View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: 'Sabotage' (116)

May 2nd, 2010, 01:55 PM
<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/s1/116.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/graphics/116.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/s1/116.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">SABOTAGE</A></FONT>
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When problems with the F.T.L. drive threaten to leave <I>Destiny</I> stranded, the crew calls upon an expert from Earth to help -- a quadriplegic woman who temporarily takes over Wray's body.

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May 7th, 2010, 08:49 PM
I remember this episode being discussed months ago when the casting call for Amanda (then Eleanor) Perry came out. It made the notion of a crippled person seem very demeaning. And fandom doing what fandom does criticized and overreacted to the casting Perry call. But I kind of knew they were wrong. And for the most part I think I was right. The episode is not without its faults and it’s defiantly not the highlight in SGU (in fact its one of my least liked) but it was defiantly better then the negative hype that was spreading almost a year ago. You know where to go.

The teaser felt out of place except for the part where Rush told Young they would not cross the void between galaxies. I actually liked that scene. I ‘m talking about Young’s shaving scene and the subsequent speech in the gate room. That seemed completely pointless. I mean seriously we know Scott and company are left behind, do we really need a scene showing the explanation of them being left behind and the journey into another galaxy.

I object to Amanda Perry being the greatest expert on hyperdrives. Surely that title would belong to Carter from SG1. But given the logistics and budget it would take to get Amanda Tapping on Universe I’ll let it slide. Overall I liked her introduction and the difficulties it took for James and Wray to occupy a quadriplegics body. It shows some insight into the obstacles these kinds of people with those difficulties have. And I think especially Ming Na played a crippled woman quite. I may have thought those Earth scenes with Wray and Sharon were unnecessary and pointless but that does not escape the fact that Ming Na was very convincing as person with that kind of disability.

As for the FTL drive blowing up my first thought they were the S1 finale adversaries that I learned about from reading spoilers. Don’t worry I’ll leave those names silent for those of you who don’t like spoilers. And this is the wonderful about SGU. Unlike the other shows even with spoilers you as a viewer do not know what is happening. That is what makes SGU so interesting to watch. There is a high degree of unpredictability in it. Speaking of unpredictability I am wondering why the blowing up of the FTL drive caused Franklin to wake up like that. It’s a curious which I don’t think will ever be answered given what happened in the end of Sabotage but I’ll get to that later.

Moving on to the return to Scott, Eli, and Chloe. Since Destiny was still relatively close to the galaxy in the logical sense it was made obvious that they three of them would be able to dial Destiny and return. But from a story point of view it was mundane and easy. After all that struggling in Lost to return to Destiny it was just too easy for them to give up and magically show up. Like I said it made sense and all but I found it little too easy to accomplish.

Let’s try to put all this Amanda Perry development in one big paragraph since it really wasn’t the point of the episode. But it’s still an important aspect of the show. At the heart she is not a jerk but the sadness of her limitations did cloud Amanda like the moment she snapped at Amanda. Which given her situation on Earth is understandable. When you’re confined to a chair and need someone to do things uncripled people like me do every day its understandable you would want to experience those freedoms. And that is more then anything what Amanda Perry was about. A good person who does want to help the Destiny make it home but also wants to experience the life of what it is to be normal in the mobile sense. I think the scene with the crying Rush is proof of that. The way she was kind and sincere to Rush as he talked about the reliving of Gloria’s death. It showed that despite wanting to sleep with Rush (ewwwww) she was kind enough to see and help with his pain.

As the team went to check on “Eli’s Planet” as an evacuation site the aliens firing back at the gate was so predictable. I’ve watched enough Stargate to know when a character says for sure that everything is fine then you know well that everything is not fine so I kind of figured that the second Eli sent that KINO through the event horizon of the wormhole that something was going to be wrong. Now I did not think it was going to be the blue aliens but I had a feeling that something was going to be wrong. On tangent is the scene with Young and TJ arguing about her going off world. I kind of liked how this episode flowed. It shows us that despite this child how much tension and conflict there is between the two characters and more importantly how much they don’t see eye to eye because of TJ’s pregnancy. Speaking of pregnancy you could see Alaina Huffman showing in this episode

Before we talk about the actual battle with the aliens we have to talk about the prelude to battle in what I mean the crazy dreams James was having. From what we know about the blue aliens it makes sense technologically but it was not something. We have seen from past episodes that James is stressed out both mentally and emotionally. So I thought that is what the dreams meant in that is was James’ subconscious trying to let it all out if you will. I never saw the aliens using the communication stones and her to sabotage the FTL. It was a cool twist if you will.

I have a love-hate feeling with the resolution of the blue aliens attacking Destiny. First let’s deal with the hate. I found it so predictable that Franklin would be sitting in the chair again. It was kind of obvious that when he could comprehend the Destiny crew at the beginning of the episode that he was going to be meeting the chair once again. So when Rush said this could be solved faster if someone sat in the chair I knew it was going to be Franklin. Now for the love part of this episode. I find the mystery of Franklin disappearing into thin air after the chair mysterious. I like that as it makes me wonder if we will ever find out why and how that happened. What about using the chair made Franklin disappear? I guess we’ll find out later

June 25th, 2010, 12:58 PM
Considered one of the most controversial episodes before its airing, Sabotage ultimately ends up not pushing the envelope enough, allowing one of the arcs to end in something of an anti-climax and another to really pay-off in a way that leaves jaws dropped and eyes wide.

Before SGU even aired, the casting brief and audition sides for Sabotage had leaked onto the internet and caused much outrage over the anticipated portrayal of the then-named Eleanor Perry, a paraplegic character who swaps bodies with Camile Wray. There was a great deal of worrying over whether the show would provide a positive portrayal of disability; much debate about the storyline of Perry possibly having sex with Rush while she was in Wray’s body given Wray’s homosexuality. Exec Producer Brad Wright had to rush (no pun intended) to defend the show. In the end, the controversial aspects are all very politically correct but I’m not certain this was the best decision for the dramatic impact of the storyline.

The portrayal of Perry enjoying her newfound ability to move is very well crafted and beautifully performed by Kathleen Munroe. I would question whether she would just be able to get up and walk even in Camile’s body – walking is a learned skill, one that Perry would have lost. But the scene in the mess when she enjoys feeding herself is subtle and touching. Also very subtle and very touching is the scene with Rush in her quarters when the sticky topic of sex is posed. Whatever was originally intended, I personally found the scene real and, actually, very beautiful – because it wasn’t about sex; it was about intimacy and caring. The story does well in establishing Perry’s desire for Rush as long-standing with her somewhat humorous earlier scene with Eli, so her need for sex is not sex for its own sake but to be with Rush. That Rush declines on the basis that he’s still feeling the aftereffects of Human and the renewed grief for his wife feels right for the character. The comforting hug that Perry offers is just marvelous. Carlyle and Munroe have a really nice chemistry that translates well on screen as a long standing friendship between their characters. While it is all well done, the subtlety here just doesn’t create a great deal of dramatic tension.

I will also say that the flip side of this story with Camile and Sharon is equally well done. There was just enough shown to hint at the issues faced by Camile in Perry’s body to give a realistic view of disability without going into too much detail that would have detracted from the action back on the ship. Ming Na and Reiko Aylesworth have a great chemistry and I’m pleased to see the Stargate franchise including a homosexual relationship at last. Again, I question whether the portrayal is too positive. While there are subtle hints of Sharon’s discomfort with Camile’s situation and effectively, sudden disability, there wasn’t enough in my opinion. When the height of the drama is Sharon being late home from the shops, clearly there is an issue with the dramatic tension in the storyline.

If the controversial elements ended up being all rather too polite, so too did the ending of the arc with the lost members of Team SGU. Having built up this storyline over the past two episodes with the unexpected leaving behind of Eli, Scott and Chloe in both, the resolution with them just turning up on the ship is fairly disappointing and very lacking in drama. Perhaps in some ways, it is the most realistic return – without fanfare and the opportunity to return provided by nothing more than a stroke of luck. But seriously, what a way to leave your audience less than satisfied after such great foreplay.

By contrast, the arc with Franklin and the chair was simply fantastic. The sabotage and alien threat was very well shown (loved the violence of the engines exploded with everyone being thrown) and it was nice to see Julia Benson getting some increased screen time as Vanessa James. The climax with Franklin taking the chair to save them from the alien attack was brilliantly done; the mist and light evocative, the music nicely increasing the tension. The ending with the reveal of the empty room was jaw-dropping and a real “wow” moment. Has Franklin Ascended? Has he merged with the ship? It’s great stuff.

In fact, the episode as a whole is very enjoyable. The pacing is good, the direction nicely done with some good shots -- loved the sequence with Brody building his still -- the music not particularly intrusive. And the story is well-written, all the threads nicely coming together and yet remaining individual in nature like a well-made sundae. But it needed a lot more dramatic tension to make it really compelling. Only the producers know whether their intent was watered down after the controversy erupted but I can’t help feel a tad disappointed that they didn’t push the boundaries just a little bit more.

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

April 28th, 2012, 12:58 AM

In the long line of SGU episodes, there has been many where the stakes are raised or characters get left behind yet they never manage to fully deliver on those stakes and potential promises. This episode is no different, featuring the raised stakes that preceded many episodes but it does contain one thing that people expected; you're favorite characters coming back! Yes, Eli, Chloe, Scott and Weir (the black guy) make it back to the Destiny, thus proving that they can't let their characters go for a long time; they do make the return reasonable but from a show where it claims to be about the characters, I want to see something where they actually make us feel for the characters when they're gone; make us feel that they could be killed off at any second, not return within the second or third episode.

First things first; this episode lost in a struggle of what it wants to be; is it an action-orientated episode, is it a romance episode or is it just one of those ordinary days on the ship? That struggle muddles the episode's focus because of it's unsurity of what it wants to be; there are scenes that suggest it's about fixing the problem at hand but those are counteracted by the scenes where an attack is about to happen which itself is counteracted by scenes that act as if no danger is approaching, you think that with danger nearby you'd at least react or find a way to include a sense of unsteadyness and uncertainty among the ship but there's none of that at all, well not until the stakes get raised near the end of course. If they had clarified the focus just a bit then it might lead to a more cohesive episode but as it is it just flip-flops through various things, sometime forgetting that the thing happened until much later in the episode; and that's a major problem because it throws you off the path more often then not, causing you to loose track of what's going on.

The characters themselves are put in a situation that is all too familiar; not enough power, forced to fix something, life & death... that situation doesn't seem like something the characters would thrive in but hopefully the stuff that happens throughout the episode would make it seem like an environment they could thrive in right? Wrong. The situation doesn't do much for our characters as they just go about their daily business, acting as if there wasn't a problem on the ship despite the fact that there is one; while this may be a common problem of the show at this point, I can't help to feel that making the environment thrivable would of helped wonders. As we're watching, we notice that barely anybody cares that they're in a tough situation; sure, they may act like they're in a tough situation but they never truly seem to portray the feeling that they're worried about the ship; that feeling could do all the wonders for an episode like this one, to actually see the people worried about the situation on the ship and working towards solving the situation, that would make the episode a lot more engaging because it would convey the seriousness of the situation at hand and ultimately get across the feeling that everything is on the line. Investment and risk means everything to an audience, if the audience doesn't feel the intended feeling of worry and fear throughout the episode then it can leave the audience bored and disinterested; which is the case here.

However, the situation does provide a thriving environment for Dr. Rush and his special guest Dr. Amanda Perry. (played by Kathleen Munroe) I'm surprised by how good Amanda is; from the first time we see her she manages to set herself apart from the rest of SGU, portraying a character that's likeable, interesting and appealing. There is just so much to her character that makes her what she is, she has a sweet heartwarming side that just meshes with any character she's around, especially Eli who manages to turn a simple conversation into one of the best scenes in history; her tendency to convincingly reminisce about past times to everyone establishes her talkative side and helps to build convincing backstories out of any story that she states, even herself and she's just really pleasing to be around. However, she also has somewhat of a stern side, especially when it comes to the repairs of the ship; that stern side balances out the heartwarming side and gives her a dynamic that many SGU characters are missing. If she were one of the main characters of SGU then she'd easily be one of the top characters alongside Young, Eli, Rush and Weir but she's a guest star appearing for only this episode so yeah... I would like to see her in more episodes if possible though.

Dr. Rush is also as good with the performance that we've come to expect from him as usual but he's even better when he's paired up with Dr. Amanda; I'll admit that the romance is a bit in your face but for Rush to even have a romance/best friend is definitely something that does wonders for his character. Dr. Amanda and Dr. Rush utilize the romance to their advantage as they effectively play off each other like peanut butter and jelly, conversing about past times, flirting and kissing as if there were no tomorrow. What makes this relationship work is their personalities, unlike Eli and Chloe; these two seem like they were destined to be together as Amanda's easy going personality oddly connects with Rush's personality, which is odd considering Rush's personality but they're laughing, they're having a good time and more importantly they're connecting in ways that the audience notices; it makes you wish that they would explore the relationship more, I mean it's one of the few things of SGU that are truly romantic... the love between Rush and Amanda, they truly make up the best parts of this episode and as a plus they revealing traits about both characters that wouldn't be revealed if separate otherwise. Amanda's caring side is shown more through the romance part, which shows her to be a very good friend who would stick around no matter what the consequence; Rush, well let's just say that this episode does more for him then "Human" ever did with this episode a major part of his hard edged personality being chipped away revealing a soft side that grows his character in the long run; who knew he had that many emotions and symphizations locked up inside him?

But no matter how good Dr. Rush and Dr. Amanda may be, it cannot make up for the shortfalls. The writers decided to make Dr. Amanda on Earth disabled and while it may seem like an interesting idea, it ultimately seems like something used to be controversial/different and get into the headlines of today's newspapers; even the Asian chick being in the body of the disabled Amanda has potential but instead of showcasing the frail and handicapped side (which is what the writers intended to do), it just felt like I was watching a soap opera but with tons of sexual overtones. Even worse is that the scenes shown don't do much for the character at hand, ultimately leaving them as scenes that go nowhere and who's only purpose is to fill time. The TJ and Young plot is quickly becoming my least favorite of the plots shown, I didn't like it when TJ was suddenly pregnant and I also don't like that they're trying to pair them up with Young, it may result in good drama but why act like you have a romance now? (on a better note, this episode contains one of TJ's best scenes; it's not emotional or dramatic, it's just her being a doctor and it's one that shows off the best of her without needing to resort to gimmicks.) The action scenes near the end of the episode is exciting but they never have a proper buildup or reference and when the scenes do come they feel mostly overindulgent (especially the scenes involving the chair and Dr. Franklin, who I admit I did not recognize.) making the action within those scenes boring despite the tense atmosphere.

I will admit that the episode has some good stuff; the show manages to showcase life in a montage that could do without that really bad song, Dr. Franklin manages to be good (providing some of the best scenes in the episode), Young thrives near the end, there are some legitimate surprises and much of the stuff regarding fixing the ship was done in a reasonable manner. Some last things to mention, this episode seems to be building up some of the things that would be referenced later, they seem to be building up Chloe for something big (as evident in the previous episode) and there's a Lost-like cliffhanger at the end of the episode. I appreciate that they understand the need to build stuff up prior to the end of the season, definitely want to establish something before things get serious and I respect that, seems like they're setting up expectations for next season; however, these things don't have the impact that they should, mainly because of the lack of investment that the series provides. When I watch a cliffhanger, I want to be surprised and excited; I don't want to feel bored, I want to be motivated to see what happens next... unfortunately, I felt bored during the cliffhanger. Additionally, it felt like it was trying too hard to set up something big and grand, to the point where it collapsed upon itself near the end of the episode. I don't know why the writers have to try to come up with something that's big, they should just let it happen naturally; just saying...

Ultimately, it has good intentions but it just ends up being a middle-of-the-road affair for SGU, a really good one. Sure, it establishes things, has action and drama but a ton of things end up dragging down the good things. The situation regarding the ship is a good one and while there are some things that seem like they make the episode, Rush and Amanda are the two things that truly make the episode, their respective performances and their relationship provide tons of sweetness and drama while at the same time growing their characters and giving a compelling performance that people have to see. However, there are some bad things that you have to suffer through to get to the good and those bad things adversely harm the episode. There was potential to be had with this episode but I guess there will always be something holding it down; still... there is hope as Destiny enters it's next Galaxy.