View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: 'Cloverdale' (205)
September 19th, 2010, 11:53 AM
<DIV ALIGN="center"><TABLE WIDTH="450" BORDER="0" CELLSPACING="0" CELLPADDING="7"><TR><TD STYLE="border: none;"><DIV ALIGN="left"><FONT FACE="Verdana, Arial, san-serif" SIZE="2" COLOR="#000000"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/s2/205.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/graphics/205.jpg" WIDTH="160" HEIGHT="120" ALIGN="right" HSPACE="10" VSPACE="2" BORDER="0" STYLE="border: 1px black solid" ALT="Visit the Episode Guide"></A><FONT SIZE="1" COLOR="#888888">UNIVERSE SEASON TWO</FONT>
<FONT SIZE="4"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/s2/205.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">CLOVERDALE</A></FONT>
<FONT SIZE="1">EPISODE NUMBER - 205</FONT>
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Lieutenant Scott is infected by a plant-like organism while surveying a planet, and suffers severe hallucinations of another life back home on Earth.
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October 30th, 2010, 07:38 AM
Cloverdale Review [SGU - 205]
By xxxevilgrinxxx | Published: October 30, 2010 | (crossposted at my personal blog)
Living in Canada, I have to wait until Friday to watch the latest episode of Stargate Universe, which means that, from Tuesday on, I often treat myself to a great deal of spoilers from the airing in the US. Not clips mind you, but screencaps, often the transcript and of course, a great deal of talk about the episode on forums and blogs. From all of that, I already knew that this was going to be a â€œdream sequenceâ€. I knew that Scott was going to offer us a vision of people that are on the Destiny with him. All that and more. Youâ€™d think that from all that, I would â€œspoil my dinnerâ€ and perhaps be utterly let down by Cloverdale when my chance to watch it came around. That has yet to happen and it didnâ€™t happen with Cloverdale last night.
It would be easy to say that what Scott experienced was a simple â€œdream experienceâ€ but if the man was going to dream, wouldnâ€™t he dream about home? A home filled with people that he had to know better and be closer to than the people aboard Destiny? Where was his son, his former girlfriend? I believe the town may well have been his home town but the fact that it was populated with people from aboard Destiny is a very subtle way of turning this dream into something quite different.
All of the characters appear to serve a dual purpose. They highlight Scottâ€™s slightly idealized and perhaps naive view of those around him, selecting the positives and pressing the negatives into the background. The second purpose serves what mind altering states have served since the beginning of time: to impart knowledge through the tapping of parts of the mind that we tend to shove into the background in day to day life.
Thereâ€™s truth in both of course. I wonâ€™t go through all of the characters, but thereâ€™s a few that really stood out for me.
Young is a father figure to Scott as well as to others heâ€™s taken under his wing. Imperfect, but unlike Scottâ€™s own father, dream Young is always there, always reliable, no matter what state he is in. From dream Young himself, as well as other characters like Telford and Rush â€“ all authority figures to Scott â€“ the idea that Young is not as perfect as Scott would like to make him is clear. Young doubts himself and admits that he doesnâ€™t have the answers but that there is a â€œright thingâ€ that needs to be done. What that is is something Scott will have to decide for himself.
In all of the dream characters there is a moment when the curtain is pulled back and a delivery comes from the real character. This happens in a heartbeat when Young goes from a jocular, aw shucks dad to a harder Young, leaning in to order Scott to â€œwake upâ€. Thereâ€™s a lot to wake up from. Scott needs to wake up from the idealized world heâ€™s lived and continues to live in. He needs to wake up from the idea that if he only follows this inner script that heâ€™s written for himself, that he can change everything that has gone before. He needs to wake up to the fact of who he is and stop pretending to be someone else because he thinks itâ€™s right. He needs to wake up to the reality of Chloe and how he really feels about her because he continues to exist in an idealized dream world where he can be the man he wants to be if only he can pretend long enough.
Telfordâ€™s warning while they are in the police car speaks to Scott as much as to Telford and I donâ€™t doubt that there will come a day when Scott wonâ€™t be able to reconcile with the things that heâ€™s done, when heâ€™s going to look back at them with despair and wish he could undo them but canâ€™t. Telford was brainwashed of course, but isnâ€™t self-delusion a form of brainwashing? If Scott continues on the path that he is on, he will never be able to undo events he sets in motion and by the end of the episode, that path may well be set.
One of the most interesting dream manifestations is that of Rush. Even before I watched the episode last night, I had really wondered at the notion of Rush as Justice of the Peace. Given where all of the rest of Scottâ€™s dream visions fit with his life, with all of his friends taking their expected roles, I really had to sit and think: Why this?
And this is where it got interesting for me. In all of the other visions, characters took expected roles, ones we have seen them fulfil. From father to friend to brother to lover. In Rush comes something different and it wasnâ€™t until I started to take a really close look at Rushâ€™s office that it dawned on me. In this vision, Rush plays Destiny, or, in his role as Justice of the Peace, Rush plays Destinyâ€™s appointee.
When Scott enters Rushâ€™s office, he walks into an almost claustrophobically narrow room, one that could easily have been shot in a way that wouldnâ€™t make it look that way. In a sense, the room is not unlike a corridor on Destiny, with Rush tucked away behind a desk that separates him from anyone else and makes it all but impossible to get close to him. Then there are the repeated ring images. From the horse brass by the door, the plaque on the wall, the assorted knick knacks behind the desk, even down to the ring on Rushâ€™s boots, the image of the Stargate is repeated throughout.
As Destinyâ€™s appointee, Rush has a dire message of his own: You are going to die, Matthew. Of course, we all know that we are going to die someday but itâ€™s not so much actual physical life that Rush is speaking of. I believe Rush is speaking in the â€œdeath is changeâ€ sense, in that something in Matthew is going to die. Die and become something else or simply fade away. In any case, the message has been delivered before Scott can marry and make that choice. That Destinyâ€™s appointee holds the ceremony for that death to happen is staggering and will likely become clearer as the fallout from this episode plays out in the future.
By the end of the dream, the damage may be done and though we have seen a good deal of truth played out, the truth can be a hard thing. Trust and friendships may well be broken and both Chloe and Scott, now that they have this thing, may not want it anymore. It is in its deliberate and graceful delivery, Cloverdale exceeds all expectations and becomes something more. It was like watching Muhammed Ali. Every line delivered. Every expression, every flourish delivered. This episode has some of the tightest writing I have seen in a TV show in a long time and I really look forward to the fallout from this episode. From the closing scenes, thereâ€™s going to be a hell of a lot of fallout.
December 23rd, 2010, 08:10 AM
If I was tempted to strangle the life out of the show after "Pathogen", this week I want to reach into my TV and hug it to pieces. Finally, finally, finally, here is an episode that has its own plot front and centre, and yet continues the wider arc-building. Not only that but it actually has balance (I could cry happy tears) with one thread containing action and tension, and the other containing an intriguing character study. Wonderfully written, wonderfully acted and beautifully directed. I loved it.
Let me start my lyrical waxing over the plot. Firstly, yay for a cohesive episode story! Itâ€™s not that the other episodes have lacked plot exactly but rather in the mix of arc-building plus an episode plot, the latter has felt like itâ€™s been the backing singer not the main attraction. Here the roles are switched, with arc-building relegated to slinky dance moves in the background and the episode story getting its chance to sing in the spotlight. I much prefer this combination to the other.
And I loved the whole thing. For one thing, the whole homage to 1950s B-movies is brilliant; from the idealized American small town of Cloverdale to the actual reality of the plant monsters. I loved how the reality was incorporated into an actual horror movie in Scottâ€™s vision -- the MGM lion was a nice touch -- with the reveal of what happened and the perfect movie square-jawed hero and pretty girl. This is clever writing for me.
I also love how the shift between Scottâ€™s unconscious and the real events were signaled with Scottâ€™s collapses in his vision; the startling difference in color washes and lighting between the reality and the vision; the way some of the vision is told through Eliâ€™s video-graphy. Moreover, I loved the balance between the two elements of the psychological and character study in the vision against the tension, drama and action of the race to save his life on the planet.
The action element in Scottâ€™s reality is well-judged; thereâ€™s movement, pace and Greer kicking ass (Jamil Walker Smith just eats up the scenery). I loved the return of the flame-throwers and the monsters chasing after the planet-side team. The chase builds great tension, not only to get away from the monsters, but also in the race to find a cure for Scottâ€™s alien infection before the ship goes to FTL or they lose him completely. The last minute save of Chloeâ€™s alien blood was not surprising but it was a good denouement. It was also good how the teamâ€™s roles with Scott in reality reflect their roles in Scottâ€™s vision.
The vision part is fascinating. Too often during these types of episodes, (SG-1â€™s â€œThe Changelingâ€ and SGAâ€™s â€œPhantomsâ€ come to mind), enough isnâ€™t made of the vision element which opens a window into how a character may feel about himself and the people around him. Here, the vision is so stuffed full of revelations about how Scott thinks of himself and others on Destiny that there are things that are occurring to me some hours after watching the episode. And thatâ€™s a very good thing. The story is a great exploration of Scott.
Kudos has to go to Brian J Smith for how well he acts throughout the episode. Given the amount of undeserved hassle he got from fans last season for all the bedroom antics and the infamous storage closet scene, Smith here seems to revel in showing the audience who Scott really is. I loved the moment between him and James in his unconscious; the knowledge that heâ€™s attracted to her but wonâ€™t act on it; that he knows heâ€™s not fair in his behavior toward her, and how he wants to erase that moment is very telling. He does a great job at conveying Scottâ€™s increasing confusion and befuddlement in his vision, the knowledge that something isnâ€™t right mixing with his subconscious concerns about his relationship with Chloe.
Indeed this episode is a feast of shippiness for the shippers out there. Kudos also goes to Elyse Levesque for her performance particularly in how Chloe realizes that she may be immune to the alien life form. In fact, I think kudos to the whole cast. Louis Ferriera makes the most of being let out of the Young military straitjacket as he assumes the role of Scottâ€™s Dad in the vision; thereâ€™s a great cameo by Lou Diamond Phillips as Telford the Sheriff; David Blue acts his socks off in conveying Eliâ€™s feeling of betrayal and pain at Chloeâ€™s actions. Everyone delivers.
So good was this episode in fact that I donâ€™t really have any gripes about it. If there is one minor one itâ€™s that having ended the last episode with some kind of secret agreement established between Rush and Chloe over her continuing alien body changes, nothing is really made of that, and this episode pretty much wipes out that conspiracy and subterfuge before it ever goes anywhere. It leaves me scratching my head over what was the point really. But in terms of my enjoyment of the episode, this is a very, very minor grievance.
All in all, this episode is fabulous example of how great Universe can be when it gets it right. Again: I loved it.
Previously published at [url=http:\\www.geekspeakmagazine.com]GeekSpeak Magazine [url]
Zombies Rise from the Sea
August 28th, 2012, 05:25 PM
So you turn on your TV to Syfy, you catch something on your screen that tells you. "This must be that show everybody is talking about, "Lost". The show regarding a plane crash on a mysterious island with a group of people." and it certainly looks that way with it's scenes that are reminiscent of a flashback and it's character connections and it's seeming innocence but then you realize something when the opening sequence comes on, this isn't a show called "Lost", this is a show called "SGU: Stargate Universe"! and then the confusion comes in.
What's worse is that even after that opening sequence, the episode still feels like "Lost".
The producers were clearly inspired by such episodes as "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and "Happily Ever After". You know, episodes where the Desmond in the present is sent to the past (or flashsideways) with barely any memory of what happened except for a few thoughts. It's really similar to that except it has Scott in the shoes of Desmond who walks his life in a sort of marriage concept all while he meets people he's met on the Destiny. I'm serious, just watch this episode and tell me you don't realize something; the marriage concepts, the realizations that something might not be right for him, the hints, the ever worsening situation for him, the moment where it all comes full circle. You can compare this episode to these two episodes and you will not notice a difference; well except for slightly cheaper production values, a less engaging plot, characters who aren't as detailed as Lost's and a sense of depth that seems forced.
It is admirable as to what they're trying to do with Scott. The character has some potential, what with his kid and all and they thought that an episode like this would help him a lot because he's part of a wedding, he has a chance to show his personality outside of the Destiny and he even gets to reveal some of his hopes and dreams and some of those admirations do come to fruition here; Scott's fans will appreciate the brief moments of revelation we get and they will also appreciate the growth Scott somewhat gets here but for the most part, a lot of that is wasted in the concept. For the most part, he is essentially playing the part of Desmond in a plot which is designed to reinforce the love triangle which has been set up last episode. That is especially clear when Eli plays a role directly related to Scott and even appears in a vital part in many of the scenes (additionally Rush is in here somewhat hinting at the newfound connection he has with Chloe); Scott has some potential but Desmond he's not and he makes this clear as he tries to give the character the tour-de-force this episode requires only to come up short nearly every time, acting like an adult in one of those edgy romance movies made on the buck.
The other characters featured do well, helping to add to that town mentality that is displayed here; Greer (especially him) and Brodie are definite standouts acting as any normal townperson/friend would and Young, well let's just say he's as good as ever. They play their roles well without any questionable stuff and the plot that they follow is somewhat decent managing to lay in some hints to Scott's condition; he plot and the characters aren't the problem with the episode but it's the fact that they're placed in an episode with a poor premise and a poor sense of what it wants to do. Oh these characters try to play up to the big leagues, the plot tries to be clever with it's characters relation to other characters juxtaposing their real life versions but in the end it just doesn't mix together; there's a fight between trying to be clever with the plot and trying to provide a decent character story that just hinders everything, a fight that can't be won and in fact ends up deterring everything that the episode means; the possible growth, the possible emotion, the possible investment. Scott's situation ultimately becomes a gimmick and this just becomes what "Lost" would be like if third-rate people handled the show rather then the brilliant people who went on to gain critical acclaim.
The Lost-like mentality even spreads to the scenes outside of the Destiny which despite how hard they try to make you care, you just can't care for them... well maybe except for Rush. Scott's situation does look dire, nothing works, the ship may leave, possible infection and they even manage to have a scene where everything is on the line for them with everybody working as hard as they can to defend the position; all of this has the ingredients for a good scene, you even got Young in a leadership position and possible stuff that'll shake up season two but again, it just doesn't mix well. None of the characters are showing a sense of tension that'll make you care, none of the moments are filmed in a way that gets you into the action and everything about the situation just seemed contrived and overdone, even the scene with Chloe and Scott. Pulling out all of the stops and contrasting it with the other moments while music blares and the characters are in trouble is not the way to do it; this stuff seems like something that amateur writers would do, thinking that if they raise all of the stakes and add a sense of danger to it then people might care but what they don't realize is that it's about the characters and getting us involved in them and that is what makes us care. Edge is one thing but characters are essential in writing and if you don't care for them then really, what's the point of having a flashy ending?
This episode proves one thing and one thing only. SGU is not Lost; if I wanted Lost then I would watch "Lost", not SGU. This just feels like a poorly done "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and "Happily Ever After" and while there is some decent characterization in this, it just isn't enough to elevate this episode past it's faults and with that, what reason would anybody have to watch this episode?
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