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    FAN REVIEWS: 'Twin Destinies' (212)

    Visit the Episode Guide

    Rush expresses concerns when Earth approves Eli's plan to dial the Stargate home from inside a star -- and is proved right when a duplicate of himself shows up with a warning from the future.



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    SGU [212] Twin Destinies

    18 March 2011 xxxevilgrinxxx

    The wrong people in the wrong place. That was the premise when this whole thing began. Bit by bit, episode by episode, that initial belief has been chipped away as the story unfolded and everyone had a place, a part to play. Destiny was no longer simply a name but had a deeper meaning.

    In and of itself, the idea of destiny isn't a bad one and if we were anything but who we are, maybe that would be enough. But people aren't content to leave everything up to some unnamed, unseen force, no matter what it gets called in the end.

    The force of human choice, of free will, comes from what would probably be an unlikely source, if we hadn't seen him insist on choice, time after time. While Rush is willing to ask for volunteers, if it came down to a matter of force, I have no doubt that, as he has suggested once before, he would have people rounded up at gunpoint. No, it is through the military, through Col. Young, that the choice is given strength.

    After all this time, all this adversity, to choose to stay and complete the mission, to support the others, changes the survivors into something more than simply stranded. The mission becomes theirs.

    Of the choice itself, having Young be the first to stand beside Rush, after all that has happened between them, was a deeply moving act. It is quite clear that Rush was surprised and touched, first by Young's agreement to stand beside him and lend his authority when he addressed the crew and, most potently, when Young was the first to volunteer to stay, as though there were never anything else he would do. Rush acknowledges this aloud when he states in a quieter voice that Young stood by him all the way. Such an experience would have to be rare for Rush who, with his acerbic nature, has kept so many at arm's length.

    There was some awkwardness when Rush addressed the crew as “my friends”, but there was no outward display of derision. No one laughed, no one snorted, and no one shouted him down, as was done on one other occasion when Rush addressed the whole crew.

    In the storyline, if this choice had been made earlier, I can't imagine very many people choosing to stay. I don't think it would have been believable. This is where the strength in building these characters over all this time really pays off. With everyone that stepped forward, I knew why they chose to stay and with each person that crossed that line, I had a lump in my throat, as though their choice was mine.

    In contrast to the choice to stay was Telford's opposition, which also felt completely natural. Opposition to the idea in general and to Rush in particular. This opposition would have carried a great deal of weight at one point and I believe that Telford would have had no problem at all using whatever force he could – by rank, threat or gun – to try to enforce his will, but no one seems to be giving him much heed. Greer sums it up succinctly with a “good luck with that”.

    There has always been something distasteful about the way Telford has thrown his weight around and his actions in this episode cement this. Telford doesn't lead, he orders. Furthermore, even though he began the episode as trapped as any of them, I never doubted that when the going got tough, that Telford would find a way to get himself out of it, and everyone else be damned. This tendency was shown once before, when dialling within a star was first attempted. He ran and left the Destiny crew to their death and it didn't surprise me at all that Telford was the only one that managed to make it back to Earth.

    There was an interesting snippet of dialogue that came between Telford and Rush in relation to both of these events: about Rush not being above sabotaging ships and that it had possibly occurred at other times. Is this where the heart of the animosity between them lies? I wonder if we will find out more about that before the end of this season or if that storyline is lost forever?

    The double Rushes not only made for some great dialogue but also presented Rush with a vision of how his destiny very well could have unfolded, with himself watching from the front seat. Rush has always had issues with his anger and he has butted heads, literally and figuratively, with all sources of authority. Further, his arrogance has resulted in the deaths of people like Riley and it could be said that, in stranding them all aboard Destiny in the first place, that he is directly responsible for the deaths of everyone, whether he had a hand in it or not.

    The difference with the death of Telford is that it comes directly at Rush's hands, and that it wasn't something Rush was able to control. Despite the anger between the two men, it is clear that Rush didn't want to kill him. Rush is a man of reason with a terrible problem, one that unfolded right before him, a vision of himself, of what he could be. It would be very easy to explain away as something the “other” Rush did but there is no way that Rush will believe that and knowing that he has the capability to kill people will hopefully change his character for the better.

    There is one other character – or perhaps a character trait – that has been changed for the better and that is found in Eli's simple guilt about the effects wrought by his creations. This is rare in a genre which has generally been very easy on the sometimes cataclysmic aftereffects of great scientists. Whole worlds, whole people, have been wiped out with scarcely a nod to the ideas that birthed the act so it is really something to see Eli take responsibility for the alternate destiny and inevitable death that could have ensued.

    In thinking of twin destinies, I can't help but think of the initial lottery, back in season one. Like the lottery, there are two preselected to go, this time: Rush and Young, who had excluded themselves from the first lottery. Here they are first to stay. There is a set number they are reaching for (although they would happily take more). About to go into the star to their certain deaths, they are assembled once again in the gate room, being addressed from the stairs. But in this lottery, rather than being chosen to leave, they are choosing to stay.

    Dark humour continues to develop among the crew, especially between Brody and Volker, although the two Rushes have quite a few witty lines of dialogue. The hands on, amateur nature of the repairs comes off as completely real and I'm pleased that they haven't mastered the technology, although they have managed to make do. Using the second ship for salvage was brilliant and comes across as more believable than coming across a magic crate of parts or some font of knowledge aboard Destiny that would make everything happen easily. This has been a very human effort, all the way. No technobabble, no aliens. Just us.

    Lastly, a word on the lighting during this episode. The Destiny set is easily the most beautiful set I have ever seen for this type of show. It has a depth and texture that doesn't simply present a setting but provides an atmosphere. The lighting during the “sun” sequences only increases this air, raising the visual experience to the level of exquisite. The lighting upon the cast and the set is the same, making the actors a part of the Destiny, instead of simply people standing before set pieces. It isn't simply a backdrop. It is this beautiful light that has me place “Twin Destinies” alongside “Darkness” and “Light” as a favourite episode, pulling in a very easy 10/10.

    Rating: 10/10



      So, upfront I should say that I might be a little in love with this episode and therefore somewhat biased…OK, make that a LOT in love. Some of it is down to my deep abiding love for time travel stories; some of it is down to my deep abiding love for Stargate time travel stories in particular; and some of it is down to deep abiding appreciation for the sheer cleverness of the plot which in one fell swoop manages to solve Destiny’s spare parts problem, gives them back a second shuttle, and returns Telford to Earth again while retaining the sense of a team that is finally starting to work together.

      I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: when Stargate tackles time travel they have a tendency to hit the ball right out of the park. Ever since SG-1 started the trend with the incomparable “1969”, each new time travel story thereafter (such as “2010” or Atlantis’ “Before I Sleep” and “The Last Man”) has only ever added to the stack of great Stargate episodes. Universe continued the trend last season with “Time”, and “Twin Destinies” is another good addition as the Destiny crew end up running into an alternate version of the ship and Rush (from what I will be calling TimelineA).

      The problem with time travel stories is that they are complicated, and this is doubly so by the existence of duplicates which automatically throws up the issues of paradoxes (if TimelineA!Rush travels back and stops events from happening, TimelineA!Rush therefore should cease to exist, etc.) The plot is very tightly written by Brad Wright to cope with that and if I have one quibble it’s around the characterization of Telford.

      Let me start with Telford because as a way of getting Telford off the ship and back to Earth, the plot is genius. With Telford’s return from his sojourn on the seed ship with the Ursini, the issue of what to do with a second ranking Colonel was going to raise its head again. Here, time travel solves the problem as it is revealed by TimelineA!Rush that TimelineA!Telford made it back to Earth when the crew attempted to evacuate the ship by dialing the Stargate while Destiny is stocking up on power in the middle of a sun. Of course, there’s still the irritating problem of what to do with TimelineB!Telford (who is still on Destiny) but that’s taken care of by having him and TimelineA!Rush have an all-out confrontation in which TimelineA!Rush kills TimelineB!Telford by accident and runs off to die in the Ancient knowledge chair on TimelineA!Destiny as it is consumed by said sun. (Hope everybody is keeping up so far). Just as in “Visitation” where the story was clearly a device to give Destiny a shuttle back but was such a good story it transcended that, here too the need to get Telford back to Earth is woven so tightly into the fabric of what is a great time travel story that it never feels like the purpose of the episode is to get rid of Telford (which was the case back in “Awakening”).

      However, Telford’s characterization is all over the place, which I think is down to how the scenes were played by Lou Diamond Phillips and Robert Carlyle rather than the writing. Telford’s opposition to Rush isn’t new but the animosity here -- particularly in the flashback scene where Telford intervenes when it looks like a large number of the crew will stay behind, and the final confrontation scene -- seems more akin to the previous tension between Rush and Young rather than the more muted dislike between Rush and Telford to date. But then, perhaps we haven’t seen enough of Telford to make a determination for definite.

      Speaking of Rush and Young, Timeline A in particular gives good hope that the teamwork that was on show in the previous episode “Deliverance” will continue. The scene at the beginning of the episode where Rush realizes Young means to stay with him on Destiny is just marvelously played by both actors -- particularly Carlyle, who just shows without words Rush’s shock at Young’s commitment to the mission and thus trust in Rush. This almost sentimental coming together carries on into the flashback scene which describes the two men asking for volunteers. The fact that they get volunteers -- from Greer and Volker to Scott and Chloe -- also speaks to that sense of team. It’s heartwarming to see and more importantly, to feel.

      The special effects deserve a shout-out here because everything from the wormhole when it connects to Earth and flickers with instability to the second Destiny falling into the sun to two Nicholas Rushes occupying the same scene is done seamlessly. It’s great work and really adds to the authenticity of events.

      The other thing that I do want to highlight is the continued good humor that is running through the episodes, from the quoted Greer and Rush scene to the quip about McKay (setting up for the anticipated crossover episode later in the season), and even Bill Lee’s brief appearance in Eli’s clothes! The banter helps to provide balance to an otherwise dark plot and is very welcome.

      In the end, “Twin Destinies” delivers another good episode; an episode that fits in very well into the Stargate back catalogue of time travel episodes. Perhaps there are more quibbles here and there to be made, but I don’t care. This was a great episode and one that I’m happy to watch over and over in any timeline.

      Previously published at GeekSpeak Magazine
      Women of the Gate LJ Community.
      My Stargate Fanfiction. My LiveJournal.


        Twin Destinies

        Chatting it up with their duplicates has always been a tradition in Stargate; it happened in SG-1 when Carter chatted it up with her replicator-self and it happened in Atlantis when Rodney talked it up with "Rod". As with every Stargate series, tradition is tradition and you must adhere to tradition; (even in Universe) henceforth, this episode where Rush meets his alternate self.

        In SGU, type a thing would benefit it's seriousness greatly and it's wonderful as to how it plays out on screen; for other actors it would be like a right-a-passage where he/she would have to face all adversity but Rush does an effortless job at playing what is essentially himself. He seems to have everything organized right from the start, which is essential in an act like this; discerning his alternate himself from his normal self is a breeze for him such as knowing what to say about those respective Rushes in those pivotal conversation moments, there is no moment where he gets confused about what he's doing, he knows exactly what he's doing and he could stop at knowing exactly what he was doing but he goes further, managing to use himself to twist the character of Rush. The characters perceptions of him isn't exactly golden so to see him have the same perception of himself is intriguing since the two people are mostly the same and all; it's something that really questions the definition of a personality and whether or not anything can ever be the similar, if Rush questions him than does he question himself? I found Alternate Rush to be exceptional; being in a situation where he's all alone and there's a sense of guilt and hopelessness does wonders for his character as he moves around, trying to keep it all together but can't help to let it out at certain times. The emotion that he shows can clearly be felt both subtly and clearly, whenever he speaks, you can feel that there's something troubling him and whenever he lets it out, he lets it out in the best possible way... (and this is evident during Telford's scene though I can't help to feel his "death" was cheap.) And there is just tons of developed theoretical character; the moment where he has nothing to lose is most evident of this as he faces the eventual, faces his fears... who knows what's stopping him or what he's thinking about but this is what gives him character; what he's possibly been through, what he's thinking...

        The moments with Rush are one of the best moments of the episode and you may think that the episode may consist mostly of that unfortunately much of the episode instead consists mostly of long scenes that only seem to set up the premise and provide exposition, I won't deny that set up and exposition are essential in scripts but the slow and awkward pacing dilutes whatever potential it has. For example, it takes an entire act just to introduce the whole thing and it's introduced at the very end... While I understand that they need to set up what is obtusely the plot point, the whole plot of the episode is "Destiny meets it's alternate self" so why drag out the introduction of that? It continues onto the second and third acts where it focuses on telling it's own version of "Before I Sleep" while unintentionally neglecting whatever was introduced earlier. If I were writing this episode, I would of given equal focus to both plots and introduced the alternate Destiny thing quicker; it would of supported the character side of it plus we would get a more realized version of Alternate Rush. Disappointingly, the characters are put in situations that ultimately go nowhere; Rush being banned from much of Destiny could of showed a held back emotion of anger and resent that caused him to look into himself, same goes for the people in the gateroom who could of questioned the promise of going home or even contrasted hope and doubt; instead what we get are complacent characters who only skid the surface of what's possible. They do manage to make them represent life, talking about what they're going to do and showing the feelings they have for each other and they even further the progression of the inclusion of lighter comedy but it's disheartening to see such situations go to waste, this is supposed to be a character drama and if they introduce and drop these things without really exploring it then where does it leave the characters?

        Rush's story will draw comparisons to the story Weir told though it feels much less engaging. There are just so many moments; it was grabbing to see Rush perform his speech and show his dedication to the mission; it showed him with a bit of compassion and a bit of determination; like Weir, he cares for this mission and cares for the people but unlike Weir, he also has a intrusting sense to him, which is great for his character. Telford also gets a chance to show what he's made of after being bonded by his "Earth" shackles for so long; his objection showcases his aggressive side, the side that gave him the personality in the first place, though he may seem stupid, his performance has weight and impact, effectively showcasing what he's saying in the first place, never has Telford ever been this powerful and the scenes where everything goes wrong is tense and necessary. (unlike the Atlantis scenes) The chaos of the situation comes out like ooze, filling out every corner of your TV scream with confusion, tensity and danger; every spark is timed decently and you even get a surprise when the people trample over each other, reflecting the need to survive. It's something that ranks as one of the better moments of the episode. One of the things that'll have you out of the edge of your seat is when Destiny raids itself; this thing is truly tense from the environments which satisfy your demand for a damaged Destiny to the effects which contradict the serious mood and the best part is, it's actually engaging. For the first time in SGU history, they have finally mastered the art of placing characters in a tense situation; these characters actually seem important and because of that, it makes all of this more meaningful. Through every minute, you're caring for them as they do the hustle and bustle, hoping that they at least make it out at time and they don't wasting a second, keeping up the energy as they run from corridor to corridor. The only flaw is it's short running time but regardless these scenes are an absolute delight.

        Much of this episode is a pleasure to watch with satisfying character moments, tense action and great acting by Rush but much of it is also a pain to watch with boring scenes that lead nowhere, wasted potential and really awkward pacing, the good scenes that happen do rank as one of SGU's best moments; seeing Rush talk with himself provides valuable insight into his character and the crew themselves are made important near the end... However, it takes a bit too long to get to the good scenes and as a result we find ourselves looking at the clock more often they we enjoy ourselves; brining the episode down a couple of notches. This is among one of the better SGU episodes this season but be wary of the gift and the curse that presides.

        Back from the grave.


          i was disappointed with this episode.....specifically with AltRush
          The beginning was wonderfully done, saying that there was only one left of this and that, a true concept of Stargate Universe and the life threating situation, the real feeling of "edge of your seat".......we know the problems
          Then Young showing that he was willing to remain on board with Rush, so long as they were able to get the minimum number of people to maintain, i thought this to be an excellent development of the two of them seeing more eye to eye, and in line with the dvelopment of Young from "The Greater Good"
          YOUNG: What the hell do you want from me?
          RUSH: I want you to work with me, together, side by side, for the benefit of everyone.
          YOUNG: Well, it'll be a hell of a lot easier if you stop keeping secrets.
          RUSH: I think it's fair to say we've had our differences, but that ends today. You have my word.
          YOUNG: (lol) Oh, man, you are a lot of work!

          Rush seems to be already developed, and as if he is trying to catch everyone else up to where he is.....and Young is coming along that line. Many times when a person is far beyond others, he seems scary.....the question is whether or not that person can be wrong and admit to his failings, as Rush did in "Light"
          ELI: What about the…turbulence and the heat and the death?
          RUSH: No. No. All of that would have happened by now. The shield is protecting us.
          CHLOE: But you said we ran out of power.
          RUSH: I was absolutely certain of that, and I've never been more pleased to be wrong in all my life

          The build up to the events, and the development of the characters was wonderful.

          in comes AltRush, i thought it was very un-Rush-like to assume death when he knew what solar flares can do........AltRush should have assumed time travel, and, when it turned out that Destiny went back in time, this should have furthered the idea in his head. I do not see why AltRush jumped to think death

          And when it turned out that Telford was back on earth, that would have been a perfect out.....let me explain
          everyone could have been sent home. allow the second time line Destiny to do it again, but instead of just Telford going through, everyone piles through. thus, when Destiny again goes back in time, the third Destiny will have 3 Rush's, and everyone will have a body back on earth. those who really want to be aboard Destiny can use the stones to switch with themselves every 8 hours or so
          DE means "the Destiny Eli"
          EE means "the earth Eli"
          DE can work for 8 hours, while EE is spending time with mom.......then EE can go to work and switch with DE for 8 hours, then they can switch back to go to sleep, as well as everyone with a body double
          to boot, you now have 3 Rush's on board

          So, the crew sees the AltDestiny still struggling to stay alive, and Young says "Well, I think that's confirmation, don't you?"
          I think this was narrow minded. Here are two Rushs, a shuttle that is already docked......isn't that confirmation enough? It was as if they were in disbelief of what AltRush was saying, despite that the confirmation was standing right there and explaining what happened. The AltRush is the confirmation, the AltShuttle is confirmation.....what more are they trying to confirm? It isn't like SEEING AltDestiny is going to make AltRush's words any more true than moments before.

          So, the crew goes to salvage what they can, and as with life, an opportunity arises, and a person who has a problem with another takes the chance to sternly question the point of contention.....this always ends badly. When Rush said:
          RUSH: Look, I'll go and I'll bring back the proper tools. Be careful not to touch the damaged one. About a thousand volts running through that.
          ALTRUSH: Do you think I might know that?
          I knew what was coming, the only question was who, and since Young was still aboard Destiny, yet Telford was there....though here again, i thought this was too pushed.
          Rush could have quickly smoothed the entire thing over saying: "Look, i had a problem with some guy who was under Lucian Alliance mind control, anything more,and you will have to wait until we are back on the ship."
          I think this entire ending part was a cop-out
          it could have played out very different:
          AltRush talking to Young back on the Destiny, "Telford was up in my face slamming finger on my chest, and without thinking, i pushed him to get him away from me, and he fell back on to the damaged piece"

          Over all, i think it shows alot of character development between Young and Rush, though in the end, Young's words seem to back petal, and it seems as if his "beginning to seeing eye to eye" with Rush fades:
          YOUNG: Still, you must, ah, you must be pleased about one thing.
          RUSH: What's that?
          YOUNG: Well, we can, we can fix the ship. Get on with the mission.
          RUSH: Yeah, of course. Get on with the mission.
          Last edited by Melbol Of Worlds; 20 May 2014, 07:12 PM.