EPISODE REVIEW: Stargate Universe: “Awakening” (Season 2, Episode 3)

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“Gee, Skipper, do you think we’ll get off the island this week?”
“Probably not, little buddy. If we did, the show would end.”
“Ah, bugger, Skipper.”
“Mary Ann likes you, you know.”
“Shut up.”

PLAY BY PLAY

The Destiny docks with the alien ship they spotted last week, though it’s not so alien as we thought. It’s one of the Ancient “Seed Ships,” which were sent out long in advance of Destiny itself, to set up the stargate network. These vessels were always unmanned, and they appear to have stumbled across one that broke down for whatever reason.

The Destiny and the Seeder start exchanging information, so Young sends over a team to check it out. They find some CGI aliens and a massive power supply that can easily gate them back home, but just as the thing is dialing, the power fails for inadequately explained reasons, and the Seeder starts sucking power *away* from Destiny. This is probably the aliens doing, but as with all the aliens in this series, they remain refreshingly inscrutable.

Losing power and risking becoming stranded, Rush secretly uses the control room to detach the Destiny and gate away, marooning Telford on the derelict, where he’s surrounded by aliens.

MEANWHILE, Chloe’s wounds continue to heal at a fantastic rate.

MEANWHILE, the Lucians remain prisoners, and Young tells them in no uncertain terms that he doesn’t thing he’ll ever let them out. One of them tries something with TJ, but she slaps him down.

MEANWHILE, Greer and the understatedly hot Dr. Park have been doing things that resulted in him having a pulled hamstring.

The End

OBSERVATIONS

There are two tropes that this series seems in danger of overusing very quickly:

#1 “Oh no, someone’s been left behind!” (Rush, Scott, Eli, Chloe, the people in the Artificial solar system, the three folks left in episode 3, and now Telford)

#2 “Oh boy! We can dial home! Psyche!”

I get the reasons for both of these, of course: Like Space: 1999 before it, much of the drama is based on having a very narrow window of opportunity to visit these worlds, which amps up the peril. To keep that from being just an annoying tease, they have to occasionally have people be stranded. But of course all the stranded people keep getting back, which is an entirely different kind of tease. So, of course, we know full well that Telford is going to get back, so there’s no real drama in that, unless you’ve never seen the show before, in which case you don’t know who Telford is, so there’s still no drama in that for you.

The “Go home” thing is similarly obvious: They need to keep the possibility alive without actually changing the premise of the show. Thus we’ve got Rush’s lie and the Lucian gate in season 1, and this one tonight. I don’t object to this at all, but I think they’re ringing that bell a little too often.

While continuing on about things I get, but don’t really care for: would it kill them to light the Destiny a bit more? I find it hard to tell who’s who from scene to scene, the action sequences aboard ship are muddy and hard to follow, it’s just needlessly rough on 40 year old guys with bifocals, and could easily turn 30 year olds into 40 year olds with bifocals. It *does* provide a nice visual contrast to the planets they visit, however.

You know, there’s other similarities to Space: 1999 now that I think on it. Both groups are lost in space, both weren’t intended to be there, both groups have no real control over where they’re going, there’s the ‘limited window’ thing I talked about, both groups get caught up in conflicts that are none of their affair, and both groups frequently question the sanity of their commander, though in ‘99 it’s with far less reason, they’ve made a panicky partial evacuation once, leaving most everyone to die, and there‘s (At least one) mysterious unknown force that may be guiding their destiny. (See what I did there?) Obviously any given episode of SGU is better than any given season of ‘99, so don’t get me wrong, it just occurred to me.

The Lucian Alliance is planning a direct attack on earth. Even though they’re not heavy-hitters, this is a serious problem as the Alien Defense Chair was destroyed in the final episode of SGA. It sounds like the Lucian conflict (Or is it a war?) is really heating up. I really would have liked to have seen some of that.

The Gate Factory on the seeder was pretty cool, and Rush really *should* have been more interested in that.

Frequent reference is made to “Homeworld Command” in tonight’s episode. At first I thought it was just the Lucian dude getting the name wrong, but everyone says that. Shouldn’t that be Stargate Command? Have they re-organized? What’s the deal?

I suppose these new aliens will be the recurring ones for this season. I assume that means we’ve seen the last of the ones from last season (Being another galaxy and all), but I would have liked to have known more about them. (I suspect they were following the Destiny for the same basic reason the Voyager was being followed in the “Voyager’s Return” episode of Space: 1999)

They’re setting up a romance between TJ and the Lucian dude.

I dunno. I had a hard time getting into this episode, I think simply because Riley’s death last week was so powerful. This just seemed like a going-through-the-motions thing by comparison.

Anyone else got any opinions?

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