Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stargate Universe - "Pathogen"

Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle) tests to see the extent of alien influence on Chloe (Elyse Levesque)
Photo Credit: Syfy
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'Stargate Universe'
Season 2 - Episode 4

Ug... another musical montage at the end of an episode of 'Stargate Universe'. As soon as the music started and the camera began cutting between various characters on the ship, I was cringing in anticipation of some vocals with lyrics that were too on the nose, again. Thankfully, it was only instrumental. Still, this is getting really, really, really old.

I've never been a fan of the communication stones. They've always felt like a cheat to get the characters to interact with their loved ones back home in very non-flashback 'Lost' sort of way. I understand that the intent is reveal more about these characters, but the outcome is usually boring. Also, the creators try to hit us over the head with the supposed emotion these scenes. Look! Look! Camille's girlfriend has another glass of wine in her hand! Uh-oh, she's going for another bottle! Something MUST be wrong!

As for Eli's side of the trip back home, the first half was fairly predictable. Eli was inevitably going to get frustrated pretending he was someone else when he could get through to his sick mother and was going to tell her the truth. Of course this led to his desperate attempt to convince her the truth by telling some story from the past that only she would know. I will admit the resolution involving Camille getting Eli's mom clearance to use the communication stones to visit Eli on the Destiny was rather sweet, but I'm dreading the almost certain "Eli visits Mom on her deathbed" episode that will probably hit sometime next season.

I'm all for exploration of characters, but the way 'SGU' does it does not do anything new. It feels cliche and it's really boring. These types of subplots really drag down what could have been an intriguing episode.

We finally get around to exploring what's happening to Chloe. As predicted it has something to do with her alien abduction from last season. As a bonus, it gives her something to do other than sleep with Lt. Scott, being an object for Eli's pining, or standing around in a tight shirt (however, points to the creators for not having Lt. James running around in her skivvies at all this season). However, do to the episode spending so much wasted time back on Earth, I really think that her situation was really explored to the potential that it had. I felt we got more about how her situation affected Lt. Scott and the others, but not as much on how Chloe was dealing with it.

Also, Rush's little experiments need to finally get discovered. Brody and Clark were really suspicious this time (Brody even predicting Rush's ignoring of his radio call) and they clued in Col. Young. I will give the writers credit with Rush's deflection this time. I liked his hallway of equations that he had Chloe look at (and it reminded me of John's scribblings of wormhole equations on Moya during the fourth season of 'Farscape'), and it came in handy when Rush needed an excuse. It'll be interesting to see how he incorporates Chloe and her alien influence into his research.

I'm getting tired of Sgt. Greer needing someone to butt heads with. It feels more like a go-to device for the writers than an actual character flaw. Last season, if it wasn't Rush, Greer was getting into the face or Rae. Now, his newest target is Simeon. I will give Greer's moment in the mess hall when he got defensive over Simeon's comment to Dr. Clark, given their previous sexual liaison (which he mentioned to Scott last week). That said more about Greer possibly developing feelings for Clark, but his continued stalking of Simeon just paints Greer as bully.

'Stargate Universe' is still an enjoyable show, but there are still a few kinks that needed to be worked out. Last week's "Awakening" was good example to follow. Most of that episode focused on the A-Plot aboard the seed ship and there was solid minor plot developing the running thread concerning the Lucian Alliance prisoners. "Pathogen" had a strong idea for the main story, but ended up being all over the place.

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