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Review: The Hunt

The Hunt is the sixteenth episode of Season Two of Stargate Universe.

So, I loved this.

I guess that’s not too surprising since “The Hunt” has my two favorite characters front and center: Greer and TJ. Add to that fantastic special effects, kick-ass women all through the episode and nicely played, light-hearted sub-plots with the science team, and this was made of win.

Ah, Greer. How I love thee, let me count the ways. Jamil Walker Smith just rocks his character so much and has from the very beginning. He plays an uncertain Greer, a Greer having a crisis of faith, brilliantly. The conversations with Young, James and Varro are all great. If there was one question though, it was why it was James who Greer opened up to of all people. There’s been nothing in their relationship shown to date -- correction -- nothing of their relationship shown to date to suggest that he would open to her. But ignoring this, it’s still a great storyline for the character as he loses his mojo and gets it back in a showdown with a very big beast.

The beast is awesome creation. I want to adopt a baby one. OK, maybe not. But the intelligent animal in the face down with Greer is stunningly done by the CGI team. It is flawless and doesn’t look pasted in or crappy. I think back to the dragon in SG-1’s “The Quest” (10-10/11) and this is so much better that it’s light years away from that monstrosity. Blue Bambi is less effective in close-up at the end and was better when viewed at a distance through the rifle sight but still much, much better than afore mentioned dragon.

I love the storyline that questions whether the beast is intelligent or not. Is it just a predator or is it capable of thinking? Is it smart? All the way through, the episode challenges the thinking around animal rights from Park’s conversation that she’s a vegetarian to Greer’s sarcasm that if the deer can give him a reason not to eat them then he’ll consider it to the end where he believes TJ that the beast is intelligent and doesn’t kill it.

Speaking of TJ, Alaina Huffman delivers another great performance. This episode really allows for TJ’s military side to be shown. She gets to be the one that builds the fire, fixes the radio and stays calm under pressure while the young Corporal with her is the one injured and scared. I love the scene where she basically tells him to get his act together or live with the shame that she would rescue his butt.

And this was a great episode for showing kick-ass women. From James (Julia Benson) who got to participate fully in the rescue, to Park (Jennifer Spence) who was doing math in her sickbed because she was bored, to Tasia (Kyra Zagorsky), the Lucien Alliance woman who led the hunt for the beast and was at least as good a tracker as Ronon ever was, to TJ who did everything right to ensure her own rescue, to Chloe (Elyse Levesque) who handled the infirmary and handled Eli’s panicking -- all the women on display were strong-willed, opinionated and competent. That was good to see.

Also good to see was the continuing humor in the show thanks to the sub-plots involving the science team. What is hilarious is the Eli (David Blue) and Brody (Peter Kelamis) double act as Brody gets frozen in a stasis chamber. This sub-plot involving Eli and Brody chafing against Rush as lead scientist and Rush teaching them both a lesson is fabulous. Carlyle’s acting is so subtle in the scenes; just miniscule twitches of his mouth and eyes to convey amusement and satisfaction. The other sub-plot of Volker’s (Patrick Gilmore) interest in Park was well judged; amusing but not overdone and ultimately bittersweet as Rush’s (Robert Carlyle) observation of Volker’s status as best friend is shown as the truth when she’s with Greer at the end.

The triangle is not the only one on show -- the TJ/Varro/Young triangle also continues. I’m not a big fan of triangles. I think they tend to be cliché and simply frustrate viewers. However, I do think the TJ/Varro/Young triangle is an unusual one. This isn’t the cliché ‘geek versus football captain for gorgeous cheerleader’ triangle that Eli/Scott/Chloe inhabit or indeed Volker/Greer/Park. This is two men who are both Alphas with issues in their own way pursuing the same woman. It’s interesting to see where they’re going with it and how Huffman, Mike Dopud and Louis Ferriera are playing it.

In reviewing, the thing that strikes me most about this episode is that there is a LOT going on. A lot of character development and focus but placed within the context of the wider story of the rescue on the planet. Kudos to the writer for a great balancing job throughout.

This is a great episode on all levels. Maybe the story is not epic enough for “The Hunt” to make it into the top ten Stargate episodes of all time but it certainly gets into my top ten Stargate Universe episodes and places highly on my list of the most enjoyable Stargate episodes ever. I’m hoping for more of the same for the rest of the series.

Originally posted at GeekSpeak Magazine


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