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'Stargate Universe' Season 2, Episode 13 Recap

by Mike Moody, posted Mar 22nd 2011 11:55AM
stargate universe alliances episode recap['Stargate Universe' – 'Alliances']

Greer and Camille finally bonded, the Lucian Alliance threat got real, and Homeworld Command came calling this week on 'Stargate Universe.'

Before we jump into 'Alliances,' let's take a quick trip to Sunnydale...One of my favorite 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' episodes is 'Checkpoint,' from the show's fifth season. In 'Checkpoint,' members of the elite and oh-so-British Watchers Council pay Buffy and Giles a visit. This is no social call, of course; the Council members are in town to deliver valuable information about Buffy's latest foe, the awesomely evil Glorificus. But before handing over the intel, they feel they must evaluate Buffy, Giles and her friends by putting them through a series of ridiculous tests to assess their honesty and credibility.

That 'Buffy' episode ended with Buffy and crew standing up for themselves and telling the Council to frak off. It was an inspiring episode, with Buffy and her pals solidifying their commitment to the mission and -- er -- staking a bold new claim in the world that flew in the face of the old guard. A similar thing happened this week on 'SGU,' but, of course, the details were slightly different.

I make the 'Buffy' comparison here, because, like it or not, 'SGU' is starting to resemble that show in one distinct way – the characters are starting to bond like family and work together to complete a mission, possibly the most important mission of all time.

It's a change of pace for 'SGU,' a show that, when it first premiered, was marked by deep and violent personality clashes, opposing ideas, and dueling agendas among the crew. For a time, it seemed like the Destiny crew would never resemble the classic 'Stargate' team model -- a group of people with different skills and personalities who, despite their differences, always had each other's backs and thought of each other as family.

But things are definitely starting to change for the 'SGU' team as the characters and the story continue to develop. The presence of Senator Michaels and Lt. Ferretti Dr. Andrew Covel in this episode only highlighted the crewmember's commitment to the Destiny's mission and to each other.

The Homeworld Command reps were there to assess the worth of building a new Icarus base and to assess the mysterious signal Rush found in the cosmos. Basically, they were there to either validate or invalidate everything our heroes were doing. Much like the Council members on 'Buffy,' these two bureaucrats underestimated the crew and failed to recognize their achievements or the importance of their mission.

Covel failed to agree with Rush that the "signal from God" was worth pursuing, but his reasoning seemed to be less about the viability of the signal and more about how people would react to his findings back on Earth. Later, Covel and Michaels told Young that they didn't expect the crew to last more than six months, and that his leadership and the crew's mistakes were the reason that Destiny was in such bad shape.

It was great to see the some of the crewmembers stand up for themselves in the face of such one-sided scrutiny here and reaffirm the importance of their new lives on the Destiny.

When Michaels told Chloe that her talents were going to waste on the ship, Chloe eventually told her that she wanted to remain on the ship and was proud of the work she's doing there. When Michaels met with TJ and told her that the past few months have probably been a huge strain on her and that a "real doctor" could better serve the crew, she was surprised to hear that TJ had a positive outlook and was excited to learn more about the ship's medical technology. When TJ told Michaels that no doctor would volunteer for the one-way trip aboard Destiny, it was pretty clear what she was really saying, "I'm needed here, and I'm not going anywhere."

In the end, Covel and Michaels were revealed to be shortsighted and untrustworthy (though one a lot more untrustworthy than the other), which only affirmed that our heroes are on the right track, even if their actions don't always look good on paper.

While Young was dealing with his visitors, Greer and Wray were stuck on Earth in the rubble following a Lucian Alliance attack on Homeworld Command. Why would the Lucian Alliance attack Earth? With one ship and one bomb? You got me? But the dire situation had its rewards: We got to see Wray shine as the tough and clever chick we all knew she was, and Greer opened up and dropped the super soldier veneer just enough to become more of a relatable character.

There was a lot going on in this episode, especially on the Destiny, but the Greer and Wray scenes were some of the most memorable of the night. These two went through quite the emotional journey together, and their story offered suspense, terror, action and pathos.

The episode seemed to end with one hell of a cliffhanger after Covel and Michaels were sent back to their dying bodies to disarm the bomb. Were they successful? We never found out.

'Alliances' served to remind us that Destiny's makeshift crew is starting accept their situation and even enjoy working and hanging out with each other. Even old foes are starting to become friends, as evidenced by Greer and Wray's arc. The episode also brought up a number of questions both practical and philosophical: What is the Lucian Alliance really up to? Do the communications stones still work? What are the limits when inhabiting someone else's body? And, possibly the most intriguing question, what the hell is up with Telford? He seemed to take the news about his doppelganger dying in an accident quite well. And he seemed to be hiding something throughout the entire episode. He's the only survivor of the timeline in which everyone on Destiny perished, and it's pretty obvious that he's hiding some deep dark secret.

Other thoughts:

- Varro's expertise came in handy this week. I hope we see more of this guy down the line, if only because Mike Dopud has a cool, calming presence on this show.

- It's nice to see that Chloe is still able to access her super smarts left over from the alien wackiness that happened to her early in the season.

- Brody and Volker continue to be two of my favorite characters on the show, even if they get no props for their hard work and expertise.

- This ep marked French Stewart's return to 'Stargate.' I remember him from the original movie as Ferretti, but I want to say that he appeared on 'SG-1' as well, but there's no IMDB listing to back up that claim. Am I wrong?

'Stargate Universe' airs Mondays at 10PM ET on Syfy.

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scottmcpartland

I understand that when Sci-Fi became SyFy it became a network in search of a brand, but most of what they broadcast is simply unwatchable. I'm sure Wrestling, Ghosthunters, and now Quantum Kitchen are cheap to produce and enrich many suits' Christmas bonuses, but we're reaching a point where many of us aren't even bothering to see what's on SyFy any more. SGU has been consistently compelling, and if the network really does pull the plug on this series, it will be a tragedy in a TV landscape increasingly littered with singing contests, dancing contests, fat people, repeats of NCIS, SVU and jackasss videoes.

March 22 2011 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to scottmcpartland's comment
BC

Yeah, but the old 'Stargate' fans hated it and didn't watch because it wasn't as cheery and simple-minded as the other series. If it had good ratings and brought in commensurate advertising sales, it wouldn't be canceled just because reality programming is cheaper.

Still, the way SyFy has been run was symptomatic of NBC-Universal's worldview, and I'm not hopeful that it will get better under Comcast--indeed, I fear for some of the programming at USA.

March 22 2011 at 2:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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