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GateWorld
March 13th, 2011, 01:42 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/s2/219.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/graphics/219.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/s2/219.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">BLOCKADE</A></FONT>
<FONT SIZE="1">EPISODE NUMBER - 219</FONT>
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Rachel500
September 3rd, 2011, 04:34 AM
The penultimate episode of Stargate Universe (and potentially the penultimate episode of the entire Stargate franchise) delivers some good action as it gears up for the season finale. Itís not a classic but the storyline is tight, the women kick-ass, the soldiers do their thing while the scientists do theirs.

ďBlockadeĒ nicely glosses over leaving their descendants on another planet and moves straight into the problem for the day: the drones are still attacking them and are now strategically ambushing them at the stars that Destiny uses to refresh power supplies. Eli (David Blue) comes up with a plan to gas up using a different star but itís going to get too hot for everyone so most of the crew save head off to a nearby planet which as they note looks a lot like Pittsburgh. Cue trouble back on Destiny when Park (Jennifer Spence) gets stuck and trouble on the planet when the drones find them.

Thereís a nice interweaving of action and tension in the various plots that keeps the attention; the tensest scene planet-wise has to be them crouched in the abandoned buildings waiting for the drone in the street to spot them. But the scene where James (Julia Benson) baits a drone which Varro (Mike Dopud) shoots down is equally awesome. As is Young (Louis Ferriera) turning up to help his two best guys out as they shoot up the drone in a various awesome fashion. Itís great to see in this plotline that the soldiers are doing soldier-y things; protecting the civilians that are with them; doing their job. TJ (Alaina Huffman) even gets to play, directing her group into safety when theyíre on the way back to the Stargate.

But if the soldiers are doing their thing down on the planet then back on Destiny it is definitely science central. This thread picks up on Eliís story arc that has been running since Rush (Robert Carlyle) got himself trapped in a virtual environment with his virtual girlfriend and Eli had to quarantine both Rushís virtual girlfriend and his virtual girlfriend in order to save him. (I hope everybodyís keeping up). Anyway, Eli has been chafing against Rushís authority and realizing his own potential; here he comes up with the plan and executes it but with Rush providing tough love mentor support. David Blue and Robert Carlyle bounce off each other extremely well; they push and pull at each other in a very realistic way. The scene where Rush asks Eli for the plan and forces Eli to step up to taking responsibility for it is nicely contrasted with the moment that Rush steps in take control of the situation with Park and forces Eli back to the critical need to focus on what heís doing.

The Park storyline -- she gets stuck in the burning arboretum and ends up blind -- provides an extra element of tension in this storyline which works really well. Itíll be interesting to see where they take that Ė or would have been interesting to see given there is only one episode left so there isnít a lot of time to take it anywhere.

The scenes of the arboretum going up in flames, of Park being tossed about are absolutely fantastic. The special effects team outdo themselves because those scenes are simply mind-blowing Ė as are all the special effects from the drone attack on Destiny, to Destinyís flight through a blue star to the drone getting blown up in the sky on the planet. All good.

What is also very good is the showcasing that Universe is now doing with its female cast. Actually I have to give them credit for doing this throughout this season and it is clear that they listened to complaints about the usage of female characters in the first season and have sought to mend their ways. Here we have James being awesome and kick-ass, breaking Morrisonís nose to save them, using herself as bait to bring a drone in for the kill. We have Park risking her life to save plants and riding out the place going up in flames. And the regular females are competent and doing their thing; from Wray (Ming-Na) being in charge at the Stargate, to TJ going for medicine at a local hospital, to Chloe (Elyse Levesque) simply tagging along to help scavenge. Itís all good.

That said, there isnít quite enough tension, quite enough drama, quite enough spectacle to get this from good to great, in my opinion. Itís solid; itís tight; itís entertaining. Itís just not epic -- and that is its main failing.

Still, as an episode thereís not a lot to dislike and lots to enjoy. As Universe gears up for its seriesí finale, itís showing just what a classy product it has become; quality production and acting to deliver good television. If this is the way Stargate goes out, Universe is not letting the franchise go out with a whimper.

Originally posted at GeekSpeak Magazine (http://www.geekspeakmagazine.com)

ZRFTS
December 9th, 2012, 10:59 PM
Blockade

So this is it, the penultimate episode before the season series finale. Funny. The show was getting good with Epilogue too.

I don't know what to make of this episode. On one hand it's good in that it resurrects the survival aspect of the show; the drones are back in full force to make sure that Destiny lays destroyed and they're certainly going to great lengths to do it. This really provides the team with something of a drive to take risks, a tensity to draw people in and really... just a sense of involvement. On the other, it's bad in that it sort of regresses into weaker territory, mainly put long drawn out scenes where mostly nothing is happening and the mishmash of comedy and drama that doesn't exactly fit it's mood.

It is that which hinders it's true potential which is a shame because it's filled with interesting ideas. We have a city which was supposedly abandoned and there's a mystery surrounding it, the derelict nature of it, the lack of certain things, the suddenness of it. That mystery provides some threads to keep you compelled, to keep you thinking; just what exactly happened here that caused this, was it some sort of force or was it nature and even though it's not the prime point of the episode, you will certainly have some fun guessing about what has happened and the other idea is Destiny flying into a dangerous star to recharge itself when all other options are exhausted. It's intense because it shows the crew getting into hard times, possibly a chance they won't make it and adding to that is the fact that certain things could be lost; plants, compartments, supplies. The element of them being set back adds a sense of realism to the show, one that makes SGU stand out from it's peers, nothing is definitely easy, everything has a consequence and a long-term impact can definitely be felt.

These ideas definitely provide much of the excitement with our heroes having to deal with trials and tribulation. It was definitely exciting to see Rush and Eli try to brave out the storm, working out their skills in order to precisely calculate the exact route needed; we've known these two for a long time so for them to utilize their skills in this exact way is engaging indeed, a reflection of how far they've come. It was definitely exciting to see Dr. Park in a life and death situation because it added a sense of drama to the proceedings, it allowed the emotional sides of Eli with his compassion and Rush with his coldhartedness to come out and they proved deep and insightful; Rush certainly sells that direct, hard-edged tone well while Eli sells that concerned, vulnerable, sometimes light tone well and to see Eli care about the value of one life and Rush the value of the mission is something and Dr. Park well I was drawn to her as she talked about her life, managing to reflect both her struggles and how far they came with the garden and her moments in the garden as it burned up just made me a believer as she struggled to hold on for dear life, just hoping that she would make it out okay.

Unfortunately you have to spend 2 1/2 acts of moments ultimately resulting in nothing just to get to these moments. I admire what they were trying to do, grab the audience in by relaying the severity of the situation and showing the adventure by having the people looked around but there wasn't much more to it than "it's dangerous, who's going to take the suit, we have to do this the exact way" and "man, what happened to this city.", I felt bored out of my mind watching them, it seemed like after they managed to introduce the basis, they didn't have anything to grow it on; there was some potential in the arguments regarding certain issues but it seems as if these issues are dropped within seconds and the possible routes they show like a possible conflict between civilian and military, they don't even bother to take those. There were some jokes intertwined in there but most of these jokes seem to be there to fit the time and they're trying too hard to fit the situation while also providing something substantial, in fact there were so many jokes that I kept wishing that there would be at least some character dialog or comment about what happened itself, alas; there wasn't.

It's a shame because the momentum could really be enhanced if they'd just expanded on some of the concepts and utilized the characters more as a draw; there could of been an overall greater meaning to the city, greater meaning to the risk that they're taking. I feel like instead of the city being used as a sort of one-off for the crew to explore, it could of been used as a reflection of humanity, of what's going on in the Destiny; that could of made the entire episode something more. Additionally, I want to be drawn in to the city and feel for our characters. A situation like this is just begging for an emotional connection, they reflect it with some good character moments such as this character situation but without alot of that, the city just felt hollow and much of the tenseness of the situation was just zapped away. Sure, some of the comedy is decent but the unique situation the show has does not afford it the same sort of luxuries that past SG series has and comedy can't be the only thing to hook an audience; these characters are designed to have an inner wealth of personality and their personalities have to be tapped for the situation to work. An example of this would have to be some of the action of the city which really provided that (if brief) wealth of military knowledge, survival and teamwork; it provided the perfect framework for both the adversary, the crew and the action and it's as exciting as the Destiny plot.

I will admit, it's a shame it got canceled because there's an overall sense of enthusiasm that the show suddenly gained but we can't forget about the faults which led to said cancellation in the first place; alas, "Blockade" continues the traction that Season 2 has but ultimately has reminders of why the show doesn't work. It is a good episode though, there are some things that will entertain you joke wise, many of the characters were on-point and it definitely picks up later on in the episode but it lacks that certain something to make it memorable or even special; if only they picked up a bit on the character moments and gave more of a emotional purpose.

6.5/10