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Stargate Universe Recap: ‘Malice’

Stargate Universe trots out the classic revenge scenario in “Malice” when Rush chases Simeon onto a desert plant after Ginn and Perry are killed in the middle of a stones connection. Lt. Scott gets to channel Admiral “It’s a trap!” Ackbar and, oh yeah, there be Dragon Tales in this episode…

[Warning: Spoilers follow…]

In the most recent Stargate Universe episode, “Malice”, Simeon killed Ginn in order to keep secret the Lucian Alliance plans to attack Earth. In a revenge rage, Rush chases Simeon to a desert planet, one among three planets in range. Meanwhile, Scott and Greer have orders to keep Simeon alive and get him to talk about the Earth attack plans.

If I can forget about the premise of this episode that was set up the week before in “The Greater Good,” I can say truthfully that I enjoyed “Malice.” This episode provided a lot of tension and was well paced. They attempted to fill in the characterization gaps with dialogue telling the audience important details.

Still, the writing rule that I’ve heard drilled over and over again is “show not tell.” The parallel between the Perry/Rush and Ginn/Eli relationships is that both have been rushed. Both relationships provide quite a lot of emotion and character development to mine and yet we haven’t seen the writing take advantage of that. Perry had been in precisely one previous episode (season one’s “Sabotage”) that hinted at her infatuation with Rush. When she attempted to kiss him, Rush pulled back and grieved anew over his wife. Suddenly Perry is back on Destiny – have the two even communicated since then? Perry was able to reach passed the arrogant exterior Rush has built around himself since his wife’s death. How did she accomplish that? She’s one of the few people in existence that Rush respects. How did that happen?

In other recaps I’ve mentioned how rushed the relationship between Eli and Ginn has progressed. Ginn told Wray a few details of her past then she smiled coyly at Eli, kissed him, and next thing we know Eli’s shirt is hanging over her chair. Likewise, Simeon seems to have been created just because they needed a bad guy. He’s a one-dimensional villain that needed subtext. We weren’t clued into the heart of the conflict until near the end — that the Lucian Alliance is made up of multiple and clashing clans.

For a show that’s supposed to be character-driven, I don’t understand why these elements are dealt with so superficially. The writers have shown us long character arcs such as the development between Chloe and Scott. I also think we’re going to see a TJ-Varro-Young triangle at some point. It seems that the Perry/Rush and Ginn/Eli relationships play into important plot points, so why their arcs were rush is a mystery.

Having said all that, I’m glad this episode followed through on one of the show’s most obvious plot contrivances: the communication stones. They’ve been foreshadowing what might happen should one of the people involved in a connection be killed and now have shown the consequences. I don’t get why Ginn wouldn’t be stuck in Perry’s body though, but I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of this particular storyline.

But let’s get to the fun part: an alien dinosaur water buffalo herd. What do those things eat – rocks? Still, they were sort of cute and with those huge eyes reminded me of Cassie from Dragon Tales.

We know that there are three planets within range: three promising and one wasteland. I assume the desert planet they end up on is the wasteland, but if they’re all in range does that mean they all have gates on them? If so, why would Simeon choose the wasteland planet? While tracking down Simeon, we saw that Lt. Scott has slipped easily into a command role under Young and Greer still has an edge to him. Greer being shot was a surprise and a reminder that the writers aren’t afraid to take risks with major characters.

Many viewers have been waiting for Rush to be redeemed and rebuilt into a better human being, but I’m not so sure that’s the direction he’s headed. Young took on the father figure role to Eli and scolded him on how killing someone would irrevocably change him. At first it seems that deep down Rush knew this and that’s why he chose death-by-dino-stampede for Simeon, but then he shoots him at point blank range and ignores Simeon’s attempt to bargain. Perhaps whatever bit of good was left in Rush died with his wife and Dr. Perry. We’re left to wonder if an attack on Earth is imminent and now unstoppable.

In the end, the actors nailed down their characters in this episode. Both Robert Carlyle and David Blue had emotional moments to which they each brought their “A” game. I liked the push from Young and Scott to finally get everyone working together. Even Captain Tightpants (Varro) made an appearance to remind us that he is the last remaining Alliance member on board and that he’s not in cahoots with Simeon. He might, in fact, be the only nice guy in the whole Alliance.

3 Comments on Stargate Universe Recap: ‘Malice’

  1. I feel bad for Eli.  I get the feeling from his episodes that he has not had a lot of…uh… Yeah. So.  I feel for him.  He finally gets a girl and then someone goes and kills her.

    Did you notice that he went really cold?  He pulled back, but then Chloe sent him back again.  I think we are going to see a stronger Eli from this, maybe one who stands up for himself a little more?  But knowing Eli, I think he’ll go too far, he’ll become arrogant.  That’s where I think Eli is heading now.

    Trust was a theme in the last two episodes.  Especially for Eli.  He doesn’t trust Rush at all anymore.  He may not trust anyone now.  He’s suffering and that can turn you bitter.  He’s going to be more careful now.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him retreat into himself more, despite the rush of the relationship.

    I think the stampede was the coolest thing so far.

    Simeon was a ridiculous character.  There was no reason to keep him onboard – none. He was hostile.  What was the criteria for keeping people?  “Oh, this one’s hot, this one likes TJ, this one’s clearly insane & going to murder people in their sleep – ALL KEEPERS!”

    Are you sure Perry’s body died with Ginn inside?  I could’a sworn they said ‘Doctor Perry is dead’.  I don’t remember them saying ‘Ginn is dead’.  I could be wrong…


  2. Sorry but I hated this episode – because it for me ruined a lot of what I loved about this show, I loved how they have carefully built up characters and relationships how they have planted seeds that have taken a long time to mature into fully grown story lines that I cared about.

    I simply don’t understand why they couldn’t have developed the Eli/Ginn story line over the whole of this season, they could have made this into something that would have been devestating when Simeon killed Ginn. The whole Dr Perry/ Rush story line fell flat for exactly the same reason. Now I know they didn’t have both the actresses as major characters but they could have given them a couple of extra scenes over the last 8 episodes and made a few off screen references to them and really developed something here for us to care about.

    I am also really annoyed that they held out on Simeon’s plot device this long… it would have been simple for Ginn to tell SGC about the attack at the start of the season (with the knowledge that the attack was in its early planning stages) then ramp up the pressure on Simeon as the season progressed as Young et al try to crack him, until he finally flips and makes his break for freedom.

    Whats even more annoying is that I could see how all of this could have been done with maybe 10min of tv time (for all 3 story lines, including the off screen references to growing relationships) in a manner that would have given these two episodes some real depth and great emotional connection as a viewer.

    As for the planet, Simeon didn’t get to choose which one the gate openned to, he just told Brody(?) to open the gate (I assume Brody chose the most inhospital one). I was also a bit baffled by the fact that Scott and co didn’t seem to consider that Simeon might have had the intelligence to grab a radio on his way out and might be listening into their comms.

  3. @atfmb: I think you’re right on about Eli and last night’s episode developed that a bit. I’ll have more to say on this in the recap for “Visitation.” I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of Ginn.

    @Andy W: Yes and YES! This was a great story idea, but missed the mark in the execution for all the reasons you mentioned.

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