Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Stargate Universe - "Gauntlet"

Rush (Robert Carlyle), Eli (David Blue), and Col. Young (Louis Ferreira) prep the stasis pods.
Photo Credit: Syfy
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'Stargate Universe'
Season 2 - Episode 20

I've mentioned before that I was never a viewer of 'Stargate SG1' or 'Stargate Atlantis', but I decided to give 'Stargate Universe' a try because of Robert Carlyle and the very fact that it look totally different from the previous shows. It didn't hurt that it was promoted as being new viewer friendly. For the most part, it was different (less 'Star Trek' and more 'Battlestar Galactica') and I was able to jump into it with ease and with very little knowledge of the Stargate franchise.

Now 'Stargate Universe' comes to an end, cancelled prematurely, but still able to complete it's second season without the style of a one day marathon dump that 'Caprica' had to expire in. Given that the cancellation announcement came about during the mid-season hiatus, there probably wasn't much time for the writers and producers of 'SGU' to course correct and set up a credible series ending.

Amazingly enough... they did. Is it a perfect ending for a television series? No. But it was far from the worse that I've ever seen.

The drone threat was dealt with in a fashion that gave the creators an interesting place to put the show on hold. The entire cast, save Eli Wallace, are literally put in stasis. However, it works in the context of the story. The real masterstroke is that Eli is left to watch over everyone, at least for the two week window that he is given to fix his own stasis pod or find a new way to generate power for Destiny.

Luckily, this season has been pretty good about charting the growth and potential of young Mr. Wallace. We got to see him reconnect with his mother, who upon seeing what he was really up to, had nothing but love and admiration for her son. Eli fell in love and it was recipocated. He tragically lost that love (twice). He continued to be the person that could come up with the outside the box solutions and had the smarts to figure out how to implement them. He saw what he was capable of as a leader, historian, and educator through the journals of his time lost double. Finally, and probably more importantly, he came to the realiztion that he was smarter than Rush, or anyone else on Destiny.

This is by no means Eli buying into his own press. He finally developed the confidence to make a stand so that the right solution to stasis pod/energy drain situation was reached. And in true hero fashion, Eli knew that he had to be the one to stay out of stasis. Young didn't have the scientific acumen to fix the last pod. Rush, though he had come a long way morally, could have potentially panicked and sacrificed a few pods to preserve his own life or Destiny.

Then there is that final scene. The creators of 'Stargate Universe' could have given us a definite answer, but they left us with a more somber and sweet moment. Eli, alone on the observation deck right after the Rush and Young were placed in their pods, looking out into void as Destiny streaked off towards the other side of the galaxy. David Blue sells the moment perfectly: Eli is full of wonder and awe of universe around him. Eli is scared that he might now make that two week deadline. Eli has been able to live an amazing adventure of a lifetime.

It's all there on his face and in his eyes. Roll credits. We never find out if the crew wakes up after the planned three year nap. We never find out what happens to Eli in the meantime. We end with Eli, the chubby, geeky gamer, genius manboy. Eli, the ultimate sci-fi fanboy POV character, if there ever was one.

I'd like to think that Eli was there smiling, alive and healthy, when everyone woke up three years later.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely review.
    Ive just watched a rerun of the finale and Im sitting here sighing at all the potential of Eli, and of the show.

    Why does every show I love, with characters I commit to get cancelled? And *so much* craap just runs season after season.

    Truly appointment tv has come down to Game of Thrones and Dr Who and Steven Moffat is doin his best to wreck Dr who. It starts again tonight, so we'll see...