Saturday, May 1, 2010

Review - Stargate Universe Season 1 Episode 15 Lost

While the character stuff still lags behind in execution, the plot has picked up momentum in second half and Stargate Universe has become very watchable, if only for the plot. If the writers can make some characters likable and add real depth to them, the series could be quite good.

The story played out like the Scooby Doo gag where the gang is being chased by the bad guy. Everyone is running through all these doors, and soon, some find themselves right beside the bad guy. After more running around, everyone is in different positions, missing each other by that much.

In "Lost," the gates functioned as the doors. Greer is trapped in the tunnels after another cave-in, and to save themselves, Eli, Chloe, and Scott move on. Their decision, mostly pushed by Eli, is to dial gates until they find the Destiny. They go to a series of cool planets, including Dino World, Toxic World, and Winter World. Meanwhile, Rush and James are also searching for them by going from planet to planet. In the end, James's team finds Greer while Rush comes back empty-handed. However, Rush dialing back to the Destiny actually blocks the incoming wormhole from Eli, who had found the correct planet. Destiny goes into FTL and leaves them behind.

It looks like Eli, Scott, and Chloe will be away from everyone for a while longer. With the season winding down, it'll be interesting to see exactly how far the writers can drag this on and if they can bring in new ideas. If the characters don't get back to the Destiny anytime soon, their options are limited. They can either try to survive on their own or see if the aliens will do anything. Either way their outlook is bleak until the writers decide to bring them back.

By wrapping up certain plot lines rather quickly, the writers have injected a sense of unknown into the show. I was trying to think of how they would resolve the issue and wondering if there would be an easy out. This time the writers took a chance with a "that sucks" moment.

Until this episode, Greer has been portrayed as simply the angry guy, and knowing that was more to him, I was intrigued by the fact that this episode would shed some light on his past. I liked that the writers dived right in, but in their attempt to be sophisticated, they really missed the mark. Greer's past is revealed in a series of stylized orange-tinted scenes, far too short in length and too generic to really have an impact. His father was a war vet with problems and his mother--yet another weak female character--continued to put up with him. Without much of an explanation, we see Greer, only as a boy, being put out onto the street. Later, without any context, we see Greer coming home to find his house burning. People from Greer's memories at the hospital pop up to talk to him while he's stranded beside the Stargate, and they didn't have anything good to say.

The writers were so vague the scenes were virtually meaningless. OK, Greer has abandonment issues and joined the military. Now, he's experiencing abandonment issues again. It would be a fine message if the flashbacks and what seemed to be ghosts weren't so awkward. Is there something wrong with a linear flashback that builds the characters rather than throw them in random situations the audience has no idea about? There's no need to get fancy, especially when most elements of the show are so weak.

TJ finally tells Young her baby is his, but only after a tedious 40 minutes of I'm-busy-let's-talk-later followed by I'll-blurt-it-out-quickly-so-I-won't-be-stopped-and-back-out. Young acts fine with the prospects of the baby and doesn't seem to be that bad of a person. Realistically, what choices are there? Is there even adequate medical supplies for a birth or an abortion? They can use the magic stones to get a doctor on board, but a baby clearly doesn't belong on the ship.

There are only 5 episodes left in the season and I'm feeling a lot better about the series than I was. The writing is still rather clumsy, but the ideas are there.

Score: 8.7/10
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