Space

Summary | Notes | Production | Transcript | Fan Reviews

A mishap with the communication stones sends Colonel Young's consciousness to an alien vessel, provoking the crew's first extra-terrestrial encounter.

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NIELSEN - 1.486 mil.
(1.2 HH) 

EPISODE #111
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 04.02.10
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 01.31.11
WRITTEN BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
DIRECTED BY: Andy Mikita
GUEST STARS:

Peter Kelamis (Adam Brody), Tygh Runyan (Dr. Caine), Julia Benson (2nd Lt. Vanessa James), Patrick Gilmore (Dale Volker), Jennifer Spence (Lisa Park), Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (Pvt. Darren Becker), Rukiya Bernard (Airman Richmond), Darcy Laurie (Airman Dunning)

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The loss of Dr. Nicholas Rush (“Justice”) reverberates through Destiny. Colonel Everett Young, who beat Rush unconscious and abandoned him on the planet’s surface, has flashbacks. Some civilian scientists on the ship suspect his story and wonder if they, too, will suffer Rush’s fate should they challenge Young. Others, such as Camille Wray, are increasingly suspicious of Young. Wray threatens that she plans to share her concerns with the I.O.A. leadership when she next uses the communication stones to report to Earth. But first, Young will use the long-distance, body-trading technology to report to Homeworld Command.

As Dr. Caine (filling in for the still-injured Sgt. Riley) prepares the stones, Lieutenants Tamara Johansen and Vanessa James drop by Eli’s room. They want him to check for water pressure problems. Seeing Dr. Caine on a live video feed on Eli’s console, James confesses her crush on him … unaware that there is also an open com channel for him to hear her. With the kino ready to record the event, and Lt. Matthew Scott and MSgt. Ronald Greer standing by to welcome the temporary visitor from Earth in the Colonel’s body, Young places a stone on the commication pad.

To his surprise, Young finds himself not in the body of someone back on Earth, but with a very alien life form on an strange space ship. On Destiny, a confused alien in Young’s body attacks Lt. Scott. As Greer subdues whoever is in Young’s body, Caine removes the stone from the transmitter and severs the connection. Certain he did not imagine the experience, Young won’t allow anyone else to use the stones until they understand what has happened.

Meanwhile, the hydroponics lab has produced tomatoes. Chloe enthusiastically pops one into her mouth. Its taste is far from tomato-y. Still, she finds hope in the promise of strawberries. Her table companion, Eli, is cranky because he is struggling to learn all that Rush knew about Destiny. Others in the mess are worried about what Young might have done to Rush. And later, in the hydroponics lab, a hidden kino records Wray, Dale Volker, Lisa Park, Adam Brody, and others discussing what to do about Young and military authority. Observing the video feed, Eli feels further burdened.

Destiny drops into normal space, orbitting a planet with purple vegetation and breathable air. Brody warns of possible radiation problems. As Young and Scott go to suit up, Lt. James finds them in a corridor and leads them to a window – where they see an alien ship staring them down.

In the control room, Eli calls up schematics as Young and Scott arrive. Even as he authorizes Eli to broadcast a message, Young feels this is more than coincidence – two alien encounters in one day. That they found Destiny so quickly suggests Destiny was already under alien observation. The aliens answer Eli’s friendly greeting with a single word – in English: SURRENDER. Colonel Young orders Scott and Greer to the shuttle and the weapons brought online. Despite orders to report to designated safe areas, many civilian gather on the observation deck to look at the visitors.

The alien vessel launches several smaller ships. Because Rush was still testing Destiny‘s weapons system, only 30 percent can be used at one time. Eli tries to work around the problem and a way to bring the forward battery to bear. Outside the ship the shuttle engages and successfully destroys several enemy ships, but others slip past and continue toward Destiny‘s hull. Brody tries to boost power to the shields, but weapons fire is draining Destiny‘s limited power.

Realizing the danger, James hurriedly evacuates those still in the observation room. Alien weapons fire creates power surges and electrical arcs through the ship’s corridors. One ship attaches to the hull and cuts a round hole, giving them access to a corridor. Chloe emerges from her quarters and investigates, and is taken captive. Once the small ship returns, the enemy begins to retreat. Colonel Young learns that Chloe has been abducted, and orders a ceasefire.

Once the shuttle is back on board, Young, Greer, and Scott proceed to the communications room. Young uses the stone to again swap bodies with an alien (having his own body strapped to a chair). He beings searching the alien ship for Chloe, but instead discovers Nicholas Rush held in a water-filled tank. He’s unconscious, fitted with a breathing apparatus. Young finds a metal pole and smashes the glass, freeing Rush. When the alien before him makes a human gesture, Rush suspects Young has swapped bodies. He shows the alien how to communicate using its own mind-reading technology, with Rush now on the receiving end of the transmitter.

Confirming that it is Colonel Young’s mind inside the alien body, Rush learns about the attack on Destiny and Chloe’s capture. Young falls to the ground screaming in pain from the experience, and the alien returns to its body. Rush strangles it to death. He then manages to locate and free Chloe, who is also in a water-filled containment tank.

The enemy vessel attacks Destiny again. Young attempts to reestablish the stone’s connection, but the stone won’t send him back – the receiving alien host is now dead. He tells no one he located Rush. Instead, he instructs Eli to fire everything at the alien ship. As Young heads for the control room, Lt. Scott goes to the shuttle. Acting against orders, Scott intends to rescue Chloe. Greer decides to join him.

Destiny continues to fire, although her shields are failing. The enemy retreats and jumps to hyperspace. Scott and Greer notice one small ship flying toward them. When it lands, Rush and Chloe emerge.

Explaining his adventure, Rush does not sell out Young by contradicting his story about Rush having been caught in a rock slide. In private, Rush does confront Young. The Colonel tells him that he regrets what he did (though he thinks Rush did deserve it). Each man has damning information on the other – Rush framed Young for murder, Young left Rush behind on the planet on purpose. For the sake of the crew, they agree to an uneasy truce.

For the moment, everything returns to normal as people recover from the experience. Rush meets Wray in the hydroponics lab. Their conversation suggests she knew Rush removed Spencer’s suicide weapon and planted it in Young’s room (“Justice”). Wray believes that the next time they try to remove Young from command, they will be better prepared.

– S. Fetter

NOTES

  • The song at the episode’s end is “Now Comes the Night” (Rob Thomas).

PRODUCTION NOTES

  • This episode marks actor Darcy Laurie’s first appearance in the recurring role of Airman Dunning. He originally appeared as cave dweller in the Stargate SG-1 Season One episode “The First Commandment,” and later played Tass’an in Season Nine’s “Babylon.”
  • “Today was our final day of spinning on Stargate Universe and we finished in impressive fashion, breaking not one but TWO stories. The first, episode #10 is mine (Carl is especially excited about this one) while #11 falls to Paul. Ticking clocks, twists and turns, alliances, betrayals, and a surprise guest! And, just like that, we have our first 10 stories in play.” (Writer and consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “It’s a pretty solid story, full of action, twists and turns. My only uncertainty stems from some of the locations and weapon systems given that the ship is still being designed as we speak. One more pass and I’ll be putting [the outline] out.” (Writer and consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “Well, I was on a bit of a roll today. I almost completed the Wray-Young fireworks scene coming in at a whopping two full pages!” (Writer and consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “This script is one of the toughest I’ve written and it’s going painfully slow. Of course, that just mean it’ll be perfect once it’s done. ‘Don’t change a thing!’ they’ll no doubt tell me before awarding me a cash bonus and a parade in my honor.” (Writer and consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “I’ve been spinning my wheels on a complicated sequence that has been made all the more complicated by the fact that I’m dealing with all new characters with all new agendas aboard on all new ship. And while the obstacles presented are by no means insurmountable, they have proven exceptionally challenging given that whenever I get a bit of a run going, I get distracted and have to start over. … I finally did manage to tackle the sequence last night and, between 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., actually succeeded in slotting all the pieces of the puzzle together. I was relieved — until this afternoon when I learned that some assumptions I had made based on previous conversations no longer applied. Back to square one. I’ve decided to shelf work on the script until we can all agree on a plan of attack.” (Writer and consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “If all goes well, I’ll finally be delivering my first draft of the mid-season two-parter tomorrow. I’ve been putting off as I attempt to polish and re-polish what I’ve got, but it seems that the longer I delay, the more new ideas and reconsiderations are impacting on the decisions I’ve already made. Granted, changes will have to be made — but until these new ideas and reconsiderations are actually written in stone, I’ll proceed as planned. And I, of course, refer to what Wray knows, the Boone reveal, and the James diss.” (Writer and consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “Great news! It looks like I won’t be asked to pack up my office and escorted off the lot for the time being. Rob, who has been spending his days on set since the start of production, called this afternoon to tell me he liked my script. Always good to hear, but especially so given that: a) It’s my first script for a new series with all new characters, b) It’s the all-important first part of the mid-season two-parter, and c) Rob is a pretty tough critic. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to order that new bookshelf since the other producers have yet to weigh in, among them Brad, an equally tough critic who also happens to be the second half of the team that created the show.” (Writer and consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “Well, I finally got the notes on my first draft of ‘Space’ (now episode 11). At 54 pages, the script is way too long and Rob had some helpful suggestions for trimming down the dialogue. I’ll have to make a slight adjustment to Wray’s attitude in line with Paul’s pass on [‘Justice’], incorporate a costume suggestion, switch out a piece of set dec (actually, more of a prop all things considered) for something more suitable that Production Designer James Robbins came up with, include the two character beats Carl suggested, fiddle with the dialogue pertaining to the ship’s weapon systems, lose an unnecessary complication, and make a slight alteration to final exchange. And that’s it. Hope to have a revised draft later this week.” (Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “I’m well into the rewrite of ‘Space,’ episode #11 of Stargate Universe, and finally got it down to a full 46 pages from a robust 54 (and that’s down from its original 60!). Paring down the dialogue, stripping away some of the superfluous beats, but still maintaining a lot of the character beats that Rob and Co. responded to in the original version (the Boone scene, the James beats, that thing with the sock).” (Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “Rob will be doing the pass on my script, ‘Space’ (episode 11), this weekend and informed me of a few character additions he wants to make off the top (which tie in directly to ‘Justice’), in addition to a dialogue tweak to the final exchange that had me raising an eyebrow in stunned silence. I love both of these characters, and this little revelation raises the stakes, offering a beautiful segue into the next episode, ‘Divided.’

    “Nothing is quite as it seems? Try — no one is quite as they seem. Furtive moves, shifting alliances, and hidden agendas guarantee a dysfunctional and disquieting galaxy-hopping community.” (Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)

  • “I headed down to Stage 4 today where Director Andy Mikita was overseeing one of the big green screen sequences in ‘Space,’ episode #11. On the observation deck this afternoon: Patrick Gilmore (Volker), Julia Anderson (James), Jennifer Spence (Park), and various others taking in the pyrotechnic display.” (Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “Yes, producer edits of ‘Space,’ episode #11, which I wrote, and ‘Divided,’ episode #12, that Paul wrote. Both are going to be great and while ‘Space’ will no doubt get the most online buzz in the lead-up to its air date (for reasons that will become readily apparent as more hints about this episode are released), I think ‘Divided’ is the one that really sings. It is taut, suspenseful, filled with intrigue, and offers up some terrific dramatic performances by many of our cast.” (Consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “If the next three episodes up to the hiatus don’t do it for you, I’ll be surprised — and sad you won’t be watching any longer. Especially since the first episode back after the break is mine, ‘Space,’ and it’s filled with all sorts of action and aliens and ship-to-ship battles.” (Consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “They’re the coolest aliens we’ve ever had on Stargate. They’re a very advanced, not very friendly, space-faring race.” (Executive producer Brad Wright, in the November 23 issue of TV Guide)
  • “Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque) was another character that received quite a few votes and more than a few requests to see the character developed beyond what we’ve established to date. Well, things will get very interesting for Chloe almost immediately upon our April return and her harrowing experience will have repercussions not only for her, but for the rest of the crew as well.” (Consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “Part of the shipboard discovery will also focus on Destiny‘s capabilities, specifically its weapons and defensive systems. These will finally be put to the test against a real opponent almost immediately upon our return (‘Space,’ episode 11), while we’ll finally get to see the shuttle in action as well with flyboys Scott and Greer at the helm.” (Consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “When the show returns in April, you’ll get to see the coolest aliens we’ve ever done on the show.” (Consulting producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • “They are bi-pedal, and they have arms and legs, but they look really different from anything we’ve seen on ‘Stargate’ before. They don’t become the bad guys of the week, but they do have an impact on what they do going forward and there are certainly reverberations for several episodes,” Cooper says.

    “And one of the things that we didn’t want to do was latex-faced aliens. We wanted those aliens to be really out there,” Wright says. “We’re doing full-on CG, heavy duty, ‘District 9’ kind of alien lifeforms. And I think that fans of the old ‘Stargate’ who miss aliens are going to get what they’re looking for.” (Executive producers Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright, in an interview with the L.A. Times)

  • The second half of the season was designed from the beginning “for everything to start ramping up and to get more action-oriented. We wanted everybody to know the characters well for the events. You see, for me, run, jump and action stuff is really only riveting if you really care about the characters and have a relationship with them. We wanted to focus a lot on that. … I mean, it’s still a character-driven show. I’m not suggesting we’re not doing character-driven stuff. But I think the pace picks up, overall. We meet aliens. I mean, we meet more than one group of aliens, and the intensity of discovery gets higher.”

    The aliens we meet in this episode “were done in the same manner and actually by some of the same people who did District 9. These are full-on CG aliens, still living up to my promise that they’re not speaking English or wearing latex. They are very cool. They’re not that nice. They’ve got an agenda. In fact, you’ve seen two examples of them already, one at the end of ‘Air, Part 3.’ That little ship that peeled off and flew way belongs to them. The crashed ship belonged to them.” (Executive producer Brad Wright, in an interview with SciFi Wire)

  • “Something pretty major happens to my character in one of the first few episodes and it effects her mental stability. It changes life on board the ship for a bunch of people, for everybody, actually. There’s this new pressing danger and something shifts in her and she’s different; she’s not the same girl after this moment and we see that. And on top of that, she becomes a much more active member of the Destiny crew. She’s a lot more hands-on.

    “It’s great! That’s what you hope for, right? You know, you hope you’ve got good writers and people thinking ahead for your character because it’s such a great opportunity being able to play the character for this length of time. So yeah, it was really super, super fun and cool because we don’t see the full effect of what happens to her until some of the stuff that we’re shooting right now for Season Two.” (Actress Elyse Levesque, in an interview with Maxim)

  • “The scenes in the water tank in ‘Space’ and ‘Divided’ were challenging, but a lotta fun. The harder part was having to hold my breathe for the whole sequence. But, I got a free scuba lesson out of it, so worth it!

    “… It was difficult to see what exactly I was looking at through the tank, so I pretty much had to take my own cues. Other than that, it was actually a very relaxing experience. Our stunt coordinator James Bamford (a.k.a. ‘BamBam’) made sure I felt super comfortable and even gave me a quick scuba lesson beforehand. Overall, a really cool experience!

    “… It looks a lot scarier than it was. Our stunt coordinator made sure I felt comfortable in the tank and took such good care of me, that I had nothing to worry about other than just relaxing and having fun. To be honest the tank was so warm, the only bad part was having to get out of it.

    “… Speaking of ‘Space,’ that was one of my favorite episodes to shoot. I felt like an badass action hero getting to do all my own stunts in the tank. I think it’s always fun getting to do that kind of stuff, because it’s not an everyday occurrence. I mean, how often do you get to wear pleather while being submerged underwater because a bunch of scary aliens have kidnapped you and are about to probe your mind? Am I right?!” (Actress Elyse Levesque, in a Q&A at Joseph Mallozzi’s blog)