Episode Title: "Alliances"
Writer: Linda McGibney
Director: Peter DeLuise
Previously on "Stargate Universe":
After a pitched battle left Destiny on the verge of ruin, Colonel Telford (Lou Diamond Phillips) advocated a risky plan by Eli (David Blue) to open the stargate while Destiny recharged in a star… against the vocal objections of Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle). Rush actually convinced Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira) to stay with him on the ship and ask for volunteers before another shuttle from Destiny showed up… containing Dr. Rush from the future! Future Rush warned his younger counterpart and the crew that Telford’s plan only saw him get back to Earth. Everyone else died in the stargate.
With the ship still largely crippled, the crew soon discovered the derelict Destiny from Future Rush’s timeline and sent several teams over to salvage as many parts as possible. A suspicious Telford confronted Future Rush about what really happened on the way back to Earth before Future Rush angrily shoved Telford into an exposed panel, killing him. The present Rush tracked down his future self and even he wasn’t sure if he could trust him. But Rush was able to escape the dying Destiny with moments to spare, shortly after the crew received word that the alternate Telford was alive on Earth.
Rush and Young explain to Telford what happened to the other Telford on the alternate Destiny, leaving out the fact that Future Rush basically murdered him. Oddly, Telford doesn’t challenge their account. He then tells them that Senator Michaels (Kathleen Quinlan) from the off-world spending committee wants to come to the ship using the communication stones to take over the body of Camille Wray (Ming-Na). For Michaels’ scientific advisor, Dr. Andrew Covel (French Stewart), Camille convinces Young to order Master Sgt. Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) to accompany her back to Earth. Greer and Camille are immediately greeted by a gun to their faces before Telford warns them that an attack by the Lucian Alliance may be immanent.
On the Destiny, Rush overhears Michaels and Covel expressing their distrust of him and the mission before he brings Michaels to see Chloe (Elyse Levesque). To Chloe’s surprise, Michaels says that her time on the Destiny is ruining the plans that Chloe’s father had for her. Back on Earth, something strikes the homeworld command building, leaving Greer and Camille buried by rubble. When the event is over, she wraps Greer’s injured leg and Telford tells them over the radio that a single Lucian Alliance ship may have crashed into the building with a bomb inside. He warns them to get out before the bomb goes off.
Camille and Greer come across Airman Evans (Morgan David Jones), who is panicked by the attack and desperate to get out. When they find their way blocked, Camille comes up with a plan to locate the bomb themselves and defuse it. She and Greer eventually get into an argument over their respective personality flaws before Evans tells them to shut up. He hears a Geiger under the wreckage which shows that they have been exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. Back on the Destiny, Covel undermines Rush’s findings and Michaels says that the sorry shape of the Destiny and its crew are the direct result of Young’s poor leadership.
When the ship drops from FTL, Greer and Camille briefly find themselves back in their own bodies and they warn Young about what’s happening on Earth. After their minds return to Earth, Evans tries to take Camille hostage and escape. But she breaks free long enough for Greer to shoot him. They discover that Evans was the Lucian Alliance pilot. Back on Destiny, Rush and Young try to sever the connection, but Michaels and Covel remain in the bodies of their friends. They also interrogate Varro (Mike Dopud) about the attack and he offers to help them defuse the bomb.
Eli comes up with the idea of disrupting the connection again with a quick FTL jump while Varro briefs Camille and Greer on how to take out the bomb safely. However, the transfer doesn’t last long enough for the full instructions to be heard. Camille briefly tries winging it before giving up. She and Greer finally come to terms as they wait to die. Back on the ship, Rush discovers that Covel sabotaged the stones so he wouldn’t have to go back to his dying body. Once Rush fixes the connection, Michaels volunteers to go back to save homeworld command.
After receiving full instructions from Varro, Michaels and Covel return to their own bodies. However, it isn’t clear if the attempt to disarm the bomb is successful. Hours later on the Destiny, Greer and Camille bond while nervously awaiting word from Earth.
While not quite up to the lofty standards of the last three episodes, this installment of "Stargate Universe" actually took two of the weaker cast members and made them compelling for an hour of television. Up to this point, Camille and Greer have rarely gotten the spotlight. And aside from Greer’s intense flashback episode in the first season, he never seemed to have much depth beyond his constant anger. Surprisingly, this episode managed to round out both Greer and Camille into more fully realized characters.
Some of the early arguments between Greer and Camille were a bit on the nose, but the subdued ending between them felt earned. I didn’t realize that Camille wasn’t really open about being a lesbian until she essentially outed herself to Greer in that scene. It wasn’t as if they were suddenly fast friends, but it really did seem like they were both making an effort to reach out to each other. I loved the underlying sense of desperation between them as well, while they worried about whether the bomb was defused or not. Making the audience wonder as well was a strong dramatic choice and a great way to lead us into the next episode.
I have to admit, I didn’t initially recognize French Stewart as Dr. Covel. I didn’t really think that he was all that special in the role, but it was interesting to see Covel constantly undermining Rush and Young. His debate with Rush about the possible origins of the universe also showed a kind of cowardice towards the implications of Rush’s research that would probably come up if the data were actually real. Covel not only wouldn’t openly acknowledge the proof that the universe may have been created by an intelligent force, he didn’t even want to sucked into the debate for fear of ruining his career.
Senator Michaels worked as a way to view the crew in a more cynical light. To a certain extent, she’s right that Young isn’t much of a leader and Chloe, T.J. and Eli probably wouldn’t have even been there under the best of circumstances. But it gave the crew a chance to reaffirm their purpose on the series. Even Chloe took the opportunity to stand up for herself and the mission. Michaels also had some redeeming qualities in the way that she faced her own death.
I’d like to see more of Varro on the series. Of all of the Lucian Alliance members brought on the ship, he’s the one that has always seemed like a decent guy. He and T.J. are clearly heading towards romantic territory, if they haven’t arrived there already. But I think that the distrust that the crew has for him should also be explored. Varro did basically come onto the ship while attacking it and that shouldn’t be whitewashed.
Every episode of "Stargate Universe" reminds me how much potential it really had. Watching this slow end to an already great series is painful, but it has to be done. If you love sci-fi at all, you have to catch this show and enjoy it while you can.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.