EPISODE REVIEW: Stargate Universe: “Epilogue” (Season 2, Episode 18)

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Last time, as you recall, the Space Family Robinson had met up with the descendants of their own doppelgangers, who had been projected two thousand years back in time. They took the Descendants home to find their world, Novis, was dead. Tonight we pick up from that discovery…

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A couple months ago, the Destiny attempted to dial home while passing through a star. The wormhole passed through a solar flare, resulting in a time loop and two destinies. The crew - excepting Rush - attempted to gate back to Earth, while Rush was able to wa…you know what? It’s pretty complicated. Just check out the review for that episode here http://www.republibot.com/content/episode-review-stargate-universe-%E2%8...
Last week we saw a glimmer of what became of the doppelganger crew. This week we get the full on history:

2000 years ago, the crew ends up on a barely-habitable storm-riddled planet with a very low atmospheric pressure. Young sends out teams to find a better place
Scott and Greer find a suitable Planet Cascadia, and everyone moves there. They name the place “Novis.”
They have nothing with them but the clothes on their back, but they set to building shelter, and one of the guys things he’s found some signs of iron, which should allow them to build tools.
Six weeks later, Dale Volker rejects his new kidney and dies.
TJ and Young hook up again. Varro is very upset by this, but eventually hooks up with Lt. james.
1999 years ago, Scott and Chloe get married. TJ is copiously pregnant. Later that year, she has a son - Steve - and a year or two later they have a daughter.
1998-1996 years ago, Scott/Chloe, Park/Greer, Varro/James and a whole slew of others start crankin’ out the babies.
1995 years ago, TJ stars showing signs of Lou Gherig’s Disease.
1994 years ago, Eli hooks up with one of the marines, and they have kids.
1993 years ago, Brody becomes increasingly crotchety and cootish about all the kids on his lawn. Eli starts a school.
1989 years ago, TJ dies of her disease
1988 years ago, Brody and several others announce they’re leaving to found a new society. Whether they’re leaving the planet or just the immediate area isn’t clear.
1981 years ago, approximately, the kids born on Novis start having kids.
1975 years ago, Young dies.
1970 years ago, approximately, Camile is the last surviving member of the Destiny crew. She dedicates the Eli Wallace Elementary School.

PRESENT DAY:
The Destiny reaches Novis and finds the world dead, however they make their way into an archive beneath the ruins of an unnamed city and find lots of supplies and the full history of the people of this planet. They attempt to upload this to the ship, and pry into the sideways lives of their doppelgangers. This tells TJ that she’s going to get ALS and die horribly, and tells Volker that he may yet die.

They load supplies up to Destiny, but given that they can’t use the gate, they have to do it by shuttle and that takes a while. Rush finds some filters that should help life support. Greer discovers beef jerky. Scott discovers that the people who weren’t able to leave the planet via the Stargate prior to its destruction built huge space arks and were heading out that way. They didn’t have FTL, so the ships will take centuries to get there, but at least much of their civilization survived.

Earthquakes strike the archive complex, and the team needs to bug out. Varro is grievously injured. There was hope that a cure for ALS was in the archive, but unfortunately Eli was only able to download about half of it before the archive complex was destroyed by earthquakes, lava, and, ultimately, a black hole.

The end/beginning/middle/whatever

OBSERVATIONS

Is it just me, or is the CGI on this show looking increasingly fakey? The old age makeup was pretty weak, too.

I really liked this episode, I have to say. There were some really good scenes, particularly the birthing montage, and the heartbreaking montage of TJ getting sicker and sicker while Young takes care of her over the years. I’m getting a little lumped up thinking about that, actually.

Eli said last week that he didn’t believe the two nations of Novis would have nuked each other, since “They were our descendants.” He also said that the crisis was just as likely to make them work together. Turns out he was right: the space arks were a joint effort between the two countries.

The Destiny’s air filtration problems are now solved more-or-less forever. They’ve got a good deal of preserved food, too, several shuttle loads at least, and in an emergency they’ve got hundreds of stasis pods to stick people in.

Camille served two terms as mayor, and also wrote the constitution of Youngland. Her love life presents some logical problems, though: She mentions, after several years on Novis, that she went on a date, and “Of all the dates I’ve had over the years, she’s the most compatible with me.” Ok, swell, Camille is a lesbian, no particular problem there, but the implication is that there’s a gay community on the Destiny.

How likely is that? Destiny started out with only about 80 people, and they’ve lost a lot. I’d assume they’re around 50 people total. Statistically speaking, gay folks make up about 3% of the general population. 3% of 50 is one and a half. So, what, Camille and a bisexual? I’m joking, of course, but it’s a weird line for them to throw in, since the crew is so small, and also since they were intended for a very covert high security operation on Planet Icarus. Don’t ask/Don’t tell is all well and good, but Icarus was up and running before the regs on such things changed, and normal military regs don’t really apply for long term covert ops, where any sign of potential psychological deviance is weeded out long before people get the assignment. (Presumably Camille was a political appointment to the SGC) Any way you slice it, it seems unlikely to me that there’d be enough lesbians on Destiny for Camille to have had a lot of dates.

On the other hand, I sort of liked Camille’s explanation of her spinsterhood: “I’ve already found my soul mate.” That was kind of nice. That one line did a whole lot to rebuild the damage season 1 did to her character.

On the gripping hand, it seems rather irresponsible of her not to have a kid, given how limited the gene pool is, and given that at least one person is passing on the gene for a very very bad, fatal disease. They’re on a planet full of scientists, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out how to impregnate Camille without her actually having sex. Heck, I can figure out a way to do it, but then I’ve read Kurt Vonnegut’s “Galapagos.” In any event, the American Indian guy we met last week who was implied to be Camille’s descendent apparently wasn’t. My bad.

This all raises an interesting question about exactly who gets to breed and who doesn’t, by the way: How many women are there on Destiny? Icarus - as with all military operations, really - appeared to be mostly male. Destiny likewise. Camille, Chloe, TJ, Park, James, and this new never-before-seen corporal, and maybe one or two others? Yeah, we’ve seen a few extras in the background, but if there’s fifteen women on Destiny, I’d be surprised. Certainly there aren’t 25. Since the colonists appeared to be going for traditional monogamous marriages, that means about 20 guys don’t get to have kids. (And, indeed, we saw Brody evidently angry, unloved, and alone)

Why the schism between Brody and Young? Dunno, but I suspect it had something to do with Young holding absolute power for more than a decade, and probably being fairly inattentive to his job during his wife’s long absence. It’s interesting to see how quickly Brody got angry - pretty much the moment they got to Novis - and it’s interesting how it almost felt like he was getting shut out in favor of the more amiable Eli and Park.

I liked all the Park/Greer homelife scenes, particularly the elderly ones.

Volker was buried beneath a cross. Nice touch.

The three new Descendant characters introduced last week - the mayor, and the young man and young woman (Who looks like Chloe with better hair) really didn’t have diddly to do tonight. Presumably there’ll be some payoff for ‘em next week.

It was really neat seeing everyone’s reactions at how their parallel lives played out, particularly since it’s painfully obvious to everyone how in love Young is with TV. Varro is clearly the odd man out, and I really do hope he survives simply because he’s a strong character that adds a lot to the show. It’ll be interesting to see how his part of the triangle plays out.

This episode probably would have made a nice conclusion for the season, with the historical montage, and the Ark leaving, and Camille’s whole speech about how “We failed, but our real mission was always the journey.” I wonder if this was written or touched up once they found out they weren’t coming back for a third season?

Life on Novis seemed a bit idyllic. We didn’t really see any scenes of backbreaking farm labor, you know?

I have to ask: Can Stargate survive not having a Stargate?

Alas, now that the show is dead, it’s really kind of hit a stride, don’t you think?

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE

Yes, despite the incongruous lesbian aspects, yes, I really think so. There’s something very heartwarming, noble, and, yes, American, about these people starting with just the clothes on their back, and building a life for themselves amidst great duress. Their 19th century lifestyle was very homey, their homelives were pretty conservative seeming. Yes, I think Conservatives will like this one.

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