Stargate Universe Season 1, Episode 4: "Darkness" - Review

The producers of Stargate Universe promised a "darker" story than previous installments in the Stargate franchise, and this episode takes that a bit too literally as the starship Destiny runs out of power and the lights go out. This could have possibly been a chance to inject a little horror-style storytelling into the series, but instead we get nothing more than constant bickering mixed with some very depressed characters and slow pacing.

The premise of this episode is pretty straightforward: the sudden influx of activity on Destiny has drained the power reserves and the ancient ship is on the verge of completely shutting down. Enter Dr. Rush, who is tasked with fixing this problem and is pretty pissed about it. There's a lot of conflict between Dr. Rush and just about everyone else on the ship. He's definitely on edge, and his temper is making a bad situation worse.

Colonel Young is trying to keep everyone in line, with varying degrees of success. Meanwhile, Eli is leading a video diary exercise that goes through various people on the ship. The passengers are on the verge of revolt as concerns about dying on the ship grow, and those fears are reflected in these little confessionals, but this is also a clever plot device that lets us learn a bit about the background characters in the cast who, up to this point, have been fairly anonymous. It's really one of the more notable aspects of this episode.

Another big part of this story is Robert Carlyle, as he once again carries the bulk of the story on his shoulders. Dr. Rush goes all psycho douchebag angry in this one, and there a couple flashbacks from Carlyle's old role as the hyper-violent, perpetually angry Begbie in Trainspotting. As Volker says about Rush, "this isn't the old crazy; this a whole new crazy." Volker himself gets some new prominence as a funny guy in the cast. He even rivals Eli in the comedy category, but he loses out in the usefulness department.

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