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Stargate Universe: Seizure

... in which Rush and Dr. Perry find a way to enjoy some physical contact, while Telford enlists Rodney McKay and Richard Woolsey in an attempt to dial Destiny’s nine-chevron address from another planet’s Stargate.

My initial reaction to this one was anger. Anger at wasted potential and overlooked opportunities. Anger at the disrespect shown for a former team member. Anger at the rather trite direction they chose to take last week’s interesting conclusion. But … my lead in programming to ‘Seizure’ was the two-hour premiere of AMC’s intriguing new series, The Killing, which emotionally wrecked me, so I decided I’d better give the latest SGU a second chance before passing final judgment.

After watching a second time, the verdict is ... yeah, I’m still angry. And even the always appreciated presence of Spy Daddy, Victor Garber, wasn’t enough to soothe the savage beast.

Where to even begin? How about with the Milky Way events. Obviously, we’re not supposed to think Homeworld Command made the best choices here, given the complete and utter failure of the mission. “Lieutenant, in the grand schemes of things, I think that was the best decision any of us has made all day.” That said, I just don’t find it all that believable that they would or would need to make those choices in the first place.

It was a nice bit of continuity to make Langara the planet they were attempting to use to dial the gate, because we know from SG-1 that planet has large quantities of naquadria. However, they completely ignored the fact that Jonas Quinn is one of Langara’s lead scientists. For those of you new to the Stargate franchise, Jonas Quinn was a member of SG-1 for an entire year following an accident that felled Daniel Jackson. It should have been obvious to Homeworld Command that the Langarans would want the opinions of their own scientists before risking their planet (Woolsey notes that Earth would want the same, if the positions were reversed), so why not request that Jonas attend the meeting with Ambassador Ovirda? Jonas is a trusted friend to Earth, and his presence could have made things go so much smoother. I don’t believe that O’Neill wouldn’t have considered this option (even if he was never Jonas’s biggest fan). At least give the idea some lip service! As things stood, it ended up feeling like the writers were ignoring continuity so Telford could force the “proof of concept” issue.

On that point, this whole hostile takeover business struck me as completely unnecessary and not a risk that Homeworld Command would really take. If everyone was so convinced that the Alliance was about to attack, why not just defend Langara to “protect the supply line” while their scientists considered the viability of McKay’s proposed solution? If Eli could quickly see that there was little chance the planet would blow up, then I think the Langarans would have come around quickly enough and allowed Earth to use their gate. Ambassador Ovirda all but opened the door for this approach. Moreover, it isn’t like the Destiny urgently needs supplies and personnel. They’ve been on their own for a year, and they just got a big re-up on supplies from Destiny Prime, so they’ll likely be fine for a few more months.

If the concern is that Langarans are in league with the Alliance, then make the “secondary objective” the primary mission and drop the whole “proof of concept” issue altogether. Better yet, accept the offer to come to Langara as a protective force and then do some subtler spy work to determine the nature of the Langarans relationship with the Alliance. Don’t take over people’s bodies, force the issue, and completely burn your bridges! What the hell made them think this approach would lead to anything but mistrust and disaster? You can’t impersonate the planet’s chief administrator and the captain of the guard and expect your allies to continue friendly interactions with you. I get why Telford would want to push the envelope, but he’s not in charge of the whole shebang, and I find it really hard to believe that no one in Homeworld Command besides Richard Woolsey would think this plan was ill-conceived.

As for the Destiny events, I’m ticked that so soon after getting Ginn and Dr. Perry back, they’ve been relegated to quarantine, and all because Rush doesn’t love Amanda the way she loves him. Are you kidding me? Moreover, I’m upset that they so quickly had Amanda go from wonder and happiness with her new existence to feeling trapped by her aching loneliness. It hasn’t been that long since the events of last week. How has she already lost that sense of freedom and become fixated on needing to be flesh and blood? Aargh. I feel like they completely undercut the power of last week’s conclusion.

I will say that, the second time through, I got a little more caught up in the pathos of the Rush and Perry story. Knowing that love was one of Amanda’s conditions for the simulation to work made it much more interesting to watch her reactions after Rush was unable to leave. It was subtle, but Amanda’s realization that he didn’t love her the way she loved him, and her subsequent devastation and embarrassment, were all over her face and body language. Good work by Kathleen Munroe. I also found myself moved by their emotional parting and Amanda’s attempts to release Rush from his various burdens of guilt. But I still can’t help feeling like the writers quickly squandered the story potential in having Ginn and Amanda coexisting with Destiny. Sigh. I suppose “quarantine” doesn’t mean completely gone for good, just gone for now. Maybe the writers planned to bring them back at some point and do more with them. We’ll probably never know. In the meantime, we’ve got another wrench in the Eli-Rush dynamic, so maybe some good story will come out of that.

Other Thoughts

Why didn’t the stones connection do that hiccup thing when Ginn forced them into an emergency FTL shutdown?

Why the hell would Amanda kiss Rush before saying goodbye, tipping him off that he was still in the simulation? Accident or intentional?

It was weird having McKay around. I have a special fondness for McKay, but his comic rhythms felt totally out of place on SGU. That said, it was kind of cool that he got to “save the day” by NOT doing his science thing. Plus, before I got all pissed, I did enjoy the quiet strains of SGA music as McKay arrived on the scene. A nice touch.

Woolsey, on the other hand, was a good fit. It was good to have at least one voice of reason in the mix. Part of me wishes he’d fought harder for letting diplomacy prevail, but the military wouldn’t have listened anyway. At least he tried to ensure the hostile takeover was as peaceful as possible.

Very minimal follow up on the previous episode’s mind-boggling kidney transplant. Volker seems to be fine, while Greer is fighting off infection. I briefly wondered if they’d be so bold as to kill off Greer in a rather unexpected way for his character, but he seemed to be doing somewhat better at the end.

I liked the very subtle clues that Rush’s first return wasn’t real: Park was in the chair room instead of Chloe, and the lighting was different.

Young: “One hour or two, McKay? Which is it?”
McKay: “If we end this conversation right now, I can still manage the former.”
Young: “Sheppard’s right.”
McKay: “About what?”
OK, this exchange made me smile.

Telford’s attempts to get Rush out of the picture by wooing McKay to Destiny were interesting. He really hates Rush.

Final Analysis: I had been looking forward to the episode with McKay and Woolsey, but this one is not going on my list of favorites.

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

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Completely unbelievable, completely ridiculous. Since the series is ending, I hoped Brad & co would at least try, but I see that they're still sleep at the wheel.

Oh, well. 5 to go, and then Brad can go have coffee with Rick Berman and chat about how they destroyed their respective franchises.

Billie Doux said...

I absolutely agree that the undercover mission made no sense; the entire sequence made me uncomfortable. But I really loved seeing McKay and Woolsey as well as Spy Dad. And I thought it was interesting that the saintly Amanda wasn't so saintly after all. I also liked that even though Eli initially thought of such a romantic, dangerous thing, it was Rush who just went ahead and did it without telling anyone.

Jess Lynde said...

I think Eli would have done the same, if Ginn hadn't been so against it. I can't imagine him telling anyone he was going to attempt something like that. Except maybe Rush, and even that's a bit of a stretch. Perhaps he would have shared with the newly brilliant Chloe.

Sid said...

While I do not watch SG: U, I will say that The Killing premiere was fantastic and emotional. Too bad its a little too straight a murder mystery for these genre-loving parts, otherwise would have loved to see a review on it

zob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yes, I thought the underhanded way the SGU team tried to take over the Langaran stargate was pretty unbelieveable.

And that Amanda Perry would use "love" as a parameter for a simulation program is even more unbelieveable!

I'm bummed out that Amanda and Ginn are now quarantined!

Jess Lynde said...

Hi Zob, according to the Gateworld Omnipedia (my usual go to source for these kinds of questions), Langara fell to the Ori during the invasion, but it doesn't offer any specifics on Jonas Quinn's fate. It looks like Season 7's 'Fallout' (in which SG-1 helps him stop his planet from exploding) is the last time we heard anything about him.

It is entirely possible that he died during the Ori invasion, or isn't one of Langara's top scientists anymore, but I don't think we know that for sure. So, in my mind, he's still in play.

CrazyCris said...

Yikes! I totally did not make the connection between that planet they "invaded" and Langara! My bad... Jonas Quinn should definitely have been there!!!

Also bummed at the quarantine situation... I thought having those two along as "part of Destiny" would have provided lots of little gems for the story-telling (like helping with that transplant!)

It was good to see Wolsey and McKay again, but that just reminded me how much I miss Atlantis and how it kind of ended in limbo! Is Atlantis still parked in San Francisco harbour? Is Wolsey no longer in charge?! But loved the "Sheppard was right" remark, brilliant! :p