The Two Best Episodes of Stargate Universe
It is my opinion that Stargate: Universe, the third of the Stargate television series, ended too early after only two seasons. Yes, there were some bumps in the road and some of the episodes were not that great. So I guess I understand why the bean counters over at NBC Universal (who owns SyFy) decided to cancel the show. Though near the end its run the show finally got on its footing and delivered us the two best episodes episodes of the series.
Season 2 episodes 17 and 18, entitled Common Descent and Epilogue respectively, came only 4 episodes before the series finale. Not billed as a two parter (no “to be continued”) the two sequential episodes were by far the best of the series. At the heart of the two is a deep story about humanity and humanistic themes that repeat over time. The episodes are set on a great backdrop of a story. I have to explain a little bit of plot point for it to make sense. In an earlier episode the crew members of the ship, Destiny, tried to make it home to Earth using a very risky procedure. (I make the assumption that you have a working knowledge of the show so I’m not going to go too deep into history). This procedure backfired and they didn’t make it back home to Earth. What the crew members didn’t know is that they inadvertently started a new civilization when they were sent back 2000 years through the stargate only to be stranded on a planet.
In Common Descent, while on a common resupply mission, the crew members encounter humans on another planet that speak English and already know who they are. These people turn out to be their descendants going back 2000 years. Talk about shocking. While with their newfound descendants they learn about their history and a future that was (with another version of themselves). As it turns out their descendants separated amongst idealogical lines into two different countries. Two predominant religions developed that were at odds with each other. Political tension got so high that even they had a threat of nuclear war. It was hard to believe that some of the same “problems” that are common on today’s Earth (in the real world) was crop up again when the civilization was founded by the most “enlightened” of people.
Common Descent was a great lead into Epilogue. Destiny took its crew members and the colonists back to Novus (the descendant civilization’s home world) only to find it deserted. We had learned that the planet was suffering from natural disasters and also that the two predominant nations were at the brink of nuclear war. Neither plague was good but fortunately nuclear war didn’t happen. Led by Novus’ inhabitants the crew descended into a fallout shelter that had a repository of the civilization’s history. Thanks to starting on a good technological foot the civilization was able to preserve the original keno footage from over 2000 years ago. They got to see first hand what life was like for them and the main story of this episode centered around what could have been.. It was a great way to see the “what-if” if the crew ever decided to settle instead of continuing Destiny’s mission. They got to watch their town being built, relationships being made, babies being born and the evolution of what could have been.
The two episodes put together were fascinating and very moving. It was very cool to see the beginnings of a civilization unfold, the hopes and dreams its founders had and then what finally became of it. The similarities with the real world were very close. Of course it was social commentary but this was an interesting way to play it out on the small screen. I just loved seeing what could be. That’s the beauty of science fiction shows.
There are also a few interesting tid bits that I wanted to share too.
- One line written down by Eli about maybe Destiny coming back turned into a prophecy
- 2000 years in the future they still have terrible elevator music
- This civilization invented beef jerkey
- English remained the pervasive language
So that’s it. The two best episodes of a show that ended too early. Do you agree? What are your favorite SGU episodes? If you happen to have Netflix you can watch the entire series there but the two episodes I’ve cited are on Hulu to watch right now.destiny, hulu, humanity, netflix, stargate, stargate universe, syfy