Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stargate Wednesday: The Greater Good (2.7)

Possible alternate titles for this week's episode of Stargate Universe:

Eli has a very, VERY bad day.


Rush is still an ass, but at least this time he's busted.

Spoilers ahead my fine folks, after the photo.

Wow, space is kind of big, isn't it?

In this week's episode of SGU we learn some very important things right off the bat.  First, Eli has a girlfriend.  Huzzah for nerds in love!  That's right, folks, Eli and Ginn are finding their own little piece of paradise out there in the void.  Aw, how sweet.  Second, Ginn has been very helpful in providing Earth with details about the possible forthcoming attack by the Lucian Alliance.  It turns out her own people are some of the ones in charge of the attack.  So Homeworld Security has asked her to use the communication stones to come brief them in person, and she has agreed to do so, presumably because she's realized that the LA is kind of run by a bunch of jerks who harbor a pretty pointless vendetta against Earth, and she likes getting to play with the pretty spaceship (and Eli), so selling out is a viable option for her.  Not that I really think she's selling out, it seems like everyone from the LA that wasn't dumped off the ship earlier in the episode has been pretty cooperative.  Well, except for Creepy LA Guy, but we'll get to him in a bit.  So, Eli's in love, and his girlfriend, though technically a "bad guy" has decided to switch sides and join our team.  Also, Young apparently is never on time for scheduled staff meetings, which irks Wray.

Before Ginn can use the communication stones, however, Creepy LA Guy shows up at her door and is all menacing at her about her new relationship.  He very pointedly says that sometimes when you're getting to know someone new, you relax your guard and let things slip that you shouldn't.  His efforts to find out if Ginn has shared any information with Eli are truly a master example of subtlety, really.  Luckily, Wray shows up to cart Ginn off before he can do more than leer and insinuate, though this plants a whole new set of suspicions in his brain.  Again, we'll get to that later.  Seriously, why was this guy one of the LA people that Homeworld Security wanted to keep on board Destiny in the first place?  The only reason I can see for him being there is to antagonize Greer and loom menacingly at Ginn and otherwise be a bother.  This may be necessary from a plot point of view, but it doesn't do me a whole lotta good elsewhere, because I keep trying to figure out why no one has shoved his useless ass out of an airlock yet.  Also, for the record, I do know his name now, but I refuse to call him by it because he is just Creepy LA Guy.

See.  Creepy, right?

Anyhoo, further delaying Ginn's trip to Earth, Destiny drops out of FTL.  The scientists start to get miffed because once more there aren't any planets nearby, but then they realize that there is a derelict spaceship, and they are headed straight for it (on a docking path, not a collision course).  I honestly didn't catch if Rush made the ship stop to check out the derelict ship or if it was a legitimate stop chosen by Destiny this time.  It's kind of immaterial though.

Either way, Eli sends a Kino on over to investigate, and finding the ship to be abandoned, the crew decides they can use the space suits to send to people over to explore further.  Rush of course just has to go, so Young quickly volunteers to be the second man on the mission.  Scott tries to talk him out of it as he is getting suited up, but Young knows Rush is up to something these days and wants to keep an eye on him.  He promises not to abandon him on the derelict ship (like he did the last time he and Rush explored an abandoned alien ship together).

In case you're wondering, Ginn still hasn't left for Earth.  So Rush and Young are on the ship, and Rush starts pushing buttons as is his wont.  One of those buttons fires up the ship's thrusters, overloading the systems and completely killing all navigation controls, while pushing the ship off so that it starts drifting away from Destiny.  Now Young and Rush are trapped on a broken down ship with no way to control it, and no one on Destiny knows how to override the autopilot and take the ship after them.  You would think that this would be the perfect time for Rush to come clean about finding the bridge, and tell Eli or Volker or Brody or Park (there is no shortage of competent scientists on this mission, folks) where it is and how to turn the ship around to come get him.  I mean, its not like it's his own life on the line or anything...oh, wait.  Yeah.

So, what does Rush do?  He tells them that he's close to cracking some codes that might give them limited control of the ship, but none of them are capable of figuring them out.  They need to send for his girlfriend back on Earth, Dr. Amanda Perry (you may remember her from season one, where she skeeved Eli out by admitting to having a serious crush on Rush).  So, Ginn finally gets to go to Earth, switching bodies with Dr. Perry.

Once Perry is in the control room, Rush starts "delegating" tasks to the rest of his scientists, who he clearly thinks are all morons, to get them out of the control room so he can send secret Kino messages to Perry and tell her where the bridge is and to go there, but be quiet about it.  (He also gets Young out of the room with him by enticing him to go explore more of the derelict, just in case there's a shuttle or something there.)  So Perry tries to sneak off to the bridge, but is stopped in the hallway by Creepy LA Guy, who thinks she's Ginn.  He starts to loom some more, and she interrupts this by telling him she's not Ginn, she's Dr. Perry and she's got important work to do, thank you very much.  Creepy LA Guy gets very agitated about this and asks where Ginn is, and Perry, not realizing she probably shouldn't say anything, tells him that Ginn is on Earth.  She tries to get around him again, but once more he gets in her way, and just as she's getting upset, Greer pops around the corner and tells off Creepy LA Guy, letting Perry skedaddle to the bridge.

Once Perry messages Rush from the bridge, he knocks out the Kino feeds, telling the other scientists they must be out out of range now, and opens up a secure line to talk Perry through turning the ship around.  To her credit, she does ask him what the heck is up with all of the secrecy, as well as why he didn't just tell someone on board the ship so they could have gotten the rescue process started sooner.  Rush just answers that he has his reasons, then adds that she's the only one he can trust.  Her flame still burns brightly, so she gushes at this and shuts up to do what she's told.

Almost immediately, she gets the ship turned around, and everyone in the control room lets out a big WTF.  Eli comes back to ask what's up, and notices that Perry is gone.  Brody or Volker  (I forget which one it was) tells him that he thought she was with him.  Add this to the fact that the ship's course changed right after she left on some secret mission, and she won't answer her radio (does this sound familiar to anyone?) and Eli starts putting some pieces together.  Perry finally does answer, giving some bull story that Rush told her, but Eli isn't buying it.  He goes through the last of the Kino footage from before Rush cut the feed (Eli is always recording, cats and kittens) and finds the equations Rush showed to Perry, figuring them out and leading Park, Brody, and Volker to the bridge, catching Perry red-handed.  Then, to make matters worse, they hear her talking to Rush on the radio and realize that he's known for quite some time where the bridge is and how to control the ship.

There is a lot of angry and confused yelling, at people and over the radio, and then Scott and Wray wander in and are amazed and pissed all over again.  At some point, Young makes his way back to Rush, but stops when he overhears some of the man's radio conversation with Perry, putting things together on his end as well.  When the crazy shouting starts, Young runs in and pretty much starts beating on Rush.  Admittedly, Rush tries to give back as good as he gets, but still, Young has the benefit of his military training and sheer rage on his side.  He comes pretty close to killing Rush, especially when Rush admits he had found the bridge before the whole Riley fiasco (oh, Riley, I miss you!).

Eventually, though, he realizes it's not worth it, and the two just hunker down on opposite sides of the room and talk it out at each other in an accusatory manner.  Rush tries to turn things around on Young by telling him that he's not fit to be their leader any more, and so maybe all of this is Young's fault.  Okay, so maybe it is true that Young is not really the best choice for leading them these days, but who is?  Rush seems to admit he doesn't want the job.  Wray has certainly proved shat she is much more efficient at running the day-to-day operations but totally sucks at handling crises.  Not one person on that ship is actually currently qualified to be in charge.  I am sure that Rush doesn't want any of the military in charge, except maybe Scott, who is really not ready for his own command.  But he's totally missing the point.

This is exactly the kind of situation where, when you have military and civilians, you put the military in charge.  The civilians may not like it, and the military may need to stretch some of the rules a bit to accommodate the situation.  But at the end of the day, when it hits the fan, which is does, frequently, you want the military in charge.  That's why the whole  civilian coup never made sense to me as a story line.  The SGC has a long history of military and civilian scientists working together and finding the right compromises to get the job done.  I don't understand why these specific scientists are having a such a hard time here.  Yes, they were part of a largely civilian project with a military contingent, but as soon as they boarded Destiny they were in a military situation.  I know they are scared and frustrated, but it just really rankles me that they will not back up and just let the people who are there to protect them and get them out of this situation do their freaking jobs.  Sigh.  Anyway.

So, Young also asks Rush why he kept his discovery a secret, and cuts right through the BS "I had my reasons" answer.  Rush goes on to say that he wanted to make sure that he personally understood all of the ship's programs before he let anyone else in there to mess with them.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Nicholas Rush, the most arrogant man in the universe.

Does anyone else just want to slap the smirk off of his face?

Seriously?  I mean, seriously?  Park and Volker and Brody have been on this project as long as Rush, and Eli knows the ship just as well if not better than him.  He had to have realized that learning all of the ship's systems would take time, maybe years, but instead of acknowledging this and recruiting help early on, he just decided to keep the new sandbox a secret.  Grr.  Argh.  (Please note that my extreme frustration at this character is a sign that the writers are doing a damn fine job with him.)  

Then Rush drops the bombshell on Young and says he's discovered what Destiny's actual mission is, and it's BIG.  Except, it isn't.  The writers have been teasing us all season that the original mission of the ship was some huge amazing thing that would make the whole crew get on board with postponing trying to get home. was just a load of mumbo jumbo about how apparently way back when, the Ancients found some hidden structure/code in some of the remnants of the big bang itself.  Or something.  

Look, this made NO sense to me, whatsoever.  I guess I can see that there is some sort of grand science to be had here, but...the Ancients gave up on this project long ago.  There was probably a reason for that.  Do we really need to risk the lives of everyone on board the ship just for some nonsensical Da Vinci Code type quest?  I am sorry but I would come down firmly in the, "Screw you guys, I'm going home." camp.  Sigh.  I also heard that the aliens from Planet of the Crazy People are coming back this season.  I fear the show is trying to go down some really big metaphysical mystical rabbit hole, but, I'm really not on board.  I like the idea of them trying to figure out how to get home, or eventually coming to grips with the fact that may not happen and eventually letting go and learning how to not only survive out in the depths, but to actually live.  That's the show I want to see.  Maybe I am getting worked up for nothing.  This show is at its best when it is about the people and the situation they find themselves in, maybe I am not giving the writers enough credit and they do know that and they really aren't going to try to shove some crazy down our throats.  Or maybe I just need to wait for McKay to get there so he can explain it to me in a way I will understand.

I know I am going off on tangents and rants about this episode, but other than that huge letdown, I actually thought it was a really good one.  There was a really sweet scene where Eli visits Chloe in her room and tells her about the derelict space ship, and he mentions Ginn and Chloe teases out of him that they are seeing each other.  It was really nice to see him able to open up to her and to realize that he's not even trying to win her heart anymore, because he really does value her friendship more.

Back to the episode, there was another great scene while Rush and Young are having their big talk.  Perry is trying to steer Destiny close enough to the other ship so that they can achieve the same rotation and get the two men to jump back aboard.  While she's driving the ship, all of the other scientists are standing around basically backseat driving.  This is actually when Scott and Wray run in, and start trying to tell her how to do it as well, Scott even suggests maybe she should let him drive.  She tells them all to just shut up and let her drive, and does manage to get the ships aligned, even though she does run into the derelict a little bit.  I really enjoyed that scene and found it quite amusing and believable.

Afterward, Rush visits Perry in her (Ginn's) quarters and brings her some hooch from Brody's still.  He admits that since her last visit (when she put the moves on him and he turned her down because he wasn't ready to move on from his wife) he's been thinking about her a lot and things he's ready to give it a go.  So just as they start kissing, Eli walks in there is a lot of embarrassed awkwardness and he tells Rush he's needed on the bridge, like, five minutes ago.  Rush leaves and before Eli turns to follow, he makes a pointed comment to Perry about forgetting that she's actually in someone else's body.  Seems he doesn't like seeing his girlfriend kiss Rush, even if it isn't her.  I don't know why he's surprised about this though--he knew Perry had feelings for Rush, and everyone (even Ginn) has to sign all sorts of consent forms before using the communication stones.  According to the writers, those forms do include clauses about your body possibly be used for sexy times while you're away, so to speak.  It's not like everyone who visits Earth doesn't have plenty of sexy times going on.  But, apparently, Eli has a jealous streak.  

Somebody needs to give this boy a hug.

Oh poor, poor Eli.  Like I said, at the start, this episode could also have been titled around Eli's bad day.  Sure, it starts out nicely, but it devolves quickly.  There's realizing what Rush is up to, seeing his girlfriend's body being used by someone to make out with Rush, and then...sigh.

The episode closes with Creepy LA Guy coming to visit Perry right after Rush and Eli leave.  And this time there's no Greer, and no guards around, and he knows that Ginn is back on Earth spilling all of the LA's secrets to Homeworld Security.  He approaches her menacingly, we see the dawning look of absolute terror on her face, and fade to black.

The promo for next week makes it pretty clear that he killed Perry, while she was in Ginn's body, which means back on Earth, Ginn is dead too.  Holy crap.  Um, I can't wait until next week, okay.  Maybe we can forget all about the crazy metaphysical BS and watch as Crazy LA Guy is hunted down by the two very pissed off scientists whose girlfriends he just killed.  If sixteen and a half seasons of Stargate have taught us anything, it's that scientists are very innovative when it comes to revenge.

Word Count Update:  18,462/50,000

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