Stargate Universe: Justice

‘Justice’ was a pretty solid episode. Definitely a vast improvement over last week’s offering, and a good cliffhanger to leave us with until April. (Yes, April. According to what I’ve read, that’s when the second half of the season will start airing. Pretty normal cable scheduling.) I think what I liked best about this week’s episode was that they managed to effectively use the entire core cast. Some characters had more to do than others, but for once everyone had a contribution that felt like more than mere background dressing. Yea!

We also got an alleged murder plot and a fairly intriguing game of political chess. I always enjoy seeing Rush vs. Young, and Wray is a good addition to the mix. My husband completely detests Wray and likens her to Rush and the typical smarmy IOA reps, but, for the most part, I think her motivations are more “pure” than that. Rush is clearly only motivated by his own self-interest and research objectives, even though he often spins his actions as advancing the greater good. (In his defense, maybe he honestly believes that his research serves the ultimate greater good and is worth the sacrifice of a few lives along the way.) As soon as he got permission from Wray to continue his chair investigation, I immediately voiced my suspicions that Spencer did commit suicide and Rush just took advantage of the situation to get Young out of the way. It was exactly the kind of thing he would do, and the ending reveal came as no surprise to me. (What a great scene though!)

On the other hand, I believe that Wray actually does want to do what’s necessary to keep everyone alive and get them home as quickly as possible. Yes, she wants to be in a position of authority, but not at the expense of everyone else (as evidenced by her returning command to Young once he’d been cleared in the alleged murder of Spencer). During the inquest, she came across as railroading Young, but I think she was genuinely concerned that the man had murdered his subordinate and wanted to get to the truth. Overall, I think Wray is an interesting character and is a good foil for both Rush and Young. I hope she continues to stay in the power mix.

As the third piece of the triumvirate, Young is a bit of a conundrum for me. In general, I like his command style and his demeanor. His initial insistence that the investigation be conducted openly and his decision to step aside in favor of Wray once his moral authority became questionable were admirable. He usually seems so calm and level-headed, but then he has these moments where I really think he would benefit from some anger management classes. Exhibit A would be from ‘Life,’ when he lied about being Volker just to get another chance to beat on Telford. I know a lot of viewers enjoyed seeing Telford get a beat down, but for me, that moment reflected very poorly on Young. And this week, I think he completely stepped over the line with Rush. It seems strange to say, after what Rush did, but I really felt like Young gave up the moral high ground by relentlessly pummeling Rush and then leaving him behind. It’s true that Young can’t really trust Rush, but the crew probably still needs his expertise. It seems very hot-headed and short-sighted to leave him. Not to mention, it could be construed as murder. In the end, I guess I just don’t feel violent, self-serving outbursts are the best way to address a problem, and I expect more from Young (perhaps unreasonably). Every time he gives into these impulses, I lose a bit of respect for him. (Although, admittedly, it does make for more dramatic conflict when neither Rush nor Young is completely in the right.)

Other Thoughts

I’m really wondering what Eli is thinking about all that has transpired. He knows what Rush did and what a devious manipulator he is (loved his comments to the science team during the “let’s meet the chair” scene). But knowing that, he’s also got to have serious reservations about Young’s story regarding what happened on the planet. Particularly after Young asked him to make a copy of the footage and then erase it from his hard drive. I wonder if he’ll actually do it, or if Eli is going to start keeping his own counsel.

Whatever the chair did to Franklin was extremely disturbing. I wonder if he’ll survive. Why did he even sit in the thing? Was he that convinced that it was their only way home? Or was he just tired of the daily grind and eating nasty mashed potatoes? Was it an attempted suicide?

Speaking of fallen crew members, whatever happened to Riley? We haven’t seen him since ‘Water,’ except in the kino entry the Powers That Be posted on the web after ‘Time’ (which I believe was subsequently taken down). Is he dead? Still recovering?

So was the downed shuttle on the planet the same design as the one that we saw leaving Destiny at the end of ‘Air, Part 3’? Why would Destiny drop out of FTL so that the crew could find this shuttle? Some kind of alien tampering, or something else? Interesting. I have no doubt that the shuttle will be the key to Rush’s return, but I’m curious to see exactly how that happens.

Chloe was useful this week! I enjoyed seeing her go toe-to-toe with Wray in the hallway. Apparently, I can occasionally be impressed by her character.

Final Analysis: An engaging end to the initial run of episodes. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed getting to know the characters thus far and I’m looking forward to seeing where things go from here (and still holding out hope that a terrible accident destroys the communication stones).

Jess Lynde is a highly engaged television viewer. Probably a bit too engaged.


Billie Doux said...

I really enjoyed this episode, too. It was the first time I actually liked Young (at the beginning of the episode) -- and then I stopped liking him again at the end. Captain Kirk would never have beaten up a bad crew member and abandoned him on a planet, no matter what he'd done. :)

But I also like the ambiguity of the characters. Rush and Young are far from being the stereotypical forthright and upright leader types. In fact, they probably shouldn't be leaders at all.

As you said, Jess, everyone had a turn, and I even liked Chloe for the first time. Well done.

I'm so enjoying this series and so glad you're reviewing it, Jess. It's a bummer we have to wait until April, but hopefully that means we'll be getting new episodes during the summer television wasteland.

Mark Greig said...

Terrific review, Jess. I loved this episode. Most of all I liked the irony of how Young ended up committing the very crime that Rush framed him for. His decision to marron Rush is going to come back and bite him on the ass sooner or later. I doubt many of the crew, especially the civilian contingent, are going to completely buy his ‘rockslide’ story. There’s already a strong sense of mistrust amongst the crew regarding the leadership onboard the Destiny as it is. In the long run by getting rid of Rush the way he did Col Young may have done himself more harm than good.

Shame we have to wait until April to find out.

As Jess and Billie already pointed out this was a great episode for the entire cast. Everyone, even Chloe, was give and clear role and purpose that suited their character rather than the needs of the narrative.

Overall despite the occasional duff episodes SGU has been my favourite new show of the autumn. There are still a few flaws that need to be ironed out (like those accursed communication stones) but I’d say this show is coming along nicely and has fully revived my affection for the Stargate franchise.

Jess Lynde said...

Thanks for the comments, guys! I really wasn't planning to review a currently running show this fall, but this one kind of sucked me in. I've grown to like most of the characters (or at least enjoy their ambiguities), and even when the writers went in directions I didn't enjoy, most episodes still gave me lots to ponder and write about. It certainly isn't Stargate of old, but for the most part, I like what they are doing with it.

Your Captain Kirk line had me in stitches, Billie.

And Mark, I completely agree about the delightful irony of what Young did to Rush. I actually wrote a line about that in my draft review, but ended up taking it out. I think I decided that since Rush isn't actually dead and will undoubtedly resurface, it isn't technically murder.

But, then again, Young certainly intended it to be. I thought it was a wonderful twist that Wray returned Young's job right after he actually became guilty of the crime of which she initially suspected him.

citten said...

Great review :) Always a pleasure reading them!

Really liked the ep, the one thing that had me laughing out loud was the body bag in the beginning. I find it hard to believe the ancients packed body bags in unmanned ships, and if they brought bodybags with them then color me impressed.

And what's with the nagging about shoes when they were all wearing matching work out outfits a few eps back *sigh*

Oh well, I don't actually mind these little details, I mostly laugh - but just wanted to get them out of my head :D

Joseph said...

If you take what was said in an earlier episode, none of them brought what they were supposed to bring. Remember the cases of paper and the lack of food. With the vast shortage of medical supplies, it seems possible that they may have grabbed the body bags instead of the medicine. It could also explain the track suits without proper footware.