Camile gets lucky on “Stargate Universe”

On Friday night’s Stargate Universe, Camile Wray returned home to visit her partner in an episode we’ve been hearing about since SyFy first announced that Ming-Na would take on the role of a lesbian IOA officer in the newest incarnation of SGU. Camile’s scenes with her partner Sharon (played by Reiko Aylesworth) only account for about four minutes of the episode, but Ming-Na and Aylesworth infuse their characters with such warmth that their limited screen time together is quite affecting.

In fact, of the four minutes that Camile and Sharon are together, half of it is a musical montage.


Yet despite the sparse dialogue and minimal moments together, “Life” is an extraordinary landmark in lesbian television.

Science Fiction, generally — and SGU, specifically — almost always places its emphasis on fantasy and nanotechnology, not on love and affection. Sure, there are plenty of epic romances set in space, but they always feel like an afterthought.

Stargate Universe has chosen to frame Camile’s entire story within the context of a loving, committed relationship with another woman. And because Sharon and Camile’s relationship is given the most gravity of any on the show, it is the story-telling device that is used to anchor the entire crew of Destiny to Earth. Which is to say that the audience is supposed to connect with every character’s humanity because two lesbians’ hearts are breaking as they are forced to live light years apart.

I thought Ming-Na and Aylesworth really nailed their scenes together: the deep affection and attraction, the moments of savoring one another’s closeness, the taking it turn to be strong. It was authentic and poignant, and frankly, it was the only time I’ve ever cared about people being trapped in space. (Sorry, Starbuck.)

When Camile is getting ready to return to Destiny, she and Sharon have this moving conversation:

Sharon: You are going to take a deep breath, OK? You are going to go back to that ship. You are going to work with those people, motivate them, do whatever you need to do to get yourself back home. I am going to be here. I’m not going anywhere.

Camile: Promise?

Sharon: I did that 12 years ago. The only thing that won’t be here when you get back is that stupid chair over there. I love you.

Camile: I love you, too.

Sniffle! I love both of you guys!

Did anyone else watch Stargate Universe on Friday? What did you think of Camile and Sharon’s relationship?