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GateWorld
March 13th, 2011, 02:46 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/s2/220.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/universe/graphics/220.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/s2/220.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">GAUNTLET</A></FONT>
<FONT SIZE="1">EPISODE NUMBER - 220</FONT>
<IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/graphics/clear.gif" WIDTH="1" HEIGHT="10" ALT="">
Cut off from every star and every planet in their path, the crew takes a stand against the drone command ships. Meanwhile, Eli comes up with an extreme plan to escape drone space for good.

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Rachel500
September 3rd, 2011, 05:36 AM
It’s a big ask for any single episode: how do you at the same time close down a season, a series and a franchise that has lasted for almost fifteen years? “Gauntlet” doesn’t do a bad job of answering the question. As a finish to this era of the Stargate franchise, it could be worse. As a finish to this season, it’s OK. As a finish to this series, it’s a good bookend for “Air” (01.01-3).

Where to begin? Well, let’s start with the latter premise: the finish to this series, Stargate Universe. Season two has been so much of an improvement over Season one that when the falling ratings and the news of the cancellation hit, it really did feel like the show was going out before its time. “Gauntlet” backs that feeling up in spades. It’s a quality episode hitting just the right amount of sentimentality while wrapping things up for the crew of Destiny at the same time. The plot -- that they have to stay in FTL and go into stasis to avoid the drones thus losing three years of their lives -- is well done enough that it works.

There are great scenes between the various characters as they say goodbye to loved ones on Earth (loved the Eli/Mom chat); as they discuss leaving their loved ones behind (Wray in a heartbreaking conversation with Scott); as they contemplate what they are about to do (Rush and Chloe sharing a heart to heart about the importance of the journey). There are other moments; Chloe and TJ talking about ALS, Telford and Young saying goodbye, Rush getting to praise Eli, Eli coming into his own, a still blinded Park on Earth seeing out of someone else’s eyes. The recurring characters all get a moment; Park, Volker, Brody, Varro and James. And there’s the table scene with the regular cast of characters all present and accounted for; toasting each other as family. In the last episode of the series, Universe shows that it had found the sense of team that it so sorely needed.

It was a good bookend to “Air.” Where that episode began with them all arriving chaotically, fragmented and scared as the lights came on. “Gauntlet” is the counterpoint to that: they’re all leaving in a sense but calmly, peacefully, accepting their fate as the lights go out. It’s a beautiful thing.

In addition to that, Eli’s original story arc of a drop-out kid who doesn’t understand his own potential is realized here. He gets that he’s smarter than Rush; he gets to step up and do the brave thing; he gets to be the glue between Young’s sacrifice and Rush’s pragmatism. David Blue delivers a sterling performance. Indeed, all the cast do. If there has been one constant on Universe it’s that they have a talented cast throughout regular, recurring and background.

As a finale to the season ending though, really the episode is only just OK. The arrival in the new galaxy, the challenges of that galaxy, the fact that they have descendants living in the galaxy -- all of that is swept away by the decision to skip the rest of the galaxy. I find myself sympathizing with Rush: you can’t help thinking you’re missing out on the journey. Moreover, it kind of makes what happened in this galaxy all rather meaningless. It got too hard so we got out of Dodge. It’s just not satisfying although I appreciate if they’d gotten a third season it would have allowed for exploring a whole new galaxy.

Exploring new galaxies, whether our own or others, has been the journey the Stargate franchise has taken since Stargate SG-1 reopened the Stargate in 1997. “Gauntlet” isn’t a bad way to say goodbye at all. It has humans just like us overcoming alien threats to survive and find their way; it shows the crew as a team because a team, military and civilian, soldier and scientist, has always been at the heart of the franchise. Symbolically it shows the lights going out, everything going into stasis, but the journey continuing: the hope that one day everything will come back to life again. So, no: it’s not a bad way to end it.

If I’d had three wishes though, it would have been that they could have gotten one of the SG-1 cast back for a final scene on Earth showing the Stargate programme continuing in fiction if not reality; that we could have had something to show what was going on with the characters that we’ve followed for so long both SG-1 and in Stargate Atlantis; that the show wasn’t cancelled at all.

It’s a shame that Universe is undoubtedly going to be blamed by parts of the fandom for ending the franchise but it’s not a bad show and had Syfy had the courage to stay with it, I am certain it would have turned things around rating-wise in its third season. Universe deserves better than to be simply remembered as the show that ended this era of the Stargate franchise.

Brad Wright and his many co-producers deserve a lot of credit for their long custodianship of the franchise. While I might not have agreed with every decision made, every storyline pursued or not pursued, he and the whole Stargate team have provided me with hours of entertainment for which I say a grateful thank you. But I can’t deny that a part of me is secretly hopeful that the Stargate won’t be silent for too long.

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

ZRFTS
December 10th, 2012, 06:14 AM
Gauntlet

Throwdown, Melee, Whatever you want to call it; this episode promises a lot. Everything you've ever known is on the line as they encounter the drones and try to make plans for the survival of Destiny, all while trying to reflect on how far the characters came and what they went through to get there.

Unfortunately this is a bit disappointing.

The problem itself isn't with the premise; in fact the first few minutes of the episode happen to be exhilarating with the involvement of drones, fighting back and the possible issue of surviving in space. There's a certain rush to be had watching out characters scramble around, contacting homeworld command for a possible solution that'll fix away all of their problems, hoping that their newfound discovery will help them turn the tables and possibly, allow them to continue the mission without any fear whatsoever; in fact it is that rush which fuels the hope. We've seen SG series start to turn the tables, both SG-1 and Atlantis gaining the upper hand on their bad guys so hopefully, hopefully it should start getting good for the people at home which is what makes the battle scenes better than usual.

There's this sort of "Siege" feeling going on that there's quick hope but then there's no hope and that's reflected here; the sudden realization that their plans aren't working, the quick adaptiveness of the drones and the attempts to hold it all together. Everybody who's on the ship manages to feel lifelike and convincing, Greer with his gun-ho attitude, Rush with his calculated confidence and Young with his die-hard command attitude and they manage to ride the waves of confidence and disappointment pretty well; in fact I was convinced that they truly believed that they were under attacked when they were filming this. And what happens after they destroyed the ship really shows that this is a different SG series. Instead of having a bunch of stopgap solutions, they instead have to deal with the consequence that all of their systems are shot and they can't do the same thing over and over again due to the fact that they'd get blown out of the water; I'm surprised it took this long for SGU to embrace this kind of stuff but it's definitely providing some good stuff, the risk-taking, the attempts to fulfill the mission, the dedication, the bonding. It's gritty, provoking and provides some of the best moments of "Gauntlet".

But after the action filled moments, the true problem shows itself and that is the lack of exploration with such a premise; I was hoping that the premise would allow a window for us to grab onto the characters, make us care for their crazy plan to hibernate themselves for 3 years. This is risktaking at it's finest, unpredictability to the level of pi (based on whether something would go wrong) but instead it lead us to 44 minutes or we're watching the characters walk around, contemplating their plans for the future ahead and talking casually with other characters; most of which lead to nothing. There are some good character moments here that reflect the growth and even some newfound arcs that the show didn't get to explore. One involving TJ who continues her breakthrough by providing an admittingly deep speech about not being able to do anything and dealing with the cards that we're faced; another involving Rush confessing to Eli about his potential and how important he is to the mission and another even bringing back something which I thought they forgot, Scott's son and Wray's relationship with her lesbian friend

A lot of these moments show what these characters are shaped into, the life experiences that they've gained, the hope that they've lost, the understanding they've formed; if you've compared these people to their counterparts in Season 1 than you'll notice a massive difference in the way they've acted. It was only then that they've had futile hopes of going home, that they were unsure of themselves and were constantly the victims of squabbles; now look of them. Scott has an idea of what he wants to be, Eli finally becomes more than just a video game geek, TJ finally becomes memorable and It is these things which truly make those moments beautiful and one which grabs the audience at mostly every point.

However... There are also some bad character moments here too, Eli's proclamation of him not wanting to be under Rush's shadow for too long was pretentious and somewhat out of character, in fact it threatened to derail his scene had it not been for Rush. Young's hanging his head down, drinking and referencing his wife doesn't even get much exploration or even notice, instead it is something that's used as a hint to past episodes; all of them are given returns to Earth but for some reason, only Scott, Wray's and Eli's are shown and Eli's the longest one out of the bunch which only reinforces growth in ways like "but you wouldn't have gotten to see the incredible things you've seen" and "you didn't know what you were doing but now you do". Considering the premise of the episode, it would of been nice to explore more of those hints, Young's unknown demons, Scott and Wray and the type of things they may be going through bu they aren't explored which shows another problem; the lack of refinement in the overall perception and reflection of the characters.

But alas, the producers mission is to make a reflective episode and they've succeeded. They made many from the clever mission utilizing a shuttle in order to get the minerals that they need to Rush's subsequent confidence in coming up with plans and subsequent reasoning in his mental perspective to even the now friendly confrontation between Young and Telford and as they were putting the characters in their stasis chambers and leaving one behind, they were looking for the future hoping that they'd come out even better than before; alas, this would prove to be the unintentional end of Stargate.

Everything is filmed in such a long and drawn out way, from the goodbyes to the freezing to even the moments inbetween, it was sort of overindulgent of itself but in this case, it served as one thing, a message to the SG community; it's as if they were telling them "we may be powering down, we may be going into stasis but we'll be back, we'll find a way to be back whether it's through a movie or a book and it doesn't matter if it's 3 years or not, we'll be back." and that's definitely reflected throughout with the lights powering down and scenic shots of Eli looking out into the distance while Destiny flies through FTL gracefully. It's symbolic, it makes you sad not for the fact that the show is ending, but for the fact that the sci-fi franchise that has braved this long biting the dust and the last moments we get with our crew in a "last supper" type setting, the chemistry that they share, they way they seemingly become family just happens to make that moment all the more bittersweet; they really seemed like a bunch of good people both on and off the camera and that one moment portrays them as real people, not actors but people.

It's sad to see the franchise end like this and while it may have gone through it's ups and downs but at least it provided us with 357 hours of sci-fi entertainment (which amounts to 4% of a year) and for that I commend it. As for "Gauntlet", it ends the series with a whimper instead of it's intended bang, one could only imagine how it would play out had they focused a bit more on the characters but while the subsequent reflections show how far our characters have come, it doesn't show more about who they really are; this episode may have been uninteresting but after seeing the past few episodes, I am a bit sad that they didn't get to further exploit the rising quality and I could only imagine what would lie in Season 3 had they continued going on. At least you got a second season.

5.5/10