Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stargate Tuesday: Twin Destinies (2.12)

Oh, hey, what was that sound? What's that you say? Spoilers on a collision course?!? Better brace for impact then! Or, you know, go elsewhere if you wish not to be spoiled on the goings on of Stargate Universe up to and including last night's episode.

Lou Diamond Phillips is badass. Period.

Still here? Yay! Welcome. Now, on to the episode!

What Happened
Following on the heels of last week's episode, "Twin Destinies" opens with another war council wherein Park, Brody, and Volker are recounting to Young, Telford, and Wray all of the damage that Destiny has sustained while Eli and Rush look on in stony silence. It basically boils down to "we are so screwed." The ship took on major damage in its multiple battles with the drone ships and is now limping along pathetically toward the nearest star to recharge, but unfortunately that won't be enough because so many systems are damaged that they are pretty much down to their "last one of everything."

Young and Telford want options on what they can do to solve this problem and the scientists basically reply that there aren't any. Someone wonders aloud what they can do next, and Eli suggests they go home. He starts to explain that he and Gin had figured out a way to dial Earth while Destiny was in a star but Rush immediately overrides him and starts ranting off a long list of reasons why that just isn't gonna work. He is resolutely against any attempt to go home. He gets extra pissy when Young sides with Eli, citing that his first concern has to be for the people aboard the ship and that right now an attempt to gate home, as dangerous as it might be, is the only alternative to just hanging out on the ship until it just stops working completely (to be followed shortly thereafter by the certain death of everyone). So Young makes the call for Eli to use the communication stones to run the plan (and the math) by the people on Earth and when it all seems to check out, gives the attempt the green light.

Everyone gathers in the gate room while Rush resolutely tries to convince Young to forget this idea. Young is steadfast, though he does agree to let Rush address the crew and ask for volunteers to stay behind to continue the mission (to locate the signal of the source code of the universe). He even agrees to stand beside Rush and support the request, saying he will allow anyone who really wants to stay to do so, but only if the minimum number of people required to run the ship (twelve, including Rush and Young himself) volunteer to stay. Otherwise, they are all going home. Right after they have that discussion, they are called up to the bridge for an urgent matter.

The urgent matter turns out to be a shuttle approaching Destiny broadcasting a transmission by someone claiming to be Rush (henceforth to be known as Rush Beta). The shuttle is, in fact, the same shuttle that is docked on the ship at that moment. Rush Beta claims to be from twelve hours into the future (wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey!) and that he is the only survivor of the attempt to gate back to Earth, an attempt which caused the Destiny to suffer all sorts of overloads, and, apparently go back in time.

After some "I know something that only two of you could know because it just happened" shenanigans, Rush Beta is allowed on board to tell his story. Upon seeing Telford, he immediately lunges at the man claiming he is responsible for the death of everyone and that he's going to try to kill them all. He is restrained, there are a lot of "what the hell?" looks exchanged, and then he tells his tale. Everything up to Rush's conversation with Young about numbers is the same, but then they did address the crew to ask for volunteers to stay. Amazingly enough, they do get their ten volunteers (and then some). Once that was established they went ahead and dialed the gate. Telford went through first to let Earth know that they were coming through (since radio signals don't transmit over a ninth-chevron connection), but after he left the wormhole destabilized. Rush Beta and Eli did what they could to stabilize it and everyone pretty much stampeded through the gate. While this was going on, the ship's various systems started overloading and the place pretty much started falling apart. Young called off the "staying behind," and ordered the group to hightail it through the gate to safety. Rush Beta stayed behind to hold the wormhole connection and didn't make it through himself.

Rush Beta immediately ran to the communication stones to ensure that everyone made it through, only to learn it had been hours since Telford had come through and no one else made it. Everyone else, it appears, died in transit. Then, somehow, the Destiny Rush Beta was on was sent back through time (he posited something to do with a solar flare and the wormhole connection). When he saw a second Destiny appear, he realized what must have happened and raced to the shuttle to warn the crew.

So, Young calls off the attempt to gate back to Earth. Wray wonders if there is any way to compensate for the problem, now that they know what will go wrong, but Rush and Rush Beta don't think that is possible, as it was too unpredictable of an issue. Or something. As they are passing the wreck of the first-timeline Destiny they realize that they can strip it for parts and supplies and hopefully repair their own ship. The damaged ship is too close to the star for them to take a shuttle or to fly their own ship over, but in a very neat piece of writing, they figure out if they make a short FTL hop, they can gate onto the damaged ship. Eli and the two Rushes are left to make the calculations to make it happen.

So they arrive on the damaged ship and once there are able to assess that they have forty minutes to get in and out before it can no longer support life (it is falling into the star). They very efficiently split up throughout the ship and strip it for everything they can. Everything actually goes really well until Rush Beta sees a power source on the way out that could greatly improve the surviving ship's weapon's capability. Rush warns Rush Beta to be careful in how he handles the item or he could electrocute himself. So everyone hightails it back through the gate except for Telford, who goes to look for Rush Beta and hurry him along.

Meanwhile, back on our Destiny, Wray has decided to use the stones to update Earth on what's going on and why they didn't gate back as planned. She is surprised to find that the Telford from the original timeline is there and waiting impatiently to find out what the hell is going on. He demands to use the stones himself, preferably switching with his own, alternate, self (which, as one of the scientists points out, is weird). Cut back to the damaged ship and Telford has confronted Rush Beta, wanting to know the real story. He doesn't for one second believe that Rush told them everything, or that he was as valiant as he claimed. They get into an argument and there is a shoving match, and Telford is shoved right into the metaphorical live wire, electrocuted on the spot. Rush Beta freaks out and takes off. Scott and Rush realize that he isn't back yet and now Young has ordered them to find Telford so he can switch with his other self. They find Telford's body but no sign of Rush Beta. Rush claims he knows where the man went though and takes off, Young orders Scott back through the gate because they are almost out of time.

Rush finds Rush Beta at the Ancient chair room, and they have a brief discussion about how Telford's death was an accident but now Rush Beta feels like he can't go back. He has decided, instead, to go out in the chair, gaining as much Ancient knowledge as he can before the ship is destroyed--simply for the sake of knowing it. Rush asks him what really happened (see, even he doesn't trust himself), but Rush Beta is adamant that he told the truth.

Rush runs back to the gate, which Scott is holding open, and says he couldn't find his other self, and the Destiny jumps away.

Boy oh boy do I hope the teaser for next week was not so much a teaser as a promise. Surviving Telford shows up on the ship via the stones and asks "What the hell happened," to which Young replies, "That's going to take a lot of explaining." God, I hope so, because I have no idea how other Telford made it back to Earth in this timeline. It seems to me that our Telford not going back in this timeline would have negated the other one. Please, do explain. I do find it interesting that the only member of the crew to survive the first timeline is the only one to die in the second. Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey indeed. But I am glad that there is still a Colonel Telford around. Again, to kill him off is a waste of a perfectly good Lou Diamond Phillips.

Of course, it would be another time-frak episode that leaves me so totally blown away and with a million questions. I love it.

I did spend most the episode waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like Telford and Rush, I never for one second believed that Rush Beta was giving them the true story, or at least not the whole story.

Did you notice how they managed to sneak in another nice shiny peak-condition shuttle to the ship? That sure was nice of The Powers That Be, wasn't it?

Once more, I loved the Park/Volker/Brody dynamic going on. When this show goes off the air I may have to hunt down some (gen) fan fic about their furthering adventures. And if I can't find any, I'll have to make my own. Volker's little tutorial on what parts to look for on the damaged ship was pretty darn amusing.

Eli's doubt that he would be asked to remain with the SGC once they returned to Earth was sweet. Though James and Chloe were right, there is no way they are letting him go. Also, I liked they way James was rattling off the scientists and her reaction to McKay. Perfect.

My only real quibble with the episode (other than my confusion about how alt-Telford exists) is that of all of the people to volunteer to stay aboard Destiny in the first timeline, Greer was the first to step forward. I don't even know if it is a quibble, really, it was just utterly unexpected. Although, he has shown such a strong loyalty to Young throughout the entire series, and his distrust of Rush had caused him to develop an intense resolution to protect his CO from the scientist's snaky ways. Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised, but I really, really was.

So, there we go. All in all, I felt that it was another solid episode. The pacing was pretty much spot-on, I felt, and the story truly interested and surprised me (for the most part, I did call that they would strip the damaged ship for spare parts). I cannot wait until next week, and I am once more incredibly sad that we only have eight more episodes to go of this amazing series.

Also, I am incredibly ticked off because I know that Robert Carlyle will never get even an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Rush, and that is a damn shame.

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