Stargate Universe So Far

Stargate Universe CastWith last night’s episode Justice, we’ve hit the halfway point in the first season of Universe, so I thought I’d jot down some of my feelings so far.

After a strong opening with Air, after a few episodes, I was starting to feel the show was getting a bit bogged down by its character-heavy approach.  Specifically in terms of the stones and the frequent communication with Earth.  It seemed a bit frustrating that we had this group stranded on a nigh-self-aware ship, surrounded by probably the oldest Ancient technology we’d ever seen, and yet every episode involved someone popping home to have some angst with their loved ones.  I think part of the problem is that aside from the Destiny not getting much focus, there are various moral and ethical questions over the use of the communication stones that have so far been pretty much ignored by the production team.   Hopefully they’ll get addressed more in the second half of the season, but now that some of the relationships and personalities have been established, I’m really hoping we see a bit less of the stones.

That said, things definitely have evened out as things have gone on, and despite feeling the Stones/Earth stories were being overplayed, I thought Life was a superb episode, no doubt helped by giving us a glimpse into Wray’s character, someone who we hadn’t really seen much of yet was also present in the background.  This made for some freshness compared to another round of Eli or Chloe heading home.

SGU is doing a great job with some of its side characters.  While Rush and Eli undoubtedly steal the show at the moment, I’m really starting to find Wray and especially Greer very interesting indeed.

The discovery of the chair on the Destiny has really made things interesting onboard, and we’re starting to get hints towards Rush’s motivations.   Of course, this week saw his scheming and his antagonistic relationship with Young come to ahead, resulting in his framing Young, and Young subsequently leaving him abandoned on an alien world.

What happens next with Young should be very interesting.  He’s been abandoned next to a crashed alien ship, so you have to assume that’ll feature into however he gets back to the Destiny, and I can’t see it being a good thing for the other passengers.  Either he manages to get the ship up and running, in which case he’s got his own ship or, and I think more likely, someone comes looking for their crashed ship.  You can only hope if they do, that they’re friendly (and we know at least one other alien race has been in contact with the Destiny, from Air part 3), because we know that Rush will probably sell out Young and the rest of the passengers in a heartbeat to get back to the ship.

Aside from the obvious problems with Rush, there’s also a nice undercurrent of the problems on the ship between the military and the civilians.  Since arriving on the Destiny, the military were quick to take charge of the situation, but they’re on dubious ground with the civilian population, who are essentially finding themselves under military rule, subject to room inspections whenever something happens onboard and all signed up for bootcamp so Young knows they’re all in shape to take part on away teams to whatever planets the Destiny takes them to.  Given their situation its easy to see why the military taking charge makes a certain amount of sense, however over the last few episodes (again, especially Justice) its been nice to see Young become more aware of the divisions in the passengers and move to find more of a balancing act by subjecting himself to the same searches and stepping down and putting Wray in charge when he realised the rest of the passengers were losing faith in him.  Although whether this is enough, I doubt and I can see there being a huge bust up soon where the civilians and the military are going to have to learn to work together more effectively.  Currently its really only Eli how seems to exist comfortably with both groups (and I suppose, Rush is equally disliked by both, so that’s common ground as well).

So overall, perhaps a slightly wobbly, but none-the-less impressive start to this first season.  Despite only being 10 episodes into the show, I’m really feeling we’ve got strong feelings for who most of the characters (both main and recurring) are.   Unlike Atlantis, which remained pretty solidly the Sheppard and MacKay show up until the end, I can see other characters in this show easily starting to move to the forefront of things and rival Rush and Eli’s initial pushes.  The Destiny remains an interesting setting and I really hope that the second half of the season will see a lot more exploration of the ship and life aboard it.


6 thoughts on “Stargate Universe So Far

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  1. Pretty much agree with you. The implications of the body swap haven’t really been explored I actually thought that was Young’s boss, name escapes me here, Was trying to pretend he was young to get in with his wife, since Young had been inhabiting his body. Similarly, say someone bodyswaps and commits a murder?

    Just ice was a good ep, really illustrated the possible tensions that not having a clear leader will create. That and teh civilians don’t like being treated in a military fasion.

    Greer is fast becoming a very interesting character. Think he’s the first Major character who isn’t an officer (Walter?) and it was nice to see him being a bit more Sergenty in this ep (The aside with the sweet potato, its food, cook it eat it)


  2. A really simple example of the problem of body swapping was pointed out by Chloe going out and getting hammered in that club. Bet the woman she swapped with was really grateful for that hangover.

    Justice for me was probably my favourite episode of the first 10, helping that in some ways it brought some of the conflicts that have been teased to a head. I still think we’re due a big Civilians/Military blow out, but they’re bubbling a lot closer to the surface now. (Interestingly, on the Gateworld podcast its suggested that since Wray was throwing open the vote to the entire crew, does that hint that there’s more civilians than military on board?)

    Greer’s a really nice character, who’s been slowly built up on over these episodes. Another great moment for him was when they found the chair. While Young and Rush were arguing over it, in the background he was standing saying “Hell, if it’ll get us home, I’ll sit in the damned thing”. The “sweet potato” moment was great as well. Initially I thought he was just winding them up by pretending it tasted nice, then I realised that, nope, its just a purely practical matter for him.


  3. Another interesting comment I was just reading. The crux of the case against Young is that he likely killed Spencer as Spencer was an increasingly unstable and dangerous person in the crew, so he did away with him for the benefit of everyone.

    Which is pretty much exactly what Young’s now done with Rush.


  4. Good point, effectively you could say Young may have killed spencer at some point later. I think the Civvies vs. military may blow up when (if) rush returns, although tehre was also that scene where Greer was about to lead a coup to restore Young to command. There may be more civilians, but the military folk are better armed.


  5. Yeah, I reckon Rush returning may well be a catalyst. If nothing else I imagine Rush will be more than happy to use the simmering tensions against Young. And keep in mind, the military may be better armed, but most of the scientists are civilians, so they could potentially use the Destiny’s systems against the military to bottle them up with bulkheads and forcefields.


  6. It woudl be an interesting fight. Coudl probably have some good stuff for Eli, the military guy who hooked up with the senator’s daughter and the senators daughter as both of them have the potential to be caught in the middle. Eli is Rush’s protege, but has also been Young’s eyes on Rush, and of course the senator’s daughter and her bloke could cause tensions.

    Of course its not a great sign that I’m still not remembering names coudl show character interest, I remember Young, Telford (mostly ;)), Eli, Rush and Greer.


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