Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: FAN REVIEWS: 'Darkness'

  1. #1
    The First One Darren's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Scotland
    Posts
    6,341

    Lightbulb FAN REVIEWS: 'Darkness'

    Visit the Episode GuideUNIVERSE SEASON ONE
    DARKNESS
    EPISODE NUMBER - 104

    The Destiny suffers a power crisis, putting the lives of the stranded crew in jeopardy when even the emergency reserves run dry. Dr. Rush pushes himself to the breaking point.

    VISIT THE EPISODE GUIDE >
    SPOILERS! PHOTOS! AND MORE!


    GATEWORLD FAN REVIEWS

    Calling All Writers! Tell the world what you think of the newest episodes of Stargate Universe! We want you to share your thoughtful and well-reasoned evaluation of episodes. But we do have some guidelines, so please read carefully before submitting your review.

    This thread does not function like normal threads at GateWorld! Read this post carefully.

    Fan Review threads are not for conversation, even if it is discussing a member's review. For that, please use the official GateWorld episode discussion threads in this folder, or start a new thread. All posts to this thread that are conversational will be immediately deleted.

    Fan Review threads are strictly reserved for formal reviews, which are deemed by the moderators to meet the following four guidelines:
      (1) LENGTH. Your review must be a minimum of 400 words and a maximum of 1,000 words.

      (2) FORMALITY. Your review should be in a formal prose style (not informal and conversational, as regular forum posts are), following the Introduction - Body - Conclusion form. (The best reviews will include a single, encapsulated statement evaluating the overall episode that is stated in the introduction, defended in the body, and restated in the conclusion.)

      (3) EDITORIALIZING. This piece is about your opinion of this specific episode. Do not summarize scenes or plot points, and generally avoid objective analysis of developments in story arcs, characters, etc. Assume that your readers have seen the episode you are discussing. Your review should give your opinion of various aspects of the episode (see below), not simply inform.

      Beyond this, your ultimate goal is to challenge readers to think about the episode in a way they may not have when they first saw it. Avoid phrases like "I liked" and "I didn't like." Don't merely state what you thought -- defend it with examples.

      Aspects of the episode that you might want to include in your review are (you do not need to cover every item on this list!):

        Story
        Character use
        Dialogue
        Writing
        Acting
        Directing
        Guest casting
        Music / score
        Visual effects
        Editing
        Costumes & makeup
        Overall production value
        Contribution to story arcs / overall series

      (4) FAIRNESS. Very few episodes that you dislike are without a few saving graces, just as very few episodes that you love are completely without flaw. Avoid unqualified gushing on the one hand, or unbalanced negativism on the other. Personal attacks on the show's cast or crew are strictly forbidden.

    By posting a reply to this thread, you are submitting a Fan Review for publication here on the forum! (Questions or concerns can be directed to the moderators via Private Message or the "Ask the Moderators" thread; do not post them here.) All reviews that are deemed to sufficiently meet the guidelines above will be approved and published in this thread, regardless of the author or the opinions contained. Reviews will not be edited for content. If your review is not approved within 48 hours, please consider rewriting it (and perhaps having someone beta read it for you) and submitting it again.

    By submitting a review, you agree and grant permission for it to remain published here (nonexclusively). You also grant GateWorld nonexclusive rights to edit your review and republish it elsewhere on the site, with your byline intact (as provided in the body of your review, or if none, your GateWorld Forum username at the time of republishing). GateWorld's editors reserve the right to revise these guidelines in the future.

    Thanks!


    All reviews are the opinion of the author
    and not necessarily that of GateWorld.net and its owner.
    Last edited by Darren; January 22nd, 2010 at 09:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Colonel s09119's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Avalon
    Posts
    7,456

    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Darkness'

    Universe plunges into "Darkness."
    By: Daniel Shea (s09119)

    "All of our power is gone!"
    -Dr. Nicholas Rush, "Darkness"

    In terms of basic human necessities, there are three essential things that we, as a species, need to survive; fresh air, clean water, and nutritious food. Without these vital components, any man or woman, no matter how well-conditioned or trained, simply cannot go on. But should you find yourself stranded aboard an Ancient exploratory vessel billions of light-years from home, you may find that there is a fourth very important "need" that is easily overlooked or taken for granted; power. On a spaceship, the single most-valuable commodity you have is your generator, as it is what enables you to explore your surroundings, fight your enemies, flee your terrors, and, in the case of the Destiny, have any chance at all of finding the way back to Earth.

    It is here that "Darkness," quite literally, descends upon the ramshackle crew, when their increased power consumption—byproducts of excessive use of the stargate, activation of dormant systems, taxing of life support, and various other factors—drains the last of the ship's reserves. As the vessel careens out of FTL into a star system offering some vague promise of safety, the brilliantly-lighted surface of the craft darkens piece by piece, until it is as black as the endless black around it. Drifting uselessly in space, the ship, formerly so awe-inspiring and beautiful, becomes a visual icon of the despair that has settled over the survivors of the Icarus Base, as they begin to accept that their transport really is subject to forces far beyond their control or influence. Their fear is palpable, but they never seem to completely lose hope that a solution will present itself, or that they will be able to overcome this newest hurdle and come out the other side stronger than before.

    But first, the latest addition to the Universe experience; the arrival of the kino recordings! These short quasi-interviews with members of the cast offer interesting glimpses into their personalities and backgrounds, and their actions on camera demonstrate who they really are when all else is stripped away; Scott's simple prayer for them all that they may survive, Park's technobabbling on the possibility of ending up on a planet that embodies her childhood nightmare, Volker's frustration and amusing comparisons with Rush, Brody's awkward confession that his ultimate fear is that he will die here in the void, James's moment of weakness under the realization that she may never return home, and, finally, Rush's own cold, emotionless reaction to what passes as stress-relief aboard the ship. Character development certainly took center-stage here, and the trend was continued even on Earth, when Colonel Young again swapped places with Telford to report in on their situation to General O'Neill.

    Once again, the dynamic of the two leading men could not be more different. First, Young; after briefing the Pentagon on their predicament and leaving them to contact the SGC for some brilliant ideas, Everett takes a ride in his counterpart's body back to his old condo, visiting his wife for what he recognizes may be the last time before the Destiny goes dark for good. In a heartfelt scene much better-delivered than that in the previous episode between Chloe and Mrs. Armstrong, he begs Emily, now aware of the true nature of his posting and whereabouts, not to move on and leave him behind. But the combination of seeing her husband in another man's body and the revelation that he is, in reality, across the known universe with almost no hope of return is too much for her, and she finally tells Young that while she does love him, she can't wait on the faint hope that he will one day be able to return for real. Confused and dejected, Everett decides to return to what "family" he has left now, in the form of the eighty-or-so persons trapped along with him in deep space.

    Meanwhile, Telford has arrived on the Destiny itself, and the moment offers up some true comic gold with the very-visible sign begging him to "Use the crutch!" so as not to mangle Young's body yet again. And with a sigh of resignation, he picks up the rifle and hobbles into Riley, who explains amusingly nonchalantly that Dr. Rush has had a nervous breakdown, but offers to take the Earth-bound Colonel to Lt. Scott in the second Ancient shuttle instead. Here, of course, is where the big confrontation of the episode takes place, as a furious Telford demands that the crew replace Young, clearly incapable of managing a mission such as this, and as the crew argues back that they won't stab their own leader in the back. There's almost certainly an element of professional jealousy to this, as Telford was the chosen officer to head up the Icarus Project and was subsequently sidelined, and it really paints him in stark contrast to the cool and collected style of the man he so blasts away at here.

    Once Rush has recovered from his withdrawal- and sleep deprivation-induced collapse, though, the focus of the episode switches gears again from characters to main plot, and the crew returns to the task of trying to figure out a way to remedy their dilemma before its too late. Interspersed with this are the ever-adorable duo of Chloe and Eli, exploring the more mundane aspects of life aboard a spaceship while they try to figure out their own uses in a vessel filled with scientists and soldiers. Eli, for his part, comes up with the idea of siphoning power from the shuttle to the main ship, but ultimately they're all still along for the ride... a ride that takes the Ancient craft directly towards a gas giant floating in the distance.

    In a sequence that can only be described as beautiful, Destiny hurtles into the upper atmosphere of the gaseous planet, shaking violently but holding firm, before slingshoting around into the solar system, an automated action that Scott deduces will bring them toward one of the rocky planets nearby that may very well be habitable. But it only takes a moment for Rush to read a different story from the controls, dampening the cheers of success and replacing them with renewed terror; the slingshot maneuver altered their course more than they had anticipated, and now the vessel is headed directly toward the system's sun, with no way to direct it down a different path.

    In all, "Darkness" is not a perfect episode; some lines, as always, fell flat. Chloe's constant need to cry out helplessly for Eli was amusing in some instances and rather grating in others. Rush's crazed rant could be said to have gone somewhat overboard, and the rather strange decision to inform Emily Young of a state secret for no real reason was puzzling, despite the success of the scene it produced. Regardless of its flaws, however, it remains an entertaining and thoughtful episode, showcasing the private struggles of the crew of the Destiny while also reminding us, as viewers, that all they really want is to get home... and, needless to say, restore power before they crash headlong into a star.

    But hey, they were complaining about the sudden lack of light.

    "Darkness": ***
    Last edited by s09119; October 23rd, 2009 at 06:22 PM.
    Click the banner or episode links to visit the virtual continuations of Stargate!
    Previous Episode: 11x03 "Shore Leave" | Previous Episode: 6x04 "Nightfall" | Now Airing: 3x06 "Eldest"

  3. #3
    Mistress Organizer Rachel500's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    3,445

    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Darkness'

    Darkness is a strangely compelling continuation of Stargate Universe's first season. Strange because nothing much of interest really happens beyond the lights going out and compelling because of the human interest story being told and the incredible wonder of the Universe itself.

    On first watching, I admit I got to the end and was completely bemused about why Darkness held my attention. In retrospect, it really shouldn't have given the lack of any action for the most part and the main event being the power outage. Yet this is to miss the incredibly layered story Brad Wright has written. Firstly, kudos for the foreshadowing in previous episodes; this storyline is a nice pay-off to the set-up of Rush advising against using power and Park highlighting power conservation to the visiting Telford in Air.

    Moreover, it's hard to believe that this is the first of a two part story because there is a complete integrity here in the power outage storyline that doesn't feel like it's simply a set-up: the beginning where the issue is highlighted, the power going out; the search for a solution, and a potential 'rescue' at the end. The pacing of the story is masterfully done and helped by the overarching story of the series which is how are these guys, just like us, managing to survive in a literally alien situation.

    The opening scenes of Young and Wray meeting with groups of the crew in the mess, assessing skills and assigning duties along with others such as Eli being interrogated by some of the crew for the 'insider' info and discussion of basic realities such as lack of showers, caffeine and cigarettes all tell the human interest story of survival. The kinos in particular focus on how the characters - even those on the periphery - are handling the situation (or not).

    This overarching story also picks up on one of the other themes seeded in Air: that of power struggles. Rush and Young clash over the use of power, Telford is incensed at what he sees as Young's incompetence when he briefly takes over and discusses removing Young from command, Wray pulls faces when Young gives her an order and through it all, Young commands. Darkness is very much the Colonel's story: he is the one in the spotlight as he organises the ship, deals with Rush's collapse and tries to find a solution. He also gets a visit home to his wife which gives us a rounded view of the man in charge showing both his personal angst against his professional calm authority. A good performance by Louis Ferreira.

    If the complex story provides the framework for maintaining pace, I'm also going to give credit to returning Stargate alumni Peter DeLuise for the direction which delivers it. The movement from scene to scene is sharp; the insertion of the various kino recordings neatly placed to break-up the main story. However, I wasn't crazy about some of the camera angles (particularly the first walk through the ship with Eli and Chloe where the camera seemed to be at knee height looking up at them) and some of the shots chosen to me seemed to dilute the impact of the scene rather than make the most of it (such as the Eli and group scene). I also think some of the changing point of view on Young/Telford was confusing. While the shot of Young looking in the reflection on the car window and seeing Telford was well done, the shot from his wife's perspective to see Telford only a moment later for Young to be there was jarring.

    I'm also going to say from a series perspective that I am concerned about the mix of character focus at this point particularly in regards to the women. I am wondering when either TJ or Wray is going to take centre stage. I keep reminding myself that it's early days; it's an ensemble cast and there will no doubt be more emphasis on the female characters in later episodes.

    But.

    At this point I feel I know Volker better than I know these regular female characters. Perhaps it's understandable with Wray who by all accounts wasn't immediately envisaged as a regular but all we seem to learn about TJ was that she was going to leave the Air Force and isn't supposed to there at all. And that's all we learn about her, all the time. Here, there are three scenes which effectively give us that information: between Wray and Young at the beginning, between Greer, TJ and Scott in the shuttle, and TJ's own kino. Do we really need three scenes to tell us the same thing? If two of those scenes had expanded on the information, given us something new, that would have been something.

    I will concede that I probably know as much about Greer as I do about TJ though which brings up the question of why we had so much focus on the secondary cast and why for the fourth episode Eli and Chloe take up a good quarter of the screen time. Maybe it is a continued attempt to show the 'every man' perspective again but I don't believe the audience continually need that perspective even this early and I want to know more about the other characters.

    My final comment has to be about the sequence with the gas giant. Wonderful special effects and visual imagery combined with superb musical underscore. Here was the magic of the universe up close and the crew finally getting to experience a moment of awe that provides a hopeful note, a light in their darkness.

    In summary, Darkness is an impressive episode. I'm loving the complex story-telling, the layered themes and sub-plots. It continues to be excellent and quality production and something that makes me want to see more. And that's my main complaint: I want more. Especially around the characters not yet focused upon. Kudos for an accomplished episode: I'm looking forward to the second part and Light.
    Last edited by Rachel500; June 7th, 2010 at 11:53 AM.

  4. #4
    Staff Sergeant apostrophe's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Land of the Relatively Free
    Posts
    92

    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Darkness'

    The Dark Side of Destiny

    If I had to choose one ironic quip to make about Destiny, it would probably be:
    "Do you think you could make the ship interior any darker?"

    Darker it is. Somebody screwed up and left the stargate on too long and now Destiny is out of juice. Lights out. The engine is konked out too. Destiny is an inert hulk, helplessly falling headlong through space, purely ballistic.

    It's a lucky coincidence that the crew found the recharging plate when they did, but they didn't get a chance to recharge many lights. They shut it off to conserve power. Too little, too late. Quick flashes of waning flashlight beams spill across terrified screaming faces as the lurking alien horror, no longer deterred by light, slithers forth from the festering bowels of the haunted ship to devour the Destiny crew one by one...Looks like Chloe is the only one actually afraid of the dark.

    Speaking of...There is this visually interesting shower scene with Chloe and Eli. Chloe was in the misty glass-doored shower with Eli guarding the entrance to the room. Naked Chloe sure looks nice and alluring in translucent silhouette. Would have been a great spot for a momentary Eli dream sequence. Missed opportunity. A funny moment when Vanessa shows up and also when Eli awkwardly tries to avoid ogling Chloe while providing illumination. Poor Eli.

    There was some other character talky stuff that didn't particularly hold my attention.

    Oh. Rush has a nervous breakdown and passes out. We learn that it was TJ who carried him to the infirmary. She must be in good shape. But that's restating the obvious. Seems like she would enjoy a nice shower after all that exertion. Too bad the power's still off.

    The slingshot sequence was engaging and the visuals of Destiny weathering the storm as it hurled around the gas giant were quite impressive. But couldn't the writers have let them be happy just a little while longer? Why not wait until the next episode to learn that they are heading into a sun, though the exterior reveal of Destiny's new doomed course was a nicely foreboding visual effects shot.

    Got to have that last minute cliffhanger these days.

    I have to face a sobering revelation. The SG franchise is now a space-flavored soap opera.

    This could be bad. In the past, I decided that I didn't like soap operas. Why? Because they are stupid. Or, rather because they assume that the audience is stupid. Well, ignorant. At least ignorant of my areas of interest. That is, their focus is different.

    I did a little research. Since the 50's, soap operas were a way to hook bored housewives into watching soap advertisements on TV. Advertising executives figured out that, while they might not understand how a car works, in general, they had an uncanny skill and appetite to acquire and collate information about personal relations. They liked gossip. It didn't matter if it was all contrived. Most real world gossip is embellished into fiction by the time it makes its rounds anyway. Open ended plot lines, factual contradiction, ex deux machina rescues, usually hallmarks of bad cinema, none of that apparently mattered to this targeted audience. All they really cared about was hanging on every episode for the next juicy tidbit of scandal to fit into an ever-increasingly complex emotional-node matrix they could somehow keep all organized inside their heads. They'd really get their rocks off on it. If they had rocks.

    The magical charging plate got me thinking.

    Normally you can't recharge primary cells, i.e. flashlight batteries, because the chemical process inside is irreversible. Here's a ship-based gizmo that can scan, identify and put electrolytic chemical molecules back together after they are used up. But, for something as vital as breathing, Destiny is portrayed as having this crude slurry bubbler. Actually, it looks a little like a Cuisinart food processor. With all the other systems being Altaran high-tech, it's a little incongruous. Without even touching on the capacity and proportion issues.

    I always figured that Ancient ships used ionic recyclers, or, in the case of Gould ships, based on the same tech, they even seem to be able to "create" air in effect, presumably by reordering matter, all they really need is power. Pretty cool. The new constituency being courted doesn't really care about such things. Or they lack that kind of imagination. Simpler tech is easier to grasp I guess. Food processor - Air processor.

    The important thing now seems to be, to set up as much melodrama as possible even if it is at the expense of the of the infrastructure. Pretty much the opposite of what a sci-fi buff expects. The tech and wonderment are a big part of the drama experience but they better get it right.

    I hope this dichotomy can be resolved successfully, without casting the core sci-fi fan further asunder.

    What else:

    Patiently waited all episode for Air's last-second cliffhanger, the alien sputnik or whatever it was, to be resolved. or at least get some sort of clue. Nothing.

    What about Palmer and Curtis? Where's the "B" story? Starting to feel a little ripped off here.

    But this episode wasn't bad. If nothing else, it, mercifully, didn't have any long drawn out crying scenes.

    I almost forgot.

    This episode concludes DVD #1. There are some extras. I imagine many people will enjoy all the mostly idle but mirthful chatter in the commentaries for both titles by actors Brian J. Smith, David Blue and Elyse Levesque.
    There are a few "KINO Diaries" which play like deleted scenes but are at least as good as the KINO clips in the show, plus a KINO 101"primer" by series creators Brad Wright and Bob Cooper with David Blue showing some behind the scenes. Not bad as extras go.
    .
    Last edited by apostrophe; June 9th, 2010 at 02:30 PM. Reason: standardize title format

  5. #5
    Captain Zombies Rise from the Sea's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Darkness'

    Darkness

    It seems like the show has realized that they have to at least show some stuff that goes on in the Destiny and explore the characters somewhat if they continue on; and this is where this episode comes in. Using the somewhat cliched idea of the Destiny going pitch dark due to energy problems, it appears to create an environment that the characters can thrive in; unfortunately the only people who thrive in this environment is the actor playing Dr. Rush and probably the actor playing Eli.

    Let me explain; it does attempt to give us a glimpse on initial life on Destiny and while some of those scenes are natural, most of them are marred by the way they act. Case in point, this doesn't remind me of something that would happen; well it would happen if they discovered a spaceship but not like this. Part of the problem is that the actors don't seem to give life to their characters, with most of them speaking in a gruff/serious tone for most of the episode. Don't get me wrong, there are times when the conversations seem relevant to the situation and the actors don't feel a need to be 100% serious but for the most part, the actors seem to be trying way too hard. Not adding to that is the fact that some scenes are overly dramatic, including some scenes with Dr. Rush; while Dr. Rush has a reason to act overdramatic, the Jack/Young character does not and doesn't seem to show any other emotion other then tough.

    Dr. Rush still reminds me of Desmond but he is the best acted on the show bar-none, and that's after watching the first 3 episodes. His acting may be a bit overdramatic but it's not like he's acting that way to enhance the mood; plus he does seem to be giving his heart and soul into the role, not like the other characters on the show. This proves a problem because in a show like this, all of the characters are supposed to be memorable, unique, well acted and platonic. When the two characters (I'm somewhat including Eli in this comparison) are the best acted and the best remembered, it gives the perception that the other characters aren't giving as much support to the show and that these two are the ones holding the show together; that perception is what affects the show because if those two characters never existed then who knows what would happen to the show.

    The other attempts at revealing the characters doesn't go as expected. Referring to moments in the episode where various people use the camera, mostly all they do is repeat the same thing over and over again ("I want to go home, I never expected this, I don't want to die") There are certain points where they let out something about their characters or do something different that grows their characters but for the most part they feel like filler. While it does support the mood they were going for, it just doesn't do much other then waste time and disappoint people. Another thing is that the characters don't seem to be inclined to act in the environment they're provided; while they do care enough about the situation to work on fixing it, they don't care enough about it to put their emotions behind it, making alot of the scenes feel like the usual dramatic dialog that goes on in crime procedurals except with near pitch-blackness.

    Young is given a subplot in real-life with his wife that does have the purpose of growing his character and making me care a bit more about him. As shown in previous episodes, the real world does have potential of growing the characters (at the sacrifice of uncertainty); I mean it's interesting to see where it goes with the characters that the show has and the people and situations that they may be in... However; stuff like this just goes to show how potential can be wasted, the entire subplot involving Young and his lover did not get me involved nor made me care more about his character, I did learn that he had a purpose for joining and that he still cares for her but that's about it. We don't care more about the character to question his backstory further; we just have a bunch of stuff that just adds some more depth to his character to anyone questioning his lack of depth.

    Speaking of romance plots, the growing possible relationship between Eli and that blonde woman doesn't feel right; I mean sure, Eli is doing as well as he can with it but the girl doesn't seem to be into it enough to give dialog that would be interpreted as either possible romance or plutonic friendship; not helping matters much is the fact that they don't have much chemistry to be considered a possible couple, like Jack & Juliet from Lost for example... That example adds to what's wrong with Stargate Universe, the attempts to quickly establish some sort of dramatic plot/character relations. It's reasonable to do this because it does get a bit boring if things remain the same and nothing happens much to move the plot forward or provide some tension but it comes a bit too quickly, like they decided to introduce it now despite the fact that they have about 16 episodes in the season. Even though the best dramas on TV introduced their points early, they never tried to do it in a way that seemed unnatural; SGU's way feels like we're already 10 or 11 episodes in; it's not exactly like that but it is sudden and abrupt due to the fact that we aren't exactly settled into the world of Universe yet; plus it happens after what feels like 2 hours.

    So where does the series go from there? No one knows but it does seem to be taking steps to put itself into a routine. It's attempts are admirable but alot of it doesn't stick and it still feels as if they're trying to be dramatic, even in situations which don't necessitate the need for dramatic acting; marginalizing the parts that are trying to feel natural. The attempt to deepen the characters also falter as they don't show much range and the darkness thing is interesting but they don't make much use of it, making it a waste. At least this episode proves one thing, the actor behind Dr. Rush is the best on the show; so there's that...

    5.0/10

Similar Threads

  1. Valley of Darkness (202)
    By Jeff O'Connor in forum Season Two Episodes
    Replies: 53
    Last Post: June 4th, 2011, 02:48 PM
  2. So Near the Darkness and the Night (322)
    By Alex Rubit in forum Season Three Episodes
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: June 23rd, 2010, 01:18 PM
  3. Replies: 139
    Last Post: October 16th, 2009, 09:53 PM
  4. "So Near the Darkness and the Night" Trailer
    By Alex Rubit in forum Stargate: Horizon
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: May 7th, 2007, 03:32 PM
  5. Stargate: The Bringer of War - Fan Film (Darkness Thread)
    By Indiana in forum Stargate Fandom
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: August 2nd, 2006, 02:39 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •