Stargate Universe episode 9 review

This week's episode of Stargate Universe has a lot to live up to, considering last week's stellar installment...

9. Life

Opening and closing with Flogging Molly’s Worse Day Since Yesterday really sets the tone for the episode, as it focuses heavily on the dramatic side of things. While the song plays, a montage runs, showing various people across the ship dealing with their life aboard Destiny. Some are dealing with it quite well, while others are beginning to stress out.

The montage includes Chloe and Lt Scott adjusting quite well, and Josh Blacker’s Sgt Spencer starts to seem like more of a threat than previously hinted at after he runs out of pills.

While medic Johanson holds psychiatric evaluations of the crew, we see Ming-Na’s Camile and Brian J Smith’s Lt Scott head back to Earth for a visit. While Camile treats it as a quick trip home to see her partner, Lt Scott doesn’t quite get that chance, as a letter from his ex gives him a more important motive.

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And on the sci-fi side of things, we have a rather nifty little story involving a new section of ship being opened up. A beta version of the ancient repository of information is found, and Dr Rush tries to manoeuvre Col Young into letting a member of the crew have all the information downloaded into his head. Needless to say, Col Young is not willing to let him have anyone sit in the chair, as General O’Neil nearly died when he did it, and so the tension builds further than before.

It’s safe to say that if you don’t like the emotional drama side of SGU you probably won’t like this episode, as it features some of the most heavily dramatic scenes yet, and rightly so, considering the storylines that come to a head here.

Most storylines are pulled off well, with a great deal of emotional wealth ploughed out of them, with Brian J Smith getting a lot of weight put on his shoulders, and dealing with it quite robustly.

However, some of the storylines seem a little overly drained of any emotional strength and seem weak in comparison.

For instance, Ming-Na overplays her part in her story, and Col Young’s trip home seems a bit over-dramatic and unrational, which adds confusion to an earlier storyline in the episode where he plays the exact opposite of that character. However, these are small issues in an overall well played out episode and the remainder of the 40 minutes are played out in a considerably strong manner.

What we do get to see in this mostly action-less episode is a lot more of the ship and its impeccable design. Whether it’s the interior corridor design, shots of the ancient dials and screens, or some beautiful exterior shots, everything looks incredibly well planned and not a detail has gone amiss, with the final shot of the episode giving a closer look at the exterior.

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It’s shots like that that look like a field day for the FX team, and they never seem to miss a beat, so it’s always good to see them on top form.

This episode of SGU does seem like a step backwards for a series that was having its best output this time last week, but I can only hope that it is a short-term lapse and that we will be back on form before long.

Check out our review of episode 8 here.

Stargate Universe is showing in the UK on Sky1 and Sky1 HD every Tuesday.