The Greater Good

Summary | Production | Transcript | Fan Reviews

When Young and Rush are trapped on an abandoned alien ship, Rush has Amanda Perry brought on board in an attempt to steer Destiny to them while keeping his secret.

FAN RATING - 8.84 
NIELSEN - 1.074 mil. 
WRITTEN BY: Carl Binder
DIRECTED BY: William Waring
GUEST STARS: Julie McNiven (Ginn), Peter Kelamis (Adam Brody), Patrick Gilmore (Dale Volker), Jennifer Spence (Lisa Park), Robert Knepper (Simeon), Kathleen Munroe (Amanda Perry), Leanne Adachi (Cpl. Barnes), Darcy Laurie (Airman Dunning)
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Still struggling after Destiny's testing ("Trial and Error"), Colonel Everett Young is summoned to morning briefing with Camille Wray, Lt. Matthew Scott, and Lt. Tamara Johansen. They discuss the fact that Ginn, their Lucian Alliance scientist, is a member of the same clan behind the potential attack on Earth. Homeworld Command wants to talk with her.

Later, Wray stops by Ginn's cabin. Ginn quickly agrees to use the communication stones to trade bodies with someone on Earth and answer questions. But the young women appears – clearly hiding something. Spotting Eli Wallace's "You Are Here" t-shirt on the bed, Wray understands that she's interrupted something.

Destiny drops from F.T.L. flight. The Stargate doesn't dial, but the countdown clock starts. Lisa Park notices a stationary vessel nearby. From the Observation Deck MSgt. Ronald Greer, T.J., Scott, and Dale Volker can see battle damage. On the still-secret Bridge, Dr. Nicholas Rush brings Destiny to a stop. In the Control Interface Room, Adam Brody dispatches a kino to investigate the other ship.

Rush suggests a boarding party, and volunteers himself for it. Park proposes using the space suits since they no longer have a shuttle ("Aftermath"). Colonel Young, intent on keeping a close eye on Rush, accompanies him. With six hours of air in the suits, they send a kino with a tow line attached into a gaping hole in the derelict.

The alien ship appears to be abandoned, its bridge destroyed. On board, Young assembles his weapon while Rush seals the first bulkhead. There is gravity, so they proceed to explore the corridors until they discover alien pods like those found on the Ancient seed ship ("Awakening"). The ship likely belongs to the same race, though no one seems to be on board now. Since the kino has spotted no life while in automated search mode, the two advance to a small engineering station. Rush activates life support and lighting, and the two remove their helmets. As Rush opens a comm-link to Destiny, the derelict's engines suddenly ignite, driving them away from Destiny.

Drained, the engines just as suddenly shut off, leaving only reserve power – and the ship now drifting away from Destiny. No one knows how to rescue them, and Rush is not about to reveal that he has found Destiny's Bridge and has been using it in secret for many weeks. Instead, he tells Young and the scientists back on Destiny that he has been working on a program to override the auto-pilot. Only Dr. Amanda Perry ("Sabotage") has enough familiarity with Ancient drive systems to help them. Young orders her brought aboard.

Meanwhile, Simeon visits Ginn. Though there are guards and the door is left open, Ginn is fearful. He warns her about getting close to the people on Destiny. Needing Ginn to swap with Perry, Wray interrupts. Simeon is seething with hostility, and wants to know where Ginn is going.

While Brody and Volker work with Rush's algorithms, Dr. Park has gone to Engineering. Wanting privacy, Rush sends Young to explore undamaged areas of the ship. Ginn trades bodies with Amanda Perry on Earth and when Perry is ready, Rush gives her several special algorithms to work with. Perry quickly deciphers the secret messages. Excusing herself, she heads for the Bridge. She encounters Simeon, who thinks she's Ginn. He threatens her again, and this time Greer intervenes.

Perry calls Rush on a discreet channel from the Bridge. At his urging, she ignores Eli's repeated pages. Rush tells her he has cracked the code and accessed Destiny's systems, and gives her verbal instructions on how to pilot the ship to pick them up. When Destiny suddenly turns toward the alien ship and Dr. Perry is nowhere to be found, Eli uses a backup recording to see the algorithms Perry was working on. In short order he, Brody, and Volker arrive on the Bridge.

Realizing Rush has broken Destiny's master code, an angry Eli berates Rush by radio. Hoping to prevent Young from overhearing, Rush cuts the comm-link. But Young has heard. He asks when Rush succeeded. Further angered to learn it was shortly after the Lucian Alliance attacked many weeks ago ("Intervention"), Young hits Rush several times. Though Rush escapes at one point (and the kino is damaged), Young soon has the scientist in a choke hold. Only when Rush goes limp does Young release him.

Rush tries to explain about the overwhelming amount of information that was available to him once he broke the code. He didn't trust Young enough to share what he has learned about Destiny and its true mission – the reason the Ancients launched the ship so many eons ago. Young blames him for the shuttle accident and Riley's death ("Aftermath"); but Rush counters that Young's poor command decisions have also resulted in the deaths of innocents, including the casualties of the Alliance invasion – and Lt. Johansen's baby. There is plenty of blame to go around. And yet, how can anyone trust Young to command when Young doesn't trust himself?

While Perry maneuvers Destiny, Rush reveals the ship's mission: The Ancients discovered complexity and coherence, neither naturally occurring, in the cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang at the beginning of the universe. It is a sign of profound intelligence where there ought only to be chaos. They built Destiny to find out who created this message.

Young is only concerned with getting Destiny's reluctant crew home. Rush believes that accepting Destiny's mission is the only route home. They must embrace Destiny's mission for the benefit of everyone.

Spotting Destiny through a port, they focus on their current dilemma. Destiny approaches off-angle and too fast. Rush asks Amanda to come around for another pass, and the two men suit up. Perry gets backseat piloting advice from Eli, Brody, and Volker. Lt. Scott and Wray join in as they arrive on the Bridge.

Perry grazes the alien ship, sending it into an uncontrolled spin. With no kino to tow a line, Rush and Young will have to jump onto Destiny. As Perry matches speed with the derelict, Eli makes the difficult calculations with calm and confidence. At his order Rush leaps into space. He drifts effortlessly toward Destiny, and his magnetic boots lock onto the hull. But Young's jump is not as well timed. He bounces off the hull – but Rush catches him, holding on tight to the man who only moments before thought of killing him.

Now in control of Destiny, Brody and Volker explore the Bridge's systems and locate planets that could resupply them. Even though Eli searches for data on the radiation message, Young orders a stop. He sends Eli to get Rush.

Rush and Amanda are in Ginn's quarters. Unable to act on their mutual attraction the last time they were together, now he kisses her. Eli arrives at this inopportune moment. As Rush leaves, Eli reminds Perry that she is occupying someone else's body.

Simeon watches as Rush and Eli leave. His guard visibly absent, he slips into Ginn's quarters to finish what he started.

- S. Fetter


  • "Carl is prepping episode #7, 'The Greater Good.' You know, the one in which secrets will finally be revealed." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • "We screened back-to-back director's cuts today: episode 207 ('The Greater Good') and episode 208 ('Malice'). Great stuff. This first half will see a narrative progression very similar to what we saw in the back half of Season One, with various story elements building to occasionally explosive conclusions. Plenty of secrets, surprises, and shocking revelations." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • "There's a great down and dirty fight sequence in episode 7 of Season Two." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • "We find out explicitly what Destiny's original mission was. And that happens when we find a derelict spaceship that happens to have been the same kind of ship of aliens that we meet in ['Awakening']. Now, it's not occupied, but essentially in the exploration of that ship, Young and Rush become stuck there. They're trapped aboard the ship together, and Rush has to take extraordinary measures to try to get Destiny to come to their rescue, without revealing the bridge. And, of course, he doesn't succeed."

    "... The secret [of Rush having found Destiny's bridge] is out in 'The Greater Good.' The way we tell a story in the show, we maximized all we could out of that story. ... Of course, it was going to hit the fan ... because Rush and Young both so believe that they're right. And we've been trying very hard not to side with one or the other in terms of how we weigh the stories. ... They've both done equally heinous acts and heroic acts. And in 'The Greater Good' they're forced to come to a head again in a way that is very interesting." (Executive producer Brad Wright, in an interview with
  • Colonel Young bumping his head on the ship's low ceiling "wasn't scripted. However, on the day, writer/executive producer Carl Binder was on set and noticed that the dwarfed size of the alien ship interior wasn't really playing, so he asked Louis to include that little bump to convey the sense of tighter quarters." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • So what happened to Ginn? "If you think you know, think again because this is science fiction, after all. Anything can happen. And will." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • And where was Simeon's armed guard? "Now that you mention it, that IS strange. After all, we did establish the fact that all Lucian Alliance prisoners are only been permitted out of their quarters with an armed escort. What happened to Simeon's guard? Hope he's okay. Well, guess we'll find out next week." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • "Brad and Robert had the idea for the [Destiny's] ultimate mission. We discussed it internally, ran it by our creative consultant John Scalzi, then decided on a game plan on how to introduce, develop, and, ultimately, pay it off. Great things to come!" (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • What does Rush benefit by not telling anyone about the bridge? "He could have many reasons for not telling anyone: 1) He fears Young could dictate the pace of the research, potentially prohibiting it outright like he did with the chair; 2) He doesn't trust the others enough not to screw things up and prefers getting the lay of the land before allowing them access; 3) He wants first shot at Destiny's secrets in the event he can make use of them to further a personal agenda. To name a few." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • "The Greater Good" was originally conceived as a late Season One episode, and was bumped into Season Two when the finale, "Incursion," expanded to two hours. "Back then, it was just this basic notion: Rush and Young are in the damaged shuttle when its engine engage and its set adrift, away from Destiny. With (at this point) no way of controlling the ship and the jump clock ticking down, Eli leads the rescue op by sending one of the service robots after the shuttle on a repair mission while, aboard the shuttle, Rush and Young spend quality time together." (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
  • "One of the things we keep hearing from fans is that here are these characters on this incredible spaceship that's traveling through space and exploring the universe and all they're doing is complaining about it. When are they going to stop complaining and start enjoying the ride and the adventure of it?

    "One of the things we're trying to do with this show is make it a more realistic depiction of a situation. Right from the start we posed the question, what if you were one of these ordinary people thrown into this extraordinary situation? What would you do? First off, you wouldn't be making jokes as we've done in the past with the previous two Stargate series because of the reality of things. This is very serious stuff. And two, you’re going to be thinking, 'How the hell do I get out of here and back home,' because you don't know where this ship, Destiny, is going, you don't know if it's going to fall apart, etc.

    "As our people learn more about the ship, Rush eventually discovers why Destiny was launched in the first place. It all comes out in 'The Greater Good' and these characters finding a derelict alien spacecraft just floating in space. We stop Destiny, send a Kino over to the ship to check it out, and discover it's deserted. It was in a serious battle and got its ass kicked. The aliens or whoever was onboard were either killed off or abandoned ship a long time ago. Rush, however, thinks that there might be some technology onboard that they might possibly be able to salvage and put to good use. So he and Colonel Young go over to investigate.

    "Something else that's revealed in this episode, which is why it's such a crucial one, is that Rush has broken Destiny's master code and he has complete control of the ship, but hasn't told anyone. When he and Young are on the alien ship, Rush accidentally hits a wrong button or whatever, and fires the engines, which blows out all the rest of the power and sends the ship on a trajectory away from Destiny.

    "Now Rush is in a quandary and people are on the Destiny saying, 'There's nothing we can do. We don't know how to steer the ship.' Rush is thinking, 'What do I do?' The wheels in his mind are turning very quickly and he says, 'Well, I've been working on a way to fire certain thrusters so that we can turn Destiny, but I don't think it's possible. We need someone who's an expert on this type of Ancients drive system.' He convinces them to use the communications stones to bring Dr. Amanda Perry back onboard. Through the Kino radio broadcasts, Rush manages to get her away from the others, tells her that he has broken the code, and explains how you turn the Destiny.

    "Rush does a pretty good job of keeping this whole ruse up, but ultimately they find out that he's broken the code and was lying to everybody. Remember the fight that he had with Colonel Young and in [Season One’s] 'Justice?' Well, that was the warm-up for the one they have in 'The Greater Good.' The two of them really have it out, but it's cathartic in that it takes them to a place where they can finally sit down and have the talk that they've needed to have for a while. It's actually half of act three as well as pretty much most of act four and it's just Young and Rush talking. The actors really sunk their teeth into it, and we wound up combined the entire sequence into one 10-minute take that Bobby and Louie shot on the day.

    "This episode was also a big one visually – you have Perry turning Destiny around and flying it back towards the alien ship. She gets too close, though, and hits it, which causes the ship to start tumbling. Our people don't have a shuttle – they had to put on spacesuits and do a spacewalk to get over to the alien ship – so how do they get Young and Rush back? The two men have to use the ship's centrifugal force and time it just right so that they can launch themselves back to Destiny. I liken it to the [Stargate Atlantis] episode 'Adrift' and the spacewalk that Sheppard and Zelenka did. That's the kind of stuff we did between the two ships in SGU. It's a phenomenal sequence that Bam Bam [James Bamford, series stunt coordinator] and Wray Douglas [series special effects supervisor] along with their guys put together. Will Waring directed the episode and did a terrific job." (Writer and executive producer Carl Binder, in an interview with SciFiAndTvTalk)?
  • "It's frustrating for my character to be onboard this alien spaceship and not be more familiar with the scientific part of the puzzle. So Young and Rush really need each other, but in some ways Young needs Rush more than vice versa. I don't think Rush could necessarily lead, but he's a brilliant mastermind who in a way is in control. That annoys my character beyond belief, which is the whole point of the Eli character. If Young could groom this young kid to take over, then he would be more than happy to leave Rush behind on a planet and let Eli take over the scientific end of things. Oh, wait a sec, Young already tried that and it didn't go so well! Then there's the moment where Young comes along and, in fact, saves Rush.

    "What happens, though, this season is that Rush and Young come to an agreement. They're like, 'Look, this is the reality and we've got some options here. This head-butting thing is, perhaps, not the best one. So for the sake of the crew, let's try a new plan.' And I think Young does sincerely try to make an effort, but when you've got a bad relationship, there is some damage done that is beyond repair, so that throughline is always going to be there. They're never going to trust one another and never be quite comfortable around each other, but that's something they're both just going to have to live with." (Actor Louis Ferreira, in an interview with SciFiAndTvTalk)