Stargate Universe Hope; Season Two Episode 14 Critique

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Hello again Stargate Fans,

Syfy Logo Chain Mail - Click to visit Stargate Universe on SyfyEpisode 14 of season 2 of Stargate Universe, entitled Hope, aired this Monday evening March 28, 2011 on SyFy, and Tuesday night March 29, 2011 for those of us in Canada who are cursed with having to wait an extra day until we get to see it on the Space Channel. Thanks for the spoilers, Twitter. Always appreciated.

Click to visit the fabled MGM Studios at their official web site!Even with the spoilers the episode remained enjoyable for me  I did see from the few people who post them (that I still follow who post spoilers), when Canadians have to wait an extra day, spoiler posts are a reason that may cause me to un-follow on Twitter.

Hope was another episode which took place entirely on the Destiny. An outside connection had still not been made – at least not with Earth. With everyone taking rounds manning the stones, hoping for some sort of news to do with the impending explosion of the last episode, no one expected the consciousnesses of two prior shipmates to jump into an unsuspecting Chloe, whom had fallen asleep during her shift.

SGU S2x14 - Chloe with stones before being a host

I want to start off by saying Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque) must be really getting used to her body being stolen or taken over by some foreign substance. Unlike the others, who switch bodies through the stones alone, Chloe always seems to be the one who gets taken by aliens and experimented on – or whatever exactly they did to her – and now by the free-floating consciousnesses of Amanda Perry (Kathleen Munroe) and Ginn (Julie McNiven) interacting with Eli Wallace (David Blue) and Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle). I bet if she ever gets a month of just being herself in her own body, she is going to have some sort of withdrawal symptoms or something.

SGU S2x14 Ginn returns in Chloe

At the same time, I admit, it was nice to see Ginn return. Eli is always so alone. Well, maybe not physically, but I always sense a bit of loneliness from him, even when he’s cracking jokes. Maybe I’m imagining it, though. He finally found love and she was taken from him, only to return now in Chloe’s body. I felt so bad for him that it was like he finally had her back, but with the constant fear of losing her again – especially with the episodes she was having as she flashed back to being strangled.

SGU S2x14 Eli is concerned about Chloe Ginn
As mentioned Amanda Perry came back too, like I said. I guess I am not a huge Rush/Perry fan or anything so I was not really excited to see her. Also, I was not really surprised when suddenly she showed up halfway through in the body of Chloe while Lt. Vanessa James (Julia Benson) looked on. It is not that I was expecting her, really, I just was not shocked either. It was more like I nodded and said, “Oh, huh. Yeah, I guess that makes sense.” All I can really say about her and Rush, I guess, is that it is nice to finally see him be happy.

SGU S2x14 - Lt James looks on as Chloe becomes Amanda perry

Click to learn more about The Host!I think my problem with these two is, I really have a problem with bodynapping, or whatever you would call it. It is different from body-switching, where at least both parties are allowed to live, albeit in a strange and, I imagine, awkward existence. Bodynapping always bothers me – where more than one consciousness are fighting over the body. It reminds me too much of Stephenie Meyer’s book The Host (yes, she did write something besides the Twilight series) where alien parasites come in and take over the bodies of humans.

It is not so much a struggle as a domination. Of course, yes, the Goa’uld did this too, but I was making the comparison more that in The Host the aliens were not trying to start a war or rule the galaxy, they just wanted to live on Earth and went about it in an ethically questionable way, much as I saw with this.

I do concede (and was relieved to see) that the circumstances were different in that Amanda and Ginn neither tried nor wanted to take over Chloe’s body. Thank goodness. I spent half of Hope crossing my fingers that one was not going to get comfortable and take over. I might have lost some of my faith in the series had that happened. It’s too overdone, in my opinion, so I personally thank the Stargate Universe writers for thinking better of that!

I liked how that story concluded, temporary though the resolution may be. Again, I feared that Chloe’s consciousness would be one of the two downloaded into the ship and that Amanda or Ginn (though I was leaning toward Amanda) would end up inadvertently taking over her body. So thank you again, writers, for proving me wrong.

It was interesting how they tried to explain how this may have happened – that Amanda and Ginn came to be inside of Chloe. I find it hard to believe that she was the only one to fall asleep, but I guess they must have had relatively short shifts. Either way, Rush’s explanation that her consciousness must have relaxed just enough to let another in was cool. I like that he just knows things. Everyone else is puzzling and he jumps in going, “This is probably exactly what happened,” and everyone else goes, “Oh. Okay, then.” Well, I’m paraphrasing. I just wish I had that kind of magical power where explanations I make up actually make sense and are not just random like the kiss with Eli.

SGU S2x14 - Ginn and Eli kiss
I do have to wonder, though, as they did, where exactly were Amanda and Ginn for all of this time? Obviously their souls neither died nor moved on, so they must have been somewhere. But were they in limbo somewhere – just in a vast dark space between universes or realms? Or were their souls being held somewhere within the stones themselves, almost like a container? I know they were radio signals, but that really does not explain to me where exactly they were or how they got transferred from the stones. I know they were trying to figure that out too and I’m curious to find out. I hope they do not just let that one waver and die, and that they actually pursue an answer.

I have one more question. They kept saying that they wanted to find bodies to put Amanda and Ginn into, but where exactly do they plan on coming up with these bodies? Unless they have magical special powers – or the Ancients have some powerful technology that the crew learns to use – they cannot bring a dead body back to life. The consciousness is one thing, but if the body dies, it generally cannot be brought back to life. A heart does not start beating again because a consciousness has been installed. Well, unless it is a vampire or a zombie. I know this is science fiction, but I somehow do not see Stargate going that route.

SGU S2x14 - Lt Scott is concerned
The other option, I suppose, would be for them to share a body, but haven’t we learned from this episode how badly that would turn out? Yes, the Goa’uld and the Tok’ra shared bodies – moreso in the case of the Tok’ra – but they were snakes which took over the body, not just a free-floating consciousness. Even then, good luck finding a willing host.

SGU S2x14 - Chloe returns to the surface

Plus, now Eli can be with Ginn – at least in some small way. I may have audibly squee’d with the line, “Just being here, seeing you, hearing your voice. It’s enough.” Haven’t we all felt that way about someone? Loved them so much that just knowing they’re around brings us comfort. As much as a physical presence would obviously be better in many ways, who can deny that being able to talk to and see someone who was once thought to be dead – someone who meant so much – is incomparably better? I think that simple quote brought out that emotion so well, even if it is so simple. Sometimes, something simple like that is better than a big speech, and I think that was the case in this instance. I really felt it when Eli and Ginn were together and now maybe he won’t be so alone.

Now, if only they could bring Sharon onto the ship for Camile, I’d be a very, very happy girl. (Yeah, they’re my favorite couple to ship on Universe.)

SGU S2x14 - Lt Johason tells Col Young about medical options
The other major story which took place in this episode was Dale Volker’s (Patrick Gilmore) need for a kidney transplant. I guess this story dealt mostly with TJ’s (Alaina Huffman) growth as a doctor and her ability to use the Ancient technology.

SGU S2x14 - TJ and Volker before the operation
The episode also focused on some of the characters we don’t get to see as much, mainly Volker and Adam Brody (Peter Kelamis). Those two have a great bromance, if you ask me. I think we should definitely see more of them. I know there are a lot of friendships which have formed on Destiny, but theirs is one of the least explored and I feel it could be really interesting.

SGU S2x14 - Brody with TJ and Volker lighter moment

SGU S2x14 - Brody TJ and Volker lighter moment

At first, I was skeptical how this would work out. So many complications with the storyline. First, there’s the part that TJ is only a medic, not a surgeon. Obviously, being the only one with real medical training, she had to get over that at some point. I am actually surprised it wasn’t sooner. But there is also the problem with the fact that they seem to not have near enough medication. Two planets they need to find: the medicine planet and the clothing planet. Seriously. They need to change. I don’t want to know how much their clothes must stink by now.

I got over that quickly, though. Mostly what bothered me is that immediately everyone on the ship was tested. Okay, that makes sense, but shouldn’t they have asked for volunteers? The surgery is shaky, at best, and for real, it’s a dangerous procedure even done in a hospital. Instead they just drafted everyone and decided one of them would give up their kidney? I mean, I felt a bit better when Greer volunteered and they were asking him if he was sure and all. At least there was that, but it really bothered me before that.

Well, Greer offered, and it’s not that I’m upset he did or that I think it was the wrong decision, but I just want to point out that considering repercussions of functioning on only one kidney, it might also not be the best decision. People who donate kidneys are not supposed to undergo any overly strenuous activities – barely exerting effort on much during the recovery, but even after, there’s a lot they are not allowed to do. Greer is one of the main offensive, one of the military guys that is constantly involved in fighting the enemy.

SGU S2x14 - Greer - is cheer leading allowed?

If cheer leading is not allowed, then how exactly is he supposed to brave strange terrains of future planets, run around and fire guns? That’s dangerous all on its own, but with one kidney?! You’re practically asking for him to die!

I know, I know, it’s a television show and they can suspend reality, so perhaps that might not be a problem. It’s just that as someone who has had family members both donate and receive kidneys, I think about these things.

Now, that said, I thought it was really sweet of him to offer and to go through with it. I think it shows a lot of Greer’s character that he would be willing to do that for someone he barely seems to know, despite their close quarters on the ship. I always thought deep down he must be a softy, even if he doesn’t show it very often. Maybe he is just trying to be noble or did it because of a sense of duty, but I think it was much more than that. He genuinely wanted to help.

SGU S2x14 - Greer shows some tail before the operation

While I am on that topic, how sweet was the scene in the greenhouse (or arboretum or whatever it is called)? Totally sweet, right? I’m a sucker for friendship and bonding. I loved the look on Greer’s face as he looked up at the stars. He was so content. It made me think of a child looking at him. It was nice for him to bond with Volker a bit – especially since now they’ll be bonded forever like Amanda and Rush.

SGU S2x14 - In the Destiny gardens

SGU S2x14 - Amanda and Rush say goodbye for now

Who else found it hilarious when Brody started playing music before the surgery? Not just that it was the most inappropriate song for the moment, even if it was with good intent, but also just that it was such a strange thing to do.

SGU S2x14 - Brody with the music player!

Like I said before, though, I love Brody and Volker’s friendship. I’m so glad he was there to support his friend through it. Those two are always together so it’s only right that he was there. In fact, I thought for a long time it would be Brody who was going to give up his kidney. I hope before the series ends, we get to see more of them.

SGU S2x14 - Volker Park and Brody after the operation

Of course, in the end, they finally made contact with Earth to find out the bomb had been diffused. I was mostly just hoping this meant that Camile would go visit Sharon soon… I actually really like these episodes which focus on just relationships on the ship. I thought overall it was really well done. I am excited to see where this addition of Amanda and Ginn into the ship’s systems will take the Destiny crew and how it affects Eli!

SGU S2x14 - Ginn at the end with Eli

SGU S2x14 - Ginn at the end on Destiny

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