This review contains spoilers.
Unfortunately, something a character says in the first scene of the episode rings true of this episode: “It’s a lot to process.” Stargate Universe has returned, and with a bang too.
We pick up where we left off at the end of last season, with the current crew of the Destiny in varying degrees of anguish. While Lt. Scott and Sgt Greer run along the ship’s hull, trying to make it to the only available entrance before a pulsar kills them, Eli was doing the same on the inside, running to open the door to let the two of them in.
Many characters were left shot, including Chloe, Lt Johansen, Col Telford and The Lucian Alliance’s Commander Kiva. Dr Rush and Mr Brody were desperately clinging onto any control over the ship they can get, refusing to let the Lucian Alliance completely take over.
With much of the crew being held at gunpoint by them, however, it isn’t looking too good for our crew of misfits.
While most of this is dealt with in one way or another fairly quickly, the Lucian Alliance is still in charge of most of the ship. And there’s Varro and Dannic fighting for control of the Lucian Alliance, too. With Varro seeming to be the most diplomatic of the two, of course he is going to lose this argument. We’ve watched enough genre TV to know that. However, he’s not losing before bringing in some medical experts via the communication stones, for his own men and Lt Johansen.
Speaking of our favourite injured medic, her part in this story seems like the one that is setting up most of an arc here. She experiences some kind of out of body experience, waking up in a cabin with a familiar face.
Cast your mind back to the thirteenth episode of season one Faith, in which the rather interesting character, Dr Caine, and a few unknown crew members decided to stay behind on an planet similar to Earth, believing the planet’s original inhabitants would return and be able to return them to earth. Fast forward to now, and the man in question turns up in the cabin with Lt Johansen and tells her that the aliens saved her and her child from death by transporting them there. The big question is, how real is this experience?
This part of the episode beings up a lot of questions, in fact, about both the forthcoming story and the writers’ motivations. For instance, are these the aliens we have met previously or a new one we have yet to meet? Did the writers plan this into the story back when they penned Faith? Remember, this episode was not only when Caine left Destiny, but also when we learned of Lt Johansen’s pregnancy. These questions and more may be answered in the coming weeks and months, as even at episode one, we’ve already picked up a few more mysteries to ponder over.
The Lucian Alliance, meanwhile, has sent the rest of the crew to a barely inhabitable planet, but not all of them agree that this is the right idea. A few more Alliance members make themselves seen in this episode, including Robert Knepper’s Simeon, who is highly effective as a sneaky bad ass, and Julie McNiven’s Ginn, who comes across as a lovely cast addition whose character seems of sound mind.
It’s wonderful to see a brilliant show like Stargate Universe flourish and delve even more into darker storylines as it enters its second season, when it could easily have taken the easy road, and miraculously saved the crew of the Destiny.
While this episode may have had some flaws, it was still a welcome return for an impressive show. It brought in fresh blood, closed a few storylines and opened some new ones up too, which is all you can ask of a returning show. Anything more is a lovely cherry on top.
The new additions to the cast seem like smart casting decisions, and everyone is given a chance to shine, while the returning cast are given an ample chance to remind us why we came back, and prove that this is a show worth watching.
Highlights here are Alaina Huffman’s Lt Johansen, who deals with some very tough and touching scenes greatly, and Mike Dopud’s Varro, who proves an ideal and interesting cast addition who should get to come into his own even further over the coming weeks.
It’s a tightly scripted episode that deals with a lot of heavy stuff very quickly, without it feeling too rushed. However, the Lucian Alliance’s internal power struggle is a little too quick, in my mind, and it may have benefited from a little bit more depth. That’s just nitpicking, though, as the episode gets us from A to B in an interesting and insightful way, while still retaining what made the show interesting in the first place.
The effects team don’t slack off either, as, even though we don’t see any new sets from the interior of Destiny’s ship, the VFX is still as impressive as it ever was, creating an effect for the final scene that simply looks incredible. Exterior shots of the ship, too, look increasingly sophisticated and the budget again proves itself to be highly useful.
Overall, this is a good closer episode for the superb season one multiple cliffhanger that tied up some loose ends very well, but more importantly, started new and interesting story threads that will keep us all on the edge of our seats throughout the season.