There are mild spoilers ahead, if you’ve not yet seen this episode.
After the chaos of the past few weeks, apathy seems to have set in amongst the crew in SGU, and they look as if they are in as much of a bad state as the ship they travel on. The depth of the wounds left by the alien attacks and the mutiny can be felt immediately as we look around the crew.
We start with Destiny dropping out of FTL into a seemingly empty area of space. A sun is the only thing in the near vicinity, leaving Dr Rush (Robert Carlyle) to worry about why Destiny would bring them here, as the ship only stops off where Stargates have been placed on planets. Rush eventually notices a small, oxygen-based planet that seems more out of place than the sun.
You see, the sun is quite young, apparently, with only 100,000 years in its history. Not long enough to create a planet that would sustain life, unfortunately. The planet therefore, is a mystery. That doesn’t stop them from sending a crew down to wander about and look for supplies, even when they find an alien structure that leads Rush to suspect that it is a planet created from scratch. It seems like an unlikely situation, that much is certain, but it leads to an interesting and well-crafted plot piece.
The Destiny seems to be here for a while, a month in fact, and the shuttle is taken down with a bunch of the crew to hang about and collect supplies to bring back to the ship. The shuttle, however, cannot come back to Destiny before then, as it will be out of range. Of course, the people on the planet become attached to it and end up wanting to stay, which inevitably creates even more divides between the crew members.
Further complications lead this to be a rather intriguing episode and one that will surely have ramifications for a while to come. Truly, this also gives a few background cast members the chance to step forward and say some powerful things.
Dr Caine (Tygh Runyan) comes back again, and becomes the frontman for the half of the planet-based folk that believe the planet was put in their path for a reason. While he does utter some of the same lines a few times, and his faith in an almighty god almost defines his entire character here, he is still an interesting cog in the machine that is Destiny.
The writers seem hell-bent on creating lasting bonds between characters that I had always assumed would barely say two words to each other all season. Some brilliant scenes between Ming-Na’s increasingly interesting Camile Wray and David Blue’s always-brilliant Eli Wallace capture this plan perfectly. They seem to create a lovely friendship in a short space of time, and while most of their usual cohorts are planet-bound, they have each other to confide in. It makes for a great few scenes, and I hope that it isn’t just a one-episode fluke.
Robert Carlyle comes back into his own here as the wounded Dr Rush, looking for something to keep the days ticking on. He uses the month aboard Destiny to explore some more areas of Destiny, and with some limited success, it would seem.
In that time they find some interesting crates, which would appear to hold the key to a future plotline, and I can’t wait until they are touched upon again.
Rush seems as arrogant and stubborn as ever, which is when he’s at his best, but the injury gives the viewers an opportunity to find out just how much they care about the character.
One the main focuses of this episode is Lt Johansen (Alaina Huffman) and she does do her character great justice in the many scenes in which she appears. This also gives her a chance to bond with both Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque) and Lt Scott (Brian Smith) and the scenes these three characters have together are brilliantly executed.
A few more background characters become a bit more integral in the repairs of the ship and general crew detail. Lisa Park (Jennifer Spence) and Adam Brody (Peter Kelamis) become a great double team here as they try to repair the shuttle that became useless within the first few episodes.
Battlestar Galactica fans may recognise Vincent Gale appearing too, although I’m unsure currently as to whether this is a guest appearance or a recurring one. He was as good here as his fairly small but important role in Battlestar Galactica was, which is nothing short of exemplary.
What’s good is that this episode shows what Lost has done in the past, which is to work with main characters and bring some background characters to the foreground when they are either needed, or to give them some exposure. It’s great for everyone involved and it also makes the show feel even more worthy of watching.
While this episode leans more on the dramatic side of Stargate Universe, it shouldn’t ward off sci-fi fans, as it teases many alien-related plot points to come back to in later weeks.
This episode may not have been as great as last week’s, but it’s a really good entry in the season one catalogue, and the continuing quality of episodes is definitely not in question.
Every week characters come further and further out of their shells, and the show gets better with every episode because of it. The series evolves with every plotline and every scene, growing into a brilliantly drama-heavy sci-fi show, and I cannot wait for pick-ups on the plot threads left by this episode.
Check out our review of episode 12 here.
Stargate Universe is showing in the UK on Sky1 and Sky1 HD every Tuesday.