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Stargate Universe: Aftermath

When Rush finally uncovers the key to controlling Destiny, his paranoid insistence on keeping the secret to himself while trying to guide the crew to desperately needed supplies, leads to disaster. Meanwhile, Young and Wray debate what to do with the Lucian Alliance prisoners.

Well, that was gut-wrenching. I’m so sad that, after all the close calls, we actually lost Riley. What a drawn out and devastating loss. When the ship was headed down to the planet, my husband jokingly asked if there was a red shirt in the crew, and I noted that even though they were all familiar faces, poor Riley seemed to have a target on his back. Then the shuttle crashed ... then he couldn’t feel his legs ... then T.J.’s gloved hand was covered in blood, and I realized that, this time, Riley wasn’t going to make it back to Destiny. Still, I thought he’d slip away peacefully, while T.J. talked to him and held his hand. I never expected the agonizing scene of Colonel Young ending his life in that fashion.

Such a powerful sequence, and so well played by Louis Ferreira and Haig Sutherland. I’m getting a bit choked up just thinking about it. Kudos to the creative and production teams for keeping the moment relatively dialogue and sound free. Just Riley begging “No ... please,” and then silence until Young let out that painful gasp. I think I was holding my breath through the scene, too. I certainly shed a number of tears. RIP, Riley. You will be missed.

Sad as I am to see Riley go, it was high time the writers killed off a semi-regular the audience had become invested in. The death of T.J.’s baby certainly conveyed the seriousness of the threat presented by the Destiny crew’s circumstances, but I think the stakes needed to be raised further and Riley’s death accomplished that. I don’t expect the writers will start offing regular cast members any time soon, but the jeopardy suddenly seems much more real for the secondary characters at least. Plus, Rush’s role in Riley’s demise darkens him up a bit more and puts a nice little twist on the conflict between him and Young. The two may not yet realize that they each bear responsibility for this man’s death, but I’m sure that fact will come to light at a convenient later date.

Speaking of Colonel Young, I’m actually starting to feel a bit bad for him. I don’t think the man is all that great a commander, but the hits just keep on coming for him, and it is clearly starting to take its toll. Losing the ship during the incursion, only to have it saved by Rush, was likely tough enough. Then to learn that T.J. lost the baby ... By the end of last week’s episode he was already drowning his sorrows in excessive drink. Now he’s drinking on duty and having his command actively undermined by Camille and Telford. And to top it all off, he had to take the life of a man under his command, with his own bare hands. At this point, I’m not sure when --- or if --- he’s going to be able to crawl out of the bottle.

Other Thoughts

Rush is having nightmares about being tortured by Kiva and the Alliance. Certainly helps to explain why he’d want to keep Destiny’s secrets to himself. Like Park, he’s not able to sleep “knowing there’s a room full of people on this ship who would kill [him] first chance they got.” And he apparently blames Young for not making the hard choices to keep the ship out of Alliance hands.

Julie McNiven kindly explained why the Lucian Alliance is so interested in Destiny. Apparently there’s an Ancient legend that said the Destiny address “led to great understanding” and could “make you as powerful as the gods.” She assumes it means Destiny could have “godlike” powers to control time and space. Also, we got a little bit more backstory on her to make her more sympathetic when the remaining Alliance members start mingling with the Destiny crew.

I was kind of confused for awhile about Telford’s status. At first, it seemed as though he was continuing to play the Alliance-sympathetic traitor. But then he stopped Young from killing the Alliance soldier during the riot. Did that blow his cover, or was he never pretending to be on the Alliance side? I guess it doesn’t matter, because he’s clearly on the Earth side now since he was free to chat up Stargate Command via the communication stones and threaten to take over the ship if Young doesn’t do as he’s told.

Very cool to see Franklin again. The hubby and I are speculating that Rush really did see Franklin. We still think he’s become one with the ship. Gloria (functioning as Rush’s conscience, ironically) said, “Who’s that?” when Rush mentioned Franklin, which made me think that the two were very different manifestations. Plus, Franklin guided him towards actual answers, whereas Gloria just questioned his motives and choices and gave him accusing looks.

I think Louise Lombard (Gloria) must be pregnant. She looked heavier in the face, and all the shots of her were framed to obscure her tummy area.

That crash sequence was really intense! I could feel myself tensing in my seat as the shuttle slid towards the mountain. By the way, are they down two shuttles now? Or do they still have the broken one that Chloe’s dad died in?

No Chloe this week, except in that brief scene comforting Scott. Not that I’m complaining.

James: “Try not to panic.”
Eli: “Experience tells me this is a very good time to panic!”

I can’t decide if I liked the scene where T.J. confided to Riley about her experience on the ‘Faith’ planet. Why put into dialogue things we could have already surmised from her final scene in front of the observation window last week? It’s good that she was able to share her feelings with someone, but it felt unnecessary to spell out what was so beautifully communicated without words in ‘Intervention.’ Sigh. At the very least, I suppose it is interesting to learn that she’s still not quite sure what she experienced and is choosing to cling to the small shred of hope, even if she’s not wholly convinced it is real.

So, about that last shot … I wasn’t quite sure if that was a glimpse of Destiny closing in on whatever they were heading straight for, or if they just stumbled across (with Rush’s assistance) another Destiny-class ship. I think it was that latter, albeit one that’s been through the wringer. Is this some version of Destiny from the future, or another, earlier ship sent on the same mission as Destiny? I’m hoping it’s the latter and that it leads to a better understanding of Destiny’s purpose.

Riley: “How we treat prisoners of war says everything about us as a moral and civil society.”
Eli (smirking): “Which pamphlet did you get that from?”
Riley (earnestly): “It’s what I believe.”

Final Analysis: A strong, emotional episode with some surprising discoveries setting the stage for next week.

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

8 comments:

  1. Jess, this episode got to me, too. It's the first time SGU made me cry. I felt so bad for Young.

    I thought TJ told Riley about the planet because Riley might end up there with the baby. Was I off base with that one?

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  2. No, that's entirely possible. I got the impression she just thought that was the appropriate time to share, since he was asking what she believed. But maybe she opened up to him because she was hoping he'd be joining the baby. Somewhere safe.

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  3. This was the first time I felt that this show was actually taking risks. They have skirted the edges of well... edginess. But never fully managed to make it into gritty territory.

    Most of the time, we have had melodrama, with some lasting repercussions. Which is nice on a Stargate show, but not quite enough. The scene with Young and Riley was simply awesome. It brought me to tears because they didn't, for once, pull their punches.

    I wasn't all that emotionally invested in Riley. I thought he was a good character, and we got a chance to know him a little. But this was really about Young, and pushing him to even further depths.

    Compared to our former Stargate series leads, Young and Rush are so flawed. It is refreshing to see this set of characters grow, yes even Chloe. I hope this show gets a chance to really tell the story it seems to be telling. I just hope it's worth the time invested in it.

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  4. Hi guys,
    Just a bit confused, did they leave some of the Alliance people on that planet where the shuttle crashed or are they all still on Destiny?

    Also, when they dialed out from Destiny to the gate on the planet I thought it was only possible to travel one way through the Stargate i.e. from Destiny to the planet?? Yet, and I could be wrong here, I was sure Scott and the others came through from the planet to Destiny?? Maybe I missed it but they could have dialed out from the planet to Destiny, then it would have made sense?

    Cheers,
    M

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  5. Anonymous, great thoughts and well put. I, too, hope they get the chance to tell the story they are trying to tell. Ratings were even worse this week. I guess we'll see how the DVR ratings look in a couple weeks. I don't know how much the "DVR popularity" factors into cable programming decisions.

    Mark, they did offload most of the Lucian Alliance folks onto the planet with the crashed shuttle. They just kept the few that Stargate Command deemed strategic assets given the situation on the homefront (including Varro, Robert Knepper, and Julie McNiven, among others).

    As for the gate thing, I also was totally confused by that first time through. On second watch, I saw that the gate was rumbling as Destiny tried to dial in, which tipped Eli to check his remote. When he saw that Destiny was an available address, he said, "I'm going to try to dial" and everyone cleared the event horizon. Then he established the connection and it started dialing from the planet side. So no inconsistency!

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  6. After the Lucian Alliance thing, can anyone explain why Young is still in command?. They should have abandoned him in the planet as well.

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  7. It was agonising watching as Young euthanized Riley. I thought for sure they’d cut away at some point but they never did. A gut-wrenching episode for sure.

    Shame the ratings are still slipping. Typical, a show starts to get really good and then suddenly, BANG, it’s cancelled.

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  8. I suspect Young is still in charge because they don't have any real alternatives. I doubt they'd want to put Wray, a civilian, in command. Scott is second in command, but he's even less capable of running the show than Young. And Telford's a traitor. Sure it was on account of brainwashing, but they probably aren't entirely sure they can trust him at this point. I doubt they'd throw their support behind Telford unless things with Young become absolutely untenable. Which, given the downward spiral he's on, could happen soon.

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