Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stargate Tuesday: Blockade

"Holy crap, we dialed Pittsburgh."

(Spoilers ahead.)

Damn. Those pesky drones are at it again. What kind of people design killer robots and forget to program an automatic "off" command for when the job is done, huh?

Last night's episode, the next to last for the series (*sob*), showed us that the drones have realized that the crew of Destiny is on to them. In last week's episode Rush and Eli realized that the drones were using the ship's stargate dial-outs to follow them. So the crew has stopped using the stargates. Those drones are really pissed that something so technologically advanced as Destiny managed to escape them. They are determined to finish the job.

So, since the crew is no longer using the stargates, the drones have set up a blockade around every star of the class that the ship uses to refuel itself. This leaves the crew pretty much screwed. Eli gets the idea (dubbed "crazy times a thousand" by Volker) to try charging up using a super-hot dwarf star. The idea is that because the ship is programmed to avoid a star with such extreme levels of heat, the drones won't be anticipating the crew to head for a star like that and therefore won't have it blockaded.

The crew will have to evacuate through the stargate for the duration of the recharge because even though Destiny's shields can withstand that kind of heat, it will still get too hot inside the ship for any humans to survive. Rush and Eli convince Young that the risk of using the stargate should be justified because with the drones spread out at all of the nearby stars, it will take them a while to get to whatever planet the crew gates to, and "a while" should definitely be less time than it takes the ship to recharge, get everyone back on board, and bug out.

Eli and Rush volunteer to stay behind to manually pilot the ship through the charge--wearing the Ancient space suits that were found on the ship. Those suits should be able to withstand the extreme temperatures.

Everything seems to go pretty smoothly at the outset. They drop out of hyperspace with only one gate in range and a kino sent ahead shows that the planet was at one time populated (most likely by an offshoot group of the alternate Destiny's descendants) but it is now abandoned. Exploring the abandoned city will give the crew something to do while they wait for the ship to top off its tank.

Park decides at the last minute to stay behind and use the third suit to try to salvage some of the hybrid plants in the hydroponics lab. She believes that some of them have medicinal value and might be instrumental in helping to cure T.J.'s as yet undeveloped ALS. Everything they have already grown will unfortunately be lost when the ship gets roasted and she fears that they may never come across some of those plants again.

So while they approach the star, she and Eli work on harvesting what they can. Rush calls Eli down to the pre-bridge control room (apparently safer than the bridge during this process) and Park is left alone. I felt a grave sense of foreboding at this and vowed to my television that if they killed off Park I was gonna be pissed. I mean, there's only one more episode to go, I will be amazed if they don't start killing people. Just please, not Park!

Sure enough before Park finishes gathering all of her plants the ship seals off the hydroponics lab and neither Eli nor Rush can override it. Eli starts to head down to the lab to try to force the doors open from there but Rush stops him. He tells Park that as long as she is in her suit and gets in the water tank in the lab, she should be safe enough during the whole process. Yeah, okay, sure. Grr, Rush. But they are running out of time before they hit the star and Rush is convincing enough that Eli and Park agree to the plan, if hesitantly.

The charging goes pretty much as planned, but of course all hell breaks loose in hydroponics. Everything is on fire around Park as she climbs into the water, and I find myself wondering what good that is going to do her. If it is really that hot, won't the water boil (it does) and then evaporate (maybe, we didn't get to see that part)? I started to get really apprehensive and mad. Then we see the glass dome of the lab blow out, and Park scrabbles to hold on as the lab decompresses just before the ship finishes charging.

Thankfully, she managed to get herself to the door and is holding on tight. Eli rushes straight there once they are out of the star and is able to pull her back in, though she can't see anymore. Rush believes (or at least says he believes) that the condition will be temporary. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, on the planet, Young and Wray decide it will be a good idea to search the abandoned city to see if they can salvage any supplies and/or find out what happened to the original inhabitants. Greer is hoping for a gun store. T.J. wants to find a pharmacy, and Wray  is hoping for a new outfit (barring a grocery store).

Greer is, sadly, disappointed in his quest for a gun store, but Young finds a dry cleaners (yay, new clothes for a whole episode!) and T.J. manages to find a pharmacy. They also find drones. Turns out the original inhabitants were wiped out by those pesky machines. Which makes me wonder who was actually responsible for creating them in the first place...

There is some frantic hiding and trying to avoid the drones, and Dr. Jerkface (I learned last night his name is Morrison) freaks out and tries to dial the gate. James breaks his nose knocking him out (good for her) but the damage is done. The drones head for the warehouse holding the gate and the search parties race to beat them there. Luckily Varro thought to bring along a rocket launcher (yay Varro!) and he takes out the drone that makes it to the warehouse (Young, Scott, and Greer accounted for the other one). Unluckily, the activation of the gate brought a command ship down right on top of them. Young decides to risk dialing back into Destiny a few minutes early and they manage to make it back.

Overall the mission was successful, the only injuries Morrison and Park. There wasn't a whole lot of character-building this time out, but it was still a pretty solid and straightforward episode. I feel like it was mostly set-up for next week, but it was really really well-done set-up.

Rush did admit to Young that he kept going over Eli's calculations looking for errors but was amazed he didn't find any. It was such a backhanded compliment I'm surprised Young didn't smack him for it. But you can't have all of the jerks taken down in one episode, I guess.

I did love Volker's little quips throughout the episode. Clearly he is trying to find hope in an increasingly dire situation, and I love him for that. Also, he and Greer seem to be turning into buddies and I really enjoy the pairing--which has an added measure of interesting because of how they both feel about Park. That is one scenario I would really be interested to see play out, but alas.

Well, next week is it folks. Looks like it is gonna be a doozy. The Powers That Be Have already admitted it will be a cliffhanger, which blows, because I have a lot of questions I know will not be answered. Still, I am looking forward to the final outing of this show. Check back next week to find out how it went.

As an added bonus, the full season will be out on DVD (none of this ridiculous half-season nonsense this time around) on May 31. Talk about turnaround. I think ol' Skiffy may be trying to get this shoved out the door and off their minds as soon as possible. Idiots.* Still, DVDs! You can preorder at Amazon here

*Okay, okay, that wasn't very nice. I shouldn't have said that. I am sure not everyone at Syfy is an idiot. But it does feel like they are treating a long-standing and well-liked franchise a little bit like a guest that has overstayed its welcome. As if they want to get it out of the house so their new BFF (*cough*wrestling*cough*) doesn't find out about their past relationship or something. It's, um, well, it's a bit frustrating to be honest. Sigh. But I am not a television executive. What do I know, right?

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