This week everyone went bananas on SGU and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Watching each crew member sift through their own personal mind hell revealed a lot about each character and enabled one excellent back-from-the-dead cameo.
I'm normally not a fan of filler, but lately some of my favorite SGU episodes have been the "in between" specials. "Time" was excellent and this weekend's "Pain" brought out the crazy in everyone, literally. Maybe SGU is at it's best when it's not working on a larger story arc? Audience members are rarely upset when small problems are resolved in one episode, resetting massive plot lines and interesting story arcs on the other hand.... But enough about the past. I really liked this episode, so lets get to the good.
This week everyone is suffering from super powered space Lyme disease. While I'm not thrilled with the nature of the hallucinations, I quite liked watching everyone go crazy.
"Pain" starts off with a bang. Scott and James are sweating up the sheets dirty moaning SGU style. Terrible bangarang rock music aside, the end result was fantastic. When Scott is erm finished, he picks up to go but was James having any of that? Hells no. Fisticuffs ensue and James takes a lantern to his skull. It was at this moment I realized that this wasn't reality, but it didn't damper the blow by any means. Clearly James isn't nearly over her broom closet rendezvous with Scott with her whole "her or me" talk. Sure it might be a tick-fever dream but there's truth there. Let's hope this comes back up later when James has a chance to airlock Chloe. Do it, seriously, we'll back you. We're on team James, especially since she's not afraid to crack a few skulls.
Sidenote: Anyone else fancy Scott a whole lot more when he acted like a giant dick? More of this Scott and less Nancy-Boy Scott asap. Minus the whole "I hit girls" personality trait. Not cool. But yes he could use a little more bad in that ass.
Next up, Volker starts to have his own delusions, turns out he's claustrophobic. Why is it every time there's a TV show where people are exposed to their fears, someone always has claustrophobia? Maybe I'm naive to the amount of people who actually suffer from this, but it just seems like an easy go-to on television. That being said, there's nothing wrong with having more Volker. Plus I truly believed he was scared. He is far and away my favorite side character on the ship, with his dry delivery. I'm still holding out for a Volker-centric story line.
And the super tick serum starts to show up on the planet ruins Away team, even crew members we haven't seen in months, or ever, have it. Who are these people????
What I liked the most about the space tick disease was that it didn't just cause the host to suffer fear delusions. Chole's story in "Pain" wasn't' so much a major fear for the character, but a strong desire. Chloe's mind brought back the great Shooter McGavin, and trust me no one is a bigger Christopher McDonald fan than yours truly. Watching Chloe say goodbye to her space tick hallucination Dad tugged at my heart strings a little. It also melted a little more watching Eli look at her with such warmth and sadness. It would have been pretty great to see her talk even more to a empty nothingness while Eli watched on in horror, but more time spent on that would mean less time for the tearful goodbye to the space tick Father. While I've never fully warmed up to the Chloe character, I can relate. I too would keep the mind poisoning tick in my neck if that meant I got to hang out with Shooter all day.
Sidenote: Were all the ticks conveniently located in the back of each away team members neck? Hmm. I can't remember any other spots? And if you remember House, ticks can live anywhere, and I mean anywhere. But these are space ticks, so who knows? Yeesh. UPDATE: Apparently it was explained that the ticks inject the venom into the base of the brain. But doesn't venom in the blood eventually hit the brain anyways? I know, I know, nitpicking, but just curious.
Even the mighty Greer was susceptible to the space tick disease, and immediately began paranoid spy sessions on Camille and Rush. And if there's one person you don't want going space tick disease bonkers, it's Greer. This episodes pretty much sums up why. Greer gets shit done. He even went as far as to hallucinate permission from Young to use "deadly force."
While I enjoyed Greer's fever dream, I'm confused as to why he would be so concerned by another mutiny. Does he not remember how poorly the last Rush and Camille mutiny attempt went? Still, watching Camille writhe around under Greer's gun was most excellent. He's a scary piece of work that Greer, and he's definitely at his best when he's playing full blown crazy. Could have done with out the second hallucination of Greer's father coo-ing like the Mortal Kombat narrator to "do it." But all in all, solid.
Another exciting space tick dementia dream was Rush's. We all knew that Rush was very leery of the big blue alien baddies, but we didn't know how bad it really was until now. I was surprised, I really thought his dead wife would reappear screaming about how he left her alone on her deathbed. But then again that would probably be a little too Event Horizon. Watching Rush cower like a child once again reaffirmed that he is the best actor on the ship. He sold is Lyme-induced fraidy cat act quite well. Plus, now we know one of Rush's weak points, and I hope this comes back up later. Rush's biggest fear is the brain prodding blue baddies, possibly the only people they've run into smarter than him, well besides Eli. And the blue meanies want his brain.
But who was the big winner of this episode? James, by far. We're finally getting to know a little bit more about this characters wants and needs. Plus let's not forget she already feels like she's letting down Young at every turn. Having him walk into her pantless weep session over a make believe body probably isn't going to soothe over and worries James has regarding Young's opinion of her. Hopefully the heaps of drama being hoisted on top of James will explode in a big, big way. Plus I liked watching her freak out when she realized Scott was alive.
The loser of the episode was once again, the music. No more Grey's Anatomy in space, please. I don't need someone singing that "nothing is alright" after I just watched Greer beat the living hell out of Camille. Plus I wish they would have fleshed out Chloe's story a little. She could have had the tick removed and then secretly put it back in just to see her father again. Thus beginning her quiet life of insanity. Might have been a little more interesting than the mere shock value of bringing Shooter back then taking him away. Still all in all, it was a good episode.