“Life” was not an episode of Stargate. While it had all the potential in the world to be a really good episode, it faltered.
As much as the start of “Life” was a warning of things to come with the catchy music (something that was actually enjoyable, despite its message), I was hoping that this episode would remain fairly Stargate-oriented despite what was shown during the preview. Instead, viewers were treated to a show that somehow seemed more like an episode of The O.C. or Days of Our Lives. From Lt. Scott’s revelation that he had a child to the triangle between Colonel Telford, Colonel Young, and his wife, this episode was just way too much drama.
“Life” had such great potential, with the discovery of the Ancient chair/repository. I really hesitate to put it this way — but if this was SG-1 or Atlantis, that’s what the show would have been about, with a possible B story. Even the character development with Wray and her partner back on Earth felt right because it was still, in a way, dealing with what was going on on board the Destiny. If that had been the entire B story with the chair being the A story, “Life” would have been a completely different episode.
Instead, Scott and Wray’s lives on Earth became the A story (or stories) with the Destiny and the chair becoming a partial B story.
Rush’s discovery of the chair was important, and what little the writers did with that story was so interesting that it left me wanting so much more. You could see Rush’s complete lack of care for other people’s lives, played so well in his desire to obtain the ship’s master code. In contrast was Young going against him trying to do the right thing. Everything happening on board Destiny was interesting: the chair, T.J. doing psych evaluations, and Spencer going crazy because of withdrawal from his medication.
This is what SGU should be focusing on — not the characters’ lives on Earth. It’s good writing when you have your medical officer doing psych evaluations on the crew when they are billions of light years away from home. That’s good drama. Having a man go crazy because he’s taking pills and all of a sudden has none left is good drama. Who’s sleeping with who back on a planet that is now so far away … well, it’s not.
An episode like “Life” makes it evident that SGU is catered toward a new audience. While I can say that I do like drama (and watch some really bad TV on occasion), in the end, what Stargate fan cares whether Lt. Scott has a kid or not? Even the Telford/Young/Emily triangle got a little less interesting. The producers could have put a great sci-fi twist on that — if Telford was, in fact, pretending to be Colonel Young — but instead they turned it into a weird love triangle.
The episode was close to being a complete disaster, but “Life” had a couple of saving graces in Colonel Young and Dr. Rush. Both are very powerful men. Young is a complete force to be reckoned with, which came out a lot in this episode. Hopefully, the chair room will have some prominence in future episodes — which would make a lot of Stargate fans happy. “Life” also had a hint of more I.O.A. scheming with Strom’s brief appearance, which was one more minor saving grace.
Unfortunately, nothing mentioned above redeems “Life” from being the worst episode of SGU to date. Next week is the mid-season finale, and one would hope that SGU makes some kind of impact before a long hiatus. While the show has been pretty reliable and enjoyable thus far, “Life” was a step in the wrong direction.
Episode reviews represent the opinion of the author, and not necessarily that of GateWorld or its owner.