Gauntlet – The Finale it Wasn’t Meant to Be

PlayItGrand May 23, 2011 No Comments »

Stargate Universe took it’s unexpected but nonetheless fitting bow just two weeks ago in an episode laced with emotion an poetic irony. It was a bittersweet pill for some fans to swallow.

2.20 – Gauntlet

With Destiny slowly eating up their power reserves and an armada of drones blocking their access to every single star in their path, the crew realizes that they have two choices. They are either going to have to fight off the drones in order to be able to visit planets to gather supplies and recharge off of stars, or, as Eli eloquently puts it, “We’re screwed.” A daring plan is hatched to distract the drones and possibly take out a command ship for good measure, while a team gathers food from a planet within gate-range.

Even though it worked, (well, sort of) it’s not a long term solution, so Eli comes up with one. Trouble is that maybe it’s just a little too long term. Eli suggests “skipping” the drone riddled galaxy in favor of the next galaxy by putting the Destiny into a continuous FTL jump. However, the trip would still take about 3 years with no chances to resupply, so the crew would need to go into the Destiny‘s stasis chambers. Though the plan is far from without risk – the power could run out and they could be left drifting between galaxies for a hundred years or more – everything goes smoothly until they realize that they are one stasis pod short. Someone has to stay awake and either fix the last pod, or perish.

Fans are left with a whole slew of questions to contemplate while we wait for someone – preferably MGM which has the financial means –  to step up and do something about continuing the story.

  • Will the Destiny make it to the next galaxy on the power it has as Eli calculated, or will the small margin for error that Chloe mentioned cause trouble?
  • Will Eli fix the stasis pod? Will he at least find some way to survive?
  • Is there any truth in Rush’s fear that the Destiny is passing through this galaxy for a specific reason, and as they fast forward, will they miss some critical clue they will need to complete the Destiny‘s ultimate mission?
  • What will the drones do when the Destiny never drops out of FTL? Will the stupid things get bored and give up? Will they try to follow Destiny across the void, or maybe will they find a way to attack even while the Destiny is in FTL? What do those dang things use for fuel, anyway?
  • What about TJ’s ALS? The type of stasis was never really explained. Will it completely halt the progression of her disease or will she already have symptoms if – or rather when – she emerges from stasis?

Fans are really going to have to step up if we ever want to see the answers to these questions. Personally, I think that if a novelist were to pick up this story and try to complete it they would have a difficult time doing it proper justice, and we still would never get to see the five season story arc that the producers had planned for SGU.

You know what broke my heart and made me cry just like I cried at the end of SG-1’s finale? After Eli is the only one left on the ship, we see the Destiny power down, turning off the lights. As we watch, the camera passes through floors and walls. The last to power off is the Stargate itself. Sound familiar? This the exact opposite of what happened in the premiere of the series. Right before the evacuees from Icaris base gated in, we saw the Destiny power up, preparing for their arrival in the exact same way.

The moment that sent me absolutely balling was more personal though. The last thing we see is Eli, standing on the observation deck, looking out at the beautiful aurora of colors flowing around the Destiny as it travels in FTL. As the camera zooms in on Eli, he starts smiling wistfully like he knows something. He has a plan. It struck me that in many ways, this story began with Eli. If he hadn’t cracked the code to dial the ninth chevron, this journey would never have begun. It seems extremely fitting that what began with Eli should – for the time being – end with Eli.

You realize the irony in all of this, right? All this mirroring of the beginning of SGU was designed without any knowledge that this would actually be the series finale! The producers had no idea that SyFy was going to give them the axe. They knew the show’s ratings weren’t good going into the second season, but they didn’t think that they were in danger of cancellation just yet. When SyFy did make the announcement, season two was already filmed and there was no way of changing the outcome. So this picture perfect finale is to me the biggest irony ever.

Stargate is kind of known for putting everyone in path of death right before a hiatus. It’s usually more of an “all or nothing” deal. Sure, the whole Destiny is in trouble. Any one of a dozen things could go wrong. However I really can’t explain what it means for Eli to be the one left in the greatest danger better than Joe Mallozzi does on his blog:

“After all, who better than Eli, the embodiment of our fans and viewers, to make the sacrifice and leave us with that final sense of wonder?”

And wonder we do, Joe. Thank you and the entire production team for 17 fantastic seasons of Stargate. May it not be the end!

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