Tag: stargate universe

‘Gauntlet’ Is A Bittersweet End To Stargate Universe


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


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.

With The End Looming, Stargate Universe Delivers An “Epilogue”

“EPILOGUE” Airs Monday, April 25 at 9:00 PM on Syfy

While attempting to return a group of colonists to their home, the crew finds that the planet is on the verge of seismic destruction. There’s two more episodes after this and all three look to be pretty amazing. Keep checking Pop Culture Zoo for a writeup of the Stargate Universe series as well as a reflection of 14 years of the Stargate franchise!

Two Familiar Faces Crossover To Stargate Universe

“SEIZURE” Airs Monday, April 4 at 10:00 PM on Syfy

Homeworld Command tries to convince an ally occupying a naquadria-rich planet to let them try to dial Destiny, but suspects they have already been infiltrated by the Alliance.

This is the episode that sees the return of David Hewlett as Rodney McKay and Robert Picardo as Richard Woolsey from Stargate Atlantis. In lieu of the much-promised, long-delayed Stargate Atlantis movie, I wonder if we will get some indication of whether or not Atlantis remains on Earth. Regardless, this looks like it will be a memorable episode. Will Earth finally find a way to dial Destiny on a regular basis or will it all end in disappointment? Tune in Monday to find out!

“Alliances” Gone Wrong On The Next Stargate Universe

“ALLIANCES” Airs Monday, March 21 at 10:00 PM on Syfy

An attack on Homeworld Command traps Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) and Wray (Ming-Na) on Earth. Meanwhile, the persons they’ve swapped minds with, Senator Michaels (Kathleen Quinlan) and Dr. Andrew Covel (French Stewart), visit Destiny to analyze Rush’s data.

Earth gets more involved in the SGU storyline this week as Homeworld Command comes under attack fro the Lucian Alliance and political machinations come aboard the Destiny. While it would be interesting to see the ship completely cut off from Earth do to heavy-handed politics, it would be a shame not to check in with some of our favorite characters from past Stargate shows from time to time. Although, it may be a moot question after the end of this episode. Great episode with an impossible dilemma involving certain death and characters choosing to ultimately face it. Well done to all. And with Telford back on Earth, he’s the only character to get to Destiny and back to Earth as himself via the Stargate. Kind of cool.