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'Stargate Universe' - 'Sabotage' Recap

by Mike Moody, posted May 8th 2010 9:30PM
stargate universe sabotage
(S01E14) The challenges never end aboard Destiny. The ship drifted toward a massive void between galaxies with the threat of failing power reserves putting the crew in danger. Dr. Rush called on an old friend to help solve the problem, and last week's cliffhanger was conveniently resolved.

Let's talk communication stones, Blue Meanies, and wonky FTL drives after the jump. Spoilers follow.

So whattayasay, 'Stargate Universe' fans? Did Chloe, Eli and Scott's convenient return to the ship sink this episode for ya? Were you hoping they'd be stuck on the planet for a while? Were you hoping that something a little more interesting would come out of their situation?

I sure was. I was expecting to see Rush and company finally learn how to steer the ship and head back to the planet for some kind of rescue mission. Instead, Col. Young completely abandoned any hope of rescuing the lost trio as the ship readied for its perilous trek into the void. The priority switched from rescuing the missing crewmembers to surviving the trip.

Seeing Chloe, Eli and Scott walk through the Stargate was a little disappointing, but it didn't ruin the episode for me. There was still a lot of plot to chew on here.

The show continued its attempt to humanize Dr. Rush with a visit from one of his former colleagues, Dr. Amanda "Little Miss Brilliant" Perry. Amanda was a charming character. She really brought that sense of wonder and amazement that Eli once had back to the show. She didn't seem to bring much to the table science-wise (she reprogrammed a robot, right?), but it was great to see Rush actually connect with another human being on more than a surface level.

Here's the thing about Rush: you really have to earn his respect. That's one of the big reasons why he doesn't connect with the other crewmembers; he simply does not respect them. So he usually comes off as angry, self-absorbed and taciturn, which isn't always fun to watch. (Remember the caffeine withdrawal episode?)

It was a smart move to bring in Amanda, a person Rush clearly respects, and allow him to act like a normal human being for a while. Hopefully the camaraderie he shared with her will inspire him to give his other crewmates more of a chance. I like the hard-edged Rush, but I'd also like to see the guy get along with everyone a little better.

This ep also attempted to make Camille Wray a more sympathetic character by putting her in Amanda's disabled body. It was an interesting twist on the whole communication stones/body-switching device, but it didn't really work for me. As most of you know, I'm not a big Camille Wray fan. I would've been happy to have Amanda permanently replace her on the ship.

But Wray's plot in this ep brought up an interesting idea: the people the crewmembers left behind on Earth live in anxiety and torture as they wait for their loved ones to return. They're stuck in limbo. And the communication stone visits, as strange and awkward as they are, only seem to make everyone involved feel worse about their situation.

I think it's time we ditched the stones or, at least, only used them sparingly for emergencies or special circumstances. And it's probably time for everyone aboard Destiny to say goodbye to their old lives on Earth and accept their new lives on the ship.

The Blue Meanies returned, but this wasn't the knock-down-drag-out war episode I was expecting. One of them boarded the ship by taking possession of Lt. James' body. Very sneaky. The alien managed to destroy one of the ship's FTL drives, but that move actually ended up helping the crew in the end. It makes you wonder why the alien didn't do anything more to sabotage the ship. Who knows? Maybe he did. Maybe that's why the chair room turned into an icebox at the end. That was weird, huh?

We got to see poor ol' Franklin again. In another convenient development, he decided to sit in the chair to activate the FTL drive and apparently jump the ship away from the alien attack. It all seemed too easy. Still, I'm intrigued by the idea that the chair/ship has somehow altered Franklin and maybe even turned him into something more (or less) than human. He was missing when Young went to check on him after the ship jumped away. Where did he go? Maybe we'll get the answer during next week's creepy looking hallucinations episode.

Other thoughts

- Robert Carlyle continues to do amazing things with the role of Rush. I'm still thinking about that moment where he broke down in front of Amanda when talking about his wife. So great.

- So Lt. James is claustrophobic, too? Seems like a very bad thing to suffer from when you're stuck on a dark and creepy spaceship for the rest of your life.

- Chloe and Scott are officially all lovey-dovey again. It was bound to happen.

- Young and Johansen aren't exactly ready to become a happy family unit just yet, but I enjoyed their brief interaction this week. Still curious to learn if and how they're gonna work a baby into the story for the long term.

- Welcome to Brody's Bar, where everybody knows your name and the moonshine is free. Just remember to hold your nose when you take a swig! ... A pub on a spaceship might not be the most original idea, but I like it. I'm looking forward to Destiny's first bar fight.

[Watch episodes of 'Stargate Universe' on Slashcontrol.]

(Follow @mikemoody on Twitter.)

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I liked it too and most of the season so far. Agree about the too convenient return of the trio. Also agree about the stupid comms stones (even though they allowed this story to be told). I've never liked them from the get go as it's just a crutch to tell an Earth based story, which misfires more often than not. It also doesn't ring true because even though a different mind is inhabiting a comm-body, the body still looks the same, but everyone is reacting/emoting as if they're seeing the body of the mind swapped person. You just wouldn't be able to switch on your old emotions so easily when the person still looks no different than before.

May 11 2010 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to DrWho's comment

Agreed. They definitely need to set some rules for using the stones. Like, maybe, no romance while you're in someone else's body. It's always kinda creepy to me when they try to do that.

May 11 2010 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was actually wondering towards the end if Franklin somehow had been taken over by the blue guys, and the whole sabotage was done to get a chance at the chair so they could learn all the info.

May 09 2010 at 10:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bamboo's comment

That would be a very interesting scenario! Didnt even think of that.
This was a very good episode,with a lot going on and a lot of depth to it. Having Eli and the other castaways just suddenly return may have been logical and plausible, but it was still a bit anti-climactic.
Watching Dr. Perry preparing to return to the prison of her own body after being able to experience life in a functioning body once again was emotionally wrenching. After she has been back for a while, will she still continue to be willing to repeat the experience, as she told Rush, or will she come to regard it as too cruel a transition to make again? Also, if Dr. Perry had been inhabiting Lt. James body instead or Wrays', would Rush have been more tempted by her overtures? I doubt it, given the depth of Rushs' feelings for his wife and the horror of having to so recently relive such a devastating and traumatic loss. And, is it even ethical to have sex with someones body without the knowlege or permission of its rightful inhabitant? Lots of things that make you go Hmmm.
And I am praying to The God of Overused Sci/fi Cliches that TJs's baby doesnt turn out to be some kind of "special" Starchild who miraculously makes everything turn out right and saves the crew, galaxy, universe and everything else. How about, just for a change, just a normal baby, one that isnt the focus of every episode and doesnt turn the whole show into a fawning, clowing, baby worshiping soap opera.

May 10 2010 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does anyone else find it funny that no one else is pregnant on board? I mean Cloe and Scott have been going at it for a while now. I mean seriously how many birth control pills or condoms could they have on board?

May 09 2010 at 7:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to disagree with you. I like the Wray character but mostly because it's so different from anything I've seen Ming-Na perform previously. It was interesting to see how some of the military and civilians are starting to bond.

May 09 2010 at 2:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was one of the most deftly-plotted scripts in recent science-fiction television memory. Everyone's arguing about the stupid plot point of how the stranded just returned without fanfare...YEAH THAT WAS THE POINT. It just happened, the way things do in life. Did we need to see 12 minutes of how it happened? No. We did not. We're smart, we understand that Destiny dropping out of FTL early caused the remote to pick up her location before they left the galaxy. We knew they would be rescued somehow. That;s just plot points and they almost always go exactly how you'd expect. There are only so many ways a science fiction "ship in space" show can tell a story.

The real story here was the many, MANY threads running through the script that allowed the viewer to put themselves directly in the character's shoes. As all the best sci-fi does, almost every situation made me ask myself "What would I do if I were___?"

What would I do if I were Perry? Camille? Even Eli stuck with the two sappiest teen-love young adult couple since Bo & Hope first met? If I were Rush would I feel that way after reliving my wife's death or would I jump on the closest warm body to feel alive again? How would I handle Camille's body putting moves on me with Amanda's mind? Would I sleep with her solely out of pity, knowing the girl was going back into that prison of a body?

If I were LT could I have handled switching into Perry? And would I have noticed Franklin's true purpose if I wasn't feeling guilty for "letting everyone down?"

Watch the ep again. It was absolutely jam-packed with good-solid, truly meaningful character stuff. the plot was, for once, 100% secondary and that was as it should have been this week. Just an outstanding episode all around. SGU is getting better and better as they find the right balance of plot & character.

May 09 2010 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to malren's comment

I'm not sure I'd say anyone is "arguing" about the stupid plot points. Just sharing their perspectives.

I for one feel comfortable saying that for a two episode story line that was a major twist to the general make up of the crew - the "Hey we're back from where we could not come back from last episode" was painfully WEAK.

Yes, it's SciFi and you have to suspend logic.
Still since it's SciFi you can MAKE-SOMETHING-UP! Just make it up and take 2 seconds to tell us how that just happened. Personally, I hope they at least try to build the answer to that question into the next episode or two.

The episode in general I liked. I thought it was great that they found a way to take two of the "rougher" characters and show their very human sides.

May 09 2010 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did Franklin learn to ascend? Also, I can't figure out how the love triangle made it back to the ship. I thought Destiny was out of range. And then everybody was all like, 'Hey, how'd you get back?' 'We don't know. We thought you came back.' Maybe I just missed something. Can somebody clear me up?

May 09 2010 at 9:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to csb1227's comment
Morjana Coffman

The reason the DVD did not record the episode is because the they [meaning your DVR service provider) had the wrong original air date for the episode.

My provider did the same thing last week as well for SGU.

(Ha! I double check my recording list to make sure I get what I asked for.)

May 09 2010 at 5:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The moment the chair-room door closed and started to fill with a gas I thought of the Guild Navigators from the Dune books. Now that he's gone(?) well that opens up another door I guess.

May 09 2010 at 2:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

for some reason my DVR did not record this episode..

May 09 2010 at 1:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Val's comment
Mike Moody

same thing happened to me, val!

May 09 2010 at 2:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Having Chloe, Eli and Scott return this episode distracted from the main plot. They should have been rescued at the end of the previous episode.

May 09 2010 at 12:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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