Stargate Universe : Episode 9 “Life”

The episode stars with Chloe doing yoga in the observation room. Lt.Scott and the military men led some of the others in a physical training session. We also see Dr. Lisa Park getting intimate with one man and then later on ignoring him and having sex with another. TJ is worried about Spencer’s mental health.

Rush has Eli use the kinos to help search new sections of the ship that they have recently opened up. They discover the chair (pictured above), which is known as a Repository of Knowledge and connects to a person through nero-circuitry and may hold the master code to the ship’s systems. Meanwhile Col.Telford has struck a friendship with Col.Young’s wife Emily.

TJ is asked by Young to do pysch evaluations of everyone as he is worried about the crew. Using the stones, Scott goes to see the girl he got pregnant and finds out he has a son. He tells the girl that Scott wants to transfer his pay to her account so she can quit exotic dancing and go back to school, but the proud girl refuses. Camille Wray meanwhile, in the body of a young Caucasian soldier, goes to meet her lover Sharon. It takes little convincing for Sharon that the young lady in front of her is Camille.  They enjoy a day of good food, wine and sex.

Young finds out that Telford is visiting Emily and confronts the two. Emily says that he is just her friend but she also believes that Young is having an affair with a woman on the ship (believed to be TJ). Before Young can attack Telford, the latter has someone removed the stones, thereby severing the link. Later on Earth, Volker arrives in another body via the stones. Telford is seen exiting a house. He’s then assaulted by an airman. It is revealed that it wasn’t Volker but Young using the stones all along, so that he could assault Telford.

Rush is caught in a lie – in order to get someone to sit on the chair and activate the neuro-link, he falsified data about a planet, one year away, from where they can dial Earth. The brief happiness in the crew is brought down to a sudden death when they learn that the data is false. Thus ends a bad day, as Young puts it.

STARGATE UNIVERSE : EPISODE 8 “TIME”

Episode 8 is my least  favourite of the 10 that the makers of Stargate : Universe have aired so far. The reason – it features that demon of all sci-fi franchises; alternate realities!

I hate the multiple alternate realities concept as a plot in any sci-fi series. I can barely stand time travel as a plot even though it has given us some funny & memorable episodes across shows. But alternate realities is a multi-headed monster child that doesn’t hold much appeal for me. And Time hasn’t changed my mind at all. Also it looks heavily influenced by the Alien movie franchise!

An away team from the Destiny explore a jungle planet and find a kino lying near the stargate there. When they play the video they are horrified to see that they are watching themselves come to the same planet in a different timeline. They went to the planet to find any suitable fruits and food nearby and see if it is safe to eat, or even edible, and then take them back to Destiny. An illness plagues the travelers and they are forced to quarantine themselves on the planet.

The kino records the team falling sick and waiting as the time passes and it gets dark. Then a heavy rain fall on the jungle while more of the away team falls sick. And then the alien creature starts to attack: first Brody and then Chloe are killed as the rest shoot at the creatures. This is when we are made aware that these scenes are being watched on the Kino viewing room. Apparently solar flares interrupted with the stargate and caused the the wormhole disruption, which redirected the wormhole back in time to the same location. The footage shows what would happen if normal conditions applied. Now that they found the Kino when they arrived, they changed the timeline.

We then see people dying on the planet, people dying in an alternate version on the ship due to an illness caused by something in the planet. There is a tender moment when Eli sits near a dying Chloe. TJ discovers that the venom from the alien creature cures the illness that the people caught on the planet Hoth (from two episodes earlier). In order to fight the virus, they need to catch one of the creatures; alive. A team consisting of Young, Greer, Scott and Spencer go through the stargate to the planet to capture one but they are all soon killed with the exception of Scott.

Scott dials the Stargate, and waits for the event horizon to flutter. During that time, he takes out a Kino and records a message, summarizing everything that is going to happen to the Destiny in our reality.He explains that they got a virus from Hoth, and that the deadly creatures are their best chance for the cure. He also explains they live in mounds, so they can find a live specimen during the day without getting attacked. After he sees the Stargate is malfunctioning, he prepares to send it though so that the team from our reality will find it and heed his warning. Before ending the transmission, he begs them to believe him, and urges them to act fast or everyone will die.

The episode ends here.

STARGATE UNIVERSE : EPISODE 7 “EARTH”

After the last episode, the IOC informs the Col. Young & Camile Wray that they may have found a way to bring the crew of the Destiny back home. An IOA operative Strom (played by Carlo Rota) then admits to Wray that he didn’t want to talk to Nicholas Rush, since the IOA is not convinced he wants to return home. The plan is to drain the ship’s power so that it will go to the nearest star and use that power to dial Earth via the stargate.

Young, Eli and Chloe use the communication stones to visit their loved ones while inhabiting other people’s bodies. Chloe and Eli go to a nightclub with Chloe’s friends and she finds out that things were not all what she seemed. Eli is meanwhile happy that girls seem to notice him (although it is someone else’s body) and is thrilled when a girl asks him to dance.

Young meanwhile visits his wife and after initial resistance, he makes love to his wife Emily using Col. Telford’s body. There is a scene in which, when the ship drops out of FTL, it causes a brief disruption in the communication stones’ link and the bodies swap back to their original ones during that gap. Hence Telford momentarily finds himself in bed making love to Emily. Seconds later, they swap bodies again. Both Telford and Young in particular shocked.

However the plan to drain the power and using the star’s energy to power up & dial the stargate doesn’t seem to be working, with a malfunction occurring  and Col. Telford and his two associates bail out by using the stones and returning back to their original bodies on Earth. The crew of the Destiny are told by Young that their return home will be through another way and that it will take some time. Rush had setup the whole thing; he knows that the plan will not work and they’d all die even if he didn’t stage the malfunction. He also couldn’t risk warning anyone because he didn’t know who to trust.

Stargate Universe : Episode 6 “Water”

The crew of the ‘Destiny’ find out that their water supply has been disappearing mysteriously. Col. Young posts soldiers to guard their supply, some of which they initially think had evaporated when they entered the star. However that theory is soon ruled out. Young asks Dr. Rush about the possibility of dialing Earth from their Stargate but the scientist replies that as ‘Destiny’ is very old it could only charge upto 40% of it’s actual capacity when it entered the star.

Meanwhile Eli is asked to spy on the rest of the crew to see if anyone is stealing the water. As tensions start to mount, the ship dials the gate of an icy cold planet which has potentially a large supply of drinking water in the form of solid ice. Lisa Park and two other scientists have worked on repairing two Ancient environmental suits and Young & Lt. Scot are given plasma cutters to cut off huge blocks of ice which can replenish some of their water supplies.

Spencer is caught hoarding two cans of water and several energy bars, which he protests that he took before they entered Destiny. However the rest of the crew know that he was holding out on them to satisfy his own needs before the others.  Tamara Johansen meanwhile confronts an alien entity that resemble swarms of flies and which had followed Lt.Scot from the desert planet. These flies are the culprit, draining the water supply. Unfortunately Gorman provokes the swarm by firing at them and they retaliate by cutting his skin several times. After losing a lot of blood, he dies in the makeshift infirmary. Tamara lures the bugs into a barrel of water and they toss the barrel through the stargate into the ice planet.

Meanwhile Scot & Young have brought back a lot of water which will suffice for the time being. They almost lost Scot when he fell into a crevasse and it was with Col. Young’s help that he was able to pull himself back up again before the Destiny entered FTL again.

Stargate Universe : Darkness & Light

Stargate: Universe follows a more continuous style of flow to the series rather than the more normal episodic or different story type versions as compared to SG1 or Atlantis. The first 3 episodes were in fact 3 parts. The same follows for episodes 4 & 5 – part one is Darkness and part two is Light – very appropriately named as you will soon find out.

A day after the life support has been fixed (which was at the end of episode 3), Dr. Nicholas Rush attempts to repair other systems on the Ancient ship Destiny. Tired & shaken an exhausted Rush snaps at others when they ask for his opinion and finally has a nervous breakdown. The crew discover 90,000 liters of water which is good enough to loosen the reins of rations. The systems are being drained of power which is a major concern. The crew meanwhile decide to record individual messages on the Kinos in case someone discovers the ship years later.

Lt. Scot is ordered by Col. Young to work on the working shuttle and Adam Brody is fetched to translate the controls from Ancient to English to help the process along. While Chloe takes a shower Eli is confronted by many of the crew who want him to be their man within the military personnel and Rush and inform them of any developments. Soon many systems start failing due to lack of power and finally the FLT drive also stops. Destiny approaches a star system.

A now calmer Rush enters into the shuttle with Young, TJ, Greer and Scott. Rush remarks that some of the stickers with the translations Brody added were backwards. With the ship going to pass through a gas giant (which Scott names Big Bertha), they will use its gravity to slingshot the ship deeper into the star system, hopefully finding out if any of the planets are habitable. They have six minutes until this happens. By then, they have to spread the word for everyone to brace themselves for the upcoming turbulence.

The plan works, however Rush notes that the trajectory has altered more than they expected and Destiny is headed straight for a giant star and what they know is instant doom!

Espiode5, Light, starts with the crew looking at an inevitable crash into the star and despite 3 planets nearby they have no way of altering the ship’s course. However the second shuttle is working and it has power and can sustain 17 passengers. Col Young, as leader of the mission, announces to the crew that they are to have a lottery to decide who are the 13 people selected to go on the shuttle – he has already decided that 2 people must go by default – Lt.Scot as only he can fly the shuttle and TJ as she is the only medic.

Young has already decided to exclude his own name from the lottery and later Dr. Rush also decides to do the same. Eli watches in pain as Scot & Chloe go hand in hand to be alone, where they kiss and then make love. In Chloe’s mind, she is saying goodbye as she doesn’t believe that she will be going. Meanwhile two of the 3 planets are rules out – one is too hot and the other too cold. That leaves the 3rd which is harsh and it will be tough but they will be able to survive there.

At the predetermined time the remaining 13 are called out and they enter the shuttle along with TJ and Scot. The rest of the crew retire to their quarters and wait for the inevitable death as the ship reached the star. A little later Rush comes out of this quarters and notices a system coming online – the ships’ shields are protecting it and the crew from burning up and the ship is also drawing in power from the star! Lights start coming on everywhere in the ship and power is being restored. The ship actually is programmed to approach a star to recharge it’s power.

Now the crew on board the Destiny inform the shuttle of the situation and after a tough maneuvering, Lt. Scot is able to land the shuttle back onto Destiny and the jubilant crew is reunited. Although he initially commends Dr.Rush on his bravery & sacrificing his chances on the lottery, as the scientist dismisses it, Col. Young suspects that Rush knew all along that the ship had a plan to recharge all along.

Stargate : Universe – Episodes Air 1,2 & 3

The third live action series that sprang forth from the original movie Stargate is Stargate : Universe. The first 10 episodes have been aired live in the US, UK & Canada. I don’t get it on cable tv here in India as of yet, but I am able to download them from torrent files.

When the series opens we seen a huge & long Ancient ship, which we later learn was named Destity, emerge from hyperspace. One by one the characters drop through the stargate built into the ship, tumbling as they all flee destruction. Flying equipment hits the stumbling survivors, some injured and bleeding. We see the brilliant scientist Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle), Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira) and Lt. Matthew Scott (Brian J Smith). There’s Eli Wallace (David Blue), Lt. Tamara Johansen (Alaina Huffman), Sg. Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker) & Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque) whose Senator father sacrifices himself to save the rest.

The survivors are from the Icarus Base, on a planet many light years from Earth, where they they tried to use the planet’s unique radioactive core to power a Stargate and dial the 9th Chevron which has eluded them so far. The planet is attacked by alien ships and the base is evacuated through the Stargate onto Destiny just before the planet explodes. Thus our cast is lost on a million year old Ancient Ship and they have no way of dialing Earth and returning home.

Tensions run high as most people don’t trust Dr. Rush who assumes command as the Col is injured. Supplies are short and the ship’s life support systems aren’t functioning properly. They find a holographic log of the ship’s journey. This map shows Destiny’s original departure from Earth millions of years ago and its passage through numerous galaxies, placing them currently several billions of light years from home. They also find that a ruptured hull on one of the ship’s shuttles is causing the air to leak out and that the CO2 scrubbers need to be cleaned.

Chloe’s injured father Senator Armstrong (Christopher MacDonald) sacrifices himself by sealing himself in the shuttle, buying the rest of the reluctant crew some more time of breathable air by stopping the air leak. The ship stops near a planet and the crew see that they have 12 hours before the ship’s FTL drive starts up again. A seven member team is sent to find supplies or help on the planet. If they don’t make it back in 12 hours, the ship will leave without them and they have no means of getting back.

Dr. Rush, Eli, Lt. Scot, Sg. Greer, a soldier and 2 scientist search the desert planet for an area where the sand contains gypsum, to make a solution that can scrub the CO2 scrubbers and get breathable air working again on the ship. The team split up into two but the two scientists and the soldier want to try one of the other planets. They dial the stargate and enter the portal but a returning Greer shoots Frankin (a scientist) in the arm, preventing him from leaving.

Lt. Scot finally finds the needed substance and they arrive just back in time to reach the gate and exit into the ship. The crew has lost two members already. However as the ship leaves orbit, the CO2 scrubbers are clean and the pure air starts pumping in much to the relief of the crew. We see the survivors breathing easily as life support returns to normal and the immediate danger of death via asphyxiation is averted. But the crew is heading into the unknown with no way of reaching Earth.

Wraith Or Black Metal Rocker?

I really like the Wraith as villains in the Stargate : Atlantis series. Scary, intimidating, life-force sucking ‘monsters’ to us, the wraith are however doing what they need to do to survive. Which is to feed – and humans just so happen to be the one and only thing that sustains them. They can eat solid foods, which some of them do for the sake of doing it, however they need humans to survive. Basically a living being trying to survive on what is natural food to them – you and me. Is that such a big crime when we look at the angle of eating to surviving?

But what I don’t understand is why the creators of the series made the Wraith look like Black Metal band musicians from Norway? If you check photos of bands like Dimmu Borgir, Gorgoroth & Satyricon – they would probably fit right in a Wraith hive ship.

If you want to see what the process is to make an actor into a wraith, click here to read a blog entry with photos by Andee Frizzell, the actress who portrayed most of the Wraith Queens on the show.

Stargate: Universe Will Get a 2nd Season

The third live action series (fourth series if you include the short-lived animated Infinity) of the Stargate franchise, Stargate : Universe has been renewed for a second season. Although I have not yet watched a single episode of the new Sci-fi series, I’ve read and heard a lot about it.

This series was compared very positively with the parent series Stargate : SG1 & it’s spinoff series Stargate : Atlantis even before the series started airing on tv. Although initially praised as being edgier, exceptionally well made and that the franchise was “catching up” with the long-running Star Trek franchise, some critics attacked the show’s lack of adventure & camaraderie and character development.

Well the show is going to get time to develope that. The show is currently on a mid-season break after airing the first 10 episodes. The remaining 10 will start airing in April, 2010.

Michael : Atlantis’s Prodigal Son

As far as Stargate : Atlantis goes they have wonderful casting and a great supply of recurring role actors. The one role that makes the show special in more ways than one is that of the hybrid wraith “Michael”.

Michael (Star Trek fans would know him as the regular cast member Commander Charles ‘Trip’ Tucker from Star Trek : Enterprise) is the name given by the residence of Atlantis to a wraith whom they capture and experiment upon by using a retro-virus created by Dr. Beckett.

The Wraith are part human but most descended from a human life sucking insect known as the Iratus bug. Hence the wraith feed on humans. Michael is injected with the virus and slowly his Wraith DNA is iradicated and he becomes mostly human and has no recollection of his past. The Atlantis team create a story about him being Lt. Michael Kenmore, a soldier assigned to Atlantis and who was attacked by the Wraith.

He must take the injections regularly or he will revert back to his Wraith form. When he finds out what the Atlantis team did to him, he is angry and escapes and thus becomes the nemesis of the team in Atlantis. He does help them when the Wraith reject him, calling him unclean, and feels betrayed and an outcast – not accepted by either humans or the Wraith. As a result one can feel sympathy towards him and understand his madness & anger.

Michael is killed in Season 5.

Stargate’s The Wraith

The main villains in Stargate: Atlantis are the Wraith. The Wraith are intelligent humanoids who are genetically close to insects, though they are predominantly human, as the evolved from the humans who live in the Pegasus galaxy. The Iratus bug feed on humans to heal & sustain itself and as it evolved, the Wraith were born. The vampire like Wraith too feed on humans, treating them akin to livestock and regarding the act of feeding as nothing more than natural predation. The Wraith expand their population by cloning as they don’t have natural procreation methods. Most of the Wraith shown in the series are male with most female ones are Queens. ????? ????? ???????? ?????????

Some 10,000 years from the Atlantis first season, the Wraith defeated the Ancients (the original more evolved human race) who then returned to Earth. How the Wraith feed is by a feeding organ on their palm, which they place on a human chest, drawing out their ‘life-force’. The effect on humans is rapid aging, which could lead to death unless stopped in time. Wraith are biologically immortal and do not possess the life-inhibiting proteins that cause aging. ????? ?????

The Wraith do not have any names that we know of but Lt.Colonel Sheppard gives captured Wraith’s human names like Steve, Bob, Todd & most famously Michael. And finally the Wraith travel in huge Hive ships, lead by a Hive Queen, just like their insect counterparts.

Stargate Atlantis : Season 1

Although I have a copy of the 1994 movie Star Gate that started it all for this franchise, uptil a couple of weeks ago, I had not watched anything else that the SG universe had dished out. Until I stepped into the dvd store that I frequent and was shown the dvds of the season 1-3 of Star Gate Atlantis. Man, do I like this series or what!

Ok, for those who don’t know Stargates, devices used to travel through great distanced in space, were created by a much more evolved human race called the Ancients who seeded the humans on many planets across galaxies. Our team find out the mythological city of Atlantis on a planet called Lantea, in the Pegasus galaxy, submerged under the ocean by the Ancients after they were defeated by the Wraith.

Our group of milatry personel & scientists battle the Wraith (who were humans infected with the iratus bug and mutated into human feeding immortal freeks) and try to settle on Atlantis as they can’t return back to Earth due to lack of power to establish a wormhole using the Stargate. They try to establish allies with the humans living on different planets but come across some hostile races as they look for power sources for Atlantis.

The Wraith finally reach the lost city of the Ancients as they know about Earth and her huge human population which can provide a rich feeding ground for them. Just before they arrive, milatery backup arrives from Earth who have finally managed to esatablish a wormhole link with Atlantis and they defend the city against the attacking Wraith. As season 1 ends, heavy casualties include a presumed dead Lt. Ford who is attacked by a wraith.