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  1. #1
    Site Admin GateWorld's Avatar
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    Lightbulb FAN REVIEWS: 'Malice' (208)

    Visit the Episode GuideUNIVERSE SEASON TWO

    Simeon makes his escape from Destiny, sending Nicholas Rush on a vengeful mission to catch him. But Young and Greer must attempt to retrieve Simeon unharmed.



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    Last edited by Darren; November 11th, 2010 at 04:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Chief Master Sergeant nesais's Avatar
    Member Since
    Apr 2010

    Default Robert Cooper takes us to the heart of Malice

    This isn't a happy episode. From the beginning to the end, Robert Cooper takes us on a journey into the dark depths of malicious intentions. Right from the get go, the script, the direction, the acting, the music, they all point towards understanding what it is to be filled with the emptiness of revenge. The premise of the episode builds with artistic tension that doesn't let the viewer go for a second, right up to when Simeon takes the gate room, it's at this point that you know you're dealing with the maniac of Simeon, and the genius of Robert Cooper.

    There are plenty of beats here that utilise the secondary characters extremely well. SGU always uses its secondary characters in such a way that they feel as important to the viewer as any of the mains, but you know that the main characters are there to drive episodes. It's a heirarchy of character, and there are many moments on the side, Park, Volker, and James all get excellent use here. But it's Rush that drives this episode. Rush never fails at his craft, disarming the bomb on Parks back, tracking Simeon, and founding father of the demise of Simeon, he drives his Machiavellian psyche to the forefront of his intention to kill.

    Would Rush give up the mission in trade for getting revenge? I doubt it. His expectations were that Eli would stop the countdown clock. But Eli failed to do this. The episode points out a big fact: Eli and Rush are very much the same person. Eli with the loss of Ginn, suddenly isn't the master of mathematics we know him to be. No longer does he surpass Rush as soon as he becomes burdened with the loss that Rush has already been through. Will Eli make the transformation from child to adult, will he become what Rush is now? Those around him can pull him out of the water, but the other scientists on the bridge are remaining subserviant to him as they would Rush.

    Malice: the intention to inflict suffering, to take pleasure in the suffering of others. Simeons intentions, to kill Ginn, for the sake of making sure the attack on Earth is successful: malice to ensure malice. Rush getting revenge, and yet Simeon taking pleasure in watching the pain eat at Rush: malice for the sake of malice. The planet itself, the music, the howling of the wind, the terrain, the light of the sky as it bathes the land in eerie colors characteristic of the amazing Bisti Badlands and many other such places around the world. All these are elements to take us to the place that Rush is feeling - an emptyness, a suffering that is hollow and parched.

    What was the planet, was it death, was it suffering, was it revenge or misfortune? The very cracks of the earth it was made were barren, and the creatures that roamed the land were wanderers, grazers, social creatures, yet dry like the earth from which they feed. As Robert Cooper takes us through the motions, we get to feel death, we get to feel the emptiness that comes with suffering Malice. This episode is characteristically dark, powerfully dark, but entirely deliberate. Malice is a masterpiece, but it might not take you where you want to go very often.

    Two nice comic moments:

    Rush: Please shut up.
    Greer: Is it something we can barbeque?

  3. #3
    Lieutenant Colonel xxxevilgrinxxx's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2009
    Vancouver, Canada

    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Malice' (208)

    Malice Review [SGU 208]

    xxxevilgrinxxx | Published: November 22, 2010 | crossposted from my personal blog

    In a Western, it always comes down to two characters. In a good Western, there’s scant difference between the two and “Malice” is a very good western. Two hard men meet in a harder environment, both with vengeance in their hearts. Only one leaves. Nobody wins. There are no heroes.

    In “Malice”, the contributing cast is whittled away, leaving only Rush and Simeon. Rush is driven mad by the death of Amanda Perry and in your average story, this in itself would be enough, but following up on the events of “The Greater good”, Rush is responsible for her death. If he hadn’t lied, there would have been no reason for her to be on Destiny in the first place which is something he’s going to live with for a long time.

    Just as there are no real heroes in a good Western, there are no true villains either and this is where Simeon comes in. Rush has been with us from the beginning and we’ve come to know his motivations and the shades of grey that make up the character. Simeon’s role as a Lucian Alliance soldier is perhaps enough to put him down in the ‘villain’ column and his behaviour while aboard Destiny would make him a bad date, at the very least, but nothing is ever that simple.

    From episodes previous, Simeon has displayed both a military bearing and military knowledge, and further, while speaking to Col. Young he displayed respect and deference due a superior. Unlike the other Lucian Alliance members, Simeon has remained loyal to his cause, to his people, despite considerable pressure and incentive to do otherwise. With Ginn’s further betrayal to the LA cause, Simeon is looking down the barrel of possible torture to have him reveal information. Betrayal, imprisonment or death. In the end, I believe that Simeon sought the option of a soldier’s death, an honourable death, rather than be forced to reveal information that would have him die a traitor.

    As a soldier, Simeon took down armed guards on his way off Destiny but he didn’t shoot either Park or Volker, despite a clear opportunity. What happened to Park was certainly terrifying (and her terror was brilliantly portrayed) but he used a device that an LA member had already instructed the Destiny crew on disarming, knowing that whoever came through the Stargate after him would have to stop and disarm the device first. While this is not likely to be a clean military tactic, it’s certainly a sound one. This tactic is repeated with the explosive device that rendered James’ team immobile and again, when Simeon shot Greer. In all of these instances, far more deadly force could have been applied but the goal is to hinder, not to kill.

    What is more telling is the many instances when Simeon is shown to have a clear opportunity to kill his pursuers and doesn’t take it. The gun sight trained on Rush’s back. Shooting a kino, twice, in flight, while Rush is standing in the open a few feet away. The shot to wound Greer could have just as easily killed him. Finally, in the last standoff, with his every shot going wide of Rush. I don’t believe that every time a soldier takes a shot, that he will make a kill, but it’s stretching credulity to assume he couldn’t have shot to kill at least one of them. Unless it was never the intention at all.

    SIMEON: I understand revenge. Your people have killed enough of mine – people I cared about. I let you live. You know why? I wanted you to live with it the way I have. I wanted the pain to eat you alive. I know it’s a fate worse than death. I let you live, but next time I won’t. You want your revenge? You come and get it, Rush. I’m gonna put you out of your misery. Come and get me.

    Upon reading the spoilers for this episode, I had believed that the “Malice” we would be seeing would be Rush’s and while that exists, it’s not alone. Like the best of Westerns, the two characters have a hell of a lot in common, in the hurt they carry. Rush’s we are aware of. It’s not Rush’s misery, it’s Simeon’s. It’s eaten him alive, a fate worse than death, and I think he threw himself into the cause of the Lucian Alliance because it was the only way of dealing with that wound. And now he’s lost that. If suicide was an option, he certainly had the will to act on it before now. He won’t kill Rush because who would be left to kill him? When the stampede didn’t kill him, he throws one last taunt at Rush. I didn’t see it as pleading for his life, just one more poke at a raw wound, to assure that Rush would kill him.

    The death of Simeon won’t sooth Rush’s pain over the loss of Amanda Perry and it won’t ease his complicity in her death. Nothing has been resolved and in the killing of a man that may have offered information, provided he would talk, there are unforeseen consequences ahead. In what happens next, Rush will bear a measure of responsibility for that also. As Simeon taunted, Rush will have to live with it.

    The final walk back to the Stargate made for a beautiful ending. The sheer emptiness, with nothing but the sound of the wind howling, breaking for a melancholy score, against vast bleak panoramas where Rush appears tiny against the landscape make for the theme of the West distilled into its purest elements.

    YOUNG: I also know that this is not something that is in you; and that’s not something that you should be ashamed of. Now listen to me. Killing someone, no matter *how* much you think they deserve it, is gonna change you, all right? Don’t you act like you are the only person aboard this ship that has lost someone that they care about… I need you to get back to the Bridge.

    Apart from the two main characters, there are elements taking place in the background and, while they were not front and centre in this episode, the ramifications will echo through upcoming episodes. Rush wasn’t the only man that lost a love and the weight of Ginn’s death is enough to nearly destroy Eli. It is doubtful, given Simeon’s actions, that Simeon would have shot Eli if Eli had managed to go down to the planet but I’m glad that Eli never got the chance. Killing isn’t in him and, as Young states, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Eli will hurt for a long time but the weight of murder is not something he’ll have to carry. With all that Young has lost, he has the authority to reach Eli and Eli has the maturity to take it to heart.

    Speaking of maturity, Scott continues to develop into a fine officer. While still a youthful optimist, his decisions show that he is developing a more realistic world view, summed up neatly in his use of the word “complicated”. In this, I find him more like Young every day. Trying to do what’s right doesn’t always mean doing what’s right, it means doing the best you can with what you have. A younger Scott would never have countenanced the idea of Rush killing Simeon; he would have fought until he was blue in the face that it was wrong. Now it’s not a matter of whether Rush kills Simeon but only a matter of timing.

    There are consequences to that death, of course but there are consequences for every action, taken or untaken. There’s no way to know if Simeon would have talked, or even if he had anything valuable to offer. In any case, there would have been no way to verify. What concerns me more are the consequences from Chloe being on the bridge. In Rush giving Chloe the problems to solve, that damage may have already begun. Rush couldn’t solve the problem and, unwilling to share with any of the others, went to Chloe. In Eli’s current emotional state, he was in no position to pull a rabbit out of his hat regarding a problem Rush had been trying to solve for so long already.

    Was it wrong for Young to suggest that Chloe may be able to help on the bridge? Only time will tell. Something needed to be done and there was an asset at hand. In any case, there would have been consequences if the team on the planet, including Rush, couldn’t get back to the Destiny and whatever fate Destiny is yet to meet, they’re better prepared with Rush aboard than not. When Rush returns, perhaps he can at least find out what Chloe has set in motion. Provided he has clear access to the bridge.

    Young may be willing to work with Rush and he will clearly cooperate in order to set an appropriate example for the crew but it’s a far cry from trust. In the beginning of the episode, Young not only physically blocked Rush from entering the bridge but he dismissed him as well. A spirit of cooperation goes both ways. He will cooperate with Rush, but Rush will have to cooperate as well. I can only hope that with everyone on board, those unforeseen consequences won’t be as dire as they sound.

    Lastly, there is Varro. Since the incursion, Varro has been very eager to get into the good graces of the Destiny crew. This could very well be sincere, I’d like it to be sincere, but I also don’t forget that this is a man that so easily betrayed his cause. A man that continues to be a clear leader amongst the LA on board, who continues to foster good relations between the LA and the crew. All of this could be on the up and up, but in Simeon was an enemy that could be trusted, in that it was clear whose side he was on. I don’t trust Varro and I don’t believe him when he states that there is no one else among the prisoner’s that is of Simeon and Ginn’s clan. I don’t trust how close he is with TJ. Young may not show affection regularly but when he does, he is absolutely sincere, whereas with Varro, it only looks sincere. I simply don’t trust him.

    I’ve been reserving a rating of 10, knowing that this episode was coming. It does not disappoint and has earned a solid 10. Further, I’d be mightily surprised if this episode earns no nominations, not only for the actors involved but for the writing and cinematography. Beautifully done.

    Rating: 10/10


  4. #4
    Mistress Organizer Rachel500's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Malice' (208)

    “Malice” effectively is the continuation of “The Greater Good” in so many ways that it really should have just been called “The Greater Good Part II” and have been done with it. The plot deals with the aftermath of both Simeon’s trip into Ginn’s quarters and the discovery of Rush’s secret. It’s not a bad plot but it’s not a particularly believable plot either for me, and ultimately it makes what is an accomplished episode on all other respects fail.

    The main reason for the lack of believability is that the plot calls for Rush in a fit of vengeance to go all John Wayne-esque and to hunt down Simeon for killing Amanda Perry. While Rush’s character to date has been scrappy – girly fighting with Colonel Young, a bit of push and shove with Greer – there’s been nothing to indicate that he’s quick to rage and inclined to physical violence unless defending himself. Up until this point, I would have said Rush prefers long term strategy, plotting his enemy’s demise in a very systematic way and agrees with the Klingons that revenge is a dish best served cold. In fact, this is ultimately what happens: Rush devises a plan to get Simeon trampled by a pack of wild beasties and calmly delivers the fatal shot.

    But the run-up to that moment…nope, can’t see Rush running through the Stargate on a wave of righteous anger; can’t see him risking his place on Destiny to kill someone who likely will die in the wilds of whatever galaxy they’re currently travelling through; can’t see him simply reacting and not thinking. So, the whole plot doesn’t gel with me.

    That’s not to say the final showdown with Simeon isn’t filled with great acting from both Robert Knepper and Robert Carlyle. They sell the Wild West shoot-out motif as much as they can. But equally, this episode is the first time I haven’t believed Carlyle’s acting – the scene where Rush apparently crumbles and stops to have a crying session just doesn’t ring true to me at all.

    What I did enjoy though is the combination of Scott, Greer and Rush as characters. There was a nice call-back to “Air III” in that respect: Scott playing peacemaker, Greer not trusting Rush, Greer and Rush yanking each other’s pigtails, Greer shooting someone on Rush’s say so. Here the roles are flipped though with Scott and Greer headed back to the Stargate and Rush continuing alone with his mission. I love seeing the military characters act like military characters; orders are given, a strategy is formed and carried out.

    I loved the cinematography of the planet scenes; the light; the acting for the most part beyond the crying scene. The bomb on Park’s back was an original touch, the trap for James and crew a good twist, and both explosions nicely done -- great effects. The direction of that last scene where Rush approaches the Stargate and there’s a moment where he and the audience thinks he’s alone, that the others have abandoned him again, is beautifully shot and well-played by Brian J Smith and Carlyle.

    More believable than the main plot is the sub-plot of Eli, who having also lost Ginn in Simeon’s attack, wants to go running after Simeon in a fit of vengeance but is prevented from doing so. David Blue gives a great performance as the distraught Eli. The scene where Young consoles him but chides him too because Eli isn’t the only one who’s lost someone on the ship is great.

    The episode also allows the fallout of Rush’s big secret; there’s scenes covering whether to trust him with Young showing willing to work with Rush. The scenes between Rush and Young, the scientists, between Greer and Scott, between Rush and Scott are all good snippets that show us everyone is dealing with it in their own way but without putting it centre stage again.

    It’s also good to see other arc elements are also moved forward even if they’re kept in the background mostly: the Lucian Alliance plot to invade Earth, Chloe’s ongoing changes, T.J and Young’s somewhat ambiguous relationship in the wake of the baby’s death, and the rest of the Alliance people relocked up on Destiny after Simeon’s little rampage.

    I also have to give a big shout-out to Universe’s recurring cast who get a good amount to do in this episode and who excel. Special mention has to go to Jennifer Spence as Park -- the scene where she has a bomb on her back is brilliant -- and Patrick Gilmore as Dale Volker who has to deal with Simeon taking Park and not being able to help her. All of the Stargate TV series’ have been very fortunate with quality of their recurring casts, and Universe is no exception.

    Universe delivers another well-produced hour of entertainment with “Malice;” it’s polished, well-acted and directed. But for me none of it is enough to overcome the sense that plot triumphed over characterization in this storyline and I can’t say I enjoyed it.

    Previously published at Geek Speak Magazine

  5. #5
    Captain ZRFTS's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2012
    Inland Empire, California

    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Malice' (208)


    I truly thought "The Greater Good" was the sign that I was looking for, that it would be smooth sailing from here. Unfortunately I was proven wrong as I was forced into rocky waters, ie an episode featuring the worst SGU character of all time, the crazy Lucian Alliance guy without any dimension and this episode does one of the best things ever for his character; it kills him. Yup... This episode is the last time ever we'll see him.

    Much of the episode is the Destiny crew hunting the LA guy in a vast desert wasteland similar to the planet we've seen on "Air" with their guns equipped, waking in long distances, not knowing whether or not they'll find him and like "Air" it's boring, nothing much is happening aside from a couple of conversations and explosions and while those conversations do help to break up the monotony, barely any of them are good; Scott and Greer are seen for most of the time they're here but for the most part, they both seem somewhat underutilized with Scott ending up the weakest link. You'll find yourself struggling to get through the scenes while the action is literally acts apart and when the action does happen, it's capable enough but it's diluted by a lack of impact; sure the LA guy is shooting at them and sure, some bombs explode but even a major character gets injured there's nothing for us to get excited about or even care about. Even worse is that they're making themselves look worse in order to make the LA guy look better, as evident by the forced "keep him alive" thing and the fact that these military guys often make poor choices and don't react quickly enough. I found it funny that Rush did what a group of military-trained people could not. The scenes in the Destiny are nothing different but they too help to break up the monotony and they do further the mission at hand. (which are admittingly some of the better scenes of the episode)

    I do admire the themes they try to include; people dealing with the loss of love ones, revenge is not the answer to everything, the mistrust and potential information possibilities. Both Eli and Rush are center stage here, showing their emotions, going through the flow in their own way and both people play their part well; Eli playing it with an annoyed and unclear attitude with Rush playing it with a sense of sternness and tons of emotion. Between the two, I found Rush's plot to be better mainly because of how compelling the actor behind him is; when he cries, we can definitely feel any emotion that he has, any situation that he's going through and when he hits, he definitely shows something; Rush's moments contribute to many of the episodes best moments and in fact, make me care for him as he walked around, talking to people about Destiny's mission, answering questions asked by the crew, trying to get along... plus the fact that there is still some mistrust amongst him makes him even better. Rush has always been one of the best characters of SGU and though he's toddling along a desert in the middle of nowhere, his scenes here prove that. Eli is good in his own way but I'm somewhat irked that he doesn't even think of the times he was with Chloe when thinking about romance; him and the LA woman do seem like a good pair and while I thought they were natural, I just couldn't care for them much mainly because of the initial friendship-romance that Eli forgot, even though it was unnatural; plus there wasn't much in the way of focus besides the fact that they love each other so not much to build on.

    Both people do show something essential; whether it's a long time or a short time, losing somebody is hard and trying to deal with the situation is equally as hard. I would definitely feel Eli as he was going through this situation or Young as he was complementing revenge and while I may not do the same things that they would do, they do show that loss is never easy and as a plus, loss spreads to everyone. Just look at Young, he shows that pretty well right? However, trying to show something doesn't mean everything if it's included in a middling episode; sure, people will appreciate the meaning but we don't watch TV just to find a certain meaning in everything. The moment where the LA guy is killed should be a pivitol moment for Rush as he faces revenge but instead it feels exactly the opposite; I understand what they were going for but the moment could of been made better had the LA guy been a better character, in fact if he was better from the beginning then I would of thought of the situation a bit differently. I wouldn't blame him, he was designed to be one dimensional, even when he himself tried to add depth, he just went back to what he know; which is having only one side and being aggressive. I'll admit that the technique Rush used to get him was good but overall I'm celebrating and enjoying his death instead of feeling bad for it, which is a problem. This moment is intended for Rush to gain a plethora of character and because of the unintended reaction, the character is diluted; even when Scott tells us what could of happened.

    Overall this episode serves to derail the momentum that "The Greater Good" created. This episode tries to explore the themes of revenge and loss and places them in an environment which should do that but instead ends up a boring, middling affair who's only notability is the death of the worst character in SGU. Eli and Rush do pretty well for themselves as they roam through this episode and both serve their characters well but many of the potential moments are diluted by poor choices and unintended reactions. I'm really hoping this is just a fluke, I'm hoping that the next episode will be even better.

    Back from the grave.

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