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STARGATE UNIVERSE 2.18 ‘Epilogue’

The crew of the Destiny explore the homeworld of their descendants and T.J. gets some startling news about her future.

Episode Title: "Epilogue"
 
Writer: Carl Binder
 
Director: Alex Chapple
 
Previously on "Stargate Universe":

Several weeks ago, a disastrous attempt to use the stargate to dial Earth created two divergent timelines that existed simultaneously. In the original course of events, Colonel David Telford (Lou Diamond Phillips) safely returned to Earth, but the rest of Destiny's crew — with the notable exception of Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle) — were stranded 2,000 years in the past on another planet. In the second timeline, the original Rush was transported back in time and he was able to help the crew avoid making the same mistake. The original Rush also killed Telford and later died himself on the alternate Destiny.

More recently, the crew of the Destiny found a colony of people who claimed to be Tenerans, a group of people descended from their other selves 2,000 years ago. As the Tenerans gave Destiny some much needed supplies, they begged the crew to take them back to their home planet, Novus. Although Colonel Young (Louis Ferreira) initially refused, Lt. Matthew Scott (Brian J. Smith) gave the order to retreat when the planet came under attack from alien drones. The Destiny eventually escaped and a month later, it arrived at Novus with the displaced colonists… only to find the planet ravaged by volcanic activity and completely deserted.

Story:

In the altered distant past, a much older Colonel Young lies on his death bed while Chloe (Elyse Levesque) watches over him. Young's son arrives and tells his father that his daughter will join them shortly. Back in the present, the landing party of the shuttle can't break into the city's archive, necessitating a quick blast from Destiny itself to break through. Inside, they find the Teneran archives, including footage of the group's first moments after escaping Destiny on a wildly inhospitable planet before eventually finding a safer world they call Novus. In the present, the Teneran leader Yaozu (August Schellenberg) objects to Adam Brody (Peter Kelamis) working with their records since his alternate self founded the rival Futuran nation.

Eli (David Blue) defuses the tension by offering to work on the archives along with Brody. In the past, the crew initially believes that Rush might be able to save them, but Young keeps them alive by ordering them to build shelter and find food. The Brody in the past angrily accuses Eli of getting them into this mess, leading Young to intervene. As time passes, Dr. Volker (Patrick Gilmore) suffers from kidney failure and becomes the first death on the planet. In the present, Volker is unnerved to learn of his own early death while the rest of the scientists attempt to upload the archive to Destiny. 

A violent quake rattles the archive, injuring some of the crew and Yaoku. In the past, Varro (Mike Dopud) watches somewhat jealously as T.J. (Alaina Huffman) and Young fall back in love on the planet. But Varro later finds his own happiness with Lt. James (Julia Anderson), while Chloe and Scott become the first couple to wed on Novus. In the present, Eli looks disappointed as his past self notes that everyone on the crew is hooking up except himself and Brody. Meanwhile, Lisa Park (Jennifer Spence) confirms that a black hole in the solar system is tearing the planet apart, giving the crew less than 37 hours to upload the archive.

In the past, Chloe, Lisa and T.J. all give birth to children by Scott, Roland Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) and Young respectively. Even Eli finally has a child with his own wife, Cpl. Barnes (Leanne Adachi). Back in the present, Rush finds some promising supplies and the crew learns that the city is on an active fault line and it is only getting larger. Back to the past, where T.J. develops ALS aka Lou Gehrig's disease and slowly dies alongside Young and their children. In the present, T.J. is devastated, since she is already carrying ALS, but Yaoku says that a cure was discovered and can be found within the archives. They also learn that the inhabitants of the planet left together in a fleet of sub FTL ships to a new world.

However, the file transfer to the Destiny is interrupted by an even more powerful quake that devastates the complex. T.J. nearly falls to her death, but she is saved by Varro, who then falls himself seemingly to his demise. But Young goes back for Varro and has him raised to safety, despite his precarious condition. The two shuttle crews narrowly escape the planet. Back on Destiny, T.J. despairs over the fact that the ALS cure isn't in the data that they retrieved, but Eli assures her that they will use the knowledge that they did get to find a cure.

And finally in the distant past, Camille Wray (Ming-Na) is the last original survivor of the Destiny. Now an extremely elderly woman, she addresses a crowd of the crew's descendants and declares that their mission was not a failure. The journey itself was the mission.
 
Breakdown:

As I mentioned last week, the idea of a starship's crew meeting their own descendants has been done to death before. However, it's never been quite like this. "Stargate Universe," has had a remarkable second season up to this point. But this is just brilliant storytelling.

The notion that the Destiny's descendants are still alive and probably much more technically advanced than they are is irresistible. It's almost worthy of its own "Stargate" series, if the franchise gets another chance after this. Giving T.J. and Volker a glimpse into their respective deaths also gave the episode some emotional punch, because both of them could very well die from their aliments. It also gives the crew a real personal stake when trying to find a cure for T.J. in the archive going forward.

Even though the episode could have been done without the flashbacks to the alternate lives of the crew in the past, I really loved those scenes too. Without having to adhere to weekly adventures, the crew of the Destiny actually had a fitting conclusion. Camille's speech at the end could have served as an effective way to end the series, if the show had ended there. Sadly, there are only two episodes left and I suspect we'll be left with a cliffhanger for our trouble. But I did feel some effective closure from the end of this episode.

There was also a moment when I thought that Varro was really dead. It would have been a waste after building him to be the last surviving Lucian Alliance member on the ship, not to mention his burgeoning relationship with T.J.. But the shock was terrific and the fact that Young went back for him shows that the crew has fully accepted him now. Oddly enough, the Varro, T.J. and Young relationship is the most viable love triangle on this show. I'm not as invested in the Volker, Lisa and Greer triangle, mostly because Greer was such a late addition to that.

Brody actually got most of the comedic moments in the past as the grumpy old man who nobody married. I did wonder why his Rush-worshiping philosophy lived on if he didn't have anyone to pass it on to. But I guess he wasn't the only one who blamed Eli for what happened.

Volker also got in a good line on Rush by taunting him about the crew surviving without him. Of course, Rush could have immediately shot back that everyone but Volker survived without him. But I suspect that Rush was actually stung by his words.

I'm starting to run out of words to describe just have great this series has been. And it's just a travesty that the series was canceled so soon.

Nothing can change that now. I only hope we get some real closure by the end.

Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.