Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | FAQ | RSS RSS
Stargate News
Review: SGU’s ‘Justice’

Monday - December 7, 2009
Category: OPINION | Tags: , ,


SGU "Justice" - Young and Rush fightFrom a step in the wrong direction with “Life” to an extremely large step in the right direction, “Justice” was quite possibly the best episode of the first half of SGU‘s freshman season.  It had everything a great Stargate episode has to offer: a suicide masked as a murder, the I.O.A. leaping at the opportunity to put one of their own in charge, and of course … an abandoned alien ship.  Last Friday’s mid-season finale lacked every bad aspect of the series that “Life” was full of — namely, the lack of a plot line with a real “Stargate” feel and needless over-dramatization. Instead, viewers got treated to a program that had excitement, shocking moments, and originality.

Most of all, “Justice” gave lead characters who hadn’t had the chance to grow yet — like Camille Wray and Chloe Armstrong — a great opportunity to come out of their shells and shine.

While “Justice” had a lot going on, the characters of Wray and Chloe really blew me away. The last thing anyone was expecting was for Colonel Young to ask Chloe to be his defense attorney, let alone that she would pull it off. But as it turns out, Elyse Levesque took charge of her character and gave an outstanding performance alongside Ming-Na during the tribunal scene.

Ming-Na also gave a stunning performance,  adding more depth to the character of Camille Wray.  From her strong feelings about Sgt. Greer to her almost emotional breakdown after realizing her faults, Wray finally felt like a character and less like filler.

Greer was another character who came into his own in the mid-season finale.  If there was anything that I would have changed about this episode, it would have been to give him more screen time.   His loyalty to the people he cares about — Colonel Young in particular — really came out.  Greer is not afraid to speak his mind, whether it is with Wray or Lt. Scott.  While I hate to make comparisons to other Stargate characters, he is becoming the Ronon of the show — and that is a compliment.

The evidentiary hearing was one of the highlights of the episode.   “Justice” brought me back to the Battlestar Galactica episode “Litmus,” in which an independent tribunal took place.  It’s been said that SGU tries to hard to be like Battlestar, and if they are, they took a good page out of its book with the “trial” scene.  This one was done in such an original way.  On most other TV shows, when trials take place, they are conducted by professionals (like Sgt. Hadrian on BSG).  In this case, while Wray has H.R. experience, neither she nor Chloe have a real talent in law, making for some excellent drama as each tries to push her case.

SGU "Justice" - Wray and ChloeThe Rush/Young schism finally reaches its boiling point, making for the best part of the show.  The way in which their conflict was written to coincide with the discovery of the abandoned alien craft was extremely clever.    From the minute the two of them were alone on the planet, it was obvious that Young was going to throw down. The whole episode builds toward that scene — first with Rush having no care for rules and regulations during the room searches, then the manipulation of his science team, ultimately leading to Dr. Franklin sitting in the Ancient chair and being left in a catatonic state. This was all very well executed, making Young’s breaking point that much more believable.

The fight at episode’s end was a great way to both bring the conflict between the two to a climax, and to end the episode. With the alien ship as the backdrop, it couldn’t have been much better.   Definitely the best quote of the season came from Rush when he said, “We’ll never be done!” leading to a knockout head-butt and his abandonment on the planet by Young.   Such a climactic ending.  And while it may have been just a touch predictable, it didn’t stop me from saying, “He won’t … holy crap, he did!”

If you are going to do a mid-season finale, “Justice” was the way to do it.  It left me wanting so much more at the end (which was obviously the point).  If SGU was in need of viewers after this shocking finale, it shouldn’t need anymore after such a terrific episode.  It may be easy to say that Rush will find a way to get the mysterious alien ship working when the show comes back in the spring … but you never know on Stargate.  It will be interesting to find out who that ship belongs to, and just what Rush’s reaction will be if he does, in fact, return to Destiny.  One thing is for sure: there will be words between him and Young.

Of course, this is all pure speculation — but that’s the sign of a great mid-season cliffhanger.  It will keep us talking for the months ahead.  My faith in Stargate Universe is restored!

Reviews represent the opinion of the author, and not necessarily 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.

COMMENTS (46):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • I largely agree again with your review. And, most definitely, I thought JUSTICE was the best of SGU to this time – an excellent episode, with events very well orchestrated throughout; and with an ending that makes me wish the next episodes were tomorrow rather than in March orApril.

  • *spoiler* This review was spot on. I believe that the ship at the end of the episode was the ship that took off from the destiny in an earlier episode and Rush will use it to get back.

  • I was totally expecting Young to be dragging Rush back through the gate. But I was blown away!!! (can you really blame Young after all.)

    You expect a tidy storyline but this isn’t Atlantis, and that’s a good thing.

    When Rush makes it back (I’m assuming he does) he’ll know Eli lied about the file corruption. That’ll be interesting too.

    Also please don’t compare Ronon to Greer. Greer is ten times better.

  • I really liked this episode. “Time” was my favorite episode so far, until this one. This one blew it away and that’s saying something to me. This is one of only a few episodes so far that you could tell was stargate if you removed all of the scifi elements from it, and that’s an excellent thing. I can’t wait for the next half of the season, 2010 better come quick!

  • It be kindda funny if all Rush had to do to get back to Destiny was dial the Stargate and not need a spaceship to do it.

  • I can not believe the writers had the guts or even the ability pull this one off. I did not believe it was going to end that way, not a chance. I’ve been a huge, unwavering critic of this series, and this one moment doesn’t redeem it all, but it is a HUGE step in the right direction. SGU, you have my attention.

  • Fantastic episode – While the previous shows in the season ranged from pretty good to a bit boring, this one was brilliant for a mid season cliffhanger.
    I wonder what they have planned for the season finale? =D

  • OK. May be it’s a good episode.
    May be not.
    I don’t know I stopped watching a few weeks ago.
    But one point if it’s really a good one then it’s coming too late.
    This should have been one of the first episodes of the series just after the series premiere.
    BTW take a look at the ratings – 1,340 million viewers, that’s a nearly half million drop from Life.

  • 100% agreed with this review. If this episode is an indication of what’s to come then I am glad to of stuck by SGU from the start. I could just feel that really good episodes where coming and ‘Justice’ more or less just confirmed that.

  • @Tonton Beber judging by ‘Time’ a good episode can lead to a ratings increase. ‘Justice’ has been the best episode of SGU yet in the eyes of most fans (Basing this on the Gateworld poll).

    The next episode ‘Space’ (That will most likely air in Apri) if what Mallozzi says about it on his blog are true then it will also be an amazing episode. If that is the case then I could see the ratings going up again every easily.

  • My brain couldn’t handel the banging against the wall so i stoped watching since 1×5.
    But like i see the ratings for Stargate 90210 are hilarious for a show that coste two times then SGA or SG1.

  • It was alright. I think Earth has way too much sway on the crew and eventually they are going to have to make a choice of either continue to let people several billion light years a way play with their lives or cut off communication and find their own way home.

    As for Rush, this is obviously going to bite Young in the ass. Surely he had a gun, he should have used it (would have assured Rush wouldnt figure out how to get the ship to fly and in many respects would have been merciful).

  • “Justice” was definitely one of the 2 good episodes of SGU this season but keep in mind people there were 8 others that it seems in lot of fans opinion hit somewhere on the scale between crap and mediocre. Chances of the second half of the season of this show being much different probably are not great considering that all of these episodes were written and shot about the time of the season premier. I don’t think “Justice” was a lot to get excited about for those who were about ready to write this show off. Though I am still reserving judgment someone correct me if I am wrong but the Mid season and season Finale are suppose to be two of the better if not best episodes of the season. And compared to the run of relatively boring episodes these writers came up with for 8 of 9 previous episodes it would have been hard for them look much worse. I mean if you have all Cs, Ds, and a couple Fs for grades then a B+ looks pretty damn good especially when that B+ came right after an F. I think the closest comparable season in Stargate history to this one of Universe in terms of what the writers wanted to do was Season 1 of SG1 and that season was far superior to what has been seen so far from SGU.

  • Hmmm. This episode was the best we’ve seen so far, however it was still very very clumsy. I don’t understand why Young is so adament to be in charge when he blatently doesn’t want to and already knows that he’s not the guy for the job. You would have thought he would be relieved not to be in charge anymore and let someone else do it. Obviously he would have still been in charge of the military side of things. The military should not be in charge at all, they so far demonstrated a lack of understanding and jepodised everyone in which Rush has had so save their asses several times over. Of course he’s gonna see an oportunity to dispose of Youngs command when he sees it. I’m not convinced though of youngs logic in getting rid of Rush. This bit seemed to be out of character, if we had more of a build up of Youngs totally unsuitablility to command over several episodes then it would have worked better, rather than just the previous episode of punching Telford.

    I think thats one of the things that is wrong with this series. It doesn’t build up to things, it just throws it out there, so the character development is unbelievable. I mean just look at Scot and Chloe for example “we’ve been growing close” erm no you haven’t, you’ve been on the ship five minutes. And Young commiting what he beleives to be murder by leaving Rush to die all of a sudden. A build up would to it would have worked, whilst this just destroys the suspension of disbelief.

    It will be interesting in how the writers get away with it next epsiode when Rush gets back. Which is another problem because we all know Rush is going to figure out how ti fix the ship and fly back.

  • I agree with bluecat, that the major issue with the show is that they don’t build up to things. The Cloe/Scot Relationship is a very good ecample. Everything looked like a Cloe/Eli thing was building up and then that o_O

    Back to the topic: I also think that “Justice” is one of the best epiosdes of the season so far, but “Time” is still my favorite!

  • “I don’t understand why Young is so adament to be in charge when he blatently doesn’t want to and already knows that he’s not the guy for the job. ”

    This episode easily answered that question. Because no one belongs on this mission, and idiots like Rush could cost people their lives. The military needs to be in charge to keep order, since so many people on this mission aren’t qualified to be there in the first place.

    “I mean just look at Scot and Chloe for example “we’ve been growing close” erm no you haven’t, you’ve been on the ship five minutes. ”

    Really?? It seems to me that the episode “LIFE” finally showed that a substantial amount of time is passing quite regularly, you just don’t seem to notice it.

    Rush is a loose cannon. His actions in “JUSTICE” showed this unequivacolly. Rush has no real interest in going home. He wants to study the ship. It seems to me that you might be missing the point of the series.

  • 1st time posting so bear with me.
    SGU-Great addition to the SG world
    down to business.
    Justice has been building up all season lone. cant see how someone can say theres no build up to that one. have to agree about Cloe/scott deal. then again not interested in seeing him put the moves on her anyway. life and death situations in the beginning, thinking their going to die father dies, good looking guy with a shoulder to lean on, yeah thats believable, dont need the build up, lets move on.
    that ship cannot be the same (highly unlikely) as the one that left the ship. that was how far back?
    this ship completely alien not even the same material. cant be one of the advanced ships sent out.
    i wouldnt be surprised (i was that Rush got left there) if Rush doesnt come back right away. he would have to know where the ship was heading, which to this point he never mentions. ok thats not saying much considering his past.
    Rush was willing to sacrifices another Human to better his understanding of the ship. he doesnt care about getting home, and has actually been working against that if its not on his terms.

    cant really agree with bluecat regarding Young. his character has on several occasions as being not the right guy for the job. And no he doesnt want to be there, none of them do. he’s got a bunch of crap happening back home and its really his own fault. which is a huge distraction from leading. i think it really show cased his popping point. couldnt take all the crap that has been going on and just leaves Rush. However, lets not forget he walked out of shot toward the ship before they flashed back to destiny. he did something over there. he wasnt walking back to the ship right away…

  • For the first time since SGU aired I am pleased to say I really, really enjoyed an episode of the show. I have been very critical of the show and in fairness I feel I should give the show some praise for this episode.

    This episode is what SGU should have been like all along. Drama between characters that builds upon itself, a plot focused on the Destiny and a feeling that this is still Stargate.

    My hope is that this signals a change in how the writers are going to portay these characters and that we’ll start to focus on the Destiny and less on earth.

    My fear however is that once the show returns we’ll be back to original formula of body-swapping all the time, too much time focused on earth and character drama that feels forced and not natural.

    The writers got my attention with this episode and for once I feel there is a hope this show will be successful. I hope my faith is not misplaced. Spring 2010 will tell.


  • I disagree with bluecat and Corin. This whole show is one giant build-up. The biggest problem with it often is the lack of ‘stuff going on’ because pretty much all the airtime is being eaten up by things building up.

  • @mistergroenevingers:
    That’s an interesting way of putting it. I defintely agree that there should be more “action”. But I don’t think that’s a contradiction to the “no build up” theory. I.e. of course there’s some build up going on, but is it always plausible?

  • @Corin
    I’m not sure if all the building up going on is plausible. But I’ve seen all the episodes more than once now and I think a lot of things between episodes connect. Some things seem obsolete in my opinion but may yet prove to be vital in later episodes. The Scott-Chloe relationship is something I could surely do without. As far as I’m concerned those characters get scrapped completely. But getting back to things being plausible. Is the stargate itself plausible?

  • I liked the episode very much, and overall thought the first half of the season was good. Not great, but good. DEFINITELY good enough for a second season in my opinion.

    I did have one big problem with this episode, and that is Young’s actions at the end… beating the crap out of Rush makes perfect sense… but to strand him… let’s be honest here: Rush is without question the single best chance for the crew to get home. Yes, I know, he’s got ulterior motives and doesn’t actually want to go home… but that doesn’t change the fact that (from what we’ve seen so far at least) he’s the best chance to figure the ship out, get it under control and figure out a way home. So Young’s actions were actually incredibly reckless and all but dooms the crew to never get home.

    This seems very out of character for him. We already saw him attack a superior back home, so snapping and almost killing someone IS NOT out of character, so if that’s all he did I’d be cool with it… if he then dragged Rush back to the gate, that would have made sense. In fact, it would have been perfect: Young steps through the gate back onto Destiny, Rush in tow, and says “I wanted to leave his sorry ass out there, but that would have been selfish.”, fade to black.

    Not nearly as dramatic, I admit, but much more logical and in character.

    But, that aside, excellent episode all-around… I still would have preferred one more season of Atlantis, but this ain’t bad so far.

  • I completely agree with the review. I thought that it was a fantastic ep.

  • I had cancelled my DVR of SGU. I did watch Justice, and was surprised that I liked it. If it continues in this direction, I may go back to watching. What I hate is the soap opera feel of the other episodes. What next, group sex. I miss being able to watch the show as a family. It was something we enjoyed together. The others did very well without it.

  • If this was the “best” then SGU continues to be weak. I find these characters to be less and less likable with each episode. Big deal, Chloe played lawyer and Wray continued to be annoying and a biotch. Young proved he has neither the integrity or personal honor to be in command. No surprise that the ratings are dropping. The show is bad and if it does manage to get a second season I doubt it will last beyond that if they continue the current format. I do find that I am enjoying the fact that I can’t stand these people. I find myself wishing for their demise.

  • @Stormin The show isn’t, and definitely shouldn’t form their plot lines and characters based on your (or my) ideals. This show isn’t about what you or I think we would do in the situation, it’s about what those specific people would do in the situation.

    IMO the reason so many of the SG1 and SGA fans are having so many issues with SGU is that their watching SGU on the wrong paradigm. They evaluate the episodes based on what they would do in that particular situation. This show isn’t about that, it doesn’t care about that. What SGU is basing their entertainment off is understand why /those/ people are acting the way they are. Why isn’t Eli trying harder in his relationship with Chloe? Why the heck does Young think he’s the one who should be in command? It isn’t about whether or not it’s realistic, it’s about you finding out why it is realistic for these people to be acting the way they are. You can’t just plop down in front of the TV and expect to be entertained, you need to be actively involved.

  • They are acting the way they are because they lack any kind of integrity or redeeming qualities and I don’t find that entertaining at all. And the reason I dislike this show is not because its different to the previous ones, it’s that its just not entertaining in any way and how do you expect me to “get involved” if I can’t stand any of the characters. I couldnt care less what these out of control self absorbed whackos do. I can go into the real world of I want to see selfish nasty people with no redeeming qualities and I don’t find anything entertaining about them.

  • A lot of SG1 & SGA fans seen to only like nice cosy hero types who don’t remind them how flawed and generally unpleasant human beings are. They seem to want some sort of blazing affirmation of how strong, noble and fair-minded humanity is. You only need to watch the news to see that that’s a far more unrealistic aspect of Stargate than wormhole travel, ancients, Goauld, Asgard or any of the rest of the sci-fi parts of the show. All power to SGU for portraying much of humanity as weak, devious, shallow, cowardly, amoral and dishonest. Remember that you always need the dark as counterpoint to the light, otherwise it’s meaningless.

  • I like how were split now lol, most positive people are on this article whereas most naysayers are on:‘Justice’ ratings a series low for SGU.

    Hope it stays that way to finally allow us 1 article to talk about the episode.

  • I’d have to say, I feel that as far as the best episode thus far of SG:U, ‘Time’, which reminded me a bit of the Atlantis episode ‘The last Man’, did it for me. It left you “wanting more”, had all the science you’d expect in an episode of science-fiction, plus some interesting plot-twists and a has a spectacular ending, which is actually a non-ending.

    Insofar as “Justice” is concerned, I think that it’s a sign of bad leadership to just abandon Rush on the planet. Yes, what he did deserved punishment, but simply leaving him there is essentially a death sentence from Young—something that even Rush did not plan for him in turn—and no great commander would do something like that to a resource so valuable.

    Rush is a crazy b@stard, but he’s about the only person capable of fully understanding the Alterran technology, and without him they’d all be dead many times over.

    Young could have had it out with him aboard Destiny, and this just seems like the writers’ attempt at forcefully extracting dramatic reactions from the audience.

    I also feel that the trial should have had some public conclusion. As to the writer’s comments about Stargate lacking trials conducted by inexperienced persons, compare ‘Justice’ to the SG-1 episodes:

    ‘Cor-Ai’, where Daniel must defend Teal’c, who finds himself guilty of mass-murder.

    ‘Pretense‘, where Jack must defend Skaara against his parasite, Klorel in Tollan Triad in a fight to free him from the Goa’uld.

    ‘Shades of Grey’, where the Tollans accuse jack of a crime, which is a front in order to get him into bed with Maybourne and the N.I.D..

    ‘The Powers that Be’, where Vala is put in trial (a “Maldoran”) for her crimes when posing as their god.

    There is also the Atlantis episode ‘Inquisition’, where Woolsey defends the humans of Earth for their alleged crimes in the Pegasus galaxy.

    All of these exemplify how people conduct trials on Stargate with little to no experience in law. There is no reason for the trial of Young to stop abruptly with no conclusion due to some deal with Wray. That’s not only silly, but also unbelievable and lacks emotional impact of any kind. To make up for this, they [the writers] forcefully attempt to inject emotion into the show during the final conflict with Young and Rush.

    I think that ‘Justice’ is a weak episode for many reasons, and they the writers are trying too hard to be like ‘Battestar Galactica’, while deviating too far from what made Stargate the best science fiction show on American television for twelve years.

    ‘Time’ on the other hand, is a shining example of how to write a show that attracts the ‘Battlestar’ viewers to watch the Stargate franchise.


  • @Anquietas:”There is no reason for the trial of Young to stop abruptly with no conclusion due to some deal with Wray. That’s not only silly, but also unbelievable and lacks emotional impact of any kind. To make up for this, they [the writers] forcefully attempt to inject emotion into the show during the final conflict with Young and Rush.”

    Unbelievable??? Are you kidding me? Ever heard of both parties coming to an agreement and ending the trial before it was meant to end, without the use of the jury? It has happened a gazillion times in the history of law. Look it up, you might find it enlightening

    As for the final scenes I found them to be just the way they should be. Actually I found the whole episode to be very strong. If they can keep every episode at this standard they will have a very strong show.

  • I agree with most where Earth should really start to take a back seat in the show. the situation they are in and the ship, wheres it going? what about the other sections? should be the focus. the characters reactions to the situation need to play a large roll in each episode. i like how the writers are taking it slow. OK they forced the issue with Young leaving Rush, but it was a SHOCK episode where you didnt expect them to actually go there, but they did now we are left with figuring out how he gets back. something to talk about and look forward to when they start up again. regardless how i feel they need viewers or this becomes another Sarah Connor.

  • Good points: not a soap opera. Lot’s of Rush (if it’s his last, then it’s my last too)

    Bad points: court drama, too much Young (why is this hopeless idiot still on the show?)

    Quite a good episode I thought. Still can’t stand the way they’re on this amazing spaceship and all they care about is conducting a court case (i.e. pretending they are on earth). I DON’T find it realistic or mature, just petty, pointless and boring. Plenty of better court dramas out there just like theres plenty of better soaps and teen dramas out there!

    Stargate used to be about the Adventure above everything else, that sense of Adventure is now so distant.

  • I agree with the person who called it Stargate 90210 that is perfect! and really sad. I think maybe if they fire everyone including the writers except maybe David Blue he is the only one who seems to have any acting talent they might have something worth watching. Im in amazement that they cancelled SGA for this soap opera.

  • I’d have to sum up most of what I’ve seen so far as being petty, pointless and boring. The majority of the cast are miscast for a Stargate show, Rush being the worst. If they had a decent lead with some redeeming qualities and a bit more focus on the actual ship, I might find some semblance of interest in this show.

  • Why in hell are postings that do NOT violate the terms of use being removed? I posted a detailed response that while critical of the show, did not deserve to be deleted. Why the censorship? This is not the first time that this has happened. STOP CENSORING CRITICAL COMMENTS.

  • Why everyone is assuming that Young is lying and has left behind Rush on purpose? He may be telling what actually had happened after the fight on the way back. Or maybe Rush fell down during the fight to some unreachable place within the time frame .

  • I’ve been a Stargate fan since it first started. I liked SG-1, Atlantis and the movies but SGU was a complete dissaster in my book. I meen come on people what’s with all the drama. The only real romantic drama in SG-1 was between sam and jack and that was streched over 10 seasons (and if you pooled together all those moments they would fitt in one episode). Except for Justice allmost all the other episodes where about someones romantic drama.
    Justice was a step in the right direction but it was to small of a step. I don’t think it makes up for all the other episodes.
    I had high hopes for SGU, i couldn’t wait to see it. Now i just hope they end it before they emberess themselves any further.

  • @ SpaceTime3
    We know that Young is lying because Rush is knocked out next to the ship (by Young), and the final scene of the episode is Rush waking up in the exact same spot(so we know that Young made no attempt to move or save Rush).

    As for the episode itself,
    Wow. This is the second episode of Universe that blew me away (Time being the other one). I believe that Universe is much better when the episode takes place on Destiny– I hated the Earth based episodes (Earth and Life), so I hope the show starts to move away from the communication stones.

  • @davey1983

    I must have missed the “exact same spot” part. Maybe I looked away for a second or two and have not seen enough to realize it was the exact same place.


  • Lol, at first I was worried I was going to be one of the few people who didn’t really care for the ending of Justice. After the joke they call the finale of SG1 and then just dropping SGA for SGU I was initially VERY skeptical of SGU. I decided to watch the first few episodes to see how long it would take them to screw it up and I admit it took longer than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a well done episode quality wise and character wise. I have also liked every episode to date because I think it takes a good segue from the original SG series. The communication stones I think allow for both further insight into the characters as well a continued structure and tie to the SGC. In a way I think SGU has been one of the better SG series to date.

    Now the part about leaving Rush behind….my only complaint to date. If it weren’t for SciFi’s tendency to “forget” about the stranded people, I might not be as agitated because I would expect Rush to come back. Another good point discussed above is that Rush was the best chance to survive even if he was a royal pain. Another of my reasons is that I know have no character’s to actually watch the show for. Rush was pretty much a big chunk of the show for me because I found him interesting and was curious to find out more about him and what his real motives are. Well…know I’ll just be hoping they fix this brainfart soon….so I can actually get interested in the show again.

    Anyway my two cents about this episode. Quality and story wise well done… Ending wise…How are they going to shoot their other foot next time?

Sign in below or register to post a comment.


RSS FEEDS | ©2006-2017 GateWorld. All rights reserved. This material may not be reprinted without written consent from GateWorld. Click here to learn more.

Apple iTunes

News by Category

Stargate News

SGU Season 2

Stargate News

On the Web...

Add GateWorld Headlines To Your Site!

"Stargate" and all related characters and images are the property of MGM
Television Entertainment. Please read the site's copyright notice.

©1999-2016 GateWorld. All rights reserved.