March 13th, 2011, 01:38 PM
<DIV ALIGN="center"><TABLE WIDTH="450" BORDER="0" CELLSPACING="0" CELLPADDING="7"><TR><TD STYLE="border: none;"><DIV ALIGN="left"><FONT FACE="Verdana, Arial, san-serif" SIZE="2" COLOR="#000000"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/s2/218.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/graphics/218.jpg" WIDTH="160" HEIGHT="120" ALIGN="right" HSPACE="10" VSPACE="2" BORDER="0" STYLE="border: 1px black solid" ALT="Visit the Episode Guide"></A><FONT SIZE="1" COLOR="#888888">UNIVERSE SEASON TWO</FONT>
<FONT SIZE="4"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/s2/218.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">EPILOGUE</A></FONT>
<FONT SIZE="1">EPISODE NUMBER - 218</FONT>
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While attempting to return a group of colonists to their home, the crew finds records of their own alternate lives -- and a planet on the verge of seismic destruction.
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May 19th, 2011, 10:24 AM
Epilogue Review [SGU 218]
By xxxevilgrinxxx | Published: May 19, 2011 | crossposted on personal blog
As the end of a series, Epilogue is a fitting name but it has the feel of a last minute amendment; something changed as the news of the end came, perhaps. As endings go, itâ€™s not a bad one and if the series had come to an end with this episode, there are certainly worse ways it could have gone. But as a name in the Stargate Universe tradition, it strikes a single, final note as opposed to previous titles, where many meanings could be inferred.
The episode strikes a number of notes that resonate. That our culture, the stuff that makes us â€˜usâ€™, has a persistent quality, no matter where in the universe we go, comes to mind. The elevator music is an example of this, as is the beef jerky. No matter where we go, there we are, being us. Another thing that persists is the architecture. As in Common Descent, Epilogue has used Fort Langley as a set, but itâ€™s the Tinerran archive that I found interesting, specifically in its â€œDestinyâ€ notes. The lighting, the materials, and the combination of function blended with embellishment in that Art Nouveau/Steampunk fashion in the archive itself shows that, just as human qualities have persisted, Destinyâ€™s qualities have also persisted. The final shot of the ship leaving Novus bears a resemblance to the Destiny herself and I wonder what the crew would have seen if the spaceships hadnâ€™t been buried in lava?
Being Stargate, this episode has religious elements as well although, in the style of Universe, those points tend to be subtler. The second coming of the Destiny after 2000 years, the â€œtestamentâ€, a place only god has seen, and the deification/demonization of Rush are examples.
If there could be one theme that runs through this episode, it is the idea that this is â€œYoungâ€™s visionâ€, bookended by Young on his death bed. In the wider sense, it is about the devotion to this vision, and further, by devotion to each other, as a group.
From the very beginning, from Air, Young has implored the survivors to come together, that this would be necessary to survive. By Epilogue, the crew have gone beyond simple survival and have come together as a community. Novus is Youngâ€™s vision realized and itâ€™s good for the current crew of Destiny to see how this has turned out, to see that the man currently leading them has a vision that could end so well.
Itâ€™s not all sunshine and roses though.
Blamed for stranding the alternate crew, Eli suffers the consequences of choices he made in Twin Destinies. The inability to set this aside puts him at odds with Brody and the rest of the survivors. It is only when Eli apparently stops dwelling and focuses on the good in his science that he moves on and Eli becomes a strong cornerstone of the new society. The history of Novus and the partially uploaded data are a testament not only to Eliâ€™s knowledge but to Eliâ€™s own vision, his desire to document events from the very first episode.
While Alternate Rush has presumably perished when the ship was destroyed in the star, he has a proxy on Novus in the person of Brody. The Rush currently aboard the Destiny has moved far beyond what tended to define him in the beginning but in Brody, many of these traits are on display. The bitterness, simmering resentment, the blaming and finger pointing and divisiveness, coupled with the belief that Rush will come back and save them all â€“ to the point of deification â€“ manage to recreate the Young/Rush antagonism on board Destiny. We donâ€™t get to see â€œRushâ€™s visionâ€ play out in this episode (although, from Rushâ€™s facial expressions and actions upon returning to Destiny, I wonder if he has some idea how that would turn out?) but in Futura, and the idea of a technologically advanced â€œenemy nationâ€, we catch a glimpse of it.
There are also health issues to contend with. Alternate Volker, having never been treated for his failing kidneys, is the first to die. To watch that happen, even to an alternate, must have been painful for Volker and will likely have him and Greer become even closer than they are, as friends. With Volker, it happens quickly, but TJ is another matter and to put it simply: heartbreaking. To know now that she has the disease and that it will kill her in a short matter of years is a terrible burden but at least there is hope that a cure could be out there for her.
Even with all these negatives, when the situation on Novus became so dire that it threatened them all, both Tinerra and Futura â€“ much like the current Young and Rush â€“ came together to find a way to get the Novans off world before it was all destroyed.
It was also nice to see that the notion of a â€œyearly reunionâ€, mentioned by Eli in Twin Destinies, was put into practice. Watching the kino footage of the descendants as they aged and their society grew fulfilled one of the best functions of an â€˜epilogueâ€™ in telling us how everyone fared in the end. Most of the pairings were expected, having already developed aboard destiny, or even before then, but some were not and now that the current crew have seen these developments, will they view their shipmates with new eyes?
Being â€œYoungâ€™s visionâ€, it comes as no surprise that the TJ/Young/Varro triangle is explored. Despite all thatâ€™s happened between TJ and Young, the feelings they have for each other have always been strong but when Young finally set aside his need to punish himself for everything thatâ€™s happened, heâ€™s free to be the man he is, beneath all the military rigidity. He sets aside military propriety and becomes a good man, a good husband and father, there for her through everything, right to the end. It was both beautiful and hard to watch but itâ€™s something that current Young and TJ have needed to see, both for themselves and also in each other.
After the loss of their first child, knowing that they had two more, and that those children continued on, is something solid and real for them both, far more real than the vision created by the Destiny to help TJ, something that would help her alone but do nothing for them as parents of a lost child.
As the third leg of the triangle, Varro isnâ€™t a terrible choice. He was available for TJ, both physically and emotionally, at a time when she desperately needed it, at a time when Young, dealing â€“ or in this case, not dealing â€“ with his own pain, couldnâ€™t. From the beginning, I have not trusted Varroâ€™s intentions in getting close to TJ and that hasnâ€™t left. Varroâ€™s character has deepened as episodes proceeded and as a rival for TJâ€™s affections, but he remains in essence â€œthe other womanâ€. Just as Young cheated on his wife with TJ, he is now facing the experience of losing TJ to Varro. Understanding, undergoing, this hurt is important. Itâ€™s not enough for Young to say sorry â€“ something he has done already â€“ but to be sorry, and watching as TJ is nearly lost to him bookends the opening of the series, where we found out about TJ and Young in the first place.
Something interesting has come to light in watching Varroâ€™s character and that is his striking resemblance to Young in many ways. The things that TJ finds attractive in Varro are the things that she finds attractive in Young and if Young becomes emotionally available to her, as he does in this episode, I have no doubt that Varro would be quickly forgotten. The flip side of this is that just as Varro has many of Youngâ€™s positive traits, he has the negative trait that had TJ and Young pair up in the first place and is able to easily move his attention to another, in this case, James.
Given the similarities, it comes as no surprise that there is a deepening respect growing between Varro and Young and this changing their relationship as well.
Varro has shown that he will move aside for Young and, while Young may see Varro as a rival, especially now that Varro is alive and with the current crew, that Varro may see it quite differently. If and when Young has come forward to openly display his affection for TJ, Varro has stepped back, every time. Rather than become antagonistic at the kiss, Varro steps back, and when Young â€“ as he has been known to do on several occasions â€“ dropped everything to come down to TJ when the news of her ALS came out, Varro stepped aside then too. There will be no fight between these two, over TJ, and I believe that has less to do with TJ than it has to do with a growing respect for Young.
Secondly, in catching TJ, Varro isnâ€™t simply catching a love interest, heâ€™s also catching Youngâ€™s love interest and, deeper, he is displaying a trait Young has frequently displayed: the willingness to do whatever is necessary, even to the point of death, in order to save one of your own. This mutual respect is likely to deepen when Varro realizes that Young not only went back to ensure he was alive but brought him back, rival or not. That return to rivalry may trouble Young, but he couldnâ€™t have done anything else. It should make the Varro/Young relationship aboard Destiny interesting, if nothing else.
With no season 3, a good many of the questions brought out in this episode, the repercussions for the current Destiny crew in knowing how their lives turned out, will never be resolved satisfactorily. Will the Destiny crew now pursue different choices after seeing how their â€˜futuresâ€™ turned out? Will they pair up differently? How are Rush and Volker dealing with the fact that, due to their deaths, they had nothing of themselves to pass on? How will Brody deal with what his alternate self created and just how badly did that â€˜enemy nationâ€™ become? How will he view Rush now? Or Young? Did the Novus people create the very drones they face now? And if so, which side? Will the crew ever find a full version of the â€˜testamentâ€™ and so be able to heal TJ? What about those other diseases that there were cures for? Does this mean that other crew members have fatal illnesses? Thereâ€™s no way to know now.
In the beginning, I stated that this was â€œYoungâ€™s visionâ€ and that he has always been driven to â€œget these people homeâ€. Heâ€™s wanted other things too: for them to be safe, to survive, to work with each other, but heâ€™s always wanted above all things to get them home. That home didnâ€™t have to be Earth, that home was less a defined place than an idea, a journey, is the message of â€œYoungâ€™s visionâ€.
Having seen this vision, I have to wonder how differently the episode might have been had we seen â€œRushâ€™s visionâ€. Perhaps Rush wonders this too and a new season may even have showed us what his proxy, Brody, created in the Futurans. Itâ€™s a great loss that weâ€™ll never know.
September 3rd, 2011, 04:32 AM
The best thing about time travel or alternate reality stories is the peek into ‘what if’ they provide for our usual characters. “Epilogue” delivers the answer to the question ‘what if the Destiny crew was stranded on a planet and had to start again from scratch?’ In that, the episode is somewhat successful but focuses too much on the ‘what happened’ as opposed to revealing anything new about the characters. But as the second part to the story begun in “Common Descent,” this is a solid follow-up which provides better tension, a better emotional connection and better special effects .
I want to begin with what was better than “Common Descent” because that episode presented a great concept and failed to follow through with any tension in the storyline, in making an emotional connection between the Novus descendants and the Destiny crew, and the last shot of the cityscape was fake enough that I winced. “Epilogue” does a lot to improve on that.
There is fabulous tension set up in three ways – the first being the physical predicament of everyone exploring the planet which is unstable and tearing itself apart. The slowly escalating earthquakes experienced throughout the story along with the shuttle fly-by of the encroaching lava river are a fab way of increasing the danger without being too overt about it.
The second tension is one built through the past season with the triangle of TJ, Varro (Mike Dopud) and Young (Louis Ferriera). The moment where Varro falls is a breath-taking one and there is a real sense that the audience cannot predict whether Young will go back for him or not. Ferriera sells the moment by truly looking indecisive as though he is considering his options in an evil villain kind of way (“I could leave him there and TJ will be mine! Mwha-ha!”)
The third tension is created with the attempt to connect the Novus situation to a member of the crew directly, thus providing an emotional hook for the audience. The discovery that TJ has a life-threatening disease but the Novus archive holds the cure but will they be able to transfer the relevant data in time – definitely creates another element of tension in the plot. The emotional connection though, while admirable that one was attempted which is so a step up on “Common Descent,” just doesn’t sit well with me – possibly because it is TJ who is selected.
Don’t get me wrong; I still love TJ as a character and I love the increased focus on her this season but this feels like a focus too far. TJ’s had the losing her baby storyline; the love triangle development; the ‘can I step up and perform a kidney op?’; the ‘kidnapped by beast’ storyline. Compared to say Chloe who has only had the ‘turning into an alien with super math skills’, TJ’s had an embarrassment of riches. Ultimately, I come away less with an ‘OMG, TJ needs to be saved!’ reaction and more of a ‘what the hell else can possibly go wrong for the poor woman!’ I think the ALS storyline could have gone to someone else.
That’s not to say that Alaina Huffman doesn’t act both the evolution of the illness for Novus!TJ within the kino recordings or the fear of her own demise in our timeline very well. She’s very good in both as is Louis Ferriera who plays Novus!Young having to deal with losing his wife extremely well. Indeed, that whole sequence showing the progression from the family at the table through TJ dying to the family back at the table without her is well done and touching.
The peeks into the fate of the Novus!Destiny crew is explored a lot more than in “Common Descent” which is also a good thing because this is what time travel and alternate reality stories are great for: showing the ‘what if.’ I loved the joke of grumpy old man Novus!Brody, and the humor implicit in the multiple women giving birth shots. But truthfully the focus on who hooks up with who, and the focus on Novus!TJ dying doesn’t leave a lot of space for character exploration.
What is there is good: Novus!Young’s guilt throughout his life that he never got them home; Novus!Camile still considering Sharon as her soul-mate regardless that they’ll never go home again and being the last surviving original settler; Novus!Scott stepping up to talk to Novus!James before his wedding to Novus!Chloe in a direct contrast to how he acted in the delusional Cloverdale world. I would just have liked more of this.
Production-wise, “Epilogue” delivers at every turn; the archive set is great alien but not too alien; the make-up of the Old!Characters is very believable and well done; the costuming is great; the special effects are much, much better than in the previous episode with the evolution from settlement to city at the end a nice note to end on.
Indeed, in the end “Epilogue” is a good solid episode. I’ll never consider the two-part story overall as a classic and it’s probably my least favorite of the time-travel related episodes to date across all Stargate shows. It’s entertaining enough but with so few episodes to go, I was hoping for more.
Originally posted at GeekSpeak Magazine (http://www.geekspeakmagazine.com)
Zombies Rise from the Sea
December 3rd, 2012, 12:47 AM
So we're at the tail end of the season here and we get an unexpected surprise; a character tour-de-force. Yes for the first time in SGU. They all provide us with performance that amaze, draw us in and at a few times, blowing the old performances out of the water; it's just a shame we had to wait so long to watch this happen.
Continuing the momentum from "Common Descent", this episode expands upon the flashbacks provided in the last episode. It shows the crew through the hard times, huddling together, braving the storm and it provides the crew in the best of times, embracing life, building their own civilization from the ground up. We get to see many things; Young and TJ connecting together, Scott and Chloe finally getting married, Eli getting married to a secondary character and their respective childhoods; of course these plots don't matter if the acting behind them isn't good and surprisingly it is; we have the usual cohorts like Young, Rush, Eli and Greer acting good but there are many unexpected surprises such as TJ, Wray and Scott. I'm especially amazed at TJ, she really manages to provide legitimate emotion, seeming confident in the way she expresses herself, actually seeming vulnerable whenever she sheds a tear, seeming emotional and vibrant with her delivery. This is someone who long ago didn't seem to fit in and constantly seemed underwhelming in her performance and I was attracted to her every second of the episode; If anything I'd say she was the best acted out of the bunch.
Wray and Scott also provide decent performances and Scott's performance really shows how far he's come; sure some scenes may seem disappointing but we finally get to see what made him in Season 1, the desire to be a father and have a son and he's definitely good as a father. He's mature, he's charming and every moment with Chloe is just icing on the cake. Wray, well she seemed like the person who played Mulan but she was barely there, I couldn't remember any notable scene from her where she just threw herself act me, well maybe the speech scene but I'm talking about her overall performance here. Then again, there is a story behind the flashbacks and it's all about five things; family, loss, settlement, growth and compassion. Seeing the family moments of the crew really showcased how far they came with their lives, how the worry and frustrations of the Destiny were seemingly behind them and watching Eli portray the narrator role with a bit of vulnerability is nice, it provided flavor to the proceedings, allowed us to get further connected while connecting with Eli as a whole.
Seeing them deal with loss was really sad, it must be a pain not to know what's going to happen to someone, knowing that you can't do anything to save them; while some moments where underwhelming, a lot of them really tug on the heartstrings and connect with the audience, in fact the one that stands out is TJ and her stiffness disease which really gave her a vulnerable side. It was both charming and harrowing to watch her as she lost control of her body; while it may have been cute to have Young feed her, it was also scary to know that she was regressing to a vegetable, that she was playing a lesser part in her family. This was a character who after all these years of having a happy family life, found it was being taken away and the bitersweetness behind it is bliss. The fact that it's translated to her character in real life just makes it all the better since it gives her a vulnerability, who know what would of happened had it been explored more, maybe she could of found a new side to life. Seeing them go from sticks and supplies to wooden houses and bricks showcases the transition from a team who either wanted to go home or support the mission to someone who has accepted their fate, who realized that there is nothing else to do but build from the ashes of what they had. Though it happened to a separate group of people, this is the ultimate growth for them; they have learned to forgo everything, their loved ones, their homesickness and they have learned to bond like no other, looking into what they really wanted most; their dreams, their desires and their futures and the growth isn't limited to them either. The city itself represents the catalyst of growth; people just taking the ambitions of those in the past and building, building until it represents their vision of what a city is, it's a literal representation of a phoenix rising from the ashes and though it's a bit generically placed, it proved nice in fulfilling their story.
So yeah, the flashbacks are the best part of the episode but there has to be something to bridge the gap between the flashbacks; hence the scenes in the archives. These scenes were somewhat boring in the beginning with much of the characterization being them impressed with stuff (which is decent mind you), there wasn't much that hooked me in or excited me; well maybe the music in the elevator but when the earthquakes started to happen, that's when things got tense. It motivated the characters to work harder in both emotional and dramatic states, you can literally hear them putting every ounce of effort they had into their performance like it was their last and there's even some impressive visual effects regarding the city that truly provide that wow factor. It isn't until everything comes crashing down that it becomes the perfect balance between the Stargate of old and new; there were people acting heroically, good camera shots that really represented the stakes, even the beauty of the environment came out in the destructibility of it and best of all; it had the unexpectedness that make me hope that a character was alive, not expect but hope. It takes a long time to get there but when it gets there, boy does it get there.
I swear this is the best episode of SGU. It has it all; drama, adventure, character moments and every moment is as good as the last; (and as a plus, it even spreads to the Destiny.) this episode provides people with the Novus closure they wanted while further emphasizing the common connections. Eli the person who's friendly and willing to help out, Young the faithful leader who knows what's best and even though it's near the end of the season (and the series unfortunately), I'm just grateful they're finally getting their grove together. It's not a masterpiece but it is the best it can be.
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