This review contains spoilers.
From the opening, it seems like this episode will deal with some themes and plots set out in the past nine episodes, rather than abandon them for the second half of the season, which is almost what I expected to happen. It’s time for the mid-season finale, and it seems like a detour is on the cards.
Mr Brody finds a signal while working on the bridge, and it points to signs of intelligent life, but it’s a detour from the course that Destiny was intended to take. A plan is made to steer the ship in that direction, and when they arrive, all they find is a whole lot of destroyed battleships. When they decide to investigate one of the ships, something unexpected happens and it catches everyone off guard, but it leads to an interesting domino effect that can only be described as bloody awesome.
Meanwhile, Chloe’s infection is spreading, and she is losing control over it and succumbs to the inevitable, that some day soon she will become too dangerous to stay on board. Yet again, not a lot of time is spent on this storyline, but it becomes ever more apparent that Chloe may be the first main character to bite the bullet, although I hope that prediction is wrong.
As well as this, resident pseudo-psychiatrist Camile Wray talks to Eli about the lives lost in recent weeks, both Sgt Riley and Ginn. This is exactly what some people in the comments have been wanting (including myself) and it’s just a little confusing that this didn’t happen a week or two ago when the situation was still raw. However, it’s great that they’ve returned to it finally, given that it was such a massive event for Eli’s character.
A few more elements come into play in this episode, including an interesting (if short) chat between Varro and Tamara, which may answer a question which has caused a wee bit of debate since early in season two. What’s great about this episode is that the varied stories and large number of cast all get a good look in throughout the 40 minutes.
The background cast, especially, get a good chunk of airtime, with Brody and Volker basically becoming Destiny’s Sulu and Chekov. The bridge has now become a huge focal point of Stargate Universe, and a lot of the action takes place on that particular set, which has two interesting plot changers. The Stargate has taken a back seat, and Destiny becomes more of a battleship than it had previously been.
On one hand, it gives us something seen rarely in the previous two Stargate series, and that is battles, which not only look brilliant, but also completely fit the show’s style. On the other hand, it pulls away from the main element that has had Stargate fans watching since day one: going to strange new worlds and dealing with whatever they find there. I can only hope that it is just a sidestep on the road to SGU‘s ultimate goal, and that the Stargate will come back into focus in the second half of season two.
However, without the ‘Astria Porta’ in play, the episode is still a resounding success, as the whole thing builds up to a satisfying cliffhanger, while both answering some questions you may have had during season two and closing off plotlines. It’s exactly what you want from a mid-season finale, giving answers that needed to be given while also creating a satisfying cliffhanger to keep you guessing until the show’s return in early 2011.
That being said, there have been a few better episodes this season. So, while it is going out with a bang, it isn’t the biggest the show has had, not to mention that even while it has more lives hanging in the balance, it still isn’t as impressive as the mid-season finale from season one, which gave us the final shot of Dr Rush stranded on an alien planet. However, the final shot is a doozy and probably the finest accomplishment of the effects team yet.
There are a good few questions waiting to be answered when the show returns, and I, for one, cannot wait to see the second part of this interesting cliffhanger, and what it all means for the show’s overall plot. While season two, so far, has been a little rocky, I’d say it’s fairly safe to assume that the back half of the season will make up for that.
Read our review of episode 9, Visitation, here.
Follow Den Of Geek on Twitter right here.