Despite how different in tone Stargate Universe may be from sister shows Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, I do firmly believe that it has never lost the true spirit of the franchise. One of the ways it has managed this is by acknowledging, often even paying homage to, the shows that came before it. This sustains the impression that all three shows truly do encompass events that are happening within the same universe. Last night's "Seizure" was a fine example of this.
Spoilers ahead, my friends, spoilers ahead.
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Okay, that's quite enough of that. For anyone wondering (I know no one is), you can sing the spoiler song to the tune of the "Elmo's World" song from Sesame Street. I have a toddler folks. These things get stuck in my head. Where was I? Right, Stargate!
So, throughout SGU's run we've seen a few people from SG-1 pop in occasionally, most notably General O'Neill and Daniel Jackson. This week we got my favorite Stargate character of all time visiting from Atlantis, as well as an alum of both series. I am speaking, of course, of Rodney McKay and Richard Woolsey. David Hewlett and Robert Picardo put in fine performances visiting Homeworld Command as well as Destiny and her crew.
Homeworld Command has finally decided it is time to try to hit up the government on the planet of Langara to see if we can use their gate to try dialing the nine-chevron address to Destiny. Langara (another tip of the hat to SG-1, home of former SG-1 team member Jonas Quinn) is a planet laced with naquadria (an enhanced version of the element from which the stargates are made) like the planet on which the original Icarus base was located. It was tapping into this naquadria core that provided enough power to dial the nine-chevron gate address.
Fans have been asking for a while now why we haven't heard mention of Langara if what we need to reach Destiny is a planet laced with naquadria. The answer is pretty straightforward though. If you may remember, the last two times humans have dialed in to Destiny, the planet on the other end of the call was destroyed. Granted there were extenuating circumstances in both cases, but the destruction was largely caused by the dialing process. Langara is an extremely inhabited planet, with a population quite aware of their stargate and in control how and when said gate is used. Neither Homeworld Command nor the Langaran government have wanted to risk the dialing attempt because the risk of losing the planet was just too great.
Enter McKay. He has figured out a way to safely tap into the naquadria-core and dial Destiny, no blowing up of planets involved. Very keen to avoid blowing up any more planets is our McKay. Langara is still hesitant to allow the attempt, so Homeworld Command has also brought in Woolsey to negotiate a bargain to get them to let us try. Time is of the essence, however, because Homeworld Command (largely Telford) fears that the Lucian Alliance has already secured the cooperation of Langara and that is the real reason that they won't let us use their gate. Telford is quite keen to go to any lengths to prevent the Lucian Alliance from seizing control of Langara's gate and dialing in to Destiny again.
In a neat little bit of subterfuge, Woolsey (rather against his better judgment) tricks a Langaran administrator and soldier into using two of the communication stones connected to Destiny, switching them out for Young and Scott respectively. Posing as the Langarans they have switched bodies with, Young and Scott declare that the Langaran government has decided to work with Earth and allow the attempt to dial the nine-chevron address. McKay and two SG teams gate in to Langara and they get everything set up, racing against the clock to get the dialing process completed before their ruse is discovered. I think the point was to show the Langarans that they could safely dial the nine-chevron address and therefore gain their cooperation. As you might imagine, this does not go off without a hitch.
One of the Langaran soldiers becomes suspicious early on and alerts the administrator's superiors, meaning that McKay is interrupted before he can finish the process. Also, Woolsey, in an effort to find proof that the Langarans have made an agreement with the Lucian Alliance, actually finds out that while they have been approached, they have been holding out, refusing to make a deal for fear it would jeopardize their relationship with Earth. Ooh boy. Basically, this mission ends with the Earth team with egg all over its collective faces. McKay got enough data to confirm that the dial could be done safely, but the Langarans have had enough of being in the middle of this argument and decide to unhook their gate from the naquadria core and move it to a new location altogether.
So, in the win column, we now know there is a safe way to dial Destiny using a naquadria-cored planet as a power source. Unfortunately, we no longer have one of those handy. Hmm.
Alas, there was no McKay/Rush smackdown in this episode either. While McKay did visit Destiny briefly (Young would not approve of the attempt to dial in unless Eli okayed the math), Rush was unavailable. It seems he was tired of not being able to get touchy-feely with his new virtual girlfriend, so she made a really advanced simulation for him to access through the neural interface chair. When it came time for Rush to leave the simulation he found that he couldn't, so he was stuck in the chair for most of the episode while Eli, Park, and Brody (Volker was still in the infirmary recovering) attempted to figure out a way to safely unhook him. Unfortunately, the only solution was for Eli to quarantine the programs that were Amanda and Ginn from the rest of the ship's programs. This means no more virtual girlfriends for either of them. Needless to say, but gonna say it anyway, Eli was pissed. Whatever respect he had left for Rush at this point is now pretty much gone. I will hazard a guess he will not be playing along nicely anymore for the rest of the season.
There was also a little bit with Greer trying to be a bit too badass and thinking he didn't need any recovery time from his surgery. This led to him developing an infection and being forced to stay in the infirmary even longer, still maintaining his awesomeness the whole way.
The Eli/McKay interaction, brief as it was, was delightful. I love that Young came upon them squabbling and when asked if the proposed dialing solution wouldn't work, they both looked at him like he was nuts, explaining that they had finished checking that out ages ago and had moved on to other problems. Sigh. In my dream world, as soon as the Destiny crew makes it back to Earth, McKay snags Eli for Atlantis.
Speaking of Atlantis. I had kind of hoped that with the appearance of two of her chief officers, we might have gotten even a little bit of a hint as to how the whole cliffhanger to the end of that series had played out. But nope, nothing, zip, nada. No explanation was given as to why Woolsey and McKay were on Earth and working on this particular problem. Sigh.
Also, what with all of the involvement of Langara, it would have been nice to see Jonas again. I always loved his character, and he and McKay actually do have an established history of interaction, even of getting along and working well together. That might have been nice. Though with the way Telford was screwing over the Langarans, I am kind of glad Jonas wasn't around to see that, come to think of it. Still, a nice throwaway line about what he was up to would have been nice. Not everyone was glad to see him go.
All in all, this episode felt deceptively like filler, which is a little disappointing given that it was the episode I have most been looking forward to all season. Don't get me wrong, it was a solidly entertaining hour of television, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But it could so easily seem to the casual observer as if nothing actually happened in this episode. I guess it serves as a good stand alone, though a few things stand out that hold some possible greater implications down the line. The largest is, of course, the fact that we do now have a way to safely dial in to Destiny once we find a suitable planet. I suspect that will come into play before the series wraps up. The other, and the one likely to slip through the cracks, but that would have made an excellent source of a story later on down the line, is the resolution of the Amanda/Ginn memory upload and quarantine business. They are still there. But for now they cannot be accessed. I doubt we'll get to see what comes of that, but I'll wager it could have been some pretty interesting stuff. I somehow doubt Eli is gonna just let the matter drop.
Oh well, next week it looks like we're back out exploring the universe, using the gates an everything. See you then!