Stargate Universe: Resurgence

... in which the crew takes Destiny “off-road” to explore a strange energy signature and discovers a debris graveyard from an earlier space battle.

Wow! What a tense, exciting, and action-packed hour! After waiting all season, we finally got not one, but two actual space battles. Involving multiple alien races! With the crew working together on Destiny’s bridge and Young in the command chair! And a decent cliffhanger! I can’t wait to see what comes next. Woo hoo!

OK, enough with the overexcited gushing. In case you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed the mid-season finale. In addition to being edge-of-your-seat entertaining for most of the hour, I thought it nicely brought most of the season’s threads together, while still taking the story into uncharted territory. Chloe’s transformation, the crew’s efforts to control Destiny, and the return of Telford and the pod aliens were front and center, but we also got several nice callbacks to the developing friendship between Camille and Eli, T.J.’s ongoing struggle to cope with the loss of her child, and the impact of the losses they’ve suffered in the last month or so, especially on Eli.

Probably the only element I wasn’t overly thrilled with was the material with Varro and T.J. Actually, I did like their material --- it was great to see Varro again, and I'm intrigued by the bond he’s developing with T.J. --- but it largely served as a reminder that the Lucian Alliance arc didn’t really amount to much this season. They brought Telford to the far side of the Universe, got T.J.’s baby killed, gave us our first tease about Destiny’s purpose, briefly let Eli get the girl, and racked up a sizable body count, but otherwise what has their presence really meant for the story? After the initial incursion, most of the Alliance folks were left behind on a planet. Of those that remained, Ginn and Simeon were both killed off before they had much development, and Varro spent the better part of the season sitting in his quarters, begging to help. Does Varro still have some larger role to play? If the Alliance attacks Earth will he become important? I’d like to see more with him, and hope that the Alliance becomes important to the story again.

On the flip side, the ongoing plot thread that has worked surprisingly well for me this season is Chloe’s slow conversion, and this episode really kicked things into high gear on that front (aside from her sad scene sending Scott away, which felt a bit same old, same old). Her physical transformation may not yet be complete, but she sure is scary and badass now. I loved her letting out her inner Terminator and taking down the guard. (Even the music refrain as she walked down the corridors was Terminator-esque.) I briefly thought we’d find her in league with Rush, but then Scott discovered her alone and Rush turned up on the bridge. I suppose it is still possible, but I’m doubtful now.

Regardless, we’re left wondering just what she did to the ship and why it is “too late.” I’m thinking she actually did something to help Destiny. She did ask Eli to let her help before her escape, and she also warned him that the pod aliens were not to be trusted. (Why was he sharing so much information with her anyway? She’s considered a security threat, yes?) Everyone is so sure she’s becoming “something dangerous” and has been preparing to deal with that eventuality. So now the writers will completely turn the situation on its head, right? I hope it turns out she was helpful in this instance, but that she continues to present a threat. Just to keep things ambiguous, and to force everyone to continue dealing with the emotional complexities of her still being around, but not herself, and not necessarily a trustworthy ally. Two Rushes! Yea!

Other Thoughts

In the opening scenes, Rush was being a real jerk (as usual) about the B-team’s learning curve. I know he thinks he’s superior to everyone else, but they’ve had very little time to figure out the systems. You had weeks to work on it in secret, Rush, remember? Cut them some slack!

Before the arrival of the Ursini (Gersini?) and the potential to gate back to Earth, it seemed that everyone had agreed to move forward with Destiny’s mission. Strange that we didn’t get to see more debate on that topic. I guess being so far from home, it made just as much sense to continue with the mission as it did to about face and try to return to Earth. Of course, this little side trip to attack the command carrier has potentially taken them way off Destiny’s pre-determined path. This adventure might end up being more than a slight delay.

Volker: “Do I have to remind everyone what happened the last time we encountered an alien life form? Or the time before that? Or the time before that?”
Park: “You can’t judge a neighborhood by a bunch of bad neighbors.”
Volker: “Are you kidding?! That’s exactly how you judge a neighborhood!”

I was sick with worry for Brody during the entire shuttle mission. Killing Riley may have been the best move they made all season, because I’m now absolutely convinced that the jeopardy for the secondary characters is real and I constantly fear for their lives. I’ve really grown to like Brody, Volker, and Park, and would hate to lose any of them.

The sound effects during Brody’s and Greer’s exploration of the debris reminded me of The Abyss. And Aliens. Something about the breathing sounds and voices over the helmet comms. Very unsettling.

Eli: “Either that or pie’s done. [Pause to check.] Nope. Simulation.”

I loved the arrival of Telford and his little buddies, the Ursini, to save the day! I kind of suspected something like that might be in the works (it being the mid-season finale and all), but I still hooted with glee when they arrived on the scene. “Destiny, this is Telford.” I also loved that they only provided temporary salvation and actually ended up putting the crew in a much worse situation. Plus, Young’s resigned reaction to the pre-emptive double-cross was amusing. “So much for our deal with the Ursini.”

Young really does seem to have recovered from his month-long bender. His command is much more sure and steady, even when the gut punches just keep coming. It’s interesting that he’s pretty much back on his feet, just as Telford returns to the fold. I previously speculated that he viewed Telford as a safety net, of sorts. If Telford’s back for awhile, will he let himself start to slide into the morass again?

Loved the “dive into the nearest star” maneuver. The visuals were pretty cool, and the shot of Chloe just staring into the fiery light was damn freaky.

So is the drone race an entirely new race or is it the blue aliens? Was that made clear? Is it a race composed entirely of automated drones? We know the drones are controlled by a command ship, but are there living beings on the ship or more automated entities?

Wray’s “in-progress” artwork from ‘Trial and Error’ is on the wall in her quarters now. I just love these little details!

Eli: “When your whole world collapses down to less than a hundred people in a confined space, it all becomes important to you, Camille.”

I was surprised that Eli didn’t seem to grasp that his situation is very much like Rush’s, and that Rush does understand the pain he is in. “You’d still be getting up in the morning, and she’d still be dead.” He seemed to take it more as an attack, than an attempt to sympathize. But I think Rush really was trying to help him (and himself, of course, because he needs Eli). “It’s those who recognize what makes them better, and learn to exploit that, who succeed. [...] You can’t give up.”

Wray: “Double cross them, you mean.”
Rush: “Yeah.”
Wray: “No, we can’t do that. If they have offered to help us ---“
Rush: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of their generosity, yes.”

Final Analysis: Not as emotionally resonant as some of this season’s offerings, but much more tense and thrilling from start to finish. A strong close to the first half of a strong season (aside from the Lucian Alliance arc, which seemed to fizzle a bit as the season progressed).

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

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

What a great review, Jess. I loved it, too. When they showed up in the debris field, I was thinking of Firefly -- remember the part where it's a trap? Why didn't anyone realize it was a trap? Come on, I know some of them must watch science fiction, huh? I'm glad Telford is back, and not possessed by evil or anything. I'm also hoping that Chloe's transformation turns out to be cool.

Josie Kafka said...

Ditto on the great review. I loved this episode, too--what a great mix of comic and tragic, especially in the opening scenes.

zob said...
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