EPISODE REVIEW: Stargate Universe: “Sabotage” (Season 1, Episode 16)

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You know, I find it funny how my predictions for this show are consistently wrong. I mean, seriously, not to toot my own horn, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have watched *A LOT* of TV, and it’s hard to come up with something I haven’t seen a million times, yet they still manage to surprise me. I think it’s not so much that I’m seeing things I haven’t seen, but they’re spinning and combining them in new and original ways.

Which, of course, is what makes this show so increasingly good.

So the Destiny leaves whatever galaxy it is that they happened to be in, when they realize that owing to inefficiency and damage and wear and tear in the ship over the last ten million years or so, the ship just isn‘t going to make it across the intergalactic gulf to whatever galaxy it is that they happen to be heading towards. They‘ll run out of energy about 95% of the way across. The ship will eventually drift into the new galaxy, fuel up, and start again, but they‘ll all be centuries dead by then. They decide to bring in a specialist from earth to see about improving the engine efficiency - it wouldn’t need to be by much - so they bring in a scientist from the SGC who has been paralyzed from the neck down since she was nine. Camille takes her place on earth via the communications stones. Then*something* happens to Lt. James, and then the engines go blooey and they drop out of FTL.

Suddenly they get an incoming wormhole, and Scott, Eli, and Chloe gate through. Maaaaaaaaaan, that was an anticlimactic resolution to last week’s cliffhanger, wasn’t it? No matter: since the ship is out of FTL, they can evacuate to last week’s final planet if they need to. They decide to send through a kino to check it out, but Eli complains about stupid military procedures. The picture from the other side shows the aliens have ships on the surface. They shut down the gate and spend the next three weeks trying to fix the situation.

During this period, we get A Montage! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIi0vFyqWAc (Caution: Dirty Words in there) and Tony Verdeshi builds a still. Oh, no, wait, that was Space: 1999. Anyway, someone builds a still. So now we’ve got a bar on the ship. Chloe - who you’ll recall is a heavy drinker - hits it immediately. She also hits Scott - they’re back together again - so I guess the mutiny is bygones.

It turns out our crippled guest star had a thing for Rush some years back, and now that she’s able to walk and eat and do stuff, she wants him bad. He declines based on his time in the chair, which has caused him to relive the death of his wife all over again. He just can’t close the deal. They’ve realized that by losing the inefficient engine - which blew up and can’t be fixed - the overall efficiency has been increased enough for them to make it to the next galaxy. They just can’t start the engines.

Meanwhile, back on earth, Camille has shacked up with her girlfriend (or possibly wife, given their reminiscences of Hawaii the last time we saw her), but, of course, she’s a quadriplegic on a vent, requiring 24/7 care from a nurse, so it’s rough on both of them. Curiously, the nurse is completely ok with a lesbian inhabiting the body of the heterosexual woman she’s taking care of. Or is she? There’s a tiny bit of tension there. Perhaps she just knows that nothing is going to come of it because of the health problems. They do smooch a bit. We’re led to believe that the tension of being in a paralyzed body is getting to Camille, but we really don’t see much evidence of this until she freaks out at the end.

Billions of lightyears away, Lt. James has realized that a recurring nightmare she’s having isn’t a recurring nightmare: it’s the aliens using the stones, during which time she was in a holding cell on one of their ships. The aliens managed to sabotage the weakest of several engines, and also bring the coordinates of their forces. Young realizes that the attack is imminent. He details orders to everyone, and prepares to sit in the Ancient Learning Chair to command the ship to turn on again, though this is almost certainly a death sentence. (Why, exactly? Rush survived it for days. Why can’t Young?) The guy who tried the chair out a few episodes back has been vegetative for months, but suddenly he can grunt out a word or two, and tells them to put him in the chair.

They do, and the chair room ices up. They leave. The engines come online as the aliens attack, and they zip off into the blackness. Young and Rush head back to the chair room to check on the guy, and find him gone, vanished.

OBSERVATIONS

Gee, Rush is becoming something apart from just a jerk. I find I’m beginning to wonder if he even has a secret agenda. I was so sure in the early episodes that he had one - he seemed too driven by the Icarus project - but now, well, maybe he was just throwing himself in to his work to get over the loss of his wife. Or maybe not - our guest scientist (Reiko Aylesworth, who’s a real cutie) - says that she and him used to talk a lot about Ascension at the SGC.

Speaking of the ascended ancients, I’m increasingly getting the feeling they’re beyond the range of ‘em out here. The franchise has always been a bit nebulous about exactly how omniscient those guys are, but I think maybe they’re all living in and around the Local Group, and of course Destiny is super way far away from that. I don’t think there’s any ancients anywhere near their neighborhood. What do you guys think?

TJ is no longer wearing her uniform, since she’s showing. Everyone is obviously aware of this, I wonder if everyone knows it’s Young’s kid. Certainly it didn’t take Scott long to figure it out, but then he, TJ, and Greer were evidently pretty close on Icarus, so maybe they know more about each other than the average person on the base did.

Have we seen the last of the aliens? How advanced are they? I mean, can they cross to another galaxy, or is the Destiny beyond their range? Most Gateverse aliens we’ve seen can’t manage that trick.

Why do the aliens want the destiny, anyway? My own hunch (Based mostly on Space: 1999 for some reason) is that the Destiny somehow wiped out their homeworld, and so the last survivors of their race are chasing it in hope of it being their new home, as they have absolutely nowhere else to go.

I’m going to stop using “Race” when talking about aliens. “Species” is more correct and less confusing. I’m going with that from now on.

Ok, I’ve been holding off on this one for a while: What’s up with the black uniforms? I get the ‘black’ part - they’re in space. But up until now, Stargate military types generally wear standard Air Force uniforms. At first I thought “Maybe it’s some kind of unified command thing, something all SGC personnel wear, whether they’re in the Navy, Air Force, Army, Marines, but no: everyone we’ve seen in one is wearing USAF rank. And the Marines clearly *aren’t* wearing the black uniforms. So what’s the deal? My other idea was that maybe they’re the uniform of the super-secret fifth branch of the service: the United States Space Force. But, no, Camille expressly said a few weeks back that they’re all Air Force, so again, what’s the point? And if you’ve got a covert military operation, it seems to me that having someone make up thousands of uniforms for it at government expense might not be the best way to go about keeping it secret.

Anyone got any theories? Ginrummy, I’m looking at you…

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