explore her character so we can see more of her on screen, perhaps even get some back-story on her, too.
Destiny has gone into power-saving mode for no apparent reason. Brody (Peter Kelamis), Riley and Rush sound off each other like the story of The Three Bears. Rush: I’ll find a way around it. Brody: No, there has to be a reason. Riley: This ship is old and falling apart. It’s a malfunction.Feeling the stress of being trapped, Eli adopts a doom-and-gloom attitude similar to Brody and Volker (in the episode “Darkness”) instead of working the problem. Scott is trying to keep them together, but understandably is a bit freaked out himself.
Martin Gero has a wonderful sense of humor and took the opportunity to poke fun at Eli’s shirt when they are wandering through the tunnels. Eli wants to know why there isn’t a “You are Here” red marker like they see at the mall.
Eli calms down a bit and begins to work through the problem to find a solution (trying to use the gates to get closer to Destiny). When his words get too complicated, he draws a map in the sand and explains in layman’s terms for all to understand. He says that a 50/50 shot is better than no shot at all, so they follow Eli’s plan
Then YIKES. More Shelob-like spiders. On a funnier side, I noticed one of the sponsors during the airing of SGU on Syfy was Orkin, the pest terminators! This time they decide to just move away instead of shooting it as the gunfire could completely bury them alive.
Rush and Brody discover they are about to jump to another galaxy. Brody convinces Rush to tell Col. Young (Louis Ferreira). Rush seems like a changed man for the moment after the events from the episode “Human.” He seems to genuinely care about leaving these 4 crew members behind. Could it be because of some deeper feelings for Chloe because of the bond they share from their abduction (“Space)? Could it be he feels like he owes Eli since Eli stuck up for him in the episode “Divided”? Of course, he could still just care about what is best for the Destiny mission and to lose these particular valuable crew members warranted trying to find them. It could also be that Rush, knowing what it is like to be left behind (“Justice), does not wish that on anyone else. Since Rush is a highly complex character, I would not be surprised if there is a little bit of everything in his motivation.
TJ and Young talk about James. TJ suggests perhaps he needs to encourage her more. Young asks TJ if James is aware that he knows of her recent relationship with Scott. I found that to be a bit hypocritical of his character considering he had an affair with TJ. TJ wants to tell him she is pregnant, but he gets called away.
Rush lays down the bad news for Young. If they do not find the group the next time they drop out of FTL, they will not have any further chances to recover them. He has a plan. They will look on about 20 different planets for them, having anticipated that if they got out, Eli was likely trying to work the same plan to find Destiny instead of staying on the planet.
Good news in the ruins! The Kino found the emergency exit. Our travelers have a choice of right or left. I enjoy seeing Brian J. Smith getting to stretch his comedy legs. Scott, making a command decision, with a level of sarcastic humor says, “Left. I like left.” Scott’s spidey-sense is on high alert.
Chloe confirms that choice as she has been noticing there was indeed a “you are here” map. To be sure left is “right”, Greer goes right to look for another map marker. Ruin-quake!!! You think Greer is hurt, but he is okay and then WHAM! Gero pulls a double-gotcha and buries Greer in debris. As Scott, Eli and Chloe work to try to free him, this was the first time in my recollection that I heard Scott call Greer on-screen by his first name, Ron.
Apparently TJ has felt confident enough in their friendship to tell Lisa Park (Jennifer Spence) about the pregnancy and who the father of the baby is. Park encourages her to go tell him right now. TJ radios Young to come see her.
Frantically trying to dig him out, they realize that they need to leave. Brian J. Smith does a great job here mixing the emotions of his character being terrified, knowing a command decision has to be made, not wanting to leave behind a friend and colleague, and trying to convince himself that there was no way for Greer to have survived, but still having the uncertainty. Scott’s character tells the others that this is what Greer would want if there was no hope for him.
Unconscious, Greer is having flashbacks to his dysfunctional, abusive childhood. He wakes up, trying to make contact with the team. The soldier with nerves of steel has revealed his kryptonite (besides the claustrophobia): Abandonment.
Scott, Eli and Chloe find the exit and climb out. Scott’s decision is still haunting him. Brian J. Smith performs magic with his facial movements creating a lengthy exposition.
Greer starts digging his way out. We get to see some more of his childhood. This was difficult for me personally to watch because of some personal experiences. Greer’s claustrophobia begins to eat away at him, and we see his defenses breaking down.
At the gate, Scott makes a good point that the Destiny may find them and they need to stay there; Eli feels leaving offers them their best chance. Scott listens to Eli.
Greer has dug his way out and is making his way at lightning speed. You hope he is going to make it before the gate shuts down, a scene that elicited many “Run, Greer, Run” comments on Twitter while the show was airing live.
It was interesting symmetry of how the storyline matched up with Greer’s memories from the time in the closet (the claustrophobia; he was in the tunnel); Greer telling his mother, Angela, (Stephanie Samuels – BSG) that they need to leave his father (switch over to Eli, Chloe & Scott saying the same; they need to leave). When Scott says, “It’s time to leave”, Greer has a flashback to his father, Reginald Greer (played by Sean Blakemore), telling him to leave into a foggy night from the car where he drops Greer off (just like the foggy planet Eli, Chloe and Scott are going). Greer gets to the gate and they are gone.
Scott, Eli and Chloe are on the foggy planet where they are introduced to one of its residents: A cross between a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a cave troll from “Lord of the Rings“, Star Wars “Rancor” and with the teeth of the visitor, Anna, on the show “V.” I thought the creature was a nice funny metaphor of some points of the episode: Decisions you are going to make are going to turn around and bite you in the butt.
Building a fire to stay warm, Greer has memories of walking home (after his father stopped the car in a seedy part of town and told him to leave) and pulling his mom and dad out of a burning house. Greer has been a hero for a long time.
The patient, Virgil Biggs (James MacDonald), in the hospital clearly had some mental health issues going on. I thought it was great exposition of the ailments of those involved with the first Gulf War (for example, the symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome) but it may have done disservice to those suffering from these ailments because this man sounded like a complete lunatic spouting conspiracy theories. I wonder if this is how Reginald Greer got sick. Even sick, Greer’s dad can sure knock down an opponent. We see where Greer got his moves.
Young finally visits TJ who doesn’t hesitate any longer: I’m pregnant; it’s yours/ours. Young is a hard person to read emotionally. He doesn’t show his hand, even in moments like these. He tells TJ, “We’re going to make this work.” I just can imagine what is going through Young’s mind. Just when he thought he got things back on track with his wife, as soon as Colonel Telford (Lou Diamond Phillips) finds out about this, guess who is going to be running back to Young’s wife?
What I loved about the episode was the long overdue payoff of using the Stargate and exploring worlds. Although we didn’t get an extensive amount of time on each planet, what breath-taking worlds they were! I hope we see a little more balance in episodes to come.
Back to Greer. His psyche was playing with his mind, manifested in the visual representation of his father, telling Greer they abandoned him. Greer rationalizes back to his psyche that they did what they had to do. This is very common in people who come from dysfunctional settings. They play “old tapes” in their mind — They are not good enough, not worthy enough, not lovable. They can’t do anything right. In order to free oneself from the bonds of that victimization, you have to realize that is stuff from your old life and they are someone else’s hurtful words; there is dialogue exchange that goes on in your mind. Greer’s psyche (dad) tells him, “In the end, all there is is you. You alone.”
Greer flashes back to the moments as his father lay dying in the hospital. He apparently gave up a scholarship to enlist because he believed he was not fast enough. This again is similar to what happened with him running to the gate. He was not fast enough (in his mind). Greer wants to use the strong spirit God gave him to make a difference. His mother says he can always change his mind, but Greer has always been committed once a decision has been made. He was committed to his father even though his father treated him shamefully. He was committed to the family once his mother refused to leave because her husband needed them. We can now understand Greer’s unwavering loyalty to his team and commander.
While on the snowy planet that reminded Chloe of Vermont, Eli realizes they have been going the wrong way. He suggests going to the planet where the alien ship was as it would be helpful in finding a roadmap to Destiny.
Greer hears the gate being dialed. What a relief he must have been to see James. James, in turn, feels like she has been partly successful in at least retrieving one of the members of the missing crew.
On the alien planet, Eli finds Rush’s glasses and puts them in his pocket. Scott seems to like, too, the number 15 (just as he liked the “left” direction), but Eli reminds him this is an alien ship. Scott is very nervous. I am sure he is worried about the possibility of the aliens returning. Chloe is able to spot the correct menu because of the neural interface she had with the aliens. Eli tells them they have to hurry because Destiny is going to be in another galaxy soon. There were a lot of terrific, unique camera angles used by Rohn Scmidt throughout this episode. The lighting, as well, was terrific, especially in the flashback moments.
Young compliments James on a job well done. Greer tells Young that they thought he was dead, but Greer’s facial expression and eyes reveal a different truth–he knows they left him when he would have not given up so easily (like when he went back for Scott in Air III).
After gating to several planets (given that there would not have been a direct path from the alien-ship planet to the Destiny), Destiny finally shows up on the dialing device. On the ship, the gate dials in. We expect to see our threesome to appear, but it is Rush. Funny fake out. Rush is surprised to see Greer (probably the one person on the lost team he didn’t have a vested interest in finding, especially in view of his past hostilities towards Greer). The gate on the planet with our threesome fails. They dial again. You think, “Okay, now they’ll get home.” The clock runs out, the ship jumps, and on the planet, the final chevron does not lock. The dialing address disappears from the device and Eli realizes that this is the end; they are stuck.
Meanwhile on the ship, Riley tries to hound Greer to give a Kino recording of the events. Greer’s silence speaks mountains; Riley takes the hint. Sitting on the edge of his bed, Greer is going to have a lot to process.
What did YOU think of this week’s episode? Let us know.
PBMom (Hilda Bowen)