Alien drones create a blockade of viable power sources forcing Destiny to recharge in a star so hot it could destroy the ship. Eli proposes a risky plan which requires the rest of the crew to gate to a nearby planet for safety, where they find an abandoned city. Park makes a decision that could prove disastrous.
Here we are at the penultimate episode of Stargate Universe and it ay be the best episode yet, if not one of the most heartbreaking (next week’s finale takes that award, but more on that in a few days). Yet, in many ways it is actually one of the most uplifting as we see the crew finally acting like, well, a crew. It feels like the entire season has been leading up to this as we see everyone acting in harmony with determination towards a common goal. Even the last Lucian Alliance member, Varro, fits in and is, possibly for the first time, treated as an equal by Young and everybody else. Unfortunately, this episode also reveals how much of a threat the drones and their command ships have become. The drones have become SGU‘s analogue to the Replicators, except they are far worse. While the Replicators had some sort of guiding intelligence that became more pronounced over time, the drones are simply mindless automatons bent on eradicating any and all technology. This makes them infinitely more scary, especially with increasing encounters with them.
This episode was written by Linda McGibney, who was responsible for the superb “Alliances” earlier in the season. In both her scripts, McGibney shows a deftness at handling emotional, insular stories marked by characters handling a situation from two distinct locations, a skill that is perfect for Stargate Universe. Veteran director Andy Mikita is always expert at giving us unique angles and avoiding the mundane with what he shows us in the camera. He basically has two locations to deal with here, but manages to make them look exciting and dynamic.
Of course, the highlight of any given Stargate Universe episode is always the brilliant acting. This week, David Blue and Robert Carlyle play off each other magnificently and are pretty riveting to watch. There are some great little moments and snippets of dialogue between Louis Ferreira and Ming-Na that are beautifully done as wel las the always fun banter from and between Peter Kelamis and Patrick Gilmore. Given all that, this week Jennifer Spence absolutely steals the show. She pulls out all the stops as Lisa Park makes an ultimately heartbreaking decision. You just know from the moment she decides to stay on the ship something horrible is going to happen to her and it is with increasing anxiety that we watch the events that slowly lead to tragedy. Spence knocks it out of the park (pun possibly intended) and proves her acting mettle right up there with the great Carlyle.
One more episode to go. Check back next week for our review of “Gauntlet” as well as a look back at two seasons of Stargate Universe and fourteen years of the Stargate franchise.