Contributor: Gregg Wright
As a longtime Stargate fan, this was one of the more highly anticipated episodes of the season for me, for the inclusion of guest stars David Hewlett and Robert Picardo in their respective roles as Dr. Rodney McKay and Richard Woolsey. McKay was, in my opinion, the best regular character on “Stargate Atlantis”. And Robert Picardo is an actor I’ve been a fan of since first seeing him on “Star Trek: Voyager”. Picardo had the unfortunate fate of being upgraded to series regular in the final (and worst) season of “Stargate Atlantis”.
I’ve liked how often “Stargate Universe” ties itself in with the franchise universe, most notably by including numerous guest spots for beloved “SG-1″ and “Atlantis” characters. In some cases, fitting certain characters into the grittier, more serious world of “SGU” has been difficult. Jack O’Neill (now General O’Neill) has probably been the writers’ most difficult challenge so far, given his generally lighthearted, sarcastic attitude about everything. They had to make the character feel like a believable part of the show while still writing him so he feels like the same character to “SG-1″ fans. It’s a very difficult balancing act, and I think they’ve managed it about as well as anyone could. Though I think that the writers may have forgotten how serious Jack could be at times.
Woolsey is a natural fit for “Stargate Universe”. One needn’t make any real changes to his persona to make him fit the tone of the show. As for McKay, I would have expected his more comedic attitude to feel out-of-place in the show. But somehow, it worked, at least in this case. He is something of an older Eli after all. But then again, maybe this speaks to how much the show seems to have softened up lately. I remember thinking how odd it was to hear O’Neill’s sarcasm in the midst of season 1. But would he have felt out-of-place to me in this episode?
I enjoyed seeing the brief conversation/argument between McKay and Eli, as well as McKay’s interactions with everyone else. McKay is very much himself in this episode. Though I did find his flirtatious attitude with Lt. James a bit odd, considering Rodney’s current relationship with Jennifer Keller. I suppose it’s possible that they’ve broken up by now.
I also find it a bit odd that Telford seems so interested in getting back to the Destiny. He seemed hell-bent on getting back to Earth in “Twin Destinies”. He even threatened to take everyone back by force. And yet now he thinks getting back to the Destiny is important enough to risk a diplomatic disaster. Odd. I did like that he invited McKay to join the Destiny mission. I’d have loved to have seen McKay become a regular. Though, I suppose I need to look past my fandom and recognize that his presence would feel a bit unnecessary. And I’m not sure if that type of character can work long-term on “SGU”. Woolsey could work well as a regular presence on “SGU”. But McKay would probably work best as an occasional presence.
Normally, I would have expected a plot-line involving Rush to interest me more than any other, but this time around I was somewhat underwhelmed by that story. Rush enters a VR world to interact with Perry, which Ginn had already strongly advised Eli not to do, due to its inherent dangers. But Rush was not warned of these dangers, and now Perry and Ginn are apparently cut off from interacting with the Destiny crew. According to Dr. Perry, it’s because Rush did not meet perfectly the parameters of the program that she wrote to make their interaction in the digital world possible. More specifically, it’s because Rush doesn’t really love Dr. Perry. This seems absurd to me, and is easily the weakest point of the episode.
I suppose I’m expected to believe that a grief-stricken, enraged Rush madly chased Simeon across a desert planet and murdered him in cold blood because he was only “fond” of Dr. Perry, right? And more recently, Rush is visibly distraught by the thought that he might lose Dr. Perry all over again. If that’s not love, then nothing can be called love, in my opinion. And the idea that the Destiny can somehow quantify “love” seems ridiculous and hokey to me. I was also hoping that having Ginn and Perry in the Destiny mainframe would serve as a new source of information, but nothing came of that. And now Ginn and Perry are out of the picture again for the meantime.
I did sort of enjoy the involvement of the Langarans (Jonas Quinn’s people) and the attempt to utilize their planet to dial Destiny. I thought that the usage of the communication stones was rather clever, and not something I would have easily thought of. The plan worked impressively well, considering how easily it could have gone awry. Jack O’Neill is not known for his love of regulations, but I still have a tough time imagining him (or Woolsey for that matter) signing off on the plan.
Unfortunately, I’m still not getting a clear sense of direction in the show. Ever since the mid-season two-parter, it’s felt like the writers have been just throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. The Destiny’s true mission has the potential to be the strongest driving factor in the show, but it hasn’t played much of a role in the events of the second half of the season. The potential Lucian Alliance attack could also be driving the plot this season, but there hasn’t been enough emphasis on that either (aside from “Alliances”). I get that they may be setting up a number of chess pieces for movement in later seasons that will no longer come to be, but I still think that there needs to be a dominant thread that gives the story a sense of direction. Hopefully in the next four episodes they’ll find a way to begin building up to the finale so a conclusion feels earned.