Stargate Universe – Episode 1-19 Review

Reviewing the second half of Stargate Universe has been a weird experience. I know I like more of these episodes than the first half and it’s not terrible when I watch through them the first time. Then I rewatch all or part of the episode and it unravels under closer examination. Unlike the season premiere of Royal Pains which had me groaning midway through, “Incursion” was actually solid episode with plenty of action, a cool standoff– and not much else.

There is reason for Young’s madness afterall. Young venting the air removed the brainwashing and Telford instantly warns up an invasion of the Lucian Alliance. Surely Young knows by now that Rush has been captured by the Lucian Alliance. How about bringing Rush back so he can’t help them dial the 9th chevron? But no, Young doesn’t think of that, and instead formulates his battle plans: vent the gateroom.

And it would have worked but Kiva forces Rush/Telford to come and Young stops the venting once he sees Telford. From there, the Lucian Alliance, who have these awesome (plot) devices (See what I did?) which can open Ancient doors, run around the ship, shooting, and capturing civilians, including TJ who stupidly runs after Rush. In the end, 12 civilians are captured even though they were supposed to be in their quarters and far from the gateroom.

I don’t know how much credit to give the writers, especially since they bumble around, but Young is arguably the most complex character. Here we have a career military guy who has a distinct hatred for Telford, who, in Young’s mind, betrayed his people–those at the base. Once Telford loses the brainwashing and appears to be back on their side, expressing how bad he felt about what he did, Young empathizes and treats him very well, even to the point where he allows the Lucian Alliance to live just so Telford can stay alive, in the process harming others on the ship.

Young embraces the military to the point where his loyalty refuses to allow his people to die, even as acceptable losses (something O’Neil seems to have forgotten), but puts them directly in harms way because he also refuses to let Telford die, a result of his empathy over their shared military experience. There is something very human about this mass of contradictions–far more than the one-note anger of Greer or the insecurity of Chloe–and if the writers actually planned it like that, I commend them. If not, well, people are lucky sometimes.

Just when the situation seems lost and Young will have to choose between venting the gateroom or have a shootout, a mysterious light vaporizes a Lucian Alliance guy. Now when presented with a tough decision, Young won’t even have to make a choice, the seemingly dire circumstance notwithstanding. Again, a potentially harrowing choice resulting in real consequences can be written away due to a miracle. If the previous Stargate shows can be described as children, Universe is like a teenager, a punk who acts grown up but is still dumb as hell and nowhere near as fun.

The subplot seemed completely detached to everything else going on and could have been excised in the editing room without any loss whatsoever. Chloe is shot and in a rush to get away, Eli randomly punches numbers in the elevator, sending them to a far corner of the ship. Eli spends most of the episode carrying her around until they sit down and hold hands. Yeah, yeah, they’ll get closer after this and they might even kiss, but way too much time was spent on them and the boring walking.

I was looking at the list of episodes and realized something that probably shouldn’t surprise anyone. The first season of every Stargate show, without fail, has a three part invasion arc with the first two episodes at the end of the first season and the third episode at the beginning of the second. If Stargate Universe is really an attempt to break out of the mold, why go with the same structure?

The Lucian Alliance is on board and without a way back home, so it’ll either turn into a bloodbath or both crews will have to cooperate (*cough* Voyager). There are still two hours left to resolve the story; a lot can happen and the writers could pull out something amazing. Who knows…

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