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Stargate Universe: Sabotage

Another very enjoyable episode with some tense action and a few nice character beats. I was somewhat apprehensive going into ‘Sabotage,’ because I had heard a bit about the basic premise with Dr. Perry and Camille back before the series even premiered. A lot of folks in the internet community took exception with some of the casting materials that were leaked during production for the episode, and there was quite a hue and cry about the writers being insensitive to both the physically challenged and lesbian communities. At the time, I took a wait and see stance, feeling it wasn’t really fair to cast dispersions or pass judgment on an unfinished product, particularly outside the context of the series as a whole. And now that I’ve seen the episode and the series to date, I think the premature backlash was much ado about nothing. I don’t know if the creative team adjusted the direction of the story after the internet firestorm, but I didn’t see anything here that should cause massive offense to anyone. In fact, my biggest beef with the episode is the seeming ease with which they resolved last week’s massive cliffhanger.

My initial reaction to Scott, Chloe, and Eli walking through the gate was “Are you freaking kidding me?!” Last week, those three were left in such a dire situation that there seemed to be no way out of it, and the writers chose to solve it by having them just stroll through the gate and say, “What do you mean, you weren’t expecting to see us? Didn’t you guys figure out a way for us to dial in?” What?! What a cop out.

However, during the commercial break, my husband and I quickly sussed out that this was somehow related to our friends, the insect aliens. When the FTL drive exploded, we immediately suspected that Lt. James had sabotaged it while under alien control because she was the last one to use the stones before Camille and she had that dazed, “how did I get here?” look while standing in the corridor right before the explosion. It made total sense to us that if (1) the aliens were so hell bent on getting onto the Destiny, and (2) they were tracking its course and knew it was about to leave the galaxy, that they'd be looking for an opportunity to stop it. Sure, it was convenient timing that allowed it all to happen while Destiny was still within range of the planet the away team was trapped on, but the aliens would want to move as quickly as possible so that they could catch up. So I’m willing to let the convenience factor slide. For the most part. The miraculous rescue does still strike me as a bit of a cop out.

As for the other main plot --- Camille switching bodies with a woman who had been quadriplegic since she was 9-years-old --- I thought the writers and the actress, Kathleen Munroe, did a nice job exploring Dr. Perry’s experience in a mobile body. The moment with the food was a nice touch, and I really appreciated the smaller beats like the way she held her hands in the air when she first arrived. Like she didn’t know what to do with them. The conversation between Rush and Perry about the experience being a dream come true for her and the sadness in her eyes when she acknowledges that she’ll have to “wake up” when the ship is fixed was quite poignant. On the other hand, I did not care for her attempts to seduce Rush. I can certainly understand her desire to experience sex with someone she cared about, but I thought it was terribly selfish of her. She’ll get to have her once in a lifetime experience, but then Wray and Rush have to continue working and living together, and this definitely struck me as an activity that would “impact negatively on relationships between personnel on the ship” (see MGM’s “Kino Diary 23” on the restrictions Earth personnel agree to when swapping bodies with Destiny’s crew). I was immensely relieved when he turned her down.

At the same time, I’m somewhat disturbed that Rush’s primary reason for turning her down wasn’t “It would be inappropriate for me to have intercourse with Camille’s body even though a willing partner is occupying it.” It’s one thing for the Earth volunteers to consent to their bodies being used sexually with someone they’ll likely never encounter again, but on the Destiny end, that kind of behavior seems like a sure way to negatively affect personnel relationships. I did think his emotional state after reliving his wife’s death had great emotional continuity and Carlyle completely sold the moment, but I was bothered that it seemed he would have done the deed if not for that recent experience. All that said, I was rather touched by the way Amanda responded to being turned down with a hug of comfort.

While they did well showing us Dr. Perry’s experience, I do wish they had explored Camille’s experience a bit more. We saw a bit of what she was going through, but little of what we saw focused on the emotional impact for Camille, except for the “you’re late, I thought you were in an accident” scene. Perhaps they’ll get to the emotional fallout more in future episodes.

Other Thoughts

Lt. James had some better material this week. Her inability to stay in Amanda’s body gave a nice counterpoint to what Camille was going through and how hard it would be for Amanda to go back. In particular, I found her interactions with Franklin a fascinating way to explore her guilt over not being able to handle Amanda’s situation. I also liked the scene in which James practically ran out of the cafeteria upon seeing Amanda. I can only imagine how much shame she was feeling and how awful it would have been to face Amanda.

So what the heck happened to Franklin? My husband thinks he ascended. So much for being able to control the ship now!

They brought the robot discovered during ‘Faith’ back into play. I knew that thing would show up again at some point. It was kind of neat looking.

Brody building the still? Genius! We got a good chuckle out of the ladies throwing down some sample shots.

People calling Rush “Nick” and “Nicholas”? Still weird.

Chloe getting kidnapped proved useful again (?!), as she was able to help Lt. James figure out what had happened to her in time for the crew to prepare for the oncoming attack.

Final Analysis: ‘Sabotage’ was a strong episode despite the “quick fix” rescue for the away team. Dr. Perry’s story was interesting and gave us the opportunity to explore several other characters. Aspects of ‘Sabotage’ were a bit predictable (or at least easy to figure out), but that didn’t make it any less engaging to watch.

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


  1. Finally!. A decent episode, with a decent new character and a decent intriguing (if a bit Deus Ex Machiney) ending!. There's still a tiny glimmer of hope for SG:U!.

    Yeah, I'm not talking about the "what, you were not expecting us?. oh, look, you're not dead, that's so nice!". I'm starting to delete all that has Scott or Chloe on screen anyway.

  2. I liked this one, too. Camille had serious courage and great love, volunteering for such a tough detail just to be with her honey. I don't know if I'd have that kind of courage. Dr. Perry was something of a stereotype -- the happy zen-like disabled person -- but I still liked that they actually even addressed a situation as complicated as this one.

    Yes, it might have made things uncomfortable between Rush and Camille, but Rush was Perry's friend and I thought he should have given Perry anything she wanted, including sex. She will probably never have another opportunity and after all, Camille did give her permission. Rush could have just kept quiet about it.

    (I actually got the feeling a few times that Camille was going to die in Perry's body and we were going to get Perry in Camille's body permanently.)

    The three castaways showing up out of nowhere was a situation too easily resolved, but I didn't mind too much because it was so unexpected. Surprise! We're home! Franklin's disappearance was interesting, too.

  3. Just watched it and i reacted just like you Jess to the missing trio coming back on board. First a bit dissapointed but then it made sense. But on the other hand it's the 2nd easy solution the aliens provided. (first Rush now this) But we are problaby headed for a new galaxy so unless these aliens can travel between galaxies it should be the end of them.

    They also finally payed off Franklins experience in the chair in a very nice ending. Ascension is nice guess but how about being fused with the ship somehow? Now Destiny would have a personality. But no android avatars please. Damn i just remembered watching Andromeda. That was one awful sci-fi show.

    As for the unfortunate implications concerning disabilities there were none. Which is a sharp contrast to the most recent Glee episode.

    Oh and i read that in the Ukraine all eps have already been shown and you can actually see the end of ep 20 on youtube. Time to stay away from anything involving SGU until the finale airs apart from this site that is.

  4. I would like to exchange links with your site billiedoux.blogspot.com
    Is this possible?


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