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'Stargate Universe' Season 2, Episode 20 (Series Finale) Recap

by Mike Moody, posted May 10th 2011 10:40AM
stargate universe gauntlet['Stargate Universe' – 'Gauntlet']

The Gate stopped spinning and Destiny went dark in the captivating 'Stargate Universe' season finale.

'Gauntlet' was a strong, densely plotted, emotional hour. It failed to wrap up all of the show's many hanging threads, but I don't think anyone expected 'SGU' to answer every single mindboggling question it ever brought up here, especially since it's well-known that the actors and creators learned about the show's cancellation after filming had wrapped.

But its no accident that 'Gauntlet' had an appropriate sense of finality to it. 'SGU' co-creator Brad Wright told me in a recent interview that the episode was designed to work as a season finale as well as a series finale of sorts. As the show's ratings started to dip following the move to Tuesdays last October, Wright and crew figured that they should really make this season ender count.

Instead of devoting the episode to addressing the show's more complex puzzles, like the search for the "God signal" that was said to be Destiny's true purpose, the finale focused on the characters and how they've grown and learned to work together as a family unit.

I'm aware that some of you who felt cheated by the 'Lost' finale are probably more than a little weary about the whole "It's all about the characters" idea when it comes to sci-fi TV shows. But I never found 'SGU''s "signal" mystery arc very compelling. It really was the characters, their relationships and their individual arcs that kept me coming back to the show. Also, space battles. Big, gorgeous space battles!

The battles in this episode were exciting and great fun to watch. We got to see wild Drone kamikaze runs and two giant Drone command ships blow up. I like explosions! Explosions are cool! Plus the effects here looked amazing. 'SGU' was truly one of the best looking sci-fi shows to hit the screen in quite some time.

stargate universe gauntletThe action was awesome, but so was that tender dinner scene featuring the show's major players. The scene, which could have easily played overly schmaltzy and indulgent, was genuinely moving, warm and funny. The actors, especially Louis Ferreira, made every moment feel genuine and earned here. The short scene played like a celebration of how far these characters have come together. I loved hearing Young refer to Rush as the "crazy uncle" and make a toast "to family."

Almost every character in the ensemble, even Dr. Park, had something at least mildly interesting to do here. Brody and Volker had a few fun exchanges, Chloe sold Rush on Eli's plan, Matt and Camille felt the pain of leaving loved ones behind, and TJ struggled to stay strong. But Eli, Young and Rush were the stars of the night.

I liked seeing these three stay behind for a while after everyone else went into stasis. The acrimonious dynamic between Rush and Young played out again with Young unable to trust Rush to do the right thing. It was a little surprising to see Rush volunteer to stay behind, but, as Eli suggested, maybe he volunteered because he knew that Young wouldn't let him do it.

But Rush assured Eli that he didn't want anyone to die. These two shared a satisfying scene where the elder scientist finally admitted to the slacker genius that he had "tremendous potential."

stargate universe gauntletRush even gave Eli some props for proving himself worthy over the past two seasons. "You've come a long way from that videogame slacker we discovered a year ago," he said. Eli's sly response: "You've been pretty consistent."

Leaving the fates of the ship and its crew in Eli's hands felt appropriate. Eli was the one who made all of this possible, after all, and he's been pretty consistent with the brilliant, life-saving ideas in the past several episodes.

As Eli stood alone on the observation deck, alternately bewildered and inspired by the beauty and vastness of the cosmos, I thought, "So this is what 'Stargate Universe' has been building to all along (on an emotional level anyway)."

Eli, like many of us at some point in our lives, was faced with the difficult task of believing in himself. He still looked like the videogame-obsessed slacker we met in the pilot, but the heart of a true hero was beating underneath that silly 'You Are Here' T-shirt.

I could go on and on here, but I'll turn it over to you, folks. Feel free to discuss the finale and how you feel about the series as a whole in the comments. And go ahead and speculate on where you think the show and the characters could have (or should have) gone from here, if you like.

It's been quite a ride. Happy trails, Destiny.

Follow @mikemoody on Twitter.

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Jonthonson

**** syfy for ending this show.

July 06 2011 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SolanaGrp

The finale was pretty anticlimactic as the ship just sails into the sunset, so to speak without any real resolution of anything. Basically, the show was put in stasis. As a continuation of the Stargate franchise I thought lacked one major aspect that made the other shows so great - an irreverant sense of humor. The show was so missing any kind of lightness or fun. There were none of the sarcastic comments by Jack O'Neil or Rodney McKay that made watching those shows so enjoyable. It was almost as bad as Space 1999 with Martin Landau and Barbara Bain that was good science fiction, but lousy entertainment. Still have hopes for SyFy to produce some interesting, challenging, thought-provoking, and humorous SCIENCE Fiction. Eureka, Sanctuary, and Warehouse 13 are usually pretty decent, and I look forward to them continuing. And don't miss Doctor Who and Being Human - not bad at all.

June 02 2011 at 7:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to SolanaGrp's comment
Nathan

Not only did SGU have its share of fantatsic humor, its comedic moments were also better placed and more naturalistic. Basically Jack on SG1 joked his way through the series because the escapades of him and his team were essentially one big joke as well. It was a light show that could have just been easily ran during the the block of hours devoted on Saturday's to kids' cartoons. SGU, on the otherhand, was the franchise lone attempt at more adult-like drama. Unfortunately the audience it depended on favored a more juvenile approach to sci fi television.

June 30 2011 at 7:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

SGU was the best SYFY it was probablly the only thing holding SYFY together ever since the new owners took over it has been going down hill, I want to watch SYFY not WWE and a bunch of Ghost Hunters, Don"t know what happened to SYFY but all my space shows are gone and SYFY really sucks now! A really bad ending to SGU. Because I have been a SYFY fan all my life and I am 50, so SYFY get a GRIP!

May 23 2011 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brooks family

i like SGU but was very upset the way it ended why I need my space battle fix no more star trek, no more Star Gate, and whats left V I want more I have an Idea lets the creators of SGU and the director of the last Star Trek movie create the next space tale that takes us out of gravity reaches into the unknown. SyFY channel is losing its edge because SGU was the only reason I still watched now its becoming more like the ghost channel dont they have a net work for that already any it sucks. I wanna see more alian worlds, starships, and invading unknown races not the ghost of 1812 in some old house.

May 20 2011 at 11:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
G Winchester

I loved SGU! It was a very good series, which had the potential to be the best sci-fi show ever. Agreed, it was more character driven, than the science, but it was so addictive that I never once got bored by the show, other than in the early episodes of season 1. The season 2 finale was just so intense and emotional, that I was hoping against hope that SyFy will pick it up for a third season. In a long list of bungling decisions that the network has made, this has to be one of the worst decisions ever! I'm still hoping some other network picks up SGU with the same actors atleast by next fall.

May 19 2011 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
theguru

I have to agree with so many others in saying that SyFy has removed the last reason for me to "tune in" each week. You can't tell me that the crap they are playing these days (mostly older B and C rate stuff) actually pulls in more viewers than a show like SGU. Every week they seem to play the same things over and over and nothing original to speak of. I have been watching the Stargate franchise since the original movie and the first episode of SG-1 and it is very sad for me to think that it is all over now. SyFy, listen up... you can bite the big one because you've lost me and many others!

May 18 2011 at 3:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
talesofshaundra

I know it sounds trite but I wanted at least SOME resolution. Talk about a permanent cliffhanger! Here's to SyFy giving us a Stargate Universe movie some time in thye near future. Make it a Saturday night movie for goodness sake. It certainly couldn't get worse rating than the crap movies they have on there now (Sinbad and the Minotaur... sheesh!!!)

May 16 2011 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Moadeb

I can't remember a time in which there wasn't at least one Stargate for me to watch and am not sure what i'll do now that they are all gone. I will tell you one thing I won't be watching anything on SyFi now that Stargate and Battlestar are gone.

May 16 2011 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Budd

a statisfying ending. it would be awesome if the show got picked back up in three years, but not quite as awesome as it getting picked up immediately.

May 16 2011 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
klistohuskerfan

TO ALL STARGATE SGU (as well as SG-1 & SGA) Fans: If you want to save the Show and / or ANY CHANCE of Movies/ Mini-series wrap-ups for ANY OR ALL STARGATE SERIES, check out this link for a GREAT WAY to save our blessed Stargate Universe / Shows future!!!

http://bit.ly/jGDAEQ

May 14 2011 at 5:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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