Episode Title: "Hope"
Writer: Carl Binder
Director: William Warring
Previously on "Stargate Universe":
Months ago, the Lucian Alliance invaded the Destiny and they were barely defeated. One of the survivors, Ginn (Julie McNiven) proved very useful to the crew of the Destiny and provided intelligence on a potential terrorist attack on Earth by the Alliance. Ginn also became romantically close to Eli (David Blue) and volunteered to use the communication stones to trade places with Dr. Amanda Perry (Kathleen Munroe), the comrade and sometimes lover of Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle). However, Ginn’s clansman Simeon (Robert Knepper) attacked Ginn’s body because he believed she had betrayed their cause, leaving both Ginn and Amanda dead.
More recently, a strange temporal event led to twin Destinies and the return of Colonel Telford (Lou Diamond Phillips) to Earth. When Camille Wray (Ming-Na) and Master Sgt. Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) used the stones to travel to Earth, the long anticipated Lucian Alliance attack took place. In the initial blast, the communication stones were buried and the bodies being used by Greer and Camille were exposed to lethal levels of radiation. Varro (Mike Dopud) was able to send instructions on how to disarm the bomb back with Camille’s host body, but the crew anxiously awaited word as to whether the attempt was successful.
Days later, the crew remains worried by no word from Earth. As part of a round-the-clock vigil by the communication stones, Chloe (Elyse Levesque) falls asleep. A connection is made in her mind and to everyone’s surprise, the occupant is Ginn! Eli, Rush and Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira) race to see her and tell her that her body was murdered by Simeon. Ginn then asks how she can possibly be there if her body was killed. Later, Dr. Volker (Patrick Gilmore) collapses while getting help from T.J. (Alaina Huffman). After examining him, T.J. determines that he is suffering from a kidney disease that will kill him without a transplant.
Meanwhile, Eli rebonds with Ginn and tells her how Rush avenged her death by killing Simeon. Out of the blue, Ginn suffers from a choking episode that seems to mirror her last seconds of life. Later, T.J. examines her and finds nothing physically wrong with Chloe’s body, but Rush points out that Simeon strangled her to death. He also argues against disconnecting the stones. T.J. also tells the command staff that they need to find a kidney donor to save Volker’s life. Greer and Lt. Matthew Scott (Brian J. Smith) are among the first volunteers to submit themselves as potential donors.
Elsewhere, Ginn has a more violent choking attack that leaves a confused Chloe back in charge of her own body. Rush theorizes that Ginn’s mind is suppressing Chloe’s consciousness and suggests further study. But Young warns him that if Ginn has another attack that he’ll order the stones be disconnected. To Eli’s surprise, Ginn agrees and says that she doesn’t want to hurt Chloe. Moments later, Chloe is temporarily back in her own mind as the connection to Ginn gets progressively weaker. Back in the medical bay, Greer and another crew member named Morrison (Vincent Gale) are ideal matches for Volker. Just as Morrison tries to back out, Greer volunteers for the procedure.
When Chloe learns that attempts are being made to save Ginn’s consciousness, she urges the crew to do so. But once again, her own consciousness gives way… this time to Amanda! Rush is ecstatic to see his lady love again, but he notes that her consciousness is the weakest of the three. He suggests a radical plan of uploading Amanda and Ginn’s consciousnesses to the ship itself as a way of saving them. Despite the risks, Chloe agrees to be placed in the Ancients’ chair while Rush works with the machines.
Before Volker’s surgery, Greer takes him out to the closest thing they have to a backyard, the hydroponics bay. Chloe’s condition worsens, necessitating the transfer before T.J. can finish operating on Greer and Volker. The upload causes Destiny’s systems to overload and malfunction, leaving T.J. in the dark at a critical juncture. Amanda than appears to T.J. and talks her through the rest of the operation. Rush confirms that the process seems to have worked for both Ginn and Amanda. Then the Destiny finally gets word from Earth that the bomb was defused and Washington was saved.
Later, Amanda appears to Rush and they share a moment together. Ginn also appears to Eli and they both say that they’re grateful to be reunited, despite being unable to touch each other… perhaps ever again.
So, let me get this straight. Both Eli and Rush lost the women they loved to the same tragic murder. But now they have their respective lovers back as ethereal ghost like entities in the ship whom they can never embrace or even touch?
Hey… that’s a happy ending on this show.
I tend to sing the praises of "Stargate Universe" with almost every episode, but how many shows do you know of that can mine so much drama from just being on the ship and dealing with the rest of the crew? The closest point of comparison is "Battlestar Galactica," but "Stargate Universe" has evolved into a stellar series in its own right.
I wasn’t too shocked to see Julie McNiven back as Ginn, but Kathleen Munroe’s return as Amanda was unexpected. Regardless, its good to have both characters back after a fashion. Only on a sci-fi series could anyone get away with killing off two potentially very interesting female characters and then bringing them back as specters a few episodes later. And because this is a genre show, it’s not out of the question that one or both of them might actually get a new body.
Dr. Volker has been in the background of the show almost from the start, with occasionally memorable moments here and there. But this episode managed to make us care for him in a way that we really hadn’t before. First by giving him a life threatening disease and second by smaller moments that brought out his character. Like his love for the theme from "2001" and his longing for his backyard despite his desire to be on the Destiny. Even Volker’s long simmering attraction to Lisa Park (Jennifer Spence) was given a moment to shine when T.J. and Brody left them alone at the end.
But the biggest revelation for the second week in a row was Greer. I’m not sure if it was the events of last week’s episode that changed him, but Greer showed a more human and caring side than he’s previously let on. Even when there was someone else who could have saved Volker, Greer stepped up and took the bullet (so to speak). Greer even had some terrific scenes with Volker as they bonded with each other pre-surgery. Seriously, where has this guy been for the entire show? Jamil Walker Smith has been giving us the angrier Greer as written on the page. But the Greer we’re seeing now is a more well-rounded hero and someone I could watch on a series for years to come.
The twin stories initially seemed ill-suited for each other, but the way Amanda was used to bring the stories together was a nice touch. It’s also interesting that no one but T.J. and Rush could see her. I have a theory about that. I believe that they (and Eli) can see Amanda and Ginn because they’re more open to interacting with the ship on a deeper level. Also, they might be a little crazy themselves. But it may help in their current situation.
Even the smaller scenes between Eli and Rush while playing chess added more dimensions to their respective characters. It’s heartbreaking to watch a show fire on all cylinders the way "SGU" is because it’s tempered with the knowledge that this is all we’re going to get. This show has already been canceled and its fate sealed by Syfy. So anything unresolved in the last six episodes will likely remain unresolved for good.
And as a fan, that’s really painful. Great sci-fi series are too far and few between. When something like "Stargate Universe" comes along and defies creative expectations, it should be nurtured not smothered.
But for now, I’ll take what I can get.
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.