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April 24, 2014

'Stargate Universe' Season 2, Episode 11 Recap

by Mike Moody, posted Mar 8th 2011 3:45PM
stargate universe deliverance['Stargate Universe' – 'Deliverance']

Seeing 'Stargate Universe' return to Syfy after a three-month hiatus is a bittersweet experience. It's great to finally see the Destiny crew stumbling through the cosmos again, but it's hard to get over the fact that this journey has an expiration date that's fast approaching.

Until we hear otherwise, we're assuming that these are the final 10 episodes of 'SGU.' The series is coming to a close, and it's bound to deliver a frustrating (cliffhanger) ending, since the producers didn't foresee their show getting yanked off the air so early in its run.

This week's episode picked up right where last December's cliffhanger, 'Resurgence,' left off (as is often the case with two-parters). The Destiny was caught in the middle of a Drone attack while the Ursini ship was keeping its distance. Chloe, after breaking her guard's arm, sent a message to the Blue Meanies who captured her, giving away Destiny's location in the hopes that their arrival would disrupt the Drones.

Chloe's plan worked. Her captors showed up, and some of the Drones broke off from Destiny to chase the new ship. It was at this point that I started feeling sorry for viewers who hadn't been following the show all season, or at least for the last handful of episodes. I'm sure they were scratching their heads thinking, "So the Ursini are our allies, but we can't really trust them, and they're at war with the Blue Meanie Drones, but the Drones can turn against each other if they're from different 'clusters?' OK ..."

That's serialized storytelling for ya, people! Watching a show like 'SGU' can be a rewarding experience if you follow along closely and record every tiny detail in your little nerd mind. But shows like 'SGU' rarely cater to the casual viewer. You're either on the boat or you're not. And, sadly, it looks like those of us who signed up for this trip are gonna be left with a lot of unanswered questions when Syfy airs the final episode later this year.

The show (in its current form) might not be able to tie up all the loose ends by episode 20, but judging by this engaging mid-season premiere, there's still plenty of fun to be had.

In a way, 'Deliverance' reminded me of the old school 'Stargate' shows. The crew was pressed up against a wall with insurmountable odds stacked against them. They worked together to find solutions to their problems, they took a bunch of crazy risks, and they were victorious in the end. There was action, suspense, and even a little technobabble and humor amid all the serious stuff. Take away the dark and moody lighting, the steampunk-esque aesthetic, and the sense of dread and isolation, and this could've been a pretty solid episode of 'Stargate Atlantis.'

It was satisfying to see the crew work together and encourage each other in order to accomplish a goal. Even Rush started acting like less of a self-important and arrogant jerk and more like an even-tempered, diplomatic leader. And in what could be read as a major shift for the character, he admitted that he believes that everyone was destined to board the ship and get lost in space.

This was probably my favorite exchange of the night:

Chloe: So everything happens for a reason?
Rush: Yeah, well ... If you had said that to me a couple of years ago I would have dismissed it as superstition – a classic weak-minded response to the overwhelming complexity of the universe.
Chloe: And now?
Rush: Well let's just say you're not the only one who's going through some changes.

"We all belong here," Rush told Chloe in the episode's final scene. They didn't buy the ticket, but they're supposed to take the ride – an idea that stands in stark contrast to the "these people aren't supposed to be here" credo that was repeated over and over again early on in the series. It seems like 'SGU' is slowly evolving away from that premise, for better or worse. It's a shame that we probably won't get to see the story and these characters evolve any more after this season is over.

So Rush is lightening up a bit. Some fans might read this new perspective as terribly out of character for Rush, or they might be disappointed that he's "going soft," but there's still a bit of the old dragon left in him. Early in the ep, he suggested that abandoning the Ursini would have been "the logical thing to do," and he admitted that his compliment to Volker and Brody was just a calculated move to get them the hell out of the room.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Rush's relationship with the entire crew grows and changes, especially with Eli. Rush had some rare words of praise and encouragement for our resident boy genius here, and they were well deserved. Eli has come a long way since the series started. This ep solidified that he's the guy who thinks outside the box and helps save the day.

So the Blue Meanies restored Chloe back to normal, but she retained some of her "alien powers," which was predictable. Here's hoping Chloe becomes more of an engaging character in these final hours. Unlike the rest of the ensemble cast, who are always a joy to watch, Chloe and Matt are kind of a bore. I didn't feel what the writers wanted me to feel when Matt was forced to deliver Chloe to the aliens, and that's a problem.

So let's hear it folks. Are you excited about these last few eps? Still bummed about the cancellation? Let us know.

'Stargate Universe' airs Mondays at 10PM ET on Syfy.

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