A conflict thats been brewing since the arrival on Destiny comes to a climax
This review may contain spoilers.
Its been hinted at in prior episode — and discussed at length by keen observers — but the conflict between the civilians and the military onboard Destiny has been building since they all arrived. It has been hard to determine who to back since the show does a good job of showing true humanity in that nobody is always right or wrong.
Everyone onboard Destiny is flawed, and in this episode we get to see just how far people will go to do what they think is right.
Since the return of Rush (Robert Carlyle) and Chloe (Elyse Levesque) from the alien ship, it was always a question as to how they were affected. Chloe having nightmares was not an unusual post-traumatic symptom. A slightly surprising effect was her alignment with him when he and Camile (Ming Na) along with the other civilians take over the ship. When the takeover went into effect, not everything went smoothly.
This episode was a great example of the phrase, the best laid plans of mice and men. But which side was in the right, were the civilians right in committing a hostile takeover so that they had a fair say as well as taking revenge on Col. Young (Louis Ferreira) for his action of leaving Rush behind before, were the military personnel the only ones qualified for leadership and control?
Lets break it down.
Camile was in alliance with Rush prior to the planet incident. She was under orders from her civilian boss on Earth to gain control, so she was a major key to the whole takeover. However, her trust in Rush was not totally earned as he withheld pertinent information from her, in typical form, that he housed a tracking device. Young and Scott (Brian J. Smith) seemed to be innocent victims in the incident, but remember that they usually order rather than ask for help from people other than the military. Young especially has not been innocent in his actions, but does his experience necessarily mean he should be leader?
The choices that were made by the civilian side were drastic, and will eventually have consequences. Chloe may have lost Scott by choosing Rush as well as her friendship with Eli (David Blue). Rush may have lost any connection or authority that he had with Eli, especially since it was clear that he needed him or that Eli even posed a threat to him. Camile lost her chance at control of either side.
Once the aliens showed up, it was clear that both sides needed each other. As separate sides, they would not have been able to survive the new attack. With the threat of the aliens finished, or at least postponed, the episode ended with Young back in control and showing extreme forethought in having the tracking device surgically removed from Rush instead of a more brutal alternative.
If we look closely, we see that everyone has a point, and at the same time because everyone is flawed nobody is completely on the right side. Clearly, both sides will have to reconcile and find a way to live together in order to survive on Destiny.
The conflict was well played. The tension that it built was held throughout the entire episode, which is not an easy task. One of the better highlights was when TJ (Alaina Huffman) told Chloe that Young was going to win because thats what he was trained to do. Eli is slowly realizing the bigger picture on Destiny. Even though he had a slight regression in a low-sugar moment, he will not be able to hold the innocent role much longer, and will have to be given an opportunity to truly step up soon.
When Louis Ferreira was asked about the building conflict between the civilians and the military in an interview, he answered, People on the space ship in these dire circumstances, they are left with one thing to face which is themselves, their own worst enemy. And I think that is the big conflict and the big journey, so I think at that point it starts becoming about the person individually in their journey as opposed to I belong to this.
What Didnt Work
It is unusual to have a review where it is hard to find something that didnt work, but that just shows the strength of the episode and the show. The only minor complaint may be in the use in the stones. In last weeks episode, the stones were crucial. In Divided, the stones were just a problem-solving device to usher in a doctor when they needed one. However, the writers may have redeemed themselves for this in having the stones fail in a crucial moment allowing for TJ to shine.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
Stargate: Universe stars Robert Carlyle, Brian J. Smith, David Blue, Jamil Walker Smith, Justin Louis, Elyse Levesque, Ming-Na, Alaina Huffman, and Lou Diamond Phillips. Divided was directed by Felix Alcala and written by Paul Mullie.
Stargate: Universe airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy.