Stargate Universe Air S01E01-02 (Syfy)

SG°U title card, via Wikipedia
SG°U title card, via Wikipedia

I’ve never been a Stargate fan. I’ve tried watching SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, but never really found them compelling enough. I actually like the original movie with Kurt Russell, but the series never really interested me that much. One of my friends recently bought all of the seasons cheaply. I thought about watching them, but ran out of time. Scalzi is a creative consultant on this series and it looks pretty interesting, so I’ve decided to give it a go.

Now, before any bitching and hating starts― too late, it’s already started, I haven’t bothered to read, review, or watch any of the Stargate series, and I’m not going to. I’ve watched a couple of episodes and didn’t continue. I tried Stargate Atlantis, but didn’t like it. My friend told me that starting season 4, SG-1 was really good. I can’t really comment on that as I stopped watching the series after a few episodes.

Basically, I’m a new viewer of Stargate, but I’m not a science-fiction novice. It puts me in an interesting spot about reviewing this show. My point of view is from someone who hasn’t watched any of the SG shows, so this review and recap should be interesting to those of you who haven’t watched SG before. For the others, leave some comments and start a discussion.

Is the show good or bad? Read on to find out more.

Warning: spoilers ahead

* * * * *

I was quite happy in the first part of this show. It was an interesting concept. The ship, Destiny, was sent out by the Ancients to explore galaxies. They planned on getting to it using a stargate, but they ascended before they could any use out of it. The ship has been on autopilot for hundreds of thousands of years, in some kind of FTL that isn’t hyperspace. It’s visited countless galaxies. Before the Destiny left, the Ancients sent out other unmanned ships to seed the galaxies with stargates. The Destiny knows the coordinates of these gates. It’s going to stop when the crew needs it to stop.

The premise is interesting enough. The two first episodes have some long bits, especially when everyone is crying about losing the dickwad senator. Frankly, I couldn’t care less. Those were a few minutes that could have easily been cut out. There are other long bits when the senator’s daughter Chloe and Scott share a cry and a hug about his death. My guess is that the season premiere could have been cut down by quite a bit.

That being said, the show isn’t bad. I actually liked it and will keep watching it. The writers are using an old trick. Eli Wallace is new to the whole stargate think and he encompasses the feelings of new viewers. There are some things that I find surprising with the setting. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, but seeing that the Air Force is in command of the stargates or has some kind of influence on them is kind of strange. There is a scene where O’Neil is at the Pentagon and overseeing parts of the stargate network.

There is also some teleportation technology. People can just be beamed away. My guess is that it’s some application of the wormhole generating technology. What’s most surprising is the Hammond and the fact that a human crew is on it. It’s not mentioned if it was built by humans, but my guess is no. Like everything else in the Stargate universe, humans just came along and found it. This isn’t meant as a criticism and I kind of like it. Finding some starship and technology that is thousands of years old is always interesting. The fact that is still works is also a testament to its making. At its height, the Ancient civilization must have been something.

There is a lot of hype surrounding this show. It’s kind of a mix between regular stargate shows and a ship-based space opera, kind of like the Star Trek shows. So is this shop up to its hype? I have mixed feelings about this statement. There are better science-fiction shows. For example, if I compare it to Defying Gravity, I like Defying Gravity slightly better. However, DG has been canceled and almost 9 episodes have aired. Only the first two episodes of SG°U have aired. What makes DG better in my opinion? The characters and the acting. This doesn’t mean that DG has stellar acting, but the main actors are really good. Personally, I hate the actress that plays Eve. Just like SG°U, DG goes back and forth between the present and the past. Unlike SG°U, DG actually used this as a plot device in all of its episodes. We learned a lot about them. Even though there were some weaknesses, it was quite spellbinding.

Ultimately, I wasn’t disappointed by SG°U. It was good and I hope that it gets even better in the long run.

[Ed. note: Disclaimer― The first part of the recap is told in the present while the second part explains what led up the the point. The episode starts in the middle. The third part of Air will be shown next week. It’s confusing, but it makes sense. I decided to put most of the things that happened in the past after the present part.]

* * * * *

Part 1: The Present

A big ship appears out of hyperspace. The camera snakes around its corridors which are empty. There is a stargate that is turning around. It opens. A human crew and their equipment appear. They are being thrown through. They aren’t a crew, but evacuees. Dr. Rush just looks on from a railing. He looks very happy. The gate closes. Kernel Young is badly injured. He puts the younger officer in charge. There is some kind of distortion. The officer tells Eli to find Russ. Russ is the one who inputted the coordinates. Russ is the one who inputted the coordinates.

[Ed.note: it’s revealed later on that the distortion is what happens when the ship enters FTL. This FTL isn’t hyperspace but another space that’s just plain faster. Quantum slipstream technology?]

We go into the past. Eli Wallace is playing video games. He’s video chatting to a mate. He’s about to solve some puzzle. When he does so, nothing happens. Some army officer has come to see him. Dr. Nicholas Rush is here with General O’Neil to talk to him. Eli is told that he solved a weapons puzzle in the game. They used a game to find people who would help them decode an old problem that’s been plaguing Rush for some time. They want him to sign an NDA. He doesn’t do this and closes the door. He is beamed away onto some spaceship. It’s the Hammond. They need his help. They will be on their way to another planet, one just like Earth. He’s going to Icarus station. They will give his sick mother the best medical care on the planet.

The Hammond opens a jump point and enters hyperspace. Eli watches a vid by Daniel Jackson about stargates. He gets a briefing. Wallace meets a girl. She has heard of him. Her name is Chloe, she works for a senator from California. She’s hot.

The story shifts back into the present. Eli finds door with Lt. Scott. Rush is there. The ship was launched hundreds of thousands of years ago. They aren’t in hyperspace, it’s another type of space. They are going fast. The life-support system is failing. They should do something about this.

Kernel Young is arguing with his wife. He’s telling her that he’s going on a tour again. He collapses in the kitchen. The Kernel wakes up in the present and convulses.

They manage to get power to some consoles. Eli briefs the survivors. Scott has a shouting match with the senator. Rush and Eli are arguing about what to do to restore life support. Greer has got his rifle on Rush. Rush screwed them over once. He isn’t going to let him do it again. Scott diffuses the situation.

Rush and Eli fool around with some consoles and open up a navigational chart of the galaxy. The ship started out from the Milky Way and has been traveling to different galaxies. They are several billion light-years from home. Scott says that they will start exploring the ship. Rush opens his bag. There are some devices inside. Scott is trying to open a door. Eli finds that the door is flashing red. Scott tells Eli to open it. They’ve got a hull breach in a large area. Eli closes the door again. There must be damaged areas in the ship that might need closing. Rush arrives. He’s got something to tell them. In his case, he’s got some Ancient stones that take possession of people on the other end. It enables communication over vast distances. He just used it. The only means of dialing this stargate was on the planet that was destroyed. He’s spoken with General O’Neil. He placed Rush in charge. Camille Wray doesn’t agree with Rush. Scott says that Young in charge. SG staff will obey the chain of command. The rest of them will follow orders or they’ll be locked down. Scott tells Rush that he needs to find a way to dial back the gate to Earth. Wray isn’t happy with Master Sergeant Greer. She thinks that she is in charge. He was in the brig before being let out by Young. We don’t know why. Some people are hiding food.

Scott finds an elevator. He sees as strange light floating around. It’s some kind of drone. Scott follows it. He finds Eli. It’s some kind of flying camera. He wants to use it to check out the damaged areas of the ship. There are lots more of them. He calls them Kinos. The CO2 scrubbers are failing. They’ve got a problem.

Young wakes up and TJ briefs him. He can’t feel his legs. It might just be temporary shock. TJ tells him to remain still. He wants to see Rush. The senator wakes up. He wants to know what has been going on. Even after the medic told him not to take his pills, he still says that he needs them. Chloe leaves and takes the pills with her.

They’ve got more than one problem: running out of air and CO2 contamination. They find shuttles. They found the leak. The shield that is keeping the air inside isn’t 100% effective.

They have got about a day or an hour to close some door. They need to draft someone. Young wants to do it, but neither Scott nor TJ will agree to let him do this. The senator has got a gun on Greer and some tech. They can’t fix the door. The senator wants to know what he has to do in order to buy them some time and close the door. He closes the door so that no one can reach him. He buys them a day. Chloe tackles Rush. She blames him. Armstrong is dead. She has a cry and a hug with Scott. Oddly enough, I thought she would pair up with Eli, but I guess that he can’t be that lucky.

Young is on his feet and tells Wray to keep everything calm.

This is supremely annoying. All of the characters are devastated over the death of Armstrong. Everyone keeps going on and on. He’s dead. Nothing more to say. Rush finds that the name of the ship is Destiny. The Ancients were never here. They sent it out unmanned, planning to use the gate to get here. They probably ascended before this happened.

Young tells a tech to start dialing Earth. He says that it’s possible. Rush sees them on his console and rushes to the gate room. While they dial, something shifts once again. They’ve shifted into normal space. The gate dials. Rush says that the Ancients set out unmanned shifts ahead of this one. They were used to seed galaxies with stargate. The ship knows that they are in trouble because Rush told it. The ship stopped so that they can gather supplies. The planet is barely habitable. They get 4 more addresses. The ship chose this one. There is a countdown. They’ve got 12 hours. Rush guesses that after that, the ship will go back into FTL. Eli wants to go and Young lets him. Rush says that he needs to go. Young says that Scott is in charge of this mission. They leave for the surface of the planet.

* * * * *

Part 2: The Past Which Leads Up to The Beginning of Part 1

In the past, the Hammond arrives on the planet. Scott is having sex but Young is requesting him. Coitus interruptus. Scott is on the planet. The senator, Chloe, Rush and Eli arrive. Scott has been assigned to Wallace. Chloe is the senator’s daughter. They had to take a starship here because the gate was modified somehow to only dial out. Wormholes were too damaging. Eli figured something out that Rush had been working on for months. They haven’t been able to dial the final 9th chevron so that they could use the gateway. All of the previous gateways led to worlds in our galaxy, but they discovered that by using the 9th chevron, they could open stargates to another galaxy. They start dialing the connection. The mathematical problem was embedded in the game that Eli was playing. When they start encoding chevron 9, something starts to happen. Chevron 9 isn’t locking. Young tells the gate staff to shut it down. Telford is there and gives Eli some evil looks. Telford was supposed to lead the exploratory team.

Rush is trying to figure out why they couldn’t make the connection. Young invites Wallace for dinner. Rush is unhappy. The chevron was found in some Ancient library in Atlantis. During dinner, senator makes an elaborate speech. Chloe starts drinking a lot. There is sound of warfare. The base is under attack. There are some spaceships in orbit starting planetary bombardment. An assault force is heading towards the planet. This has to do with the fact that they tried the 9th chevron. The Yushi Alliance is here to stop them. Telford engages the enemy, but they don’t have enough fighters. He was probably able to evacuate to the Hammond. Eli gives Rush the solution. He starts dialing with the 9th chevron instead of dialing Earth. Young ordered him to dial Earth. The gate opens. The planet is about to explode. Young is pissed at Rush.

Young tells Scott to lead the team through the gate. Young will try to get the senator out. They are evacuating through the gate. They manage to save the senator and rush him through the gate to meet Rush. The Kernel takes time to take some equipment. It wasn’t in his pack but in a locked case. He rushes through as the planet starts to detonate. The whole planet is annihilated.

From the Hammond, Kernel Carter briefs the General. She says that the stargate was active for a full six minutes before the planet was destroyed. However, no one got out on Earth. They must have gone somewhere else.

Rush takes over some man in a control room. It’s look like he is possessing him. The devices that he took are in this room.

[Ed. note: it’s later explained that Rush uses some kind of Ancient technology to communicate with General O’Neil on Earth.]

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

25 thoughts on “Stargate Universe Air S01E01-02 (Syfy)”

  1. The “Hammond” is indeed man-made. As a fan who watched SG-1 seasons 1-10, SG Atlantis seasons 1-5 and all movies (Hell yeah!), I can say it is. The Design is similar to previous humanbuilt Spaceships (Prometheus, Odyssey). But they didn’t build them from scratch. They gathered technology from several cultures (The beaming technology and Hyperdrive for instance were given by the “Asgard”, The Gliders are further developments of Goa’Uld-Gliders).

    btw, its named after General Hammond, Commander of the Stargate Center in SG-1 (played by the deceased Don S. Davis).

  2. Hey Huge fan!

    Thanks for the insight. It makes sense, because, unless I’m mistaken, this takes place in the current era, so it would be impossible for them to build something from scratch.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to discovering more about the Destiny and it’s ultra FTL drive.

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