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Review: SGU’s ‘Water’

Sunday - November 1, 2009
Category: OPINION | Tags: , ,


SGU "Water" - Stargate“Water” hopefully gave Stargate fans what they wanted this week: SGU‘s first stand-alone episode. While “Water” did have a tie-in to “Air, Part 3,” there was no cliffhanger after last week’s episode leading into the show’s sixth hour.  This allowed for some more character depth to be built up, and for the guys over at Special Effects to show off what they’ve got in store for later episodes.

Excluding Lt. Scott’s encounter with the alien entity on the desert planet, this was also the first time the crew of the Destiny had to deal with an alien life form.

While it was interesting to see the sand alien again, the minute that it is introduced it is pretty clear that the alien is responsible for Destiny‘s current water issues. Sure, Spencer was also hoarding some food and water.  But the alien was clearly drawn to it in “Air, Part 3,” making it pretty obvious that it was responsible. It was also frustrating that the Destiny crew was not given a way to interact with the creature instead of the “shoot first, ask questions” later mentality.

When the rest of the crew finally found out about the entity, it almost felt as if these people should have been more fearful of what was happening. A lot of the crew are just scientists and some had never even gone through the Stargate before, leaving the situation not very believable. There could have easily been some fear or chaos written into some of these characters, but instead it seemed like they care more about the supposed reign the military has over them than the threat of an alien life form on the ship.

Although some parts of this episode were lacking, it was made up for by character depth for T.J. and Greer.  They are both people who are tough and not to be messed with in a tight situation. T.J. is put into a command situation and, while she doesn’t necessarily know what she’s doing, she learns to adapt.  It was also nice to see that while Greer might be a loose cannon, he can follow orders … when he wants to.

SGU "Water - LifeformThe A-story of “Water” ended up being the best part of the episode, with Colonel Young and Lt. Scott on the ice planet together. You really get the feeling that while Scott has some flaws (which are evident when he turns his radio off to make out with Chloe), Young has a lot of faith and respect for the young officer under his command. When Scott gets stuck in the crevasse, it shows just how loyal Young really is, as he has yet to leave a man behind. Even when he is back aboard the ship and has to deal with Spencer, he could have easily left him locked up. But you get the sense that he wants to have faith that his men will learn from their mistakes.

During the water mission, Eli gets a true taste of how Rush and the military truly work sometimes — and that it’s not always honest. That was an interesting piece of writing, as this really seemed to get under Eli’s skin.  It seemed he was the only character this week who got nervous about the entity, or got angry with the way Rush and the military were dealing with the situation by lying to Colonel Young.

It will be interesting to see how Eli reacts now that he’s seen Rush’s true colors. It really seems like he is getting the most character development as Eli gets better and better each week. It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like him right now.

Overall, “Water” was one of those 50/50 episodes with a good A-story and a sub-par B-story.   While not as predictable as “Light,” some parts of this episode were just painstakingly obvious, like Spencer stealing the water or the “sand alien” being responsible for the massive water shortage. In the end, “Water” ended up being more of a character driven episode more than anything else, as we got to know a lot more about the key members of Destiny‘s crew.

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 (62):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • And tonight on Sex and the Stargate…
    Warning major spoilers….

    Another week and another pointless drivel filled episode of Universe. I gave this episode a 2 because we actually saw an alien and they went through the Stargate. Now onto the episode itself. The major plot twist of this story, if you could call it that, is that Scott and Col. Young go to an ice planet to find water and …wait for it…wait for it…that’s right folks Scott falls through the ice and gets stuck. Whew I really didnt see that coming. And the Col. takes 10-15 min. meandering and pontificating. Within the first minute I was asking myself why didnt he just tie the other end of the rope to the hover device and pull Scott out. It took the Col. a good 10 minutes. But then again how would they get some excellent drama. And oh by the way the Col. did not really manage to get Scott out, there are another series of tremors, which it seems dislodge the material trapping Scott.(unless I missed something, but it seemed like one min he was stuck and after the tremors he was free) So another lucky break saves the day. At least this time it was not the ship. But wow did that create some real tension and excitement or what, I mean on SG-1 and SGA they only had to save entire civilizations in the nick of time. But man this was just soo much better!!!
    Coming to the alien on the ship, I realized immediately they were going to send it through the Stargate. However, I must confess I did not realize they were going to lure it using water in order to do it. However, the plot was extremely similar to SGA episode Hide and Seek. However, SGA hide and seek actually had some sci fi in it. They discovered the transportation devices, they discovered the ascension plans of the ancients, and there was some good sci fi lingo. Here zilch, nada, nothing.
    Chloe seems to be around just to complain and you know create DRAMA. And yeah, again Scott decides he is above the rules and can simply switch off communication. Wow he really has the quality of leadership in him, doesnt he?? And the great Dr. Rush seems to think that the best way to deal with any problem is to simply leave someone behind, I mean why should we even try to help someone in danger, when it is so much easier to let them die right????
    Yes, you dont even have to say it, I am an SGA fan still unable to get over its cancellation. But here is my question, how could someone who thinks that SGA season 4 and season 5 were weak think that Scott getting stuck in ice is an interesting or strong plot. I mean really what else happened in this episode. And as I already stated the remaining plot was a rip off of SGA Hide and Seek. And for those who say it allowed for character development of the Col. Really???What about all the episodes which showed Sheppard trying to get Ford back? Or what about the 5th season opener in which he goes back for Teyla despite being injured because he doesnt want to lose her, like he lost Ford. But hey those episodes were not filled with 10 min of melodrama.

  • I’d have to say I agree a lot with what krdstargate says above… SGU’s episodes move at the speed of molasses. And having invested in 15 previous seasons of SG1 and SGA, I just can’t help but wonder what the producers were thinking choosing to go down this road with the new series. Was their special FX budget trimmed down to nothing? There is one set — the ship — where the characters spend 90% of their time whining about being stuck in space — and they must really be alone in this part of space, since no one in a million years has happened to notice a city-size spaceship floating on by, which after 6 or 7 episodes, has been the only thing to happen in outerspace. Please – we need a hostile alien race or some other compelling reason for these people to somehow join together and start wanting to survive. No threat = no drama, despite the Melrose-style drama the Chloe character seems to create ep to ep. The one positive — no planets which are covered in forests; although I’d gladly take that back in exchange for some tension, high-stakes action, and a little light-hearted exchange between characters that are engaging. I’ll keep watching, being the Gate-junkie I am, but it doesn’t always pay to reinvent the wheel — sometimes things work best the way they were.

  • GateWhirled- “@krdstargate: Sooo…. you liked it then?”

    you betchaa!!!!:)

  • Character development, character development, character development… Chant it like a mantra!

  • Atlantis was phenominal. It was just plain stupid to cancell it. Why not incorporate Atlantis into Universe somehow if you wont bring back ATLANTIS.

    ATLANTIS rocks ! Universe is a nowhere near as good.

    ticked off. Kim May in Ontario

  • Seriously people, I just don’t get your wacky obsession with hating SGU. Where was the drama in SGA? Excepting when an actor wanted to leave the show it was obvious that no one ever in any risk of dying, the characters in the show were perfect except for carefully defined “flaws” that were there for comedic effect. You had 15 seasons of that, and you still want more? SGU isn’t about action, killing stuff, blowing up huge honking ships, shooting thousands of aliens,etc, it’s about putting people where they shouldn’t be and then watching what happens. Stuff like that shouldn’t be moving at the speed of light.

    As for “Sex and the Stargate” Seriously? You’ve got to be kidding. This is the real world. I’m probably more religious than 90% of the people here, and I can deal with it, why is there this childish “Iwww!!!! Look what she’s doing!!!!!”? I certainly don’t agree morally that the characters are doing it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s realistic.

    You people just don’t get it- It’s not about what you see, but *why* you see what you do.

    Atlantis was a great show, but it saturated the genre. It’s time for something new, and SGU is doing a pretty good job at delivering that, as long as they don’t go overboard, and are given a chance I think they’ll continue to get much better at doing so as well.

  • @krdstargate Yeah SGA was a good show. when the writers can’t write stories for a character they create, they just kill the off or get rid of them. They did it to Ford, Weir, etc. So many times the writers pull **** out of nowhere to get the plot moving. At least, in SGU they don’t makeup words like “Wormhole Drive” to cut corners. This cast has great chemistry in it’s first episodes than SGA had in it’s 5 seasons.

  • The more I watch this show, the more I dislike it. The slow pace, the whiny scientists, the 90210’esqe “character development”. I honestly find myself rooting for Rush now, as he’s the only one who seems to get what’s going on and how to prioritize things. Eli’s “character development” consists of him basically needing a kick to head and being told to grow up. And the whiny scientists, complaining about the searches: “We have rights.” Seriously? These people had been living on a military base for months before getting to the ship, and they are surprised at how things are being run? I get that their whiny-ness is supposed to how normal folks relate to them, but it’s still annoying as hell. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I enjoyed SG1 and SGA because it was about the best and brightest being the best and brightest. If I wanted to watch ill-prepared people dealing with situations that are way over their head, I’d go to the mall and watch all of the glass-eyed mouth-breathers feeble attempts at interaction…

    I’ve promised myself to give this show a full season before making a final decision of Yay or Nay, and I want the franchise to succeed, but I think in the TPTB’s attempts to reach a larger audience, they are forgetting their core audience that kept them in business for all of these years, which provided them the opportunity to do this show. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you guys. I’m rooting for you.

  • I thought WATER was an absolutely excellent episode; the best so far.
    I don’t understand what Atlantis has to do with SGU. It’s hardly SGU’s fault that Atlantis was cancelled, why blame this series.
    At any rate, my opinion: Water was a great episode.

  • @the review writer: Don’t take this the wrong way but, at least pay attention while you watch an episode before you critic it. They never told the rest of the crew about the aliens. The only people who knew about them were Rush, Eli, TJ and some of the military personal (maybe all of the military personal) and all of them were under orders not to say anything to anybody about them. And the military personal have probably encountered alien life form before so they acted pretty convincing. Most were professional and one of them acted out of fear (the guy who got killed), Eli was freaked out and Rush was, well, he was just Rush =).

    On another matter. Why do allot of you here on the board, and sometimes even the reviewers complain about something being obvious? It’s not a mystery show, it’s not Sherlock Holmes. When I saw the alien I thought as you that they were most likely the ones who were draining the water, because we saw them do that in Air Part 3. But I wasn’t thinking like, apparently allot of you were, “damn, now I know who is behind this. They have just ruined everything for me”. I wanted to see them (the characters) figure it out, how they were going to react and act and how they then were going to solve the problem. When did surprises and twists become a requirement?

    And finally, on the matter of Eli. Was I the only one who thought that what Rush said to him was the truth? That he acted like a big baby? I mean come on, sometimes it’s better to withhold something in the name of the greater good. What would be good in telling Young that they didn’t have it under control (which wasn’t necessarily the case. Even though that guy got attacked there still was no reason to panic, TJ stood in front of the aliens and they did nothing to her, so they could draw the conclusion that “the butchered guy” probably provoked them, like Rush suspected). What could Young contribute anyway? He is not a scientist. They don’t know when they will get the chance to get water again and they didn’t have a lot of it. So I thought that Rush was completely right and Eli was just a big baby. Like a little kid who believes in always telling the truth no matter what. Sometimes that’s not true and that’s something you get when you get older.

    Anyway like I said, didn’t mean to offend anybody

  • Interesting review, although I disagree with the reviewer on some parts.

    Personally, I believe ‘Light’ had some great character moments and I didn’t find it as predictable. I knew the ship would fly near the star to replenish it’s reserves, but no way thought it would dive into it!

    ‘Water’ had some nice moments, but it didn’t keep me on my seat like ‘Light’ did. Still a decent episode though.

  • I love all things Stargate so I was very excited to hear that there was going to be a new Stargate show. So far I am less than impressed. I’m all for new and improved and such, but its time to get back to the basics. Stargate has always been about meeting new races and epic adventures through the Stargate. It has never been about drama or sex or being whiny little girls. This stargate is a little too dark and a little too gritty. If gritty is what stargate fans wanted we would watch Battlestar Galactica or Lost. Stargate is amusing and dangerous without being too serious or edgy. I was hoping for a new stargate that would at least uphold the basic Stargate principles. i understand they wanted to make the new Stargate different to distinguish it from the others and they have definitly achieved their goal, but in doing so they have taken away the magic that has drawn so many to stargate over the years.

    Lighten up the show, dial down the drama and blow some stuff up.

    (Where’s Jack with the C4 when you need him????)

  • So.. Nikst, Orion Coran.. Having second thoughts/ Doubts about how brilliant SGU is? just asking, as I am interested in an objective opinion. Even Tanith has toned down her vocal ra-ra-sis-boom-bah flag waving, standing in front of the SGU flag with her hand over her heart :) LOL!! (yeah I’m just kidding..)

  • “As for “Sex and the Stargate” Seriously? You’ve got to be kidding. This is the real world. I’m probably more religious than 90% of the people here, and I can deal with it, why is there this childish “Iwww!!!! Look what she’s doing!!!!!”? I certainly don’t agree morally that the characters are doing it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s realistic.”

    You took what I said too literally, I dont mind sex in tv shows, although if I am going to watch a show for sex, then the nipple needs to make its appearance:) I really dont care about SGU showing sex before marriage or whenever. My point was that the show seems to be obsessed in concentrating on relationship rather than sci fi.

    “Excepting when an actor wanted to leave the show it was obvious that no one ever in any risk of dying”

    And did you really think that Lt. Scott was ever in danger of dying? Characters on tv show rarely die unless they want off the show or having problems with the actor. But I definitely saw more drama and excitement in SGA episodes like STORM where Mckay and Dr. Weir were desperately trying to convince Kolya of keeping them alive, or Season 2 episodes where Sheppard was trying to bring back Ford, and you know what they did with more realism,excitement and action.

    I understand wanting to build drama. In fact, the episodes of Star Trek TNG I loved were the episodes that dealt with issues of right and wrong, and morals, not the action based episodes. But I like conflict based on plot, not conflict for conflict sake. So far all the drama has just been characters fighting about personal issues. If I wanted to see a high school love drama I would watch some show on the CW like gossip girl.

    And really, you found Scott falling and getting trapped in ice a great plot???? Even the worst plot of Season 5 in SGA was better than the plot of this episode, but that’s my opinion. But seriously how can falling in ice be a 45min plot.

  • This show has soo much potential! It is really lacking right now… but I think SGA started out how should I say not slow, just that it really took me a while to get into it and like it. I hope this works out that way too. And what is up with the sex, WE DON’T NEED SEX ON STARGATE!!!!!!!! PERIOD, please stop… I know most of this season is already made but if the other episodes are anything like what water was, it was just thrown in there. It’s not too late to edit that useless sex scene out. You can show character affection w/out showing sex.

  • @Mrja84 At least, in SGU they don’t makeup words like “Wormhole Drive” to cut corners. This cast has great chemistry in it’s first episodes than SGA had in it’s 5 seasons.

    This is sci fi. The reason why I watch sci fi is to here words like Wormhole drive. If you dont like hearing words like that, there is always gossip girl or grey’s anatomy.

    As for your second statement, that is simply laughable. The reason why SG-1 and SGA were so enjoyable is because the chemistry was so great.

    I really have not seen any chemistry on this show yet. And why exactly does Col. Young trust Scott so much. So far, Scott has turned off radio communication twice without giving Col. Young a good reason.

  • @US06154: Well if your asking if I think less of the show now then when it started, then NO. I actually think its getting better and better. The comment I made about Eli is not a critisism toward the writers, its toward Eli the character. Is the show perfect? No its not. Was SG1 and SGA perfect? Hell no, far from it. But a tv show doesnt need to be perfect for me to like it. I loved SG1 and SGA. SGU is getting there, but we have only had 6 episodes so far so Im holding on the final verdict. And if you thought that I might have changed my opinion of SGU because I dont post as often as I used to (?), then no. I dont post as often because I dont care anymore what the SGU-haters say. I have realised that they are going to continue to bash it until the end of time or if they loose their fingers. So when someone writes something negative without it being constructive critisism (when someone is bashing it for no other reason then just that: to bash it) then I just jump to the next comment.

    Didnt you used to bash it? Dont think that I have seen much negative posts from you in a while. Did you change your mind, at least a little or did you just let other people bash it for you? =)

  • It seems that there are too many characters running around not doing anything. They have made Chloe into a whiny bimbo, who, again, doesn’t do anything….well except for whine. Rush is a little bit too much of jerk. I’m all for conflict but you at least have to make the character likeable, at least a teeny little bit. I mean McKay was jerk but you still liked the guy….sometimes…..

  • @krdstargate
    I think they (he/she) meant that Wormhole drive was never mentioned before that episode. something that big you’d think that Mckay would have had a computer screen with it on, or a passing mention of him working on something that will make him the genius of the world or something.

    I really thought this was the weakest of all the episodes so far. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it… It’s just it wasn’t as gripping as the last few.

    Curiously, would anyone else consider the crystalline entity episode (forgot the name of it) in Season 1 of SG1 too be a slow character piece? cause it certainly feels like it is to me… and I loved it.

    I think I lost my point in this rambling…
    Just wanted to say it was an enjoyable episode but not one of would rewatch often. Thats how it is always though, there are episodes that aren’t on the same level as the rest of a season.

  • @ nkilbourn “And what is up with the sex, WE DON’T NEED SEX ON STARGATE!!!!!!!! PERIOD, please stop… I know most of this season is already made but if the other episodes are anything like what water was, it was just thrown in there. It’s not too late to edit that useless sex scene out. You can show character affection w/out showing sex.”

    What episode were you watching? There wasn’t any sex in this episode. None that I saw anyway. I saw Scott and Chloe making out but that was it. Making out and sex are two COMPLETELY different actions.

  • Haven’t seen a “sex scene” since the first episode myself, sex was implied but not really seen in light and it was just kissing in Water. Also just to note that there hasn’t been any nudity. Like others have already said this shows realism.

    I agree though that some are saying that the sex scenes makes SGU not a show for the kids but how was getting shot at, tortured, life sucked out of them etc suitable for kids?

  • While “Light” was a more solid episode, I LOVE this show!


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