EPISODE REVIEWS: Stargate Universe: “Hope” (Season 2, Episode 14)

Republibot 3.0
Republibot 3.0's picture

Six episodes left, probably no resolution to the story. Much as I hate Syfy (And I do, believe me, I do) and much as I blame this debacle on them, I can’t help notice the ratings on this show continue to deteriorate rapidly. The Midseason cliffhanger dropped fifty-nine thousand viewers between part 1 and part 2. The next episode dropped another hundred thousand. Last week (Which really wasn’t a very good episode) dropped another hundred and fourteen thousand viewers.

Budgets for shows like these are always kind of secret, I don’t know what it costs, but it’s well known that this is far and away the most expensive ‘Gate show, and that SGA was in the 2 million per episode range, so let’s just assume this one is 3 million per. If that’s the case, then given the current ratings this show is costing MGM $3.68 PER VIEWER!

No wonder they’re bankrupt.

I still blame most of that on Syfy’s deliberately murderous decision to move the show from Friday Nights. They were trying to kill it. Still and all, at least it’s getting better treatment than Caprica did. And it deserves better treatment than Caprica, too.

PLAY BY PLAY

It’s several days after the Lucian attack on Washington, and no one has been able to contact earth. The Communication Stones aren’t working, and no one’s sure if it’s a glitch, or because the earthside stones were vaporized in a 50 Megaton Naquadah explosion. The crew are taking turns on the stones, attempting to contact. During Chloe’s turn, she falls asleep, and when she wakes up she’s possessed by Gin, Eli’s Lucian sweetie/guest star from the first half of the season.

The problem, as you’ll recall, is that Gin is dead. She was back on earth in the crippled-up body of Dr. Amanda Perry being debriefed by the Office of Homeworld Security, while Dr. Perry was in Gin’s body on Destiny. Simeon the psychopathic Lucian dude strangled her. This severed the connection, answering the longstanding question of what happens when one of two people using the stones dies: They both die.

So after several months of being dead, Gin turns up in Chloe’s body. The whole “Hosting” process is ookie enough, frankly, and I’ve called it “Posession” on occasion, but here the comparison is really apt given that the host is being occupied by someone who is unquestionably dead. Held a funeral and everything. Kept the receipt. No real question about it.

Eli and Rush theorize that since Gin was strangled the connection was broken incorrectly, it’s possible there was a kind of echo or random signal in the machine that’s just been bouncing around all this time. Chloe fell asleep, which reduced her control enough that the signal was able to bounce in. Before we can ever even really get to the question of whether Eli gets to bag his two birds with one stone (I’m sorry) we discover that things ain’t right. Gin keeps choking, Chloe starts to take control, then get knocked out again. Halfway through the episode, Dr. Perry shows up. It’s all a mess. Added to which the ghosts are fading fast. Each time they black out, they’re weaker.

Rush decides to try to use the Alien Interface Chair as a kind of soul catcher, downloading Gin and Amanda into the ship rather than simply deleting and killing them, in hopes that maybe someday they can download ‘em into new bodies a’la the Asgard, though hopefully less alien grey, you know? Way too Whitley Streiber. This they then do, and that leads them to crash headlong into our strangely aggressive subplot for the ep:

Dr. Volker is dying. He’s got kidney failure. They do a search for a donor, and Greer fits. He agrees to do it, but since they don’t have a doctor, and can’t Stone one in from earth, TJ is gonna’ have to do the operation herself. This is going acceptably well when the whole “Interface Chair” thing happens, the ship goes screwy, everyone loses power, and we’re all gonna’ die. Then, Dr. Perry shows up as a hallucination only TJ can see, and talks her through the operation.

The day is saved, Greer is ok, Volker is ok, and both ghosts are now living in the ship. Gin tries to touch Eli, but can’t.

Telford turns up to tell them Washington is safe, and it was a technical error in DC that caused the blackout.

The End.

OBSERVATIONS

There’s a strange disconnect between the A plot with the ghosts and the B plot with the kidneys threatening to turn two men into ghosts. The second felt like it was from another show. This series has always had such a laid-back progression that when something like an illness comes up, you expect it to play out over 8 or 16 episodes before they resolve it. Having a problem appear, diagnosed, and solved in one ep is, well, it’s un-SGUlike. It’s more an SG1 thing. Actually, truth be told, it’s really more of a TNG thing. Gate has generally played more unpredictable endings and somewhat loser and faster with the plot elements than Trek does. Wonky. Granted, the pacing on this show has improved worlds in the last 10 episodes or so, but still…

Rush said he’d severed the neural connection the ship had with him, but can re-institute it. Why would he do that in the first place? Why didn’t he want to talk to the avatars of his dead wife and that scientist guy the ship ate last year? Ok, the wife may have been hard to take, but it’d seem any version contact with the ship would be a good thing, right?

Added to which, the soul catcher interface seems to me to have been spectacularly piss poor at its job up until now. The ghosts don’t seem to be able to actually tell the crew what they need to know, nor do they seem to be able to actually do the things the crew tell them to. And of course we really don’t know what happened to TJ’s baby, though the assumption is the ship was just trying to spare her feelings on that one, while not doing anything to help Rush’s attempts to control the ship. So it’s a weirdly non-intuitive system they’ve got set up here. It’s basically an even more ineffectual version of Rimmer from Red Dwarf.

TONIGHT it worked, it saved the life of the subplot, but does this mean that we can finally figure out how the ship works? That it’ll be effective in the future? Or was this just a way to patch up a plot hole? Will our increasingly-haunted ship actually work better, or not?

Also, on that subject: was the ship *supposed* to eat and store dead crewmembers? It seems increasingly that it was. What was the point of that? How long was this mission supposed to last? Well, obviously millions of years, but….uhm….were they going to store up billions of ghosts in the mainframe by the end of it? Why? Who were they hoping to meet when they get to the end of the universe? They’ve never expressed any belief in God before…I’m increasingly of the opinion, however, that Destiny was intended to be a ghost ship (After a fashion) from the outset. The living crew were there mainly to service the ghosts.

Was the Rush/Eli theory correct? An echo ‘round her bones? If that’s the case, then every time the stones are improperly used, you’re running the risk of another soul bumping around inside ‘em. Darn lucky Chloe happened to fall asleep in that chair instead of Greer.

The whole “Also Sprach Zarathustra” thing was pretty funny tonight, and it’s weird that Volker and Brody are the comedy relief for the show. As ever, I like Dr. Park, who’s a tough broad. Remember when Simeon put a bomb on her, Rush rescued her, and then she just kind of shook it off and went back to work? Here she does all kinds of not-my-pay grade stuff without being asked. Greer picked himself a good woman.

(Neither here nor there, but the word on the street is that all the stuff that took place with Simeon was originally written for Kiva, but then the actress got another gig and couldn't complete the role)

Again: what do we make of Greer? He’s superhuman. He gives up a kidney without even really being asked fully, refuses to waste painkillers, says there’s nowhere else he’d rather be, jokes about it (Not a good joke, mind you), and, well, wow, I just don’t know what to make of the guy. It’s a weird mix between PTSD/Survivor’s Guilt and an utter refusal to die until he’s fulfilled his (increasingly vague) duties. None of that makes a lick of sense, but brother the character just explodes off the screen at me. Greer, as a character, is better than the show. He’s compelling without really doing or saying much.

Scott is surprisingly cool with all that’s going on to Chloe in this episode, though it clearly freaks him out a bit. I suppose for a wannabe priest, though, possession is probably a lot more easy to take - homey, even - than your girlfriend gradually turning into an alien.

Young actually acted like a CO through this whole thing. A good one!

No Camille this week.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

No. Social Conservatives will run screaming from the room. It is kinda' clever, though. Not brilliant, not a pulse-pounder, probably a bit too somber coming on the heels of last week, but still kinda' clever.

Tags: