The HuntEPISODE #216
ORIGINAL AIR DATE: 04.11.11
SYNDICATION AIR DATE: 03.05.12
WRITTEN BY: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
DIRECTED BY: Andy Mikita
Mike Dopud (Varro), Patrick Gilmore (Dale Volker), Julia Benson (2nd Lt. Vanessa James), Greyston Holt (Corporal Reynolds), Peter Kelamis (Adam Brody), Jennifer Spence (Lisa Park), Vincent Gale (Morrison), Kyra Zagorsky (Tasia)
Planet-side, near a research campsite, Lt. Matthew Scott and MSgt. Ronald Greer track a deer-like creature in the forest. When Greer fails to take the shot, Scott takes aim with his weapon. The creatures spook. Something attacks the two men. Greer has a clear shot, but again fails to take it. The campsite — staffed by Lt. Tamara Johansen, Dr. Lisa Park, and Corporal Reynolds, among others — is also attacked.
Many are injured, including Lt. Scott and Dr. Park. T.J. and Reynolds are missing. Back on board Destiny Colonel Everett Young reviews kino footage of the incident that has been recovered from the planet. As he and a search party prepare to return to the alien world, he asks Greer why he froze up during the incident. Greer doesn’t know.
Scott, left in command of Destiny, visits the Mess. Varro volunteers the hunting skills that many of the Lucian Alliance crew members possess. Like Varro, they want to continue to integrate into the ship’s crew and prove themselves useful. Since the trail on the planet has been lost, their services are going to be needed.
While the others hunt on the planet, Dr. Nicholas Rush, Eli Wallace, and Adam Brody hunt through an unexplored section of Destiny. Opening the final door, they find a previously unexplored section with several more rooms. The walls are lined with empty stasis pods. Excited, Eli immediately examines a set of controls. Opting for caution, Rush heads for the Bridge, intent on studying the ship’s database before touching the newly-discovered equipment.
Annoyed with Rush’s decision, Eli returns to the pod room. Brody joins him. From the Bridge, Rush monitors them as they examine one of the chambers and its control mechanism. When Brody steps inside one the door appears to close automatically, trapping him inside. The chamber releases gas and freezes him in stasis. Eli is equally frozen by fear of what he may have accidentally caused … unaware that Rush is controlling the stasis unit, amused as he teaches the two scientists a lesson.
Volker, meanwhile, visits Lisa. Soon afterward Chloe finds him in the Control Interface Room and, having seen his feelings for Lisa, Chloe wonders if she knows how he feels about her. Nervous, Volker pretends that he and Park are just colleagues and friends.
On the planet, an injured T.J. is roused by Reynolds. They have awoken to find themselves in a cave high in the cliff-face overlooking a lush valley. She examines their surroundings. The creature is evidently keeping them to eat later. Since Reynolds has a broken leg, she knows that escape will be impossible. Their only hope is to contact Destiny — but T.J.’s radio is missing and Reynolds’ is broken.
Varro and his people arrive on the planet and check the campsite before joining Colonel Young’s search team. The lack of blood suggests to them that their missing people are still alive. Tasia, a Lucian Alliance woman, finds partial prints, so they give chase into the thick forest.
As darkness descends, the tracks stop. The creature is nearby, and suddenly ambushes them. After the attack is over Varro stitches up Young’s slash wounds, and Greer puts Lt. Vanessa James’ shoulder back in its socket. As he sits beside her, she too asks why he froze earlier. Greer confesses that the darkness that enveloped him after surgery has shaken his self-confidence.
Colonel Young hands Varro a weapon before returning to the Stargate. Tasia finds the trail again, and the search continues on through the night. When daylight arrives, the group pauses — aware that the creature is still stalking them. They decide to set an ambush using Lucian Alliance mines. The trap works — in part. In reality there are more than one of the creatures, and while one of them is killed another manages to kill Tasia.
Varro believes they are near the lair now, and he and Greer continue the hunt.
In that lair, T.J. started a fire. Reynolds, determined not to be eaten alive, has fashioned two stout poles into spears. T.J. works on the radio, knowing that only six hours remain before Destiny jumps back to F.T.L. flight.
She finally manages to fix the radio and get a signal out, alerting Greer and Varro to the location of the animal’s lair. As the men prepare a C4 diversion, the creature returns to the cave. It studies the weapons T.J. and Reynolds hold. It stares at the fire. Evidently recognizing their intelligence, it backs away just as Greer arrives at the cave’s entrance. Now convinced that the creature is intelligent and will allow them to leave, T.J. helps Reynolds outside while Greer stands guard. Greer and the creature study one another face-to-face for a tense moment, before the creature also allows him to leave.
On the way back to the Stargate, Greer does kill one of the deer-like creatures.
Meanwhile, morning has reached Destiny as well. Knowing Eli and Brody spent the night in the stasis-pod room, Rush deliberately chides Eli for not being on duty in the Control Interface Room. Rush heads to the Infirmary, where he finds that Volker has brought Park something to eat.
When Dale finally comes to his duty station, Rush mentions Volker’s affection for Park. Volker demurs — but Rush encourages him to act on his feelings.
Determined to free Brody from the stasis pod without Rush’s help, Eli drags Chloe to Destiny‘s stasis pod room. As she examines the controls, the door opens and Brody thaws instantly, apparently unharmed and unaware of what has happened. None of them know Rush is manipulating them. When Eli and Brody do return to the Bridge, Rush says that he is now ready to investigate the pods. Not surprisingly, Brody and Eli would rather study the database further.
Summoning his nerve, Volker heads to the Infirmary to speak with Lisa. But when he arrives he finds her sitting with Ronald Greer, listening to his tale with a smile on her face. His heart sinking, Volker turns to leave.
Meanwhile T.J. goes to thank Varro, and Young manages to arrive just as the two are about to kiss. The Colonel breaks them up by sending Varro to help Airman Becker in the Mess, and then silently warns T.J. not to get involved with Varro.
Still, despite the heartbreaks of the day, most of the crew is able to enjoy what is dubbed “Becker’s BBQ” later that night.
- “I finished the Tease and it’s a pretty damn good one, the kind the network loves: Jeopardy! Jeopardy! Jeopardy! This is going to be one of those episodes (like ‘Malice’ and ‘Cloverdale’) that will be mostly shot on location, meaning there’ll be no ducking back up to the office for a quick break between set-ups. Guess I’ll be bringing my work — and chocolate — with me. Also, bug spray may not be a bad idea.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “Progress on the script front. This morning, I finished Act II of ‘The Hunt,’ working out the troublesome dialogue — as I often do — while driving. I hope to hit the 30 page mark by end of week, then the 40 page mark by end of next week. By the time I return to the office, it should be smoooooooooth sailing. Of course, I won’t be able to do any actual writing because, with Paul prepping ‘Alliances,’ my presence will be required on set to make sure actor Peter Kelamis doesn’t finish off all the craft service sandwiches again. Still, I should have the script — with its A, B, C, and D stories — in pretty good shape by the end of August.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “Delivered by first draft of ‘The Hunt’ this afternoon. This one is going to have a bit of everything: exotic locations, tricky builds, cool visual effects, and, of course, one hell of an episode budget.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “We were looking for an area with dense foliage that we could supplement with some magic from the Greens Department, a clearing, a potential camp area, and various other little script peculiarities. Anyway, the location was perfect. All we need now is a house for the Tamara flashbacks, a cave, and to finish off that big shipboard chamber.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “Almost finished my rewrite of ‘The Hunt.’ Hopefully, I’ll put it out Tuesday after which it’ll be smooooooth sailing. Until prep begins of course. In truth, prep has already begun on this episode with Production Designer James Robbins working on the design for our off-world beasts and Art Director Chris Beach and SPFX Master Scott Stofer swinging by the other day to discuss a special little contraption.
“Brad suggested shifting parts of the latter half of the script to night — which would certainly make those scenes all the more creepy. Will have to bring this up with Director Andy Mikita and Director of Photography Mike Blundell who have already expressed an interest in some sort of treatment that would give the location a surreal alien feel.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “Got some terrific notes on my rewrite of ‘The Hunt.’ I’ll address them tomorrow, put out the revised draft in the afternoon, and then it’ll be smooooooth sailing. Looks like we’ll be casting on Friday: Corporal Reynolds, T.J.’s sister, T.J.’s dad, and Tasia.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “After lunch, I was in casting for two hours, checking out potential Corporal Reynolds, Sara Johansens, Steven Johansens, 12-year-old T.J.s, and Tasias.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “I spent most of the day working on my producer’s cut of ‘The Hunt.’ It’s timing quite long and there are still some scenes to be shot. Hate to say it, but the T.J. flashbacks may have to go (and, ideally, find their way into another episode).” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “Whew! Busy day! Shooting those scenes outstanding from ‘The Hunt’ over on Stage 4. Boy, does that second level set look awesome. I took plenty of pics. A little spoilery … but a very cool spoilery so I may consider posting next week.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “In completing my Producer’s Cut 1 of ‘The Hunt,’ I had to strip away the T.J. flashbacks. Still, they’re self-contained and could be integrated into a future story provided we get that third season pick up. Not using them here will push me to come up with another T.J.-centered episode next year.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “Watched my cut of ‘The Hunt’ this afternoon. The A, B, and C stories interweave nicely and, again, some nice character and comic beats peppered throughout. The T.J. flashbacks are officially filed away for next season — but that’s fine because it pushes me to come up with a T.J.-centered story.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “In Season One, we set the groundwork for the series and tried to give each of our main players a spotlight episode (in Greer’s case, it was ‘Lost’). As we headed into Season Two, we broke down our stories and ensured that each main character would have one (or more) spotlight episodes. When it comes time to lining these episodes up in the production schedule, their placement is dictated by the overall season arc and ongoing storylines, so even if one character may seem light in the first half of the season, that won’t be the case for the second half.
“In the case of Greer, he’s got two big episodes in Season Two (in addition to a lot of terrific beats and throughlines in other episodes), but you’ll have to wait until the back half to see them: episode #213, ‘Alliances,’ and episode #216, ‘The Hunt.’ In fact, one of the things SyFy’s Erika Kennair remarked on during her last visit to the Stargate set was the significant development in both the Greer and T.J. characters this season.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “Now I’m working on the opening teaser of what will be my last episode this year. It’s called ‘The Hunt’ and it’s going to air as number 16. In it, we go off-world, and two of our people go missing, so it then turns into a rescue op. Although it’s called ‘The Hunt,’ because obviously there’s a ‘hunt’ element to it, there are other things going on in the story. One is this sort of debate about the potential intelligence of animals and whether it’s right to kill them. There’s also this other [story] element involving one of our characters and something he or she experienced in an earlier episode. This has an impact on their response to a situation in ‘The Hunt’ and they have to come to terms with it.
“While all this is happening on the planet, back on Destiny, Rush, Brody and Eli make another significant discovery. Season Two is fraught with discovery, and, again, very early on we came across a key part of this ship, and then in this episode we find something else that is going to play into our season finale.
“Production-wise, I think ‘The Hunt’ will probably be the most challenging of the three I’ve written this season just because we go off-world, which means we’ll be going on-location, and we have to find the right location. So far we’ve steered clear of forested planets. We did visit one last year in ‘Faith,’ but since then we haven’t really done anything like that. We visited a desert planet this season in ‘Malice;’ those scenes were shot down in New Mexico and the episode looks stunning. We want ‘The Hunt’ to look just as unique, which means we’ll probably be going a little bit out of the way for a location, although still in British Columbia. So that should be interesting.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in an interview with SciFiAndTVTalk)
- “Probably around eighty percent” of Destiny remains unexplored by the crew at this point. “In the back half of Season Two, the crew begins to check out these unexplored sections of the ship. And they make an incredible discovery (see ‘The Hunt’).” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “One of the things I loved about this episode is that there is so much going on — an A, B, C, AND D story, all of which allow all of our principals and supporting characters their moments to shine. The mix was great. We only had three notes: 1) Lose what sounds like a cat meowing during the Exterior Alien Planet scene, 2) The popping sound we hear when Greer adjusts his shoulders is so loud, you would think he’d just broken his own neck, 3) We want the sound of Varro snapping the magazine into his gun to be more present.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “Back when I first envisioned this episode, there was no beast. No hunt. It was a story about T.J. trapped off-world, displaying great courage and inner strength in keeping a group of scientists and wounded soldiers alive in an inhospitable off-world environment while Varro and Young headed the rescue op to save them. Initially I was thinking freak alien sandstorm — whipping wind, low visibility. Perhaps the team had to hunker down in tents. Had they brought tents with them? What other challenges might an off-world sandstorm present?
“… Unfortunately, the more I thought about it the more apparent became the challenges of staging an on-set sandstorm. Sure, we’d done it in the past (SGA‘s ‘The Last Man’ or, more recently, next week’s episode ‘Common Descent’), but those instances had been fairly self-contained and, more importantly, brief. I could, of course, stay in whatever shelter they’d managed to find but, in that case, the story became more about the rescue than about the attempt to return to the gate (which, in the end, is what it ended up being anyway).
“Ultimately, it was Brad who offered the key to the solution — dropping the potentially pricey sandstorm for a beast hunt, a different direction that would allow me to explore the Greer character as well. And the story fell into place.
“Given that the focus of the story would shift to Greer, I nevertheless wanted to explore the T.J. character. While she would still display the courage and inner-strength that makes her an excellent soldier, the more intimate setting would afford me the opportunity to find out a little more about her — her life before she stepped through the Icarus gate, maybe a suggestion of the events that helped shape her. And so, as I built the story, I built a little Tamara Johansen backstory as well, drawing on some of what had been established in past episodes (particularly in one of executive producer Carl Binder’s episode in which T.J. happily recalls going camping with her father) to create some flashbacks I interspersed throughout the episode.
“Unfortunately, the episode ran long and, as much as I hated to do it, I had to cut the flashbacks. At the end of the day, they were the one element that could be extracted without really affecting the story. I broke the news to Alaina but promised that flashbacks would find their way into a Season Three episode or, at worst, onto a DVD special feature. Alas, with the show’s cancellation, I’m not sure if and when those flashbacks will see the light of a TV screen.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “Was Rush responsible for Brody’s deep freeze? Hell, yes. Was Brody ever in danger? Certainly not. You may argue over whether Rush truly cares about Brody, but there’s no doubt that he values his worth and would never risk such a valuable asset. No, Rush knew what he was doing. He was teaching Eli a valuable lesson and re-establishing his authority over the science team. Harmless but highly effective.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)
- “The general feeling in the room was that things needed to progress a little more slowly with these two. In the original draft, they actually do kiss.” (Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)