Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stargate Tuesday: Common Descent

Be warned, there are spoilers ahead. For the story and the mood, unfortunately.

So, first things first. Word came down over the weekend, from the mouth of Brad Wright that with the end of Stargate Universe's second season, the Stargate franchise as we know it will officially be dead. All plans for direct to DVD movies across the franchise (the already written scripts for Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis as well as a Stargate Universe movie to conclude the story arc) have permanently been shelved. Even the eleventh hour story idea combining all three shows in one movie has been scrapped. Joseph Mallozzi confirmed it in his blog as well.

Bummer doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about this. It sucks, to be quite frank. We have three more episode of Stargate Universe and then that's all she wrote, folks.

Fandemonium has already embarked upon their own attempt to tie up loose ends with the recently begun post-series finale set of Stargate Atlantis books. I can only hope they continue the venture for many years to come, possibly giving us some closure for the Stargate Universe story as well. Perhaps these books will stand to broaden and expand the world of Stargate in much the same way the Star Wars expanded universe books have done. I dearly hope they do so.*

There is always the chance that a few years down the road MGM will license the rights to someone else and we'll get a reboot. That is, after all, what happened from the original motion picture to Stargate SG-1. It might be awesome. It won't be the same though. So farewell to my beloved Stargate. I will miss you more than I can even begin to say. But I will never forget. Don't for one second believe those DVDs sitting in my front room will not continue to be viewed over and over again.

But on to last night's episode.

This Stargate fan will never stop showing
off her love of the franchise.

"Common Descent" hearkened back to earlier in the series when the crew of Destiny attempted to dial Earth from within a star and all sorts of time-traveling complications ensued. The general assumption was that the crew died in the unstable wormhole, but we learned last night that this was not so. Instead, they were sent back in time about two thousand years and, since there was no Destiny at that location two thousand years previous, the wormhole jumped to connect with the nearest gate.

The crew (all except for Rush and Telford) was deposited on a planet they ended up naming Novus. Against all adversity they managed to thrive (eventually splitting into two distinct cultures, which over time rose into two different nations). About thirty years prior to present day, worrying seismic activity on Novus caused the people of at least one of the nations to send out expeditions in search of a new habitable planet.

So, present day. Destiny is plugging along and we learn that a lot of people are suffering from headaches and nausea. Seems like the CO2 scrubbers are running low on lime once more and the air is getting yucky. The ship drops out of hyperspace and there seem to be two planets within range, only one with a gate they can access. They send a kino through and preliminary surveys suggest that they should be able to replenish many of their supplies (as well as lime) there. Eli tells this to Chloe and Wray, and they remark that they hope the team finds some more of a purple fruit they had previously found. Eli remarks that those tasted terrible and they agree and start giggling. They are in the midst of refusing to tell him why they would want more in that case (I suspect that perhaps they were cucumber shaped) when out the window they see quickly approaching lights.

It turns out that the drones from the mid-season premiere have been tracking them across the system somehow and have finally caught up. The ship is able to take out several of the drones but not before the command ship appears and also attacks. Young wonders if the drones tracked them by the drone they have been studying aboard Destiny and orders it to be jettisoned and destroyed. Then he orders them to force a jump into FTL and get the heck out of there, hoping they can lose the drones for good this time.

En route, the ship wants to stop as soon as it gets in range of more planets. The scientists convince Young to let this happen, because they do desperately need more lime at least, not to mention other supplies. Scott and Greer take a team to the planet to scout it out and run into a couple of kids around Scott's age or younger who recognize the pair of them and claim that they are the descendants of the crew.

After the initial WTF moments, there is a lot of exposition learning the history of the colonists and of the original Destiny crew that founded their civilization. The colonists explain that shortly after arriving on the planet they lost contact with Novus and have not been able to make a connection since then. They ask the crew of Destiny to take them back to their planet so they can learn what happened to their civilization.

Young is reluctant to do this (as is Rush), due to the lack of resources available and the strain that many extra people will put on the ship. His hand is forced, however, when the drones show up and launch simultaneous attacks on the planet and on the ship. Most of the colonists are evacuated to the ship, but then a drone takes out the gate, stranding Eli, Wray, Scott, and Greer on the planet, along with the remaining survivors of the attack. It looks pretty certain that the crew is stranded until Eli figures out a way to use the gate's sub-space network connection to send a message to Destiny. He can't figure out how to do more than turn the thing on and off, but Scott realizes this is a perfect way to send a message via morse code. Destiny gets the message and returns to the planet to pick up the survivors, then decides to head on to Novus to check things out, since there's really no way the ship can hold that many people for very long.

Along the way, Rush and Eli figure out that the drones must have been tracking them using the stargates themselves--activation of a stargate is a major sub-space event, apparently, and would stand out like a beacon to anyone looking for it. This means no using gates until team science figures out a way around that problem.

On Novus Scott takes a shuttle down and finds a massive modern looking city, completely intact and completely empty. The atmosphere of the planet is filled with smoke/dust/ash and it is crazy cold. They fear that nuclear winter has set in, meaning the two nations had finally gone to war with each other, but there is no sign of radiation or any electronic signals at all. They deduce that the seismic activity likely caused a super-volcano to erupt, which caused an extinction level event and explains the ash cloud and winter conditions, as well as the lack of any and all life signs.

Next week, the crew investigates the city of their descendants.

This was, once more, a completely awesome episode. There were so many little details that were wonderful touches and made the story work quite well. The two nations the crew split into? One was led by Young and another was led by Brody, who claimed that Rush was still on the ship and would figure out a way to come back and save them all one day. This resulted in one nation that over two thousand years came to believe in Rush as some sort of deity (and was named after a font), and one that saw him as some sort of demon, hell-bent on stealing people's souls. This led for some wonderfully awkward moments when some of the colonists (all from the Team Young country) met the real live Rush. I did find it interesting, and a little odd, that the first baby born on Novus (we got to see the kino footage of it) was the child of T.J. and Young. I guess getting stranded on a planet thousands of years in the past rekindled their relationship? It was a good contrast to now, when T.J. and Varro are just starting to build a relationship, and had a very interesting "road not taken" perspective to add to the episode.

I do have to wonder how Wray had descendants, seeing as how she is not interested in the guys. I guess she decided it was her duty to help perpetuate the species? Hmm. I dunno.  I am still not sure there were enough people on the ship to create a sustained population, but to find out would require research I don't feel like doing.

It was amusing when Greer got all chuffed by the old lady telling him how handsome he is. I love Greer.

I'll be very curious indeed to see how this story plays out/wraps up next week, to be sure.

Sigh, only three more to go folks, and I have a feeling they are just getting started.

As I said, bummer doesn't even begin to describe it.

Until next time.

*Of course, you know that fan fiction isn't going anywhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment