Saturday, April 17, 2010

Review - Stargate Universe Season 1 Episode 13 Faith

After the successes of "Space" and "Divided," I had great hopes for the second half of the season. "Faith," however, put that idea to a screeching halt. It was a return to Stargate Universe's roots--a character-driven episode marked by exceedingly slow plotting and almost no story. The good moments, while present thankfully, were few and far between, but I didn't particularly dislike anything either.

Destiny drops out of FTL for no apparent reason, and soon after, a sun and planet is found. The planet wasn't on Destiny's computer and should have been considering the age of the planet. Exploration of the planet proves to be worthwhile as fresh water, fruit, and beautiful forestation oddly resembling that of Vancouver is found, bringing up more questions why the planet wasn't found before.

The discovery of the obelisk, the highlight of the episode, could have spawned an exciting episode, but unfortunately, it wasn't explored any more other than the passing comment about alien language. For all the speculation on who created the planet, everyone moves on without learning more. In one month, no one even ventured to the obelisk to get an up close look which makes no sense. Sure, there's an EM shield, but can't someone go closer? And what about the rest of the planet?

Instead, over the month, there is lots of talk about higher power and fate saving them, even pushing many of them to want to stay on the planet. It seemed like Dr. Caine and Chloe who were thinking this way were doing so, because they wanted an easy way out, something to believe in, having gone from a squalid conditions of the ship to a paradise planet to wanting to stay but being faced with a below-freezing winter. The combination of these factors, none of which are a good option, forces them to look for something more, as if divine intervention will pull them out of this hell hole. Faith alone is what drives their decision to stay. There haven't been many threads that carry over between episodes, so we'll see if that's actually important.

The dynamic between the civilians and the military has changed somewhat, and the one-month passage was an easy way to wipe the slate clean, absolving much of the pent of tension that was built over the previous 12 episodes. I guess mutiny isn't a big deal in Stargate Universe.Young seems to be making a genuine effort to cooperate and Wray hangs out with Eli for most of the episode. Rush continues to take whatever side benefits him, backing Young entirely to force the civilians to come back despite the strenuous objections of Wray.

During the entire episode, there's something wrong with TJ. Yes, after the 10th reminder that TJ isn't well, the writers decided to bring it up another 20 times. Finally, Chloe asks TJ and TJ tells her she's pregnant. That was probably the only explanation since everything is so focused on the characters and the writers wouldn't touch an alien disease. The timeline is unclear, so I'm not entirely sure, but I think we can assume that it's Young's baby conceived when they were at the Icarus Base.

The musical montages on the show are usually terrible as with the Chloe one last week, but the one-month montage of people having a good time and TJ still struggling did its role without being annoying. The music actually fit and the scenes were good. The writers should take notes on what they did right this time and replicate it.

In the back of my mind, whenever a new alien race is always found in the Stargate franchise, I always think about the Furlings, so they would be my first choice for the alien race. They created the paradise planet in the Milky Way before the Goa'uld destroyed it and the planet found in "Faith" is much like paradise. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part.

My biggest question is why the writers didn't have the characters explore the obelisk. The producers were perfectly fine adding the Stargate tag to an average show, but they seem to be doing everything they can to distance themselves from the premises that made the franchise so popular. Normally, the scientists would be out and about exploring the planet and finding cool alien things. The writers made the scientists do the opposite, completely ignoring the large obelisk that must hold a clue to the planet's existence.

Score: 8.3/10
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