This review may contain spoilers.
Viewers may have wondered what really happened to Dr. Caine (Tygh Runyan) and the rest left behind. So when they showed up beside Destiny in a perfectly functional shuttle, Col. Young (Louis Ferreira) and the viewers questioned their return and especially how it happened. Visitation challenged the faith and rationality of everyone on Destiny. While the old crewmembers got reintegrated onto the ship, Chloe (Elyse Levesque) became more isolated.
One of the main reasons why their return was not as warm and welcoming as it could be was because nobody could remember anything. Never before has the answer, I dont know, ever been as grating. To go to sleep in a planet far away only to wake up in a fixed shuttle ready to dock with Destiny did not make any sense to anyone except Caine.
Throughout the questions and interrogations, Caine was the only one who maintained the faith he portrayed on the planet. Having christened the planet Eden, he determined that it was God who saved them when they were in most need. Young remained dubious to his religious explanation while Rush (Robert Carlyle) scientifically and rationally challenged him.
In the meantime, Chloe remained in isolation. Although Lt. Scott (Brian J. Smith) maintained his young hero status in his attempts to support her, viewers could feel the tension. Chloes changes are becoming more and more hybrid, and she could become a huge threat. It became a question of what is more humane – to continue supporting her until she has to be taken care of or to cut all contact with her so that taking care of the threat isnt as hard?
When the Eden crew started dropping dead, the threat of having them on board became an urgent matter to solve. Camile (Ming-Na) used hypnosis to find out what they last remembered. As each person eventually died, the only one left with any answers was Caine.
In the end, Caine revealed to TJ (Alaina Huffman) that the aliens must have saved them imperfectly. They did what they could, but they were mere shadows of who they were. It turned out that Eden wasnt so perfect, and that they were all dying from the effects that winter had on them. Although TJ didnt get the comfort she wanted by knowing her baby really was with them, she managed to give comfort to Caine in his last moments.
Even though they found a kino from Eden that did show a blinding light as an answer to Caines prayer, Visitation ended with more questions about faith and belief. Perhaps they need to find something to believe in before the other aliens return and force a final decision about Chloe.
There have been debates before about the place of religion in science-fiction shows both in support of it and challenging it. There hasnt been that much about religion on Stargate: Universe since Caine and the rest stayed on Eden.
But it wasnt just Caines point of view that was given any hierarchy. His view of divine intervention actually revealed more about those on Destiny. We finally see Young buying into the brilliance of the Ancients and other aliens in terms of intelligence and technology. This makes him a captain a step up from former leaders who always assumed that humans were the best and brightest out to discover lesser beings in the universe.
We see the irony in Rushs questioning of Caines blind faith. Doesnt Rush have an immense amount of blind faith in the mission of Destiny? Even though his ultimate goal is a scientific discovery of the origins of life, he has acted like a zealot in order to maintain control of Destiny for his own purposes.
Sgt. Greers (Jamil Walker Smith) approach to Chloe and her possible end paralleled Caines religious issues. The scene with him in her quarters asking her for forgiveness needs to go down as one of the best scenes in the show so far. Greers faith and purpose directly conflicted with each other showing that faith doesnt always solve everything, but sometimes its all one has to hold onto in the end.
Maybe the overall theme of the episode wasnt that religion was important as much as belief in something larger than ones self. Everyone on the ship has to start believing in each other as well as in Destiny itself in order to survive.
What Didnt Work
For those on the side who think that adding religious undertones to sci-fi shows is more detrimental than good, then Visitation may have not been your cup of tea.
Once again, because it is a large ensemble cast and not everything can be dealt with in one episode, any questions we had about the Lucian Alliance still on Destiny and the threat to Earth must wait.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
Visitation was directed by Peter DeLuise and written by Remi Aubuchon. “Stargate: Universe” stars Robert Carlyle, Brian J. Smith, David Blue, Jamil Walker Smith, Louis Ferreira, Elyse Levesque, Ming-Na, and Alaina Huffman.
Stargate: Universeairs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy.