Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stargate Tuesday: Hope (2.14)

Oh hey, guess what, there are spoilers in this post! Anything up to and including last night's episode of Stargate Universe is fair game, so stop reading if you want want to be spoiled.

Okay, are we all ready now? Cool. Onward.

What Happened
Plot A of "Hope" centered on the communication stones and gave us a new entry in the list of ways they can go horribly, horribly wrong. I mean, honestly, with the precedent set by these things on the two shows preceding Universe, I am amazed anyone bothered to complain that having them on board the ship would make anything "too easy" for our crew. Things are always going wonky with the communication stones. The Ancients, they were not perfect. Anyhoo, this time around, they apparently can raise the dead! Well, no, not really. We have long known/theorized that if two people are using the stones and one of them dies in the other's body that both people do, in fact, die. Therefore earlier in the season when Simeon killed Amanda Perry while she was in Ginn's body, they both died. But apparently their consciousnesses were stored in the communication device's buffer, unbeknownst to everyone else.

So. We open up the episode still dealing with the fallout of last week's events. Destiny still hasn't been able to make contact with anyone on Earth even though several days have passed. They have no idea whether or not the senator was able to diffuse the bomb or if Washington D.C. still exists. But they haven't quite given up yet. They have had someone hooked up to the communication stones nonstop since Wray and Greer got back, in case Earth tries to make contact. Chloe's turn comes around and just after she gets settled in, we realize a connection has been made, only not with anyone else on Earth. Somehow, Chloe has connected to Ginn.

Ginn is, of course, very confused and surprised that everyone is so shocked to see her. She is even more surprised to realize that she connected with Chloe's body instead of returning to her own. That is when the crew explain that she's kind of, well, dead. Eli is, as might be expected, falling all over himself with relief to be able to talk to his lost love once more. He is determined to find a way to preserve her consciousness because he refuses to lose her again.

Meanwhile, everyone is trying to figure out who Chloe connected with, since clearly it wasn't Ginn. They eventually figure out that she is actually still inside her body, but has been suppressed by the other woman's consciousness. Things get complicated when Ginn starts experiencing choking fits, mimicking how she was killed. I'll be honest, I totally missed the explanation for why this was happening, because I had a baby using me as a jungle-gym at this point and she was doing her best impression of an air-raid siren right in my ear. But everyone seemed to just roll with this and get right on trying to find a way to stop it without either losing Ginn completely or harming Chloe. Things get further complicated when the radio signal that is Ginn's consciousness begins to fade and Chloe starts periodically being in control of her body again, shifting back and forth between herself and Ginn at irregular intervals.

Then, just to throw another wrench in the works, a new consciousness takes over. None other than Amanda Perry, who was of course at the other end of the terminated connection when Ginn died. So now Rush is falling all over himself, delighted to have his dead girlfriend back in the picture. He and Eli double down on trying to find a solution to save both women's consciousnesses while Scott hovers nervously in the background making sure that whatever they do doesn't hurt Chloe. Oy vey.

Eventually Rush brings up the neural interface chair and confesses that he is pretty sure that when Franklin disappeared in the thing, what actually happened is that he uploaded his consciousness to Destiny and became one of the ship's programs, able to project himself to be seen by crew members and interact with them. He explains that while he was hiding his discovery of the bridge from the rest of the crew he had many conversations with Franklin there. Rush proposes to put Chloe in the chair and upload Ginn and Amanda to Destiny. This will allow them to appear to and interact with the crew, get them out of Chloe's head, and buy Rush and Eli time to figure out a more permanent solution (i.e. giving the women new bodies). All three women agree to try this (Amanda enthusiastically, Chloe resolutely, and Ginn reluctantly) and they give it a go. There is a scary bit toward the end where Ginn has another choking fit during the transfer and it shorts out the entire ship's systems, but in the end it all works out just fine. Chloe has her mind to herself and Eli and Rush have their girlfriends back, albeit in hologram form.

All of that, and we haven't even gotten to Plot B yet! While everyone is concerned about Earth and then the whole Ginn/Amanda thing, Volker starts to exhibit signs of illness. He reluctantly goes to T.J., saying he is sure it is just a return of his hypertension, since he stopped taking the medicine for it once it ran out. She scolds him for not coming to her sooner and decides to run some tests with the Ancient diagnostic equipment she now has access to ever since Rush gained control of the ship. Unfortunately it turns out that his kidneys are failing.

T.J. is unsure of her ability to perform a transplant due to the high improbability of finding a match on board the ship and to her lack of experience in such matters (she is, after all, only a field medic). With the communication stones out of commission, she can't even have a more skilled surgeon from Earth come on board to do the procedure. Still, she takes the situation to Young and he encourages her to start looking for a match. If one is found they will then assess the situation from there. It turns out she finds two matches, a random scientist whose name I don't know and Greer. Just as the scientist starts asking for reassurances before he will even consider such a procedure, Greer (who is a badass) steps in and says he'll do it, just like that, no hesitation.

So with Greer on board, T.J. says that she had come across some studies in the Ancient database about a supplementary procedure that will help reduce the likelihood of Volker rejecting the transplanted kidney, but she needs to take some bone marrow from him in order to do it. He tells her to go ahead and refuses anesthetic (because he is a badass), saying they need to save it for later on down the line.

T.J. has serious doubts about whether or not she can perform the surgery but both men and Young are encouraging, and they all know that Volker will definitely die without it, whereas he and Greer only might die if something goes wrong. Eventually she sucks it up and they do the surgery. Of course, while this is going on is when Ginn's choking fit in the chair shorts out the ship and the infirmary loses access to the database she is using for instructions, as well as to most of the fancy Ancient tech (like imaging screens so she can see what she is doing). Luckily, Amanda Perry appears to T.J. right before panic can really set in. With her consciousness uploaded to the ship, she has access to the database and walks T.J. through the procedure. Yay!

At the end of the episode Young is called to the communication stone chamber to find that Telford has connected to Destiny and reports that the bomb was diffused on time and all is well back home, they just had a few problems getting their own stones back online.

Bringing people back from the dead, while perhaps a given on any science fiction show, is always a tricky prospect. I generally tend to remain skeptical about such storylines until or unless they are given a reasonable explanation within the framework of the show's mythology. I have to say, what the writers did in "Hope" worked for me for the most part. I am very curious to see how Ginn and Amanda become integrated with the rest of the crew in their new non-corporeal forms. Also, yay, Ginn's back!

I do have to say, the choice of Chloe as the vessel for the two women was a little unsettling for me because she was hosting the loves of both Eli and Rush, two men with whom she shares already deep and complicated connections. It was just weirdness. I dunno, it didn't sit right. Also, Chloe's already the most popular girl in school, so to speak, having two extra guys fawning all over her was just a bit of overkill. Despite what we are seeing through the magic of television, sometimes it is very easy to forget that when Eli looks at Ginn-in-Chloe's-body, what he actually sees is Chloe. I mean, come on, tell me that doesn't weird you out? But oh well, it is what it is, I guess.

I loved the Volker story line because not only did we get wonderful character development for Volker (and T.J. and Greer), we also got to see the solidarity of our core science crew as Brody and Park rallied around T.J. to do everything they could to help with the research and the procedure itself. The moment where Brody tried to relax Volker before surgery by playing one of his favorite songs (in a callback to a discussion at the start of the episode) was a really nice touch. It was a masterful bit of levity in an episode dealing with some very heavy matters.

All in all, this episode was extremely well done and just left me wanting more, more, more. Grr, argh. The mythology of this show is getting so very amazing, and I am actually starting to get angry at the thought that there will be no more after this season. My fingers and toes are crossed that we get the TV movies that Brad Wright is fighting for, and also that Fandemonium decides to put out more stories for this series once its run has concluded. I very much want to know what happens to these folks.

Next week: MCKAY! MCKAY! MCKAY! Um, I may be just a teensy bit excited about next week's episode, y'all. Everyone keeps wanting to see the McKay/Eli showdown, but the preview has only given me hope that my desire to see McKay and Eli team up against Rush just might happen after all.

That is all.

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