SGU Stargate Universe: Sabotage   Rewatch 
September 11, 2017 2:15 PM - Season 1, Episode 16 - Subscribe

Destiny has entered the void between galaxies. When one of the FTL drives malfunctions, stranding the ship, an expert from Earth is brought in to help via the communications stones: Dr Amanda Perry, a quadriplegic woman who temporarily takes over Wray's body.

The song featured in this episode is “Only If You Run” by Julian Plenti. This is the scene.

This episode took a lot of heat before it aired, for two reasons:
1) Concerns were raised that Amanda Perry's experiencing a physical relationship on the Destiny would be disrespectful to people with disabilities.
2) Since Perry (a heterosexual) was switched with Wray (a lesbian) issues of consent and homophobia were discussed.

In response, the show’s producers issued the following statement:
"Recently, a casting breakdown was released to agents for a upcoming character in our television show, Stargate Universe. The character, Doctor Eleanor Perry, is a brilliant scientist at the top of her field, who also happens to be a quadriplegic. As part of a science fiction conceit that is core to our series, Perry’s consciousness is temporarily exchanged with one our series main characters, Camile Wray, who is a lesbian. In the course of the story, Perry has the experience of being able bodied for the first time since she was a child. At the same time, Wray, temporarily encumbered by Perry’s physical disability, experiences the unconditional love of her life partner. The language of the breakdown was insensitive and inaccurate, and we sincerely apologize to those who may have been offended. The audition pages that have been under scrutiny were from an early draft and released out of context. It is our desire and intention to portray both characters with dignity and respect, while remaining mindful of the ethical issues we’re raising." - Brad Wright and Robert Cooper
Whether the script was changed in response to the controversy or not, the final cut wasn't perfect, but did take both concerns into consideration.

* Originally, when Lieutenant James volunteers to make the switch with Dr. Perry, we were supposed to learn that she backed out out of grief for her own younger brother’s paralysis. Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi,: “Even though it was a positive depiction of the bond between siblings, Standards and Practices felt that it cast a physical disability in a negative light because James displays grief for her brother’s condition. As a result, we had to lose it.”
* Lt. James is seen feeding Franklin later in the episode.
* The robot the crew found in a cargo bay in "Faith" returns in this episode and is put to good use.
* The crew is stranded for at least three weeks while the drive is repaired.
* Brody takes the time to build a still.
posted by zarq (1 comment total)
The whole thing with consent and the body swapping has to be one of the bigger... issues? lost opportunities? for this series. They could have had this be something where it's a growing problem they need to find a way to cope with or they could have shown the disciplined military folks treating this very seriously, or mandating disconnect when work is done or... any number of things. Instead we got this very soap-opera-y thing with shenanigans I'll omit because *spoilers*. But suffice to say I think they never really did well by this.
posted by phearlez at 12:55 PM on September 19, 2017

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