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  1. #1
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    Post FAN REVIEWS: 'Hope' (214)

    Visit the Episode GuideUNIVERSE SEASON TWO
    HOPE
    EPISODE NUMBER - 214

    Chloe's body is taken over by the mind of someone the crew believed was dead. Meanwhile, T.J. must perform a dangerous transplant when Dr. Volker is diagnosed with an illness that threatens his life.

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  2. #2
    Lieutenant Colonel xxxevilgrinxxx's Avatar
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    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Hope' (214)

    Hope Review [SGU 214]

    By xxxevilgrinxxx | Published: March 30, 2011 | crossposted at my personal blog

    Situations aboard Destiny are often dire, with risk to the crew, to the ship, to the mission, or to humanity as a whole. Like faith, hope also survives and, in true Stargate Universe fashion, it is offered in several guises – the hope offered in the Destiny’s technologies and mission, the hope offered about people that are gone, and for people on Earth. The hope offered by the crew, to each other.

    Coming after the events of the last episode, all thoughts are hanging on the fate of Earth but I’m going to hold off on that briefly.

    It’s been more than twenty years since I’ve watched “2001 – A Space Odyssey” and even longer since I’ve read Nietzsche’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra” so I won’t go into great detail but it bears mentioning that this is the second episode that referenced “2001”. Granted, it’s a science fiction classic and it would probably be odd for Eli not to mention it but “2001” struck me as being central not only to the idea of hope but to the idea of Destiny and her mission.

    To look at the two ships, perhaps it would be easy to toss out that they’re nothing alike. In 1968 when the film aired, I believe we had a very different idea of what our future in space would look like, but I raise this not to point out those differences but to point out the ways in which they are the same.

    The willingness to explore and the hope about what we will find, about the cosmos or about ourselves, hasn’t changed. I think a good many of us can relate to Volker, sitting in his backyard, looking up at the stars and wondering about all that is out there.

    To look further into “2001” and its references in SGU, both shows have alien beings that have progressed through different stages of being, in the end becoming pure energy. Perhaps it could even be said that they became gods, but in any case, they moved from one to state to another state, and we can reach them, interact with them, perhaps understand them and possibly even follow them. In “Thus Spake Zarathustra”, man is also seen on this continuum from something less to something more. And in the Stargate universe, man has followed the Ancients, learned of their progression from one state to another through the transformation known as Ascension.

    The way to Ascension, in the way ‘currently’ used by the Ancients, is not available to humans but in the Destiny, humans may have at hand the initial method of achieving a sort of Ascension. This has been shown at several points: when Franklin sat in the chair and disappeared, only to reappear later on the bridge, along with Rush’s wife, Gloria. Now, those two are joined by Ginn and Amanda Perry. While perhaps not recognized as Ascension in the form that has been defined by previous Stargate incarnations, these humans have clearly progressed beyond the need for their physical bodies. Franklin’s body has disappeared, Gloria and Perry both remain on Earth and Ginn is buried on another planet, and yet they all exist, as energy, on the Destiny.

    The mission to find the signal isn’t unlike the humans in “2001” seeking the monolith, and then there’s the idea of the ship’s AI. In “2001”, this was HAL 9000, a sentient, artificial intelligence that misled the astronauts about the mission. To deepen the ties between SGU and “2001”, HAL 9000 plays chess with astronaut Dave Bowman, mirrored by Rush and Eli playing chess. Given Rush’s nature, perhaps Rush is HAL in this scene.

    This brings us back to hope, and Destiny’s AI. There are now four characters who have been uploaded into the ship. Is it possible that, upon the start of Destiny’s journey, the Ancients could have uploaded themselves into the ship and that has been the mind, the AI, that has guided her all this time?

    Eli reassures Ginn that the current situation is a temporary one, that the crew will somehow find host bodies for their consciousnesses, but how probable, to say nothing of ethical, is that scenario? Who among the crew would give up their body and what would happen to the host’s consciousness? Why download into another strange body, when those people exist, as themselves, aboard Destiny, if in a different form?

    It may be enough to be able to talk to loved ones and know that they continue to exist, in some form, but there is a terrible sadness in knowing that they can never touch. What if Eli, what if all of them, are going about it all wrong and the method is not to find very human host bodies for consciousness to reside in, but to join those others in their transformation?

    Ginn may not be able to touch Eli in her current state but if she chose, I believe she could touch Franklin, or Perry or even Gloria and maybe this is hope for not only those “trapped” in the Destiny’s AI, but for all of the crew. To become beings of pure energy, their needs supplied by the Destiny, who has already shown that she’s more than capable of creating scenarios in the minds of the crew.

    In Mandy and Ginn’s return, not only are two well-loved characters returning, but there is also hope that others who have been killed may be able to return as well, in some way, if only their signals could be found. That two of those people returned in the body of Chloe made for some great scenes between Eli, Scott and Rush, as all of their conflicting desires played out. Furthermore, it only stresses that simply having a consciousness in a physical body is not going to be a viable solution for those left to “share”. Chloe’s sacrifice echoes Greer’s, when she is willing to put her life at risk, to put herself in the chair in order to save the two others.

    Briefly, by the end of the episode, we find out that the bomb has been defused on Earth and while this is positive, I don’t have hope that this is the end of the threat. That Telford is the one to return to Destiny certainly doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

    Lastly, there is Greer and Volker.

    The seriousness of the disease, the unfamiliarity with the tools, the inability to stone aboard a more capable doctor and TJ’s fear of failure all weight heavily on her shoulders and even Young’s faith in her can’t ease that. The entire “medical team”, such as it is, comes together to get her through it. There is a good deal of humour scattered through the episode and while I found laughing about erectile dysfunction to be a little juvenile, it certainly did break the tension and provided a much needed emotional break for those close to both Volker and Greer.

    The decency displayed, especially by Brody, when he played Volker’s favourite piece of music, and by Greer were especially touching. That Greer stepped forward, despite having another donor available, didn’t really surprise me but that doesn’t take away from the impact, not only of the sacrifice itself but in what he endured to make good on it. Would the other man have stepped forward so easily? Doing the right thing is not just words for Greer, it’s something he lives. When Greer says that Volker would do the same for him, there’s a flicker of shame on Volker’s face, perhaps knowing that this certainly wasn’t true at one time. Perhaps that’s changed.

    There was a tenderness I hadn’t expected to see so openly when Greer took Volker to the garden. Greer has great depth and to see that displayed so openly is a bold move. The onset of infection gives me a sinking feeling and I hope it gets resolved in the next episode. Without Greer, the Destiny’s spirit would be lessened.

    A deeper than expected episode and, much like “2001 – A Space Odyssey”, something that needs a re-watch.

    Rating: 9/10



    SGU-RELATED FANART | IN YOUNG WE TRUST | FANDUMB

  3. #3
    Mistress Organizer Rachel500's Avatar
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    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Hope' (214)

    “Hope” has lots of things going for it to get it in my “like” category: lots of TJ, lots of Greer, and a nice twist using the stones. Where it all comes undone is in the pacing and the lack of a believable time-line and medical care in regards the story. It’s a shame because it does really detract from what is otherwise a well-written, well-directed, well-produced hour of television – or forty minutes, but who’s counting?

    Let’s begin with what doesn’t work: namely, the pacing and timeline. The story meanders at a slow gentle pace that eventually gets to where it’s going but there is a sense of creeping impatience for me along the way. This is probably due to the sense that time doesn’t pass at all on Destiny – which, given the storyline, is honestly bizarre. The idea that someone can be tested for kidney disease, the test results known, the tests done for a suitable match and results known, the bone marrow extraction, the kidney transplant itself and the beginnings of recovery and healing all within the same twenty-four to forty-eight hour timeline is truly astounding. OK, yes, they have alien technology which helps speeds things up, but that much? Nope. Sorry, not believing that.

    The other problem is the lack of authenticity concerning the transplant operation itself. OK, I’m not a doctor and don’t know the first thing about the technicalities, but as the daughter of a nurse, I was faintly bemused by the lack of sterile conditions during the operation. Everybody wore their same old clothing; hair was left uncovered; mouths and noses left uncovered. It wouldn’t have been so obvious either, except that they made a point of showing the gloves and that the instruments were sterilized. Did the budget not run to plastic aprons? No wonder Greer ended up with an infection!

    All of the elements of the kidney plot really stretched the believability of it to the outer limits. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief that much and it irritated me throughout the episode. There was no sense of time moving forward at all. However, if the plot had its downside, it also had a fabulous upside: namely, lots of TJ and Greer.

    The story does put TJ’s medical profession front and center, making the point that she’s not a doctor on one hand, and yet showing that she’s capable of stepping up and saving a life in another. Alaina Huffman gives another excellent performance especially in the scene with Young (Louis Ferreira), where TJ is questioning whether she can do the operation and is having doubts.

    It’s also great to see Greer front and center too. I love Jamil Walker Smith’s portrayal of the Marine and here is no different. He imbues Greer with a lot of spirituality; a lot of compassion and humanity underneath the outwardly tough exterior. I love Greer’s story in “Hope” -- he doesn’t even hesitate; he’s the first to get tested, the first to step forward; if it’s in his power to save Volker’s life he will. He’s an inspirational character.

    A special mention also has to go to Patrick Gilmore as Volker. He does an excellent job. The scene between Volker and Greer bonding in Destiny’s “back-yard” was just fabulous; full of quiet emotion and meaning. Indeed, all the series’ recurring players get to come and out and play from Volker to Brody (who is just hilarious in the music scene) to Park and James (on hand to play nurses).

    Of course, most of the other regulars beyond TJ and Greer are stuck in the Someone’s Taken Over Chloe Again plot. It was great to see Ginn (Julie McNiven) and Amanda Perry (Kathleen Munroe) again. Both do a superb job with the idea that their disembodied consciousness have been floating around, and take up residence in Chloe thanks to her touching one of the communication stones. Chloe as a character doesn’t really get to do much but there’s a lot of latent humor in the storyline, since Ginn occupies Chloe’s body and both Matt and Eli have an interest romantically. What is even more hilarious is the look the two guys exchange when Perry shows up and Rush comes running.

    Indeed there’s a lot of humor throughout despite the serious subjects being explored -- and it’s nice to see that balance of light and dark continuing to be included in Universe so much more overtly these days. That said, the erectile dysfunction joke did fall flat (pun intended).

    The production as always was accomplished; the mirroring of the two plots (transplantation, risking lives to save lives) was nicely done and well executed by veteran writer Carl Binder. The whole was well directed as the pacing issues were plot related and everything came together seamlessly from lighting to costumes to make-up.

    Overall, then, this is another skillful episode for Universe, regardless of the issues. “Hope” is enjoyable and very likeable. It seems like such a shame that just as Universe was finding its groove that it was cancelled.

    Previously published at GeekSpeak Magazine

  4. #4
    Captain ZRFTS's Avatar
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    Default Re: FAN REVIEWS: 'Hope' (214)

    Hope

    At this point in the shows timeframe, with only 6 episodes left; it's kind of hard for anybody to have hope regarding the future but this isn't the "Hope" it's referring to. Nope, it's referring to the hope that Brodie will make it out alive, it's referring to the hope that Eli can save her girlfriend in that body, it's referring to the hope that everybody has on Destiny and while that is a clever metaphor, does it really matter much if the episode is boring?

    The premise they use to establish this is pretty clever; a frequenting of the communication stones, a certain sense of uncertainty that seems to be a continuation of the previous episode (even though we mostly know the likely outcome) and with that, a certain exploration into the quirks of the communication stones. Though the quirks of the stones and the situation itself isn't explored fully, I do have to admire them for at least referencing the various moments; the type of conversations about what those types of worry can lead to really digs at some level of human nature, the nature that worries whether or not they made it through or even if it's right to not worry and it shows that there's more to the stones then meets the visible eye. When Gin appears for the first time on the stones, it is especially nice to see her, a character that was once dead apparently rising from the grave. She retains that invidious charm from the first time we saw her; as she walks around, smiles and talks we can sense a warmness in her but we can also sense a chilling cold calculation that is appropriate for the characters profession, she plays the unknown role pretty well seeming to provide a legitimate confusion as to what's going on but it is Eli who proves even better when he sees her. He can't help but to let out a sense of emotion that propels his act to excellence, the wobbliness of every word he speaks, the adamant determination that he shows in every word and of course, the shyness whenever he's trying to express his feelings. He's a perfect romantic here, we can truly see that he doesn't want to let her go, that he wants to utilize all of his power to keep her here and additionally also enjoy the time he has with her as she laughs and even kisses her. The fact that she's in Chloe's body adds to the deliciousness as it means that he's also facing off with her first love, though unintentionally. There's a definite connection between the two that's more than just a TV plot and Eli's acting helps hook the audience through every moment of the episode.

    Of course, there has to be some sense of danger so low and behold the choking moments which add mystery and risk; it does provide a bit of uncertainty for the audience and the crew, is she going to choke, what's causing her to choke, will she make it? And to add to that are the moments where she seemingly gets weaker and Chloe's original personality comes through, that definitely provides a ticking clock that really drives the moments. These two things could of provided something deep for the plot, a battle of consciousnesses, the possibility that you may have to let go but not much of that is found here; instead it's used as something to drive the episode with no mention the potential chance that this might be her last time here or even delving into the emotions of the characters. While letting go has been done better on Lost, it would of been something amazing for the show; the thought of having a last chance with someone you care about deeply, being unable to let go but slowly accepting that you have to let go, I'm sure Eli would of thrived off of this as it would of provided an emotional outlet that would of given unseen depths to his character, cementing him in the status of drama lore; to see Eli let go of the one he's loved... The struggle itself is nicely done from a plot viewpoint and it's nice to see other characters showcase their feelings, Scott in his performance that barely shows love but reinforces the connection and even Rush who's just happy to see an old friend but there's never anything that truly reflects life & death, you oddly get a feeling as if they're going to make it despite all of this talk of hope and all of this risk... Consequently you are proven right as they somehow find a way to save all of their lives, which cheapens the "death" of these characters and the concept of "death" as a whole.

    It is interesting to know that these people are in the system ready to help out, ready to talk but really; these deaths had an impact on these characters. Gin's death pushed Eli to the breaking point, unable to think clearly, showing a sense of jadedness in his words, even attempting to do something by going out with them and faced him with life's ultimate lesson, dealing with the sudden loss of a loved one both emotionally and physically and Rush with her loss of Dr. Amanda Perry was driven to the point of tears, frustration, sadistic revenge to the point where he went on a mission to kill the worst character of SGU, the sheer sign of death possibly signaling release for his burden only to end up with consequences that were important in regards to the show. So what purpose does Eli's emotional burden and Rush's revenge have now that both are alive as consciousness on a ship, potentially transferable to another body? There is a subplot which involves Brodie and him having Kidney Disease. I didn't feel much for this mainly because Brodie isn't interesting as a character, sure she has his knowledge but does he has something that stands out, does he have something that'll make him care for me besides the disease? TJ does seem to play an essential part but much of her plot is ridiculously generic with "I'm just a nurse, I don't know if I can do this, there's too much of a risk, these people might die.", she does the best she can with the plot but she never seems to make it her own leaving her character in the dust. The only memorable thing here is Greer who shows a bond with Brodie, it seems somewhat pleasing to hear them talk about their lives from the bedside to even the garden and his resistance to pain, his determination to do it despite the risk is just icing on the cake.

    So where does death stand in Universe? We've had Riley die but that's the only serious death and they never truly reflected on it. We had Gin and Dr. Amanda Perry die and we even had their characters grow because of that but they've effectively been brought to life, challenged the growth of the characters and diluted their most essential moments; it's as if they think one death is enough and that alone dilutes the seriousness of death on the show. But aside from that, this episode was okay; Eli's performance is an epiphany of emotion and sheer realness that you just have to see for yourself, the performance of Gin/Chloe seems nice and there was a sense of sweetness that made the proceedings watchable but for the most part, it's boring; they never do anything major with what they're given and this could of been something where the characters are truly explored but instead it's an episode where the characters are given a platform to act but nothing much is done on the side. You can watch this from the performance but don't expect any sort of excitement that will make this memorable, it is what it is.

    5.0/10
    Back from the grave.

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