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'Stargate Universe' - 'Subversion' Recap

by Mike Moody, posted May 22nd 2010 2:05PM
stargate universe subversion recap
(S01E18) We were treated to an intricate little spy game this episode of 'Stargate Universe.' 'Subversion' offered some dense plotting and even a few '24'-style torture scenes as Young faced off with Telford on Destiny, and Kiva (guest star Rhona Mitra, hello!) kidnapped Rush to aid the Lucian Alliance.

Rush's dream about Telford acting as a double agent kicked off a new arc that will continue into next season, and it's a pretty exciting one. The Lucian alliance is back, and they're dead set on boarding Destiny.

Unfortunately for them, they kidnapped Rush instead of Eli. As we all know, Eli was the guy who unlocked the key to the ninth chevron that led Icarus to Destiny. Rush, as he reminded us with his "Quite possibly the rest of my life" remark, was never able to make a connection before Eli showed up. But perhaps the whole "do it or we'll kill you" threat will motivate him to get it right this time.

Of course, the Alliance had no idea who they were taking aboard their ship when they kidnapped Rush, hence the torture.

It's interesting how Kiva knew the person inhabiting Telford's body was a Destiny crewmember. Perhaps Telford warned her about his rocky relationship with Young and how he'd probably be the first one to suspect him of being a mole. Or maybe she figured that only someone who had been aboard Destiny would be bold enough to impersonate Telford to protect the ship. Either way, a zapped-out Rush eventually revealed his identity, and she promptly put him to work.

Rush's plan to impersonate Telford and make contact with the Alliance was a little out of character. It was a pretty risky move for a guy who seems to value self-preservation over almost everything else. But it made sense. He did it to protect Destiny, the thing he cares about most, from falling into the wrong hands.

You can't blame Young for suspecting that Rush was the mole. He still doesn't trust the guy, and I doubt he ever will. But his suspicions were put to rest after Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) witnessed the Alliance beating and kidnapping Rush.

While Rush was making contact with the Alliance, Young was going back and forth working with General O'Neill (RDA!) on Earth and interrogating Telford on Destiny. How exactly did he coordinate these back and forth trips with his body-swapping partner on the other end? My guess is that he asked someone, probably Scott, to move the stones every twenty minutes or so, so that he could get back to the ship after he was done speaking with O'Neill. (Makes sense, right?)

Telford was finally revealed to be the bad guy we all figured he was from the beginning. Still, this episode had me guessing for a while: was he really the mole? Did the Alliance use brainwashing tech to manipulate him? Nope, turns out he's just dirty. So, yeah, I didn't really have a problem with Young beating the crap out if him until he started to talk. If anything, the guy probably deserved another beating just for being such an arrogant douche.

It was great to see RDA and Shanks back on the show. Shanks is a terrific actor, and he knows exactly how to match the darker tone of 'SGU.' RDA is always a joy to watch as O'Neill. He offered some much-needed levity as the situation aboard Destiny grew darker by the minute. I loved his whole "don't ask don't tell" attitude about Young's plan to get Telford to talk.

We ended on another cliffhanger as Young ordered Brody to vent the oxygen out of Telfrod's quarters. Killing Telford would also kill Rush, so we know that's not going to happen. Still, it's pretty thrilling to watch Young work in such a cold and certain manner, much to the chagrin of Camille Wray, who was more annoying than ever in this episode.

So what's the verdict, 'SGU' fans? Are you excited about the Lucian Alliance's return? Did you enjoy seeing RDA and Shanks return to the show? Is this a good way to lead in to the season finale? Let us know.

Other thoughts:

- Mitra did a great job as Kiva. I hope she sticks around for season two.

- T.J.'s baby shower gave us a nice little break from all the craziness happening in this ep. It was great to see Chloe comfort T.J. and remind her that the ship is full of people who will care about her baby.

- I miss seeing Eli being in on the action. I hope he gets a chance to shine again before the season is over.

(Follow @mikemoody on Twitter.)

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The point to comment is hoping that those who write a show SG1 lovers would have liked might throw them a bone or two. There is plenty of room to add some fun to what has become a long, angst-ridden slog through misery. Yes, life isn't all laughter and gaiety, but neither is it all suicidal depression with brief breaks for terror. I doubt the DVD sales will even come close to those of SG Atlantis if the writers insist on going the current route.

June 12 2010 at 2:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John F.C. Taylor

I am not a fan of SG-U. It's just too dark a show for me. I gave it a try, but after the first couple of episodes, I lost all interest in watching any more of it. Fortunately, CBS was able to fill the Friday night void with new episodes of Ghost Whispere and Medium.

May 23 2010 at 8:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John F.C. Taylor's comment

Then why do you feel so moved, after not watching it all this time, to come in here and tell us that? Is it customary to enter show recap threads to simply tell those interested in the show that you yourself don't watch it? What's the point?

May 23 2010 at 9:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Very nice to see RDA and Michael Shanks again, doing a more serious but still unflappable O'Neill and a darker Daniel Jackson, but I wish there had been more for Dr. Jackson to do besides watch and look tough. And Rhona Mitra rocks, as always. HOWEVER: the whole scenario with the Lucian Alliance isn't credible given that they're **A LOT** further from home than they should be. Destiny travels at much greater speeds for greater distances than anything the Lucians have, so how could they have been anywhere near that far out in the first place? Answer is, they shouldn't be there -- and unless you completely forgot that Destiny was right at the very edge of the galaxy in a previous episode, so much further out than the Lucians had ever been with their ragtag space navy and much slower craft, that entire storyline was unbelievable. Frankly, I'd just as soon not hear from the Lucians again, despite the excellent Ms. Mitra: Destiny should be encountering more forms of non-humanoid-shaped intelligent life instead of variations on the two-armed, two-legged forms. It's hard to believe there wouldn't be more variety out there in space, much of it simply incomprehensible in human terms.

May 23 2010 at 2:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to webdiva's comment

The Lucian Alliance isn't "there". They aren't aboard Destiny or anywhere nearby. They have found another Icarus-class planet here in the Milky Way that may give them the power to dial the Destiny gate, just like the Icarus Project people did.

May 24 2010 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Morjana Coffman

True, there were some odd bits in this episode (Jackson trailing Rush? Okay...), but overall, it was extremely enjoyable, and very interesting.

A joy to see Lt. Gen. Jack O'Neill again. I loved that a photo of Jack and his son Charlie was in his office (obviously MGM isn't auctioning everything from SG1 and SGA off), and Jack's reaction to the effect of the communication stones. And walking off in the wrong direction when first boarding Destiny.

And who is the spy? Is it really Young? Could it really be Rush, doing a wonderful con job on everyone? Why WAS he so determined to find the secret of the ninth chevron? Was it because he wanted to learn how to ascend so that he could be with his wife again? (And he's making a very big assumption that every human who dies ascends, isn't he?)

I loved that Col. Young has made a determination that HE is in command of Destiny, and stepped up to the plate with steely resolve. Scott is learning to about the shades of gray in the chain of command. And Greer is always awesome.

Wonderful performances by Robert Carlyle, Louis Ferreira and Lou Diamond Phillips. Looking forward to the rest of the season and then on to season two in the fall.

May 22 2010 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As someone who never cared for SG1, this ep wasn't a favorite. It wasn't terrible, but seeing the two men from SG1 didn't do anything for me. I'm assuming that is was geared toward fans of the original. I agree with the other poster that it seemed weird that they'd leave Rush with the bad guys. I'm assuming Young would still like to be rid of him, but the Richard Dean Anderson character surely doesn't feel the same way?

Not my favorite episode. I like it better when they're dealing with living on Destiny and fighting aliens/visiting strange worlds.

May 22 2010 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode? Wtf was that? It made no sense. So, to locate the Alliance base they leave Rush -- probably the most crucial scientest on Destiny -- in the hands of mobsters who have no problem torturing and killing (and known for it) where they can gain far more valuable intel from Rush than Young can get from Telford. It would have been believable if they cut the connection between Rush and Telford the moment it became obvious that Telford was a traitorous POS and not just brainwashed. Telford would have been killed by the Alliance for failure and Rush would have been back safe and reseasonably sound.

Overall, the writing for this series has been truly awful. My wife and I have kept watching out of an obviously misplaced loyalty to the previous series but I think this episode has pretty well killed that. I look forward to this epic fail being binned and maybe something new and better rising from the ashes. However, I suspect that this is it for the Stargate franchise.

May 22 2010 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loved it! You know, I also think Young didn't really mind beating the crap out of (Rush's physical body) because he still, you know, hates him.

I would have thought they'd have a tracer implant in Telford's physical body like they did for all the characters in SG-1 and Atlantis. Maybe that's part 2...

May 22 2010 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was a great episode for many reasons but especially because we got the return of the much-missed Jack O'Neill humor. However, what was odd to me is that he sent Daniel Jackson, the archaeologist, to watch over Rush. Yeah, he's seen a lot of action, but he's still just an archaeologist.

I have to give some credit to SGU. It finally seems to have found its way. All that's left is to trim the cast so those left can actually be developed more.

May 22 2010 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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