Overall Rating: 6.5
An epidemic of stupidity runs rampant through the ship and few are immune to its terrible wrath. It stretches credibility in several places and distracts from an ordinary and not particularly deep plot featuring a few highlight-worthy interactions between Scott and Young
Cut for Spoilers
When Destiny's water reserves begin mysteriously vanishing at blazing speed, the ship drops out of FTL near an icy moon orbiting a gas giant. Completely inhospitable for human life, the moon harbors largely toxic frozen water deposits under a blanket of ammonia snow, a carbon-dioxide loaded atmosphere and temperatures coming in at a cozy -50 C. The crew can only manage to get two ancient-designed, million-year-old space suits working in time and so Colonel Young dispatches himself and Lt. Scott through the Stargate to search for water pure enough to drink. They take along one of Eli's newest toys - an anti-gravity sled that can tow over a metric ton of mass. Unfortunately, they find the planetoid seismically unstable and pure water is in short supply. Just as they manage to find a mine-worthy frozen waterfall, Scott falls through the ice and gets wedged in a crevasse, a hole punctured in his suit. While Young struggles to pull him free in time, the two do a little bonding that I suspect will be very important later on.
Meanwhile, on the Destiny, marines storm around the ship looking for water supplies being horded by the civilian population (because, lord knows, those pesky civvies are prone to drinking 40 thousand liters of water inside a week!) while those same civilians hatch conspiracy theories about the military hiding all the water for themselves (because the military would be very concerned about water disappearing if they knew where all of it was hiding, right?!). When search teams spot clouds of tiny alien creatures wafting through the corridors of the destiny, TJ makes the connection and realizes these semi-intelligent beings are the ones consuming the water. Before she can stop her search teams from getting into trouble, one of them comes up with the brilliant idea to fire tiny projectile weapons (bullets) into the cloud of fast-moving bugs and is mauled to death in retaliation. TJ, evidently one of only one or two people aboard ship (the other, shockingly, being Chloe!) hatches a plan to corral the bugs and trap them long enough to be thrown through the Stargate.
Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt to alienate every single human being with whom he needs to work, Dr. Rush starts treating Eli like a five year old despite all Eli has done for the crew in these first few weeks of isolation. Eli, one of the few who'd been giving Rush the benefit of the doubt (to the point of being able to work with him on a regular basis), is obviously deeply hurt by Rush's insulting behavior. When Rush insists that the crew lie repeatedly to their away team on the moon about the nature of the bug threat and then tries to push Colonel Young to leave Lt. Scott behind and go after another load of water, the rest of the senior officers present (and Chloe, who has been alerted, under the radar, that Scott is in trouble) urge Rush to show a little compassion and he begrudgingly complies. Fortunately, a tremor shakes Scott free and he is safely evacuated back to the Destiny along with another round of drinkable water.
Despite the spectacular epidemic of stupid, the writing is actually not that horrible. The dialogue is solid, particularly between Scott and Young, and the plot is scientifically tight. Tensions building up on the Destiny are slowly coming to a head, and this is making every episode very tense and engaging to watch, with or without their individual problems.
Apart from solid (but not particularly mind-blowing) performances by Louis Ferreira, Brian Smith and Alaina Huffman (particularly that last...she does a very convincing job showing her lack of comfort with command-type situations while nonetheless revealing her budding competence...much better than Marina Sirtis did as Deanna Troi in "Disaster". :) ), the rest of the cast was just plain ANNOYING this time around. I know it's in Rush's character to be a giant pile of ass, but he was unusually blunt and lacking in nuance this time around. And Eli just sounded whiny and petulant...not what I'm used to from him.
I'm a sucker for underdogs finding their way when pressured into action (as TJ does here) even though it's a way-overplayed trope in the Gate universe. I also enjoy a good military-bonding story involving absolutely brotherly devotion and refusal to give up on a fellow officer until there is absolutely no other recourse. "We don't leave our people behind" has been a mantra in Stargate for over a decade, and it's one of the reasons I continue to watch. It's also nice to see spectacular stupidity get rewarded with an immediate smackdown many times in this episode. Idiots getting thrown in the brig for hording water, mauled to death by tiny bugs they shot at, etc. make for a cheap little chuckle, at least for me.
WALLACE: So what are we talking about? Like, one little cloud of bugs, or are they all over the ship?
JOHANSEN: I'm not even sure that “bugs” is the right word for them.
WALLACE: Ha! What about “cloud”?
JOHANSEN: Except the cloud was alive. It was almost like thousands of tiny ... (she searches for the right word) ... alien creatures. (Rush nods, unperturbed. Eli looks a whole lot more nervous.)
WALLACE: Yeah, I have a problem with everything you just said. - LOL
RUSH: You're gonna have to learn when to shut up.
WALLACE: You can't ...(He breaks off momentarily as the traditional burst of steam noisily comes up from either side of the Stargate.) You can't just lie to the guy and expect me to ...
RUSH: Once back into F.T.L., it could be days before we find another planet capable of replenishing our water supplies. This ice represents a fraction of what we need to stay alive. We need more.
WALLACE: Yeah, I know, but that doesn't mean that you can ...
RUSH (interrupting): Yes, it does.=
WALLACE: You're making it sound like we're ...
RUSH (talking angrily over him): Just stop acting like a child, please. (He glares at Eli as the younger man stares back at him, shocked. Eventually Rush turns and walks to the doorway before turning back. Eli has slumped over the console, hurt and insulted.) We have to figure this out. (Eli doesn't respond.) I said “we”. - (very tense moment here...tip for you, Rush...never kick the puppy...people don't like when you kick the puppy).
YOUNG: This isn't gonna keep us going very long.
SCOTT: Maybe Destiny'll figure out we're getting short on water and find us a planet with nice fresh water right next to the Stargate. (Young starts to tug the sled away, heading for the Gate. Scott follows along beside the sled.) I mean, come on. We deserve a break. (Instantly the ice shatters beneath his feet and he plunges into a narrow crevasse. Young turns around in shock as Scott screams out. I don't mean to laugh at Scott's bad luck...but that's entirely your fault, dufous! Never start talking about needing some good luck...LOL)
SCOTT: How 'bout you lower the gun down and I shoot myself free?
YOUNG: Yeah, that's good thinking. There's no way the bullets'll ricochet into your ass! (LOL)
SCOTT: Well, maybe I could cut my way out with the plasma cutter.
YOUNG: You get one hole in that suit and you're dead. Maybe there's a way for me to get down there.
SCOTT: That's just as stupid.
YOUNG: “That's just as stupid, sir”! (ROTFL!!)
SCOTT: Sir. Colonel?
YOUNG: I'm thinking.
SCOTT: Go. It's OK.
YOUNG: No it's not.
SCOTT: Come on, sir. (He smiles briefly.) We both know you've done this before, too.
YOUNG: I've done what?
SCOTT: Lost people.
YOUNG: Too many times. I'm not ... I'm not doing it again.
SCOTT: I - I can't let you do it.
YOUNG: You don't have a choice.
SCOTT: Not that I'm counting, but this is the third time in almost as many weeks that you've been willing to kill yourself and there's ... there's a pretty good chance at this point I won't be around to talk you out of it again.
YOUNG: You're a fine young officer. You've got a heart as big as a house. I'm not here 'cause I wanna die. I'm here because I haven't given up on saving your ass, so just shut up and think. (nice!)