Gauntlet
Well this is Gauntlet the season and alas the series finale of Stargate Universe and while the episode was not specifically written as a series finale it actually works very well and by some miracle doesn’t annoy the viewer with a slap in the face cliffhanger. Of course as we know the final scenes of the series leaves everyone hanging by a thread but it’s done with such style and care you really do not mind, at least not too much.

The Drones once again are pressuring Destiny and continue to block every single useful star in the immediate flight path of the ship, it’s simply impractical for Destiny to seek out resource rich worlds off the path as laid down by the seed ships so the question is asked what can they do. Eli comes up with another solution, not a good one but it has the benefit of not only preventing further conflict with the drones but maximising the current resources of the ship. His solution is to make use of the recently activates stasis pods, those combined with an energy saving FTL cruise would allow the Destiny to leave this current galaxy and bypass the are of space controlled by the drones. The margin of error is very small and the decision to implement this option would have to be taken very quickly, if Destiny’s power reserves dropped too low while in FTL the ship would be stranded in the intergalactic void with hundreds of years of sublight flight ahead of it. Some of the crew are give the option of a last visit to Earth but a minor hiccup almost derails the endeavour as some of the pods are damaged and a certain mineral is needed to enact a repair. Activating the gate will of course draw a drone command ship to their location but they lay down a diversion with one of the shuttles broadcasting a powerful signal to fool the drones, when they take the bait the shuttle does a kamikaze run and destroys the command ship and Destiny gates to the planet and collects the required material. The pods now working soon fill up and eventually only Eli, Rush and Young are left, it is then they discover one of the final three working pods is still faulty. Young doesn’t trust Rush to not risk the ship if he was unable to fix the pod after he and Eli went into stasis so Young decides to sacrifice himself but Eli makes his stand, he is confident he can fix the pod in the time allowed and will not hesitate to put the ship and crew ahead of himself if he fails in his task. Young and Rush bid their farewells in a manner which truly reflect how they feel about this young man who came onboard as a bit of a bad joke but through adversary has matured into a man that could one day lead others.
Gauntlet was an impressive episode, there is as much action as you would expect from a modern scifi series and far more drama and character work than most, par for the course with Universe but this being the finale really brings it all home. It was quite an achievement to pack so much into this last “hour” of television without sacrificing so many quiet dialogue driven scenes between characters many of which showed how far these people had come. The final situation/obstacle that Eli, Rush and Young had to deal with also summed up the show to perfection, distrust, compromise and acceptance all brought together and allowing one of the youngest members of the crew and one never intended to be part of Icarus to commit himself and his life on his skill and a simple choice to protect his friends even if it meant his life.
I’m already looking forward to watching Universe again in the near future, I really am surprised how much I have enjoyed the series after it had kinda been moved into the “will watch again one day” category whereas SG1 and Atlantis were always ready to go whenever I felt like it. The production levels,