2.6 Trial And Error
If you are to believe some of the stars of Stargate Universe’s tweets, the next three episodes are to be the best yet, starting with this one. From the outset, it seems like it’s not just a way to boost ratings, and that they may well be right.
After finding out his wife wants a divorce, Col Young comes back from a trip to Earth using the communication stones, and continues down a slippery slope into a drink and stubble-filled role aboard Destiny. When he’s at his lowest ebb, a situation breaks out and the ship ends up in a dire state very quickly, ending in a tragic scene in which Destiny’s crew ends up paying the ultimate price. As quickly as that all happens, however, Col Young wakes up and realises it was all a dream. Or was it?
Meanwhile, Eli Wallace is paired up with the Lucian Alliance’s Ginn to see if she can make any sense of his half abandoned work. The characters make an instant connection, and their scenes together are sold wonderfully by David Blue and Julie McNiven. While Blue has proven himself countless times before, it’s good to see McNiven get a great shot at doing so.
However, the story keeps circling back round to Young, and this episode does an incredible job of not only showing us this man at his lowest, but also revealing a lot about what is truly at the heart of Stargate Universe’s core. It’s a storyline that is hard to fault, as even at its most unbelievable it’s a tangible step toward the mythology of the show setting itself in stone.
Almost everyone gets a look in on this story, too. Sgt Greer plays a brilliant wingman to Eli Wallace, in scenes that solidify a rarely seen but welcome kinship between the two. Lt Scott finally steps up and defines himself as the ‘number one’ to Destiny’s Picard, Col Young, by telling him exactly what he thinks of him in a scene that helps to define the whole episode, and possibly episodes to come.
There is a particular drive here that goes beyond the runtime of just one episode, and one that seems like it’s going to be very helpful to the series overall. While some weeks can feel a little disjointed, like that of the show’s predecessors, Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, this show feels like it has found its rhythm by having a flowing and evolving storyline which builds up to a boil every ten episodes.
It’s nice to break up the freight train with an episode like Cloverdale every once in a while, but Stargate Universe is at its best when it is furthering the overall plot of the show in episodes like this.
Not only does Trial And Error make sure we don’t forget the aliens we encountered first on the show, it also highlights the differences which some viewers may have overlooked between SGU and Star Trek: Voyager or Battlestar Galactica. Some may call it a little late in the game to bring in these particular plot points, but for me it may even be too soon.
While I don’t want to spoil these for anyone who hasn’t caught the episode yet, they truly are game changers for the show, and make it work on a higher level that I don’t think anybody saw coming.
However, the plot isn’t overbearing, and one of the best parts of this episode is the high level of focus on Col Young’s character. Louis Ferreira is given a lot of screen time here and he uses it brilliantly, filling his role with all the acting talent he has to make the character come alive. Never have I believed Col Young as a person more than I did here, and Ferreira couldn’t have picked a better episode to give his fullest performance yet.
All in all, this episode is super focused on its ultimate goal, but never loses sight of one of the show’s main aims – the characters. The writing here is top notch, and Col Young’s character has never been as effective as he is in the in depth plotline he is involved in.
By the episode’s conclusion, I was more than ready to dive into the rest of the season right then and there, and not stop watching until I knew exactly where it wanted to take me, which is exactly the kind of feeling that I want this show to leave me with every week.
While this isn’t the best episode the show has produced, it’s very close, and has the elements that have been missing from weaker episodes. Ultimately, as the characters edge closer to unlocking the mysteries of Destiny, the creators of the show get closer to harnessing the best elements the show has to offer.
In my honest opinion, if the quality of the show is kept at this level, we may be witnessing the best sci-fi show in years finding its footing, and becoming what it was meant to be all along.
Read our review of episode 5, Cloverdale, here.
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