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Stargate Universe: Malice

... in which Rush must face the “unforeseeable consequences” of his actions of late, while much of Destiny’s crew struggles to cope in the wake of tragedy.

‘Malice’ had an insanely tense first 20 minutes or so. My pulse was pounding and my heart was in my throat pretty much until Scott’s team arrived on the planet. Unfortunately, after a rousing start, the episode quickly bogged down in the emotional fallout from Simeon’s violent exodus. I don’t object to the idea of exploring the psychological trauma of this latest event, and I quite liked several of the individual beats along the way (Rush’s breakdown, Scott providing him comfort, Volker and Park shakily returning to duty, and especially Colonel Young’s frank talk with Eli). I just felt far too much time was spent trekking through desolate landscape and shooting at rocks, accompanied by an overly dramatic “Spaghetti Western”-style score. These interludes completely sapped the episode of its intensity and traded emotional resonance for occasionally cheesy “action” shots. The end result, for me, is that the whole wasn’t able to live up to the promise of the opening moments.

That said, I did like Rush’s strategy for taking out Simeon with a stampede. As soon as he saw the herd, I knew that’s where it was going, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable to witness. I also got a fair amount of visceral satisfaction from Rush finishing him off with a head shot. The writers attempted to leave us wondering whether this action, too, will result in tragic consequences for those on Earth, but I’m not buying it. Despite Simeon’s dying claim that he had “information,” he was NOT going to give up the goods. We repeatedly heard that there was little to no chance Simeon was going to tell them what they wanted to know, and if it wasn’t really a question in the characters’ minds, why should it be a question in ours? Especially when we know he spent his entire time as a prisoner feeding the SGC false information. Simeon was a very dangerous man who was just stalling for time, and I think Rush did the right thing by ending him. (Plus, by that point, Rush probably assumed it was too late to get him back to the ship, so why not exact his revenge?)

Other Thoughts

I liked how Rush’s crushing grief crept up on him while they were walking, after the shock and the initial adrenaline rush wore off. I especially liked how he tried to hold it together, but just couldn’t. It felt very authentic. Kudos to Robert Carlyle. (And congrats to him for his recent Gemini Award win as Best Actor for his work in last season’s ‘Human.’)

I was really impressed by Park’s terrified bravery as Rush was attempting to defuse the bomb, particularly after he told her he couldn’t. “It’s okay. It’s okay. Get out of here. It’s okay.” She often comes across as brainy, but flighty, and I was glad to see this "tough" side to her.

Pissy, grief-fueled Eli was an interesting change of pace, particularly in his confrontation with Young. As noted earlier, I thought this was a very strong moment, and I was quite moved by Young’s response to Eli’s desire for vengeance. “This is not something that is in you, and that’s not something you should be ashamed of. Now listen to me --- killing someone, no matter how much you think they deserve it, is gonna change you.”

I loved that the bridge crew was completely freaked out by the notion of Chloe’s help. How can they be sure she’s actually helping and not being influenced by her alien programming to create a subroutine that could sabotage the ship? For the time being, it seems that she did help, but, like Eli, I’m still very concerned about unanticipated consequences down the line.

The positioning of Ginn’s corpse when Rush first discovered her was incredibly eerie. Julie McNiven’s eyes really looked empty and lifeless.

Hell of a casualty rate this week. We lost Ginn, Dr. Perry, Michaels, and Henderson, and Dunning, Grahme, Lohido (?), Greer, James, and several others on the planet were shot or otherwise injured.

I’m disappointed the role of Simeon didn’t really give Robert Knepper a chance to shine. He had very little dialogue in most of his episodes and primarily just lurked in hallways or behind rocks looking menacing and psychotic. He can deliver on so many more levels; I wish we could have seen it here.

Scott’s confession that he understood why Rush kept the secret about cracking Destiny’s command code from Colonel Young felt very believable, but I’m not sure I’m buying that he’d be so willing to jump on the “completing Destiny’s mission may be our best chance at getting home” train.

It was good to see Varro again, however briefly. I hope we get to see more of him soon. Especially since he’s the only named Lucian Alliance member we’ve got left.

Wray didn’t appear in this episode at all, did she? Kind of weird that she wouldn’t get any face time in the wake of Ginn’s murder considering her role as liaison.

Rush (derisively): “It’s existence defies the very laws of physics. Is it a message from God, the Almighty, creator of the Universe, as I’m sure you would like to believe? Well, I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?”

Greer (re: the local fauna): “Is it something we can barbeque?”

Scott: “Eli said there may still be unforeseeable consequences as a result.”
Rush: “Well, there always are, aren’t there?”

Final Analysis: A reasonably solid episode, even though it wasn’t able to sustain the intensity of the first third. But I really could have done without the heavy-handed Western overtones.

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


  1. Quick heads-up: The review for next week's episode 'Visitation' is going to be very late. I'll be traveling for Thanksgiving and likely won't be able to see the episode until Sunday evening. I hope to get the review posted before the mid-season finale on 11/30.

  2. This episode made me realize how much I like Rush as a character. He's a complicated, brilliant, irritating, egotistical and interesting man, and Robert Carlyle does such a good job with him.

    Like you, I saw it coming, but I absolutely loved the stampede. And Greer's line, "Is it something we can barbecue?" I didn't expect to lose Robert Knepper so soon, but he did accomplish something specific. He was a very believable menace, and we weren't expecting him to bite the dust, making the head shot a surprise. And I was bummed that we lost two female guest stars that I liked a lot.

    Have a terrific Thanksgiving, Jess, and travel safely!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. So Brad Wright squandered both Knepper and McNiven.

    And again, we saw how unfit Young is for command.

    And again, in Wright's world, we see that military personnel are binary people: depending on the episode they'll be elite warriors or complete morons.

    SG:U as usual.

  5. And once again we see how important it is what you say when someone holds a gun to your face.

    If you say something like: "go on, shoot me! SHOOT ME!" they'll never shoot you. But if you dare say something to the extend of "don't shoot me, I can help you." you're as good as dead.

    (Warning: works only in movies/tv shows. Does not apply to real life!)

  6. Just a quick comment here - I agree that the first part of the episode had an intensity that wasn't paid off by the end of it, but that it was still a very solid episode overall. Personally, I would have liked to see (and actually expected) Simeon to take all that weaponry he gathered up and go into hiding aboard the Destiny, either just for that episode or in a longer arc. I guess the problem with that though is they'd already set up he wasn't going to leave many survivors if he stuck around longer, killing and injuring several people in his first few minutes, and the Destiny doesn't really have the crew (or cast) to suffer through that for very long. But yeah, I was really expecting a bit of cat-and-mouse, guerilla fighting from him, in the dark aboard the ship - not the Western shootout, that had its moments, but didn't match the first part of the episode.

    Real shame about losing both Perry and Ginn, though it was certainly one way to hurt both Rush and Eli with the 'same' death. I'm going to be interested to see how both act in coming episodes.

  7. I'm confused! When someone uses the stones to switch places with someone on Earth, and the switch-ee (or switch-or? ) is murdered, either on Earth or on Destiny; are both of the people killed or not? Ginn was murdered. It would seem as though either Ginn came back to her body at the moment of death and Perry came back to her body-alive, or Perry, in the body of Ginn, died and Ginn was stuck on Earth in the body of Perry. (I hope I've gotten the character's names straight!)

  8. Both Dr. Perry and Ginn died, as confirmed by Lt. James' return visit to Earth. So now we know for certain that if one of the switch-ees dies, the other switch-ee also dies.


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