Contributor: Gregg Wright
While not what I’d call “action-packed”, this episode was a definite improvement on the last few episodes. The medical drama with Volker wouldn’t have been enough to support an episode on its own, but as a side story it was effective enough. I like it when lesser characters are given more screentime anyway. And I’d venture to guess that there are plenty of fans that were disappointed to see Ginn and Perry killed off. I didn’t think I’d gotten to know either character well enough for me to feel terribly bothered by their deaths, but I did feel some pity for Rush and Eli. The return of Ginn and Perry does seem to come a bit out of left field, but the situation led to an interesting solution and the reveal of an answer to a couple of long-standing mysteries surrounding the Destiny. So I have little reason to complain.
So taking into account the information revealed in the episode, and Joseph Mallozzi’s comments, we now know that Franklin’s consciousness was uploaded into the Destiny’s mainframe, apparently destroying Franklin’s body in the process. I’m unclear as to exactly how much of Franklin’s consciousness was present in his conversations with Rush in the control room, but we can be pretty sure that Gloria was just created by the mainframe based on Rush’s needs at the time.
It’s already been made clear that Destiny was aware of its occupants, and had an advanced enough AI system to react to their presence. Oddly, Franklin never seemed aware enough of his personal state to inform Rush of this, so for most of the time Rush was left to wonder if he was just hallucinating. Now Ginn and Amanda Perry seem just as self-aware as they were when in their own (and Chloe’s) body. So what’s keeping Franklin from appearing to anyone else among the crew? Maybe his being in a catatonic state when he was downloaded (uploaded?) to the mainframe has something to do with it.
The whole aspect of a consciousness floating around like a radio signal did feel a bit pseudo-scientific at first. And if it weren’t such a fundamental aspect of the show, it might remind me too much of what’s occurring on “Fringe” lately. “Stargate Universe” handles it a lot better, though, in my opinion. They don’t resort to the word “soul” or any other less than scientific terms. We don’t know enough about human consciousness yet for me to say that the transferring of a consciousness to a digital medium is theoretically impossible. It may very well be, so in that respect “Stargate Universe” has not deviated from hard sci-fi.
I really loved Greer in this episode, especially his fake pain joke. Greer can be hilarious when he wants to be, and more recently surprisingly philosophical. The rest of the time he’s been an absolute trooper. I was reminded this week of season 1′s “Lost”, in which Scott, Chloe, and Eli were forced to leave him behind on a planet, buried in rubble. Greer showed a remarkable maturity about this, of course, because he held zero resentment toward his friends for leaving him to die. He knew the risks, and he knew that they wouldn’t have left him unless they had no choice.
Greer is constantly impressing me with how relentlessly self-sacrificing and loyal he is to his fellow crewmembers. Whatever it takes to keep his people safe, he’ll do it. He’s the perfect soldier and the best friend anyone on board could possibly have. And it was cool to see that selfless attitude of his directed toward Volker.
In a good show of respect to continuity, the whole incident with the stones is brought about as a direct result of the crew’s attempts to contact Earth in the wake of the Lucian Alliance terrorist attack. It isn’t until the end of the episode, when Telford gets through, that we finally discover that the bomb was successfully defused and that SGC is safe.
The episode accomplishes very little in regards to Destiny’s mission or the impending Lucian Alliance attack. But the further exploration of the Destiny itself and the emphasis on character made it more worthwhile than the recent string of somewhat disappointing episodes. I can’t remember who among the production crew said this, but apparently the crew have only explored a small fraction of the entire ship. That leaves a whole lot of potentially interesting ground that could have been covered in future seasons, and it’s likely that they’ll have to greatly accelerate this element (or ignore it altogether) in the possible movies; another disappointment among many relating to “SGU’s” undeserved early demise.
Ratings for this episode were, of course, as abysmal as ever (well under a million). The cancellation news seems to have put a major dent in the already poor numbers. It seems unlikely that they wouldn’t air the remaining episodes, but I suppose that’s a fear I shouldn’t completely discount yet. I’m sure that the remaining episodes would be put online for viewing anyway, but I’d be annoyed if SyFy didn’t at least let the show have the dignity of finishing its run on actual television. The Region 1 DVD set for the “Final Season” is coming on June 6, but a Blu-ray release isn’t confirmed yet. I don’t want to spoil anything about the next episode, but sufficed to say, it’s one I’ve really been looking forward to. And it has the potential to raise the numbers temporarily.