In the second-last episode of Stargate Universe season 1, The Lucian Alliance invade Destiny. But it's going to mean some hard decisions. Is he up for the task? Let's dig in to the episode and find out.
Welcome to Nerd Heaven.
I’m Adam David Collings, the author of Jewel of the Stars
And I am a nerd
This is episode 68 of the podcast.
Today, we’re talking about the episode Incursion Part 1.
The description on gateworld reads
The Lucian Alliance manages to board Destiny, taking several crew members hostage in a bid to wrestle control of the ship.
This episode was written by Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
It was directed by Andy Mikita
And it first aired on the 4th of July 2010.
We begin with the battle of the orders.
Camille orders Brody to let the atmosphere back in. Otherwise he’s participating in the death of both Telford and Rush.
Young tells him to disregard what Camille says, which he does.
When Telford starts gasping, Scott says “You’ve made your point.” Young says he’s not trying to make a point.
The air is evacuated. Telford gasps until he can’t gasp any more.
Camille is horrified. Young has just killed him.
Scott is pretty horrified as well. Greer just watches on stony-faced, clearly hiding a lot of emotions.
After a moment that must feel like an eternity, Young orders Brody to open the door. Young runs in and performs CPR, clearly hoping desperately to revive Telford.
When he does fortunately wake up, he gasps out “They’re coming.”
So what are we to take from all of this?
It seems that Young was hoping that a near-death experience would flush out the Goa’uld brainwashing and restore Telford to his right mind. That’s what appears to have happened.
But he could have shared that with the group. He *should* have shared that with the group.
In a military hierarchy, there are times when soldiers have to be expected to follow difficult orders, even when they don’t understand them. That’s part of military life. But I doubt that kind of thing extended to this apparent willful murder of Telford. Even if he just said “I have a plan here. Trust me.” He’s lucky Scott didn’t mutiny over what he would have reasonably assumed to be an illegal order.
But I’m no expert on the military, so maybe there are things at play here I don’t understand.
But Brody and Camille are not military. And like it or not, they’re involved. Brody is the one being asked to push the button. Camille is right when she says that Young is making him an accessory to murder. And sometimes, civilians need a little more context.Brody is not sworn to obey orders from an officer.
Young is really lucky that Brody didn’t cave and open the door. He’s really lucky that Eli didn’t intervene. I know it adds some dramatic tension, but I really feel that Young should have explained himself, at least a little. Because what we get here is basically cheap tension. The characters holding back from putting a stop to this for no other reason than because the script says they don’t.
The mind control technology we’re probably talking about here is Nish’ta, a biological compound used to influence and control people. The hold of Nish’ta on a person can be broken with a severe electric shock, like a blast from a Zatnikatel. That shock kills the Nish’ta organism. It’s reasonable to assume that starving a body of oxygen and putting it into clinical death might be enough to similarly kill the Nish’ta, and both Scott and Greer would know about all of this. It’s probably one of the reasons they took no action. They’d figured out what Young was trying to do. So why didn’t Scott reassure Camilla and Brody?
And why didn’t they try the traditional electric shock, which is a proven cure? There must be some ways on this ship to generate an electrical charge. The danger to the body can’t be any more than starving it of oxygen until it’s technically dead. Young says his method has been done before, and I assume by this, he’s referring to the time Teal’c was brainwashed by Apophis, and Bra’tac had to remove his symbiote to put him near death.
Scott actually confronts Young about this. “If I’d known what you were doing, and why, I would have backed you up fully”. Young’s response, “So you’ll only obey orders when you understande them?” And Young has a good point here. In a military structure, you have to have obedience. Sometimes the CO can’t explain everything but they still need to have their orders followed. But, as I’ve said, I feel this is a unique situation. Military officers are also expected to question immoral orders, and Young gave Scott every reason to question his orders in this case. Young says he kept Scott in the dark so as to keep Scott out of it. And that’s not a bad reason, but it wouldn’t have worked if Scott chose to mutiny over it.
But again, I think it all comes down to the fact that the writers wanted something more dramatic. And it was dramatic.
Anyway, they now know. The Lucian Alliance are on their way. They’re going to try to dial in to Destiny from their Icarus-like planet. Telford has the coordinates which Young passes on to Jack.
And I was right. Sam does appear in this episode. Jack is sending the USS Hammond to the Icarus planet to try to stop the Lucian Alliance. Best case scenario, she stops them, but they can still dial the gate, which means they can pass on supplies to the crew. (It doesn’t mean the crew can evacuate back to the milky way, because remember gate travel is one-way for matter.
The gate room is locked down, along with the corridors nearby. That makes good sense.
Interestingly, Young and Teflord have an opportunity to start fresh, maybe ever rebuild some of their former friendship. Poor Telford is carrying a lot of guilt over the things he did when under Lucian Alliance control. Telford wants to go back to his own body so he can spy on the Lucian Alliance again. Young wants him to rest a while. He just came back from the dead. Or is his real reason that he doesn’t yet trust Telford completely?
All civilians have been ordered to stay in their quarters, but Young wants TJ to do the same, remain safe for the sake of the child she is carrying. That makes sense to me. I don’t think any real world military would put a pregnant woman on the front lines of combat. It’s essentially endangering a civilian, right? The baby didn’t sign up for duty. Plus, TJ is their only medic and her skills will be needed once it’s all over.
If the alliance breach the ship, Young plans to evacuate the oxygen in the gate room, killing them all.
TJ has a real problem with this. I wonder if she’s being a little harsh. These people are an invading force and Young’s job is to protect his people. Is there a moral difference whether the invaders die by bullets or by suffocation? The one difference I see is that being shot would likely be a more merciful death. Gasping for air sounds like a horrible way to go. I wouldn’t want to die that way. But again, these people are invaders.
There’s a confusing moment on the Icarus-style planet. At first, I thought Rush was pretending to be Telford back in his own body, and I thought he had convinced Kiva. But then he says “Back to work.” as though he’s still trying to help them dial the gate, so I’m not sure what that was about.
And that’s when the Hammond drops out of FTL in orbit of the planet.
Sam has confirmed that the planet has large naquadrian deposits, so looks like Kiva’s plan is solid. I love it when she mentions a pyramid, and Jack says “A pyramid, that takes me back.”
It sure does Jack. It takes all of us back too.
The complex is shielded so they can’t beam Rush up. The have to launch 302s to attack instead.
Kiva now has the same escape plan that Rush had back in the pilot. Dial the 9th Chevron to get off this planet before they’re blown up.
Eli is watching the air force briefing videos, learning about the Lucian Alliance. Remember, the videos hosted by Daniel. So there it is. For the first time since Air, we have 3 quarters of SG1 appearing in an episode of Universe. I wonder, if the show had continued beyond it’s two seasons, would we have ever seen Teal’c make an appearance? It would have been harder to work him naturally into the story, but who knows. We’ll actually see a couple of faces from Atlantis next season. I’m looking forward to that one.
There’s only one problem with Young’s plan. When he vents the air, it’ll kill Rush along with the invaders. He could save Rush by severing the stone connection, but that would kill Telford. So now he has a choice, which man does he save? But Young doesn’t know for sure that Rush is coming through the gate, so he is blessedly more ignorant than we are.
The connection has been established. They’ve dialed Destiny. Alliance soldiers start going through the gate. A lot of them will be inured. Remember, when you travel that distance through a wormhole, you get thrown our the other side pretty hard.
But now Young has seen Telford’s body on the gateroom camera. He knows Rush is on board in there.
So what does he do? This story is full of hard moral choices.
The connection is severed. Did Young do it on purpose, or did it just happen somehow? I assume it was deliberate.
It’s more valuable having Telford, a trained soldier, in there as a covert man on our side. Assuming he is on our side.
Speaking of hard choices, Sam has to leave a couple of 302s behind when she jumps out of the system. IF she waited for them to dock everyone on board would have died.
Eli and Chloe are supposed to be in their quarters. Eli makes he point that the lab IS his quarters. I guess that’s as safe as any other room, and there might be things he could do to help here.
Now that he knows Kiva brought Rush along, Young isn’t going to vent the atmosphere. He’s going to do it the hard way. So he won’t be sacrificing Telford.
Kiva is blaming Telford/Rush for shutting down the gate, and killing all those who didn’t make it through. Telford claims it was Rush, just before they switched back. But wasn’t the wormhole cut off by the destruction of the pyramid, and the gate inside it?
Telford is able to convince Kiva who he is by demonstrating knowledge Rush wouldn’t have. She accepts it.
When Eli is able to tell Young that Kiva has some device to open the doors, he orders the air vented, but it’s too late. The doors are open. I wonder where they got that tech, and how they knew it would work on Destiny’s doors?
Rush chooses this moment to be a hero. The ship is under attack. Technically he should be in his quarters with the other civilians. He’s not a fighter.
Eli is convinced that it’s time to leave the lab and go to quarters. The fighting is getting close to the lab. They portray this just as terrifying as it would be, for a civilian suddenly about to be caught in a warzone. I sure felt it.
TJ chases Rush and ends up getting captured by the Lucian Alliance. Well, crap.
And Chloe has been shot. She and Eli are safe in an elevator, but it’s not good for her. And despite what most movies imply, getting shot in the leg can be just as fatal as any other place in the body. It’s not going to be instant death, but if she doesn’t get medical help soon, it could be bad.
Same and Jack have a moment. Jack can’t tell her if any of the invaders made it to Destiny. He hasn’t heard, and given what we know, it’ll be awhile before anybody has time to check in with the stones. There’s this sense of resignation from the two of them. There’s nothing more either of them can do. It’s up to the people on Destiny now.
Rush confirms that the stone connection was closed the minute he travelled through the gate.
Kiva has some hostages now. This has all gone about as bad as it could have.
Eli and Chloe are stuck in a random part of the ship nobody has explored yet. The lifts have been shut down so they can’t get back to more familiar surroundings. Not without walking back the long way, if they can figure out which direction to go.
Kiva gives Young two choices. They can turn over the ship to her, but remain on board the ship under Lucian Alliance control. Or Kiva will drop them all off on a habitable world. Kiva wants to be here to realise the potential of this ship.
Kiva wants to prove her seriousness by killing a hostage, and she chooses TJ. Bad choice. Young will never forgive her if she kills TJ.
Telford tries to talk Kiva out of it, saying it’ll only force Young’s hand.
He’s playing along and so far, Kiva thinks he’s still with her.
He’s still trying to convince Kiva that TJ shouldn’t be one of those to be killed. He says she’s a medic, he doesn’t tell her she’s carrying Young’s baby.
Young and Camille have both agreed the time for diplomacy has arrived, and she should be the one to try to negotiate.
She proposes a prisoner exchange. Kiva doesn’t want to give up her advantage, but Young only has 4 while they have 12.
It’s time for Rush to play the ultimate pragmatist. They should save those they can, sure, such as the 4, but one they reach the limit of acceptable losses, they should just sacrifice who they have to in order to rid the ship of its invaders. He claims Young has already decided what that number is. It’s near impossible they can win this with no loss of life on their side.
Young is offended by this. He’s going to save everyone and re-take this ship.
I agree with Young’s sentiment, but can he do it? Or is Rush right? From a practical point of view, he might be.
In any case, emotions are running pretty high around here. Rush says he was recently an acceptable loss himself because they didn’t pull him out by disconnecting the stones.
Young has recognised their advantage. Telford. Kiva has accepted Telford as one of them. Sooner or later, he’ll make his move.
Again, assuming he IS a good guy now.
There’s a nice shot from outside the ship as Eli and Chloe approach a window. There’s no active life support in this part of the ship. They have air for now, but no new stuff is getting pumped in. So they’ve gotta get out of here as soon as they can.
Young has finally used the stone to report in to Jack.
Jack is not happy that this isn’t resolved already. Young should have vented the gateroom earlier. He basically agrees with Rush, although in a less extreme kinda way. Sam lost those 302 pilots. IT was the right call. Sometimes a commander has to sacrifice his own people to save others.
Young didn’t want to sacrifice Rush and Telford, so now the situation continues.
In defense of Young, Rush has unique skills nad knowledge. His loss would be devastating to the crew of Destiny.
Now this is the first time Jack has really started to question Young’s competence and ability. Young has been questioning his own competence since the beginning, and JAck always back him up. But now, he gives him a stern talking to. “Are you up for this Everett? Because if you’re not, somebody will replace you.”
I appreciate Jack for his competence, but I also appreciate Young as a flawed and well-intentioned character.
And Rush has noticed something weird. The ship dropped out of FTL because somebody was gating in, but there’s no countdown and Destiny hasn’t gone back into FTL. It should have. It did when the original Icarus crew gated in back in episode 1.
There are still a lot of depreassarised compartments out in the part of the ship where Eli and Chloe are. It’s pretty dangerous.
When one of the Lucian Alliance uys tries to break through a door, something weird dissolves his entire body.
My first though is the swam of little micro aliens from early in the season,but didn’t they all leave the ship to the water planet?
Nobody knows what caused this.
At least Telford gets the chance to have a quick debrief with Young.
Kiva sssumes whatever this was is Young’s doing. But he’s as much in the dark as she is. She’s not likely to believe him. When Kiva gives the radio to TJ, Young wisely addresses her as Lieutenant, not TJ. He doesn’t betray the personal connection between them, which Kiva can exploit.
Chloe is starting to give up but Eli will have none of it. He’s going to take care of her.
Young has come to the conclusion that Rush and Jack are right. They have to end this, and they have to end it now. Even if some of their people die in the process.
And with that decision, the episode ends.
Speaking in terms of story structure, this decision is a good place for the cliffhanger. A decision like this leads into a goal for the next scene to come. That will give the next episode a strong beginning.
So there you have it. One more to go. The Stargate franchise had gotten pretty good at building up to big season finale moments, taking multiple episodes to reach that point.
So next time we’ll be talking about the season finale, Incursion Part 2. We’re on a wild ride right now, and it’s only going to get wilder.
Can you believe we’ve only gone one more episode to go for season 1? It’s going to be a big one.
Don’t forget to give the podcast a review, if you haven’t. And feel free to check out some of my own science fiction. You can find it all at AdamDavidCollings.com/books
Have a great two weeks. Live long and prosper.
Make it so.