Stargate Universe episode 19 review

Carl England reviews the penultimate episode of Stargate Universe, which continues the previous instalment’s excellent form…

Spoilers ahead.

19. Incursion Part 1

Stargate Universe has been delivering good TV all season, albeit with a few hiccups, and all I’m hoping for now is a good ending. It’s given us great stories, which deliver human drama, very inventive time travel, and even some interesting takes on aliens. Now, however, we get to deal with an Incursion aboard Destiny.

We left things last week at a ‘to be continued’ juncture, with Col Telford’s (Lou Diamond Phillips) and Dr Rush’s (Robert Carlyle) lives hanging in the balance. The Lucian Alliance had Rush held captive, forcing him to work on a way to connect a Stargate on a Naquadria-filled planet to the Destiny – much like Icarus from the first episode of the season.

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Col Telford was being held in a room on the Destiny, with the atmosphere being sucked out at Col Young’s (Louis Ferreira) orders. He had been brainwashed by the Lucian Alliance into selling them information on the Destiny and exactly how they managed to get there. And with another twist added on top, it made for a very nice cliffhanger – Col Telford and Dr Rush’s bodies had been swapped with the Ancient communication stones.

Without spoiling too much of how they get to this point, the Lucian Alliance are heading through the Stargate to Destiny, and it seems they may have a few advantages up their sleeves that the crew of Destiny didn’t anticipate.

While this is going on, Eli Wallace (David Blue) and Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque) are trapped in an area of the ship that has been left without life support and will eventually run out of air. As they fumble around in the darkness looking for a way out, we get to see them back in their original positions, as good friends to one another. It gives a few nice moments in an episode full of shoot-outs and hostage bartering that reminds us that Stargate Universe is still a human drama at heart.

Last week we had Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) make another welcome appearance, and Lt Gen Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) came back for a more involved part in the episode, too. His appearance is continued here, as he finds out about the impending attack on Destiny back on Earth.He calls in a familiar face to go and investigate, and all feels right with the world of Stargate.

Cameos like this barely feel intrusive to the Universe story, and, in fact, help to keep it feeling big and strong. I, for one, welcome them, and the many more they clearly plan to do.

Dr Rush and Col Young butt heads better than many people can in television, and it’s thanks to Carlyle and Ferreira who put their whole performances out there every time. They don’t get a lot of the episode to do it, but in one particular scene in which they hash out Young’s plans they show why they should always get at least a little of every episode devoted to them.

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Everyone here is on point, though. Lt Johansen (Alaina Huffman) shows her vulnerability when she is caught in the crossfire, Eli Wallace steps up as a hero, Col Telford is satisfying to watch as we try to figure out where his allegiances lie, while even Camile Wray (Ming-Na) gets a good chance to show herself in this episode.

The effects team here have again outdone themselves in most areas, although there are a few effects which fall short of meeting the standard set by previous episodes, and they are easy to spot. There is one effect in particular which just made me groan out loud at precisely how bad it looked.

This episode was good at getting us from one point to another while including some of the show’s best actors in some great scenes, while including one odd one towards the end which almost literally blew my mind, and caused some great new theories to pop up.

It’s a great thing to see an episode of transition that still manages to deliver some brilliant set pieces and scenes, instead of just focusing on the ultimate goal at the end, as I’ve seen in many shows before. It definitely has me psyched for the finale, and wondering what could possibly have in store.

Check out our review of episode 18 here.

Stargate Universe is showing in the UK on Sky1 and Sky1 HD every Tuesday.

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