Dr. Rush directs a shuttle to a planet inaccessible by Stargate -- but a crash landing threatens to strand those on board. Meanwhile, Rush makes a stunning discovery on Destiny, and Young must decide what to do with his prisoners.
Nightmares of torture suffered while in the hands of the Lucian Alliance ("Subversion") waken Dr. Nicholas Rush. Rising, he stops by the Control Interface Room. He pauses long enough the fix a system problem for Dr. Lisa Park, and then walks deliberately through the ship's corridors -- ending up beside a massive, blast-like door. It protects an ornate set of traditional doors which open onto Destiny's Bridge. With the push of a button, light illuminates the central command chair. The entire room shifts upward so almost the entire length of Destiny stretches before the windows. Rush has made a life-changing discovery.
Sitting in the command chair, Rush consults his ever-present notepad. A voice congratulates him on finally finding the master code for controlling all of Destiny's systems. He stares at his deceased wife, Gloria ("Human"), who slyly observes that he has no intention of revealing his discovery to the others.
In Camille Wray's quarters, MSgt. Ronald Greer stands guard as Wray talks with a Lucian Alliance scientist, Ginn. She reveals that the Alliance pursued the ninth chevron project ("Air, Part 1"), believing it would make them as powerful as the gods, perhaps giving them control of time and space itself. Suggesting the captives could be helpful, Ginn also complains about meager food allotments. But staples are always in short supply on Destiny.
Wray tries to discuss the fate of the prisoners with Colonel Everett Young. When she mentions that intelligence suggests the Alliance back in the Milky Way might be planning an attack on Earth, he confronts her. Destiny can't sustain the prisoners for the long haul; he intends to leave the prisoners on the first viable planet.
Meanwhile, Rush studies displays and controls on the Bridge. Gloria questions him at every turn. He suspects there is a real-time subspace link between Destiny and the Stargates, which dictates why the ship stops at some planets and not others. Keenly aware of the need for supplies, and puzzled by the classification of a nearby Stargate as non-functional, Rush ignores Gloria's warnings. He drops Destiny out of F.T.L. flight to stop at the planet.
Rush returns to the Bridge to monitor their approach. Gloria worries about Rush's lack of sleep. Re-enforcing this, the vanished Dr. Franklin ("Sabotage") appears. Franklin warns that Rush can't do this alone -- he has overlooked important information. In particular, he didn't notice the super-rotation in the planet's atmosphere. Rush alerts Scott that they are in for a rough ride when they hit the atmosphere.
The shuttle withstands the turbulence only to experience a catastrophic power failure. Now a difficult-to-control glider, the ship grazes a mountainside and stops when it crashes into a sheer rock face. Only Riley is hurt. His legs are pinned beneath the staved-in shuttle and the rock which collapsed on it.
Eli pries open the ship's back door. With less than six hours on the clock before Destiny jumps away and leaves them stranded, Scott dispatches most of the team to find the Stargate. He, T.J., Park, and Dunning stay to deal with Riley. The Sergeant can't feel his legs. When they try to free him, T.J. realizes that the pressure from the wreckage is all that prevents him from bleeding to death. There is nothing she can do for him.
Greer locates the Stargate, buried upright by a rockslide -- but it is too late. Eli's remote has detected that Destiny has jumped away. While the team clears the debris (hoping Destiny might drop out of F.T.L. still within the gate's range), T.J. comforts the dying Riley. She confesses her experience on the obelisk planet ("Intervention") and shares her hope that her baby is still alive. (Lisa overhears them talking.)
Back on Destiny, Young and Wray respond to a riot in the prisoners' hold. As his men contain the fight, Young pins one prisoner and repeatedly bashes his head on the floor. Camille witnesses the bloody outburst. Colonel Telford pulls Everett away. Even though the I.O.A. wants the prisoners kept on board, Young later tells their leader, Varro, with no uncertainty that all the prisoners will be left on the next viable planet they can find.
Still on the Bridge, Dr. Rush wants to stop the engines -- but they must operate a minimum of four hours while at F.T.L. speed. Unfortunately, there is no Stargate on their immediate heading to justify a drop-out. Gloria chides him for not asking for help, for not being truthful. Rush launches into a diatribe about Young's lack of fitness to command this mission.
Also concerned about Young's fitness, Telford contacts Homeworld Command. They've ordered a list of specific prisoners, who may prove valuable, be kept aboard. Telford presents the list to Colonel Young, and Young suspects that his superiors on Earth have authorized Telford to take command if Young disobeys.
When Rush does drop Destiny out of F.T.L. flight, he blames the effects of the pulsar's radiation for the short trip ("Incursion, Part 2"). They dial the address of the planet. The ground around the newly exposed Stargate vibrates, but the Stargate doesn't engage. Eli tries to dial and the Stargate responds. After reporting in about Riley and the crash, Scott returns to the planet with Young.
While the others wait outside, Young enters the shuttle wreckage and talks privately with Riley. Both men know that Destiny's clock is ticking, and that if it comes to it T.J. will refuse to leave her patient to die alone. Aware of his situation, and in pain, Riley begs Young to help him die quickly. Reluctantly, Young pinches Riley's nostrils shut. His other hand covers Riley's mouth, suffocating him.
Before Destiny resumes her journey, most of the Lucian Alliance prisoners are left on the planet. Varro, Ginn, and Simeon, along with half a dozen others, remain aboard. Afterward, in the Mess, many toast Riley. But Everett Young drinks in private, trying to drown this new sorrow. Eli watches the personal kino recording Riley made ("Darkness"). Rush shares his guilt with Gloria, but soon spots something else ahead on the display monitor.
Destiny drops out of F.T.L. again. Dr. Rush summons Brody, Volker, and Young to the Observation Deck. Eli invites himself. In the panoramic windows they see a large, unidentified object. Destiny is headed straight for it.
- S. Fetter
Nicholas Rush has discovered Destiny's bridge. The program he set up with the information gleaned from sitting in the control interface chair ("Human") paid off, apparently providing him with the location of the bridge, the control panel's button code to open the door, and the "master code" to controlling the ship's systems.
It's not entirely clear, but he seems to have made the discovery after showing up where Lisa Park was working and resetting the computer terminal for her. Perhaps that just happens to have been when the results of his work first came available. So he knew where to go to find the bridge, but hadn't been there before.
This means that, for the first time since their arrival many months ago, Rush now has control over some of its key systems. He can cause the ship to drop out of F.T.L. and stop when and where he wants it to. But he can't control the countdown clock or how long the ship gives them at each stop, and he apparently can't alter the ship's flight path.
He also seems to have access to a greater portion of the ship's database, which he mentions explicitly -- though it's not clear if the planet and the impending object came from the database records (perhaps transmitted by the seeder ships traveling ahead of Destiny) or from active sensor data.
Access to Destiny's bridge comes at a cost. Rush is still convinced that Young is the wrong person to be in charge, so for now he's kept the discovery to himself -- though it's clear that the bridge requires multiple people to operate it effectively.
Rush seems to be coming to grips with the fact that not only can he not do this alone, but he himself may not be the best person to be making command decisions, either. It was his decision to stop at this planet and send a shuttle -- despite hazardous planetary conditions he knew about ahead of time -- that resulted in the catastrophe.
Rush has also started hallucinating. Immediately after he found the bridge, he saw his late wife, Gloria. She continued to question his decisions and his ability to do what he is doing by himself. Later, Dr. Franklin -- who mysteriously disappeared out of the control interface chair several weeks ago ("Sabotage") -- appeared to him, as well, and offered helpful advice on the planet the shuttle was approaching. Rush isn't sure if he is losing his mind, or if they are actually manifestations of the ship communicating with him.
It's possible that both options are right. Perhaps Franklin (who Rush noted seemed to be "a little more helpful when it comes to technical matters") is a real manifestation of the ship, and only Gloria is Rush's own fractured psyche. It is also conceivable that Franklin is the real, flesh-and-blood scientist who physically disappeared, and Rush only thinks he is an apparition. When Rush asked about Franklin, Gloria indicated she didn't know who he is.
Ginn claims that she only joined the Lucian Alliance because they threatened to kill her family if she didn't. This was two years ago. They apparently saw in her someone with great skills, who they could use for their own purposes.
An Ancient legend told among the Lucian Alliance said that the address to Destiny "led to great understanding," according to Ginn. "It could make you as powerful as the gods." Just what this means is unclear, but Ginn thought it might refer to the power of the ascended Ancients -- power to "control time and space."
It seems unlikely that Destiny's mission has anything to do with ascension, a change from corporeal existence to life on a "higher plane" of existence. It is believed to have been the later discovery of ascension back in the Milky Way Galaxy that stopped the Ancients from completing their plan and gating to Destiny themselves.
The conflict between Earth and the Lucian Alliance at home in the Milky Way Galaxy is escalating, according to the I.O.A. Intel suggests they may be planning an attack on Earth -- for what ends we do not yet know.
Rush is trying to figure out why Destiny stops at some planets and not others. He speculates that the ship could have a real-time subspace connection to the Stargates on the planets it is passing by (though he seems hesitant to embrace this theory).
Destiny's crew is understandably uncomfortable with the Lucian Alliance on board. Not only are they a drain on their resources, but Dr. Park said she finds it hard to sleep knowing there is a room full of people on the ship who are willing to kill her.
With resources running low, Colonel Young wanted to put all of the Lucian Alliance survivors off the ship, leaving them to fend for themselves on the next planet they reach. But Colonel Telford and Camille Wray appealed to his superiors back on Earth, using the communication stones. The I.O.A. wanted them to keep them all. Under orders from the military at Homeworld Command, Young instead conceded to retaining a small number of the prisoners -- believing they may prove valuable at some point.
There are approximately nine remaining Alliance members -- seven men and two women. Among that number are Varro, Ginn, Simeon, and Koz. Simeon seems an odd choice, though we don't know much about him yet. Telford spent more than a year under cover with the Alliance, and likely knows a lot more about these people than they themselves and their skills would tell us under interrogation.
The other three have already proved helpful and cooperative. Ginn has computer skills and some knowledge of the Ancients, and claims to have been forcefully conscripted by the Alliance (they threatened to kill her family) and not especially loyal to them.
The rest of the survivors of the Alliance's incursion attempt have apparently been left behind on the same planet where Destiny's shuttle crashed (though it's possible the ship jumped to another location in between that planet and the unknown object they are now approaching). It would be logical that they might attempt to repair the ship and leave the planet, but 1) they probably do not have the necessary parts, especially to replace the broken front window; and 2) without F.T.L. or hyperspace capabilities there probably isn't anywhere else for them to go.
Young's decision to leave them on this particular planet -- while perhaps a necessity, considering the crew's dwindling food and water supplies -- is something of an hypocracy. When Dannic left Destiny's crew on the pulsar planet, Young declared that it wasn't any better than a death sentence. The current planet may have better resources (the shuttle was sent there, after all, to collect supplies), but the Alliance members will have to work very hard to survive.
Young told Camille that it seems fair to leave them on a viable planet, since it is what the Alliance tried to do to them.
Young suspects that his superiors back on Earth may have authorized Colonel Telford to relieve him of command and take over Destiny, had he disobeyed the order to keep a select few of the Alliance.
This isn't the first time we have seen a long-inactive Stargate shake when it is being dialed, before the wormhole connects. This symptom of the Stargate technology goes back to the first season of Stargate SG-1.
Riley may have actually exaggerated to the Colonel about how much pain he was in. Right after the crash, he told T.J. and Scott that "it doesn't hurt" -- that he couldn't feel his legs at all. But he later screamed in agony when Scott and Dunning lifted up the bulkhead that was pinning him down. Riley may have wanted to give Young an excuse to justify ending his life, so that T.J. and the others would not try to stay behind with him as he lay dying.
Everett appeared to have been holding his own breath while smothering Sergeant Riley.
Rush and Young both bear some responsibility for Riley's death and the loss of the shuttle. Young made the hard decision to end the Sergeant's life when he was mortally injured and bleeding out; Rush (unbeknownst to anyone) overrode the Destiny's planned course and caused the ship to stop at this planet.
Destiny's second and, as far as we know, last shuttle has been lost. The first, more damaged ship was left behind with Caine and the others on the obelisk planet ("Faith"). This means that, from now on, they will be limited to exploring only those planets accessible by Stargate.
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT Nicholas Rush has had a major breakthrough in finding the ship's bridge and gaining significantly more control over the ship -- but he's also seeing (and talking to) visions of both his wife and Dr. Franklin. He's probably hopeful that they are the ship's attempt to communicate. But Nicholas is also highly conscious of the fact that he might be going crazy.
Rush declares once again that Young is "not fit to lead this mission." But now he seems to suspect if even he has what it takes to make wise command decisions. He says that he was trying to save lives by stopping the ship here and sending the shuttle to the planet. But the events that transpired seem to have made him think twice about whether he is capable of doing this on his own. Certainly the bridge's control systems require a crew -- which, Gloria points out, he does have ...
Rush is also having nightmares about being tortured at the hands of the Lucian Alliance ("Subversion").
Hunter Riley -- one of the few members of the Destiny crew who everyone seemed to like -- has died. His lower half was crushed under a collapsed bulkhead when the shuttle crashed on the surface of an uninhabited planet. He didn't want to live his final hours in pain (and risk his friends missing Destiny when the countdown clock reached zero -- or worse, staying behind with him so he didn't die alone, as T.J. swore to do. And so Riley asked his commanding officer, Everett Young, to end his life. A reluctant Colonel Young smothered him to death.
Riley's mother is Anglican. His dad thought her faith and prayer life was stupid ... but he always went to church with her.
Everett Young is sure to suffer long-term emotional harm from snuffing the life out of Sgt. Riley. He killed him as an act of mercy, and in the best interests of the rest of the crew. But it's still something that will be profoundly difficult to live with.
Everett is spiraling downward even further into despair, and turning to alcohol to try and cope. Even before Riley's death he attacked a member of the Alliance during a minor riot, continually bashing the man's head against the floor of the cargo hold even when he was no longer a threat. Camille and Telford both witnessed this behavior.
When Telford brought orders from Earth to keep some of the Alliance members on board, it also seemed as though he was considering disobeying his superiors. This would certainly not be the first time that he, so far away from Earth and under such extraordinary pressures, showed a lack of regard for the chain of command ("Earth").
Tamara Johansen had to watch Riley die, without being able to do anything to help him. She promised to stay at his side until the end, even if it meant missing Destiny's jump into F.T.L. She also confessed to him what happened with the loss of her baby and her visit to the obelisk planet, and that she might indeed believe it was real -- that her baby is alive and well there. She said that that little bit of hope that it's possible makes things bearable. (She doesn't know that Lisa Park overheard her confession.)
This isn't the first time that T.J. has tended to someone she knew was going to die, she says.
According to Ginn, the Lucian Alliance has a history going back 12 to 13 years. She describes them as warlords, who burn the crops of the planets they control and force the inhabitants to eat only the food they provide -- in other words, they make themselves indispensible to the survival of whole villages. They also control what their teachers teach (indoctrination), and put weapons in the hands of their children at a young age. The practices she describe are akin to violent gangs who control territory in developing countries on Earth.
Franklin gives the age of the shuttle as "a million-plus years."
The Destiny's F.T.L. engines have to run for a minimum of four hours each time they are activated.
Riley's video recording about "not being there," which Eli watched after his death, was one of Season One's kino webisodes. Watch it here:
Will Rush tell Colonel Young and the others about the bridge? Or will Young find out on his own?
Why doesDestiny stop at some planets and not at others? Does it always skip planets without accessible Stargates, despite its shuttle complement?
Will anyone learn that Rush was indirectly responsible for the shuttle crash, and thus for Riley's death?
Will Young reveal to anyone that he ended Riley's life? How will this act affect him in the future?
Are Gloria and/or Riley hallucinations, or is Destiny really communicating with Rush directly? Is Franklin the real Franklin, who was in a near catatonic state until he vanished? And why do they appear to Rush only here, on the bridge? Will they appear to him anywhere else on the ship?
Were the Alliance soldiers offloaded on the same planet where Riley died?
Will the remaining Alliance members be integrated into the crew, or will Young continue to hold them as prisoners? Now that the Alliance is not in control, will Ginn effectively defect from them?
What purpose does Homeworld Command and the I.O.A. think that soldiers like Varro and Simeon might serve?
Does Ginn know the full reason why the Alliance came to Destiny (and is she being forthcoming with everything she knows)? Was it really nothing more than an age-old legend about power?
What is the object that Destiny is now approaching? Presuming that he caused the ship to stop here, does Rush already know exactly what it is? Was it something in the database, or something picked up by Destiny's own sensors?
"Today, we spun episode two. Rob, who'll be doing the honors on this one, pithced out a terrific, albeit radically different, A story to compliment the B, C, D, and E throughlines. Lots going on in this one -- action, drama, spectacular visual effects, and a tough, tough decision. Two, actually." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"Yet another surprise in the form of Robert Cooper's first draft of 'Aftermath.' All I can say is 'Whoa! Did NOT see THAT coming!'" (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"[We watched] Will Waring's kick-ass director's cut of Rob Cooper's equally kick-ass script for 'Aftermath' (in which actor Louis Ferreira delivers his best performance yet in a suspenseful, absorbing, emotionally-draining episode)." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"The best laid plans of mice and men ... Things come apart in a big way, and our heroes are left to pick up the pieces. Gut-wrenching." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
Wray's news from the I.O.A. that the Lucian Alliance may be planning an attack on Earth "will definitely figure in to several episodes later in the season." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"The story was discussed in the room with the other writers so everyone knew [that Riley was going to die in Robert Cooper's script]. Well, everyone except Carl, who is very sensitive. He found out when he watched the episode on Tuesday. And cried." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
"I think, Haig is such a great guy and he's a wonderful actor and he was such a good part of the show. Unfortunately, someone relevant has to die. And I know they were getting a lot of criticism that, 'Oh yeah, it's just people we don't know going through the heavy drama.' And yeah, you kind of have to get to a point where you have to kill someone significant.
"So we understood it, but at the same time, absolutely [it's sad]. Haig is so funny. He's got this amazing sense of humor and when he's getting into the shuttle and we're shooting the scene, in real life, he was like going to put on his seatbelt and you kind of have to see his facial expressions, but he was like, 'Naaah.' He really took it with a good heart. He, of course, was upset I think that it was over. And yeah, it sucks. It's unfortunate, but it has to happen." (Actress Alaina Huffman, in an interview with Show Patrol)
"Man, that was a crazy scene," actor Louis Ferreira says about Riley's death. "Will Waring, who directed the episode, said to me, 'I watched that scene at least 20 times and I got the shivers every time.' I mean, it's one thing to talk about what happens as the character where you're doing something like this and you understand what you're doing as an actor, but then you'll go to shoot the scene and acting-wise it sometimes becomes overwhelming. That was true here. When Young euthanizes Riley, he does it with this sort of hand over mouth motion, and it was actually scripted that while he's doing it, Young himself is unable to breathe during the entire ordeal.
"Can you imagine having to do something like that in real life, and you were doing it because you felt it was for the right reason? Me, personally, I wouldn't want that responsibility. I don't think I could live with it, but it's a strength that Young has and that I don't have. He's able to do this because he's assessed the situation and in that moment realizes what Riley is, in fact, asking. It wasn't my character's decision. Young was asked, and to respond with that sort of ethic and the ability to carry out this man's last request was pretty brave of Young, not to mention kind of messed up. Again, shooting that scene gave me a very eerie feeling. Our cameraman actually had tears in his eyes. It was one of those scenes this season where you were like, 'Wow, that was tough.' But it's also one that I'll always remember." (Actor Louis Ferreira, in an interview with SciFiAndTvTalk)