Welcome back Stargate Universe (SGU) fans!
It has to be difficult when your episode is airing the next week after Robert Cooper’s episode “Malice.” Everyone is going to be using that as the yardstick of measure.
As with every Stargate since Stargate SG-1, there were your action-packed episodes, and then the more intellectual episodes that required you engage the thinking part of your brain. “Visitation” is similar to those many Stargate SG-1 episodes with a spooky twist. Remi Aubuchon, writer of this particular episode, and his first script Stargate Universe, excels at these kinds of scripts. He likes exploring the world of the walking dead or the walking undead (as in Caprica).
As we open, it appears Rush (Robert Carlyle) is integrating more with the crew, but we find out they are only really there for the still that Brody (Peter Kelamis) is fixing and have little interest in Rush’s discovery, much to his dismay. At least he gave it an effort.
Having traded his shift with Brody so he could fix the still, Volker (Patrick Gilmore) radios Young (Louis Ferreira) after potential planets since they dropped out of FTL; however, a shuttle similar to the ones that came from Destiny is next to them, carrying within it the crew that was left on the planet in “Faith”, now dubbed as Eden by them. Rush, Volker, Brody, Eli (David Blue) and Young all speculate how this could happen.
A still-injured Greer (nice continuity) and his team go to meet the shuttle. His team includes our fantabulous extra Herb Sommerfeld, still sporting his military short haircut.
Now we will know what happens to Carmen, TJ’s (Alaina Huffman) and Young’s baby. In my post on “Intervention”, however, having had a similar experience to what was scripted, I said this: “So here I was sitting, watching a mirror experience of my life being performed on Stargate Universe. On the Destiny, I am certain Carmen’s body remains, yet she exists in this other state. Are the people on the Faith planet dead now, just remaining alive in this alternate plane of existence?
I think so, but time will tell.” My heart knew the fall she was about to take, but I also need for certainty. Caine (Tygh Runyan), Val (Camille Sullivan), Peter (Tobias Slezak), and Dr. Chan (Bill Y. W. Butt, aka B.A.G.) were all there. But no baby. Also of note, the character was supposed to be called Vince Kwan instead of Dr. Chan (or Dr. Chen? hard to tell with Mr. Carlyle’s accent), but I guess that was changed as well.
Oops! Continuity error. Where’s Dana? When TJ went to what she thought was the Faith planet, Peter and Dana visited her in Caine’s cabin. Three female exited the shuttle. One was Val, one was Rachel, and one was an unknown woman who did not look like Dana (played by Caroline Cave in “Intervention”). Caroline Cave actually looks similar to the actress they got to play Val (Camille Sullivan). All the people who were on the Faith planet were brought back to Destiny. Joe Mallozzi said about a half dozen people along with Caine stayed behind on the Faith planet on his April 17, 2010 blog, so perhaps she is the mysterious passenger number 7 whose fate remains a mystery.
Chloe (Elyse Levesque) talks about being there in her consciousness but this other thing having priorities. I wonder if again that is a continuation of the metaphor with the communication stones, being two people inside of one body. Chloe prepares a “goodbye” Kino that sort of reminded me of Stargate Atlantis, “The Shrine” episode.
Young and TJ discuss how the former crew members were creeping them out. In fact, the crew of Destiny does not want to associate with the Eden planet-dwellers. TJ wants to talk to Caine alone and shows him the hydroponics area where we get to see our Destiny robot hard at work (thank you Mark Savela and team!). They discuss her dream.
The scene with Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) and Scott (Brian Jacob Smith) in the hallway was awkward. The scene was well acted, but the story just seemed contrived as did the whole Chloe storyline which is why this episode did not sit well with me. It felt like these were scenes that should have been placed in another episode. Scott also is a 1st lieutenant and only 2nd lieutenants are called butter-bars. I looked this up to be sure. I will expand on my issue with the Chloe storyline in this episode in just a bit.
Eli feels sorry for Val who is sitting alone. After engaging in conversation, she begins to have a memory and relives what seems to be an aneurysmal event and collapses.
Meanwhile, Rush and Caine have a discussion about advanced aliens versus God. Rush brings up a good point: The shuttle was returned to a condition better than it was on Destiny, so why weren’t the crew members? “Either He’s lost his touch or God’s got nothing to do with this.” Caine is summoned to the infirmary because Val is now dead. TJ determines that Val died from a blunt-force trauma to the head.
Regarding the “B” storyline of Chloe: Like I’ve said before, the actors did a fine job with what they were asked to say and act, especially the dialogue between Greer and Chloe. I understand Chloe is slowly changing into something else and understood the sequences for it. The storyline feels contrived. I do not know how else to say this than to just be blunt: It is like Chloe’s has been pegged into a corner and no one knows what to do with her, especially leaving her in isolation over the last couple of episodes. Just an episode or so ago, they were discussing the fact that they might have to put Chloe on a planet that seems habitable IF she becomes a threat.
While the scene between Greer and Chloe was beautifully acted, how did we get from “Chloe is changing” to “Greer is going to have to execute Chloe when she fully transforms?” Seeing the scenes from next week might help explain a few things, but they did not put enough emphasis on Chloe’s transformation to make that scene between Greer and her as important as it should have been.
It’s like we went from A to C and next week we will be at “D” but we forgot about “B.” I only see a few possible outcomes to this story: First, Chloe continues to transform but proves she is friend, not foe. Second, Chloe continues to transform and dies in a blaze of glory. Third, Chloe continues to transform and is either left on a planet or executed by Greer. Fourth: They find a way to reverse the changes in Chloe. Fifth: Chloe makes it onto the alien ship and reverses the transformation herself. My own personal choice would be the first outcome: Let Chloe become part alien and get her out of isolation. The character has been through enough, with the first season playing the fish out of water, not knowing where her place was among the crew. This season she’s been walled off from the rest of the crew with the exception of Lt. Scott and Eli.
Camile puts Peter under hypnosis who remembers who happened to Val and then shortly succumbs to hypothermia and exposure.
TJ figures it out: What if they are dying again in the order they died on the planet. Scott and Greer visit Rachel (Michelle Harrison). After seeing her, our hero Scott dives right in and grabs her to carry her to the infirmary despite Greer’s warning that she might be contagious and TJ’s admonishment once he did. Rachel dies. Young picks Caine to be next up for the hypnosis.
Caine relives his time on the planet. Camile has him describe the last night. He, the last survivor on Eden, prays for help. Then he woke up next to Destiny. After the session, he knows his time is short. “I’m already dead.” Feeling his impending death, he asks TJ to join him in the observation deck so he can see the stars one last time. Even though it is not shown on camera, we know that is where he dies.
James brings Eli a Kino from the shuttle that shows the last moments with Caine and then a bright light. The aliens heard his plea and tried to intervene, but they are not God.
I had quite a lot of them in this episode.
1. Brody (when Young sniffs him on the bridge): “I wasn’t drinking. I was…fixing it.”
2. Rush: “That sounds like Caine.”
Volker: “Caine’s more monotone than that.
3. Eli: “Trust me. These aliens built a planet from scratch. They can just throw a shuttle between galaxies. I’m pretty sure they can impersonate Caine if they wanted to.
Volker: “Boone used to do a pretty good Caine.”
Brody: “I thought it was the other way around.”
4. On having the crew back and how exciting it will be to talk to them:
Young: “I wouldn’t mind having a working shuttle again.”
Rush: “Then there’s that.”
5. Caine: “I don’t even drive a car.
Brody: “Just what a Trojan would say.”
6. After Eli quotes somebody the appearance of alien beings and advanced technology does not make them God.
Young: “Turn the mic back on. — Winston Churchill.”
7. After thoroughly checking out the shuttle, Young reports in for a report:
Brody: “Even has that new shuttle smell.”
8. Park to Greer: “Okay, you’re being too deep again.”
9. A conversation Camile and Young have after she shows them Kino footage of interviews:
Young: “They don’t creep you out, even a little.”
Camile: “A lot of people creep me out a little, so I’m not the best person to ask.”
Camile: “A little.”
Camile: “Not as much now.”
Young: “Hmmm. That’s good. Progress.”
10. Young in response to finding out Camile can perform hypnosis:
Young: “Did the IOA teach you that?”
Camile: “Yeah, they did.”
Young (suspiciously): “Anything else I should know about?”
Camile: “That I was a little overqualified for HR.”
Young laughs and nods.
11. TJ to Scott (for obvious selfish reasons — blushing)
“Strip down and get your ass into decon.”
12. That scene with Varro (Mike Dopud). Argh! Another episode without him. Hope he is in next week’s mid-season finale.
13. And my most favorite of all the lines in the episode: Caine to TJ: “I believe that my soul has already moved on and is looking down, even now, marveling at how kind you are to comfort a shadow.”
Disclaimer: WHR supports each person’s right to believe in a faith of their own choosing or for those who do not believe and their right to choose not to believe. WHR is neither comparing nor stating one is “better than the others.” Our only editorial purpose is to analyze the potential religious elements that are represented in this Stargate Universe episode.
This episode gets into some interesting points about the body, the soul and the days we have been allotted. In my own faith, the body is part of an evolutionary process; the soul is what is eternal. In 1996, Pope John Paul II came out saying that the theories of Charles Darwin were factually and wholly compatible with the teachings of the Church. It is steadfast that our soul is given to us by God and that is something not bound by the laws of evolution. Remi Aubuchon explored this idea of the walking dead/walking undead in the Caprica miniseries.
The question there was when does a machine, built by science, become sentient, i.e., develops a soul. Here the Eden dwellers were only returned to their state of well-being as that when they arrived to the planet. The aliens could not replicate their souls. Until the very end, Caine still believes that there is a life beyond this one, one that his soul has already moved onto. And in some warm cabin, Caine, Dana, Val and Peter truly are taking care of Carmen.
I’m melancholy about next week’s episode of SGU. It has become part of my weekly schedule. I thought that we would only have to wait until February or at the latest March for the rest of season 2. I have heard it is more like April. It is going to be a harsh and cold winter, similar to that on the Eden planet. Hopefully by the time April comes around I will be more than just a shadow of my former self, having been starved in the desert without my SGU energy drink.
The only thing that could comfort me, I think, is hearing that Stargate Universe has been renewed for season 3. It would make a wonderful holiday gift.
Thank you for taking the time to read.
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