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Stargate Universe: Earth

Hmmm... Stuff to like in this one, and stuff to intensely dislike. I don’t quite know where to begin. Let’s try the positive.

It was nice to see them attempting something bold to get everyone back home. The idea to dial the gate while recharging in a star made perfect sense, and I’m glad they put it out there and explored the possible dangers associated with that plan. Was it really doomed to failure, or did Rush simply sabotage the effort because he doesn’t want to go home? I’d say both are equally likely. Guess time and Eli will tell.

I really enjoyed the sequence when they tried to put the plan into action. Clearly, for overall plot reasons, it wasn’t going to work and the ship wasn’t going to blow up. But I wasn’t sure what the heck was going to happen, and I had a feeling it would be something terrible. Kudos to the writers for managing to wring some tension out of that whole situation.

I also liked Camille’s brief scene with Morris O’Brian from 24 (Carlo Rota). She’s pretty bold and has some interesting shades of grey. Kind of like Rush. Some viewers seem to find her an annoying, power-hungry bureaucrat, but I think she’s very interesting. She’s certainly concerned with career advancement (as are most people), but she’s shrewd enough to realize the practical realities of their situation on Destiny. I liked that even though she seemingly went along with her Earth superiors by supporting the “experiment,” she also went to Rush to try to ensure everyone’s survival.

As for the rest of the episode, … I’ve always been a bit skeezed out by the communication stones, and this episode really highlighted some of the seriously negative aspects of these devices. I was absolutely appalled when Col. Young and his wife decided to “kiss and make up” when his consciousness was in another man’s body. The way that scene played out only served to underscore the incredible awkwardness and inappropriateness of such action. Is there some kind of tacit agreement that using the stones means you consent to allow whoever inhabits your body to do whatever the hell they want with it? Are there warnings or disclaimers when you arrive? What if Chloe was inhabiting an alcoholic when she went out and got ragingly drunk? What if his ‘host’ is diabetic and Eli goes on a homemade chocolate chip cookie-eating binge? What if Eli had been driving when the glitch occurred and they were suddenly in their own bodies again? A serious accident could have occurred. Quite frankly, I think it is entirely inappropriate that people are allowed to leave the Pentagon and go around cavorting in other people’s bodies. Sure it makes for some interesting story possibilities, but there are serious ethical and moral problems with the situation, and I’d like to see them addressed more directly.

Speaking of morals, I was very, very disappointed in Col. Young this week. I think he’s a fine commander (head and shoulders above Telford) and basically a good man, but he is a terrible husband. The episode starts out with him having a racy dream about T.J. --- with whom they finally confirmed he had a past affair --- then, first chance he gets, he’s stalking his estranged wife, proclaiming his undying love, and begging her forgiveness. An incredibly selfish and unreasonable thing to ask of her given the circumstances. I was so upset when she opened the door to let him back in.

I will give the writers credit for making this week’s obligatory sex scene actually relate to the plot. Given both the mid-coitus glitch and the closing scene, the sex actually felt like more than gratuitous “edginess” this week. I’m wondering if Telford’s arrival at Emily’s house means the writers are going to deal with the body swap fallout, or if he is just attempting to mess with Young. Or maybe Telford and Emily had a relationship prior to this “encounter.” It might explain her willingness to hop into bed with her hubby despite him being in a different body. Hmmm...

In other gripes: why so much Chloe?! So far, she has been completely useless. About the only positive thing I can say for her at this point is that she seems to recognize her complete uselessness, which makes her slightly less irritating. I wonder if I would dislike her so much if the writers didn’t seem so blindly enamored with her. Maybe in smaller doses, I wouldn’t mind her. But as things are, I like her less and less every week. Writers, please spend some time on your underdeveloped characters and stop shoving the poor, little rich girl down our throats! We barely saw Greer and T.J. this week, and yet we had to watch Chloe go all Dawson’s Creek over an ex and have another meltdown about her father. Enough!

Other Thoughts

Telford is a world-class a**. As soon as he arrived on the scene, he immediately made me start rooting for Rush. And Rush is such a tricky, slippery little devil, that I don’t know if I should be rooting for him.

I hope that Riley is makes it. We were just getting to know him. He seems pretty smart and capable (he came up with the battery recharger). They desperately need people like him if they are going to survive, much less get home.

I could have done without the extended shots of the performer at the club. It felt like either filler or advertising for the artist.

I’m extremely relieved that the Chloe-Eli kiss was all in his head. I take back my seriously uncharitable thoughts about Chloe in that moment. Although I still wanted to smack her when she laid the “You’re a good friend” line on him. Sigh. Eli, you can do better.

Good to see Richard Dean Anderson again. I liked his scenes with Col. Young. Especially when he went on the tear about Carter always pulling his butt out of the fire with technology he didn’t understand. So true.

Final Analysis: There were some moments to enjoy, but for the most part ‘Earth’ just irritated and disturbed me. It wasn’t badly written or executed, but the moral/ethical quandaries surrounding the whole body-switching business really bother me and need to be addressed. At least it gives us food for thought and debate in the meantime. But for goodness sake, enough Chloe!

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

7 comments:

  1. The things you mentioned occurred to me too, Jess -- the sex and the cookies and having an accident in someone else's body. It would make a lot more sense if using the stones was restricted to sitting at a conference table and exchanging information, or if they had two guards with them at every moment for brief periods of time.

    The things I liked most were the Destiny crew wanting Young back in charge, and how we still don't know what Rush is up to.

    And I'm still intrigued by this series and interested in what happens. I always DVR it, but then I watch it almost immediately. That wasn't happening with Atlantis; I'd DVR it and it would sit there for days. They're doing something right.

    Thanks for another spot-on review, Jess.

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  2. Lots to dislike here, I agree. Two things over the rest for me:

    - The sex, Telford with Young's wife. What an irresponsible thing to do. What if she gets pregnant (we know that can happen, probability is a bitch)?. What if any of them has an STD?. And that, appart of the lack of respect for Telford's body. Even if I think he's a bastard that deserves it.

    - O'Neill. Not giving Young the time to ask was SO not O'Neill. And I hate that RDA has let himself go so much. He's not that old to have such an spherical head. Work out a bit, Richard!.

    Last two eps have been a bit meh. Here's hoping the next one is better. Sadly, Brad Wright has been doing the Berman & Braga works for some time and should be let go, but I don't have much hope there.

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  3. I'm not sure how much RDA has just let himself go. I believe he had a medical issue and required surgery some time ago. I have no idea what the issue was, but it could be a contributing factor to his current physical condition. I actually think he looks in much better shape than he did not too long ago.

    I definitely agree that O'Neill not giving Young the time to check in with his crew seemed a bit out of character. He must have been getting some pressure from above. He did seem to come back around in the end by overriding the IOA guy and letting the communication that Young wanted continue.

    Although I don't know if continuing to allow communication through the stones is a good idea. Maybe if folks are restricted to the Pentagon with guards as Billie suggests. :)

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  4. I have no problem with Chloe's story, I find her compelling mostly because she is a useless observer. SG1 and Atlantis really missed that and when they tried it was forced. Same for Eli when he is not calculating anything.

    The irresponsible body switching, because of all those things said above who are absolutely correct, seems logical to me. Have you ever known a government that makes rules before something bad happens. Most of the time only when someone gets hurt the bureaucracy - and this is a bureaucratic issue - rush to action. Again something completely different then the former series, the most logical paths are not always the ones taken.

    I must say I am beginning to really like this show, even though I find it slow and somewhat restrained. With very little effort there could have been much more intrigue and conflict. I find it hard to believe that most of the untrained ppl there will outright agree with either commander. I expect some to side with Rush and that the dissatisfaction would begin to show its tones by now.

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  5. I’m with Jess on the whole Chloe front. The character is being used way too much. I could tolerate her if she was just simply useless but she’s also extremely annoying as this episode demonstrated with her moody teen drama antics. I know it’s harsh but if anyone deserves to be Tasha Yared it’s her.

    Okay, rant over.

    Chloe aside I enjoyed this episode. Liked Eli going home to see his mum and Rush’s scheme to get rid of Telford and his cronies. Nice to see Camille get some development but T.J. and Greer do need more screen time. Young reconnecting with wife via Telford was a little awkward but worth it for the look Telford’s face when he suddenly and unexpectedly found out what Young was doing with his body.

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  6. I may have the dissenting opinion, but I actually like Chloe. She isn't a superstar, and she doesn't know what she is doing. She is young and under the shadow of her father and exploring her growth could be really fascinating. At the moment she is really useless, but she has potential and in an arc series like this that is a very important factor.

    WhyMe brought up a very valid point, rules generally aren't created until something bad happens for the first time. Although from a logical and ethical point of view it makes complete sense to prohibit certain activities. But at the same time what occurs off screen should be considered. For example; if one of them was diabetic, the swappee would likely be informed of such information.

    The sex... well hormones are hormones, and I thought it was something that was interesting to explore. I like that they are thinking of those kind of things and are developing the characters. That being said it does feel like they are being little slow to unravel things. Seven episodes in and we barely know the main cast.

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  7. Damn, didn't know that RDA was ill, now I feel extra bad :(

    Thought that he left only because he wanted to spend more time with his daughter.

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