Gallery Episode Transcript

"Trial and Error" is the sixth episode in the second season of Stargate Universe.


Colonel Everett Young has what he believes are prophetic dreams of Destiny's destruction, leading him to question his ability as commander of the mission.


A group of people are forced to evacuate to Destiny after an attack on Icarus Base by the Lucian Alliance, and are now trapped there. During the time on Destiny, tensions rise between Dr. Nicholas Rush and Colonel Everett Young, eventually causing a mutiny between the civilians and military. After a Nakai attack, the two groups must work together to prepare themselves for the next attack, for the crew's sake. After Colonel David Telford's brainwashing is broken, he reveals that the Lucian Alliance are coming to take Destiny. After a group of Alliance soldiers led by Commander Kiva and Telford gate to Destiny, they take several sections of the ship. After Kiva is killed and Ginn returns control to Rush the surviving Alliance members are locked up. Lt. Tamara Johansen reveals to Young that she is pregnant with his child. During the invasion, she is shot and looses the baby. Young has also had problems with his wife Emily Young. Rush breaks the master code and discovers the Bridge. After the crash of the Ancient shuttle, Sgt. Hunter Riley becomes trapped and Young is forced to suffocate him. After Lt. Matthew Scott is infected with an alien creature, Chloe Armstrong gives him her blood which contains the Nakai pathogen to cure him.


Colonel Everett Young returns to his body after using the Long-range communication device. He meets with Lt. Tamara Johansen in the infirmary. Having run comparative blood tests using various pathogens they've encountered on their journey, she has determined that the Nakai pathogen in Lt. Matthew Scott's blood seems to have been eliminated, while Chloe Armstrong is still affected. She believes it is safe to release Scott, and Young agrees. After she notices that he's distracted, TJ asks if he's ok. Young tells TJ that his wife, Emily Young, has asked for a divorce. Young gets up to leave, but TJ stops him, wanting to talk with him since they haven't had the chance recently. Young doesn't feel that there's anything to say about the matter that will help, but TJ doesn't believe that's the point. Young asks what the point is, but when TJ can't answer, he leaves.

Camile Wray and MSgt. Ronald Greer escort Ginn to Eli Wallace's room. She introduces her to Eli, hoping that her expertise could be useful. Ginn relates how she spent a year studying Ancient technology, in particular Eli's theories on dialing the Stargate while Destiny is recharging in a star. Eli is left speechless. When Ginn asks if he still thinks he could make it work, Eli admits to having put it aside due to lack of progress. Wray thinks that Ginn might be able to help, so Eli accepts. Wray leaves them to work. After a long pause, Eli offers Ginn a seat.

Scott visits Chloe in her quarters, where she is being confined. She confirms that Scott is not being influenced by the pathogen. She seems glad, as she believes everyone else was worried that she poisoned Scott with her "alien blood". Scott insists that she's not contagious. He tries to assure her that she's only being confined as a precaution, but Chloe interrupts by adding that the precaution is against her sabotaging the ship. Scott sees the fact that she saved his life as proof that she's still human, since she would have left him to die if the alien influence were in control. Chloe shows him a growth on her leg, which is getting larger. Scott assures her that they'll find a way to fix her. He leaves the room, his face showing that he doesn't entirely believe his own claims.

Young is drinking alone in his quarters, spinning his wedding ring on the table. Dr. Adam Brody calls over the radio. Young hesitates, letting Brody repeat himself before answering. Brody calls him to the Control interface room. Nine Nakai motherships have surrounded Destiny. Young is confused as to how they could have caught up to Destiny from another galaxy. They send a message demanding that Chloe be turned over to them. Brody speculates that the aliens have been turning Chloe into one of them, and want her back. Eli insists that she isn't one of them. Young notes that Chloe has been gathering intelligence, albeit involuntarily, which Eli sees as one more reason not to hand her over.

Destiny will not return to FTL for another 44 minutes, so Young orders Brody to arm the weapons. The aliens immediately open fire. During the attack, Scott and Greer herd the crew to their designated areas. Dr. Nicholas Rush enters the control room, wanting to know what's happening. He complains that they can't take on so many ships. Brody notes that the aliens want Destiny and wouldn't destroy it, but Rush counters that they could do so unintentionally by trying to collapse the shields to enable boarding. On the observation deck, Scott watches the alien attack. Some of their shots are getting through the shields. One hit causes a large piece of debris to impact the window, cracking it. He immediately orders the entire section sealed, having accepted his fate. As Young asks for an explanation, Scott is ejected into space when the glass shatters. The continued fire on the shields causes secondary explosions in the engineering section. An overload occurs in the sublight drives. The emergency shutdown is unable to stop it, and the overload consumes Destiny. Young wakes up, having dreamed the entire thing.

During a staff meeting, Dr. Lisa Park suggests using the Ancient maintenance robot to repair the domed room they found when first exploring the ship. Once repaired, it can be converted into a larger Hydroponics lab. Wray asks how long it would take to make it viable, but Young interrupts, inquiring as to the status of the weapons. Six of the gun batteries are offline, leaving large portions of the ship undefended. Park notes that Young suspended repairs due to their unfamiliarity with the system. Wray adds that Dr. Kemp was injured by a power surge while working on one of the conduits, and Park expresses her concern that they could risk a much more catastrophic overload. Young deems the risk irrelevant and orders work to be resumed. Park protests that they're not even sure what's wrong with it, but Young insists that weapons are the priority, and that hydroponics can wait. He ends the meeting.

After everyone leaves, Wray asks why he changed his mind. Young doesn't want to argue it, but Wray persists, noting that he stopped work in that area because it was dangerous. Young points out that, given everything they've been through, the need to defend themselves from further attack should be obvious. Wray changes the subject to everything that's happened to Young specifically. Young sarcastically notes that she's trying to be a therapist. Wray says that she knows Young holds himself responsible for everything that happens, including TJ and the baby, and needs to know if it is clouding his judgment. Young insists that he's fine, and leaves.

Rush visits Chloe, having brought her some food. Chloe says she's not hungry, so Rush offers her company instead. He has some more equations that she might want to look at. Chloe regards the offer with disbelief. Rush insists that he isn't the one keeping her locked up, and tried to help. She asks if the chair being meant to cure her was just an act, but he assures her it was genuine. He believes that she should embrace the advantages of her situation, given that Scott would be dead otherwise. Chloe asks if he has any idea what's happening to her. All Rush can say is that she body is changing, particularly her brain. He hasn't given up hope of curing her, but thinks that she'd at least like something to keep busy. He asserts that he's close to figuring out the purpose of Destiny's mission.

Eli and Ginn go over the plan to dial Earth. Ginn points out an error in the calculations which Eli had failed to notice. She notes that Eli's math is always right, but that he loses sight of the context. She explains that she's always been fond of numbers, because numbers don't lie. Eli tells her about how he previously wanted to be a veterinarian. His mother bought him a hamster to teach him responsibility, but he left the cage open and his dad accidentally stepped on it. Ginn believes he would have made a good doctor, putting her hand on his. After an awkward moment, she states that were it not for the accident, none of them would be on Destiny. Eli finds the thought weird, and they laugh about it. Watching them, Greer takes notice of their growing bond.

Young goes to sleep, only to once again be called by Brody to the control room. The situation plays out exactly as it did before. Nine ships have them surrounded and want Chloe to be turned over to them. Young hesitates, and Brody asks for orders. Eli suggests powering the weapons, but Young has seen the result of that and knows it won't work. One of the ships fires a warning shot, then an additional message is sent, warning them that Destiny will be destroyed if they don't comply. Brody believes they're bluffing. Rush comes in, and Eli tells him the situation. Rush suggests diverting all power to the shields. Young agrees. The aliens attack as they did before. This time, Scott seals the observation deck without entering it. Based on the time left and the amount of damage the aliens are doing, Rush believes the ship will survive. However, six more motherships arrive and the scenario plays out as it did before. Young wakes up again.

Young visits Wray in her quarters, waking her up. He tells her that he's giving her a chance to be a shrink, as he believes he's going insane. Wray notes that Young has been drinking, but Young calls it one of the symptoms, not the problem. Wray appends her statement, calling this a bad time for him to be drinking. Young tells her about his recurring dream which, to him, feels completely real. He tells her about how he tried and failed to save the ship both times. Wray realizes that Young ordered the weapons repaired because of the dream, but he insists that it isn't a ordinary dream due to how real if feels. Wray points out that the scenario only has one apparent victory condition which Young won't consider - handing over Chloe - but Young doesn't believe it's that simple. Wray suggests he speak with Chloe.

Young visits Chloe, who is working on the equations Rush left her. Chloe jokes that she must be popular to have three visitors over such a short time. Young apologizes for not coming sooner, admitting that it was hard for him to do so, which Chloe notes is because of what he may have to do later. She relates how she was feeling sorry for herself at first, but seeing how people fear her, she believes she's better off locked up. Young insists they care for her regardless, and that no one has given up hope. Both realize, however, that sooner or later Chloe's condition will force Young to get rid of her if it can't be cured.

In the mess hall, Greer comes up to Eli's table and bumps him over. He asks Eli when he's going to make a move on Ginn. Eli asks how he got that from watching them from two days, but Greer insists that it was obvious within ten minutes. He notes that this is likely the best chance Eli will have on the ship, which Eli sarcastically thanks him for. Greer offers to arrange to be pulled away on other duties so they'll have some time alone. Eli reluctantly agrees, asking him not to make it obvious, but Greer insists that obvious is good. He gives Eli a rough pat on the back, spilling his drink, and tells him that it's time to man up.

While going over some paperwork, Young begins to nod off. He finds himself in the alien attack dream again. They fire a warning shot like in the previous one, just before Rush arrives. At Rush's suggestion that they divert power to the shields, he explains that more ships are coming. Rush is confused as to how Young would know that. Knowing that attacking and defending will provoke a hopeless battle, he now takes the option of delivering Chloe to the aliens. Over the radio, Brody confirms Young's prediction. The aliens are now sending a shuttle to retrieve Chloe. He takes her to one of the hull breaches made by the previous incursion and has Brody dial back the shields to allow docking. He hands over Chloe without a fight. Scott confronts Young for surrendering her, then attacks him when he insists that he didn't have a choice. Greer pulls him off. Additional shuttles are launched, and Young starts to laugh madly. Power suddenly shuts off. With Young no longer fit to command, Scott takes over. Rush reports that the shields have shut down entirely, assuming Chloe must have figured out how to disable them. Scott organizes defense teams, but they are soundly defeated by the invading aliens. Young wanders the halls aimlessly until one of the aliens eventually finds and shoots him. Young awakens once more.

Young visits Brody's bar for a drink. TJ comes in, having come to pick up an extra-strong batch as a disinfectant. She notes that he doesn't look so good, a fact Young considers obvious. She tells Young about her experience on the artificial planet and how the aliens saved her baby, even though she can't prove it. Young clearly doesn't believe her, so she asks him why it's so hard to accept in light of everything they've seen. Young tells her that just because she wants it to be true, doesn't mean it is. TJ tries to confront Young on how he's slowly falling apart, having nearly been there herself, and is afraid that he might not manage to come back. Young apologizes and leaves.

In his room, Eli notices that the computer has devoted a large amount of memory to some sort of diagnostic program. Ginn questions him on the purpose of the various pictures he has posted on the wall above the console. He explains that they are stills from his documentary, and shows Ginn a clip of Brody showing off the toilet system to demonstrate. Over the radio, Greer is called to the mess hall by Lt. Vanessa James. He leaves, telling the two that it could take a while. Eli, nervous about being left alone with Ginn, follows him out. He's not so sure about Greer's idea, but Greer insists that he'll be thankful later. Eli is unsure of what to say to Ginn, so Greer gives him advice. Meanwhile, Ginn brings up the last entry of Eli's documentary, in which he discusses his mother's visit to the ship. Eli returns as she's watching. Ginn pauses it and tries to apologize, but Eli tells her not to worry about it. He jokes that his performance in the video is "real smooth", and figures that he might as well have Greer come back, dismissing it as unimportant when Ginn questions the statement. He's unable to figure out what to say next, so Ginn moves to kiss him. After a pause, they continue to kiss until the ship drops out of FTL.

Scott visits Young's quarters to inform him of the situation, finding him disheveled and tired. He explains that the ship stopped without activating the jump countdown and with no gates in range. Young just tells him to figure it out and closes the door, much to Scott's confusion.

On the bridge, Jeremy Franklin asks Rush if there's a problem. Rush notes that the ship doesn't drop out of FTL for no reason, and he isn't responsible this time. He can't find anything wrong with navigation or propulsion, so Franklin suggests looking elsewhere.

In the control room, Brody explains that he can't find anything that would be interfering with the FTL. Dr. Dale Volker suggests that someone may be dialing in, but there's no gate activity. Scott comes in, informing those present that Young is not feeling well. He queries Brody and Volker for an explanation, but they have no idea what's wrong. He turns to Eli next. Eli begins to explain how he's been working with Ginn, going off on a tangent about how their relationship is going. Pointed looks from those present get him back on track. Eli explains that he has discovered a battle simulation being run by Destiny. The scenario exactly mirrors the one in Young's dreams, which Wray recognizes. Rush, too, has discovered this, though he isn't sure of its relevance. Franklin just tells him to look closer, and Rush discovers that the program is overriding the ship's normal operations. Wray believes that the ship is affecting Young's dreams. Volker agrees that it's possible, since brain waves are electrical impulses that could theoretically be manipulated. Brody suggests that it may be a warning from Destiny, but Eli doesn't think the aliens could have followed him.

Scott questions Chloe on whether or not she may have signaled the aliens, but she cannot remember what happened during her blackouts. Assuming the worst, Scott orders the weapons to be readied, all non-essential power to be routed to the shields, and organizes defense teams in groups of three. He asks Wray to organize the civilians and move them to their designated areas. However, Rush and Wray have something else to discuss with him. Scott waits for everyone to leave, knowing Young is the subject they want to discuss. He insists that he can handle the situation. This is their point: he can, Young can't, so he needs to assume command. Scott refuses. Rush offers a theory that Destiny's simulation is a test of Young's emotional stability, one he's thus far failing. Scott doesn't see how they arrived at this conclusion, but Wray points out that the ship stopped right after Young sequestered himself. Rush explains that the ship, while not alive in any sense, is starting to understand the crew and their affect on the mission. Scott asks why one of them doesn't take command, to which both Rush and Wray admit they aren't suited, as has been demonstrated in the past. Scott expresses disbelief in this development, but Wray insists that they need a strong leader immediately, and that Scott doesn't have a choice.

Scott goes to Young's quarters, demanding to be let in. Young relents and does so. Scott has brought Young some strong tea. Young passes on the tea and reaches for his drink, but Scott takes it, insisting that he needs to get cleaned up and take command. Young closes the door, asking if Scott is trying to order him. Scott tells him about the battle scenario, and that the ship may start moving if he starts acting like a commander again. Young believes that the ship wants him replaced, which Scott notes is Rush's belief. Scott has no intention of taking command himself. Young asks him if he's in love with Chloe, which Scott confirms after some hesitation, and wonders how he'll feel when Young eventually has to send Chloe off the ship, believing Scott will no longer see him as a great commander. Scott asks him to stop, but Young continues, making reference to how Scott seeing him as a father figure. Scott pushes him, but does not hit him despite Young's demand that he do so. Scott insists that, as the commanding officer, Young doesn't get to feel sorry for himself. Young reveals that he suffocated Sgt. Hunter Riley, telling Scott that the burdens add up over time. He asks Scott to leave. Scott admits that he could not handle those burdens, nor could anyone else. Young claims that Rush could, but Scott counters that Rush would not treat them as burdens. They need Young as the commander because he cares enough to be affected by those decision while still remaining able to command. Young isn't so sure he is that person, but Scott insists that he is. He tells Young that it won't ever stop hurting, because that's the point. For the sake of the crew, Young has to live with it. Scott leaves.

Taking Scott's words to heart, Young cleans himself up and goes to the control interface room. Scott is discussing the layout of the troops with James. Young asks Brody for a status update. Brody tells him that the weapons are online and the shields at full strength. There's no sign of the aliens. Scott tells him that the troops are patrolling the gaps in the defense grid, as they are the likely points of incursion, but there's a lot of ground to cover. James suggests that two-man teams could cover more ground at the expense of firepower. Young decides that quick response is better than more firepower and gives her the go-ahead. He also orders that they arm as many civilians as possible as a last line of defense, which he will command personally. As James moves to carry out the order, the ship returns to FTL. Scott tells Young that it's good to have him back.

In the mess hall, Eli, Ginn, Park, Brody, and Volker discuss the recent developments. Eli expresses discomfort at the idea that Destiny can manipulate their dreams at will. Park asks him what he's been dreaming out; after staring at Ginn, he quickly claims that's not the point. Brody remarks that at least they know Young is supposed to be in charge, based on how the ship jumped to FTL right when he took command again. They can't think of any other explanation.

On the bridge, Franklin congratulates Rush, who doesn't feel like talking. Rush is responsible for taking the ship back to FTL, having bypassed the battle scenario that was controlling the ship. Rush believes he had no other choice, since Scott refused to take command. Franklin chastises him for ending the scenario without completing it, since the problem remains. Rush is still under the belief that Destiny was evaluating Young's ability to command the crew. However, Rush is the one in control of the ship. Rush dismisses the Nakai as a threat, since if Chloe had managed to send a signal the computer would have logged it. Franklin reminds Rush that the threat may be yet to come and vanishes. Rush rests in the command chair.


Appearances for Trial and Error





Sentient Species


  • Hamster (Mentioned)




Notable quotes

Rush: I brought you some food.
Chloe: I'm not hungry.
Rush: Okay, then. How about some company? I've been working on some fairly interesting equations. I thought you may want to take a look.
Chloe: You've got to be kidding me.
Rush: I'm not the one keeping you in here. I tried to help you.
Chloe: What? With the chair? Was that even real, or was it just for show?
Rush: Of course it was real. You know, it's pointless trying to deny the advantages of your situation. I mean, just ask Lieutenant Scott. If the chair had worked, well, he'd be dead right now.
Chloe: Do you even know what's really happening to me?
Rush: Obviously, you're undergoing quite significant physiological changes, most notably in your brain. I haven't given up hope of finding a solution, but in the meantime, I would have thought you would at least want to try and keep yourself occupied. My research has taken a very interesting turn. I may be on the verge of discovering the true nature of Destiny's mission.

Greer: So.
Eli: So, what?
Greer: When are you going to make a move?
Eli: What are you talking about?
Greer: Ginn. The girl's into you.
Eli: And you know this from watching us work together for, what? Two days?
Greer: I knew after ten minutes. The girl loves math, Eli. Now, if ever you were going to have a chance with anyone, this is probably it.
Eli: (sarcastic) Thanks!
Greer: Tell you what. Next time we're together, I'll arrange to get called away.
Eli: Okay. But don't make it too obvious.
Greer: Obvious is good. Time to man up.

Scott: I brought you some tea. It's really strong stuff. Closest thing to coffee we have.
Young: Thanks, Lieutenant. I'll pass on the tea.
Scott: Sir, we have a situation here. You need to clean yourself up, get back out there.
Young: What are you doing? Are you giving me an order, Lieutenant?
Scott: Sir, these dreams you're having, the battle scenario, it's the ship. It's affecting your brainwaves; it's a simulation.
Young: It's a simulation? What does that even mean?
Scott: Eli found the program. It is exactly the same thing you described to Camile. It can't be a coincidence.
Young: Well, I guess the ship has some sense of humor, Lieutenant.
Scott: And she thinks your reaction, the fact that you've…well, you've given up is the reason why we have dropped out. Why we are stuck out here in the middle of nowhere. And if you pulled yourself together, you start acting like a real commander, maybe we'd get going again.
Young: Or maybe that's just Destiny's way of telling me that I need to be replaced.
Scott: That's what Rush said.
Young: (laughing) That's what Rush said.
Scott: But I'm not going to do that.
Young: Are you in love with Chloe? A simple question. Do you love her?
Scott: Yes.
Young: Yes. So how are you going to feel when I have to drop her off this ship and put her on some rock? And you know it's coming, she knows it's coming, we all know it's coming. But I've got to do it. Are you still going to look up to me then? Are you still going to think, "Hey!", tell everyone what a great commander I am? Are you, Lieutenant?
Scott: Don't. Don't do this.
Young: I'm sorry that you didn't have a father growing up, but I didn't volunteer for that, either. (Scott shoves Young backwards) There you go, now we're talking! (Scott shoves him against the door) Hit me! Hit me!
Scott: No one asked for this, but you are the commanding officer. You don't get to feel sorry for yourself, and if you don't like it, too bad!
Young: I killed Riley.
Scott: That wasn't your fault!
Young: I know it wasn't my fault. I mean, he knew it. That's…he didn't want to die alone. That's why he asked me. But I killed him. I suffocated him with my own hands. On top of everything else, it's just…you know, it adds…it adds up. I need you to leave.
Scott: Look, you're right. I couldn't do it. Live with the burden every day. That is not me. Or TJ, or Camile.
Young: Rush could do it.
Scott: For Rush, it wouldn't be a burden. And that is why we need you. Because you feel it, but not so much you can't get up and do it all over again the next day.
Young: Really? You sure? You-you sure about that, Lieutenant?
Scott: Look, a real leader, a good commander is not so callous that he stops caring. Just enough so he can keep on going. And we both know, you are a good commander. It is never going to stop hurting. That's the whole point. For the sake of everyone on this ship, you are going to have to live with it.

Franklin: Congratulations.
Rush: Don't feel much like talking right now.
Franklin: You managed to bypass the simulation and get the ship going.
Rush: Well, what choice did I have? Lieutenant Scott wasn't going to step up. I couldn't leave us just sitting there.
Franklin: But you haven't solved the problem and yet you're pressing ahead. Isn't that a little dangerous?
Rush: Destiny was evaluating Colonel Young's ability to command the crew, but ultimately, I control this ship.
Franklin: And the aliens?
Rush: They were never a threat. If Chloe had managed to send a signal telling them our position, it would have logged on that screen right there.
Franklin: Maybe. But just because one threat is behind you, doesn't mean there isn't another ahead.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • When Colonel Everett Young seeks council from Camile Wray, she notes that the dream he seems to be experiencing is a no-win scenario. Placing the commanding officer of a ship in a no-win scenario is similar to Star Trek's "Kobayashi Maru" training exercise, a no-win scenario prospective Federation captains must face in order for their superiors to assess their reaction to adversity and impossible situations. In both situations, neither scenario was defeated within the established parameters. In Star Trek, Captain James T. Kirk reprogrammed the computer running the Kobayashi Maru simulation and won. In Young's case, Rush bypassed the scenario in Destiny's computer so the ship would return to FTL.
  • This is the first Stargate Universe episode title to be more than one word in length.

Other languages

  • Hungarian: Variációk (Variations)
  • Russian: Методом проб и ошибок (Trial and error)

External links

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Episodes and Seasons
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