EPISODE REVIEW: Stargate Universe: “Justice” (Episode 10)

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I’m kinda’ tired, and this is my third full-length review of the night, and my fingers hurt and I’m tasting metal, so let’s just jump to it without my normal coy intro, shall we? Sorry. I apologize. I’ll be charming - or at least time consuming - later, but for now…

PLAY BY PLAY

We start off with a great scene of Sgt. Greer tasting some alien food, then going to yell at Baldo, who was supposed to be on KP an hour earlier, but didn’t show. In the cabin, he finds Baldo dead, and immediately contacts Young. It looks like a suicide, but there’s no weapon.

Young orders everyone to the gate room while the five people with solid alibis search the quarters of the other. Young doesn’t have an alibi that he can prove, and Eli finds the gun in his quarters. Camille immediately takes advantage of the situation, and convenes an evidentiary hearing with the intent of crucifying or at least impugning Young so he can’t command anymore. Chloe acts as his defense. Realizing he’s screwed, and it’s dividing the crew, Young strikes a bargain with Camille: Declare there’s not enough evidence to convict him, and he’ll stand down and hand command over to her.

This they then do. Rush takes advantage of the regime change to further research on the Alien Teaching Device. Eventually one of the fatter scientists guinea pigs himself, and ends up in a coma. Eli keeps looking for Kino info to exonerate the colonel, but to no avail. Meanwhile, they come in to range of a planet, and the initial survey team discovers a derelict alien ship there. Rush wants to go through, but Eli discovers a suicide message from Baldo, and shows him shooting himself. Evidently someone removed the message and framed Young. Camille turns command back over to him with some reluctance and a lot of chagrin.

Young goes through to the planet with Rush, as the clock is running out. He sends the rest of the team back through, and confronts Rush, who comes clean and says he heard the shot, investigated, and decided to frame Young, not because he thought Young would get in serious trouble or anything, but because he figured it would result in a change of command, which he figured would be good for everyone since Young “Doesn’t believe in the mission,” “Is the wrong person for the job,” and “Is a liability.” Young beats crap out of Rush, and Rush hits him with a rock. Young beats more crap out of Rush, then says “Are we done?” Rush defiantly says, “We’ll never be done,” so Young knocks him out and heads back through the gate with 20 seconds to spare, claiming Rush was killed in a rockslide. The destiny leaves the system.

Rush, meanwhile, wakes up on the planet at night and realizes he’s well and truly screwed.

OBSERVATIONS

I knew that tonight’s episode was a murder mystery, but I didn’t figure Baldo was the victim. They’ve been setting him up for a month now, and I was totally expecting him to be the killer, or the most likely suspect who’d be exonerated at the last minute. I didn’t anticipate such an ignominious and perfunctory fate. It is interesting that he was a jackass because he was coming down from ‘ludes, and not because he was on antipsychotics, like I expected.

Did it feel to you like there was a little disconnect between the first act an the third? It did me. First third: the setup, intermezzo: Trial and brief adjustment period, third act: the whacky planet, and, oh, yeah, resolution to the lingering mystery. It was ok, it wasn’t debilitating, but it felt a teeny bit disjointed to me.

Once again, the cabins are badly lit, and it’s hard to see anything during the searches. A flashlight would have helped. I realize they’re trying to make the ship moody and mysterious, but honestly - was the sun dimmer when the Ancients left? What? They’re annoying hippies who can’t stand florescent lighting ‘cuz it hurts their pot-bloodshot eyes and harshes their mellow, man? What’s the reason?
Interestingly, Lt. Scott is specifically stated as second in command. Tamara is evidently third. Lt. James would presumably be fourth. She gets a name check tonight, but doesn’t show. No Telford at all tonight.

Since the fat scientist arc isn’t resolved, presumably they *will* get some info from him before he dies.

It’s a great cliffhanger stranding Rush, but it’s not too difficult to figure how he’ll stay on the show: He’s got a big derelict alien space ship, after all. He’ll just pull a starbuck and fly it back to the Galactica…er…Destiny. What *IS* interesting about this is how long it’ll take, and how it’ll affect things on the ship when he gets back. How will people react to Young deliberately stranding someone? And lying about it?

Man, Young is nearly stoical most of the time, but he’s got a temper on him, doesn’t he? This is the second time we’ve seen him beat hell out of someone. And he does it like he has some practice.

Greer’s Sweet Potato gag was really funny. It also really expanded his character a lot. Interesting how just a few lines could do that. Once again we see his entirely devoted loyalty to the Colonel as well. I like Greer.

I can only imagine folks on IO9 will be complaining about Camille and their depiction of lesbians as conniving, evil, untrustworthy and (at least in the case of Young and Greer) man-hating. They also complained about the unflattering depiction of Gaeta on Galactica after they got around to outing him. The problem, as I see it, is that you’ve got a finite cast, and unless it’s Torchwood, you can’t really have too many characters with nonstandard sexualities. Thus you don’t have the ability to compare “Normal” and “Atypical” gays. For instance, if there were TWO lesbians on SGU, you could have Camille be evil and the other one be good, and presumably that would make PC types happier, but having only one, and needing an antagonist, and having other characters who are more important and hence can’t be screwed with much, you’re pretty much limited to the second stringers like Camille and Gaeta. Limited storytelling options, probably, more than homophobia. Time will tell, of course.

Speaking of which, I thought Tamara and Camille *WERE* a couple for the first couple episodes. Something about Tamara’s demeanor, or perhaps her hair. I liked her hair better tonight. So when did she see suicide scenes in the past? And why?

We meet a couple new scientists tonight, one of whom complains about his shoes.

The fat scientists’ shirt had a big blood stain partially washed out of it. I feel like I should remember where that came from, but I don’t.

After knocking out Rush, Young walked toward the derelict and we cut away. What was he doing? I think it’ll be relevant later.

I’ll admit I didn’t see Rush framing Young. I thought they were getting along better. I figured it was Camille who did it.

And that’s it for SGU for 2009. The remaining ten episodes will air sometime in the spring of next year, rumor has it in March, but there’s no official word. We’ll see you then.

In the meantime, we’ve had half a season to get adjusted: What’s your take on the show? Love it? Hate it? Meh it? Which and why? Sound off in the comments!

Bedways is rightways now...

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