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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb FAN REVIEWS: 'Deliverance' (211)

    Visit the Episode GuideUNIVERSE SEASON TWO
    DELIVERANCE
    EPISODE NUMBER - 211

    With Destiny up against a fleet of drones, the crew is surprised by the arrival of an old foe. Chloe faces her former captors when the crew decide to hand her over.

    VISIT THE EPISODE GUIDE >
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  2. #2
    Lieutenant Colonel xxxevilgrinxxx's Avatar
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    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Deliverance' (211)

    Deliverance [SGU 211]
    By xxxevilgrinxxx | Published: March 9, 2011 | Crossposted from personal blog

    Like many of the second-parters that make up SGU’s return to air, Deliverance was a solid episode offering up a great (if expected) resolution to the pre-hiatus cliffhanger.

    As a fan, it wasn’t hard to see this coming. Fortunately, as a fan, it also wasn’t hard to see beneath the surface of the action onscreen and look at events in a deeper, more SGU, way.

    It came down to the people and, facing a terrifying enemy, one that can’t be reasoned with or spoken to, the crew comes together under the solid leadership of Young. While the actions of the enemies – namely the Blues and the Ursini – come off as a little convenient, it’s not as though enemies have never come together when faced with something that threatens everyone. The enemy of my enemy may not be a friend in so many words but as one Klingon has put it, only a fool fights in a burning house. Just like the crew of the Destiny, the ‘frenemies’ have had to put differences on the back burner to deal with the issue at hand.

    This spirit of cooperation aboard the Destiny is a strong feature of this episode. Animosities get shelved for the greater good. It may only be temporary but at least while the battle is raging, there is no fifth column on board, or at least not one that has come out for this particular fight. All of the crew, civilian and military, have stepped up and, in doing so, have gotten a taste of what they can do as a team and that won’t be so quickly forgotten.

    Of the title itself, I doubt there’s a person of my generation that can hear that name without thinking of the movie and while we don’t hear any banjos playing, there are some similarities. Like that ill-fated canoe trip, the crew of the Destiny are in waters they have no business in, interacting less than spectacularly with the natives. There are consequences for actions taken further back stream and you’ve got to wonder if the Destiny has any business being where she is or if she wouldn’t have been better off staying at home where things were safe. Everyone is changed by the journey and it’s not all good. That the Destiny finally manages to engage her FTL drive may put them out of the reach of the current hillbillies but the next turn in the stream could send them across the path of new ones, or allow old ones to catch up.

    Fortunately, this connotation of deliverance is not the only one available to me and without much hard work, the idea of deliverance resonated throughout the episode. First and foremost, playing off the last acts from Season 2.0, Chloe’s actions have called the Blues – who hopefully will want either Chloe or the Destiny enough to save them. The capture of the drone ship would also qualify, as would the upshot of that capture later on. The Ursini’s last act, while desperate, was also a deliverance. Last but not least is the deliverance of Chloe back to the Blues, part of an arc that has been in motion for some time now. In the image of Chloe and Scott, hands joined, there is an echo of the events of Cloverdale, one that is repeated when Chloe is returned.

    There are always a few high points. Young is firmly in command and the crew appears to be behind his leadership, even the Telford/Rush/Wray contingent. It may not have been a command he wanted to take on, or one that he felt he could manage, but he appears to have finally accepted it and the crew have accepted him there.

    One of the seemingly larger changes is in Rush, and while the change appears to be abrupt, I believe it has more to do with his belief that everyone on board is on board for a reason. The notion of ‘destiny’ has seized him, even though his rational mind would have dismissed it out of hand previously. The change is nuanced – one of methods – and if Rush wants people to produce for him, he appears to have learned that there are ways to get people to do more. One of those ways is to treat them better. Treating them poorly certainly hasn’t worked. Not only has Eli noticed the change but he also notes the pragmatism, when Rush quips that it was the best way to get things done.

    I can’t help but feel a bit of dread for Rush, given this new outlook. He’s come a long way in terms of character development and now that he’s got that new outlook – not only on the crew but on all the things that have happened, including Young’s stranding him – I wonder if he will live long enough to see it through to the end? Is his arc complete? And what happens to him if it is?

    The scientific and military teams worked seamlessly with each other in this episode. Park was delightful as always and her ability to accomplish a great deal of good with such cheer reminds me of Firefly’s Kaylee. Not a power in the ‘verse could keep Park down either. Eli is developing into a fine, strong young man, more confident in his place. Volker and Brody can always be relied upon, even in their pessimism, and it is in these two that much of the humor in this episode came from.

    On the bridge, the military does the best with what it has to work with. Young offers support to James, whose insecurities didn’t stop her from doing a great job in defending the Destiny as best as she was able. Greer ably oversees the rest of the security aboard Destiny – from guarding Chloe’s chambers at the order of Scott, to defending the scientists against the drone ship in the lab.

    Scott, while echoing that he loves Chloe, plainly has serious issues with what she has become. His distaste is plain, upon leaving her with Greer to watch over her quarters and it was much easier for him to put her aside in order to do his military duty than it has been in past, where he has had an inability to draw that line clearly. The image Scott has of himself is getting a little beat up by events on the Destiny but the picture underneath isn’t necessarily an awful one, just a more human one.

    Chloe continues as a creature of grace. It’s true that she has had a good deal of time to come to terms but this grace is something she has shown all along. That it’s grace under such pressure only proves out that she’s an extraordinary person, proven out by her treatment of Greer, her sorrow for the soldier she hurt, for Scott and even down to her peck for Young. With her intellectual talents apparently left untouched by the Blues, I do wonder about just how much the Blues “fixed” her.

    We didn’t see much of the Lucian Alliance this episode and we certainly haven’t learned much more about ongoing struggles but I have no fear that this new element of the crew has merely faded into the background. I look forward to upcoming episodes!

    Rating: 8/10



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  3. #3
    Mistress Organizer Rachel500's Avatar
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    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Deliverance' (211)

    Weirdly, “Deliverance” is a good old-fashioned story of space battles with aliens, last minute heroics and the team coming together to save the day. In pure descriptive terms, a casual observer might assume that I was talking about a different Stargate show to Universe given its reputation as showing unlovable characters at odds with each other, too much character angst and not enough explosions or aliens. “Deliverance” is in many ways old school Stargate and as a result, it’s good entertainment, excellently paced and leaves me with a bittersweet aftertaste given the show’s cancelation. But strangely, while it feels like Stargate, it no longer feels like Stargate Universe.

    If Season 2 has been about finding a better balance between the old Stargate legacy and the new Universe approach (in an oblique way the producers may never admit to in public), “Deliverance” is possibly the first episode to slide right over the dividing line and settle itself happily on the old Stargate side. There is a comfortable familiarity about the episode, from the space battles with aliens to the geeks saving the day with last minute software hacks and the military saving the day with determination and grit, to them all coming together as a team to save themselves. The focus of the plot is not truly on characterization (although more on that in a moment) but on the action -- how are they going to survive the confrontation with the alien drones? Here, just as in every episode of SG-1 or Atlantis, the characters are there to move the plot forward; even Chloe, who arguably gets the most character focus.

    Elyse Levesque hasn’t been given the easiest of roles with Chloe and she does her best with what she’s given. No matter how they’ve tried to present Chloe as an “everywoman trying to be useful”, the character continues to come across as insipid and not all that interesting. The alien transformation had given her something that made her interesting but here that is reversed (maybe) as a way of adding another obstacle for the episode plot that the crew has to overcome (and presumably to service the wider series arc around the blue aliens attempt to get Destiny). While her conversations with others hint at the impact to Chloe as a person, there is no new character growth. On a side note, I could really have done without the romantic music undertone in the goodbye scene in the shuttle. So, again, this seems very much like old school Stargate’s take on transforming into an alien; let’s deal with correcting it and not on what it feels like for the character to go through it.

    The other character that is focused on is Rush, who seems to have turned over a new leaf literally overnight and is suddenly being nice. Personally, I’m of the opinion that it is a continuation of Rush’s overall ethos of “for the greater good”, but his sudden desire to help Chloe (despite the possible future ramifications), and his praise of Eli, Brody and Volker all seem jarringly out-of-character. Carlyle does a good job of trying to sell the out-of-character behavior (particularly in the scene where he admits to Eli that his praise of the others got them out of the way) but this isn’t the slow character growth of previous episodes, it’s a leap – again, one required to service the plot. Equally, everybody else’s characterization is either limited to their ship function (TJ and Greer in particular) or beneath the covers (such as Young stepping up). Again, very old school where characters were mostly characterized by their function, and character growth was usually handled through subtext.

    But beyond this the episode gives us for the first time the entire Destiny crew coming together to work as a team. It’s been the essential Stargate ingredient missing from Universe to date and has only been there in parts with sub-groups working together (usually against other sub-groups). Here, the entire team comes together to save the day. This actually works in the context of the wider arcs that have been playing out this season. So while very old school, it does feel like natural growth for the Destiny crew.

    Beyond these points, perhaps the fact that the episode was directed by Stargate veteran Peter DeLuise also added to the old school feel. The episode was enhanced by its excellent pacing and I loved the section with the disjointed cut-aways that showed Scott’s frustration and tension while he waited for Chloe (excellently acted by Brian J Smith, too).

    There is also the impression that with the multiple explosions (great special effects), the presence of three alien races (the Ursini -- who inexplicably commit suicide despite being the last of their race -- the blue aliens and the alien drones), and the usage of Park and James to up the female character quotient, that the producers are continuing to try and address criticisms leveled at the show in Season 1 (not enough action, aliens or good use of female characters). Unfortunately, given the cancellation and the loss of viewers to date, it’s clearly too late to make up for the perceived lack of these elements.

    Overall, it’s a good episode and I very much enjoyed it but it didn’t feel like the slower paced, character-driven Universe that I’ve been watching. Is that a bad thing? Possibly not and perhaps it wouldn’t have quite so jarring had the show not gone on hiatus. Having said that, I do think there is a balance; the previous incarnations of Stargate were criticized for a reason as being too plot-driven and never having the characters deal with events. In trying to rebalance Universe, I hope “Deliverance” isn’t a sign that they’re throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Previously published at GeekSpeak Magazine

  4. #4
    Captain ZRFTS's Avatar
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    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Deliverance' (211)

    Deliverance

    That title is a reference to two things, the deliverance of things to and from Destiny and the fact that this will deliver on the promises left behind by the first part. The second part of a two-parter has been known to deliver on what is promised and technically as a mid-season premiere this should also set up expectations for the episodes ahead; so this episode has a lot on it's plate but does it actually succeed? Read on.

    This episode continues the high-stakes action that the first part provided; tons of drones, sheer numbers, a sense that they won't make it and it's as tense as it was before with explosions and space battles everywhere. This episode doesn't manage to improve that action, more so it keeps it the same as it was before so it's neither a complaint or a praise; what they do manage to do is increase the stakes, so you have a weaker destiny with an insurmountable number of drones and a more refined lack of hope (which I have to say is similar to "The Siege" in some ways.) and that does help in furthering the tensity leading to some decent scenes where the characters attempt to do their things in the face of certain doom. However, you can tell that the atmosphere seems oddly quaint, much like an episode of "Star Trek"; this is a character drama with real stakes and situations and they act as if this was just a normal day on Destiny, not managing to show a sense of fear or even focus in their performances. While some people will write it off, I find the lack of life during the battle scenes contradictory to it's intentions.

    When they're not in action, the show lends it's more somber and life-filled moments that seem to be oddly lacking in Season 2; when you see the two scientists working on the ship, you're reminded of how natural life can be regardless of it being anywhere and that alone contributes to the best moments in the episode because it makes Destiny feel like a real ship with real people. Rush also gets a chance to show his more sympathetic side; talking with Chloe makes us feel that inside that hardened shell lies a person with compassion, a person with soul, you can tell that he's devoted to the mission and is willing to do anything for it but you can also tell that he has feelings for these people. Sure, there are times where he seems shifty but for the most part, this is a softer side of Rush, a person that isn't all about manipulation and edge. Surprisingly Scott also gets to show his sweeter side proving that there is some form of dynamic within his character, however his sweeter side seems more reminiscent of those cheesy romance movies then it does a serious sci-fi drama and that sort of dilutes his scenes a bit; I will admit that I admire the attempts to give him character.

    Speaking of Chloe... This is definitely her time to shine and she manages to put an effortless performance that combines emotion, uncertainty and determination into one. Through the entire episode, you see a girl who's aware of what she's going through, seeming afraid and unwilling at times but doesn't let that bother her; the way she tries to explain the crew members her certain reasoning is one of certainty, but also one of vulnerability and it's helped by the issue at hand which makes that certain reasoning somewhat viable; it also makes you think, how far would you go to save somebody, regardless of what the crew thinks and is what the crew says notable in itself? When she says goodbye to her friend, when she has to face the eventual... (The setting and the blue aliens (who seem oddly minute but who's history helps with the tensity.) we see a character facing herself and providing a noble sacrifice that people will love. I'm just glad they finally used Chloe in a way that proved satisfactory to her character while still making her important for future episodes; though her situation may be gone, what is shown proves that the writers are serious in making her an essential part of what they had going with the show.

    The show also inserts it's usual mistrust scenarios and grey areas into the proceedings and it is becoming tiring, almost coming to a point where it's predictable. They do attempt to do some unique things this time around, that grey area helps the Ursini aliens by providing an new depth that was previously unseen; those that thought the opposite of them will become shocked when they reanalyze what they through they saw and come to a new conclusion, a conclusion that second guesses their own perception. To see what they really are provides a sense of humbleness and commitment that makes them more then just meets the eye, in fact the Ursini's become the ultimate example of the grey area. While I do like what the grey area does for our characters, I just wish they would switch it up a bit. Those scenes where a lot of time is involved in showing the crew trying to do something also carry onto here and they are boring as ever; while it helps with the tensity and while it does show our characters in action, these scenes drag the episode down, serves to provide unnecessary exposition and could easily be replaceable with scenes that had more meaning. Still, you can tell that the episode is dipping it's toes into new things; more people are getting into more involved roles, more light stuff is being introduced and at least it's making an effort at being engaging.

    "Deliverance" makes for a decent mid-season premiere and a decent second part; it's better then the last part but not by much. There's more action, there are increased stakes and there's even life around but with that comes it's usual flaws and those flaws are the same as ever. Chloe's fans will greatly appreciate the treatment she's given in this episode and she in fact proves herself to be one of the pivotal characters here; however there's only so much Chloe can do for one episode and the rest ends up being disappointing. Still, have to hand it to them for slowly moving forward.

    6.5/10
    Back from the grave.

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