SGU: The Hunt … First Contact or Nature v. Nurture?

I stayed up late last night to watch SGU‘s latest episode ‘The Hunt‘ although I had difficulty winding down to sleep afterward.  Ratings really picked up for this episode.  Full Transcript for this episode found here at Gateworld.

The Hunt aired 4/11/2011 in the US on Syfy
The Hunt aired 4/11/2011 in the US on Syfy

Within the first scene, one of my previous questions (from the ‘Hope’ episode) was answered, albeit unsatisfactorily.  If all Destiny inhabitants have been vegetarians for over ten months, then definite weight loss would have occurred across all crew members, with the exception, perhaps, of those who already practiced vegetarianism.  What little ‘science’ we get from this ‘science fiction’ series should at least reflect an observable phenomenon, correct?

My earlier unvoiced surmise that Greer and Varro would be the ones captured in this episode quickly proved incorrect.  My second guess proved partially correct in that TJ was abducted.  The second abductee I didn’t recognize and fear he would not make the credits, reminiscent of the expendable ‘red shirts’ in the Star Trek (TOS) landing parties.

After the original landing part sent to explore the planet returns (minus two members) to Destiny, Col. Young leaves Matt in charge and takes the lead on the search and rescue mission.  Greer keeps second guessing himself because he hesitated when confronted with alien during the first attack.  Young attempts to mentor Greer, who is unusually aggressive/assertive towards his superior officer.

The rescue proceeds slowly and we see Varro volunteer himself and the rest of the Lucian Alliance personnel to help track the creature.  He successfully convinces Matt (and assumedly Col. Young) to gate down to the planet.

Meanwhile … (there’s always a ‘meanwhile’ subplot or two on a television show) back on Destiny, Rush, Eli and Brody are exploring new sections of ship and stumble upon a stasis chamber.  Rush uncharacteristically urges cautions to Eli and Brody in tampering with the stasis equipment.  This turns into a slight and well played comedic subplot with a moral.  Another version of the ‘kindler, gentler’ Rush?  At least this one was easier to stomach.

I felt Chloe overstepped her boundaries by discussing Volker’s love life with him directly.  Ew.  Very awkward.  Later, Rush deigns to give Volker romantic advice, in a reverse psychological sort of way.  Sadly, once Volker girds on his courage (and his vest) he stumbles upon his first setback in that he’s not along in pursuing the woman in question.

Back on the planet, the alien creature manages to ambush the expanded search and rescue team, eliminating several members, including all of the Lucian Alliance leftovers except for Varro, who has replaced Young (injured in the ambush) as defacto team leader and mentor for an increasingly stressed Greer.

When we finally see the alien creature, something unexpected occurs from many unexpected corners.  I’ll leave it to you to watch that for yourself and make your own conclusions about first contacts between humans and aliens, between herbivores and carnivores (or omnivores), between nature (hunting/killing/eating ‘unintelligent’ animals?) and nurture (protecting your offspring (instinct) yet recognizing intelligence (tool making, fire starting, non-verbal communication).

I look forward to re-watching this episode later in the week.  At first blush, I’ll give it four out of five stars for a well rounded enjoyable thought provoking episode with some punch.  And starting next Monday (for the last few episodes of this series) Syfy is moving SGU one hour earlier, so I can get some much needed sleep!