Stargate Universe: Incursion, Part 2

‘Incursion’ was a fairly absorbing two-part episode. It feels like so much has happened in the last two weeks, although I’m not sure if a whole lot actually has. We had a major invasion last week and some pretty riveting action near the end of this week, but other than that it was mostly negotiation, threats, trading supplies and hostages, standing at the ends of long corridors, opening and closing a lot of doors, and periodic power outages. Is that really a lot of action? Perhaps after a season spent largely on slower, introspective, character-focused stories, two hours of primarily plot-driven material were bound to feel intense and action-packed in comparison. Maybe it was all the running at the very end, or the fairly dramatic change in the power structure. Perhaps it was just that so much happened in those last ten minutes that it made the whole two-parter feel a lot more gripping.

Or maybe it felt so intense to me because I spent the whole of ‘Incursion, Part 2’ with this sickening feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. I just knew something horrible was going to happen to T.J. I had this deep fear that Kiva was intentionally going to kill T.J.’s unborn child as a demonstration of her power. My general feeling of dread only deepened when the Alliance soldiers separated the military and civilian personnel. I was convinced they were going to put the civilians out the nearest airlock. Apparently the writers did a great job selling just how hardcore Kiva and her people are, because I was fully prepared for something truly horrific to happen at any moment.

The events that did unfold in the last ten minutes paled in comparison to what I had worked up in my mind, but they were still pretty horrific. Several people just got shot up in the infirmary, it looks like T.J.’s baby got killed in the crossfire, and the Alliance soldiers are about to execute all the SGC military personnel. Kiva and Telford are bleeding out and the only medic is down. It also seems possible that Chloe just died (doubtful) and that Eli, Scott, and Greer weren’t able to reach the forward airlock in before the next radiation burst (also doubtful). Although I'm sure they aren't about to off the entire cast except for Rush and Brody, the situation at the moment appears pretty dire.

Interspersed among all the dramatic corridor face-offs and walkie-talkie conversations, this episode did have some nice character moments, including some strong stuff for Camille and T.J. and quiet beats between Chloe and Eli, and Scott and Greer.

I was impressed with Camille’s interactions with Kiva (“No I don’t understand, … but I do believe you”) and her unwillingness to wear the flak jacket. The latter showed a lot of courage and a very high level of commitment to resolving the standoff with as little bloodshed as possible. It could be interesting to see Wray in “command” of Destiny. Maybe not permanently, but it might be a scenario worth exploring. Once they resolve the incursion, that is.

T.J. also got to be very tough when interacting with both Kiva and Varro. I particularly liked her refusal to acknowledge Varro’s suggestion of a truce. I wondered why Varro would try to make nice with T.J., but it occurred to me that he’s likely going to be in charge of Destiny when we return (since he is Kiva’s second in command and the Alliance have the upper hand at the moment). Perhaps the writers were trying to make him appear more sympathetic. (Of course, they then had him brutally take down the SGC soldier that started the infirmary massacre. So maybe not.)

I really liked the scene in which Chloe told Eli that the value she places on his friendship isn’t a consolation prize. She knows he has trouble seeing it any other way, but his friendship means more to her than romantic love. It just struck me as a very powerful and moving thing for her to say to him, and for her to want him to understand.

I also thought this exchange between Greer and Scott was very interesting:

Greer (re: Young): “Look, he’ll do the right thing when the right time comes. You gotta trust that, one hundred percent.
Scott: “I don’t know how you do it, man.”
Greer: “Well you need to learn.”

Greer may have anger management issues, but he is the consummate soldier. Scott could definitely stand to learn a thing or two from him. Empathy is not a bad quality, but Scott seems far too soft, conflicted, and easily distracted to be a good soldier, much less Number Two in the chain of command. With Col. Young showing some questionable leadership of late, I’d really like to see a shake up in the command structure. Maybe Telford can take over and make T.J. his Number Two. If they both live.

Other Thoughts

In a way, I’m relieved that T.J. lost her baby due to accidental injury. (I guess we don’t know if the child is dead, but it looked like T.J. had multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen, so things don’t look promising.) If the child’s death had been an intentional act of murder, I may have been done with the series. There’s a lot I like about the show, but I don’t think I could’ve gotten past that.

Telford’s not dead is he? They wouldn’t take his body to the infirmary if he was dead, would they? Besides, it is more suspenseful if both Kiva and Telford are still hanging by a thread. Will she regain consciousness before he does and reveal his betrayal?

I was kind of disappointed that the ship’s issues weren’t somehow linked to Franklin. I love the idea that he’s become one with the ship and is helping the crew. I suppose that “binary pulsar” is a more realistic and scientific explanation, but sometimes I want the cooler explanation, you know?

Who was Rivers? Were we familiar with Rivers before Kiva murdered him in retaliation for Young’s attempted ambush? Or was he just a random name and a uniform?

I loved the cut-to-black moment right after Kiva and Telford simultaneously fired their guns.

Did Riley get killed in the infirmary massacre? Or did he survive to fight another day?

I thought it was a strange coincidence that the radiation burst was coming every 46 minutes, when 46 was such a prominent number in Rush’s chair-induced vision.

Final Analysis: A pretty stressful episode for me because of all the horrific outcomes I kept imagining. Even though things didn’t go as badly as I was anticipating, ‘Incursion’ certainly didn’t lack for conflict and it left us with a pretty decent set of cliffhangers until the fall. Overall, a good two-part episode to end the first season.

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

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, a ridiculous episode with a botched cliffhanger to end a ridiculous season. Seems like the first part was empty hope. Someone needs to fire Brad Wright, presto!

And, of course, coincidence again. Stopping just in the worst place with the pulsar / nova / whatever it was. The writers give too much weight to coincidence.

Which is exactly the proof that they're bad writers. And it shows.

I guess I'm off for Season Two. Until I read that they are killing (or demoting) Young. Now, that would be a step in the right direction. It is SO ridiculous that both SGC and even the military guys in Destiny allow him to stay in command. He's obviously not up for the job.

Oh, and Chloe. This is 2010, guys. And SciFi, no less. No ladies in distress eating precious minutes needed here.

The rest, I can keep hope that they'll get better writers and do something with them. But I probably won't be watching. What a complete waste.

Billie Doux said...

I thought more of it than you did, Anonymous. It wasn't perfect, and the multiple cliffhangers were more irritating than upsetting, but I'm still into this show and it was an exciting finale. Who will live? Who will die? Can they please write Daniel Jackson into the cast?

Thanks for a season-full of excellent reviews, Jess.

Mark Greig said...

Great review, Jess.

I agree that it did seem like not much actually happened beside the opening and closing of lots of doors but I’ve enjoyed this two-parter even though I think it would’ve worked a lot better as one single feature length episode rather than split up.

The various cliff-hangers were all great but I’m worried that they won’t be able to resolve all of them without some feeling like a cheat. I’m still a little bitter about how the three castaways storyline ended and am not looking forward to a repeat performance.

I expect most, if not all, of the main cast will survive. After all, this is still Stargate not Lost or 24 (not yet anyway). But I figure Telford is done for. Sadly, the same seems to go for TJ and Young’s child. That was a lot of blood. It might be callous thing to do but this situation was forced upon the writers and their options were limited about how they could resolve it but, honestly, I never thought they’d go that far.

It’ll be interesting to see where things go in season two. Just hope that Robert Knepper gets a better role than the one he was lumbered with on Heroes.

Jess Lynde said...

Your welcome, Billie. I didn't intend to review the series, but ended up with a lot to say about it. Thanks for giving the reviews a home!

I also clearly thought more of it than Anonymous, but I give Anon credit for continuing to watch despite clearly not liking the show for most of its run. I like that you continued to give it a chance, hoping for better. I'm sorry it didn't give you what you were looking for. I'm certainly with you on Young needing a demotion! I can only imagine he'll become more insufferable if T.J.'s baby is, in fact, dead.

Mark, I'm TOTALLY with you on the three castaways resolution. We can only hope they don't do an easy cheat like that again.

I was excited to see Robert Knepper in the teaser. He was so great as T-Bag on Prison Break (the first couple seasons that I watched anyway). Hopefully, he'll bring something exciting to this show.

morjana said...

Rivers was one of Dr. Lisa Park's lovers in 'Life.'

Patryk said...

If you were feeling that Anyone Could Die horrifically at any moment then the writers are doing their job and the series lives up to its potential. After all most of the season played like a disaster and or horror film. Casualties are a must.

Nice catch with Rivers morjana.

Anonymous said...

I found the last shot with Young......that picture is burned into my retinas. Young's looking at the results of his work to protect the crew. All of it for nothing. That's just.....depressing.

Dr. Alice said...

I was very annoyed with this episode. It felt like most of the episode was opening and closing doors (as was stated above) mixed with some angst. Then BOOM, a whole bunch of cliff-hangerness in the last 5 minutes. This just felt cheap, and left me feeling manipulated. Yeah, I'll watch it to see what happens, but I'm not invested (see? manipulated! ugh..).

Or maybe better stuff will come on and I won't bother to watch...

-A

P.S. My parents have also been watching the show and when I talked to them about it my mother exclaimed, "What was THAT? An hour of nothing and 5 minutes of cliffhanger!!!?? I'm so done with that show!" Yup, she's refusing to watch next season. Dad, was annoyed, but, like me, will probably watch out of curiosity. :)

Col. Sheppard said...

I'm still troubled about this show. It's not that I don't like it, in fact I did quite enjoy some of the episodes, but I would happily trade the second season for just one more episode of Atlantis.

El Marpla said...

I find SGU to be, if not the best SG, at least much much better than SGA and the last seasons of SG1

Josie Kafka said...

Just finished SGU, and really enjoyed it. I like that it's dark, and sad, and the people do stupid things. And I suspect I'll like the series finale (whenever it happens) more than most, as they've got a pretty clear goal: home to Earth.

Rush and Eli are great, but I felt like there was less Eli in the second half of the season. More Eli, please!

I am not interested in Chloe, either.

I am, however, fascinated by T.J.'s hair. How does she do that? And I don't mean "How does she do that with no curling iron or product?"--I'm not addressing the likelihood of good hair aboard an ancient spaceship. Seriously, how does she get all that hair pinned back so it looks super-short?