Episode Title: "Twin Destinies"
Writer: Brad Wright
Director: Peter DeLuise
Previously on "Stargate Universe":
Colonel Telford (Lou Diamond Phillips) unexpectedly returned in the seed ship piloted by the Ursini and led the Destiny into a battle with automated alien drones that inflicted heavy damage upon the ship. However, when their newfound allies abandoned Telford and the crew of the Destiny, Chloe (Elyse Levesque) clandestinely contacted the aliens who infected her with a pathogen. Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira) and Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle) proposed an alliance with the aliens in exchange for Chloe herself. Hey boyfriend, Lt. Matthew Scott (Brian J. Smith) reluctantly escorted Chloe to the alien’s ship where they performed more experiments upon her.
However, the aliens returned Chloe to Scott relatively unharmed and seemingly cured. Meanwhile, Eli (David Blue) and Dr. Rush came up with a way to use the alien drones against each other, allowing the Destiny the time to escape into FTL. But the Destiny was barely able to limp away from the battlefield and its systems were barely functioning.
Shortly after the battle, two of the top scientists on board brief the crew and tell them that the Destiny can not continue due to the massive damage suffered in the last battle. Rush tries to put a positive spin on it, but everyone else is in bad spirits until Eli proposes a risky plan to dial the stargate back to Earth when the Destiny enters a star to recharge itself. While Rush is quick to point out the inherent dangers of the plan, Young sees no other option but to go through with it.
Rush also assigns Sgt. Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) and other personnel to shadow Rush and make sure that he doesn’t sabotage the attempt. The scientists back on Earth laud Eli’s genius for coming up with the plan, which Eli briefly overhears. Meanwhile, Rush makes an impassioned plea to Young to let him ask for volunteers to stay behind and help him run the ship. Incredibly, Young agrees to stand with him and asks him how many people they need to run the ship. Rush tells him they need ten people besides themselves. Just before Rush gives his speech, the crew picks up a transmission from Rush… who claims to be from the future.
The future Rush is believed to be a trick until he relays the conversation Rush and Young just had. When future Rush arrives on the ship, he instantly tries to attack Telford and blames him for the death of the crew. Future Rush explains to everyone that he gave an inspirational speech which convinced several members of the crew to stay with him and Young. Telford then went ahead with the attempt to Earth anyway, which was an unstable connection to begin with. Eventually, everyone but future Rush was forced to go through the gate. But when future Rush contacted Earth, he learned that only Telford made it there alive.
To further prove future Rush’s story, the crew finds the alternate Destiny also in orbit of the star and beginning to slip towards it. The crew realizes that they can cannibalize the other ship for parts to save Destiny. Telford leads a large scavenging team with both Rushes and most of the crew. While over there, Telford confronts the future Rush about what really happened during the attempt to reach Earth. Future Rush angrily blames Telford and pushes him back into an exposed weapons array, killing him. Back on Destiny, Young receives word that the alternate Telford is alive on Earth and demanding an explanation as well.
On the alternate Destiny, the crew finds Telford dead and realize that future Rush must have killed him. Rush races to find his counterpart and even he doesn’t believe his story about what happened to the crew in the alternate timeline. Future Rush doesn’t fold and gets his younger self to set up the Ancients’ chair so he can absorb their knowledge before the ship falls into the star. Rush barely makes it back to the original Destiny moments before the alternate Destiny is destroyed. When Young mentions that Rush should be happy they can complete the mission after all, he can hardly muster any enthusiasm at all.
This episode was one of the strongest arguments against the cancellation of "Stargate Universe." It was also one of the best episodes of the series.
One of the things that I love the most about this show is the way that it doesn’t have a conventional rogue’s gallery of villains. Members of the crew themselves can be the antagonists as needed without anyone venturing into true evil territory. Telford himself was the antagonist this week and his only real crime was that he wanted to get everyone home safely. It’s left ambiguous as to whether the future Rush really did sabotage the attempt. But future Rush’s accidental murder of Telford was an amazing (and surprisingly graphic) moment. For a second there, I thought that Lou Diamond Phillips was finally being written out of the show.
Not to get all timey wimey, but it’s amusing that the alternate Telford survived and made it back to Earth. I do like his character and the events of this episode should make for an interesting rivalry between him and Rush. It’s also worth noting that not even Rush trusted future Rush! Rush has burned so many bridges with the rest of the crew that it’s no surprise when they don’t believe him. And for once, even Rush himself isn’t sure about the truth of his counterpart’s story.
Future Rush’s speech to the crew was one of my favorite moments, as it led to the majority of the main characters siding with Rush and embracing the idea that Destiny’s mission was truly important. It was a nicely written piece that acknowledged Rush’s tense relationship with most of them while still making a strong case for staying. And of course, Robert Carlyle took a very solid monologue and made it even more compelling. He’s often been the most consistent performer on the show and this may have been his finest moments.
It’s a shame that future Rush didn’t get to stick around for a few episodes. The twist did remind me of the way there were two John Crichtons for a while on "Farscape" and this was a chance to explore some similar territory. The younger Rush also seemed to really like the idea of having himself around to talk to, although it was never brought up that as essentially the same person they probably would have agreed far too often to have meaningful conversations.
Young’s turn towards Rush’s philosophy of Destiny’s larger mission was a great progression for his character and by far his most interesting moments this season. Young and Rush have been at odds for so long that it’s kind of jarring to see them united in purpose. It probably won’t last, but it felt like an earned moment and a turning point for the series.
"Stargate Universe" has been so good this season, that I’m dreading the final episodes. It’s always gut wrenching when one of your favorite shows goes off the air before its time. But this one is really going to break my heart.
Crave Online Rating: 9.5 out of 10.
Episode Title: "Twin Destinies"