What an episode, what a night. On the one hand we've got team adventures, new planets, monsters and time travel. On the other hand it was a Kino-centric episode. Here's what we thought about the Back To The Future SGU.
With a flurry of zaps and one terrible brown tone filter, we're off and watching through the lens of a Destiny Kino. The teams on a new planet and gathering up food. What's edible here? No idea, but it's cute that Eli is the first to dig in (and fortuitous for him that he doesn't die). Within a few moments, you can tell this isn't going to be another "what did we run out of this week" episode, so phew and yay. Even though it's a food gathering mission, it's safe to say that food is not the number one priority of this episode.
The team's on the ground, and there's Chloe collecting food and talking about how hot it is on this alien planet. In fact, everyone talks about how hot it is, but no one takes off their sweatshirts or long sleeves? Inbetween giggles and flirting with Scott, Chloe manages to gather a few fruit like substances. And might I just point out that SGU is just going full throttle with this High School romance. They look like they're 5 seconds away from a tickle fight in front of the rest of the starving crew (which is both infuriating and adorable as so many High School flings commonly are).
Anyways, the set looks great; I'm loving the steaming mounds of alien nests along with the plants. Eli makes a bad joke about aliens and this noise, "Raaaarrrrrhhhhh," and it just hurts. This moment right here perfectly demonstrates all of my problems with Eli. He's forced to be funny and awkward all on his own. So when he makes a bad joke, it sounds more like a failed attempt to be actually funny other than an awkward character moment. He needs help carrying the brunt of the funny, so that when he tells a bad joke, we know it's an intentional bad joke and not a failed attempt at humor. Also, it won't look as fake when T.J. starts laughing later, because we will have shared little glimmers of hope or happy previously with other members of the crew. Pass it around guys.
But then everyone starts throwing up, and we don't know if they got sick from the planet or from something on the ship. We find out later that a small amount of the water from the ice planet wasn't disinfected properly and now they are all slowly dying from a bacterial thingy. So that's convenient for the plot, but it's Stargate, so I don't really care and this seems like an interesting predicament. Sign me up.
Meanwhile, Greer is listening to Saul Williams "List of Demands." Why? I have no clue. Of all the songs they could have played, they picked this single from 2004? The reason escapes me. Because they are living "hand to mouth," and "they have demands?" I really hope that's not the case. Why not "Tiny Dancer"? Think about it, the song comes on and everyone is silent on the forest planet, avoiding each other's eye contact, then one person starts singing all alone, then a few people start singing (because how can you not? It's "Tiny Dancer"), and then a few more people sing, and all of a sudden, everyone is laughing and smiling. The whole crew has reconnected through the power of song. And maybe, just maybe, this crew will make it to the next stop and solidify their place in Rock and Roll history, as a family. Because *whoosh* "this is their home."
But I digress. Let's talk about the important stuff, like the fact that Greer even has an ipod and ipod docking speaker system. Two weeks ago, when Rush cued up his onboard ipod, we learned that the Destiny has music. Because he must have grabbed while he was running for his life, fleeing the Icarus Base? Right that makes sense, right? No. No, you do not grab your ipod and speakers when you are fleeing for you life. No, no, no. And second, let's say there was some asshole that decided to grab an ipod over a medicine kit whilst running for their lives, lets say that actually happened. Greer is a dick for taking that precious music bringer on a alien planet. They don't know if it's going to rain, thus ruining music for everyone! Party foul.
Rush yells a bit because it's been seven minutes since he did something like that, and then it all starts to get awesome....Eli and Rush have a brilliant odd couple moment under a tarp in the rain, and then Chloe dies. And the crowd goes wild.
This is what I meant by lightening the mood. Rush and Eli play really well off each other even if Eli's choices were pathetically pandering and predictable. He picks Hackers because he's a Hacker, get it? If we play by these rules does that mean Greer's favorite films are will pick Diary of A Mad Black Woman and American Psycho and Scott's is Top Gun. But all in all, this was a killer, kick ass scene with unexpected humor and death, everyone wins.
Then SGU does the old flippero and, gasp, they aren't dead, they're dead in the future and now we're in the present time watching what will happen to the characters unless they can change it. I really enjoyed this whole idea. The whole thing was executed very well, I didn't even mind Eli being the narrator. A few people expressed their displeasure with Eli's constant Kino commentary, it didn't bother me. When he gets uncomfortable, he talks a la documentary girl from Blair Witch. It felt fairly natural and like it was coming from a place of honesty.
The present day crew, still aboard Destiny, has nothing left to do but watch in horror as their own deaths are revealed on camera, or kino, or whatever. Tiny little bits are revealed about the characters, like why Eli's mom is sick, and where T.J. learned how to sew stitches which is something I guess for T.J. Sadly, it didn't reveal that much about Greer but it allowed the audience to watch Greer interact with people in a real way, as opposed to his dull confessionals or I'm crazy let's just shoot it moments. I think I may like Greer, and I'm pretty sure I like T.J. just give me more. It's not fair that I know so much about Eli, and none of that information has actually been a shock, and near nothing about T.J., Ming-Na, Greer, James and so forth. That being said, I loved watching Greer teach Eli how to fire a gun, after he shoots down his Kino. Those actions do help flesh out his personality beyond "psycho." Rush also has a little reveal about his opinions on the afterlife, but I think we all pretty much know where he stands for now.
Also, it was nice to see the Kinos being used in an engaging manner and not like the Real World confessional booth. There is nothing more tiresome than listening to a person tell you how their character feels. So I'm glad this episode was all interaction and very little "Dear Kino, I haz a sad." And when the time came for a character to unload on the Kino, it felt earned. As if the time warping action had warranted this big character reveal.
And it just kept getting better. People started getting sick on the ship and for a split second I thought that SGU had finally killed off a real life character, James, but then when it started picking off other crew members one by one, I knew it was all a sham. Eli tells Chloe he loves/likes her because she's dying, and it's very, very sweet. He's a giant sweetheart for most of this episode. Sadly it doesn't mean much because, well we all know no one important stays dead on Stargate. They really had me when they killed off James, my mouth was on the floor realizing that this may the new dark Stargate we were promised, but the seconds Chloe kicked it I knew the time traveling reset button would be hit soon. That being said, when T.J. cried, I almost cried, it was incredibly convincing. Please give her more.
So back into the jungle, and the whole crew is depending on catching one of these little night monsters. What's going to happen? Death, and lots of it. The next thing we know Scott is screaming into the Kino and sending it back in time, hoping the next time the Destiny Crew happens upon this time traveling Kino they can use their death mistakes to their benefit. And that's it. That's the end. It's all wrapped up with a big question mark.
Where does that leave the viewer? Confused but rather happy that SGU is able to take these kind of risks. I guess it all depends on the next episode, and where they decide to pick up. Some of the time traveling wires don't really pan out in this episode, but it doesn't really matter. You have to take it with a grain of salt, like the fact that people have ipods on the Destiny. I'm hoping that they at least pick up next week at the very end of the new mission. Maybe everyone is getting their venom injections and Young is telling the people that found the old Kino to, never speak of this again. Bottom line, it was something risky and fun. We're exceedingly thankful for this even if it didn't move the story ahead. It showed us what SGU is capable of which is much better material than the past few weeks, and for a moment there I thought we were in trouble.