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Review: Hope


Hope is the fourteenth episode in Season Two of Stargate Universe.

Review

“Hope” has lots of things going for it to get it in my “like” category: lots of TJ, lots of Greer, and a nice twist using the stones. Where it all comes undone is in the pacing and the lack of a believable time-line and medical care in regards the story. It’s a shame because it does really detract from what is otherwise a well-written, well-directed, well-produced hour of television – or forty minutes, but who’s counting?

Let’s begin with what doesn’t work: namely, the pacing and timeline. The story meanders at a slow gentle pace that eventually gets to where it’s going but there is a sense of creeping impatience for me along the way. This is probably due to the sense that time doesn’t pass at all on Destiny – which, given the storyline, is honestly bizarre. The idea that someone can be tested for kidney disease, the test results known, the tests done for a suitable match and results known, the bone marrow extraction, the kidney transplant itself and the beginnings of recovery and healing all within the same twenty-four to forty-eight hour timeline is truly astounding. OK, yes, they have alien technology which helps speeds things up, but that much? Nope. Sorry, not believing that.

The other problem is the lack of authenticity concerning the transplant operation itself. OK, I’m not a doctor and don’t know the first thing about the technicalities, but as the daughter of a nurse, I was faintly bemused by the lack of sterile conditions during the operation. Everybody wore their same old clothing; hair was left uncovered; mouths and noses left uncovered. It wouldn’t have been so obvious either, except that they made a point of showing the gloves and that the instruments were sterilized. Did the budget not run to plastic aprons? No wonder Greer ended up with an infection!

All of the elements of the kidney plot really stretched the believability of it to the outer limits. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief that much and it irritated me throughout the episode. There was no sense of time moving forward at all. However, if the plot had its downside, it also had a fabulous upside: namely, lots of TJ and Greer.

The story does put TJ’s medical profession front and center, making the point that she’s not a doctor on one hand, and yet showing that she’s capable of stepping up and saving a life in another. Alaina Huffman gives another excellent performance especially in the scene with Young (Louis Ferreira), where TJ is questioning whether she can do the operation and is having doubts.

It’s also great to see Greer front and center too. I love Jamil Walker Smith’s portrayal of the Marine and here is no different. He imbues Greer with a lot of spirituality; a lot of compassion and humanity underneath the outwardly tough exterior. I love Greer’s story in “Hope” -- he doesn’t even hesitate; he’s the first to get tested, the first to step forward; if it’s in his power to save Volker’s life he will. He’s an inspirational character.

A special mention also has to go to Patrick Gilmore as Volker. He does an excellent job. The scene between Volker and Greer bonding in Destiny’s “back-yard” was just fabulous; full of quiet emotion and meaning. Indeed, all the series’ recurring players get to come and out and play from Volker to Brody (who is just hilarious in the music scene) to Park and James (on hand to play nurses).

Of course, most of the other regulars beyond TJ and Greer are stuck in the Someone’s Taken Over Chloe Again plot. It was great to see Ginn (Julie McNiven) and Amanda Perry (Kathleen Munroe) again. Both do a superb job with the idea that their disembodied consciousness have been floating around, and take up residence in Chloe thanks to her touching one of the communication stones. Chloe as a character doesn’t really get to do much but there’s a lot of latent humor in the storyline, since Ginn occupies Chloe’s body and both Matt and Eli have an interest romantically. What is even more hilarious is the look the two guys exchange when Perry shows up and Rush comes running.

Indeed there’s a lot of humor throughout despite the serious subjects being explored -- and it’s nice to see that balance of light and dark continuing to be included in Universe so much more overtly these days. That said, the erectile dysfunction joke did fall flat (pun intended).

The production as always was accomplished; the mirroring of the two plots (transplantation, risking lives to save lives) was nicely done and well executed by veteran writer Carl Binder. The whole was well directed as the pacing issues were plot related and everything came together seamlessly from lighting to costumes to make-up.

Overall, then, this is another skillful episode for Universe, regardless of the issues. “Hope” is enjoyable and very likeable. It seems like such a shame that just as Universe was finding its groove that it was cancelled.

Previously published at GeekSpeak Magazine

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