Stargate Universe episode 20 finale spoiler-filled review

Carl finds a strong SGU finale that holds a lot of promise for a long series life, and leaves us with things to think about...


20. Incursion Part 2

With the Lucian Alliance storyline building up brilliantly over the last two episodes, Stargate Universe has a lot to deliver in its first season finale. Incursion part one left us with Col Young (Louis Ferreira) giving a big speech about how he is going to save all the hostages the Lucian Alliance has trapped in the gateroom.

Part two starts with Young delivering the promised medical supplies to their enemies, but, of course, it doesn’t go all that smoothly, and a power failure gives both sides the spooks. When Dr Rush (Robert Carlyle), Adam Brody and Lisa Park figure out what is happening with the ship, it turns from a small power failure into a race against time.

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Meanwhile, Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque) and Eli Wallace (David Blue) are facing a race against time of their own, running out of air in a closed off part of the ship. The scenes with these two characters exploring the inner workings of their relationship are some of the best scripted moments of the entire series, and they remain the people I want to see more of together in season two.

With a redshirt dead in the first few moments, you can tell that the Lucian Alliance aren’t messing around, and that Commander Kiva is capable of anything. Camile Wray (Ming-Na) is beginning to lean towards working together with the Alliance, but it seems Kiva is a little power hungry, and wants to remain in control of the situation. Even when it’s a life or death situation, she angles her way into controlling more of the situation.

In the run up to the second half of the series airing, Joseph Mallozzi posted on his blog about writing “the biggest HOLY #%&@! ending I have ever written.” As every moment continued to pass was one closer to the end of the season, I waited in eager anticipation of what it could be, imagining huge and horrible things, powered by my love of finales.

What happened, however, I wasn’t entirely shocked by. It wasn’t the ‘Holy shit’ ending I thought it would be. Having said that, however, it was pretty good, rather ballsy, and best of all, brilliantly executed.

What it does leave us with are a few things to think on, and the one big one in my head is this: do the writers of SGU have the balls to finish what they started, or will this storyline close with a whimper when the series returns later in the year? My guess is the latter, but I can only hope I am wrong on that, as having one of these things play out would be an incredibly interesting thing for them to do.

Back to the episode at hand, however, they have entirely outdone themselves. The run up to the finish in episodes 18 and 19 were incredible set-ups, but episode 20 takes the biscuit and runs with it.

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For instance, when Louis Ferreira acts at the top of his game, he can be the best actor in any given scene. That is unless, of course, Robert Carlyle is in the same scene. Here though, their conversations back and forth are superb and they almost equally match each other. While Carlyle may be the best actor in the series, it seems his talent has begun to rub off on others around him, which can be no bad thing.

And it’s not just Col Young’s character that improves, as everyone here is giving some of their best performances from the whole series.

Eli plays the role of best friend and personal hero incredibly well and gives a meaningful depth to his seemingly unfazed jokey attitude that he usually carries around. In her scenes with Eli, Chloe gives undoubtedly her best performance when she confronts him about his attitude toward her. Their scene together after they are both nearly killed is one of the best moments in the whole season, and shows how good they are together. Lou Diamond Philips’ welcome return a few weeks ago has already reaped rewards with his performance being the best it has been so far, as Col Telford plays the double agent role perfectly.

The effects team have had a hefty weight put on their shoulders this week, with close-up exterior shots of Destiny mixing computer generated effects and physical sets used heavily. And to be honest, they deliver an incredible looking design that puts other shows with bigger budgets to shame. It’s their best work in the series so far and I wholeheartedly think they are the best effects team working in television today.

This is some of the best overall output the series has produced and ending on such an incredibly well made high can only boost the season’s impact. I eagerly anticipate more from SGU in the coming months and can only hope that the quality of season two is half as good as this series has been.

Incursion Part 2 is one of the best episodes of the series, and if they can keep it this level from here on in, I have no doubts that Stargate Universe will run for as long as, if not longer than either of its predecessors.

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Check out our review of episode 19 here.

Stargate Universe is shown in the UK on Sky1 and Sky1 HD.