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Stargate Universe - Season 2 Episode 2 (Aftermath)
The Red Shirt Brigade
The unfortunate fact is that space is a dangerous place and people are going to die. Shows like Star Trek take advantage of this by introducing the red shirts - basically non-critical characters that get killed off early on in an episode to increase the tension. Stargate didn't generally follow this same pattern simply because in most cases the only characters on screen were the main ones and their assorted enemies. However with the Destiny and Stargate Universe they are able to start killing of the non-crucial characters!! Yay!!
While the Red Shirts start to die, you realize quickly that his is not StarTrek Voyager - the Maee & the Federation are not going to live together in joyous comradeship and the Lucian Alliance is a long way away from being trusted.
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The Rush Factor
The Lucian Alliance has lost. With the shooting at the end of the 1st episode and the return to the Destiny of Col Young and the rest of the crew thanks to Rush they are now confined to the "brig" and are being interrogated while Young decides what he should do with them.
The series however starts with a bit of a "shock" as we learn that Rush now knows how to control Destiny ... well kind off. He can get it to jump into and out of warp at least, but he is still unable to extend the time that they are out of warp and extend the countdown timer in any way. While Rush has learned these secrets - he is not going to inform the rest of the crew of that - specifically Col. Young - due to his distrust of the decisions that Col. Young has made. In all honesty I think I have to side with Rush on this. Col. Young overall has NOT impressed me as a leader in any way and overall seems to be someone who is afraid to make a decision vs. someone that is in fact in charge!
However, despite Rush's brilliance (or perhaps because of it?) he discovers that he is unable to do everything himself and in fact might be going a little bit crazy as he is now communicating with his dead wife when he's alone on the bridge of the destiny (we don't know if this is just something in his head or if its an actual projection from the ship). His arrogance put the away team in danger when he dropped Destiny in range of a dangerous planet that could provide a much-needed source of food and water. In addition to the appearance of his wife, Dr. Franklin also appears at one point and actually gives Rush some information that helps.
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The Young Initiative
While this is going on - Young decides to strand a large portion of the Lucian Alliance on the first viable planet that they come across. This just happens to be the same planet where the away team goes in search for food and water. One point - while I've said earlier that Young doesn't seem to want to make a decision, his handling of the situation with Riley (the red shirt in question in today's episode) while painful to watch, was very emotional and necessary considering the circumstances. Choosing NOT to integrate the members of the Lucian Alliance while perhaps a necessary decision, might not be the best decision in the end as I expect (& hope) that humans are in short supply in the area that they are in. However considering how Young treats some of the Lucian Alliance soldiers when they are rioting its probably to the best as I expect if they were left on the ship, they would end up as nothing less than cannon fodder!
While this is definitely a Rush episode, some of the other characters do play a small part in this episode and while their contribution doesn't really do anything to advance the storyline in any way the death of Riley (red shirt ... remember!) is poignant and very well portrayed.
When the "away" team crashes on the planet the only member of the party that is significantly injured is Riley ... I have to say that considering the shuttle crashed through the side of a mountain from a fairly high altitude ... these ships are tough! The actual crash was very reminiscent of the Enterprise crash too and quite well done.
TJ relates to Riley before his death her theory/story/dream about her baby and the colonists on the other planet. Riley is a good character but he's not one of the main characters by any means and while his death is unfortunately meaningless it is still very well played out - especially the scene with Young.
The episode ends with the ship once again jumping out of hyperspace and this time approaching some sort of construct in space. It'll be interesting to see where they take us next ...