Tag: robert carlyle

‘Gauntlet’ Is A Bittersweet End To Stargate Universe


“GAUNTLET”, THE SERIES FINALE OF STARGATE UNIVERSE, AIRS MONDAY, APRIL 9 AT 9:00 PM ON SYFY

Blocked by Command Ships at every star and unable to gate for supplies without alerting the drones, Destiny must take a stand or be left adrift.

It seems like such a simple premise for an episode that stands not only as a final episode to a series, but the last one of a fourteen year old franchise. Yet, that is what “Gauntlet” is. And as such it is a monumentally bittersweet episode. The interesting thing is even though it is a cliffhanger and was intended to propel the show to a third season, it is somewhat fitting as a final episode as well. I have many words to say write about Stargate Universe and the Stargate franchise as a whole, but here I’d like to focus on this specific episode. WARNING! There are spoilers below! But it’s the final episode, so deal with it.

“Gauntlet” begins with a very tired and haggard Colonel Young finding out some bad news: the automated Command Ships have staked out every star along the Destiny’s path, meaning that the ship will eventually be unable to replenish its power supplies. It also means they are unable to replenish there food stores. With a month of supplies left, Young and Rush confer with Telford back at Homeworld Command and let Earth know they really need a supply line from home. Unfortunately, the Langarans still refuse to attempt to dial Destiny, so the ship and its crew are on their own. With that, the crew starts brainstorming ideas. One short term idea is to modulate the Destiny’s shields to the exact frequency of the drone weapons and drop out of FTL right on top of a Command Ship and blast the crap out of it. The plan works and the ship is able to get a few new supplies with minimal damage. However, this plan will not continue to work as the damage with mount with each attempt.

Then Eli hits upon a brilliant plan. He proposes one continuous FTL jump to take them around the danger-filled path and on to the next galaxy, hopefully leaving behind the Command Ships and Drones. The big catch is that the journey will take three years. And to have the energy to maintain the FTL until the next galaxy, they will have to turn off every other system on the ship, including life support. And they can’t get any more food because of the drones. If only they had a way to put everyone in status for the duration of the trip. Oh, hey, how about those stasis pods they discovered a few episodes back? Those will do nicely…except, even after a successful mission to retrieve materials needed to repair some of the inoperable pods, they have one less working pod than they have people. Someone will have to stay awake. After everyone gets a chance to use the stones to visit loved ones on Earth, Young and Rush both volunteer to stay unfrozen, the former because of duty, the latter because he feels he can repair the pod quickly enough to join the others as popsicles. That’s when Eli steps forward. As Rush admits that Eli is more of a genius than he is, it is agreed that Eli will be the one to remain. He has two weeks before he needs to cut off the power and either enter stasis or die. As the others sleep, Eli looks out of the largest window and smiles…

What is most striking about “Gauntlet” is the feeling that they have all finally come together as a crew. This has building for most of the second half of the season, but you really understand it here. There is no more bickering, mistrust or power struggles. They have all really unified, even Rush. There are several scenes of many of the crew hugging and saying see you later as they all are put into stasis and that may be the most emotional part of the episode, especially realizing that they and we are saying goodbye. This is a group of people who started out not knowing each other and being put in the direst of circumstances and now we see that they all do genuinely care for each other. Left to fend for themselves, they have risen above their differences and have learned to become a family finally.

The performances in this episode are outstanding and practically everybody gets a few moments on screen. There are many standout moments for me. Ming-Na has a particularly beautiful scene with Brian Jacob Smith as they both commiserate about their visits home. Their two characters haven’t interacted much so it was nice for them to have this moment. Jennifer Spence and Jamil Walker Smith have a touching moment where Lisa Park asks Ronald Greer to not volunteer to be the one who stays awake and you believe Greer when he says he won’t. Greer has come such a long way and he remains my favorite character of the series. Peter Kelamis and Patrick Gilmore do what they do best in their scenes and prove that they are an essential part of the heart of the show. Lou Diamond Phillips gets a couple of poignant scenes in, the first having to tell Young that Earth can’t help them, the second when he is told that essentially the Destiny crew is done asking Earth’s opinions and are making their own decisions now. Then there is the power trio of Louis Ferreira, Robert Carlyle and David Blue. The last couple of scenes together with these three really bring home the sense of newly formed camaraderie. Their characters were certainly at odds at the very beginning and each had their own motives, but now they are united – for the sake of the crew. That phrase was previously used as a tenuous truce between Rush and Young, but now it truly means something.

The script for this episode is the final one written by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie. Together these two have written some of my favorite and most of the best episodes of the entire Stargate franchise, over the course of all three series. Coincidentally, they began writing for the franchise during the fourth season of Stargate SG-1, which is when I started watching the show. They tend to highlight the characters and the relationships between them as well as hitting wonderfully emotional little moments. I was excited when I first learned they would be writing the season finale and when that turned into the coda for the series and franchise, I knew it would be a powerful script. I was right. My first episode of SG-1 was “Window of Opportunity” which was written by these two and now “Gauntlet” is my last ever Stargate episode. I started with the best and that’s a great place to end.

The Destiny Faces A “Blockade” On Stargate Universe


“BLOCKADE” AIRS MONDAY, MAY 2 AT 9:00 PM ON SYFY

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.

The Crew Faces “Twin Destinies” On The Next Stargate Universe

“TWIN DESTINIES” Airs Monday, March 14 at 10:00 PM on Syfy

Dr. Rush sees the shipmates have assembled without him knowing to discuss a plan Eli has to use a star to enable them to dial the Stargate back to Earth. Rush assures them that Eli is not an astrophysicist and that the mathematics are beyond comprehension when incorporating the pressures involved within a star. Camile is clearly trying to defend Eli’s abilities while Colonel Telford is proclaiming Rush is just nuts. Rush requests the opportunity to brief the ship on why he says he has no option but to stay aboard while the rest all say they have no option but to leave. Colonel Young gives him the chance and appears to be standing alongside Rush to both Camile’s and Telford’s surprise.

This episode gives us a tour de force performance by Robert Carlyle as he plays not one, but two Dr. Rushes. This episode also gives our characters to avoid a horrific fate, however for two of our main characters, things don’t end so well. When faced with a plan that evidence shows will fail, it’s interesting to see how everyone reacts. And one of the best moments is Dr. Rush’s impassioned speech about Destiny’s mission and why he is determined to stay on the ship instead of taking the chance to go home. When he asks for volunteers to stay with him aboard Destiny, it is very interesting that anyone else decides to stay, much less who those people are. And yes, two main characters do indeed die in this episode, but, as with all things Stargate, there is a twist. Watch this episode and feel free to discuss it below. We’ll be back next week for a sneak peek of the next episode, which portends dire circumstances for Earth.

Stargate Universe: “The Greater Good” Reveals The Greater Story

“THE GREATER GOOD” Airs Tuesday, November 9 at 9:00 PM on Syfy

I think the term “game changer” is used too frequently in television nowadays. To quote the famous ambidextrous Spanish fencer, I do not think it means what you think it means. Alias had a fantastic game changer in its second season and Lost had several game changers, even if we didn’t understand them all. A game changing episode needs to significantly alter the setting of a show, the character relationships, the cast or the overall tone of a series. Preferably, more than one of those will come in to play. All of that is so that you will understand what I am talking about when I say that “The Greater Good” is a game changing episode of Stargate Universe.

This is a very significant episodes in the sense that it redirects the tone of the series and does alter some fundamental character relationships. A secret is revealed and a purpose is discovered and transforms the show from one of survival and dwindling hope to one of determined purpose and a sense of destiny (pun intended), even if it ends in stark tragedy. A few plot threads come to a head and collide and the resolutions and fallout are very much unexpected. There is a lot going on here and the script by the great Carl Binder handles it all masterfully. Nothing feels forced and the full episode is a wonderful ride.

The acting is also stellar. Jamil Walker Smith’s Master Sergeant Greer continues to earn his place as my favorite character, but just barely. David Blue does a tremendous job this week, but the standout performances remain with Robert Carlyle and Louis Ferreira. Carlyle and Ferreira have a very unique chemistry in the scenes that they play in together, most especially this week, that it’s almost scary. Of course, Robert Knepper creepily oozes throughout to provide just the right amount of dread that your blood runs cold as you realize the final scene seconds ahead of it unfolding. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the terrific, if all-too-brief, performances by Brian Jacob Smith, Elyse Levesque, Ming-Na, Alaina Huffman and guest-stars Julie McNiven and Kathleen Munroe.

Stargate Universe is nothing like its predecessors in the franchise, yes, but it is still irrefutably Stargate and this episode furthers that in a way that could not be done previously. I am a die-hard fan of both SG-1 and Atlantis and at the same time I love the way the cast and crew of Universe have continued the franchise while pushing the boundaries of the human condition and the stories they tell. I find it a shame and disheartening that some Stargate fans have actively campaigned against this show either because of the cancellation of Atlantis or because they felt that the creators were purposely creating a premise to spite them in some way. The creation of Universe had nothing to do with killing the previous show and nothing about it alienates the spirit of discovery that is the core of Stargate. If you’ve been away or unwilling to give Universe a chance, this episode and the next are great chances to give it a try.

Syfy Previews For November 20th

STARGATE UNIVERSE
“Life” Friday at 9:00 PM on Syfy

Using the communications stones, Lt. Scott (BRIAN J. SMITH) and Camile Wray (MING-NA) use their time back on earth to visit those they’ve left behind. Camile returns home to spend time with her partner, trying her best to make the strange circumstance normal. Meanwhile, Lt. Scott learns a past relationship might not have ended as he thought.

Aboard Destiny, Dr. Rush (ROBERT CARLYLE) supervises the exploration of new areas of the ship. Looking for resources to make their everyday lives easier, the crew stumbles upon a piece of Ancient technology that carries the promise of a way home. While somewhat familiar with the find, Dr. Rush can’t guarantee the safety of using it, bringing him and Col. Young (LOUIS FERREIRA) to a standoff on what to do.

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SANCTUARY
“Veritas” Friday at 10:00PM on Syfy

DIRECTED BY AMANDA TAPPING
Will (ROBIN DUNNE) goes up against the heads of the Sanctuary Network to defend Magnus (AMANDA TAPPING) who is charged with a shocking murder. But as the evidence stacks up against her, even Will has trouble finding a way to convincingly defend her innocence.

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