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.