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Review #2500: Stargate Universe 2.19: “Blockade”

Posted on the 05 May 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Gregg Wright

I’m trying to keep my expectations low as we approach the final episode of “Stargate Universe”. As the set-up for a “season” finale, “Blockade” is pretty effective. In fact, it has a lot of what I’ve thought has been missing from the show for most of the season. The conflict with the drones is a fine way to end the season. But, of course, it’s not nearly enough for a series finale. However, as I’ve said before, I’m been judging these last few episodes since the cancellation news solely on their merits as part of the intended 5-season arc.

Review #2500: Stargate Universe 2.19: “Blockade”

Those drones are really becoming a pain in the mikta for the Destiny crew. Just when they think they’ve lost them, the drones pop up again, as though they’ve found a new way to track them. Nothing concrete is revealed in this episode to explain this, but I’m sure the finale will bring some answers. These drones are kind of like the Borg. Only instead of wanting to assimilate all technology and organic life, they simply want to destroy all advanced technology. The fact that they’re so inhuman and single-minded makes them a bit less interesting, in a way, but makes them feel more threatening.

Once most of the Destiny crew gate down to the other Novus colony planet, the rest of the episode is split up between two threads. Rush, Eli, and Park remain on Destiny to enact a bold plan to refuel the Destiny in a blue supergiant. The plan is a bit crazy, because the only way for anyone to survive the heat onboard the Destiny during refueling is for them to wear the space suits. I have to say, I was more interested in the events onboard the Destiny than I was with everything going on down on the planet. The refueling mission was highly reminiscent of the first season, in which “SGU’ was more of a gritty space survival drama. Rush and Eli had some great scenes together in which it’s entirely up to them to pull off this insane plan, and there’s some great suspense and moral conflict when Park is trapped in the hydroponics dome. Eli is distracted by Park’s predicament, but Rush, ever the pragmatist, needs Eli to forget about Park and focus on the task as hand. I think the fact that I wasn’t entirely sure whether Rush was lying about Park’s safety or not really says something about how well the writers have kept Rush in morally ambiguous territory, while simultaneously attempting to mold him into a more likable human being.

The events down on “Pittsburgh” were interesting enough. But the whole thing is really meant as a precursor to the big conflict next week with the drones. The empty city is meant to reinforce the incredible threat posed by the drones. One might assume that the approach of one of the big drone command ships near the end was a result of Morrison’s attempt to dial the gate. It’s all good set-up, and it was fun to see Greer, Scott, and Young successfully take down a drone, and then later see Varro and James take one down as well.

It was good to see them maneuvering Varro and James into a position for a potential relationship in the future. I don’t think that this necessarily means the end of the Young/T.J./Varro triangle, but I liked how it played off of the events in “Epilogue”. That reminds me. I thought Varro was in pretty bad shape after his fall in the previous episode. But aside from an obvious limp, he’s doing quite well. Regardless, I was really glad to see Varro taking a more prominent role again. I get the impression that they were setting him up to become more important during season 3, or perhaps that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

Did anyone else catch the spelling of the headline in that newspaper Morrison found? It was interesting to see a slight change in spelling of the word “attack”, now spelled “atak”. And “times” was now spelled as “tymes”. I still think it’s a bit unbelievable that the changes in the language aren’t more dramatic, but it was a good step in the right direction. It shows that they were at least thinking about this issue.

As I’d hoped, the last few episodes of the season seem to be making up for some of the perceived shortcomings of the rest of the season. I’ve been a bit disappointed at the lack of suspense this season (particularly in the second half) compared to the amount in the first season, and this episode managed to be one of the best this season in that regard. The discovery of the Novus colonists in “Common Descent” also finally gave the season a sense of direction again, which seems to have led up quite well to the finale.

I would guess that the viewership numbers aren’t much better, though. It’s been difficult, but I’m trying to put aside my bitterness and disappointment so I can just enjoy these remaining episodes. One more episode to go, and then we must say goodbye to “Stargate” for the foreseeable future. Now I’m just hoping “Echoes”, which stars “SGU” vets Jennifer Spence (Lisa Park) and Mike Dopud (Varro!), and includes several “SGU” crewmembers, will get a pick-up on whatever network it’s being pitched to.

Rating: 8/10

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