From the moment the episode opens, you know that this is truly going to be the oddest episode of Stargate Universe you will see for a long time. It opens with Lt Scott and Sgt Greer on a bus heading into a town called ‘Cloverdale’ and stepping off to be greeted by his ‘father’, played by Col Young, and his fiancée’s brother played by Eli Wallace. However, it’s all in Lt Scott’s head, as he is really on an alien planet having been infected by a plant that is slowly killing him.
As the world in his head progresses toward his wedding, cold feet masks his feelings that this world isn’t real, and while he begins to crack under the pressure, his real body is continuing to die. It’s a race against time as, while Lt Scott gets worse by the minute, the alien plant moves and grows closer to the team, forcing them to fall back to the gate and defend themselves there, as the organism must not be allowed to come back with them to Destiny.
In comparison to last week’s five-storyline bonanza, this week has one goal in mind. Comparing these two weeks episodes is as difficult as this article gets. However, it does show just exactly how good the Stargate Universe team are at tackling stories with varying parameters effectively.
It is fantastic to see lots of the Destiny’s crew interact with each other in a completely different setting and it’s pulled off in a great way, with a few background characters getting some of best parts here. The small town’s pharmacist, Dale Volker, has a great little scene where he plays the most unconvincing liar ever, and Adam Brody expands his role on Destiny by becoming the local bar owner.
Back on Destiny, meanwhile, Dr Park gets all the attention as the smartest cookie in the jar as Col Young turns to her for advice on the possibility of quarantining the organism on board.
I am a huge fan of the supporting characters, and it’s clear from the way the show is written that the creators of Stargate Universe are too. I can only hope that at least one of them steps out from the darkness as a main cast member in the future, as pretty much every scene they turn up in, they make worthwhile.
That’s not to say the main cast don’t earn their stripes here. In fact, Sgt Greer does a brilliant dual role job as the best man, and almost insane weapon-wielding hero. He plays each character really well, and in Cloverdale, is a perfect compliment to Lt Scott’s worried groom. Brian J Smith plays both roles superbly. Even if he does dial up being an arsehole just a smidge, it’s completely within character and only adds to the slightly odd feeling Cloverdale gives off.
In a sense, I almost didn’t enjoy this episode because it seems to further one season plot ahead by a large portion, while leaving others behind. Members of the Lucian Alliance don’t appear at all, and Dr Rush doesn’t once step onto the bridge of the ship or even consider the possibility of halting the ship’s countdown, which seems a little out of character right now.
I mean, sure they’re probably going to be the focus of next week’s episode and Rush will have a major chance to feel bad about the responsibility on his shoulders, but for a while at least, it seems like they want to ignore almost everything they’ve set in motion.
On one hand, it’s actually admirable to be able to do that and still make a great episode of television, but on the other, it’s almost an insult to watch, as not even the notion of consideration for these storylines is dealt with.
Still, it does further something set in motion and it takes it to an incredible place that I couldn’t have dreamt up if I tried.
While this episode wasn’t exactly what I had hoped it would be, it made a clear intention to stick to its goal and made an admirable leap forward in an hour of television to get there. Which just goes to prove that, even on a bad day, Stargate Universe can still deliver a solid chunk of entertainment.
Read our review of episode 4, Pathogen, here.
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