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  1. #1
    Site Admin GateWorld's Avatar
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    Apr 2004

    Lightbulb FAN REVIEWS: 'Visitation' (209)

    Visit the Episode GuideUNIVERSE SEASON TWO

    Members of the crew left behind in another galaxy make a shocking return to Destiny, while Chloe deals with the inevitable consequences of her transformation.



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    Last edited by Darren; November 25th, 2010 at 03:31 PM.

  2. #2
    Lieutenant Colonel xxxevilgrinxxx's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2009
    Vancouver, Canada

    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Visitation' (209)

    Visitation Review [SGU 209]

    xxxevilgrinxxx | Published: November 27, 2010 | crossposted at my personal blog
    RUSH: Well, either He’s lost His touch, or God’s got nothing to do with this.
    With a name like Caine, I knew we were going to be seeing something interesting. There’s something in the way that Rush says this, in the distance he, and the rest of the crew, keep from Caine and the others, that really struck me. Caine has lived up to his name and become something of a villain, if not in the way that we would normally see. Caine is a bad guy not for any evil acts that he committed but that in his way of thinking, his blind belief, he led not only himself but others off the path.

    Despite all the gods that have appeared in the Stargate franchise, from the original movie through all its incarnations, Stargate has always been about the people. In “Faith” and, more specifically, with Caine, we were shown a character that was not willing to put his faith in his fellow men, or even to put his faith in a technology that was alien and unknown, but that had instead put his faith in an alien god-like entity that he had ascribed a specific nature upon: as a benevolent, all knowing, wish granting god.

    Given the dire circumstances that the entire ship faced, perhaps it was easier to believe that some unknown entity would take care of them and that all their days of toil and fear were over, if only they believed enough. And so a good number of people chose to stay. When the Destiny left, I believed that we would never see any of those people again. Of course, this is science fiction and anything can happen. In “Aftermath”, TJ is shown a perfect image, to help ease the death of her child. Images are easy, it’s the truth that’s hard and in “Visitation”, we got the truth.

    In watching, I was struck by the notion that the visitation wasn’t so much about bringing people back to the Destiny via the all knowing, all powerful aliens as much as it was about showing the “Eden” people what they had given up, what they had lost. Not only their lives but the very thing that makes us human: our will to come together and fight against any adversity, to overcome by the strength of our own will. To follow our own Destiny.

    Whatever alien presence Caine believed would provide for them all, that last act wasn’t a kindness, save to the Destiny crew. Caine could not be shaken from his beliefs on the “Eden” planet. He was only slightly shaken as the winter moved in, as all their life was consumed in fruitless work. He was not shaken as everyone around him died. In the end, what finally shook Caine was coming back to the Destiny.

    Aboard Destiny, he was taken to see the beautiful new garden. An “Eden” made not by some benevolent alien on a whim but made by us, by our own hands. Afterwards, on the observation deck with TJ, his faith takes on a form that a good many of the people aboard Destiny have had all along, in some form or another. His faith becomes less a matter of great gods and benevolent aliens and becomes the simpler faith that we have in each other. In our ability to be kind. At the last, his message is to have faith in each other. Only then is he free to die.

    This being Stargate Universe, the visit by Caine and the others is not the only visit that takes place during the episode. There is the emotional visit between Greer and Chloe, where he asks for her forgiveness for what he has to do. There is the visit by Scott to Chloe, and a later one snubbed, where she turns him away for his own good. There is a visit between Wray and Young which shows that what had been building to mutual respect may be forming into mutual friendship, something I had wanted to see since the incursion. It is in the visits between Wray and the new people that the crew learns the truth about what happened on the planet after they left. There are brief moments between TJ and Young, who both have a vested interest in the fate of the “Eden” people, for the sake of their daughter. With TJ, it is less about faith and more about the desperate need to believe something good. Young believes what he saw from the beginning: that the best chance of survival was on the ship, with people. Where his only somewhat supernatural belief is wanting to run every time he’s in a room with one of the new people, showing that he believes in the human soul.

    In our current use, we would rarely use the word ‘visitation’, but there are instances where the word is common. As a Christian theological term, for one, referring to the appearance of a supernatural being, or a visiting of punishment or reward from some higher power. The term is also used however in reference to hauntings. In soulless people returned to the Destiny by some entity, the term fits. In seeing the truth of the “Faith” planet, the crew can move on rather than always wondering ‘what if’. In seeing the Destiny, the “Eden” people can move on, seeing what they had given up.

    One thing is certain for me: I’d never want to set foot on that shuttle.

    Rating: 9/10


  3. #3
    Mistress Organizer Rachel500's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Visitation' (209)

    Universe declares a change of pace with “Visitation,” delving into mystery, mythology and philosophy before the series heads into its mid-season and no doubt action-packed two-parter. Here, some plot threads are tied up as What Happened to T.J’s Baby and the Group Who Stayed Behind in “Faith” are revisited, while the sub-plot of Chloe’s Evolution moves on. Yet all are explored in a way that ties the whole episode together in a beautifully lyrical way as Universe looks at death, life after death and life before death.

    The Group Who Stayed Behind provides the meat in the sandwich and covers all three aspects. This part of the story is fascinating as the group turns up in a pristine shuttle and the mystery of what happened to them is slowly revealed over the course of the episode. I loved this. I loved the creepiness; I loved the gruesome deaths that are revealed; I loved the resolution that the aliens had tried to fix their deceased bodies but had failed. I loved the exploration of death in this storyline.

    After the opening episode and T.J’s almost fairy-tale “visit” to the planet from “Faith,” where the Unknown Advanced Aliens built log cabins for the settlers to shelter within through the Winter, “Visitation” reveals the truth – or at least puts forward a second version of events. This one is more harshly realistic: conflict within the group, love affairs, and shortening rations in the days leading up to death; the majority dying of hypothermia as the cold set in; the miraculous return to life and Destiny – only for the resurrection to fail. I love the sharp contrast of reality versus T.J’s dream. I love that Caine wants to believe it’s God while Rush believes fervently it’s science. I love the exploration of whether in ‘fixing’ the dead humans the aliens have failed to consider their souls. I love the metaphysical debate about faith and death that is put forward here. I can already anticipate the “Save BAG” campaign hitting the internet.

    Inextricably tied up with this thread given “Intervention” is the What Happened to T.J’s Baby thread. This too looks at death and life after death. The group from the planet arrives without the baby and T.J’s hope that her little girl somehow survived, was transported to the planet to be cared for, is crushed. While I’ve probably gone on a LOT about Alaina Huffman and the brilliance of the performance she gives as TJ in my reviews this season (and last), I’m going to do it again here because she does just deliver in spades. You feel T.J’s hope when she waits for the shuttle to open; her desperation as she darts inside; her disappointment and pain as she realizes that her baby isn’t there. Equally, at the end as T.J comforts Caine – as Caine comforts her, there is the sense that T.J is accepting the truth of it and finally dealing with the loss. There are some nice moments between Young and T.J in this; some good beats of non-verbal interplay worked out between Huffman and Louis Ferriera which makes their relationship real.

    If the T.J thread deals with death and life after death, the Chloe Evolution thread deals with the opposite angle: life before death. It has occurred to me that it’s easy to underrate the performance that Elyse Levesque continues to put in as the evolving Chloe but her seamless transitions between Chloe and Not-Chloe are brilliant. The audience knows at a glance which is which.

    I loved this thread too; the idea of Chloe leaving kino messages for her friends; her understanding of what is happening to her; her forgiveness of Greer; her trying to push Scott away from her. It all is a great exploration of someone trying to come to terms with a fatal illness. If I adored the scene between Scott and Greer with the “butter bar lieutenant” jab, I loved the scene between Greer and Chloe. Greer’s simple request for forgiveness because it’s likely to be him that Young will order to deal with Not-Chloe when the time comes; his simple expression of faith in saying he prays for her every night (a wonderful contrast to Caine’s more obsessive take on faith). I maybe somewhat in love with Jamil Walker Smith’s portrayal of Greer.

    The beautiful thing though is how the whole is more than the sum of the parts. This is a tightly woven storyline, packed full of character development and moments, with plenty of sci-fi and philosophical life questions posed for the audience to chew over. Who are the Unknown Advanced Aliens? How advanced are they if they can fix up the shuttle but can’t fix up the human body? Does the soul matter in these equations? Does God exist? What is the nature of faith and how does it differ from science? This episode is right up my street and I’m looking forward to more from new writer Remi Aubuchon.

    This is an episode that could have ended up feeling like just an excuse to get the shuttle back but which avoids that in spades. So, yes: I loved this episode although I acknowledge that probably it doesn’t do very much for the crowd who need explosions and alien space battles. However, the next episode being the first of the mid-season two-parter will no doubt deliver that and I’m happy to get this wonderfully thought-provoking and intelligent episode in the meantime.

    Previously published at GeekSpeak Magazine

  4. #4
    Captain ZRFTS's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2012
    Inland Empire, California

    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Visitation' (209)


    In Season 1, there was an episode called "Faith" that was about those who stay behind on a planet, in the season premiere there was a dream that TJ had about her baby being in a better place. Both things have something in common in that not much progress is made in both fronts until now, where this episode brings both of them together in one drama packed episode.

    Right off the bat they manage to introduce these people as a miraculous thing that appears out of nowhere and interests the curiosity of the audience. You're interested, thinking about what is exactly happening, who these people are, if these people really are what they say and what they could be up to and you're demanding to know more about these people, to know how they got here and the history they went through and you may believe that the episode will focus on these people. Well they do, but not in the way that you're expecting. While there is a focus on the people, much of the episode resolves around the Destiny crew and their usual stuff about whether or not to trust them, whether or not they're who they say they are and the usual military atmosphere they bring; while the crew play their parts well, they detract from the time that could be used to explore these people, what they're lives are, what they're acting like, how they're coping with the situation and just exactly what happened. The writers do try to include a religious debate into these scenes in order to make these scenes worthwhile and to explore a bit with the characters and it's nice that they did that but the problem is that the religious stuff isn't exactly deep; it's the usual. (there is a higher power, but we believe that technology and reason wins in the end.) Granted, Religion has been done before in Stargate but there were things that really made it compelling, in here it just feels like a person trying to make a show metaphorical and insightful. I will admit that Rush's line was pretty worthwhile and intriguing.

    These people have a plethora of things to focus on, things that could take up an entire episode and while there is some of that, the focus is oddly limited, only focusing on a few important people while treating the rest as secondaries and even the important people don't get enough time. The stuff we do get from the time they use is insightful, engaging and really allows us to get into these characters; the brief glimpses of life that we get are nice in showing us what they lived through while also serving a smaller purpose of the plot while the brief factoids given in character dialog add a certain dimension that these characters wouldn't have otherwise. These scenes really serve the episodes potential well, showing us what could of been had the episode focused a bit more on them. Since this is a sci-fi show after all, there has to be something mysterious that happens and there is in connection to the people; what happens is tense but it's tied into the plot at hand, which is nice but I can't help to think that they focused on this a bit too much. Don't get me wrong, it's a good mystery but SGU is a character based show and we watch this show for characters of all kind; sure, it's cool to see the crew work on the situation, trying their best to make it but this is supposed to be their time to shine, they're time to show who they are. Instead they're relegated to just an important plot point. Dr. Kane does somewhat shine here (I say somewhat because his focus is awkward) showing his perception and his compassion especially in a scene where he says some metaphorical stuff, granted the stuff isn't exactly deep but it is nice to hear something that isn't an attempt at being deep; especially when the moment is pretty good itself.

    TJ's baby also gets some exploration here and while I disliked the plot, I did like the type of resolution that it got. TJ's acting also gets a bit better here as it's clear we can tell what she's feeling; confusion, sadness, desperation, depression, for once she's not acting like a person who can barely emote, no she's acting like a human being who has some idea how to utilize emotion; people can almost gain a feeling for her as she acts but despite the effort, she can't help but to get overacted in a couple of scenes. Don't get me wrong, this is TJ's moment to shine but she just can't seem to bring the emotion or the dedication whenever someone more capable is around here and it's evident when she loses much of the momentum she has gained in these scenes; often reverting to her old self. For those of you wondering about the dream, it gets answered here and let me say that the answer will split people into both sides; while some of you will find metaphorical meaning, others will be pissed at how it was treated as important and then wasted. While I find that it's nice that they answered the dream, the fact that there are two sides is questionable at best and I mostly blame that on the way they treated the dream initially; from what you saw you thought the dream was going to be big and while you can go back and try to find meaning in the dream, you will ultimately be disappointed by the result that comes in this episode... Still, it gives us some food for thought. Chloe also gets some good scenes that more then show she is determined and focused and while Scott and Greer don't exactly mix well with her, it does prove that there is a sense of eventuality and that there is always someone to see her, which I thought was cute.

    This episode doesn't do much for the people who are featured in it but it does do enough to provide a decent romp. We get to learn about these people and what they've been through, we got to see them through the Destiny and we even got a couple of good moments out of it; however there are things such as the attempts at metaphorical discussion and the Destiny crew itself that get in the way of the episode, diluting it's potential. It's better then the last episode but I'm saddened by the fact that an episode with potential got wasted, these people deserved better then what we've got; however, what we've got could be considered enough.

    Back from the grave.

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