Young may command the crew, but Rush continues to command the ship, and yet still no one has made a decision. We like the direction SGU has been going lately, but last night's episode started to make us worry again.
After last week's "is this a dream or is this reality" episode, we find ourselves in similar waters in yesterday's episode of SGU, "Trial of Error." Half of this episode is spent Groundhog Daying it inside Young's mind. Again and again, Young finds himself looping the same alien attack. And every time, the Destiny crew meets a gruesome fate. No matter how he changes his course of action, exploding death is hot on their heels. What do the aliens want? Chloe.
So there's the supposed dilemma. The aliens want Chloe, Young doesn't want to give her up, but he doesn't particularly trust what has happened to her since her alien abduction. Stack this problem on top of his wife asking for a divorce, TJ losing the baby, physically ending Riley's life with his own hands, and you've got a leader who's literally juggling ALL of the drama aboard Destiny. It's high time he snapped. And snap he does — well, okay, kinda snap he does, but more on that later.
The crux of Young's strange brain looped seems to be Chloe, and what do you do with a potentially dangerous crew member? Sadly, very sadly, SGU gave up on this interesting plot dilemma halfway through the episode. In an abrupt deus ex machina move, we find out that Destiny now has the power to play with your mind and this WHOLE thing is just a test that Destiny is putting Young through. This is my big problem: by making this whole thing an "exercise," they aren't letting Young make the extremely difficult choice that is "What do we do with Chloe?". I was quite invested in this problem. The scene between Young and Chloe in particular was quite compelling. Now it all seems like it's getting swept under the rug. Sure, SGU can revisit this plot, but why have Young break down over it now? Because the ship says so? Not a good enough reason for me. He's too big of a character to be tampered with this way and then walk off scott free. Is he going to break down all over again when Chloe is fully blue? Plus I'm pretty sure we can all see that Young is unraveling, with or without the fake alien attacks. So why not let this be his melting point? It was disappointing when we realized that Young was getting off the hook decision-wise. Also, we could have done without the one particular Joker-laughter moment.
During all of this mishegas, Rush and Camille decide that maybe Young isn't fit to be the leader any more because the ship is telling them (oh brother). So they go to Scott and dub him the new Captain of Destiny — the only hitch is he's gotta go tell Young he's been booted. (One thing I did actually enjoy about this little back and forth was the fact that Rush and Camille both admit that their attempt at a mutiny was a downright disaster).
Naturally, Scott the noblest Boy Scout in all of space, decides that Young isn't done yet, and it's time for the old man to sober up. I'm not going to hate on the scene between Young and Scott, it was great. Both actors brought it for this moment. In fact, Scott and Young's big showdown actually helped lift up the show, once we found out that this whole thing was just a mental errand inside Young's head. We loved hearing Scott tell Young he doesn't get to feel bad, because he's the boss. And in return, Young finally spills the beans about Riley. I hope this isn't the end of these two butting heads, because Scott might not be ready to be the leader just yet, but it might not be that far away.
One positive thing that came out of Destiny's head trip was watching Rush play god yet again. He has no time for Destiny's exercises, so he jumps the ship into FTL and bypasses the entire head game via his secret bridge. And Rush says that while Young might be the commander of the crew, he's the commander of the ship. Watching Rush's power trip was pretty exciting, but again, we've seen this side of him before.
And finally we can't go without touching on Eli's fast paced little romance. No, I didn't care that Eli's love story seemed to happen in 5 minutes. Would I have liked it if the show had made us all work for it a little? Sure. But hey, maybe that's the point — maybe she's evil? Who knows — either way, I like Eli, I'm invested in his character and I like seeing him get a little piece of happiness. Greer was a great little matchmaker as well. Granted, I was a little surprised as Greer was one of the LOUDEST anti-Lucian characters from the get go. But I've come to kind of expect this sort of strange character inconsistency, and the trade-off is cute geek kisses in space. So there's always that.
But in all honesty, I'd rather SGU force its characters to deal with the results of their decisions. If Greer is going to go on a loud and dangerous tirade about how sick he is of having to escort the murderous Lucians around the Destiny, maybe he shouldn't be the one shoving Eli into a dark hallway with one of them (as adorable as he is doing it)?
Was this a terribly flawed episode? No. The fake alien attack scenarios were pretty bad-ass, especially watching Scott get blown out the giant observation deck window! Very cool, and unexpected. I also enjoyed the Scott vs. Young showdown and weekly "finger tapping evil genius" Rush moment. But I'm ready for more things to happen now — real things. Scott no longer has any of the alien blood inside him, so when do we see Chloe go full blown alien? Then people will really have to make a decision about her presence on board. Or what if Eli finds Rush's secret bridge, but gets blackmailed (somehow) from telling the rest of the crew? Lets get some action going, or else these strange dream sequences and mind loops will start to lose their appeal as breaks from linear storytelling.