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Stargate Universe: Blockade

... in which the crew must risk recharging Destiny in a very dangerous star to elude a drone blockade.

Hmmm ... I’m a bit conflicted on this one. I liked the basic concept, it was fun to see the crew gate to a developed planet for a change, some of the visuals were very impressive, and the recharging sequence was unbelievably tense; however, after last week’s emotional catharsis, what amounted to an extremely dangerous “gas run” just didn’t have much resonance for me. ‘Blockade’ was still an enjoyable episode, but I guess this late in the game I want something more. I know that when this episode was developed the writers thought they were building to a season-ending cliffhanger, and it’s completely unfair for me to expect it to function as a series penultimate episode. But there’s no avoiding the context in which we, the viewers, are experiencing these last few episodes, and I can’t help letting it color my reactions. Truth be told, I was so satisfied with the closing notes of ‘Epilogue,’ that I almost don’t even want to watch next week’s “finale,” knowing that it will undoubtedly build to a moment that will never be complete. Aaah, well. The life of a series television fan, yes? We don’t always get conclusions, and even when we do, we often don’t get the ones we’d like.

To be fair to the hour at hand, I did rather enjoy the parts with Eli, Rush, and Park on Destiny. The atmosphere and tension reminded me of that recent sci-fi movie Sunshine, which added some unbearable dread to the recharging sequence. Plus, they’ve done a fantastic job of creating a real sense of jeopardy for the secondary players, so I was terrified for Park. I had absolutely no idea whether she’d survive her ordeal and was horrified thinking she was going to boil alive in that pool of water. I wonder if she’s going to be blind permanently? If so, will she be able to continue doing her job in reduced capacity? Will she ever be able to “lay down on the ground and look at the stars” again? What a devastating blow.

I don’t blame Rush for the accident --- I actually think he was absolutely right that Eli needed to focus on piloting the ship to save the rest (good of the many versus good of the one and all that) --- but I wonder if Park and Eli might blame him. It’s a shame that Eli’s developing so much resentment towards Rush, because I truly believe that Rush respects and admires Eli’s brilliance and is pushing him to take the initiative and achieve his potential. That’s why he wants Eli to stop focusing on his other past as a school teacher and co-founder of a civilization, and keep his head in the science game. Yes, it serves Rush’s own ends because he needs Eli to pursue Destiny’s mission, but, regardless, opening Eli’s eyes to his true capabilities and building his confidence are a good thing. Rush does this for a lot of characters, actually. His approach is coarse and demeaning in most cases (think Young, Brody, Volker, Park), but his attitude pushes them all to reach for something more --- to show him that they are better and smarter than he thinks they are.

Other Thoughts

Volker: “You’re as bad as my grandfather. He was always filling his Buick at half a tank. Destiny’s kind of doing the same thing. It just struck me as funny.”
Rush (sarcastically): “Oh yeah, that is funny. That his life and the lives of those around him depended on making it to the next gas station. That’s bloody hilarious, really.”

Young: “David, we’re not asking permission, we’re informing you. We’re low on power, we don’t have time to screw around. We’re doing this.”

The ancestors twist is the gift that keeps on giving in this galaxy. It’s cool to have a believable reason for running into other humans and developed societies, and to have a supply line for some more advanced goods. This week they loaded up on pharmaceuticals, old canned goods (“Mmmm, botulism!”), and a new outfit for Camille. (Young’s line about the dry cleaner made me laugh.)

The drones, on the other hand, are not an overly compelling opponent. I know they’ve got numbers and a relentless drive to destroy (and apparently aren’t too shabby at battle strategy), but I found the sentient aliens we’ve encountered to be much more interesting antagonists, particularly the blue aliens.

Thank you, Lt. James, for defending Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is a vibrant, wonderful city (even if parts of it do resemble this planet and it’s a stressful nightmare to drive in).

I was very happy to see Varro back on his feet and contributing to the team. It was also nice to see Young completely trusting him to help protect the crew.

James punching out Morrison and then working with Varro to take down the drone with a rocket launcher was awesome.As was Greer’s complete confidence in Park. “Didn’t even try to talk her out of it. She can handle herself.”

I’m really sad that their beautiful hydroponic garden was destroyed, especially since it was the place people so often sought out as a reminder of home.

Rush: “At least we’ve got a full tank of gas.”
Volker and Brody (quietly unenthused): “Yea.”

Final Analysis: A tense and enjoyable episode, but I can’t help wishing for something more resonant as we approach the end of the series.

Jess Lynde is a highly engaged television viewer. Probably a bit too engaged.

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I'm bummed about the approaching series finale, but I liked this episode a lot. What makes space creepy is the multitude of scary and unusual ways you can die, and the situation with the star and the garden had me on the edge of my seat. I thought that it was horrible curtains for Park; blindness seems so much less horrible than what I was expecting.

And Planet Pittsburgh was cool, although I kept expecting zombies to shamble out of the darkness. The Pittsburgh line made me laugh out loud, although like you, Jess, I like Pittsburgh. I've been there often and it's a vibrant, beautiful city. My sister went to school there. And I almost did, too.

Terrific review, Jess. I am so going to miss this show. Couldn't they give us an ultimate TV movie with the casts of all three Stargates that would give us some closure?

Jess Lynde said...

Yea, another Pittsburgh lover!

Unfortunately, MGM has decided that movies are off the table for now. For all the incarnations. So, the best we can hope for at the moment, in terms of closure, is a novel or comic book series. I'm guessing novels is most likely (like what they've been doing for SGA).