Stargate Universe: Subversion

‘Subversion’ takes the story arc in some unexpected directions and leaves us with a pretty intense cliffhanger for the next two weeks (no new episode next week due to Memorial Day weekend). Plus, the detour into 24 territory presented some compelling issues to ponder and debate.

Reintroducing the Lucian Alliance as an enemy was a surprising choice. I never really bought into them as a serious threat in the latter seasons of SG-1. They seemed largely incompetent and were so mercenary and factionalized that they didn’t present much of a challenge for Stargate Command and their allies. Perhaps fading memories are playing tricks on me, but the attack in the premiere of SGU is the first time that I remember the Alliance actually seeming dangerous.

Even with the Alliance now appearing to be a more viable threat, I never expected an old Milky Way enemy to become the chief antagonist for Destiny as the season winds down. Given how far they are from home, I always assumed the threats would come from within and from previously unknown enemies. I can’t decide if this is a bold choice or just lazy writing. At the moment, I’m leaning towards the former.

I’m guessing we aren’t supposed to sympathize with Telford or Kiva. They were painted pretty starkly as the TRAITOR and the EVIL ENEMY. But, still, I thought Telford made some compelling arguments when he finally revealed his true colors. In the Stargate ‘verse we’ve come to know over the years, Stargate Command pretty much behaves exactly as he said. They come in, they upend the status quo, they take the technology and resources they want, and then they go back home, typically leaving the local populace to sort out the mess left behind. Even though our forces often took out “evil overlords” that were terrorizing and enslaving the population, the resulting power vacuum created a volatile situation that either we can’t or didn’t bother to help stabilize. (Kind of hard not to notice some real world parallels here.) Is it any wonder that those struggling to survive would want to get their hands on technology that could possibly benefit them?

I also thought Camille’s thread in the episode gave us some great food for thought. I know a lot of viewers think she’s an annoying bitch, but think about how this situation must look to her. She sees the military keeping secrets and basically torturing a civilian who just happens to be occupied by traitorous military personnel. The crew agrees to a lot when they use the stones, but being tortured and possibly murdered by your own people? In this particular case, maybe Rush did sign up for that, given what he was planning to do on the other end. But with the limited information she has, it’s probably hard to see that from Camille’s vantage point. It is perfectly understandable that she, Eli, Volker, and Brody would be so upset. Even Scott has some serious reservations. Plus, they kind of need Rush.

Other Thoughts

Is there really any question about whether Rush will survive? Didn't think so. It would be shocking indeed if they killed off one of their most compelling characters. If someone's going to die, my money's on Telford. I'm sensing some kind of technological quirk will save Rush.

As noted before, I always love to see Daniel Jackson, but I thought it was completely ridiculous that they sent him to tail Rush. Daniel? Seriously? You’re telling me Stargate Command didn’t have someone better qualified for a covert surveillance mission?

Of course, Daniel as the tail was only slightly more ridiculous than Rush doing counterintelligence. But who else could Young have sent? Certainly not Scott. At least Rush is capable of deception. Plus, I suspect Scott would’ve cracked under torture way before Rush did.

I like the introduction of Kiva. She’s a different kind of woman for this series: a brutal survivalist, who will do absolutely anything to get what she wants and doesn’t abide failure. A “reasonable person just trying to do what’s right for [her] people.” Camille and Rush are about to get schooled on what it really takes to make a power grab.

I recognized Kiva’s second in command, and couldn’t figure out if it was because the character had shown up previously in the Stargate ‘verse or if I just recognized the actor. A quick check of IMDB shows that he did play a role in a Season 5 episode of Stargate Atlantis that featured Dr. Keller, but this isn’t the same character. I think I actually recognize him from is his role on Battlestar Galactica as Gage, one of the Pegasus crewmen involved in some of the uglier stuff that went down in Season 2.

It is interesting that the residual memories thing only happens with Telford. Was he brainwashed, or did he just find himself sympathizing with the enemy he was assigned to infiltrate?

I kind of enjoyed the baby shower. I thought it was really sweet that the crew would make the effort to give T.J. a “normal” expectant mom experience. The whole situation must be so emotionally devastating for her, given that Destiny has got to be one of the last places you’d want to raise a child. So it was really nice to see everyone trying to support her as best they could. Plus, I really liked Riley’s truck.

I loved seeing Daniel and Jack together in Jack’s office. Jack basically giving Young permission to torture Telford and Daniel objecting was so perfectly in character for those two. It was a serious issue, but the beat made me smile.

I also couldn’t help but laugh at Jack declaring he knew why he was special and Telford’s reaction shot.

Final Analysis: Another strong episode with some surprising turns and interesting points of contention. The end of the first season is shaping up to be quite intense.

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

2 comments:

Patryk said...

So that's why they kept quiet about Telford for 8 episodes. To tie him into the saeson ending. Nice. So the titular incursion will be by the Lucian Aliance not the blue aliens.

Of course they may be unforseen plot twist, but it's a nice development if they'll keep the threat of the Lucians limited to the finale and maybe beginning of season 2.

Joseph said...

I just thought it would be interesting if they did gain access to an Icarus planet. Even with such a planet, they could only send things to Destiny. They still would have no way to get home.