The show has been building toward this for a few episodes, but here it is. We're facing a civil war between the civilians and the military on board Destiny. and if that wasn't bad enough, those aliens we met last episode are still out there and will certainly be trying to find us again.
There's lots of think about in this episode of Stargate Universe. Let's dive into it together.
Welcome to Nerd Heaven
I’m Adam David Collings, the author of Jewel of The Stars
And I am a nerd.
This is episode 61 of the podcast.
Today, we’re talking about the Stargate Universe episode “Divided.”
The description on gateworld reads
Colonel Young's opponents launch a coup to take control of the ship, pitting the military against civilians.
This episode was written by Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
It was directed by Felix Enrique Alcala
And it first aired on the 4th of September 2010.
Chloe is wandering the ship at night. She is clearly still trying to come to terms with her abduction last episode. That’s totally believable. It’s the kind of thing that would give you nightmares, if you could even fall asleep at all.
The frightening images accompanied by the heavy rocks music is a very effective combination.
So she is managing to get to sleep, but she has nightmares every single time.
Scott wants to help her, but honestly doesn’t know how.
So instead she ends up in the mess hall with Rush. He’s the one person who can at least understand what she’s going through.
These two seem to be bonding over their shared experience. Remember back at the beginning of season 1? Chloe hated Rush because she blamed him for the death of her father.
They’ve both come to the conclusion that the aliens will find them again. They’re not safe.
We get a solution to the big mystery from last episode. Why did the communication stones connect Young to the alien ship?
Young’s theory is that when he first opened the box in episode 1, Rush took one of the communication stones for himself. Some kind of insurance policy. He had it on his person, and so when the aliens took him on board their ship, they touched it, and that’s why the system connected Young to one of them, instead of a human back on Earth.
Rush doesn’t confirm or deny it. I think we can safely assume that Young’s theory is correct.
Rush is more interested in how the aliens found us in the first place. He’s been having flashes since his experience, much like Chloe is. He’s convinced the aliens have put a tracking device on Destiny’s hull. That they’ve been tracking the ship long before humans showed up on it. Destiny is something of an obsession for them. I can understand that. This mysterious advanced ship without a crew flying through space.
Imagine how they must have felt when the humans suddenly appeared on the ship, which could even be a holy relic to them.
Destiny will be out of FTL for several hours so this is the perfect time to search the hull.
The hole cut by the boarding aliens provides a very convenient exit route for the Kino.
Greer has a frank conversation with Young. He doesn’t know who put the gun in Young’s quarters, but he has strong suspicions, and he still thinks the ship is better off without Rush. He’s willing to stand with Young if anything goes down.
Young doesn’t say anything. This kind of conflict is the last thing he wants.
While Eli is searching with the Kino, Rush is mysteriously showing an ancient research lab to Camille. “Do we have to do it now?” she asks.
“We’ll never have a better time,” Rush answers.
It’s clear Rush is up to more than he’s let on to Young. He tells Camille to get her people in position.
The Kino has found an alien shuttle mounted to Destiny’s hull. That’s how they’ve been tracking the ship. It’s been there since before the humans arrived. Young and Scott go out in a shuttle to destroy it.
Brody is in on this thing too. He’s a little shocked when TJ enters the lab. He does a very clumsy job of trying to explain the call to her.
The tension builds nicely as the ominous music plays. Young’s shuttle won’t lock to the ship. Eli is locked out of the computer so he can’t help. This is a big problem for Young because if the shuttle’s not locked down when they go to FLT, it won’t be enveloped by the bubble. Worst case scenario, they get left behind. The more likely scenario, the shuttle gets vaporised.
It’s pretty clear at this point that Chloe is either involved or at least knows something about it.
Young orders Greer to find Rush. Chloe tells Rush to stop whatever he’s doing. Apparently, the inability for the shuttle to dock wasn’t part of the plan, and she doesn’t want Scott to die.
Eli is in a really sticky situation.
Rush admits that he’s in the process of taking control of the computer system away from Eli. Eli can’t stop that, but his efforts are delaying the process. Right now, nobody has control, so nobody can save the shuttle.
If Eli stops his efforts, Rush promises to lock the clamps down once he has control.
But Young orders Eli not to listen to Rush, but to keep trying to wrest control back.
What a situation! I’m so glad I’m not in Eli’s shoes right now. Even putting aside the question of who he should side with, it’s hard to know what to do. If he keeps trying, there’s no guarantee he’ll succeed. But if he gives up control to Rush, there’s no guarantee Rush will keep up his end of the bargain.
Eli is stuck right in the middle of the power struggle.
So who is going to blink first? Chloe and Camille, who are on Rush’s side, want him to shut it down and release control back to Eli. That will put an end to everything they’re trying to do.
In order for Young and Scott to live, somebody is going to have to relinquish control.
In the end, Rush is the one to give up. Eli engages the clamps and saves Young and Scott.
So what we have here is basically a civilian uprising against the military forces on the ship.
Brody hasn’t been able to do what he’s supposed to do because TJ, who is military, is in the room.
Camille has taken control of the ship and locked most of the military out of key areas. A couple of people are stuck on the wrong side of the wall, including TJ and a no-name soldier. Eli is on the military side, although he knew nothing of this uprising.
Camilla says Young’s actions have given her no choice.
TJ outranks the soldier. As she says, “Well, we’re not gonna go and shoot everyone, so put the gun down.”
Young assumes this is just a personal thing between him and Rush, but this is so much bigger than that. Almost all the civilians on the ship are in on this.
The civilians have all the food and water supplies, but since Rush released control prematurely, the military side have control over life support.
Poor Eli is stuck in the middle as usual. “Am I the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on here?” he asks. From Eli’s perspective, he can’t understand why people can’t just get along.
The civilians have about 3 days of air in reserve. The military would have to go that long without water. It’s a standoff.
They trade some food and water for Eli. Young agrees to this because there’s another way into the other side.
Eli is shocked that Chloe is going along with this.
Chloe’s position is that Rush was an inconvenience, so Rush left him alone to die.
Young has admitted this was a mistake. He shouldn’t have done it.
But that doesn’t take away the consequences.
You see, that’s what I love about serialised shows like Stargate Universe. Consequences.
Consequences in fiction are fantastic.
Camille has an interesting point. In every civilised society in the world, the military answers to a civilian government. If you view Destiny as a small community of people then technically, what we have right now is a military dictatorship.
So where do you sit on all of this? I’m honestly interested in your thoughts, so please feel free to leave a comment on youTube, or podbean, or tweet me at @adamcollings
I’ve always been torn, watching this episode.
On one hand, I’m very much a follow the rules and do what’s right kinda guy. So the idea of revolting against the leadership of any community, be it a ship, a state, a country, goes against every grain that is in me.
On the other hand, I am a civilian myself, so I kinda feel some sympathy for the civilians on the ship. I’ve never liked the way the military throw their weight around in the second half of this episode. I understand why they do it, but it makes them feel kinda like bullies.
If I were in Eli’s position, stuck in the middle between these two sides, I don’t know what I’d do. I’d just be really mad, as I think he is, at both sides for letting things come to this.
Rush is wanting to get as much power as he can to direct into the shields. He says we’re gonna need it.
Two of the military personnel are walking in spacesuits on the hull in an effort to covertly enter the civilian part of the ship.
And that’s when the aliens show up again. That’s why Rush wants the shields.
The alien shuttle was only one tracking device. There’s another surgically implanted in Young’s chest. That’s awkward.
Rush knows a lot more about the situation with the aliens than he’s let on. For a long time, the aliens have been attacking destiny, trying to get on board. The ship’s automated defences stop them, and they give up for a while.
They’re attacking now because they’re hoping the human crew will make a mistake. Rush believes that if they can keep the shields up long enough to jump away, the aliens will give up their pursuit.
It seems logical, but it’s by no means certain.
Young and Greer have made it into the other side of the ship.
TJ also makes a good point. This isn’t just about listening to others points of view. The minute the civilians took over the ship, they made it war, and that’s what the military are good at. They’ll re-take the ship. Guaranteed.
And she’s right. Young isn’t going to listen to anything they have to say, not now. Oh, he’ll be willing to have discussions once this is resolved, but as long as the civilians are rising up against them, he has only one goal. Put them down.
There has always been an uneasiness between civilians and military in the Stargate world. Senator Kensey spent years trying to wrest control of the Stargate from the US Air Force. Then there’s the whole IOA thing. They were constantly trying to interfere with the Atlantis expedition.
But it’s never come to a head quite like this.
So while all of this is happening, the aliens are now shooting at Destiny.
Greer has opened up the door to allow Scott and the others into the civilian side.
Scott says “use force if you have to, but remember, we still have to live with these people tomorrow.” That’s smart.
There’s an awkward moment when Scott walks inn and rescues TJ. Chloe doesn’t put up any resistance. How can she?
She and Scott just kinda look at each other, two lovers on opposite sides of this conflict.
The scene where Greer and the other soldiers burst into the room yelling, pointing guns and knocking people to the floor, that kinda makes me angry. I’m not necessarily saying they’re in the wrong, I just don’t like the way they go in throwing their weight around. They have the strength, so what they say goes. It feels very much like Bully kinda behaviour. I think that attitude is why a lot of the civilians on the ship are feeling very upset about the whole situation. But they’re soldiers. This is what they do. You don’t try to out soldier a bunch of soldiers and think they won’t put you down.
Young has arrived in the control room, and, of course, he and Rush disagree on how best to handle the situation with the aliens. Rush believes the best option is to keep the shields up. We’ve already talked about his plan.
Young disagrees. I wonder how much of his disagreement is solely because it’s Rush saying it?
He comes seriously close to shooting Rush. If Scott hadn’t turned up, he might have actually done it. But that would hardly help his reputation around here.
Eli tells Young about the transmitter in Rush’s chest.
So they’re gonna use the stones to bring in a qualified surgeon from Earth. She’s in Chloe’s body.
TJ has used some of the venom from the aliens back in the episode time, to knock Rush out. It’s the closest thing they have to anaesthetic. Gotta use what you can, right?
The surgeon is a little taken-aback by the makeshift nature of everything. A surgical camera made from a modified Kino, alien drugs. She obviously has clearance, so probably works for the SGC, but even so, back on Earth, under Cheyenne Mountain, they have all the normal human conveniences.
Eli thinks Rush is right about his tactic, but the shields don’t have enough power. They won’t hold long enough.
Young wants to shoot back but that’ll just drain the power faster.
The doctor found the implant, which is gonna be hard to remove, and then they lose the connection. Poor Chloe finds herself there with her hands figuratively in Rush’s chest.
And even worse, Rush wakes up mid-operation because the alien venom is an untried anaesthetic. They manage to knock him out with another dose, and TJ has no choice but to take over. She removes the tracking device from Rush’s chest.
The tracker is gone, but the aliens are still firing at them.
The timer runs out and they jump. Finally free of the aliens.
I like how in the midst of all this, all the conflicts between the military and civilians were set aside. They worked together to stay alive.
But now they have to address what happens next.
Greer is worried about guarding them all, but Young says it’s over.
Once again, Young admits to Camille that he knows he shouldn’t have left Rush behind. I really like this moment, the way Young says “You think I don’t know that.”
This is why I love Young. He owns up to his mistakes and he tries to be better.
The episode closes with the acknowledgement that it’s not really over.
Learning to move forward and work together after this is going to be tough.
I love how this episode pits groups of people against each other, both with legitimate points of view. In the end, I don’t think we’re really supposed to root for one side or the other. We’re just supposed to lament how badly things have broken down.
This is great drama.
Clearly, Young has some things he has to address. Rush is a troublemaker, and even Camilla can be problematic, but if even people like Chloe, Brody and Volker were willing to go along with this, then the civilian population of the ship have some legitimate grievances, which Young is gonna have to work through.
But the way the civilians went about it was wrong. They should have talked.
And questions of ethics aside, trying to take over the ship from military personnel was doomed to failure right from the start.
Very interesting times.
Let’s see how this continues to unfold as the story progresses.
Next week, we introduce a whole new plot element which will become important, in the episode “Faith”.
I’m looking forward to revisiting it with you.
I recently sent an email out to my list explaining that the publication of my next Jewel of The Stars book is on hold indefinitely because of my family’s current financial situation. I’d had to use all my publication savings just to survive while we went through a period of only one income.
But thanks to my birthday, and the generosity of my family, things are looking a little better. So I feel like I’m getting back on track. I can’t wait to share book 3 with my readers.
Don’t forget, if you haven’t checked out Jewel of The Stars yet, you can get it anywhere you buy ebooks for just 99 cents, or in paperback from places like Amazon and Book Depository.
Have a great two weeks.
Live long and prosper.
Make it so.