EPISODE REVIEW: Stargate Universe: “Pathogen” (Season 2, Episode 4)

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I’ve been wondering lately how the Stargate franchise is continuing to operate. I don’t mean that in a Voyager-era Star Trek “Why are people still watching this crap” sense: Stargate has always been great. I just mean financially. MGM is bankrupt. They’re so broke they had to abandon a James Bond movie in preproduction because they didn’t have the money to pull it off. They’re so broke that they’ve only got four movies - only four! - in the pipeline at the moment, and assuming no one buys the studio, those’ll be the last MGM movies *Ever.* They’re so broke that no one even wants to buy them for the same reason no one really wants to buy a diesel 1976 AMC Pacer: because frankly there’s nothing more anyone could reasonably expect to get out of it.

So how is Stargate still going? If they can’t scrape together the money to make a Bond flick - the only MGM property anyone wants to see, then where is the 60 million or so a season of SGU costs?



The Lucians are released from the brig, but placed under guard. One of them - Simion - is doing a poor job of trying to fit in, he insults the ladies, tries to pick fights with Greer. He is utterly shocked to find that the other Lucians really *are* giving intel to the SGC, and not just made-up crap like he’s been doing.

MEANWHILE, Camille uses the stones to visit her girlfriend or lover or wife or whatever, and their relationship is stressful, mainly because her significant other can’t get used to Camille’s soul in various bodies-of-the-week. Seriously, gay or straight, that must really be hard. Camille confesses that hope is a hard thing to hold on to, and it’s her moments back at home that allow her to hold on.

MEANWHILE, Eli’s mom’s HIV takes a turn toward full-blown AIDS. He visits her, and finds she’s let herself fall apart from the depression of losing her son. In a host body, he tries to convince her that he is her son, and freaks her out really bad, and probably harms her health. Ultimately, Camille wrangles Eli’s mom a visit to the Destiny to see Eli, and regain her hope, and thereby keep taking her meds.

MEANWHILE, Chloe is sleepwalking around the ship, writing down messages in the an alien language. The crew quickly realizes she’s studying the ship for whatever purpose, and either she’s turning into an alien, or she’s relaying stuff back to them, or whatever. Rush lies, blaming the goofy things he’s been causing the ship to do on her, then lies again claiming he can use the interface chair to cure her.


How is it that everyone in this show has family that lives in DC? How come nobody has a mom that lives in Minot, North Dakota, or Guam or whatever?

Colonel Telford is conspicuously absent.

Man, Rush is a bastard. Seriously, what is he working on? I mean, we know - more or less - what “The mission” is that the SGC was pursuing, but I get the feeling that when he talks of “The Mission,” he isn’t talking about that.

The scenes with Eli and his mom were really poignant, and her emerging fear at being vulnerable and locked in a room with a lunatic claiming to be her son were very well done, and nicely restrained. Her depression was well done, too. I also liked Eli’s emerging panic as the situation deteriorated. The scenes of Camille pulling strings to help Eli is probably the first nice, unselfish thing she’s done.

I like how quick Greer was to defend Park. They’re knockin’ boots, you know. Also: she’s cute as heck.

Young is back in “I really like him,” mode. The whole “You can’t force her to do this.” “Well then I’ll ask her” bit totally put him back in the saddle in my eyes. I also liked his obvious concern for Eli.

What did the aliens do to Chloe? What’s it’s goal? Obviously this is what fixed her leg, but what is she turning into? I’m not convinced *any* of these characters will survive the trip, so it’s possible she’ll buy it.

In essence, this episode was all about how difficult it is to develop trust: no one trusts the Lucians, some of the Lucians don’t trust each other, Eli’s mom doesn’t trust her son’s love for her, nor does she trust the guy claiming to be her son. Rush doesn’t trust anyone. Young can’t afford to trust Chloe, and Scott gives in to paranoia, and checks her diary. Interestingly, in Scott and Young’s case, this mistrust was the *right* thing to do, and in at least one instance, their mistrust of the Lucians is likewise correct. And when Young believe Rush about Chloe, that’s the wrong thing to do.

What makes this intriguing is that trust isn’t portrayed as a universally good thing here, but simply a thing. Some trust is good, some is bad. If the mistrust of Chloe is well placed, then that could allude to some of the other trusts and distrusts being well placed as well. It’s possible - however unlikely - that Rush’s paranoia about the crew might be well-founded. It’s unlikely, but what I like about this show is that it can’t be ruled out.


Oh, gosh yes! It deals with making the hard choices about POWs, and it's very applicable to the Gitmo situation: you can't just *trust* these people.