Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stargate Wednesday: Pathogen (2.4)

Oy!  Spoilers!  

You know, this episode turned out to be a lot less about Chloe's "transformation" and a lot more about Rush being a complete and total A$$#@!& than I expected it to be, I've gotta say.  Seriously, Rush is the jerkiest jerk that has ever graced my television screen.  And while I am loving Robert Carlyle for his insanely well done performance, I am really really ready for Rush to get his comeuppance (again).  And can we have it actually stick this time, please?  Or at least have him learn something from it, jeez.  Clearly, being stranded on an alien planet wasn't enough of a hint to the man that he should be rethinking his life choices.

Possible alternate title for this episode:  Chloe Goes Nuts and Rush is a Bastard

Alternate possible alternate title for this episode:  Chloe Is Clearly Having Issues So Let's All Talk About Her Behind Her Back

This week's installment of gatey goodness starts off with Eli wandering around the ship (presumably) late at night and stumbling across Chloe at a control station.  She is clearly disoriented and has no idea how she got there.  Eli suggests sleepwalking, but this is apparently not the case.  Cut to a scene of Eli and Scott in the mess discussing the incident and how clearly something is amiss with their favorite gal pal these days.  Apparently ever since her abduction and/or the attempted civilian coup, Scott has totally become the girl in this relationship.

Rush is still sneaking off to the bridge every chance he gets and messing around, pushing buttons, trying to figure out how to make the ship work.  He's also still seeing hallucinations of his dead wife and of Franklin.  He seems to think that Franklin is actually the ship trying to communicate with him--which would lead me to then wonder why the heck he is so argumentative with Destiny/Franklin, except he's Rush.  But, as we soon learn, his messing around has consequences.  One of the things he is trying to do is learn how to control the timer for when the ship drops out of FTL so that they don't have to worry about being left behind by the ship anymore.  Whatever he's doing keeps making the ship drop out of FTL prematurely, with no stargates in range, and this is making the other scientists (particularly Park and Brody) suspicious.

Young has finally agreed to let the Lucian Alliance (LA) members out of the brig and more or less gives them free reign of the ship--though it does not come without "strings" (i.e., a military escort at all times).  Greer makes his disagreement with this plan known, but Young goes ahead with it.  So of course, the first thing Creepy LA Guy does is head to the mess and make some apparently very lewd or suggestive comment to Park.  Either I am just deaf and missed it, or we don't actually hear what he says, but Volker gets pissed and it looks like there's gonna be a rumble.  Greer then shows up to break up the fight, but gets super protective of Park.  This meshes nicely with the hint from last week that he has more than just lusty thoughts about her.

But Greer's not there to deal with the LA.  It seems Chloe has gone missing so he's gathering help to form up search parties to look for her.  At this point I was thinking it would be completely awesome if Chloe managed to wander into the bridge and discovered Rush messing around in there.  But those two have had a weird relationship ever since the abduction.  Would she tell anyone or would she keep Rush's secret?  Would anyone believe her if she did spill, as crazy as she's been acting?  It turns out to be a moot point though.  James finds her spaced out in the cargo hold and off she goes to the infirmary.

We get a quick scene where Creepy LA Guy apologizes to Young for starting trouble and says he will do better, he just needs another chance.  Young is less than believing but he's got bigger fish to fry.  Back in the infirmary, we learn that Chloe has been having blackouts for a while now.  T.J. decides to keep her under observation for the time being.  Meanwhile, Scott goes poking around in Chloe's things and finds her diary, which is full of writing in an alien language.  He takes it to Young and T.J. and everyone stands around and gossips about Chloe some more.  Then, you can actually see the wheels start turning in Rush's head as he a) recognizes the language in the diary as that from the blueberry aliens' ship, and b) tries to figure out a way to turn the situation to his own advantage.

T.J. persuades Young that they can't keep Chloe locked in an observation room forever, so he agrees to let her back out, but with the caveat that she is never alone.  Rush comes to relieve Scott of babysitting duty and seems overly eager to be doing so.  He quickly takes Chloe into a closed off corridor with equations written in chalk all over the walls.  This is apparently Rush's "thoughtful spot."  He hands Chloe a piece of chalk (and I don't know what it says about me, but this really bugged the heck out of me--just where did he get chalk?  Surely he didn't have any in his personal gear that he brought through the gate with him?) and she quickly begins to fill in the gaps in some of the equations.  Later, Chloe tells Scott about the equations and that Rush wanted to see if she understood them.  When he asks if she did, she says she doesn't know.

Cue another quick little LA scene in which T.J. shows up to visit Varro in his new quarters.  They have some awkward small talk and then she tells him about the incident with Creepy LA Guy.  He says he heard and apologizes and swears he'll get the guy to behave himself.  Varro goes to confront Creepy LA Guy and tell him to get his act together.  We learn that Creepy LA Guy assumed they have all been giving the SGC false information about the LA to just buy a little bit of freedom, so he is just living it up until their ruse is discovered.  But Varro tells him, no, they've all been telling the truth.  Hmm.  I see this having some interesting repercussions down the line.

Rush's fiddling in the bridge causes the ship to drop out of FTL prematurely again and Brody and Park  decide to bring Young in on their suspicions about Rush's involvement in these incidents.  When Rush shows up and says he didn't answer his radio because he was asleep in his quarters, Young calls him on it and says they sent one of his men to check on Rush and know he wasn't there.  He demands to know where Rush has been, so Rush, in true bastard form, takes them to the Corridor of Math and shows them the equation that Chloe completed, pointing out that it had stumped him for ages.  Now, we all know that Rush admitting something is beyond his comprehension is a Bad Sign, because it means he is about to do something truly dastardly.  True to form, he states that Chloe must be undergoing some sort of metamorphosis, and whatever is taking over her is "studying" the ship, and probably causing the FTL problems.  Holy crap, WTF????  Seriously?  Oh you evil, evil man.

So, they take Chloe back into custody, and Scott gets all girly on her again.  Rush comes up with the plan to "cure" Chloe by putting her in the neural interface chair.  Again, I say, WTF???  He says that since the chair is programmed to only work with human DNA (which is weird, because it is an Ancient chair, and the Ancients, while very close to us genetically, were still different), and is also programmed to kill any alien life forms it detects attempting to use the chair, it will kill off the alien part of Chloe and leave the rest of her unharmed.  Um, hello, table for Crazy?  Seriously, we're buying this?  While there is some vocal dissension to the plan (mostly from T.J.), in the end Young and Chloe agree to it.  And honestly, even though for the most part, in this episode Young seems to have it together way more than he has all season, he really should be asking some tough questions at this point.  He knows by now that Rush never does anything without an ulterior motive, but he doesn't try to find out what it is here, and that vexes me greatly.

Everything seems to go to plan, and Rush tells everyone he believes that Chloe is cured and we all go back to being shiny happy people.  I am thinking to myself, well, Rush, you know this whole "blame Chloe" idea of yours only works if you stop messing with the ship now, right?"  But no.  We get a brief montage of sad face and then Rush shows up in Chloe's quarters.  She takes one look at him and says, "I'm not cured, am I?" and he acknowledges that she is correct.  Seems he bought her freedom from observation so that he could blackmail her to use her new alien math powers to help him figure out the bridge.  Sigh.

All that, and I haven't even gotten to the B story yet.  At the very beginning of the episode, we learn that Eli's mom (who, you may remember from last season, is suffering from H.I.V.) has taken a turn for the worse and so he uses the stones to go to Earth and see her.  Wray is also on Earth visiting her girlfriend, Sharon.  Sharon doesn't seem to be doing so well either, though she's not so much sick as possibly becoming an alcoholic or losing her mind a little bit.

Even though Eli was given clearance to tell his mother about the Stargate program and his predicament, so that he could have actual visits with her using the stones, he chickened out and hasn't actually told her it's been him visiting her in other people's bodies.  But now is pretty much the time.  She's kind of fallen apart in his absence and thinks the government took him away and won't let her see him, and she's stopped taking her medicine.  So Eli finally spills to his mom about where he is and what he's actually doing, and that it is actually him there, in someone else's body.  She of course, doesn't believe him, and throws a fit and kicks him out.  Poor Eli's barely had any screen time this season, but it has all been hella rough on him.  I just want to give him a hug.

So Eli calls Wray in his distress and she comes to the hospital to comfort him.  I really do like these little moments between these two characters.  They are always very sweet and believable, even though these are two people who normally would never have anything to do with each other.  Anyway, while Eli is pondering what to do about his mom, we see that Wray is really starting to get worried about Sharon and finally confronts her about her changes.  Sharon confesses that she is having a really hard time with the stand-ins that Wray has to use to visit, and just wants to see her again.  They have a nice heartfelt conversation in which Wray tells Sharon that these little visits are the only thing keeping her going.  They seem to work things out for the time being.

I have to say, I know that a lot of people don't like the screen time devoted to this relationship, but I really like this couple, and I think we need it to have even half a chance of understanding Wray.  When she's being Ms.  Human Resources and trying to pretend like she should be running the show on Destiny, I cannot stand her, but when I see the off-duty, human side of her, I at least understand her.  I even kind of like Camille the person, whereas I really don't like Wray the HR chick.  It's a very interesting dichotomy, and I think Ming Na plays it absolutely beautifully.

But back to the story.  Eli decides to make one last-ditch attempt to convince his mom of the truth and get her to go back on her meds.  He appeals to Wray, and in a completely freaking AWESOME move, she pretty much demands the SGC let Eli's mom use the communication stones to visit him on Destiny.  Considering Wray's usual tendency to try to stick to the rules and not make exceptions, and especially given what is going on in her life and how much it would mean to be able to have, say, Sharon do the same thing, it is amazing that she does this for Eli.  I love her for it.  After really coming to believe Eli's story, his mom goes back on her medication and starts to improve immediately.  Eli also recommends that maybe she and Sharon get together every once in a while to serve as a sort of support group for each other, which was an interesting little twist.

And that was this week's episode.  It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, and given the trailers for the season, I assume we've got a lot more of the "Chloe's transformation" storyline headed our way.  But still, it was a very good episode in the realm of character development.  There were some big things (Rush's headlong dash to the Dark Side, Chloe's changes, the LA, Eli's struggle with his mom, Wray and Sharon), but there were also some nice smaller moments as well--like the continuing growth of something between T.J. and Varro, and Greer's feelings for Park.  This was definitely a solid entry.  I will be curious to see how well it leads into next week's episode, which looks like another hallucination/altered reality type of story.

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