Stargate Universe’s episode “Cloverdale” finally provides something so many viewers have been asking for from the Destiny crew: teamwork. While season one episodes depicted a crew fracturing rather than pulling together to obtain basic resources, this week’s episode showed us a crew pulling together to save Lt. Scott after he was infected by a sentient plant bite on an away mission.
Much of the episode took place in a hallucinatory world of Scott’s where he is preparing to marry Chloe in the town of Cloverdale. Evidently, this episode was actually shot in the town of Cloverdale, British Columbia where much of Stargate is taped. This tactic portrayed Scott in a much more dynamic way than we’re used to seeing him. Instead of the monolithic duty-driven soldier, viewers got to see that Scott is actually a little conflicted over his relationship with Chloe. At one point he wonders if they’re truly compatible because they come from very different worlds. If not for being stranded on Destiny, these two probably would not have become a couple. The hallucination also showed us that Scott considers Greer to be a close enough friend to be his best man — and that, LOL funny, Greer likes trance music. No surprise, the hallucination also confirmed that Scott looks at Young as a father figure and is well aware of his current alcohol problem.
Other notable events in this episode include Park’s comment to Young that Scott “is one of the nicest people on the ship” and she doesn’t want to be the one to deliver the bad news of them having to leave him behind due to him being contagious. I liked that we finally got to see Park acting like the scientist she is and a second dose of the idea that not everyone on the ship hates each other. Also, I found Eli’s angry reaction to Chloe’s decision to stay on the planet with Scott interesting and good news for his character. Finally, Eli has been pushed to the edge of his patience in his affection for Chloe. Scott may consider Eli to be a brother-type companion to Chloe, but clearly Eli’s romantic feelings haven’t faded. I hope that Eli doesn’t let that new-found anger — and self-esteem that I think motivates it — to fade with Chloe’s return.
By far, though, Chloe took the biggest risk in this episode and also reached a turning point in her development. I found it interesting that they didn’t string out the knowledge of her true nature for very long. Now that everyone knows that she’s still part alien, Rush’s blackmail can’t continue. Earlier in the episode when they had to decide whether to amputate Scott’s arm, Rush made the point that most people would choose to lose a limb versus losing their lives. Chloe decided for Scott that he’d rather live as part-alien than die.
The best part of the whole episode though, for me, was the moment when Chloe turns her head to Scott at their wedding and half of her face morphs into a Blueberry Alien. This pretty much cinches the idea that Chloe is, in fact, turning into a Blueberry Alien. Now that she’s injected her life-saving blood into Scott, it’s conceivable that he’ll make the same transformation. Scott started out this episode thinking that he and Chloe might be too different to ultimately be compatible, but by the end he has to confront that they are now quite the same.
I like that Chloe had the guts to test herself with the alien bite in the first place and also the subversion of her transforming Scott. Often the reverse is true in many stories, where in a romantic pair bond, the man is forced to make some kind of decision facing his love interest’s life and she wakes up having to deal with that change. SGU subverted this idea and showed Chloe beginning to be more decisive in general. It will be interesting to see how a character like Scott deals with not being in the driver’s seat on such a big decision.
Other favorite parts of this episode include the bite infection encasing Scott’s arm shattering against the Stargate platform (and then once back on board Destiny his arm glowing red) as well as the effect of the Stargate swooshing over Chloe, Scott, and Greer’s heads. Park’s earlier comment that the plant’s growth almost breaks the laws of thermodynamics coupled with the creature’s fear of the wormhole makes me wonder if there’s something quantum at work in the creature.
TV Squad’s Mike Moody mentioned a point that made me pause in his recap of “Cloverdale”:
“You gotta feel for Scott. Imagine being locked in a dark room with a partner who’s changing, for the worse, right in front of your eyes as you lose control over your own mind and body — what a dark and depressing metaphor for marriage!”
It’s an assumption that this transformation is “for the worse.” Chloe and Scott — and don’t forget that Rush was also captured by the Blueberry Aliens — may transform into some kind of half-breed of human and Blueberry Alien. The transformation may enable the Destiny crew to communicate and interact with the Blueberry Aliens. We don’t yet have a clear idea of who the “bad guys” are in Stargate Universe. We also don’t know the motivation in kidnapping Chloe and Rush. We, in fact, don’t know much about the Blueberry Aliens at all. Having said that, if these transformations aren’t “for the worse,” the quarantine isn’t necessarily a negative metaphor for Chloe and Scott’s “marriage.” Like any marriage, these two will get to know each other intimately and discover aspects of each other they never could have imagined.
We still didn’t see the clip from the season two trailer of Chloe’s skin changing, but it was included in next week’s preview for “Trial and Error.” I really don’t have anything negative to say about “Cloverdale” except that I wish we didn’t have to wait until almost halfway through season two for this kind of episode. What did you think of “Cloverdale?”