View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: 'Earth'

October 31st, 2009, 06:41 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/s1/107.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/graphics/107.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 ONE</FONT>
<FONT SIZE="4"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/s1/107.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">EARTH</A></FONT>
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Colonel Telford takes over Young's command in order to enact a dangerous plan to try and get the ship's crew home. Back on Earth, Young, Eli, and Chloe visit their families.

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November 6th, 2009, 09:06 PM
Jelgate's Two Cents

If a person looked up the definition moral ambiguatory in the dictionary I swear you would Stargate Universe next to it. Especially if you paid very close attention to Earth. Their was one big honkening lack of morals in this episode while some smaller examples. Bearing that in mind and bearing that I love morals (or lack of morals) in this case I think it safe to assume how I felt about this episode. This was very much a character episode as it shows us more about Eli, Chloe, and Young. But what is so great about Earth in intermixed with that character is a strong plot action and dilemma. But once again (I really need better transition sentences) lets show what made this episode so great

For those of you who thought a TJ-Young ship was going to happen I will gladly take the high road. *waits a second.* I told you so. I told you so.. Anyway a good piece of foreshadowing for those of us who don't read spoilers to tell us that at the very least their is some physical attraction between Young and TJ. Also speaking the teaser Ming Na looks great to be doing some acting chops. Itís also nice that we get some common sense behind using the communication stones. Besides that their isn't much to say about the teaser because nothing else really interesting happened.

I feel like Jack in that briefing room. I consider myself a scientific mind but I had a hard time understanding what they were saying. Felt like my head was spinning. Good thing we have Eli to dumb it down for us. Because I don't about you people but their are some things that just go over my head. Speaking about over my head lets consider Rush. Sometimes his arrogance is funny and sometimes itís annoying.

I almost forgot about the Wray scene in Washington. Its short but it tells us a lot. We now know Wray has been passed up for a job many times and the IOA wants her to spy for them. But I don't think Wray is one to follow. I think itís more likely she will double cross them. But that begs the question. What does that mean for the Destiny? I guess only time will tell.

Letís start talking about the Earth scenes. I'll return to Telford and the Destiny later. I want to talk about Eli and his mother. First a laugh at the Futurama reference. But seriously we didn't learn anything new did we? We already knew Eli was a genius and a slacker and we knew that Eli's mother has some mysterious illness. But this scene had an unspoken thing and if you aren't very observant you probably wouldn't see it. Eli is at a conflict (No not the Chloe conflict). He conflicted with his love for his mother and his love for the new job and the new things he is looking. Like I said before Eli is learning who he is but the same time wants to hold on to whom he was. Such an emotional scene from my perspective.

Now about the scene between Chloe and her mother. Their isn't much to say as itís self-explanatory. Chloe and her mother are sad about the situation that has developed but grieving has caused them to deal and accept it. That is about it. Nothing ground breaking but it kind of tells us the relationship between these characters

Moving back to the Destiny. Telford you are *censored*. In a lot of ways you are like Rush. Youíre a jerk and if I saw you in real life I would probably punch you in the nose but at the same time I find your character intriguing. I love seeing you bitter about Greer and locking him in a cell. Don't you think whatever the reason for punching you that he has suffered enough? Further more I know that Rush can't be trusted but don't you think provoking Rush is a bad idea. He does know more then you at the moment.

No not Sgt. Riley. He is the most awesome recurring character we have yet. Actually I like seeing more uses of those suits and confirming we still have too. For a long time I thought Riley was a coward. But that scene proves he isn't. He risked his own life to save the ship and everyone on it. That is proof enough that Riley is anything but a coward and I think that will point us into more direction that Riley despite spying on a certain 2nd Lt. is deep down a good person.

You have been asking for it and I will give it to you. No not the club scene. We'll get to that next paragraph. I wonder who Emily was talking about. She implies that Young had an affair with someone. Given Young's daydream earlier the first guess would be TJ But without some more concrete canon evidence itís hard to say who this was directed at. And I wonder if Young knows what moral ambigulatory means. He just committed a serious act. Sure I can understand why he did it. He was emotional grief stricken about losing Emily and didn't think about his actions. He didn't really care or think about the consequences. All that mattered to Young was seeing his love again. So while I can understand it the scene still doesn't excuse for Col. Young's apparent lack of morals.

I expect this whole club thing will cause a stir of fandom I can't help but say the club scene was good. Given what has happened so far with I think something like this was needed. I think we needed a showcase just how worthless (stay with me Chloe thunkers) Chloe is. She is more like Eli that she would like to admit. Chloe may have a degree but she really hasn't done anything and people are only using her for political influence. Itís easy to hide from that in the real world but when a person is thrown into traumatic experiences itís easy to see things in a new light. And I think that is what happened. Being on the Destiny has shown Chloe just how useless she is and how worthless her friends were.

I can't talk about the club scene and not talk about Eli in the car. Seems like we have a repeat of Darkness here. But before I get serious let me say I at the part where Eli imagines himself kissing Chloe. But on to more serious issues. This just reaffirms what we already know and probably solidifies it even more. Eli telling her she isn't worthless and Chloe saying Eli is a good person but hinting she isn't the right person for him. How many us have been there before? Seriously show of hands. Itís an interesting and quite realistic love triangle. One I think many of us have been in before.( Well except maybe you female posters). We feel for Eli because many have been like that before where we have feelings for the girl but she likes someone else either for shallow or deep reasons. And I think that is why many of us will identify with Eli because many of us have been there. But I warn the writers this is very thin ice you are walking on. Love triangles have a knack for being written poorly. So far I am satisfied but be careful what you do. It could end up badly.

Back to the Destiny as the story reaches its climax. Okay we knew it wouldn't work. That much is obvious. But I think their are too interesting angles. Telford being a coward I did not see happening so itís an interesting angle. He is not the hard ass good soldier that I thought he was. Also I knew Rush was up to something but I didn't think he would stage something. Its just continues what we know. Rush can not be trusted. So maybe I should have seen it coming but I didn't. But I love seeing Eli spying on Rush. We can see a division coming. I wonder who would you side with? More importantly who would you side with?

NOTE: This is a copy of my review in the Earth thread. If it doesn't meet GW's requirment just delete it but please PM me a reason of why its unqualified

November 8th, 2009, 10:19 AM
Earth was a very poorly directed episode that missed a major opportunity and wasted our time with redundant and irrelevant scenes. According to Rush, when the Destiny refueled at the end of Light, it only replenished 40% of the shipís systems. Itís extremely unlikely that the ship was designed to refuel to 40%, so this indicates some serious damage to the power systems. Rush, Young and the committee should all have known this.

The experiment proposed by the IOA offered an opportunity to show us the crew exploring the ship, discovering more damage, and improvising repairs. It could have been a great opportunity to develop some of the supporting characters, and show us why these people were good enough to be chosen for Icarus base. But instead the director wasted our time with redundant scenes of Youngís marriage problems and irrelevant scene of Eli and Chloe at a bar. I had to fast forward the show to get back to the ship.

Previous episodes had show Young to be a competent commanding officer who truly cared about his people. But this episode showed him as less than competent and more concerned with his marriage. If he had said to the committee, ďWe donít know the true extent of damage to Destinyís systems. We need to run some tests onboard to find out if something we donít know could reduce the chances of success.Ē OíNeill would (or should) have understood that. OíNeill has been in the field. He knows things donít work in the field the same way they do in the lab.

OíNeil was also out of character. His backing the committee without regard for the opinions of the people in the field contradicts the character we saw for 8 seasons of SG-1. For those 8 years he trusted nobody more than Carter. And he showed nothing but distain for the IOA. But in this episode, his behavior is the opposite and weíre not given a reason why.

The scenes with Eli and his mother was irrelevant to the primary story (the proposed experiment) and showed us nothing new. We learned of her illness and his concern for her in the Air part 1. This scene added no new information to what we already knew. The scene in the bar was annoying and a total waste of time. It did absolutely nothing to advance the plot or develop the characters.

If I wanted to watch stories about marital problems and best friends sleeping with ex-boyfriends, Iíd watch Gossip Girl, Melrose Place or some other stupid soap opera. But I donít watch those shows. I watch science fiction. I want to see smart, heroic and inspiring people solving unusual and complex problems. But this episode had more in common with those stupid soap operas than with Stargate SG-1: boring and waste of time.

November 8th, 2009, 01:03 PM

The story "Earth" follows the overall story arc that the people trapped on the ship want to return to earth. With the communication stone, the people trapped on the ship can communicate with earth and with their help, try and find a way to get back to earth. It's not a bad story, however, there isn't a lot of tension/conflict for why it is imperative for the people on the ship to get back to earth. Even with O'Neill's dialogue about why it's important, it just doesn't come across as important either through the story or the characters. While the "no one left behind" motto of the military is admirable, these people are scientists and military people who were off world at a research site. So what's the big deal about getting home. It was made clear in SG1 and especially SGA everytime one goes through the gate there's the chance of not coming home. So again, they knew.

Character use: No comments on character use.
Dialogue: No comments on dialogue

Writing: Because SGU isn't the typical science fiction show with action and bad guys, rather a character drama, the writting for the episode was good for a character drama with exceptions in character development and story exposition. The exceptions in character development center on the romantic portions of the story. My opinion is that the bulk of characters are military or scientific that were off world at the Icarus site anyway so they knew of the potential that they might not get back to earth when they volunteered for the duty and scientific research. So being stranded on a ship a billion of light years from earth if part of the hazards of duty and they knew that just like the Atlantis expedition knew they might never go back to earth. Just like anyone travelling through a gate to another world run the risk of not coming back. So the character romance subplots should reflect this, not reflect that everyone is homesick and wants to go home.

While the communication stones can be used to as a device plot to create turmoil in the characters of wanting to go home to loved ones, that plot device doesn't really work well for believability of the romantic entanglements given what viewers know who the characters are, why they are on the ship, how they got there in the first place.

Acting: No comments on Acting
Directing: No comments on Directing
Guest casting: No comments on Guest appearances and acting
Music / score: No comments on Music/score:
Visual effects: No comments on Visual effects
Editing: No comments on editing
Costumes & makeup: No comments on Costume/makeup

Overall production value: Production value is a combination of writting, directing, acting and while the values are good for the type of stories the executive producers, consulting producers wanted for the show, as Joseph Mallozzi mentions, SGU isn't the typical science fiction TV show with good guys, bad guys and action rather a character drama. I think this focus will alienate franchise fans and fail to attract non science fiction viewers who like character dramas and romance. Character dramas and romance as subplots are great "hooks" for viewers [and also literary works] as long as they are not the entire story or take up most of the story being told rather a byproduct of the overall story.

Contribution to story arcs / overall series: Earth is episode 7 of a 20 episode season. This episode is a transition episode which is supposed fo provide exposition for what happens in the following episodes up until the 2 part season finale. We see the IOA concocting a plan, we see the beginnings of the character conflict between Telford and Young dealing with Telford in a romantic/sexual relationship with Youngs wife, as well as the problems in trust between Earth scientists and Rush and whether those aboard can trust them as well as trust Rush. The "however" circles back to why there is an importance for those on the ship to return to earth when most were off world and knew the dangers of off world. There isn't any overwhelming circumstances that would make the character have a desperate need to get back to earth and pit them against those who are the scientists and "explorers" who don't want to get back to earth, rather explore and do research. As Rush says in the pilot and in some of the lead ins to episodes, the ship might be mankinds greatest discovery since the gates. No one but Rush has this view even the scientists who were on Icarus base working on the Icarus project. Everyone acts like claustrophobic strangers to each other trapped in an elevator, and want to get off and get on with their individual lives before becoming trapped in the elevator. The fact is that the majority are scientists, civilians or military personal trained in off world duty. So the trapped or stranded strangers plots simply don't make to much sense for the character conflicts and drama that is supposed to play out and is what the series is about. That circles back to where's the plot element that would make these individuals and the groups of individuals have an overwhelming need to get back to earth, thus plot with and against each other and against the groups the individuals form.

Hallowed are the...
November 10th, 2009, 07:38 AM
Earth represented the culmination of my expectations for Stargate Universe: light on the science fiction heavy on the character development. There is nothing wrong with a show that aims to be grown-up so long as it is well written... and, well, grown-up not juvenile. And that sums up my second expectation about Stargate Universe: expect little in the way of 'well written' and lots in the way of juvenile.

Much of the character conflict was copied from other shows that have had great success in writing young-adult love triangles, sex-scenes, geek as just-a-friend, and interpersonal conflict that lowers itself to the level of high-school. Chloe's meltdown in the club was incredibly well acted, and I confess the body swap added a dimension of flavor to it, but the lines were almost word for word Naomi to Annie in 90210 last season. Chloe, who is quickly becoming my favorite character on the show, was all like "how could you do this to me" and the other girl was all like "what are you talking about?" Again, there was body switching involved so I guess it was different.

The whole Chloe substory was resonant with the original concept for Universe: wrong people wrong place. However, the argument that the military and science teams were the wrong people makes it look like the folks at Homeworld Command are hiring based on looks. Lieutenant, I see you have a problem with sex addiction, but your attractive and we're looking to get lost in space. But I digress. Chloe is the character with the most potential for development and represents the lens of the audience quite subtly.

Her realization that she has lived a fairly useless life is one that is sympathetic. The fact that this is the second time she has turned to booze to alleviate that is also telling. Chloe has the tremendous burden of growing as a person or dying as a failure and her reactions to this have been very raw and real - the tired writing of dialogue to explain this in previous episodes was finally replaced with the strong performance seen in the episode... maybe I'm wrong and the writing is improving.

And then poor Eli, quickly becoming my least favorite character because of how the writers ping-pong his personality about like, well, a ping-pong ball. First he is an affable failure and then he is a brilliant success, next he is a whiny nerd then a valiant man eager to prove his worth, suddenly he is a moralizing child then he is a devious spy who lies to his mother... I was quite happy last episode when Rush told him to shut up and then forced him to continue helping. His sulking is quickly becoming his trademark character feature. Though many of us have lived the friend-not-lover humiliation it did take some character to greet it with sarcastic defeat (and a confessedly funny fantasy kiss). So not a total loss I guess.

Then there is Young. Apparently according to our showrunners every military man is so alone at the top of his game that he needs him a good lady-friend (or in the case of Scott two or three) to make it through those long engagements away from home. I'm sure it happens in the real world, I know it happens in my workplace, I'm just not so sure that there would be that many philanderers in one command. The show appears to be making an argument that is getting dangerously close to sexism - these men would be much more focused if there were no women in (or out of) uniform nearby. I don't think that myself, but it is a logical extension of the moral line of thought.

Ah, while we are on morals, I am convinced now that the only good person on this ship is Rush. He insists on remembering the greater good. He stages a massive failure so Young will finally tell the IOA scientists to go to hell. Was that a spec of conscience? Is he trying to protect these people? If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? The world may never know (especially if these writers don't speed it up a bit). Loved the pyrotechnic display and his able preformance as the victim was priceless. His last line about tricking everyone because he didn't know who he could trust? Bravo Doctor... bravo... not ironic at all. Obviously I'm not saying I would trust Rush with MY life, but he does seem to get that there are those out there who prey on the unprepared. If he happens one such predator, so be it - at least he is preying on Telford. Telford thought he owned Rush, but Rush was like "***** please."

And then there was the sex. I've seen more orgasms on this show than in some soft-core porn. Not saying I make a habit of watching that stuff, just commenting on the immature reliance on that oldest of television tropes: sex sells... we hope... until some puritanical parent organization boycots. I'm no puritan, and the look on Telford's face when a glitch put him - ahem - "in" an uncomfortable situation with Young's wife was priceless, but the sex was obnoxious to start in "Air" and it has only gotten worse (I make an exception for "Light" in which it was handled a little better than dropping the camera into a moaning sweaty mess). What does a guy have to do to get some good old fashioned and morally pure violence on TV?

Overall, I liked this episode a lot better than the past few. The plot was thickened between the castaways and civilization. Rush emerged as a viable alternative leader to Young, Eli and Chloe learned a valuable lesson about growing up, Young got his wife back... sort of, and there is apparently room for some exploring and firing of really kick butt alien artillary on board... you know... THIS GINORMOUS ALIEN SPACESHIP! Thought I forgot that this show had a Stargate didn't you? I know I think the writers have!

November 10th, 2009, 04:03 PM
Earth, more than any previous episode to date, signals the difference between Universe and other incarnations of the Stargate franchise. It is jam-packed with character stories, relationships and moments; so much so that these form the meat of the episode rather than the Earth-driven rescue attempt that provides the action and intrigue. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? From an overall series perspective, I'm not inclined to think it's a bad thing, but from an episode perspective, there needs to be better balance between the overarching storyline with the character arcs, and the individual episodic plot.

Character arcs are at the centre of Earth, particularly those who are Earth bound; Eli, Chloe and Young. Eli's sense of finally doing something useful with his life and making his mother proud is contrasted with Chloe's sense of uselessness which is compounded by her continuing grief for her father. Young's command and marriage issues are explored more in depth with a strongly hinted affair with TJ although he and his wife find some kind of rapprochement. It's good character back-story and exploration of their personal lives, and Earth is packed with the 'off-duty' scenes that were rarely explored in SGA or SG1; Eli has a lovely scene with his mother, Chloe with hers; even Young's make-up sex with his wife is shown.

Moreover, Earth explores the different relationships between characters both on Earth and on the ship; Eli and Chloe's friendship is explored through their car conversation which highlights Chloe's view of him as her friend and Eli's want for more which is highlighted again at the end when Eli zooms in on her holding hands with Scott. Meanwhile Telford's relationships with the various crew on the Destiny are explored through his interactions with Greer and Rush. There's a great friendship moment between Scott and Greer where the differences between the two are highlighted.


So much exploration of character leaves little time for the actual story. At the heart of the episode there is a story contained within the boundaries of the weekly time-allotment. Here the plot is relatively simple: Earth comes up with a risky idea on how to get the Destiny crew home, sends in Telford and two scientists to enact the plan despite objections by way of hijacking the bodies via the stones.

There are some great elements here; personally loved the scene where Young and O'Neill discuss Young's command issues; I loved the scene between Wray and Strom and the hints over Rush's desire not to return to home; loved the Riley scene (it says a lot for Haig Sutherland's portrayal to date that I care what happens about Riley and don't want him to die), and the climax of the power scoop and attempt to dial the Stargate. I liked the tension between Telford and Rush; I liked Camile clearly attempting to influence everyone. I just wanted more.

I would have happily sacrificed a good five minutes of the Earth based character personal lives stuff to have had five more minutes of focusing on the action on the ship and reactions to the change in command from Scott and others (a reaction from TJ would have been good to have seen), on exploring the issues and anger over the hijacking of bodies (and generally the rules around sharing bodies given both Chloe and Young use their temporary homes for drinking and sex respectively), and seeing more of the preparation for the rescue attempt and people's reactions to potentially going home.

I can't help but feel that in responding to past fan complaints that previous shows such as SG1 and SGA were too plot driven with not enough character moments, SGU has overcompensated. Here there are too many character moments (and I can't quite believe I've just written that) to the detriment of the episode's story - or to put it another way: there are too many character moments which don't have anything to do with the episode's story. And yet I find myself conflicted because, given the other episodes to date where there has been pay-off for things seeded earlier on, I can believe that those character moments will have value in the series as a whole - and will potentially enrich the overarching story arc. As a fan more used to the episodic and contained nature of SG1 and SGA, I am prepared to admit that some of my lack of comfort here may be me struggling to adjust to the new format but I don't think that's wholly the issue. An episode needs to be a satisfying, substantial experience in and of itself; and I just didn't find this was the case with Earth.

Having said that, the quality of Universe overall continues to be outstanding. The acting is first rate: I love Rush; love, love, love the ambiguity of the character and Carlyle just plays him perfectly - showing why he picked up a Scottish BAFTA for Best Actor this week. Lou Diamond Philips finally gets some meaty scenes as Telford here and he makes the most of them; his sense of shock and disorientation in regards to suddenly being dropped in and out of Young's sex life was very well done. And I really enjoyed seeing Richard Dean Anderson back as Jack O'Neill. He definitely commanded the scenes he was in.

And the rest shines too: the wardrobe is doing well in keeping consistency in clothing (I did laugh out loud at the scientist's look down at Eli's t-shirt and the comment "can I get something else to wear"), the sets continue to look realistic and relatively grimy; the special effects are stunning, the music is nicely chosen and complimentary to the action on screen, and the stunt work involved with RileyÔŅĹs accident was well done. There is no doubt that the production values here are very high.

Overall, there is much to enjoy in Earth; many small nuances that provide depth and dimension to the wider story arc of survival being told. The continuing character arcs are great to see as is the exploration of relationships and tensions between characters, but there is a balance that needs to be achieved with these elements and the episode plot, and Earth doesn't quite get that balance right. I enjoyed Earth but I find myself, strangely, equally dissatisfied with it.

November 11th, 2009, 02:54 PM
I have continued to watch SGU with the hope that it would improve. The fact that the characters are becoming more familiar does help a little but there is still a feeling of soap in space going on rather than what I lovingly remember of SG1 and SGA which was space cowboys with the odd romance thrown in.

Earth! The plot was rather thin. Big science will save the day. Jack O'Neill endorses it because Carter was right even if he didn't understand her so these guys can be trusted on the same mandate. Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack!

So the scientists in the stone bodies go around firing weapons and causing system failure and Rush (who doesn't want to go home and can't be trusted) is lurking making sure they don't go home and things don't work.

Telford, is it? Grim faced with 'alternative commander who makes Young look slightly more appealing' stamped on forehead overides Young, strands him on Earth and takes command. Shady, gentleman/ladies considering our long loved hero Jack O'N is in the mix but he seems fine with it. In fact O'Niell presents as well meaning buffoon who's only justification for what happens is chain of command. I object that Jack should be used as such a simpleton.

Young is willing to give up all for a bonk with his wife. Telford, who get's a little bit of a shock when the communication stones fail and ends up with a brief suzzle of afternoon delight, then arrives on said wife's doorstep at the end of the programme. At least I'm presuming that was him or was it Young!!! Personally, I would have changed stone swapping partners after that particular party. Gives a new meaning to menage a trois.

Chloe and Eli were irritating. Chloe wanting to punch her best friends lights out because she was with her boyfriend which was a bit rich when she's romancing Sir Bouncealot on Destiny. Her discovery that, shock horror, her Dad's death is lamented by one friend because he can no longer give him a leg up in Washington shows a naievete bordering on brain death considering she's a senators daughter. Eli, as fatboy geek is getting tired too.

If there is a romance on this ship, I hope it's with two as yet undetected stowaways. What's been offered so far in the bed department has been rather unsavoury. (I promise you that isn't coming from a burn them for not being chaste until they find their true love perspective.)

Rush's character is becoming a bit of an exercise in parody. He knows more! What does he know! Is he sabotaging! Is he saving? Is he just being awkward because unless he was on Destiny no-one would pass the time of day. How much more like a homeless tramp will he look by the end of the season? I do, however, prefer him to porridge brains Young. (I really want to be home with the wife I betrayed but if I have to make a decision I'll form a committee. Dear oh dear.)

There is a strange fascination to see where this will go next... Trust no one ... bring in Fox Mulder. Part of the fun of this supposed Stargate spin off is how many other programmes in cannabalises. Ah, well, I'm still watching so I suppose they've achieved something. I wouldn't call it a refreshing change but it's certainly different.

November 16th, 2009, 10:45 AM
The crew's Destiny lies far away from "Earth"

"Look, if it makes you feel any better, Colonel Carter saved my ass dozens of times using all kinds of wacky science I didn't understand."
"Well, I can't force people to do something they don't wanna do!"
"You're in command of that ship! It's not a democracy!"
"I'm sorry, sir. It's just... it's not that simple."
-Jack O'Neill and Everett Young, "Earth"

In the military life, there is one golden rule to trump all others; obey the chain of command. But what happens when the circumstances of life inevitably break that chain, leaving those that traditionally give orders and those that traditionally receive them separated by billions of light-years? This is the Question of the Week tackled by the crew of the Destiny, as they grapple to assert their own priorities and needs above the curiosity and scientific interests of their homeworld and Stargate Command. In the end, it all comes down to one simple distinction that must be made; are those trapped on the Ancient vessel a veritable colony of Earth, or are they, for all intents and purposes, independent?

But such high and lofty dilemmas are not what define the opening of the episode, and in what is a long-guessed and much-discussed plot point, it is revealed that Colonel Young once had an affair with the ship's young medic, Tamara Johansen. A dream sequence illustrates Young's lingering thoughts of TJ in that entirely-inappropriate way before he is jerked awake, remembering that he is late for a very important trip back home via the communication stones to speak with his superiors. A moment later, he and IOA member Camille Wray, now in their swapped bodies, arrive at a meeting inside the Pentagon to discuss their situation. Headed by General Jack O'Neill, Colonel Telford, and a host of scientists and politicians, an ingenious plan is laid out that may very well allow the Destiny to dial back to the Milky Way, though it comes with a risk of destroying the entire vessel and its crew in the process.

Admittedly, the plan would have been more impressive had most of the fanbase not begun screaming about the possibility and how outraged they were that it was not undertaken in "Light," but it is well thought-out nontheless. Harnessing the ship's ability to recharge within a star when its reserves run low, the crew would have to direct the craft to use up all its energy well before it would normally run out, forcing it to refuel and giving them a window to tap the limitless power supply to try and get home. But as Eli quickly points out to the others, given that the entire ship is a massive power conduit (not unlike the city of Atlantis or the stargates themselves), this could easily lead to a massive, uncontrolled overload, resulting in the chaotic destruction Young fears. But O'Neill is adamant that this has to be done; after all, Young and his subordinates are not an autonomous group, and this is what the military believes is the best course of action. They will go through with it.

With the meeting ended, and the tense standoff between O'Neill/Telford and Young/Scott in full swing, we are given a glimpse into a much less focused-on character's place in all this. Wray is lectured at length by her old IOA superior, Strom, who tries to flatter her into convincing the rest of the Destiny crew into accepting the dangerous plan. Ever the astute one, however, Wray notes that when she worked on Earth, Strom routinely passed over her for promotion, recognizing that in their eyes, her only real value is as someone who will "play ball" on the ship and enforce their will if Colonel Young will not. Interestingly, Camille agrees to go along with them for now, but there is a clear sense that her views on where her loyalties should lie are in conflict, and the only real ace keeping her in the service of the IOA now is the ability to visit her partner, Sharon, through the communication stones.

Back on the wayward ship, Wray returns and gives up her stone to Chloe, who, along with Eli, join Young back on Earth to visit their loved ones. Taking their places among the crew, however, are Telford and a pair of IOA scientists, who immediately go about taking command of the ship, locking up Greer and anyone who stands in their way, and forcing the military's plan into action. Showcasing just how cold and ruthless Telford really can be, and standing in stark contrast to the charismatic and understanding officer he appeared to be at the Icarus Base, the Colonel effectively conscripts Rush into helping with emergency repairs on damaged power conduits all over the ship, hoping to be able to use the weapons array to drain Destiny's reserves as soon as possible. Rush, though, does everything he can to buy time for others to wreck the initiative, insisting that they spot-check each conduit individually, even those that require environmental suits to reach. His rebellious nature, so long the thorn in Young's side, now aligns with the Earthbound Colonel's, as they both work from different ends of the universe to preserve the craft they have come to call home.

On Earth itself, Young confronts O'Neill on the sudden coup d'Destiny, unable to believe this man, a friend, would do this to him. But as Jack explains, his decision to send Telford in was really a saving grace; had he allowed Young to defy his order to enact the plan, he would most-likely be court-martialed and have someone permanently replace him via the stones anyway. Reminding him that he's back home anyway, O'Neill suggests Young go visit his loved ones... just in case the plan does go awry, and the Colonel departs to once again try and convince his wife to wait for his return.

Meanwhile, Chloe and Eli try to placate their respective mothers, to varying degrees of success. As Mrs. Armstrong already knows of her daughter's real whereabouts, the scene between the two women really only retreads ground covered in "Air," but it provides a touching moment regardless, reminding the audience that the one thing really keeping the pair going is their mutual grief for the death of their husband/father in the pilot. On the other end of the spectrum, Eli returns home posing as a friend of his, convincing Mrs. Wallace that her son wanted to come himself but is tied down in their work, which he promises is going to change the world someday. In a scene that is both well-acted and heartfelt, Eli innocently remarks that he misses his mother's cookies, and she sets to work baking some. When Eli goes to help, however, his familiarity with the kitchen pokes a hole in his lie, as he is immediately able to grab the necessary ingredients from the correct places. For his sake, though, his mother overlooks it in the joy of hearing about her missing son, and just settles in to enjoy hearing about what it is he's doing that has taken him so far away.

I'll skip major analysis of the infamous "club scene" because there's not, truthfully, much to analyze (apart from the performance of the very talented Janelle MonŠe). We learn through Chloe's posing as her own cousin that many of her friends only stayed close to her for her connections in Washington, and their disdain toward her grief is both appalling to the audience and shocking for the young woman who must bear it. Infuriated that she's wasted her intelligence and youth on people like these, Chloe drinks herself sick, and Eli kindly offers to take her home, prompting an amusing and touching scene in which he is, unfortunately, resigned to the status of "good friend." Depressed at his lot in life but assured that Chloe know he cares, he drives her home.

Across town, Colonel Young finally gets Emily to let him in, and the two of them reconnect and seem to begin to accept one another again. They share a quiet evening together, reminiscing over old times, and largely manage to sidestep the issue that Everett is stranded with the one person Emily simply can't stand the thought of; TJ. But her husband begs for forgiveness and she accepts, and the two retreat to their bedroom for some long-awaited intimacy... which is humorously interrupted when the Destiny's dropping out of FTL travel shuts down the communication stones for a moment, dropping Telford into his own body again just in time to find Emily inside him. Eli and Chloe are likewise confused as to what's going on, and Young tries to use the unexpected instant back on the ship to tell Scott to turn off the stones for good, but is unable to get the order out before being tossed back to Earth.

Knowing that any more jumps like that will put his ability to control the ship at risk, Telford proceeds with the IOA plan at once, nearly getting Sergeant Riley killed in the process when he brazenly ignores Rush's warnings to take things slowly. After hours of firing the vessel's cannons, it looks as though things are on track, and Telford assembles the crew in the gate room for a return home as the Destiny once again dives into the nearest star. It only takes a minute for his confidence to turn to fright, though, as the ship's shields begin to collapse under the strain of holding out the intense heat of the stellar matter and the stargate's capacitors prove incapable of handling the immense power flow all at once. Shouting that there's nothing they can do, Rush reminds Telford that he warned him this plan had no chance of succeeding, and that the ship simply isn't capable of this without control of all the primary systems. Cutting their losses and running, Telford and his men sprint to the communication stones and cut the link, swapping Young, Eli, and Chloe back in the midst of it all.

In the gate room, with electricity sparking on all sides, Rush calmly calls everyone's attention and says that they won't actually be dying today; while the IOA's plan really was doomed to failure, Destiny was capable of a bit more time in the star without being blown apart, it was his arranging of the alarms and warnings to go off that made it appear like the ship was about to be destroyed. Not knowing who he could trust, he didn't tell anyone about this, but most of the crew is relieved to have Telford and his cronies gone, certain that Earth's meddling is only going to get them killed in the future... and betrayed that the Colonel would run when things went south.

Back home, Young explains that Telford put everyone at risk by fleeing the scene, even if it was under orders from the Pentagon, and that it was all thanks to Dr. Rush's quick thinking that avoided a catastrophic overload. O'Neill especially seems to guess that this isn't the entire story, but he's willing to believe the story so long as Young and the crew stay in contact with Earth. To ensure some level of friendliness between the refugees and those in the Milky Way, O'Neill quickly promises to keep allowing people to make personal visits from the ship. And then, deciding to throw today's victory out for all to see, Young smugly says that the time alloted for this meeting is over, and he returns to the stones, leaving the IOA members in shock. This blatant disregard may be coming around to hurt him in the end, however, as Telford makes his way to Emily's house soon after... for what reason, no one can say, but it is most-likely he will seek payback by pretending to be Young himself.

Forgive me if this review came off more as a summary than an analysis, but as I said, this was a fairly straightforward episode, though a strong one. The plot was sound and intriguing, and the power struggle between the crew and their superiors looks to be shaping up into a real flashpoint. Although dragged down by the somewhat "teen drama" moments it had, "Earth" was an enjoyable 45 minutes of television, and at the end of the day, that's all that really matters.

"Earth": **1/2

June 6th, 2010, 05:29 AM
Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

This episode is heavy on character drama, light on overt sci-fi. Which may be for the best. The last episode attempted to be sci-fi heavy but the script seemed to suffer a hernia. Whoever is left in the SG franchise slated with writing the "Sci-" half of the "Sci-Fi" equation no longer seems capable of doing any heavy lifting.

I found that my mind wandered a lot during the dialog. This episode, while OK, isn't exactly what I would describe as "riveting". Theoretically, the end should have been exciting, but, maybe I'm getting routine-jeopardy check-list fatigue.

There were a few, somewhat memorable, main-character moments. As usual, the acting was good.

Using the psychic stones, some Destiny people visit Earth and vice versa.

Back on Earth, Chloe visits her mother. They talk. Pretty much same as the last time only a bit more subdued.

Eli visits his mother, but decides to remain incognito. She confides that Eli is the result of an immaculate conception since she has never slept with a man. He's a miracle baby. Well, there was that one time with Karl Steinmetz, involving a kayak and a temporal anomaly, but they used protection... All right, maybe not, though, Steinmetz did love his kayak. I was just speculating. Steinmetz was a contemporary of Einstein and is considered the father of practical AC electric motor design. He was an exceptional math wiz. Unique. For example, he could off-handedly stare at a wall for a minute, and mentally compute the volume-intersection of two cylinders to several decimal places. Even Einstein couldn't do that. Consider, in a previous episode, Eli's demonstrated ability to compute a slingshot trajectory on the fly. One can't help wondering how he might have gotten that level of inherent talent, which is often inherited. So far, we have been spared intimate details about Eli's mother's past, though if they ever are revealed, I doubt they'll be that interesting.

Although Eli was in disguise, it was a fairly predictable conversation. While waiting for it to run its course, I noticed that Eli's mother looks a lot like Anakein Skywalker's mother, in one of the more recent Star Wars movies. Could be the same actress.

Camille finds time for a little recreational scheming and conniving with the IOA guy.

Chloe and Eli go out for a night on the town. This is a pretty high class joint. I haven't been out carousing in a long, long time, but this place seems kind of sterile compared to what I remember. Too bright, maybe. No. That's not it. Oh, I know. Not one cigarette in the whole place. The "V" nightclub in BG's movie "Caprica" has a lot more going on. Naked women, and, I suppose, other naked people, extreme violence, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... Mostly unappealing and disturbing stuff meant to show the extremes of human depravity. It's divided into separate sections by category and degree of debauchery. In my case, I would probably head straight for the sex and drugs section in the hope that they might allow smoking there. Probably not allowed though. Too evil.

Eli enjoys his borrowed ability to flirt successfully with a hot chick, who even consents to dance with him. A first for Eli, but his revelry is cut short when Chloe gets drunk and disorderly. He responsibly decides to shepard her away from trouble. Drunken Chloe, of course, cries. Between sobs, she babbles disjointedly about her ex-boyfriend, father and bemoans her general plight. Eli's dream sequence and remarks manage to keep the scene somewhat interesting.

Then it's the Col. Young thing again, always pestering his wife. Young finally gets lucky, manages to make amends. Due to a glitch with the stones, everybody switches back for a few seconds. Good thing nobody was driving a car at the time. That could be dangerous.

Telford and a couple of minions jigger Destiny to dial Earth, ignoring Rush's protests that it's not safe. And, it's not. Apparently. They high-tail it out of there when it looks like the ship is about to explode. Turns out Rush greased the skids to get Telford out of their hair for a while by surreptitiously triggering a few extra alarms to go off. Way tahgo Rush.

Supposedly, Destiny's contingent comprises "the wrong people" for the job. I don't know, Earth's expert dingbats don't seem to be any better than our dingbats. Worse, even.

Getting the crew home is starting to seem like a misplaced priority. After all, most of Destiny's crew are trained professionals, military, science experts on off-world assignment, and would have been made aware of the risks of either getting killed or stranded. Icarus base was a fortified military installation. You don't fortify something unless you expect to get attacked. Maybe also have gotten a clue from the name, since "Icarus", from the Latin, means "Floating Time Bomb"...

"Icarus" at least sounds like it could be a Latin word. Actually, Icarus is from the Greek pantheon. He's the flying guy that flew too high, too close to the sun, then fell to his death when the wax holding together his fabricated wings melted. Mythology has a lot of moralizing tales like that. This one is: "Don't dream of flying. Man should know his place. On the ground." So attempts at manned flight were held back for thousands of years. On the other hand, no one died from a plane crash during that period.

I feel a nagging concern that this "Don't try to understand nature. Leave it alone" pathos has crept into SGU. The sentiment that it's a mistake to ever leave home. Which may even be true, but the best sci-fi is ultimately upbeat about moving forward out of the Dark Ages into a universe that's vast, full of wonder and so much larger than the microcosm of mundane earthly existence.

That would be the best sci-fi..

February 5th, 2012, 03:57 PM

It has been mentioned that the communication stones allow for potential stories to pop up as the characters visit Earth. It also allows for an inside look at the governments side of things and other stuff though it came at the cost of mystery and uncertainty. This episode is, appropriately enough; an episode which takes place mostly on Earth but I find a lot of that potential to be wasted.

Don't get me wrong, it does grow the characters somewhat, Eli, Young and that chick getting some one-on-one time with their mothers or other personal figures but the situations felt mostly generic and just seem to be there to establish something about our characters so that they wouldn't be considered cardboard cutouts; good stories seem to push past genericy (making their story common rather then derivative) and define the character as a whole but they just don't seem to be putting as much heart into these characters; making their entire situations feel... well "generic". Eli is the one who gets the most growth in the episode; despite his poor shtick involving pretending to be someone else (which is understandable but still), his conversation with her mother does add something to a character which desperately needed something to be added. I didn't mind that it was generic, her mother is sweet, his situations are well grounded and his backstory makes him seem less like Hurley and more like an actual person; which is good as this is the point in time where the show has to establish something about itself. Plus the acting throughout the scene sold the whole thing, and that's always a plus.

Unfortunately, it does take a turn for the weird. What was once an attempt to see the characters react on Earth turns into an awkward episode of Degrassi, complete with a musical guest star and a dance-like atmosphere. While it does attempt to add something to our characters, alot of the scenes feature situations/drama/acting you would find on Degrassi or Gossip Girl or any teen drama, not on a Stargate show; that takes you out a bit and renders what they're trying to do with the characters ineffective since you can't take them seriously. Don't get me wrong, it's sweet but still... This also tries to build up the romance between the two but even after having them act like they're in a teen drama, I am still not convinced that their the perfect match for each other. Her comment does suggest something though. If she's on the spaceship she tries to act dramatic but when she's on earth she acts like a regular teen; I don't get why they make the acting consistent on both worlds...

There is also various scenes involving Young and her wife that barely add anything to his character, just seem there to be edgy and fill up time and go nowhere. We get it, you're having sex. Sex is only edgy if it's used sparingly, the more it's used the more it loses it's impact and it's storytelling appeal. (we have had like lots of episodes involving intimate moments, and this is supposed to be the 7th episode.) What's worse is that the stuff being developed just seems like something "The Young and the Restless" would do every other day, which makes these scenes feel more like a waste. Since the stuff being added to Young feels real generic and it's not making him look any more distinct, which is important in a character drama like this.

Of course, the reverse has to happen on the ship so guys from Earth inhabit the Destiny to test out a plan that might get them home. Only problem is the Earth people feel generic, their actions feel generic, their oppressive leadership of the ship also feels generic and you mostly know how this is going to end up since there are tons of problems on the ship and what they're doing could blow them up (which is implied adnausim) This is a problem since nothing is being done to set them apart from the pack and only exist to serve up the usual life & death situation with a sprinkle of getting them home. There are moments which surprised me but they seemed almost unnecessary (save for a few) and few serve to improve the episode.

Which brings me to my next point; the stuff on Earth. Stargate has been known to be a political sci-fi series but the stuff that happens on Earth just seems to lack inspiration. The episode tries to establish a shady feeling throughout the episode and while a shady feeling can be good if used properly. (See "24") It can also be a hindrance if used improperly. In terms of usage, it doesn't support the plot in both worlds; mainly it's used to set up some plot points relating to our characters that could be used in the future and to reenforce the situation that's happening on earth. It's never used as something that's "deeper", it's just there that's only used in certain situations and then completely forgotten about in many other situations. It shouldn't be something that's "forgotten", it should be something that's used consistently.

The political stuff is there but it just doesn't seem to grab you in as much as the politics in Stargate SG-1 did. The problem is that it's a bit tied in to the situation; that's not to say other dramatic shows do it similarly but all the politics seem to be doing is just relating to whether or not the thousands of lives on the ship are worth sacrificing for a plan that Earth might do; and there's barely any interjection from anybody about different things or even different ideas, even from the characters arguing themselves. While this produces good drama, it does not produce good political action and the moments on Earth suffer a bit because of it. Good political action is when there's actually some conflict and motives between various people; we need to feel as if we're watching democracy in action, otherwise it doesn't have that much impact.

The good stuff? Well the reveal at the end is interesting, the shots involving the Stargate worked, Dr. Rush is at the top of his game as usual and the stuff involving O'Neill is good; so good in fact that that Richard Dean Anderson deserves a Gemini for his work in this episode.

Aside from that, this episode is a wash. The potential of Earth is wasted, the powers that be make awkward choices that harm the episode, the situation on the Destiny is also wasted and well... Alot of stuff is wasted... The episode could of had the power to define our characters, define Earth and define the situation, which is important as this is the point where the show has to establish itself; I mean we can't have them going into life & death situations everyday, that makes the situations boring and gives less and less weight to those situations the more they're used. There needs to be some form of normalcy that does not involve framed life & death situations and focuses more on the Destiny and the people onboard. Sure, it creates drama but something needs to be defined; it's just a shame that it didn't define it.