This review may contain spoilers.
Whether or not it was obvious, “Aftermath” was about keeping or maintaining control; Rush (Robert Carlyle) wrestled with maintaining control of the ship, Young (Louis Ferreira) dealt with keeping emotional control, and Telford (Lou Diamond Phillips) and Camile (Ming-Na) became closer to taking control away from Young. Perhaps the best part of the episode was the smaller focus on Sgt. Riley (Haig Sutherland) and the poise he managed to maintain in his last moments.
Rushs issues were not new. It was quickly revealed to the audience that he had more knowledge of Destinys powers than he let on. In a tirade, he repeated the same complaint about Young not being the right person to control Destiny and its operations. However, the fact that he was talking to a hallucination of his dead wife Gloria (Louise Lombard) threw Rushs issues into a different light.
Deciding to keep the knowledge he had to himself, Rush managed to stop the ship out of FTL to allow a shuttle team to go to a nearby planet. The crew and the rest of the Lucian Alliance were running out of supplies. It seemed like a good plan until a hallucination of a dead Dr. Franklin (Mark Burgess) reminded Rush that he missed the fact that getting to the planet was dangerous.
The shuttle team, which included Eli (David Blue), Scott (Brian J. Smith), Greer (Jamil Walker-Smith), TJ (Alaina Huffman), Riley and others, crashed on the planet. They were left dealing with a severely injured Riley and trying to find the gate and hoping to get it to work.
Since Ginn (Julie McNiven) revealed the violent background to the Alliance and how some of them have been helpful, Camile demanded for Young to deal with the Lucian Alliance being held in a holding room. A small rebellion in the room showed Camile and Telford just how out of emotional control Young was.
Rush managed to get the ship to drop out of FTL early again and try to activate the stargate on the planet. At the last minute, the gate worked allowing Young to go see the fading Riley. After their talk, Riley convinced Young to perform a mercy killing to alleviate his pain.
After using the communication stones, Telford gave Young the orders to keep the useful Alliance members with the threat that if he didnt comply, he would take over. After Young returned from the planet, it was clear how much he was losing himself as he was shown crying and drinking in his room.
With a final voiceover provided by a Kino recording of Riley, the show ended with the reminder of how tough it really is on the ship and how hard it is to miss the simple things that make up a normal life. But before the show ended, the ship dropped out of FTL, and the realization that there is some object that is directly in their path.
The audience is left with knowing that Rush continues to rationalize the sacrifice of anybody or anything for the ships ultimate purpose. However, were back to questioning his sanity. Were also left wondering how long the cracks can be held together for Rush, Young, and everyone else before it all blows up.
Once again, the special effects pulled through for the show. For the first time, we got a look at Destinys bridge. Although it paid homage to the traditional bridge set up including the captains chair in the middle, it was nice to see a new part of the ship even if it was the setting for a possible psychological breakdown of Rush.
Bringing up Rushs psychological health makes him a threat again. It was nice when he was helping everyone and when he and Young seemed to be getting along. But he is a better character when his intents are questionable.
The better part of the show goes to Haig Sutherland who played Sgt. Riley. Although he may have seemed like a smaller character, if you go back and look through older episodes he was always there and always said very relevant, sage-like things. His struggle to hold onto life as well as his release of life was very touching.
What Didnt Work
There was a small team sent to a planet. While on the planet, the issue of how to get back onto the ship before it jumped too far away came up. There was panic about how to return. There were desperate attempts to solve the problem. All of these plot lines have been done before, and its getting slightly old. The tension that it creates is not really tension since the show hasnt really upped the ante with any deaths of main characters. How long will they be able to use the same formula?
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
Aftermath was directed by William Waring and written by Robert C. Cooper. “Stargate: Universe” stars Robert Carlyle, Brian J. Smith, David Blue, Jamil Walker Smith, Louis Ferreira, Elyse Levesque, Ming-Na, and Alaina Huffman.
“Stargate: Universe” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy.