Written and directed by Robert C. Cooper, it had the air about it of the Stargate Atlantis: Vegas episode and I loved it. As with all my post review stories, this will contain full spoilers, so please come back later if you have not yet seen the episode.
Although full of action and drama compelling the story to move forward, there were brief pauses, long enough for us to catch our breath to be present during some emotional fallout for our heroes, only for the story to be propelled forward once again. All the main and supporting characters were put in jeopardy. I could not count the number of heart-beat pauses I had, hoping that the “Ginn (Julie McNiven) is dead” was a red herring thrown out to us by Syfy, that no one else would die in this episode.
The question of what happens if one was using the communication stones and died was answered. It was speculated in season 1 but this now confirms it: Both parties die in both body and consciousness. It gave me shivers to see Ginn’s body (Dr. Perry’s [Kathleen Munroe] consciousness) look like her neck was broken. The irony is that Dr. Perry on Earth ( with Ginn’s consciousness) had quadriplegia, which is paralysis from the neck down and D r. Perry was on a ventilator to live.
We begin the epis ode, however, when Dr. Park (Jennifer Spence), Dr. Volker (Patrick Gilmore), Dr. Brody (Peter Kelamis) and Eli (David Blue) expressing their feelings of distrust of Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle) while Colonel Young (Louis Ferreira) plays the diplomat to restore a better working relationship. Although they called Dr. Rush up for a question (the reason why he left Dr. Perry/Ginn’s body) just a few moments ago, and he would never outwardly admit it, I think he was glad for the break. He walks over to see Dr. Perry (Ginn’s body). When she does not answer, he opens the door to find Ginn’s body (that contained Dr. Perry consciousness) on the ground dead.
Things move quickly from here. Eli goes into shock mode. They discover Dr. Perry on earth (Ginn’s consciousness) is also dead. Simeon (Robert Knepper) killed his guard and is on the loose. He arms himself and then shoots Dunning (Darcy Laurie) and another crew member to get into the armory before he leaves for the gateroom.
However, minor possible flick flub: I only counted 2 mines (6 in the box, 4 were left) that he took, yet 3 mines were used on the planet (on Dr. Park, on Dr. Rush, and as a trap for 2nd Lt. James’ team).
He takes Dr. Park hostag e. Dr. Volker is concerned but petrified. I believe Dr. Park is waiting for him to take charge and save her life (to be aggressive, not assertive), but he says, “Take me.” That is a big statement for Dr. Volker. Volker has been reminding of a lot like the cowardly lion on the Wizard of Oz. He is working on it though and this was a huge step. For Dr. Park it was not forceful or passionate enough. Once Simeon and Dr. Park are through the gate, he does not charge to her rescue either. Certainly he loves her.
Then in barges Dr. Rush, enraged after knowing a second woman he loved was now dead, who just runs unabashed through the gate. Volker’s expression is priceless.
Young leads a team to enter the gateroom, while Scott (Brian Jacob Smith) and his team flank him. Guess who is in the scene, spotting a pretty nice new hairdo? None other than fan favorite extra: Herb Sommerfeld (whom I have dubbed on Twitter as the fantabulous SGU extra). We thank Herb for sharing what his life as an extra is like in the many forums (Twitter, chatrooms, Facebook, etc.)
Once through the gate, Rush’s mind is only on getting Simeon, but he could not leave Dr. Park with a mine strapped on her back. In his crosshairs, Simeon was about to shoot but the wormhole activated and he left. Jennifer Spence was given a wonderful chance to stretch her acting legs from just the scientist/minx on the ship to showing a lovely range of emotions of fears, anxiety, resignation of death, trying to make peace with it and forgiveness to all who could not help her. Rush gets the device off and we are given our first special effects explosion of the evening, from the talented Wray Douglas and C. Scott Stofer.
Scott and Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) go through the gate first. Scott goes off after Rush; Greer comforts his woman (Dr. Park). Lt. James and other unidentified crew also join her. It must be the era of when I grew up, but I kept hearing the song, “Manhunt” in my head from the 1980’s (the song from Flashdance: “I’m goin’ on a manhunt…”
The wounded are taken to medbay where TJ (Alaina Huffman) does her best to save as many as she can. We lose more crew members. The infirmary scene was interesting. Here the group is on a ship whose technology is far superior to that of our own, yet medicine-wise, they are reverted to almost 19th century before the invention of antibiotics, when a simple wound could kill you. It gave what was happening on the Destiny a nice “western” feel to match what was occurring on the planet.
Scott’s leadership skills continue to blossom as does his personal growth, learning that the world is not black and white, but shades of gray. He lends his gift of listening to Rush who had a breakdown after losing yet the second woman he loved (Dr. Perry). They talk more about Scott understanding why Rush did the things that he did.
Varro (Mike Dopud) is summoned and wants to help, but Young refuses to let him. Heavy sigh. I was hoping for more lines for Varro, but I will be happy with what I got.
Trying to understand why Simeon let him live, Brody gives him a few explanations: He’s a soldier, to him this is war, you were unarmed…” Volker: “You think he was being honorable.” Brody: “That, or he knew how much it would torture you.” After hearing what Simeon says to Rush at the end, it is obviously the latter of the two. When Park comes back on board, Volker apologizes and Park says she knew he did everything he could, but her eyes glance downward and give her true feelings away–she did not think he did everything he could: She needs a man like Greer (or any soldier I guess) to protect her. I felt so badly for Dr. Volker.
Park joins Volker, Brody and Eli who are tasked at prolonging or stopping the clock to give the people on the planet more time. However, Eli continues down the path of the grieving process, biting the heads off anyone in his path until Young snaps him back into reality with a reminder that he is not the only person on board who has lost someone for whom they cared.
Pinned down in a ravine, Scott calls in James for reinforcement, but when she approaches, Rush realizes it is a trap. Another wondrous special effects moment is captured.
My heart stops. Have they decided to kill off Lt. James, too? I cursed the commercial break despite its brilliant placement.
Obviously battered, James and her team survive with just injuries.
When Young, Greer and Rush catch up to Simeon, there is a nice call-back to Air III when Rush ordered Greer to shoot Dr. Franklin (Mark Burgess) to prevent him going through the gate. Rush tells Greer to shoot, and Greer maims.
In an unexpected twist, as Rush is arguing when Greer did not kill versus just injuring him, Greer is shot. My heart stopped again. At this point, I’m thinking perhaps I need to buy a personal defibrillator for my home if SGU continues to roll out episodes like this. While Scott tends to Greer, Rush leaves and then ignores Scott’s pleas to turn back.
The Destiny crew receives some unexpected help from Chloe (Elyse Levesque) to give the people on the planet more time. Her mind is evolving to the point where the complex math equations are making sense to her.
Simeon hates the Tauri because people he loved were killed. He understands Rush wanting revenge. He tells Rush he did not kill him before because he wanted the pain to eat Rush alive like it did for him, which is a fate worse than death. Simeon tells him to bring it on; this time he will kill Rush. Rush spots Simeon and a group of new visual effects creatures who I am now calling the buffalosaursus rex (or buffosaur with some great brainstorming with Kenn–thank you) because they look like a cross between buffalo with their humps and hooves, part dinosaur, and part T-rex with their upper arms close to their torsos). He formulates the perfect plan that includes the use of C4.
A nice western shoot-out occurs–
–with a twist: A stampede!
Have I said how much I love the visual effects department lately? It always feel like Christmas, actually better than Christmas (they do all the hard work and I get all the rewards that I can enjoy again and again).
Not quite dead, Rush walks over and inflicts the final killing blow.
It’s a long walk back to the gate for Rush as we listen to the beautiful sounds by Joel Goldsmith. Most of the episode has this weird “Twang” western-like sound to it, but along this walk was the wind howling accompanied by traditional Stargate music with Navajo/Hopi Indian inspirations. It was as haunting as Rush’s walk. He arrives at the gate only to find once again he is abandoned on the planet….or is he? I think he was secretly pleased to see Scott, then James and then others emerge from their hiding positions. Trust in each other will take one act of faith at a time.
1. When they are listening to the background noise the Ancients heard that led them on this mission, Young says: “Sounds like static to me.” Eli: “You were expecting Stairway to Heaven?”
2. When Rush is trying to defuse the bomb on Park’s back and Volker is talking: “Please shut up.”
3. On seeing there is an animal lifeform on the planet, Greer says, “Is it something we can barbeque?”
Greer does like his flamethrowers in any form, doesn’t he?
4. Scott: Eli says there may be unforeseeable consequences as a result. Rush: “Well there always are, aren’t there.”
This indeed was one of the best Stargate Universe episodes yet. It had drama, moments of humor, team unity, use of the Stargate, a sense of uncertainty if some of our main characters would live or die, and aliens. I would like to thank Julie McNiven, Kathleen Munroe and Robert Knepper for bringing such power to their characters that fans identified with them immediately and longed for them to stay part of the Stargate universe.
The one thing, though, that fans know is that no one ever TRULY dies in science fiction, so we will just hope that some clever plot device will allow us to see your characters in some fashion in the future. We look forward to following your careers as you journey to new adventures. You are part of the Stargate family now. Once on Stargate, always part of Stargate.
Thank you again for reading this post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me via Facebook or Twitter. You are welcome to use WormholeRiders News Agecy new “share” feature as well. Have a lovely day. Hilda Bowen (aka PBMom)