Today we begin season 2 on our Stargate Universe podcast. This season opens with the episode "Intervention". Destiny is now under the control of the Lucian Alliance, but while TJ fights for her life in the medical bay, she finds herself, and her baby, transported to the mysterious alien planet from last season's episode "Faith".
Let's dig in and see how this ongoing plot from last season resolves.
Last season, we left off with Colonel Young surrendering his crew to Lucian Alliance invaders who had come through the gate from an Icarus-style planet in the Milky Way galaxy and taken over the ship. The only way to save the crew from dangerous radiation levels from a binary pulsar was to give control of the ship to Kiva, the evil leader of the invaders.
Eli was rushing to open a hatch so Scott and Greer could get inside from out on the hull of the ship.
As is customary, we have a new prologue thing. It changes every half-season, so we’ll get another new one halfway through season 2.
This one highlights the conflict between Young and Rush, the problems with the blue aliens last season, the mysterious planet from the episode Faith, where TJ wanted to stay and raise her baby, and the recent events with the Lucian Alliance.
The episode begins with TJ waking up in a log cabin on that planet. The faith planet.
She feels her belly. She’s not pregnant, but she hears the cry of a baby.
Cain is there in the cabin. He was one of the crew who wanted to stay on the planet. He believed that the aliens who built the planet put it there specifically for the crew of Destiny, and that they had a plan.
So we have confirmation that Cain and some others did indeed remain behind on the planet. But Destiny left that planet, left that entire galaxy.
Cain says that for the aliens that could make a planet, a little intergalactic transport is nothing.
TJ asks “are you saying they brought me here?”
“Well, you’re here, aren’t you?” Cain replies.
So there he goes again, making assumptions. As I pointed out back in the episode Faith, last season, Cain’s faith has no basis. Faith is believing in what you can’t see, but you actually have to have something to believe in. Cain just believes in things that essentially come out of his own imagination.
TJ can’t imagine how or why she is there, but it seems that both she and the baby are safe.
Back on Destiny, Eli gets to the door and managed to open it. But it’s too late. Scott and Greer didn’t make it. We live in that for a few seconds, but then we immediately hear Scott’s voice. He had a feeling he wasn’t going to make it to Eli’s hatch in time so they headed for the back of the ship and the shields must have protected them.
It seems the Lucian Alliance have a new leader. But Kiva is technically not alive. The bald guy seems more interested in taking control himself than helping her, but one of the others convinces him. They’re gonna use the stones to try and get a doctor on board to help her.
Apparently, not everyone in the Lucian Alliance is military. They have civilians too. And that makes sense. They are essentially a society. Humans who had been freed from Goa’uld slavery and wanted to band together to make a new life together. But they were pretty aggressive about the way they went about it. Many of them, presumably their military, wanted to fill the power void left behind by the demise of the system lords.
Eli gets Scott and Greer back inside the ship, and they’re all surprised to see Chloe walk in. She shouldn’t be able to walk. Last time Eli saw her she was barely conscious. Now her pain is going and her strength has returned. As if by magic. That’s an interesting mystery.
The countdown has started. That means the ship will soon be able to jump out of this dangerous region of space. But for some reason, Rush doesn’t appear happy about it. What is he hiding?
The doctors have arrived. Four of them. They’re working hard on all the wounded. Things are not looking good for Kiva. There’s a bullet lodged in her liver. The Lucian Alliance guy says it would be in everyone’s best interest if she survived, which sounds suspiciously like a threat, but I think it’s more than that. This guy is one of the more reasonable of the invaders. He knows that if Kiva dies, the bald guy is gonna go crazy and kill everyone.
As for TJ, she’s not dead. Not yet. But both she and the baby are in bad condition. They might both die.
So her body is still here on Destiny. Has her mind been transported to the planet, or is she just hallucinating while unconscious?
Whichever it is, she seems very happy here with her baby.
TJ is surprised that Cain and his people have built such a comfortable place. They haven’t had enough time to make all this. Cain agrees. They were still working on lean-tos with dirt floors when the winter was coming. Then one day, they just found these builds, abandoned.
But that doesn’t make sense. They scanned the planet and didn’t find any evidence of settlements.
TJ questions that buildings appear from nowhere and that’s just good enough for Cain. He says without the buildings, they wouldn’t have survived, and that’s good enough for him.
And I get that. I’d be grateful for the shelter no matter where it came from, but it wouldn’t stop me wanting to know how it got there. Curiosity would drive me to know more.
TJ is thinking this all through logically. Why was she brought here? Not just because she was wounded. There were many other wounded on the ship. Why would she be singled out?
I’d forgotten this whole thing happens so early in the season. I knew it was coming, but didn’t remember that it was in the very first episode.
Cain assumes the aliens were scanning them all from the moment they first step foot on the planet. They knew TJ was pregnant. He thinks that saved her because she was bleeding out on the floor. She and he baby would have died if the aliens hadn’t intervened.
So problem. Kiva is officially dead. I’m not going to shed any tears, but everyone needs to be worried about what the Lucian Alliance are gonna do next. Especially the bald one.
Scott and Greer have stashed Eli and Chloe somewhere safe and are sneaking around the ship.
That safe place turns out to be the lab. So they’re there with Rush and Brody.
Telford managed to transfer some control to Rush. He is currently slowly transferring power away from the shields. The same shields that are keeping them alive. He says he’s doing this to prevent the ship from jumping. Which is pretty weird. Surely they want to jump away from here. What is Rush’s perspective here?
Rush thinks the pulsar levels the playing field. It’s a danger to the Lucian Alliance as much as the crew. Sooner or later, the bad guys are gonna have to deal with it.
So an interesting thing about this binary pulsar.
The writers needed some kind of spatial phenomenon that would present jeopardy to the crew. Pulsars really are as deadly as portrayed in this episode, except, that cycle very very quickly, like every few milliseconds. If one was slowed down to pulse every 22 minutes, it would not have any devastating power behind it. You wouldn’t even know it was doing anything.
Stargate science consultant, Mike McKinnon, explained on a recent episode of Dial the Gate, which you should watch, by the way, how they invented a way to make it work. They theorised about a pulsar that was almost ready to start...pulsing….but it was in a binary system with another star that had a whole lot of mass that could feed the pulsar. Essentially, the other start would circle around and every 22 minutes, it would get near enough to the pulsar to feed it and make it go crazy. I’m not explaining it as well as she does.
This was a great idea, and it worked. It made scientific sense, and it met the narrative requirements of the story.
The only problem was, it was completely theoretical. No such system had ever been detected in the universe.
The cool thing, though, is that several years later, researchers found a system just like this in the real world. They called it a Black Widow star.
I just think this is such a cool story, and it shows how seriously the people making Stargate Universe took the science. They could have just invented any old nonsense, and most of us would never have even known, but they took the time to come up with something they thought was plausible, and then the universe said, “Yep, I have one of those. Here it is.”
The Lucian Alliance are arguing about what to do next. Bald guy wants to kill everyone. Reasonable guy wants to stick to the original plan of leaving the crew on a habitable world. Bald guy’s only reason for wanting to kill everyone is the fact that Kiva is dead. I’m not sure how that logically follows. People on both sides have died. This is war. Seems he’s driven solely by emotion, and pretty unstable emotion at that.
But another of their number has a different idea. A young woman who we’ll come to know as Ginn. She’s been on board all this time but I don’t think we actually saw her on-screen in the last two episodes. I might be wrong, but if we did, it would have been a background non-speaking role. Seems unlikely they’d have hired an actor just for that and then give her a major role in this episode.
Anyway, she’s found one planet they can dial from their current position. It’s locked out, probably because it’s at the extreme limit of their range, but she can override that. If the planet turns out to be viable, they could send all of the destiny crew (Except for the doctors, who are still working) to the planet.
Reasonable Guy wants to keep TJ. She could be useful and moving her in her condition would kill her.
It seems Scott and Greer were listening in on this conversation.
TJ wants to know how Cain can have any knowledge of what’s happening onboard Destiny. Cain can’t explain. But he believes the knowledge came from the aliens.
And by the way, TJ’s baby is a girl.
Telford is alive. He’s just woken up. The bad guys still think he’s one of them.
Although I think Reasonable Guy is sceptical.
He’s already decided the planet is viable. Young says he can’t possibly have had time to determine long-term viability. This is a death sentence.
But they don’t have a choice.
The crew are ushered through the stargate.
Young is the last to go, taking one last look at his ship, the ship that has been taken from him.
The planet looks bleak. Cold and dark.
And there’s a storm coming.
But Scott, Greer, Rush, Brody, Eli and Chloe are still on board.
So there’s still hope.
Except most of them have just been discovered.
Ginn can’t figure out why the countdown has stopped.
Bald Guy nearly kills Ginn because he doesn’t like the answers she gives, or rather can’t give.
That’s how he treats his own people.
Scott and Greer arrive just in time to rescue Rush and the others.
Rush tells the invaders that he will keep diverting power from the shields until they lay down their weapons. He claims he and the others are willing to die to prevent the Lucian Alliance from getting their hands on the ship.
A bluff if ever I heard one. Rush isn’t going to die for any principles. Worst case scenario, he’ll try to work with these people simply so he can continue studying the secrets of Destiny.
I’m not saying he’d betray his friends, but he’s no martyr.
Bald Guy is officially taking command of the Lucian Alliance. “Anybody have objections?” Nobody speaks up. Even Reasonable Guy.
Rush thinks the crew are better off on the planet, because they’re out of range of the pulsar. But that only makes sense if the rest of them can survive and defeat the invaders so they can bring them back on board.
Bald Guy has sent Reasonable Guy and his followers to the planet along with Young and his people. So that’s an interesting turn.
Young has zero interest in seeing these people as allies, but Reasonable Guy says they’re there because he stood up for Young. And that’s absolutely true.
Anyway, it seems like Lieutenant James has found shelter. So that’s good.
Scott and Greer have taken sickbay. The stones connections have been severed. Camille is herself again. The others who served host to the doctors are somewhere else.
Camille confirms TJ is going to make it. But the baby isn’t. IT may already be dead.
And that sucks.
But great acting from Ming Na as she breaks down and cries over this. Camille is a very strong character who doesn’t readily expose any vulnerability. But this is the death of a baby. Nobody with a heart could fail to be broken by that.
Cain has taken TJ outside to see some glowing lights in the sky. A little like an aurora, but bigger, brighter and more impressive. It looks kinda like a glowing nebula.
It appeared last night just before TJ did.
Nobody knows what it is or what it means.
Cain expresses his gratitude to TJ. If she hadn’t returned with Young, nobody would have been allowed to stay on the planet. They all owe her for that.
He thinks that’s why the aliens saved her daughter and brought her here.
But then he says that only the baby can stay. TJ will not be allowed to remain because “she made her choice.”
But Cain has just acknowledged that TJ never wanted to leave, and he doing so helped all of them.
TJ is devastated. She doesn’t want to go back. She’s finally got her chance to be here on the planet.
Apparently, the aliens have told Cain all of this.
Rush is playing a hard and dangerous game. But he’s probably right.
It seems that Ginn is Eli’s opposite, on the other side. She’s the brains behind Bald Guy’s brawn.
Telford’s familiarity with Rush helps to convince Bald Guy. Telford knows Rush is a coward and wouldn’t sacrifice himself. He also knows that Rush would be willing to sacrifice his own people. Just not himself.
Eli makes a good point. Bald Guy is nuts you can’t reason with a person like that.
Telford argues against Bald Guy. In the end, Ginn is convinced. She shoots him. She calls Rush and surrenders. They’ll comply with his demands.
It looks like the good guys have re-taken the ship.
TJ doesn’t want to leave. She wants to be on this planet, but most of all, she wants to be with her daughter, who she has named Carmen, wherever they are.
Cain warns her that nobody on the ship will understand. They won’t believe that she was ever here, because what they’ve seen is different. Remember, her body is still lying on a bed in sickbay.
And with that, she wakes up. Back on the ship.
“How long was I off the ship?” she asks. Camille tells her she was here the whole time. Then she breaks the news that her baby died.
What they have seen is different.
The rest of the crew have been brought back on board the ship from the planet.
There are still some Lucian Alliance on the ship, including those exiled with Reasonable Guy.
For now, Young is going to put them all together. In lock-up, presumably.
Scott tells Young that most of the credit for saving the ship goes to Rush. And he’s right about that.
We’ve set up an interesting new status quo for season 2. We have a bunch of prisoners on board, people we are going to have to learn to live with, but will find it very difficult to trust.
Young goes to see TJ. Remember, this wasn’t just TJ’s child. It was Young’s child as well. He’s lost a daughter too.
It’s a painful moment.
We still have the mystery of Chloe’s miraculous healing from her bullet wound.
Not to mention the weird dissolving man from two episodes ago.
Destiny has only made a short jump. They’ve dropped out where they were supposed to drop out all along.
The ship is safe and back to normal.
TJ doesn’t look like a woman who’s lost her daughter, and that’s because she believes her daughter is alive and well on the planet.
But what are we really to make of all of this?
Neither TJ nor Carmen were ever bodily on the planet. Their bodies were on board Destiny the whole time.
So if they now have a dead baby’s body, in what sense is the baby on the planet? Did the aliens manufacture a new body for her? Maybe transfer her mind, and her soul into that body? Creating a new body would probably be within their established abilities. Mind transfer, possibly as well. As for the soul, well, that all depends on what you believe. Many people believe that the body and the mind are all there is.
So was any of it real, or was it all a dream TJ was having?
She has no evidence to support it. Only her belief.
That is, until she sees the nebula. The shining lights, exactly like she saw on the planet, here where Destiny has dropped out of FTL.
She couldn’t have possibly known what that nebula looked like before this moment. That is some hard evidence that what she experienced was more than a dream. That it was, in some way, real.
But it’s not evidence that can sway anybody else, because nobody else saw it. It’s internal evidence, but it doesn’t really help her prove anything.
In an interesting way, TJ’s faith is significantly more grounded than Cain’s was back in season 1. She has something tangible, a foundation for her faith to sit on. She believes what she believes because of what she saw and heard, and because of the evidence of the nebula.
Cain had none of that. He was just making up stuff. Ironically, despite that, he may have been right in some of his beliefs. It does appear that the aliens are aware of the Destiny crew and have taken an interest in them.
Back in the episode Faith, Cain had no basis for believing that, but now, TJ does.
It’s all very interesting.
I am absolutely convinced that we would have continued to see more of Cain, Carmen and the faith planet in future seasons. This was clearly being set up as a long-term story element. I can’t help but wonder how much the writers had figured out in their heads already. What does Brad Wright know about the mysterious aliens who made the planet? And might he reveal some of it if his new show ever gets made?
I live in hope, and, dare I say, faith.
So that’s what I have for you this time.
Next time, we’re looking at the episode, Aftermath. I always like it when these big moments get subsequent episodes that deal with the aftermath. I’ve talked about how hard the writers of Star Trek The Next Generation had to fight to get their aftermath episode following The Best of Both Worlds.
Aftermath will also introduce an exciting new element into the show, which I’m looking forward to talking about.
I’ll catch you then.
In the meantime, you can find my original works of science fiction by going to AdamDavidCollings.com/books
I’d encourage you to check them out.
Have a great two weeks
Live long and prosper.
Make it so.