‘Stargate Universe’ Series Finale Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by , Updated May 12th, 2011 at 2:53 am,

stargate universe finale destiny Stargate Universe Series Finale Review & Discussion

Stargate Universe concludes its two-season run tonight, marking the end of a television franchise that’s spanned three series and almost 14 years. Is “Gauntlet” a satisfactory conclusion for the series or Stargate as a whole?

“Gauntlet” serves as a conclusion to the drones arc that Stargate Universe has been following for the last few episodes. As the crew of the Destiny tries to resupply, they discover that every gateable world with provisions is occupied by drone command ships.

After a victorious but costly encounter with one of the waiting drone ships, Rush, Eli and Colonel Young conclude that further attempts to resupply will only end in disaster. Eli concocts a solution: place the crew in stasis pods and make a massive subspace jump to the next galaxy on Destiny’s universal route.

This presents its own problems. First of all, they’d be going even farther away from Earth (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for all of Destiny’s inhabitants) and they still need some very specialized supplies to get all the pods operational. Naturally, someone’s going to have to stay behind and risk dying when the life support shuts down for the jump.

stargate universe finale eli young Louis Ferreira David Blue Stargate Universe Series Finale Review & Discussion

Stargate Universe has felt like the black sheep of the Stargate family since its debut two years ago. Having more than a little in common with the likes of Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek Voyager, Universe has seemed less and less like a true Stargate show as it has continued. For example, the finale has only one short scene with the Stargate itself, the plot device that’s supposed to anchor the franchise.

That said, the departure from established norms isn’t entirely unwelcome. Stargate SG-1 definitely got long in the tooth in its later seasons and Stargate Atlantis felt in many ways like a remixed version of the original, swapping out the setting and characters but keeping an all too similar feel. Universe‘s gritty atmosphere and desperate characters gave us something new, even as it expanded on the Ancient lore established way back in the SG-1 pilot.

The central conflict of Stargate Universe isn’t so much the alien bad guys as the motivations of the crew itself: Dr. Rush wants to explore the universe (along with Eli, to some extent) while everyone else wants to go home, or failing that, at least stay alive. There’s very little of that conflict in this final episode: everyone seems resigned to their fate, which I couldn’t help but see as a bit of projection on the part of the writers.

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As the crew makes tearful goodbyes to their loved ones by way of the mind-swapping Ancient communication technology, Rush and Eli make the preparations for the pods and the jump. It doesn’t leave the rest of the cast much to do except contemplate, with some especially expositional dialogue letting the audience know where everyone is emotionally.

In short, the episode functions more as a goodbye to the characters and Destiny as whole, and not the conclusion to the series that fans may be hoping for. There’s a distinct lack of space action (just one short battle and a remote-controlled bluff) and a lot of explanation as to the ship’s chances – or lack thereof – if they follow the plan.

It leaves the series surprisingly open-ended. Literally anything could happen after the lights go down on Destiny: expect a metric ton of fanfiction to flood Stargate forums in the next few months. It’s not as if the series could have been properly completed; Syfy announced the cancellation during the mid-season gap. But it still feels like there’s very little accomplished by the crew in the time they’ve had away from Earth.

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The acting and production values are on par with the rest of the series, solid without being stellar. Stargate Universe has taken a lot of cinematography cues from Battlestar Galactica, a choice that clashes with SG-1 and Atlantis. I’m not opposed to shaky cameras and moody sets, but they feel as out of place in the finale as they did in the premiere.

Eli is the only character who gets some real resolution, a fact that he and the others point out with surprising bluntness. Everyone else (especially Young, Tamara and Dr. Park) is left to dangle in the semi-hopeless situation. It’s definitely a downer, especially considering the bigger victories and moments in the last few episodes.

Even if Syfy hadn’t moved Stargate Universe (along with the likewise doomed Caprica) to a new night in favor of professional wrestling, I doubt it could have survived more than another season. It’s a disappointing end to a long-running franchise; I’ll go so far as to say that with a little tweaking and some reshoots, the recent episode arc with the planet Novus would have served as a far better conclusion. As it stands, the series ends with a whisper, not a shout.

At least fans won’t have to wait long to complete their Stargate collections: Season 2 of Stargate Universe hits DVD and Blu-ray on May 31st.

Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider

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  1. It took us 3 weeks but we just saw the entire 40 episodes.

    I wished they would have closed it out a little better.

    Ouch! just leaves you hanging.

    St. Louis

  2. Not a very good ending.
    Even a rock knew that Rush played the Commander by saying he would stay out and try to fix the pod; we know the commander wouldn’t go for it.
    Question I have why is there only one person to a pod? It’s just a stasis field? What if you had a 500lb person? too BAD YOUR TOO BIG TO USE THE POD??

  3. oH i ALSO FORGOT.
    tHEY KEEP THROWING MONEY around.. New shows Alphas, Red Faction, etc…
    They need to stay with a series and work things out.
    Looks like the British are turning out better shows and yes they even stuck with it when there were bumps in the road. I like Primeval, and YES even Dr. Who which has been going for decades and has a HUGE Fan base..
    Sorry for the caps; bought a junking rocketfish keyboard that does have a led showing caps is on.

    • Yes! They need to get things straight. This show was good and could have been fixed. But instead they decided to cancel it and they’ll start a new series. I don’t understand it. They should know it costs a lot more to start a new series with new props, costumes, sets, etc then to fix whats broken in an established series with an established fan base. Instead they decided piss off and alienate all of their fans, driving them away from their station. Get a brain SyFy.

  4. I still can’t believe they cancled this series, haven’t been this bummed since Star Trek Enterprise got caned. (you could always count on some form of those series to give you the syfi space buz you needed)

    Stargate Universe was the last syfi space show on, wasn’t it? No Star Trek, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica…. and they cancle it over Sanctuary or some other syfy channel trash…

    At least it go some form of a ending, some don’t, im still sore about Kyle XY.

    • They changed their name to SyFy to move away from their Sci-Fi roots that got them to where they are today. They really don’t get it. People watch “SyFy” to get their science fiction fix. With them moving farther and farther away actual science fiction they will drive more and more people away to try to get their fix somewhere else.

  5. They also missed a huge plot hole, the chair room also has a stasis field and therefore someone could have sat in the chair for the time.

    I hate the way they have left it, so they announced cancellation mid season. Would it have killed them to finish the show without leaving it hanging this way, at least have everyone in a pod.

    • Maybe not a plot hole. Just as you thought of it, maybe the writers have it in their back pocket as one way to save Eli.

      It is not as though it would be an exact duplicate of the pods. I am sure Eli would have to tweek it with gum and wire to get it to work as needed.

  6. I loved this show it was great. Why do all the best shows get consoled? SIFI please reconsider this show is a step in a different direction for SG. Its way more personal and interesting. What do you guys want from us the viewers? I mean seriously you put something new out there and we all bite and then you take it away. I will always be a big fan.


    • I think they wanted people to watch it, and that was not happening.

      To bad, it was an awesome show that ended to early, like Firefly

  7. i hope that someone will make a movie for atlantis and universe to bring them closer for the series. you had 2 movies for SG-1

  8. The final episode left me grieving. It’s good that it had a strong impact but it feels like an open wound. Is anyone working on encouraging them to make a movie?

  9. I am fortunate that I only recenty wrapped up the show via NetFlix. Had I followed on TV all along, I’d be really pissed.. I had no idea “Gauntlet” was the series finale. Talk about loose ends!!

    Is it me or does it feel like the show really started to get good towards the end? I mean, Eli finally got to hook up with a girl that I feel was much better for him than Chloe.. But then they went on the typical “let’s kill off a bunch of characters because the show is going to get cancelled anyway” kick”. Grrrrr…

    Stargate is one of the few series that keeps me hooked.. But this was disappointing. Just when the BSG-like formula grew onto me, they end the series in a total shoot-yourself-in-the-head mood. Meh.

    Depressing. =o/

  10. It is just wrong of them to leave us hanging like that. SGU has one hell of a following. How could they cancel such a great show.

  11. Stargate Universe was great but i heard apprently someone bough’t out MGM and have no intrest in the Stargate Franchise which has been going on longer then most series when i first heard of Stargate Universe i was so happy because i was looking to a epic Stargate Series and then when i heard about the 9th Chevron i got more into it you see as the Stargate Franchise gets older and older they run out of ideas like Microsoft when they created Windows Vista Stargate Universe wasn’t simply ready for a series they just thought what if the 9th chevron dialed and when i heard Connel O’Neils scripts that didin’t sound like something he’d say when they try to dial Earth via a Star doesn’t seem like something he’d say and I think as destiny shutdowns the LifeSupport is required for the Pods for the people to live in em otherwise they’d be living in a slow death and B, i think they should of atleast recharge Destiny while everyone goes in the Pods and yes i know that the drones were at every star but still the Drones can’t survive a star so maybe if the shuttle went down and collected supplies while Destiny Leads them into the Star then they would of made it

  12. i love the show as much as the next guy but does anyone think that they will make a movies to close everything up it would make very one more at ease.

    • All I can say is WAAAA!!!! NOT ANOTHER SG SHOW GONE!!! ALL LEFT SO OPEN!!! YOU BETTER ATLEAST COME OUT WITH A NEW ONE! or atleast some movies! I mean comon they cost as much as 2 episodes tops!! just give us some peace of mind!

  13. Absolutely wounded, i enjoyed watching the struggles of the sgu family, and cannot believe they ended it that way, Where did all the drones come from? Are these super advanced A.I. hell bent on destroying everything that could be classed as technology. I thought sgu was an amazing story line and they the creators slacked and gave it a very poor ending, they must have just thought lets get it ended now its not carrying on. So destiny can travel through a blue giant but it cant defend its self from drones that can be brought down my automatic rifles? i get tired of watching things that dont make sense and i was taken back by how much sgu did make sense throughout the first season, Was very wounded as it declined. I will hope for a continuation but wont hold my breath, good by crew hope you found out what yours and destinies mission was. And poor Eli they did him over on the woman and did him over at the end when he continuesly saved then all.

    • They actually did explain how the ship was able to survive flying through a star in the final episode. The shields could be made more or less effective by changing the frequency of the shield… so they new what it had to be tuned to for the suns energy which made it easy to protect against. While the frequency of the drone weapons were unknown untill the last episode where they figured out how to protect them selves from the weapons with out taking any damage at all. But they created the new problem by the shields not being able to protect them from any other forms of attack wich left them open to the drones crashing into the ship. The show did cover their tracks with everything they did.

  14. We’re only just getting Season 2 on 11 down here in Australia, and you can’t find it in DVD stores here anywhere, so haven’t seen how SGU ends. Seriously though, what’s the deal with TV executives? Why do they keep cancelling anything interesting?

    Actually use to watch Star Trek despite all the PC nonsense and red (why not put a big X on your back) uniforms, and even Farscape and Babylon 5! Firefly was a breath of fresh air, and Enterprise was okay, but BSG didn’t really work for me and so I didn’t like SGU at first.

    Just when you get attached to a series with great storylines that challenge the way you think about things though, it gets taken off air and all you get Idol and other mindless reality televison drivel! Surely there are enough sci-fi fans to make it worthwhile to bring back SGU?

    Maybe we could get Sheldon Cooper to post an actual internet petition in an episode of Big Bang Theory to bring it back, then the execs will have no option but to knuckle-under … :P

  15. Im not happy about it, they could have made something of this. I cannot believe Stargate series is over :( so very sad

    • I’m really disappointed the writers couldn’t come up with enough material to keep this series going. One of the few if any in the series of
      Stargate to deal with real human emotions,hopes, weakness and even the subject of religion.
      My hopes are that it goes the way of Star Trek, which had several movies years after the series got cancelled.
      The series Farscape, also cancelled managed to come up with an ending to satisfy all the fans that cried and complained.
      Heres hoping someone is reading all these rants and maybe picks up the ball and runs with it for another season, and for gods sake quit changing the time slots every week. I don’t know about anybody else , but I liked Fridays.

      • The writers? This had nothing to do with the writers.

        The problem was the fans.

        Most of the fans of SG1 and Atlantis couldn’t seem accept that this spin-off wasn’t another rehashing of the other two. They wanted O’Niell and Dr. Jackson and an ominous enemy for the good-ol-boys to defeat. They couldn’t handle a darker more serious series with introspection and slow-moving story arcs.

        Instead of embracing SGU for what it was, they rejected it for not being its siblings, and Syfy shifted it around for having bad ratings and canceled it.

        There will most likely never be another Stargate episode or movie. And we have the disgruntled fans to blame for that.

  16. Professional wrestling took this series time slot??? Give me a break. It just shows you where the real interest is…the money for advertising, not the public interest in this show. I am very disappointed in SyFy over this one.

  17. Saw the last show on Netflix, did not know that it was the end. They really should kept the show on. It was 1 of only a few that was any good. Like Firefly, Carnivale, Enterprise, and Voyager cancelled way to early. I would watch SYFI all the time but now what’s to watch.
    The show really dose not need to cover every line that it came up with, like some of you think.
    Yes the show was a little slow but even my wife liked it.


  18. I really hate SyFy! All those ghost shows and wrestling — WTF? What happened to the shows that made it great? I use to go out of my way to make sure I could get the SciFi network, not anymore. AMC has even outdone them with The Walking Dead. Oh, and BBC with Dr. Who (which is I believe the longest running series on TV – 1963).

    Just Me Venting!!!

  19. I have two boys, aged 14 and 12, as I am into sci fi, I like to introduce them to the world of creation, of questioning, of strategies, and other complexities that life throws at ya.

    I can tell you, they were hooked and cried when I had to tell them, that season2 is it, no more.

    • Do it for the kids

  20. Well I think Eli can’t fix it. It’s a job for two people to do. I think he got Gwen out if the computer and he plugged himself into the chair and downloaded his mind to the ship.

  21. Well I think Eli can’t fix it. It’s a job for two people to do. I think he got Gwen out if the computer and he put himself into the chair and downloaded his mind to the ship.

  22. Considering the fact that the writers new of the cancelation half way through the season, I think they created the “alternate Destiny” plot line as a way to bring some sort of conclusion to the show on short notice. By creating other versions of Eli and the others, they gave them a happy life on a planet and they all were able to do what they wanted. Eli created the school system and was remembered for 2000 years for that. The writers ended the show, just in a VERY subtle way.

  23. i watched all the SGU from day one didn’t miss an episode and I was in rage after i found out they canceled yet an other stargate and better yet they didn’t give us a proper ending. I have been a stargate fan for years and I dont like how the screw over their fans like this enery time and best yet SGU was one of their best series they made but they screwed the ending…… thnak you.

  24. I’ve been following the series since day 1. A bit of a stargate junkie I guess. It took a few shows for me to get into the Universe story, but I really did start to enjoy it. I was really sad by the way it was ended, but I’ve thought about it a good bit, after recently rewatching s10 of sg1, I’ve kind of brought a bit of closure to the series, at least in my own mind.

    In Stargate, SG-1 in particular, what else is possibly left to be done? They’ve unraveled the mysteries of life, our origins, all the way to the pinnacle of evolution (ascension). After dethroning false gods and setting free enslaved humans and other species across our own galaxy, we encountered quite possibly the most fearsome and terrible of enemies, ascended beings playing the role of god. We’ve gained technology many, many generations beyond our current level, and we’ve learned the methods of killing the most powerful beings known to exist.

    Sure, they could have created an even greater evil, super ascended or some such, but how lame would it be? It was already starting to get a Dragon Ball Z feel to it, “Oh you’ve destroyed the most powerful beings that have ever existed, oh wait, but there are these guys that are 100 times more powerful.”

    The only thing left to really explore in the Stargate Universe was the origins, which Destiny was designed to do exactly that. It was hinting at an intelligence behind the creation of the universe itself, and was starting down a path that would likely end up with a mysterious encounter with God. It is probably best to have left the serious with us knowing the implications of the origin of the universe, and that the crew would carry on trying to solve the greatest of mysteries, while leaving the rest to our imagination.

    I was sad by the ending, I would have instead liked an ending that established a travel path between Earth and Destiny, unraveling all of the mysteries of the ship and leaving us with the feeling that we had a continuous on going mission to learn of the greatest mysteries. Instead we are left hoping they will survive to the next galaxy, then accomplish the above.

  25. Stargate Universe is most probably the best show I’ve ever watched on television. It’s individuality and the fact it’s separate from SG-1 and Atlantis really draws me in.

    In SG-1 and Atlantis I felt the Ancients were fascinating and yet hardly mentioned. The fact they made SGU to go back and see the lost legacy of the Ancients was just astounding. Not only the idea that the crew were in the wrong place, but there were ‘the wrong people’.

    I loved SGU, and the fact it’s been cancelled just breaks my heart. Syfy really have made a massive mistake. I only finished was introduced to Stargate in Jan (12) and already seen all of the Stargates. I’m even listening to SGU soundtracks right now.

    A great show. A great idea. Great music, great characters.
    I’ve hoped from the second SGU finished that it’d be back, and every day my hope fades a little. Now, what with the composer, Joel Goldsmith, having died, the revival or the series seems unlikely.

    Nevertheless, us Gaters must stay resilient.
    Long live Eli.

    Reply and we can talk about Stargate?

  26. Just finished with a Stargate Universe rerun.. and in addition to what has been discussed I would add the following:

    1) It has missed a basic SciFi principle that when a problem can’t be solved change the problem. (remember Capt. Kirk)

    2) There were appreciated successes, and certainly a platform for the questions of the day…between other scifi….Firefly, Farscape, Babylon 5, Primevel, of course Doctor Who..that like the parables of old attempt to resolve our personal, technological if not religious questions about the core of good and bad and the why’s of it all.

    Lastly can we please have more…anything more than ghosts w/vamps, demon hunters or, teenage witch circles would be so appreciated.

    At the rate SciFi is going I may have to convert to an all knowing machine who attempts to save the world with an ex-cia agent…for person of interest…and that would truly be a left turn at a right hand intersection. :( Liz

  27. I just finished the entire series and I can’t believe they left it hanging like that! What JERKS!!!! Would it have killed them to give the fans a decent ending?

    • It’s prolly those comcast/NBC jerks making them cancel it. Too bad nobody cares about us Science-Fiction fans. Somebody should make a whole channel that only shows Science-Fiction… oh, wait…..

  28. Dang it. I posted a bunch of times on accident. I thought calling the guys at Comcast/NBC jerk-asses was bad, so I tried again. Turns out the mobile version of ScreenRant is just borked. Kept saying it wasn’t posting.

  29. At least when you cancel a show give us an ending! now I feel like I wasted precious moments of my life I can’t get back.. I got all into the characters and I will never know what happens to….