Stargate Universe: Twin Destinies
The crew decides to dial Earth while Destiny moves through a star.
“Twin Destinies” makes for an interesting if predictable episode that manages to bring the crew back to where they were before the big battle against the drones.
Eli devises a plan to dial Earth while Destiny is inside a star but Rush believes the idea to be dangerous. The minds on Earth can find no problem with Eli’s calculations but just before the gate is about to be dialed a shuttle approaches Destiny manned by someone claiming to be Rush. When he gets on board the ship he explains that a solar flare brought him back in time after he watched his own crew go through the gate to their deaths. Contact with Earth revealed that only Telford made it through to Earth and the rest must have perished on the trip. As proof of the story Camille contacts Earth and finds that Telford is there while Destiny spots the previous version of Destiny floating in space. They decide to travel to the other ship to get much needed replacement parts for the original Destiny before it is burned up in the star. Telford and slightly older Rush get into a fight on the ship which ends when Rush inadvertently pushes Telford into a high voltage circuit, killing him. As the ship begins to burn up, younger Rush goes after himself to find his older counterpart sitting in the Ancient chair. Young Rush returns to Destiny and only one Telford and Rush exists for the time being.
“Stargate Universe” has a tendency to try for big things but never really take the risks needed to get them. If you want to be different from previous series than you need to be willing to see your most exciting plots last more than one episode and force the characters to do what is necessary when there are no other options. Last week’s fight brought Destiny to the brink of destruction and with no parts to fix her it looked like the crew was in some real trouble. With “Twin Destinies” though the time travel induced appearance of another Destiny is just a little too convenient. Eventually the problems with the ship would need to be fixed somehow but perhaps forcing Destiny’s crew to cannibalize parts from ships they might come across or even other systems on Destiny might have made things more interesting and would certainly have felt less contrived.
The appearance of an extra Telford and Rush too gives a rather predictable ending. The audience knows both versions cannot be allowed to continue on (at least not in a way that the show would regularly interact with both of them) and their deaths’ are almost guaranteed from the characters’ first mention. One Telford is safely returned to Earth while the other dies and one Rush gets to return to Destiny while the other finds out himself how the ancient chair works. It’s possible we could see Rush number 2 again somewhere down the road just like we may one day see Franklin again.
Telford’s death is about the most terrifying death “Stargate Universe” has had. It’s one thing to watch people die in the typical ways we’ve been desensitized to on television (all of which are still terrifying when they happen in real life) but electrocution isn’t nearly as possible. Lou Diamond Phillips plays the death scene well and Robert Carlyle’s horror at what’s just happened is incredibly effective.
Young and Rush have had their trying times in the past and I’m pleased to see they’ve finally found some middle ground after discovering Destiny’s mission. The two seem to be getting along fairly well and though they may not be considered friends yet, there is certainly a mutual respect which was never present before. Young agrees to stand by Rush’s side as he addresses the crew and attempts to convince some people to stay behind on Destiny so she can complete the mission the Ancient’s built her for.
“Twin Destinies” lets the audience see a split between the crew members on Destiny. Rush’s request for people to stay behind has no shortage of volunteers wanting to remain on Destiny instead of returning to Earth while the rest of the crew seems perplexed as to why these people wouldn’t want to go home. Not surprisingly, it’s most of our main cast who makes the decision to stay behind (even if the decision does not end up mattering in the end). Young’s choice prompts Greer and so on until TJ, Chloe, Scott, Eli, Volker, James and Varro are all among those who have elected to stay on board. Some of them don’t have much to return home to but it is clearly a sacrifice for some other. Scott who has only just learned of a child of his back on Earth has to make the decision between meeting his son and staying with Chloe while Eli is forced to leave his mother on her own for even longer, possibly forever. Perhaps the saddest separation is Volker’s decision to stay behind while Brody elects to return to Earth. “Stargate Universe” couldn’t possibly break up their comic duo.
Unfortunately “Stargate Universe” has cut interesting plots short for the sake of convenience in the past and it continues the trend with “Twin Destinies”. Perhaps if this episode had aired even one week later (so the characters were forced to seem concerned about Destiny’s fate for at least an episode) the solution would have seemed less contrived.