This was one of those timey-wimey episodes that takes a little concentration to follow, but rewards the careful viewer. The story and its timeline absolutely do hold up, and the story works without relying on technobabble to justify/dismiss what happens. It’s just another example of how entertaining “hard” science fiction can be when leavened with a bit of time travel and vivid characters.
The story saw Eli (David Blue) figure out a new way to dial Earth while Destiny refuels inside a star. The decision was made to give his plan a try, but Rush (Robert Carlyle) was adamantly against it, because while the math worked, conditions in the heart of a star are inherently unstable, and there were too many ways it could have gone down twisted. Young (Louis Ferreira) decided to give it a try, before they can dial out, they are interrupted by the arrival of their shuttle – carrying Dr. Rush. The Rush in the shuttle explained that he had been bounced back some 12 hours in time after Destiny’s attempt to dial home went disastrously wrong. In fact, the attempt resulted in the deaths of almost everyone except himself, and the loss of Destiny. Young had to decide whether to go through with the potentially risky procedure (armed with foreknowledge of what happened/will happen). The discovery of the derelict time-jumped Destiny put the kibosh on attempting to dial Earth.
This marked the second time that the Destiny crew reaped the benefits of time travel to sidestep the deaths of everyone aboard the ship. (The other incident being 1.08 “Time”)
And while I enjoy time-paradox stories, they tend to follow certain rules. If anyone is duplicated — in this case, Rush and Colonel Telford (Lou Diamond Phillips) — the duplicate has to be disposed of – most often by sacrificing himself to set the timeline back on its “proper” path – and any tech from the future has to be conveniently (and utterly) destroyed before it can alter the “past.” The story had a little fun with that idea by allowing the second Destiny to be plundered for spare parts. As soon as I saw that the older Destiny was still intact I yelled at my TV “Spare parts!” and, apparently, Brody (Peter Kelamis) heard me and lighted on the same idea, but Young and the others had already come up with the same idea. Full marks to the writers for coming up with a way to restock Destiny without creating an all-too-convenient grocery planet.
In the original timeline, the crew was left with the decision to either stay with Rush, or follow Telford to (hopefully) Earth. I was a little surprised that Chloe decided to remain aboard the ship and help Rush in his quixotic quest, but she probably felt like she owed him for believing in her and doing his best to help her. Plus, they have the shared experience of being experimented upon by the blue aliens. After further consideration, I realized Chloe probably decided that there really was nothing left for her back home except a mother with a drinking problem. Her so-called friends have forgotten about her and moved on, and with her father dead she has no job to return to. It was no surprise that Scott immediately decided to stay with her, though he was making a snap decision about never again seeing son again; moments earlier he was expressing his excitement about seeing the kid once more.
Eli was devastated that his theory had led to the death of so many people, and there was nothing Young could say to convince him that it really wasn’t his fault. The problem wasn’t in the calculations themselves, but in Eli’s refusal to acknowledge the inherent uncertainties of operating within a star. There were just too many variables to make it work, no matter how solid the mathematical proofs. But that’s what makes Eli such a relatable character: He’s such an everyman, even if his brain puts him in the upper echelons of SGC big brains. I think most people would feel sickened at the thought of playing such a major role in the loss of so many lives.
In the end, Telford ended up back on Earth instead of aboard Destiny, just as he began season one, and the show was back to featuring just one Destiny and one Rush. Well, at least as far as we know…
There had to be a reason we were treated to the gas cloud descending on Rush in the control interface chair. The last time that happened, Franklin was apparently absorbed by the ship. Did the same thing happen to Rush? If Rush merged with Destiny, was he able to “save” it from presumed destruction inside the star? All Rush would need to do is divert power to get the shields back up. I’ll bet that had there been a third season (and beyond), that time-jumped version of Destiny and Rush would have reappeared. Perhaps there’s still time…