Episode Title: "The Hunt"
Writer: Joseph Mallozzi
Director: Andy Mikita
Previously on "Stargate Universe":
Master Sgt. Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) became closer to the rest of the crew of the Destiny when he volunteered to donate a kidney to Dr. Volker (Patrick Gilmore). Meanwhile, Eli (David Blue) and Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle) were distracted by the apparent return of their respective loves, Ginn (Julie McNiven) and Dr. Amanda Perry (Kathleen Munroe), whose minds were uploaded to the Destiny's computer systems. Rush even attempted to upload his own mind into the computer just to spend some quality time with Amanda.
But the mind transfer went south, nearly killing Rush. In order to save him, Eli was forced to cut off Ginn and Amanda from the rest of the ship's systems, effectively keeping them both away seemingly for good. Meanwhile, Colonel Telford (Lou Diamond Phillips) and Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira) caused a major diplomatic disaster when they used the communication stones in an attempt to force the leaders of another world to dial Destiny's gate and send some badly needed supplies to the crew.
On a lush alien planet, Greer and Lt. Matthew Scott (Brian J. Smith) hunt for an animal that resembles a deer, but Greer can't take the shot. They and the rest of their party are soon attacked by a vicious beast that kidnaps T.J. (Alaina Huffman) and Reynolds, another crewman. Back on the ship, several of the crew are badly injured from the attack and Young insists upon leading the search team. Meanwhile, Brody (Peter Kelamis) and Eli discover stasis pods in a new part of the ship, but they're annoyed when Rush is suddenly cautious and he tells them not to mess with it.
Elsewhere on the ship, Varro (Mike Dopud) volunteers himself and other members of the Lucian Alliance to help track down the beast. And they turn out to be excellent hunters as they quickly pick up the creature's trail. Back on Destiny, Volker visits Lisa Park (Jennifer Spence) in the infirmary and Chloe (Elyse Levesque) notices his romantic feelings towards her. Although when Chloe calls him on it, he denies it. On the planet, T.J. and Reynolds discover themselves trapped in a cave as food for the beast. Back on the ship, Eli and Brody bitch about Rush's control over them and defy his wishes to investigate the pods. But Eli soon accidentally freezes Brody in stasis.
Back on the alien planet, the crew is attacked again by the creature; which is now hunting them. Most of the newly injured crew, including Young are forced to retreat, leaving Varro, Greer and the rest of the Lucians as the remaining hunters. On the ship, Rush monitors the situation in the stasis pod room as Eli tries to work out how to free Brody. Rush lightly tests Eli about what happened, but Eli lies and claims that he and Brody are just eating together. Elsewhere on the ship, Volker visits Lisa again, before being waylaid by Rush, who later explains to Volker that Lisa probably just sees him as a friend.
On the planet, the remaining team successfully sets a trap for the creature… only to find that there are multiple creatures who then take out all of the Lucians except Varro. Now alone with Greer, Varro warns him that their chances of success aren't very good, but he promises to see it through to the end. In the cave, T.J. finally gets her radio to work and contacts Greer, allowing them to find her location. Back on the ship, Eli brings Chloe in to help him free Brody, while Rush continues to monitor them in amusement. Finally tiring of the game, Rush releases Brody.
Down on the planet, Varro distracts the creatures while Greer makes it to the cave. Before he can shoot it, T.J. notes that the creature has seen that they are intelligent and it is willing to let them go. Greer tests the theory by lowering his weapon and they back out of the cave. Later on the ship, Volker goes to visit Lisa again, but sees her seemingly being wooed by Greer and turns back. Elsewhere, T.J. and Varro almost kiss as she comforts him on the loss of his remaining clansmen. Finally, Rush smugly notes that Eli and Brody are much more cautious after the stasis incident.
This was an unusual episode for "Stargate Universe," mainly in that it managed to successfully juggle four storylines at once. Keep in mind, most series only have an A and B storylines in each episode. So, trying to tackle four narrative threads at once is definitely a challenge. And it once again shows us what we're going to miss when "Stargate Universe" finishes its last batch of new episodes.
Starting at the top, this episode finally elevated Varro into main character status, primarily by making him the last Lucian Alliance member on the ship. Personally, he seemed to take the deaths of his people WAY too well. I mean, he's there at the end laughing it up at the alien deer barbecue with the rest of the crew! It kind of makes it seem like he cares more about hooking up with T.J. than he does about his people. That said, I've enjoyed the courtship of Varro and T.J., even if they haven't dealt with the elephant in the room… namely that if Varro and his people hadn't attacked the ship, her baby would still be alive. There was also a good dynamic between Greer and Varro on the planet, which gave some good insight into their respective characters. I really like the new, less angry Greer as well.
On the other side of that story was the second plotline with T.J. and the redshirt Reynolds. Alaina Huffman has really become the defacto female lead on this series in the second season, despite a primary focus on Chloe. T.J. is just a more interesting character to be around and her toughness is kind of refreshing. However, her scenes here weren't very effective in building tension over her fate. For the most part, the alien beasts didn't even bother her in their own lair which made her eventual escape seem less earned than it could have been.
The one story that didn't really belong in this episode was the slightly comedic subplot of Eli accidentally freezing Brody… which was probably secretly arranged by Rush. On other "Stargate" series, it probably would have been played for broad laughs. And it was probably meant to be comedic here too, but it never quite rises to that level. It's interesting that Rush is playing mindgames with Eli and Brody, but it wasn't worth the screen time it was given. It was also the one story that didn't directly relate to the course of the entire episode.
Volker's slow courtship of Lisa has been ongoing subplot, so it was nice to see it finally given some screentime to develop. Their first scene together in the infirmary was fun, as Volker got pissed off at his colleague who kept competing for his attention. And I was rooting for Volker to finally start a relationship with Lisa despite Rush's (probably true) commentary on how people see Volker. But to have Greer c***blocking Volker?!
On behalf of nerds everywhere, I take back all of those good things I've been saying about Greer.
Sure, I can see why Lisa would be interested in him. But it would have been a nice cap to the episode if Volker and Lisa had defied people's expectations.
Regardless, "Stargate Universe" is charting a course to one of the best full seasons in "Stargate" history. If more people had jumped on board and kept watching it, this could have been a legendary sci-fi show for many years to come.
And I still don't want to let it go.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.