Starting next week, the final ten installments of Stargate Universe will air. But we've already seen the first three episodes, and it's full of bittersweet space opera goodness. Read our spoiler free breakdown now.

It took SGU almost two years to finally find its stride. Watching season 2.5's first three episodes โ€” "Deliverance," "Twin Destinies," and "Alliances" โ€” only seems to confirm our sentiments from the last review that SGU has improved tremendously. Too bad the growth didn't happen fast enough to save the series. So it's with sad hearts that we watch Destiny's beautiful swan song. But thankfully these final episodes play out less like a slow death march, and more like a spectacular funeral pyre.


More Brody and Volker

As you can see from the above clip, the first ever clip released for the final half-season, Brody and Volker are getting a lot more camera time. While this particular clip doesn't truly demonstrate the best of B&V's comedic timing, there's a strong heaping of Brody/Volker banter in these final episodes. No longer is Eli forced to bear all the comedic weight of the show. The comic relief duties now rest comfortably with the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of SGU.


SGU 2.5 Is Gorgeous

We're not sure what happened, but this is the best Stargate has ever looked. Ever. Look at this image we pulled out. That's just the shuttle! The Destiny has never looked this good before. Has the studio been playing with the lighting, sprucing up the sets, or just allowing the cameras to sit still long enough so the audience can take a minute to wonder at the spectacle they've created?


The new bridge, which was introduced last year, looks absolutely stunning. We were thrilled after the reveal of the golden room in season 2, but it looks even better now. Maybe it's due to all the newly added lens flares (something we're usually against, but you gotta admit it looks pretty sexy in this screengrab).

Pacing The Plot

No more overly complicated plots, loosely strung together by someone scribbling superfluous equations on the side of the ship. Season 2.5 picks up where it left off, and moves in a quick and intelligent manner. OK, well there were still some odd ball equations, but common sense took precedence over the Beautiful Mind moments. "We need to understand this alien tech." "OK lets go get said alien tech and crack it open." No magical chair necessary โ€” we have a spaceship full of geniuses. SGU is getting it done, using the tools it has handy.

Still Room For the Oddball One-Shot Episode

While we stated that 2.5 seems far less complicated, there are still a few crazy one-shot episodes that turn the viewer's expectations on their head. Let's just say if you liked "Time," you're going to enjoy "Twin Destinies." We do worry that this particular episode may have set the rest of the season up for a giant meta-disaster. But we're only 3 episodes in.


The Lucian Problem

Sadly, the whole Lucian problem hasn't been solved yet. As much as we like "Grizzled Lucian," who still has the hots for TJ, the Lucians are kind of boring. We're much more interested in the drama of the original crew, something that's been building for two years! Or the Destiny itself. Being stuck on a crazy ancient spaceship a million miles away from home is interesting on its own. Who cares about space terrorists? Let's explore the Destiny some more, while we still can!

On the plus side, the Lucian terrorists do crack open a few character dramas that we haven't yet had the time to dive into. Specifically in the episode "Alliances." So there's always that.


Fantastic FX

Last year our jaws hit the floor over the Ursini race. This year, the great new FX spectacles are the spaceships. Here's a look at a droid command ship expelling the baby drones into the big black โ€” like a spider spewing open its egg sac. It's seriously beautiful stuff.


And this last part is slightly spoilery...

The Death Toll Rises

We promised this post was spoiler-free โ€” so we promise we won't say who, how, where or why, but more folks are going to die aboard the Destiny. And much to our delight, it happens without the use of wildly spraying gun fire from poorly thought out alien takeovers. SGU gets very creative with its kills in the end. And the shock value was not lost on us, for as long as it lasted.