Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Stargate Universe: Pain

‘Pain’ was a perfectly serviceable episode featuring “alien ticks” that caused hallucinations and wreaked havoc on some members of the crew. The action was reasonably engaging, but the most interesting aspect of the episode was the light it shed on the psyches of several characters. In particular, I was fascinated by the wide range of emotional states tapped into by the hallucinations --- fear, guilt, grief, anger, paranoia --- and the reactions of each character.

I found James’s and Volker’s visions to be the most disturbing (and the guy attempting to remove snakes from his arms was no picnic either). I knew immediately that the opening sequence was some kind of hallucination or dream, but was still very bothered by James thinking she had murdered Scott in a fit of jealousy. Her reaction was pretty haunting. Poor girl. That horndog really messed her up. Being trapped on the ship with the guy that used you and his new main squeeze has got to be sheer torture. I used to feel bad for poor third wheel Eli, but James has really got it rough. As for Volker, I started gasping for breath a little when he thought he was buried alive. I must be a bit claustrophobic, because that hallucination freaked me out the most.

Like Volker and Snake Guy, Rush also had a fear reaction to the tick. Apparently his greatest fear is that the blue insect aliens will invade the ship and recapture him. Pretty reasonable, given all that he’s been through lately. I liked seeing him physically fighting tooth and nail to survive. He’s usually much lower key, but he almost seemed like a feral animal when fighting against Scott’s rescue team at the end. Intense.

Given how traumatic the alien abduction experience clearly was, I thought it was very interesting that Chloe’s hallucinations were related to her dead father rather than this experience. (Although, from a story-telling perspective, I guess it would have been boring to have two characters basically having the same hallucination.) In some respects, hers was the most fascinating experience because it was so calm and positive. Even though the ticks were presumably stimulating a negative emotion by tapping into her grief, her overall time with her “father” was happy. At least until she had to let him go again. When she opened her eyes after the tick was removed and he was gone, I was actually moved by her silent tears (unlike when her dad actually died).

I found Matt’s visions of his son the least interesting experience, and I wasn’t super jazzed by Greer’s hallucinations either. On the one hand, Greer’s paranoia about the civilians staging another mutiny was a nice nod to character and continuity, but the way it played out felt a bit over-the-top at times. And quite frankly, I was just confused by the sudden vision of his dad telling him to finish off Camille. What? Was that some kind of inner remorse about not letting his dad die in the fire? Or, since his dad was the one who toughened him up, was that supposed to be “the devil on his shoulder” giving him the strength to kill an unarmed civilian pleading for her life? It came out of left field and I just didn’t get it.

Other Thoughts

I was also a bit confused about how much time had passed between this episode and the previous one. When they referenced calling off the search for Franklin, I thought it had probably only been a few days or maybe a week since ‘Sabotage’ and I assumed they were still in the void between galaxies. So I thought the last planet everyone had been on together was the one that the away team initially got trapped on. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why they weren’t checking Eli, Chloe, and Greer for ticks. But apparently it’s been longer than I thought, or it didn’t take as long to cross the void as I expected, because the tick infestation clearly occurred on a recent away mission the audience didn’t see.

I appreciated that the bits with Young, T.J., and the baby were relatively understated. The writers could have made a much bigger deal out of Young’s concern for the baby’s safety, but instead kept it to a few lines of dialogue and T.J.’s acknowledgment that she was as concerned as he was.

Was Rush going to talk to Camille about what went down with Amanda Perry? Why? It didn’t go anywhere, so why even mention it? What would that accomplish except making her uncomfortable? (And how long has it been?)

Final Analysis: A decent episode offering another brief glimpse into the psyches of several characters.

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


  1. They should have called it "Paranoia", not "Pain." :) I liked this one. I've been enjoying this series a lot. Great review, Jess.

  2. I found this one another pathethic waste of 45 minutes. A second-rate "Shades of Grey" (which already was second-rate), without the flashbacks. Oh, and the final explanation: thanks, we're not 5 year-olds. I already guessed what was happening the moment James hit Scott, thank you. Probably that lack of respect for their audience is the reason we're getting bad episode after bad episode.

    Looks like last week was an illusion, then. Bobby Carlyle must not have read a single script before signing up for this. Or the money was really good.

  3. Yeah i would rank the hallucinations the same way. Greer did go over the top at the end.

    They could have explained what's up with crossing between galaxies. Are they in the new galaxy? Did they turn aroud? Some star systems stranded between galaxies? Or maybe this ep aired out of order? Distracting especially with them coming out of FTL at the end.

  4. Well apparently Chloe said: "Welcome to our new galaxy" after they found the 1st tick on Scott. So everything is fine it was just hidden. ;)


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.