View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: 'Human'

April 1st, 2010, 08:57 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/s1/114.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/graphics/114.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/s1/114.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">HUMAN</A></FONT>
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Rush uses the neural interface chair to try and access <I>Destiny</I>'s systems, causing him to recall the events which led to his recruitment into the Stargate program.

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April 23rd, 2010, 08:48 PM
Human was and is a Rush episode. So as you might imagine I hated the episode. I kid of course. Human gave us what Stargate Universe is really good at. Massive characterization mixed in with action. And with the big question mark of who is Dr. Rush this was refreshing. I feel like I learned a lot about this character this week. And while I am no closer to sympathizing with Rush then I was a few weeks I am closer to understanding why he does what he does. But I am getting ahead of myself once again. Lets a enter a most dangerous place. I am of course talking about Rushs subconscious.

If I wasnt a spoiler man the opening teaser would have confused. They made the opening scene quite confusing because they showed Rush on Earth. But like the rest of the episode the beginning teaser points to what I think is a very important aspect we must consider about Rush. His own wife was dying and he buried himself in his work instead of being with the woman he married. Surely that is significant in to who Rush is. All those personal problems and he chooses to do work instead of being with his wife as she died. At first I thought it was just him reliving past events through dreams but when we learn that Rush is aware that this is just a retelling of his wifes death it made me wonder was he just ignoring because he knew it wasnt real. Then I think maybe both are true. Given what we know about Rush I can imagine that the first time Gloria died he did bury himself in his work to grieve. It makes sense really. He wouldnt the first person to find a hobby as he grieves. But t the same time since Rush is complicit of the fantasy aspect he distance himself more then the original time. Because in reality of the present nothing is more important to Rush then breaking the code of the Destiny.

Lets switch gears to reality. And by reality I mean the Destiny. Dont worry you wont hear what I had for breakfast. But I liked the opening scene with Eli and Chloe. Like I said in the Faith review I wanted to see Eli and Scott be on tough terms with Chloe given her betrayal in Divided. We saw that in Faith with Scott but those two had months to get on speaking terms. Eli did not have that luxury. So I really like how cold Eli is too Chloe. He is still friends with her but they defiantly not on the best speaking terms. Very interesting in my view. Speaking of Chloe I wonder how truthful that is she has been studying archeology notes. It defiantly would make her seem more useful but at the same time it looked like she was throwing words into there.

I admit I am having a hard time reviewing Rushs hallucination since most of him is isolating himself in his work as Gloria dies. And as I have mentioned that above it seems pointless to continue mentioning my thoughts about Rush obsessing over his work as he watches Gloria die. So it seems wise next to mention Rush in the lecture hall with Daniel. And let me just say if a professor yelled at me like that for no reason I probably would have filled a complaint with the dean. Anyway the scene where Rush admits that Eli is smarter then him points to a few things. Well first it shows the limit to Rushs arrogance but more importantly I think it points to guilt. Just look how Rush phrases unlocking the 9th chevron while his wife is dying. I think Rush generally guilty that he isolated himself from Gloria when she was dying. And not because he was unable to solve it but because of the pain he caused her on her deathbed. Not to mention how he was unable to spend the last hours with his loved one because he was so overshadowed by emotion. I think what happened to Gloria is a huge impact into why Rush is the sociopath we know in the present.

Now back to the ruins planet. I find it really hard to swallow that Eli lost the KINO. Yes I understand that its a maze down there but you would think those things left a flight plan or something. Its just a little hard to digest as a reason to go down into the ruins. Speaking of the ruins I am rather curious what closed spaces have to make Greer so scared. It shall be an interesting dynamic to explore. Again speaking of Greer I love how he calmly tells Chloe to stop moving when he shoots the spider. Its like he knows how it going down. But that most be some weak structure to cause a section of the ruins to collapse. Yes I know it was needed for the plot of the story but it was somewhat hard to swallow.

Young sending a rescue to team to rescue Scotts team was predictable but Ill excuse it since its standard military procedure. But that must have been one big cave in to have James and her team work for an hour and have to resort to C4. It was obvious that C4 was already not going to work given how weak the structure was in the first place. I am more then a little surprised that Scott didnt say anything or the structure didnt come crashing down. They might not be dating/sleeping anymore but you I think you can see caring between James and Scott when he ordered her to return to the gate. I can see sadness in both of them when the order was given. I thought it was a really good moment.

To Rush and his 46 observations, First of all I woke up the neighbors when I laughed at Daniels 42 joke. Second I quite liked how cryptic it was. We knew it had to be significant to the Destinys code but at the same time given how the code had stumped Rush I kind of think should have been cryptic for a little longer. But more on that later. Its time to talk about Glorias dying speech or more specifically Rushs speech to himself. I am talking in particular how Gloria talks about how sadden she is that Rush has done some of the things he has done to get where is now in the present. That speaks to me that as this is Rushs subconscious we are talking about. It shows that deep down even when Rush is doing those borderline immoral actions that deep down he knows its wrong That and many other things in this episode speak to me about Rush. While it doesnt excuse his actions it makes me understand them a little bit more.

And now this review comes to an end. And its kind of bittersweet. On one end I like the part of Scotts time being left behind and seeing how said event will unfold in Lost. On the other hand I am disappointed that the 46 clue in relation to DNA was discovered so quickly. It leaves a sore taste in the mouth that we were able to find to figure it out the clue. Yes given the size of DNA (and its big) it will take a long time to figure out the master code I was just disappointed that Rush found it out so easily


June 25th, 2010, 12:50 PM
Human is a fascinating mix of old school Stargate mixed with the new. On one hand it delivers the standard format of going through the Stargate and getting into trouble, and yet on the other a compelling character study as the story delves into the inner workings of Nicholas Rush. The combination is used to great effect turning the expected ending on its head as we’ve come to expect from SGU while delivering a well-paced and engaging story with superb acting throughout.

This episode feels most like the Stargate of old than any other to date, apart from the superb Time. Interestingly enough both were directed by Robert C. Cooper, and perhaps some of the old school feel comes through his direction despite new techniques (shaky hand cam was back). I think mostly, though, it’s because of the combination of several elements, the first of which is the ‘B’ plot which is all about going through the Stargate and getting into trouble.

The ‘B’ plot seems to be there for two reasons with the initial one being to provide some humor: from Eli and Chloe’s impassioned plea to go on the mission (“Say something archaeological”), to Eli ‘joking’ with Greer (loved the “Please don’t kill me”), to shooting the humongous spider and the exchange between Scott and Young (“it was a sizeable spider, sir”). It serves well to lighten the episode; the ‘A’ plot is certainly very serious and dramatic by comparison. The second reason seems to be to provide an urgency to find the information in the database in order to stop Destiny and ensure Team SGU don’t get left behind on the planet.

It’s a good solid ‘B’ plot and one that emulates Stargate of old by using the tried-and-tested format. This is emphasized further with the team formation: Scott, Chloe, Eli and Greer nicely echoes Jack, Daniel, Sam and Teal’c in terms of roles (leader, diplomat/archaeologist, scientist, and warrior). Team SGU is new but feels very familiar. Moreover, the use of humor – mixing light and dark – is very Stargate and it’s nice to see it used more in this episode. Yet, if the ‘B’ plot feels like old school Stargate for the most part, the shock ending of Team SGU being left behind is very new school and this is nicely tied to the ‘A’ plot which is arguably more new school in its concept.

I say arguably because although the ‘A’ plot focuses on a character study of Nicholas Rush and is therefore more in line with the character-driven principle that drives SGU compared to its plot-driven predecessors, Stargate has used episodes to examine character before (Forever in a Day and Grace being two examples). Perhaps because I’ve always liked these types of episodes anyway, I really loved this part of Human.

It’s a great examination of one of SGUs most enigmatic characters, one whose motives have been most questionable. The back-story of Rush’s wife and her illness, his feeling of failure in not solving the ninth chevron puzzle and thereby feeling as though he wasted time he could have spent with her, his devastation and anger at her death – all of it provides a good character reason for Rush’s behavior to date. Moreover, in exploring these memories, he begins to face them and realize his behavior since has been unacceptable – something that fits with Rush as a character as he’s much more likely to respond to an internal prompt to change than he is to an external. Louise Lombard does a great job as Gloria (although she looks surprisingly healthy on her death bed), but Robert Carlyle just provides a stunning performance as Rush. The scene at the end is heart-breaking because of the way that Carlyle plays it. Bravo.

The ‘A’ plot also incorporates a great deal of Stargate mythology making it feel more old school than new, and this is emphasized by the presence of Daniel Jackson throughout Rush’s memories. Michael Shanks does a great job of his cameo, although admittedly he really doesn’t have to do much. But I loved the allusion to his losing Sha’re as a point of shared understanding with Rush; loved the way the story uses Daniel with his connection to the Ancients and the Ascended Beings as the person in Rush’s dream who points him in the right direction. It’s all really well done – and great special effects throughout with the streaming of Ancient data that Rush can see around him.

If there is one aspect to criticize, it’s probably in Young’s characterization and the flow, given the previous episodes from an arc perspective. While it’s believable that Rush would get in the chair without telling Young, since in Faith we see Young make overtures to Rush following his leaving him behind to die and subsequent coup, his reaction here (which seems to be all about how not bothered he is if Rush dies) seems off. I think this part of the episode needed more polishing and smoothing out, based on previous events.

Overall, this episode uses the best of old Stargate and the best of new to deliver something which is just great entertainment. Perhaps it’s not quite as polished as Time, and that’s possibly why it doesn’t quite reach the classic feel of that episode, but it’s still an excellent installment.

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

April 4th, 2012, 04:12 AM

They say that through every person lies a side that is human, that everybody either lets out or hides down deep; the characters of SGU aren't especially human, especially Rush who is somewhat cold and heartless. This episode dives deep into the backstory of everybody's lovable bastard Rush, which through the usage of flashbacks; ultimately revealed him to have a human side (not so much the other characters though). In my opinion the Flashbacks are the best parts of the episode for reasons I'll explain in the review; if this episode was entirely a Rush flashback then I would of loved it even more but unfortunately we have to focus on Destiny so yeah... I'm going to get this out of the way as fast as I can. The moments outside of the flashback falter compared to the aforementioned subject; there is nothing from these scenes that are noteworthy or memorable, even the scenes with people around Rush.

They do try to intrigue you with an abandoned civilization planet for most of the scenes but all of those scenes seem boring and rushed, even the black guy's acting suffers; (though they do make up for it with a flashback.) there is barely anything that will compel you to watch these scenes and you're wishing for the flashbacks to come back; yes I'm aware that they're in danger and Eli/Chloe are in a relationship but I don't care, that's the problem. They do try to give you the sense that they could kill these main characters off but that is counteracted by the fact that a lot of these main characters always find their way back to the Destiny; so yeah, I have no doubt in my mind that they will find their way back to the Destiny. Lost" gives the sense that any character can die, SGU gives the sense that our main characters are too important to die; that alone justifies the reasoning.

So let's get back to the best part, the flashbacks. They managed to showcase Rush's personality well; the type of person who doesn't give up on anything and spends all of his time on something to the deterrent of something else, which is her wife. The window into Rush's life gives him something that makes him relatable to all of us; that he's a teacher who's doing what he loves while dealing with the everyday struggles of life, whether it be someone making him coffee or just a normal conversation; it greatly enhances Rush's character because it makes him just like us, even though he may still act like a soulless person in a lot of these scenes; he has goals and dreams, just like the rest of us; and that's especially good because in contrast to the previous episodes of SGU, it adds so much to his character.

There are tons of moments where he writes on a piece of paper and obsesses about a formula; this is the episode's focal point per say. It's portrayal contributes to the episode's underlining plot and relates to Rush as a whole, even though they make that sort of obvious. (I mean RushVision, really? The message would of gotten through without it.) It also leads to a ton of great moments where he gives out speeches and dialogs that are Gemini worthy; seriously, you can almost witness his great acting talent as he spews out his reasons and his thoughts in a way that makes you see past the actor and look into the character, it manages to make you invested in Rush and his everlasting journey that would lead him to the Destiny and it manages to grab you at every turn

That focal point also relates to his wife, which is also the second focal point and a somewhat common one at that. There are a lot of things that have been done so many times before and making her the sick neglected wife is one of those things; the way it's used defines the drama at hand and that can either be good or poor, with SGU it's 50/50. It uses several soap opera mechanics in the beginning, therefore starting off poor but it slowly improves as the plot goes on, making the wife more of a contribution with each scene that she's in to the point where you become as invested as her as you do Rush. With every bit of good drama comes a bit of bad drama or a rocky start, and usually those rocky starts lead to good drama so if you're find yourself dreading it early on, watch it; you may find yourself changing your mind; plus her & Rush leads to unheard of levels of cuteness.

Of course, there are a couple of missteps and the most notable is the inclusion of one Dr. Daniel Jackson. While he does prove himself in a couple of scenes, it seems like he's trying to transition from goofy sci-fi actor to serious dramatic actor; it may not seem like it to you but it's obvious he's trying to further mature his image; and that's a major problem for obvious reasons. His appearances serves to draw attention away from Rush and also serve to project the fact that they needed a SG-1 character for this, otherwise it would not work somehow. I mean come on? you could have another character in there and it would still work out but then we wouldn't have how he got into the Stargate program so yeah... It would be less of a problem if he appeared once but the way the episode attempts to portray him as a focal point just threatens to tear the episode apart.

Additionally, the series seems keen on using tons of dramatic gimmicks; this can be problematic since it causes many scenes to lose it's focus in exchange for awkward camera angles, odd lighting and and excessive blurriness. The best drama comes naturally, if you try to add more stuff that doesn't need to be added then it just dilutes the drama; it also gives an amateurish feeling to the entire product, something which dilutes the series and also the Stargate name; seriously, it feels like I'm watching one of those Syfy original movies. There's also the attempt to incorporate some sci-fi at the end and while it works for the plot at hand, it's introduction feels awkward and out of place, leading to some moments being disappointing; while it is lampshaded in the beginning, it still feels awkward. It's best you ignore this stuff and focus on Rush at hand.

I have to give praise where praise is good, the actor behind Rush (Robert Carlyle) is really good; I thought he would be overrated when I first started watching the series but I was proven wrong, in fact he has become the best actor on the show. He knows what to say, he knows what to do and he puts his heart and soul into every role, he may not do it all the time but the time he does do it, it definitely enhances whatever character he's playing. There is only so much I can put into a review but there is a lot that can't be denied. He's no Henry Ian Cusick but he's pretty good. This episode also won him a Gemini, out of the 9 awards the show was nominated for, (not for the episode itself, but for the acting within the episode; which says a lot about the series.) which definitely says a lot about his acting talent since the Gemini is one of Canada's highest honors. The series may have only won 1 Gemini in it's lifetime but it went to the most worthy guy on the show.

In conclusion, this episode is really good. The actor behind Rush brings the acting tour de force to this episode, making every one of his flashbacks a dramatic force to be reckoned with; if you'll remember something from this episode, it'll be the flashbacks; they're just that good! But no matter how good the flashbacks are, there will always be the scenes involving the crew of Destiny holding it back; they try so hard to affect the story that they end up failing, worse is that they're so boring and monotonous that you'll find yourself waiting for the flashbacks. You may fare better ignoring these scenes but the fact is, these scenes are in the episode and they affect the episode's potential, which is a shame; as this episode is really, really good. I guess there will never be an amazingly good episode of SGU.