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Review: Stargate Universe - Life

by Mike Moody, posted Nov 21st 2009 12:01PM
stargate universe life
(S01E09) There was a lot going on in this episode, as the folks aboard Destiny started to adjust to their new lives away from Earth. The adjustment, of course, is easier for some than it is for others.

Chloe has made new friends like Eli and has found a partner in Scott, who comforts her and makes her feel less lonely. So she's content to pass the time doing yoga on the observation deck. People like Young, Rush and Eli are busy exploring the ship and trying to unlock its hidden wonders. That at least keeps them occupied and somewhat hopeful.

But things aren't nearly as happy-go-lucky for people like Spencer (aka "Baldy"). He's running out of his medication (my guess is that he's taking anti-psychotics, or is that too obvious?) and it seems like only a matter of time before he kills someone, or kills himself.

There was a lot of drama on the ship this week, but there was even more of it waiting for Wray, Scott and Young back on Earth. Actually, Wray experienced a tender reunion with her partner Sharon (Reiko Aylesworth), who is probably one of the most stable and supportive characters I've seen on TV in a long time.

It's worth noting that these two have been together for twelve years. It's gotta be tough for Wray to be away from Sharon and even tougher for her to realize that she's forgetting things about their life together (like the rowboat in the painting). She might not have the best relationship with her parents, but Wray definitely has a strong reason to want to get back home. I wonder if she'll take the IOA rep's advice and make a power play on Destiny.

You gotta feel for Scott. He's been suffering for years thinking that his teenage girlfriend had an abortion, and now he learns that he has a son. Brian J. Smith did a fine job portraying Scott's quiet shock and sadness in this ep. It looks like Scott now has a strong personal reason for wanting to 'gate back to Earth ASAP, since Annie (Sarah Smyth) refuses to accept his financial help and quit her job as a "dancer."

Thinking about his 8-year-old at home alone every night is going to make life even tougher for Scott. I wonder how all this will affect his relationship with Chloe. She didn't seem too comfortable with the idea of him having a family back home.

So we learned that Col. Telford was not impersonating Young in an effort to seduce Emily. But he's still a loathsome, spineless little weasel! I nearly screamed at my TV when Telford had Young's stone disconnected seconds before things came to blows. Luckily, Young got sneaky by impersonating another crewmember and finally gave Telford what's been coming to him since the beginning of the season. (I don't usually condone violence, but my grin grew larger as Telford's face got bloodier. That guy's a jerk.)

Still, I can't help but think that Telford will use the beatdown as leverage against Young. He might even make a play to permanently switch bodies with him and take command of Destiny. And the strangest thing about this whole subplot? Scott dreaming about Telford's memories. I wonder if something like that will happen again.

Back on the ship, Rush claimed to find a stable planet with a Stargate that could possibly get everyone back to Earth. There were two big problems with this discovery: First, the planet is a year away. Second, the planet doesn't frakkin' exist! Eli used his Mathboy skills to deduce that Rush made it all up, but Rush said he had noble intentions. He wanted to give the crew hope and to motivate them into working hard.

Only Eli, Young, Scott and Wray know that Rush's discovery is a lie. It'll be interesting to see if they can keep his secret from the crew. It'll be even more interesting to see what happens once the crew learns the truth.

And what about that chair Rush found? I was hoping to see someone take the bullet and try it out. Anyone care to guess what will happen once somebody takes a seat? And do you think Rush will eventually will risk it himself?

This was one of the most compelling episodes of the season. Finally, the show moved away from the "peril of the week" formula to give us something resembling real human drama. It was a little rambling, but that's forgivable.

Next week: Murder on the Destiny Express!

Other observations:

- The entire episode, especially the opening and closing sequences, was beautifully shot. Here's hoping the show keeps director Alex Chappel around for a while.

- The opening and closing song was an inspired pick.

- Loved watching Johansen do her psych evals. I hope to learn more about Greer's relationship with his father.

- So the ship has a slut?! Maybe Eli will get lucky!

- Speaking of Eli, watching him avoid the workouts was good for a laugh. So was watching him doing yoga with Chloe.

- It's good to see that Rush still needs Eli's help every now and then. I'd like to see these two work side by side on a big project again soon.

- I could've sworn I heard Rush say "Asgard!" halfway through this episode. No such luck I guess.

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sgu sucks

SGU is written by losers.

You know this because in popular shows (winners), the "big moments" are when goal is reached, obstacles overcome, hero wins, bad guy loses etc etc etc, they also usually come with cool music/explosions/special effect etc etc. This is the hallmark of scifi.

What are the big moments in SGU? Wait for it ---
1. Some loser doing little sneaky things and fooled everyone else. (yeah.. wow.. so exciting..)
2. Some nerd (loser) looking at some chick he likes being screwed by another guy.
3. Pointless people winning pointless arguments.

I can understand why some people may like SGU, they are losers who doesn't know what makes success a success, so they focus on little things that doesn't matter to the big picture.

Some people try to defend SGU by saying "they don't like it only because it's different from SG1/SGA", well they are wrong, because even from a soap opera point of view it is still boring as hell. Compare to other soaps out there everything in SGU is just so far of the mark.

In the beginning of each episode they say:
"these are the wrong people, in the wrong place"
they should also add:
"written by the wrong writers in the wrong channel"

November 28 2009 at 7:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim McCleese

@ Richard

I only discovered this band because of SU (as it looks like many others have). I posted the words to this song (for the fans) on this blog earlier but curiously, it was deleted; probably some sort of legal issues....no hard feelings however. Flogging Molly does another song I like called" "Factory girls", so try that one (on you/tube). My son LOVES the beat of these two songs as I bounce him on my knee.

Unfortunately, this song is the only thing I liked about this episode. I cannot justify a serious review of it.

November 27 2009 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Same here... after 9 episodes I'm done.

1. Communcation stones.
Get McKay and Carter to switch bodies and they'll have that ship back in the milky way in time for afternoon tea.
I'm waiting for the writers to somehow explain this GLARING hole???
2. They have Atlantis
Atlantis is a newer, bigger, bad-ass version of that ship (and its on earth) and you want to tell me they can't crack the windows password on it? Total bullshit.
3. Sex
Whats with all the sex all over the place? Lesbians etc... WTF? This is stargate! Stop it.. Immediately. Promiscuity has no place in space. Only captain kirk and no. 2 (Riker) have ever pulled it off.. and even they had the decency to be delicate about it. It's completely uncessary and tasteless, and makes for uncomfortable viewing when you watch with young teens. Stop it. NOW!
4. Who are all these people?
I don't know about everyone else.. but by episode 3 or 4 of both SG-1 and SGA I knew all the characters, who i hated and who i liked. Were on episode 9 and i only the mad scientist and the 16 year old virgin. Crap.

Finally to the writers.. remember this..

Stargate is supposed to be about exploring other planets and interacting with other forms of life.
Either add more Stargate elements or rename it something like "The trials of Destiny".. just remove the Stargate bit.. you're just pissing off your Stargate fans.

I am so disappointed in SGU.

November 27 2009 at 7:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"These are the wrong people, in the wrong place"

Pity they were talking about the writers!

November 25 2009 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

SGU is a flop and the facts are simple, Stargate fans expect science fiction not life-time drama. After re-watching every single SG-1, SGA episodes, all of them this year (back-to-back) from the first to the last episode (total of 10 years plus two movies for SG1 and 5-years of SGA) and enjoying each and every episode, SGU appeal is deteriorating fast. It all comes down to --- no one cares what is happening back on Earth, we are concerned with the here and now, we are concerned with this new/old ship and what it has to offer, we are concerned with the crew and how they interact with each other (not sex), we are concerned with the aliens out there on other planets, AND are concerned that STARGATE Franchise has lost it's edge .

There is no leadership in the entire series just constant bickering between Young and Rush and Rush and everyone else. Rush has over played his part. The writers are to blame here.

Therefore, get out in the universe and do what Statgate personnel do, explore the ship, explore planets, meet aliens, learn about the ancients, FORGET ABOUT SEX and HAVING A LESBIAN ON THE SHIP, HAVING FAMILY PROBLEMS BACK ON EARTH, GET RID OF THE STONES AND THE BACK AND FORTH TO EARTH TRAVEL (this is getting mighty old). In fact, the entire cast and show, is getting mighty old, boring, (poor, poor casting and even poorer writing)

Stargate is not supposed to be REALITY TV with family squabbles or, BGS, LOST, ENTERPRISE (even Enterprise met people and explored). These people on Destiney are all supposed to be military (with leadership understand) or highly intelligent scientist with a knowledge of chain of command. If Stargate does not fixed SGU it is doomed.

I agree with a previous viewer:

"For a show that is supposed to take place at the far edge of the universe, SGU makes its viewers feel like that they are still stuck in a parking lot. Where is the sense of discovery, wonder and danger?"

November 25 2009 at 9:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree for a show that supposed to take you on the edge of the universe, they are still stuck in the parking lot. They are totally lost, both in space and in action. I can't imagine, since the remaining 11 shows have already been shot, staying with a more boring .. go nowhere do nothing production.

November 25 2009 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alumplus's comment

Do nothing, meet no one, not be heroic, no humor, no adventure, no sc0fi. I couldn't agree more.

Even when they get a chance to take control of their "Destiny" - Young says don't sit in the freaking chair. IT WAS NOT THE CHAIR THAT TOOK OVER O'NEILL. The chair was used on SGA a lot, and din't hurt anyone. Doesn't Young know this? And I don't care if it DID hurt someone - GET THE DAMNED SHOW STARTED - by DOING SOMETHING. ANYTHING!

They are all like bus riders with laptops and wi-fi - they can't drive the bus, but they can email home. Whoop de freaking do. Next we'll see them paying Sudoku or blogging about politics back home. I can't wait.

For anyone interested, the comments on this show at IMDB.com are even more scathing than here.

November 26 2009 at 6:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really dislike this show. There is no chemistry in the acting. They have overplayed the stones and Dr. Rush's argumentive and crazy personality. The photograhpy is shaky and dark. I actually fell asleep during the last show of "life". Sex is not needed .. either hetro or homo .. in fact it ruined what little there is to like about this production. The writers have lost their edge. I rate this 9 epidsodes as an F- totaly flop. Can't imagine being bored for another 11 shows. Therefore my loved SG1 and SGA show does not carry over to SGU. HATE IT!

November 25 2009 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All hope is lost. SGU has lost another viewer. After 9 episodes I have to call it quit. I was hoping for Destiny to take me away on some adventures across the universe. Instead, I am stuck on Earth watching crappy soap.

November 23 2009 at 6:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was an awful episode, and I agree with Kevin, all of this soap opera stuff, baby mama drama and fixation on peoples sex lives is NOT what I watch Sci Fi for. If this is the type show that the producers want to make, they are certainly entitled to do so. Just stop misrepresenting it to the viewers as SciFi.
Ian commented that these people are on a space ship hurdling through deep space, and the focus is on earth based relationships. I made almost this exact comment to my wife as we were watching the show. There are all the makings of a good, interesting show here, but right now it isnt even close to being either good or interesting. The focus is all wrong and the whole show seems to just meander, with no sense of purpose.
A few random questions... How many more empty threats is Young going to issue to Spenser for getting out of line yet again? Why would anyone be interested in Cloe, the most useless, character on the show? What is it about Lt. Scott that attracts all of these women? He is a wishy washy person and a lousy officer. And, yes, he is a slut, as someone mentioned earlier. Why are so many of the military personnel so undisciplined and insubordinant? Is Telford a weasel just for the sake of being a weasel, or does he have an agenda? Is it only a matter of time before an epidemic of STDs sweeps throughout Destinys passengers, as well as rash of pregnancies? Is Rush a sociopath or just a dickhead? Why would anyone put a loose cannon like Spencer in charge of PT for civilians, or anyone else, for that matter?
Do you think the Ancients invented the Communication Stones for the express purpose of facilitating the crews bar hopping and booty calls?

November 23 2009 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to NightOwl's comment

Nate - "If this is the type show that the producers want to make, they are certainly entitled to do so. Just stop misrepresenting it to the viewers as SciFi."

To prove your point: You DO realize that none of your questions is even remotely a Sci-Fi question (except the stones one, kind of), don't you?

Please, Writers and Producers and Director: Stop misrepresenting this as science fiction - and ESPECIALLY misrepresenting it as a Stargate show! ! ! !

November 26 2009 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Harry J. Friedman

I also thought the song used in the open and close set a great mood.

I thought that Wray forgot the rowboat in her picture because there was no hope of getting home. No way off the "island". Once the (false) hope of a gate home was revealed, or she found out that her relationship at home was solid, she could add a boat to the picture.

November 23 2009 at 9:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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