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Review: SGU’s ‘Light’

Sunday - October 25, 2009
Category: OPINION | Tags: , ,


SGU "Light" - Shuttle, TamaraWhile Stargate Universe keeps gaining momentum, this week’s episode, “Light,” ended up being just a touch predictable.  That’s not to say the episode wasn’t good — but with such a young show, it was quite obvious that the main characters weren’t going to die in the fifth episode of a freshman season.

Despite  the episode’s predictability, it didn’t take away from the many emotional scenes.  From Sergeant Greer’s emotional testimony to the man-to-man between Dr. Rush and Colonel Young, “Light” ended up being a very powerful episode.  Most of all, “Light” became extremely special when the Destiny herself came into her own as a character.

People can say that the Battlestar Galactica was a character in Ron Moore’s re-imagining of the show, but that ship didn’t have a life of its own.  The Destiny so far in SGU is constantly making decisions for herself, or to help out her ragtag crew — whether that’s finding a planet with a Stargate that has the right kind of lime to replenish the CO2 scrubbers or, this week, “stopping for gas” inside a star.  This has truly been one of the most unique ways in which a story is told and hopefully, it left viewers wondering what the Destiny herself is going to do next.

Colonel Young (Louis Ferreira) and Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle) both remain very strong characters and any scene that involves the two of them in the same room usually turns out being some of the best dialogue in an episode.  The scene between the two of them in the shuttle was particularly well done.  Even the scene at the end of the episode where Young gets very suspicious of Rush, while short, was played out very well.  It’s obvious that these two actors take their jobs very seriously.

“Light” was another good episode for character development.  We finally find out why Greer was in detention on Icarus Base, not to mention that there is a soft side to the tough guy persona.  This actually comes into play with Young’s backstory, as is turns out that neither he nor Greer are big fans of Colonel Telford.  It’s going to be very interesting to see where that goes in future episodes in which Telford will be prominent.

SGU "Light" - SunscapeWhile Camille Wray (Ming-Na) got a lot more screen time and growth, it was Eli’s flashback that was the most intriguing.  Here is a kid who is a math genius who won’t even give himself a chance to succeed.  We’ll have to see if that ever becomes an issue when a problem happens aboard Destiny gets too hard for him to handle.

Unfortunately, “Light” had some problems, including the aforementioned  predictability of the episode.  While the sex scene between Lt. Scott and Chloe was understandable, the part after — in which Scott was telling Chloe that he wants her aboard the shuttle but she doesn’t think she was going to make it — ended up being terribly cheesy.  This was rather unexpected coming from a character like Scott, who tends to be one of the stronger.

The biggest issue with this episode was that probably everyone knew before watching that the Destiny was going to be solar powered.  It wasn’t like there was a planet that they could have magically gotten enough energy from to bring the ship back to life.  Having said that, the concept of the having a ship that has flown through countless galaxies run on power from the stars themselves is intriguing.  It’s going to be really cool to see in future episodes what else Destiny can do now that she is running on full power.

While “Light” had a few more flaws than the first few episodes of this young show, it still turned out to be equally as powerful.  With great scenes between Rush, Young, Eli and Chloe and the Destiny really being the star of the episode, “Light” came out just as strong as previous installments.  Hopefully now that the major issues are solved (excluding water and being billions of light years away from home, that is) the show will start to focus on this new galaxy to which Stargate has taken us.

Episode reviews represent the opinion of the author, and not that of GateWorld or its owner.

Julian Landau Brown is a GateWorld contributor and a former writer for He lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife and fellow Stargate fan, Karyn. (More)

COMMENTS (88):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • I for one didn’t expect the Destiny to be solar powered. Though it makes sense. That’s why I avoid the forums. I haven’t been to the forums until Atlantis was canceled & before that it was right before Atlantis’ first season.

    I did feel like the post-sex scene was a bit overdone for characters that really haven’t had a lot of experiences together. I also like Eli’s facial responses when he sees Scott and Chloe in the hallway as well as when she hugs him and leaves to see Scott.

  • This episode was SOOOOOOOO predictable. I want Atlantis back! At least you didn’t know if the main characters were going to survive or not.

  • Reviews are really funny looks like they get paid for this.

    SG1 = Good
    SGA = Still OK
    SGU = Joke

  • @segaxgames: While you are entitled to your opinion, that statement is surely out there. Atlantis, you were almost guaranteed survival. Only the case of Beckett and Weir did something happen to them.

    I think there is more fear whether or not the main characters are safe. After all, TPTB did say no one is safe.

    Overall, good review. I knew that the Destiny was gonna survive, etc., but how it was written still allowed for suspense, leaving us to wonder, how? Also, it was written to show us that while we knew they would survive, the characters were portrayed very well not knowing, believing they were gonna die. I believe this was the best episode so far.

  • This is my first post on Gateworld, and i was thinking of getting into the arguments with ppl who were putting down SGU before it even came out but decided to wait untill the show came out and how i see what it was like. For the record i was looking forward to SGU before it came out and couldnt believe how many fans are afraid of change, but was hoping that once people seen it they would embrace change and move on from your petty vendetas against a new serious thats not trying to be just for you anymore. SGU IS AWESOME. I love it, SG1 will always be my favourit, prob like most and SGA was good but was never anything more then a spin off doing the same thing just in a different way, entertaining as hell but nothing we havent seen before from SG1. SGU is so different and ppl are calling it dull but its just more focused on the people and not things blowing up and ppl getting shot at. WTF is with ppl saying its predicatable. Yes you knew the ship was going to make it out somehow, but did you really think anything was gonna happen was gonna happen to O’neil or Sheppard that would permanently affect them…..the answer is no. And yes daniel did asend(not die) and eventually came back which you kinda knew was going to happen. How come ppl never yeild, oh man i knew Carter or Mckay was gonna save the day whenever they did countless times. Grow up and move on ppl, if you dont like the show dont watch it, i dont see how thats so hard

  • At first I was a bit weary with SGU, but Air part 3 really sold the show for me. Even though I could care less about intra-character drama, its the sci-fi that interests me and Light really fed that interest. I loved that the Destiny deployed ram scoops and literally took solar power (which is most likely hydrogen plasma to fuel fusion reactors).

  • It’s funny how different people react to knowing things in advance. Although some of my friends avoid spoilers like the plague, I’ve never been particularly concerned. Surprise is not the most important emotion for me when watching a program. Of course the Destiny would not be destroyed, but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of watching the situation and the characters reactions play out. (Remember that SG-1 episode heroes? Nobody REALLY expected O’Neill to die, right? And that episode was quite well regarded.)

    I have been somewhat baffled by the intensely negative responses to the show on this site. True, it’s a very different animal from the two series that preceded it, but that is not a reason in itself to judge it harshly.

    So far, I have been very impressed by the depth and nuance given to the main players. It is obvious that real thought has gone into each characters’ background, needs, and motivations. It is anyone’s opinion whether they like those characters or not, but I think it’s intellectually dishonest to react to this show as some kind of ratings hungry sell-out.

    While pseudo-documentary intensity is not necessarily my favorite mode of storytelling, I find that it works to the benefit of this particular show. Battlestar Galactica was always felt heavy-handed and self-important to me, but Universe balances the drama of the situations with the humanity of the characters in a way that I find very satisfying.

    I, for one, will be watching every Friday night!

    P.S. Atlantis is gone. Sad but true. Filling up every comments section with insults about Universe and begging for the show’s return doesn’t help anybody.

    P.P.S. If Universe fails in the ratings, then NOBODY will want to fund Atlantis movies, and then the show will REALLY be over.

  • While I found the solar power predictable, I expected it. Rush kept talking about how the ship did things on purpose and suddenly, after centuries, make a hug mistake like this. Thinking back, Rush probably did know. He really used the situation to make people have to listen to him in the future.

    I do find it hard to believe that the shields can’t keep air in the ship, but can protect the ship from diving into the sun.

    Poor Eli.

  • I was really upset at first when I heard that Atlantis was getting prematurely yanked. I was even more upset when I found out that it was getting replaced by something called Stargate Universe which would feature a bunch of 20 somethings and it being likened to 90210 in space in order to go after a younger demographic. I had made up my mind that I was NOT going to watch SGU. Well, I for one can say without hesitation that my feelings about SGU were dead wrong and the descriptions of SGU prior to its coming out were also dead wrong. This show is…fantastic. I didn’t care too much for SG1. I thoroughly enjoyed Atlantis, but they always had a cookie-cutter, Star Trekish vibe about them. The quality of SGU is phenominal, and far better than Atlantis or SG1. This series takes itself far more seriously than either of those shows, which is a good thing. It makes it unique and sets it apart from the others. I like it. I really do. This episode was predictable to the extent that we all knew the ship would survive. The question was how and how would the characters react. Some of you out there who are dogging this episode because of its predictability are indeed being “intellectually dishonest”, to quote SG-17. don’t you dare say that SG1 or Atlantis never suffered from predictability. You ALWAYS knew that none of the main characters would perish and if they did, you knew the reset button would be pressed by the episode’s end. One thing I’m really digging about SGU is the character that the Destiny is displaying. I’m in the camp that believes the ship is sentient. To what extent? I don’t know. It’s certainly not overly concerned about the occupants that are onboard, otherwise it would have slowed down or somehow assisted the crew that were on the shuttle. I’d also like to see more of Lou Dimond Phillips character. the writers need to find a way to make him a permanent part of the Destiny’s crew. I can’t wait for the next episode.

  • “Light” was EPIC.

    Do people not understand that it’s not about who lives or who dies, but HOW the story is told!

    This episode was powerful/emotionally intense combined with incredible acting, great music, beautiful vfx, and perfect timing made “Light” one of the best Stargate episodes in a long time.

  • To all those still whining about Atlantis: please go home and remain in Science Fiction isolation.

  • When we see the new SGU ratings from 23/10/09 ? I want samthing to LOL at. ^_^

  • @ Darren Sumner: My apologies for the offence.

    However, I stand by my underlying thought, which is this: The reviews written for Universe so far on Gateworld seem to be quite contrary to the reaction to Universe I’m seeing out here in real life. I’ve watched Stargate for well over a decade now, and have a solid circle of friends who do as well. None of us seem to be enjoying this show. In fact, the comments texted back and forth during commercial breaks seem to mostly consist of “seriously”, “come on” and some expletives.

    One thing I take offense at is the insinuation that has been oft repeated on these forums, that people who aren’t enjoying Universe are doing so by design or are just complaining because we are upset Atlantis ended. (Or, more absurdly, that we are conservatives who just can’t handle TV shows with sex.) I wanted to like Universe. I expected to like Universe. And I am disappointed that I don’t like Universe. And, from reading these posts, I don’t think I’m alone. Which just makes me sad, because if I had my druthers any incarnation of Stargate would both be good and do well.

    I’m not out to get Universe, and don’t routinely waste my time visiting fan-sites dedicated to shows I want to hate. Having watched and enjoyed 15 seasons Stargate (along with a wide range of other types and genres of TV shows) I just think that Universe is falling far short of both its predecessors and entertaining television.

  • Just my opinion: The reviews and even more so the Podcasts on Gateworld relating to SGU is what I and many people agree with (The episode polls on Gateworld can back this up).

    SGU is different and because it is so different from SG-1 & Atlantis there will be fans who don’t like its new direction and thus sites like Gateworld which have been dedicated to the Stargate franchise will be where you find the most naysayers. They still can’t seem to understand that SGU was never meant to be like its predecessors, if SGU kept with the same premise then the franchise would be run into the ground since its been done before. I was an Atlantis fan but it was not hard to miss that it did copy ideas from SG-1 quite frequently.

    I was actually the opposite of some people. When Atlantis was cancelled and I read about SGU I didn’t expect to like it, the wording used to describe it early on was poor. But the comic con trailer is what sparked my excitement and when SGU aired I did have some minor issues with the pilot but they were put to rest by the next episode and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

    They wanted to open up the Stargate franchise to new people with SGU and I believe that has been a success. From what ive seen SGU has gotten a positive feedback on non Stargate related sites.

    On Stargate sites themselves you got naysayers who just because they personally don’t like SGU think that its destined to fail and it has been a constant argument between them and those of us who do like SGU.

    The naysayers are fighting a losing battle in my opinion though and I do hope that they will start to reduce in number so that we can get back to talking about the episodes themselves (Like this is getting way off topic from a review on ‘Light’).

  • I’ve watched SG-1 and Atlantis both from the very beginning and was looking forward to SGU even though I didn’t like Atlantis being cancelled. That being said, I LOVE SGU. It’s a great show and I love how they’re doing it. I know the detractors and haters will keep on putting SGU down, but hopefully some of them will watch it and give it a chance.

  • Really enjoyed the episode. Thought it was loads of fun, even if we knew they wouldn’t die. Love the ‘through the star’ moment. Thought Greer, Young and Rush were fantastic in it.

    Only downside was the Chloe/Scott thing, because it came completely out of no where, felt forced and was just incongruous with what we’ve seen so far.


  • As for me, I’m going to keep this to review SGU’s Light…
    I’m loving it. And every episode keeps getting better and better. I love how it wasn’t just a bunch of solar panels, but it flew through the star and scooped up the “material” it needed. It makes sense that if it’s that old, still running, and based on it’s mission that it would run off a power source that can be easily renewed. Very well written. I’m still having a hard time deciding which character I like the most. Eli is a great comic relief and a nerd. Dr. Rush is a brilliant scientist, definitely has hidden agendas, and does a great job at “making dislikeable things likeable.” Young is taking charge and doing a great job at it. and for some odd reason i’m kind of likeing scott as well, but i don’t know why yet. We’ll see where SGU takes us next, and I can’t wait.
    I really hope this series last for at least as long as Atlantis is not as long as SG-1.

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