Saturday, April 10, 2010

Review - Stargate Universe Season 1 Episode 12 Divided

For fear of sounding crazy, I watched the episode twice to make sure I actually liked the episode. Despite my constant criticism, the first two episodes of the second half of the season, being more plot driven, have been an amazing improvement over the first 10 episodes. There are far less annoyances and real tension. Let's hope the series continues like this from now on.

The conflict between the civilians and the military finally came to a head in the form of a mutiny. Rush and Wray transfer control of the ship to themselves while Young and Scott deal with the alien transmitter. The other civilians are also getting into position. It was a great setup to the mutiny where you know it's going to happen, all the pieces are in place, and your just waiting for the big moment. It comes after Rush saves Young and Scott from certain death, locking their ship into place before they jump. It was a strategic move to make sure all the civilians would stay on board, but how far would Rush and Wray go?

While the initiation for the mutiny was thought out, the resolution and return to normalcy didn't seem at all possible. Wray asks the military to put down their weapons, but what happens next? As we've seen, the civilians are wussies who wouldn't put hold up a gun. They would be overwhelmed by the military that isn't afraid to use force.

Rush blocks several corridors, trapping the military personnel. He now has control of the entire ship except for life support, but neither side was to play the game of outlasting the other. In exchange for food and water, Young sends over Eli who is tasked to increase power to the shields. He reveals that the aliens are still tracking them via a device in his chest.

As this happens, Young and Greer come through the hole drilled by the aliens in the previous episode, and open the closed hatches, letting in all the soldiers who quickly take control. James even gives a scientist a smack from the butt of her gun. To make matters worse, the aliens show up and start shooting. A doctor is brought in to cut out the device, but the stones lose power, so Chloe returns and panics. TJ saves the day, finishing the operation.

In one episode, the alien problem, the stone problem, and the mutiny problem were all resolved. Young and Scott destroy the tracking device on the hull of the ship and the tracking device was cut out of Rush's chest. For no explainable reason, Chloe conveniently did not have a tracking device implanted in her, unless of course if she actually does. The stone glitch last week is explained away by Young confronting Rush with the information that he took a stone with him. The mutiny ends quietly with no shots fired or even disciplinary action. I'm hoping that's not the culmination of the issue. Everything that seems important is resolved is resolved in a matter of episodes.

The only lasting impact will be the attempted mutiny and how it alters the character relationships. Chloe, having sided with Rush, will surely feel backlash against her by Scott and Eli. (Expect more crying.) If Young stranded Rush on a planet for framing him, what he does after a mutiny could be even more extreme.

I kind of felt like the writers were also challenging the viewers to take the side of either the military or civilians. Wray justifies her actions by stating that the civilians are always in control of the military in the free world. That's correct, except the free world isn't stuck on a ship, lightyears away, and in need of decisive leadership. Young's methods may be horrendous and abandoning Rush was a bad thing to do, but for the most part, he's done enough to keep people alive.

I have to bring up the opening musical montage, because it was so terrible I almost stopped watching. Luckily I didn't or I would have missed lots of good stuff. Why does there have be CW-esque rock music to show that the experience on the alien ship affected Chloe?

I've been harsh on the show--for good reason--but I have to give credit where credit is due. "Divided" was a very solid episode until the pat resolution. Now that the civilians have made their move, the dynamic on the ship will never be the same. They will, however, need to work together if they want to survive. How they resolve their differences and come to an amicable compromise will be interesting.

Score: 8.8/10
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