(Photo By: Carole Segal/Syfy – Thanks to SyFy for the advanced screener for this episode.)
Let’s talk about the reset button a little bit.
In every type of continuous media (TV shows, comic books, novel or movie series), there’s a number of ways of approaching a story. I’m going to talk about comics a bit, even though I’m eventually going to talk about a TV show, because comics is where I’m most familiar with this.
In comics, you can either:
Do entirely standalone stories every issue, like Archie comics, or most all ages titles that are adaptations of cartoons.
Have a completely continuous story. Most comics these days are like this, complete with an insanely long recap page (or no recap page, you just had to read everything prior to get what’s going on).
Some combo of the two, where the characters recap what’s going on in the book. I’d argue that, for the most part, this has gone out of style.
The reason I bring this up is that TV has begun to fracture in exactly the same way… Except with TV, my preference is the opposite of my preference in comics. In comics, I prefer that each issue bring a new opportunity for readers to pick it up. My eyes glaze over when I pick up a #1, and there’s a multi-paragraph recap. As long as the characters and situations are included in a fluid way? Do it in the issue. With TV, it’s the opposite: if you tell me info I already know, or retread plot points, I get pissed, and feel like the writers are wasting my time. Why I feel differently about these two mediums, who knows? But that does bring us to this week’s episode of Stargate Universe*.
For the past few episodes, Rush has been secretly controlling Destiny, having unlocked the master control code some time between season one and two. And in true Rush fashion, he hadn’t told anyone.
Meanwhile, Young has been all depressed because his baby died, he almost lost the ship to the Lucian Alliance, and worst of all, he’s still not Edward James Olmos. But we dealt with that last episode when he got his groove back, right? Wrong.
When Rush makes a pit stop to check out an abandoned vessel floating in space, naturally, Rush and Young team up to check out what happened. And then they get trapped there, and are forced to rehash everything that’s happened in the series so far. I don’t mean that literally, as it’s always possible some godlike alien could force them to relive past events. I mean the conflicts I kind of thought we were done with, including Young’s crisis of faith, and Young vs. Rush get replayed over and over. Basically, we were a few flashbacks short of any sitcom’s, “Trapped in an elevator,” episode.
In the end, we do get a few major developments:
Rush and Young agree to work together, at least until the next episode where things reset themselves.
We find out that Destiny’s true mission is to gather pieces of a message created before the beginning of the universe.
The crew all find out about Rush’s control of the ship, and end up… Well, taking control of the ship.
Oh, and T-Bag gets all weird and maybe rape-y, but we’ll save most of that for next episode.
Some pretty big developments, but my disappointment is that they were presented so blatantly. It’s not that this show doesn’t have the ability to do subtlety. I just think they’re scared to be subtle on a regular basis, and that’s disappointing. I mean, sure, look what happened to Caprica – but come on, at least trust that your audience can figure out internal conflict without stating it externally all the time.
I will say I like the ultimate mission of Destiny, it plays for a nice overarching story. Taking control of the ship, on the other hand, is something I suspect won’t last for long.
*Oh, was this a recap? I forgot.
- I suspect that down the road, Young will hold the key to Destiny’s mission, infuriating Rush.
- It’s weird to hear Robert Knepper without a ridiculous Southern accent.
- So we’ve got the evil blue aliens, the scavenger pod aliens… Any other recurring baddies I’m missing?
- With Rush and Young resolved, what’s the central conflict of the show? I guess we’ll find out soon.
- I’m glad they finally addressed how rape-y the communication stones are, because holy crap, right? Right.