“Earth” was the first episode of SGU that finally felt like a real episode of Stargate. While the episode still focused heavily on character development, it also examined the science and politics of Stargate that keep fans coming back for more.
“Earth” also dealt with the issue of body swapping and how it has become a problem. There are a lot of fans who don’t watch the show specifically for this reason, but this week’s episode brought up some of the problems and ways in which it could be misused — and dealt with them very well. While “Earth” may have been the best episode of SGU aired to date, there were a couple of issues with the show that should be addressed.
Martin Gero is probably one of the best writers Stargate has, but in my opinion, the scene with Eli and Chloe in the nightclub should never have been written. People feared that the show might become to 90210-like and, this week, it did. The scene was actually alright for a good portion of it. It’s understandable to want to go out and release some of your burdens. But then Chloe went all Brenda on her best friend after she found out she was sleeping with her ex. Just writing that scene description sounds like an episode of a really bad teenie-bopper show. That one scene took away any importance the rest of the nightclub may have had.
Apart from that part of the episode’s story, “Earth” was amazing. Very quickly we get to see that the I.O.A. is up to their old tricks and always scheming. It was nice to see that Camille Wray got some character development in this episode. While she is a member of the I.O.A., I will be curious to see whether she remains a puppet or not, because she is clearly unhappy with the way they have been treating her.
It was also interesting to see Colonel O’Neill working closely with the I.O.A. and actually backing them up. So far, this is a different Jack then we’ve seen on SG-1 or Atlantis. While it probably comes from age and rank, it was a little unexpected to see him not back up Colonel Young’s reservations about the rescue attempt.
There seemed to be a bit of an inconsistency between this episode and prior Stargate series. On one side you have I.O.A. scientists who viewers have never seen before in their lives, yet you also have Jack trying to comfort Colonel Young by saying, “If it makes you feel any better, Colonel Carter save my ass dozens of times using all kinds of wacky science I didn’t understand.” This is where it could have made sense for Jack to say, “Plus, she’s (or McKay for that matter) gone over the data and thinks it’ll work.” While SGU is trying to cater to a new audience, there should also be some consistency left in place. You have two geniuses on Earth — Carter and McKay — and Dr. Rush on the Destiny. If you wanted to come up with a brilliant plan, you’d sit those three in a room together and do it. Obviously, they weren’t going to have the plan work either way because it’s the show’s first season, but it could have been refreshing to do it the old way.
The way in which the body swapping was handled in “Earth” was very well written. It’s quite evident that the writers are trying to factor in what happens when someone on board the Destiny body-swaps and then takes advantage of the body they are in. There were a few occurrences of this, the biggest being Young and Telford. When Telford is in Young’s body, he takes complete control of the Destiny, disregarding everything Young has tried to build by throwing Greer back in detention and pretty much going about things with a “my way or the highway” mentality. The way in which Telford’s character has been written as this really not-nice-guy is incredible to watch.
Then you have Young in Telford’s body, who takes complete advantage by sleeping with his (Young’s) wife. Again, while it is understandable, it’s not necessarily the right thing to do — and by the end of the episode, you see the obvious repercussions as Colonel Telford finds out and shows up at Emily’s house.
Next week it will be interesting to see if SGU focuses on some of the story arcs that were mentioned this week and not fully developed. Colonel Young confirmed that he was having an affair with T.J. after the dream he had about her, and then talking about it with his wife. And then, there’s the question of where Wray fits into the T.J./Young situation. There’s also the Chloe/Scott/Eli love triangle that left Eli pretty upset. And it’s going to be very interesting to see where Young and Telford go from here, as well — as Telford definitely has it out for his rival.
As for this week, barring the deleted scene from 90210, “Earth” was definitely the best episode of SGU yet.
Julian Landau-Brown is a writer for Lunch.com. He lives in the Philadelphia area with his fiance and fellow Stargate fan, Karyn.
Episode reviews represent the opinion of the author, and not that of GateWorld or its owner.