Stargate Universe further defines itself with a followup episode that has some remarkable differences from the premiere. The story actually leaves the ship called Destiny, and it also shows us some new sides of the still unfamiliar cast of characters. But an odd, and somewhat mystical plot makes this episode a bit more difficult to grasp than its predecessor, and raises some questions on the direction of the overall story.
The episode picks up right where the series pilot left off, with a scouting team setting out to explore a planet that will hopefully provide material to fix the deteriorating life support system on the ship. It turns out to be a barren, desert planet with no signs of life, or...are there? After the team splits up to cover more ground, a dust devil appears before Lt. Matthew Scott and takes him on what seems to be some sort of vision quest. There's a question of whether Scott is hallucinating because of the heat and dehydration, or if there's actually some type of intelligence guiding him. That question is never really answered.
While Lt. Scott is off tripping in the desert, Dr. Nicholas Rush and Sgt. Greer play "odd couple" and spend a fairly significant amount of time fighting. Greer even pulls a gun on Rush. The conflict between these two is very heated, and is perhaps a metaphor for the desert heat, but the real value in the fighting is what it reveals about these two characters. Greer was in the brig when we first met him, and it's quite clear he has some anger management issues, but we still don't know what exactly it was that got him in trouble. On the other side, we see that Dr. Rush isn't exactly patient either, and he's not afraid to get in a tussle with an armed serviceman. Is he as crazy as he is brilliant? Time will tell.
Another side-story in this episode involves two of the cast members body hopping using the communication stones, which seem to be pretty remarkable devices considering the billions of light years between the subjects. But hey, those Ancients were pretty smart, so I guess it works. What concerns me more is that the communication stones may quickly become a tired plot device to give the actors whose characters are stuck on Earth something to do. For now, it's just mildly questionable, but hopefully this series doesn't become "Stargate: Communication Stones."
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