View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: 'Faith'

April 1st, 2010, 08:55 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/s1/113.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/graphics/113.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/s1/113.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">FAITH</A></FONT>
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The crew finds a idyllic planet when <I>Destiny</I> stops without its countdown clock running, tempting some crew members to stay permanently.

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April 16th, 2010, 08:49 PM
I guess after stellar episode like Space and Divided they all can’t be winners. That is not to say that Faith is in any way a bad episode. Its just I think it does not live up the previous. I just think it lacked a central story to pull it together and while a man of faith I think the writers tried to be a little too political correct in people who believe in a certain faith. Come on show some of the characters having a little passion in their beliefs. But I’m getting ahead myself as usual. You know where we are going.

I liked the opening scene with TJ. And because I’m a spoiler junkie I already knew what was wrong with her and why she looked so terrible. A fellow friend said it was obvious about TJ being pregnant. And I have to disagree with that statement. If I didn’t know what I know about TJ in the first scene I would say she was stressed out. Which is more then understandable given the stress and hazards the Destiny brings. I like the recall of the mutiny. How Young is quite vague in that the military will make a contribution. I can understand where he is coming from. He is trying to find a common ground between both sides which is not easy given the hostility on Destiny. But it’s not like he can give up his control without creating anarchy. Also I quite like the distance we saw for Chloe and Scott. I wanted their to be a rough patch because of Chloe’s betrayal. It came across as they don’t hate each other but the two are uncomfortable with one another. Very realistic for me.

The little mystery of the new planet and sun was a complete mystery with a science fiction twist you do not hear much of. And I loved it. The concept of artificially creating a sun and planet is so crazy it’s cool. And the Trek geek in me laughed at Eli. Back to the planet and subsequently the obelisk you have to wonder, what were the alien’s intents? Why did they build the planet and more importantly what was the obelisk for? I guess that is the point of this episode. After all it’s called Faith. It’s about trusting that the mysterious aliens did it for the right reason. The place was practically a paradise with the fresh water and edible vegetation. Although I will say Greer wasn’t that bright in eating the alien kiwi.

I’m at a crossroad here in my review. Do I talk about the month camping trip first or the incursion into life on the Destiny. I’ve chosen since less happened on the Destiny let start there and then we can move to the planet. I like how the writers learned their mistake from Atlantis about exploring the ship. That is something refreshing about SGU how we see Rush in conjunction with a team led by Lt. James. It’s something I like seeing especially when we see that robot. I am in awe and curiosity how that robot will be used in future episode of Universe. More importantly I like seeing Rush and Young getting along. As evident by the banter they had after finding the robot they don’t like each other but at least the two are getting along. This leads us to the shuttle. Before we go on what in the world do they do to Sen. Armstrong? Last I knew his corpse was rioting in the shuttle Park and Brody were fixing and now he is mysteriously gone. As for shuttle despite Brody and Park’s best work the shuttle is still significantly weaker then the one Scott piloted. It makes me wonder. Why is this one in so much worse state then the one we the audience are used too? I refuse to believe that a broken window would cause all that damage compared to the original shuttle.

And now to the planet part of this episode review. I absolutely loved how cold Scott was to Chloe when she was looking for a team. Like I said above I want the events of Divided to cause friction for the Scott and Chloe ship. After what happened they should not be on good terms. Speaking of Scott you can see his frustration where very few people know how to set up camping. As a fellow camper I know it’s not for everyone. Not everyone can handle the roughness that come with camping like lack of proper toiletries. Speaking of bathrooms (this is going to be a gross review) Greer, the background marine and the red haired scientist was another thing I love about SGU. The show has great continuity. Despite best intentions there is still a lot of friction between the civilians and the military personal. I’m telling you I love this more thought out continuity,

Ah TJ. Poor little TJ. This was the episode for. She had so many ranges of emotions in this episode from being joyful of this utopia to the point she was crying because of the realization of being pregnant. I am kind of surprised that TJ told Chloe she was pregnant. She didn’t much care for Chloe last week so it’s a little surprising that TJ confided in Chloe. An on another note it shows the range of Alaina Huffman’s acting ability that she can switch from so many emotions. The part where she says to Scott and both Young that she does not want to leave speaks to her character and shows more who she is. We really haven’t seen much on TJ and what she is like so this episode brought in perspective into what kind of person TJ is and what she stands for.

The discussion of faith (and the connection the obelisk has) between Dr. Cain, Scott and certain non-believing scientists was an interesting one. Let’s just get it out into the open. I’m a men of faith and I believe in some things are unexplainable. This is nondebatable for anyone who disagrees with my beliefs. But as a result to a certain extend I agreed with Dr. Caine’s group a lot more then the others. I find there is just too much good to be true. This is too much of a good thing. All that happened with a nice planet seems like something besides normal science is at work. I’m inclined to believe that their was a purpose to the planet. It makes me ever more curious to what the glowing obelisk meant.

We are almost to the end my loyal readers. I find Rush such a hypocrite after he (and Young and Wray) learn that people want to stay on the planet. First he is complaining about excessive force in Divided and now Rush wants to use excessive force. The part about Young forcing military personnel was obvious when he told Wray he could only force some of them to come back. I suppose he could have forced everyone to come back but that would have invoked another mutiny similar to Divided. So this worked well in my book

Young’s speech reminds why I keep on defending this man. He may have done some damn well questionable things but deep down I seriously think he thinks about the better of the crew. He knew when he forced the military to return many civilians to follow. It’s a compromise if you well. Not losing all the valuable personnel you need but at the same no one is being forced to leave. This is also where I draw the line and stop agreeing with Dr. Caine. Yes Faith is important and their may be a higher power at work here. But you don’t start making senseless decisions because of that belief. Sure the planet is fine now but what if the nights killed you or the aliens who built a planet decide to kill you? It’s not worth the risk. I clearly think Destiny is the safer option.

I am thoroughly enjoyed about Young’s comment about liking a game of chess. Maybe there is hope for him and Rush to get along. They still have to bicker though after all what would SGU be if their wasn’t bickering? The discussion between Scott and Young was equally enlightening because you can’t let your beliefs cloud command decisions. To do so would alienate people under your command. Finally TJ crying while everyone else is partying is perfect for me. I think it speaks a lot about TJ in that she puts on a brave face despite hating the Destiny and what it would be like raising a child there. A nice good ender. One thing I forgot to mention about TJ is the fact that Scott knew about TV’s affair with Young speaks a lot about the friendship TJ and Scott have

June 25th, 2010, 12:46 PM
After the excitement of space aliens and onboard stand-offs between the military and civilian characters, Faith provides something of a breather for Destiny’s embattled crew, and for SGU’s own audience. Yet somehow Faith manages the impossible and makes a slow episode intriguing thanks to a combination of exploring one of the best characters on board, TJ, a mystery posed by the story that it purposefully never answers, and some great pacing.

I have complained about the pacing a lot in SGU and in terms of its first season report, better pacing would be one of my first suggestions for improvement. Too often the stories are as slow as treacle but here even though the story is slow in content and actually covers four weeks of actual time, the pace is remarkably well-judged.

Most of this is down to the balancing act the story plays with its two mysteries. The first of these is the discovery of the star and the perfect planet which appear from nowhere and should by all accounts be impossible. The idea that a highly advanced alien species or higher power has created the planet specifically for the crew is played with through the likeable character of Doctor Caine. The mystery is intriguing but there are no answers. And I personally like that. It underscores the transitory nature of Destiny’s existence – she’s always travelling, always on the move. Sometimes, the crew won’t have time to solve the problem or discover the answer. Maybe the planet was placed there as a trap; maybe as a sanctuary. Maybe the people who stayed will be back to Earth before those who travelled on with Destiny.

The problem of some of the crew wanting to remain behind provided some nice drama at the finish of the story which was nicely tied to the second mystery that unraveled through the episode – that concerning TJ. TJ is without question my favorite character; she’s level-headed, she does step up when it matters even though she questions her own abilities and has self-doubts. She’s compassionate and vulnerable; curious and surprisingly fearless in the face of an unknown cloud of aliens. The exploration of her in Faith is great and Alaina Huffman once again nails her performance with the reveal of TJ’s pregnancy and confirmation of her affair with Young. I felt her struggle to remain professional with Young when they left; the sense of escape she felt away from him and the ship on the planet; the relief and gratitude she felt at Scott’s friendship after he reveals he knows of the affair and will support her; how bereft she felt at having to return. I welled up at the end with the final shot of TJ sitting in the infirmary, crying. It will be interesting to see how the baby storyline plays out given a large part of the reasoning behind giving it to TJ according to Mallozzi was to accommodate Huffman’s own pregnancy. But here, the character story was wonderfully and subtly told.

And so was the rest of the story, particularly in respect of the crew’s military versus civilian division, the question of leadership and the slow healing after the abortive coup in Divided. This story is very clever in how it balances this. It’s great to see there is fallout; lovebirds Scott and Chloe aren’t speaking at the start of the episode, for instance. Yet because the story does cover so much time (four weeks pass in the course of an episode), it allows the crew to move past it; Young reaching out to Rush, Eli and Wray striking up a friendship, Greer encouraging both civilian and military to work together in his own unique way, Young conferring with Rush and Wray over what to do, and Scott and Chloe reaching some kind of understanding. It allows the ramifications of the previous episode to be acknowledged but enables the show to move on quickly.

What I also think was well-judged was the balance between life back on board Destiny and the events on the planet. It was great to see exploration of the ship and the crew mending and repairing the Destiny. I loved the Park and Brody double act, which provided some humor to lighten the rest. The montage in the middle of the episode switching back and forth between Destiny and the planet was well done.

If I have any criticism of the episode, I will say the choice of location for the perfect planet was unfortunate for long term franchise fans. As TJ looked out at the admittedly gorgeous vista I was half expecting Jack O’Neill or John Sheppard show up all rumpled and sexy, given this was the self-same location for SG-1’s Paradise Lost and Atlantis’s Harmony.

That aside, I really enjoyed this episode. It was a vital for the series to progress beyond the military and civilian power-mongering and while it could be argued nothing very much happened beyond that – that was the point. Personally, I’m crossing my fingers that the rest of the season is as beautifully paced, balanced and judged as Faith.

Previously published at GeekSpeak Magazine (www.geekspeakmagazine.com)

March 22nd, 2012, 05:03 AM

Faith; it's something that we have when things look bad, it's something that we hold in hope that something will turn out better, it's something that defines all of us. Those of you watching SGU at this very point may have held a bit of "faith" regarding the show and for some that faith can only hold you so long... SGU came out around the same time as Lost, which was in it's final season at the time; everybody was enthralled, how was it going to end, will Jack follow his faith further? So when the producers of SGU looked at Lost; they came to the realization that "we need to make an episode that looks mostly like Lost to hook in those viewers"; and so this episode was born. That's not exactly what happened but it does feel that way...

To it's credit; it does try to differentiate itself from Lost. The idea of a suitable solar system/planet being created and the idea of a planet being created then some signs of those creators and the thought that they may come back is one that is worthy of a lot of discussion and exploration; these ideas are what makes writers goes above and beyond; writing episodes that makes us think about the ultimate answer at hand. Unfortunately, the planet itself gives a eery feeling that you're watching something resembling Lost; from the jungle to the camp to the waterfall to even some of the dialog scenes. Even though it's from the perspective of people going to the planet for the first time, it still feels like Lost; except with poorer dialog and characters you barely care about.

Despite that, the scenes on the planet are one of the better ones the show has done; the environment allows some characters to thrive and grow themselves. For one, the environment allows for more character to be added to Scott and allows for the people watching him to truly invest in Scott; additionally... the life scenes that happen on the planet are ones that truly give the impression that these are real people who have finally found nirvana and feel at home. Unfortunately, a lot of the scenes on the planet are the definition of amateur drama; case in point, a lot of scenes are filmed in a way that seems to put style over substance. SGU may be the show that's more dark and more character based then it's predecessors but they could be simpler with the presentation of the scenes; they don't need to go all out and use gimmicks to make the scenes more dramatic, just show the characters. That's all we want.

The scenes on the ship feel like a sideline to the stuff that happens on the planet; while it does play a part in an introducing and explaining the planet and the stuff inbetween, barely anything happens on the ship. Anything! What's worse is that it could be taking up time which could be used to make the planet stuff better. Granted, it's not a total waste; they do show some stuff such communicating between the planet, Young and Rush being friendly with each other (which is nice after episodes of constant fighting) and fixing stuff on the ship that should of been fixed earlier but they wasted a situation to show the differences between the ship and the planet. I mean it's obvious once you think about it, it would of been a plus had they incorporated something that showcases the differences yet not tilt towards one side; not only would it of helped the message they were trying to get across but it would of provided the episode with so much more; discussion; thought; analysis; all things that make legendary sci-fi.

The progression of the plot is good, it actually feels like these people are getting used to the planet and the discovery is slow and natural, I mean you wouldn't want these people to just set up shop here without justification would you? The mission behind the visit and the cut off also helps to justify their reasons for staying as they explore the planet and discovers it's pleasures and it's mysteries. If there's one thing this episode has going for it, is that everything shown is justifiable; the downside? Good character moments are far and few inbetween; there are barley any moments worth caring about due to the obligatory poor acting/dialog, what's worse is that as the episode goes further along the various plot points in the episode lose consistency. An example of good drama is consistency; there has to be a feeling that people are going somewhere; in both acting, actions, dialog, and characterization; if there's a lack of that then the stuff that does spring up will seem sudden, such as their desire to stay. Sure it's implied but it's barely mentioned at all by the characters and a lack of mention dilutes the situation at hand because it feels sudden. Additionally, having one guy who we've never seen before sprout out stuff about fate is just a weak way of adding moral weight to the episode; it implies that this episode needs one guy in order to progress the dialog about "fate" and "destiny", two subjects the show has worn out already.

Some things to note... TJ's pregnancy plot appears to have come out of nowhere and isn't justified by the stuff that we've seen before; it'd be nice if we get some sign but it seems to be thrust on her all of a sudden, while it does help to build her character and make her a focal point of the episode; it just appears out of nowhere and seems at times like a soap opera... It'd be nice if we get some sign of this beforehand writers. Eli's sudden love with the Asian chick doesn't feel right; while it feels more natural, it still doesn't feel like those two belong together and it's just serving to set up a potential love plot involving Eli, Chloe and the Asian chick. The moment at the end where Young sets up a situation that's seemingly no-win doesn't have the impact that it has, mainly because it gives you different thoughts then what is intended. It would of been nice if they've had some major character stay behind but since all of the characters coming back to the ship are major characters, it lessens the impact because we know that the people staying are minors/extras who we've either never seen before or we've seen in the background. Meaning that there will never be any big impact when it comes to the story since the people leaving are inconsequential.

It's times like these where faith is put to the test; will you keep on having faith, even when your prayers aren't answered; will you start to doubt faith and everything you believe in, will you break down and renounce your faith. While this may seem like one of it's better episodes; it ultimately isn't... To be honest, this was the first episode of SGU that I watched and while I was drawn to the screen; I ultimately don't remember much from the episode. Whether or not I was attracted to the moral dialog or the setting, who knows but I did love Lost at the time and it does prove somewhat that these people were out to attract people who watched Lost. It may have succeeded but at what cost?; barely anything is done with the potential at hand and it seems like they're just spinning their wheels, despite coming up with a good idea that has potential. I don't know how long they can go on like this; I mean they obviously have winning ingredients but instead they just decide to waste that potential with stuff that film school students would probably make. If the show continues like this then I could be losing faith myself.