STARGATE UNIVERSE 1.20: Incursion, Part 2

STARGATE UNIVERSE ended its first season with “Incursion, Part 2,” which saw Destiny invaded by the Lucian Alliance that resulted in a hostage standoff. This week’s installment added another wrinkle: an outside threat that forced the two factions to try to cooperate to avoid death.

The episode kicked off with a death, however, as Kiva callously killed recurring character Cpl. Rivers. Camile (Ming-Na) wanted to continue negotiations, but Kiva (Rhona Mitra) is a classic “kill somebody when frustrated” baddie straight out of the Darth Vader school of command, so she was not as willing to chat as some STARGATE baddies. The outside threat came in the form of a binary pulsar, which was emitting deadly bursts of gamma radiation every 46 minutes, forcing Destiny to drain power from other parts of the ship to periodically boost the shields. We learned that the unfortunate Alliance soldier who was melted by that weird light last week had been exposed to pulsar radiation through a gap in the shielding. Well, so much for my Franklin-as-ghost-in-the-machine theory. (I’m confident the-powers-that-be will return to this story thread next season.)

The story thread I was most impressed with this week involved the smaller story of Eli (David Blue) and Chloe (Elyse Levesque). Eli continued to literally carry the wounded Chloe through the seemingly endless corridors in the remote bow of the ship. As she grew weaker and weaker, she began to fear the end was near, and felt the need to confess her true feelings. Unfortunately for poor Eli, no matter how far he carried her water, he still found himself within the boundaries of the dreaded Friend Zone. And then she lowered the boom.
“Until I met you, I didn’t know what a friend was,” Chloe sobbed. “A friend is someone who will support you, no matter what. Like you.” An emotional Levesque played Chloe’s speech as heartfelt and sincere; she was crying as she assured him that she did not think of it as awarding him a runner-up prize. However, as far as Eli was concerned, that’s exactly what she was doing.
“It’s just…” he stuttered.
She cut him off, gasping, “I know,” as tears dripped down her cheeks.
“Of course you do,” he sighed with a self-deprecating groan.
Yes, Eli, it’s that obvious to everyone. In fact, even gruff Sgt. Greer could tell how Eli feels about Chloe, and he reassured the worried Lt. Scott that there was no way Eli would let any harm come to Chloe. And of course he was right. It’s a tribute to Blue’s and Levesque’s skill with their characters that so much of Eli’s relationship with Chloe can go unsaid. Think about it: these are two difficult characters to nail. To put it bluntly, they are playing the Nerd and the Hot Chick, however, “Math Boy” is not remotely annoying, nor is Chloe shallow. Each performer has put in the work to add depth to his or her character and fully realize the characterization in the scripts. Chloe, especially, has a lot more going on than the audience at first expected. She is gradually growing more confident and showing off her smarts, contributing crucial insights to the survival of the team. As the season has gone on, viewers have seen that Eli’s feelings for the senator’s knockout daughter progress from infatuation to true affection. One of the most telling moments came during the episode “Human,” when Eli was horrified at the thought that Chloe had deliberately distracted him so that Rush could hijack control of Destiny from Eli’s station. The idea that she would exploit his feelings seemed to shock and disappoint Eli more than it angered him. But she seemed able to placate him. For now. I really want to see where this relationship goes in season two, so let’s hope they both survive.

Back in the main part of Destiny, with the bulk of the crew, events seemed larger, but not quite as affecting. The episode featured some tension, but curiously little suspense until late in the game. A plan was hatched to send Scott (Brian J. Smith) and Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) outside to realign Destiny’s shield array in order to protect the ship. Col. Telford (Lou Diamond Phillips) made his move to undermine the Alliance, resulting in Kiva and Telford shooting each other – sparking retaliation by the Alliance, including blocking Greer and Scott from reentering the ship. Meanwhile, T.J. (Alaina Huffman), who was treating the wounded from both sides, was caught in the crossfire between a Marine and an Alliance fighter. The episode ended with cliff-hangers on multiple fronts: trapped outside the ship, Greer and Scott desperately ran for a forward airlock to find refuge from the pulsar burst; Eli left Chloe alone to try to open an airlock for the spacewalkers; Chloe passed out from blood loss; a pregnant T.J. lay shot in the gut and bleeding out; the Alliance prepared to execute the Stargate personnel, including a bloody and defiant Young. And then the lights went out as the next pulsar blast hit…

I, for one, am finding it pure torture to wait until October for season two!

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