The Road Less Traveled - Episode Review

BSG is hitting it's stride now: This episode has Leoben showing up at the Demetrius. Kara had been stymied, the crew in near-revolt over the weeks of failure and her seeming mental disconnect. She decides to take a Viper outside and senses the presence of Leoben, who suddenly appears in a badly-damaged Cylon heavy raider. He docks with the Demetrius and our star-crossed, doomed lovers are reunited ... ... but it doesn't feel so good.

He helps Kara with an art lesson. Anders is mystified as to what he should do but acts the ever-loyal husband.

Leoben tells her the crew doesn't trust her (duh) and that she needs to go with him to a Base Star and speak with the Hybrid there. He convinces her. Kara pleads. Kara orders.
Gaeta says NO.

Redshirt gets all macho and begins to agitate against Kara's leadership. A female crew member doing recon on Leoben's vessel gets killed when it blows up and we have our climax to end Part I.

Poor Leoben gets beat up ... by everybody it seems.

Subplot has Tyrol cracking up, contemplating but unable to go through with suicide (his baby, Nicholas, seems to want to hear Baltar on the radio !?!?). Tory talks to Tyrol in the air-lock where he considers that she was murdered, not knowing it was Tory who spaced Callie. She lies to him and begins to push him that they have a special fate and need to live up to their special abilities - quite Machiavellian in her tone. Hopefully they are not setting up a showdown between Tory and Tyrol in which he kills her - it is already too obvious if they are, and it contradicts the evolution of these characters' psyches. Tyrol already made it clear he never wanted to be with Callie, that he "settled," so revenge-murder will feel false. So the knife he holds in the BSG Last Supper image must be for someone else. Later, Tyrol goes to hear Baltar and Baltar singles him out from the crowd and reaches out symbolically - which evokes a throat-choke in response - this scenefelt forced - a pretext for: Later Baltar goes to visit Tyrol in his quarters and is more heart-felt and impassioned in his plea and admits to "terrible crimes" and Tyrol hears and responds. This is the best scene by Aaron Douglas (Tryol) the whole series thus far - he played it beautifully - really captured the combination of desperation/rage/contempt. Due to Baltar's ever shifty eyes, we have to assume the whole gambit is to land someone "of consequence" to count among his flock.
End Part I
(Part II looks awesome - finally the Hybrid is central to the story)


Last Supper Image - Theories Abound

This post has been moved (5/26/08) to the new BSG Last Supper blog

Escape Velocity - Episode Review

Well, well, well. Finally the plot thickens. The story threads are beginning to come together and pay dramatic dividends. This was a trasformational episode - we begin to see the shape of what's to come. We begin the episode with Callie's funeral and Chief (Tryol) is beginning to lose it. [great set and production design this scene], Chief has a moment with Tory and Tigh where he senses something - suspicion - of their involvement? Tigh goes to visit Six in her cell and informs her that she cannot see the baby Hera (this line is a writers' contrivance because of course that would have been denied), and she tells him "You come here every day, but you don't even ask questions anymore." He sees Ellen's face in Six's and is baffled and disturbed and can't leave quick enough.

There is yet another secret meeting of TTT (no one notices?) where Tory let's Tyrol think that Callie killed herself and pushes the others to accept their new roles and their new powers, "We are stronger," and "Think about what we can do." Which largely falls on deaf ears because Tigh and Tyrol are consumed by their grief for lost lovers.

Tory visits Baltar again. She begins to explore her strength in the form of sexual domination and expounds about moral relativism. Suddenly a well-organized militia attacks the Baltar groupies' hideout - looking for Baltar - brutally attacking the women. A knowing look passes between Tory as she sees Baltar cowering behind a panel as if he were Claudius hiding from the Pretorian Guard. Later, Head-Six appears to Baltar and has him read the old text of the gods - graffitied onto the walls by the invading militia, and he is led to a woman among his throng by Head-Six who clings to the old beliefs. This spurs him to take his followers to a temple service of the old gods and defile their temple and cause a ruckus - this scene felt implausible and a misfire in the direction of the story and Baltar's character arc - until later in the episode.

We have some terrific scenes with Roslin and Adama, he is being sweet to her as she fades due to the cancer. She wears a wig now which looks much like her hair in the Opera House dream sequences. The lame subplot with Lee being righteous comes to fruition, with him leading the effort to override Roslin's limit on public assemblies and later to Adama privately she says, "That's Lee," with much respect for his moral certitude. Roslin had a great scene with Baltar where she laid down the law to him - wonderful writing and again superior acting by M
ary McDonnell - "Look at me," she says. Great great scene. Her fears are for the safety of the people that remain, she doesn't want religious conflict and warns the Quorum that if they override her it will blow up in all their faces. Lee intervenes as Baltar is being physically held by Head-Six (we see it - we see him without Head-Six as if he's being held up) as she compels him to take the punishment of a guard enforcing the assembly restrictons dishes out only to have Lee show up at the last second to offer the Quorum's reprieve. Beaten, Baltar delivers a worthy speech along the lines of early Christian monotheistic Jesus's sermon-on-the-mount - a "god is love, love yourself" kind of plea. Tory, Lee and Six watch discreetly from various vantage points. His followers are enthralled. This subplot is finally slipping into gear.

Concurrently, Tigh keeps going back to visit Six, and every time he sees Ell
en's face more and more - is this Cylon "projecting?" We don't yet know. He brings guards, he orders them to aim their weapons, he orders them out, until finally he even banishes the hidden guards and turns off the electronic monitoring and is totally alone with Six. In agony, he pleads to know how she deals with the guilt and pain of what she's done - he is obsessed with his own actions toward Ellen and Six proffers the notion that only through pain does a Cylon or human (she still thinks Tigh human) evolve past the gnawing emotions and despair. She knows he's tortured and in need and is compassionate - yet curious. She smacks him around, and he asks for more until she realizes it is love he needs and she kisses him. This is now very interesting. We get to see the wonderful Michael Hogan at his best.

Subplot with Racetrack's raptor having some serious trouble, and crashes - a favorite minor character survives unscratched despite a really bad crash (!?!) - we saw the craft nosedive and the windows break but the vacuum of space yet left them none the worse for wear. Later, upon investigation - Tyrol realizes, in front of everyone, that he forgot to change a large fuse. He cannot be certain if it was a mistake or sabotage he did not realize he did ... a la Boomer from Season 1.

Later there are scenes with Tyrol working to hard and pounding the algae booze at the bar. Adama shows up to the bar to offer a compassionate ear but Tyrol is out for bear and loses it - spewing all of his disappointments and contempt for Callie out loud and challenging Adama to demote him - which he does. A good scene - the words about "I settled," are chilling. Chief is getting much more interesting too.

The episode started out kinda weak and then the weaved together beautifully - the nuance to the writing and to the story choices really revealed themselves at last. I had almost lost faith, but this episode but BSG back on track.


The Ties That Bind - Episode Review

[Alt titles: Requiem for Callie and Valley of the Doll] Ooh. Clumsy dialogue this episode, and some forced scenes. A misfire this time out. Even BSG can't be perfect every time. Dark finish - and they need to tone down the trailers for the upcoming week's episodes because you knew Tory was going to do it.

Callie wakes from a restless night, finds her bed empty - then Callie finds Tyrol with Tory at the Galactica bar - Tory is a liberated girl now and feeling free. Lee has a press conference, the media broaches the question about Kara's mission on the Demetrius. Roslin rebukes Adama for that privately.

Kara has quite a supporting crew on that ship: Gaeta(!), Sharon, Helo, Seelix and Anders and some cute young guy who no doubt will get killed (think Star Trek red shirt).Yet there is this exchange: "You know everything you need to know, private, so stow the questions." ... er, that was Kara to Anders.

Doc Cottle reassures Callie. Kara takes up painting again - creating a map from her vision since her erratic jump coordinates aren'tgetting them any closer. Zarak makes his play for Lee's support - slipping him a classified document. Lee falls for it, and exposes an executive order on secret tribunals. Roslin masterfully outplays him and this viewer is wondering WHY are they wasting time with this subplot? Lee would be that easily manipulated?

The Cavils, Simons and Dorals (the latter two unseen) take up residence on their own Base Stars and the Sixes, Sharons and Leobens (no paycheck for Callum Keith Rennie either this week - unseen) on theirs. There is discussion, a deal, and the Cavils double-cross, of course (no resurrection ship came along to new jump coordinates), and seemingly blow up the 2/6/8 Base Stars (keeping track of the numbers people?). Hmmm, the Hybrids have no say? All the metal models disembarked first?

Callie finds a note for Tyrol stuck in the door (!?!?) with the time and place of the next TTT&A meeting - oh, that's right Anders is on the Demetrius ... (the final four out of five Cylons would be that careless?). Callie winds her way through the walls of the Galactica to get into a position to overhear the TTT meeting - you've seen the trailer "skin jobs." Callie makes noise, meeting breaks up, Tory finds evidence of Callie's presence.

Callie has a breakdown and grabs her baby and goes to an air-lock and is ready to space it, and herself maybe. Tory shows up and Rekha Sharma finally puts a little emotion into her acting and reassures Callie enough that she drops her guard. Backhand! And that's a wrap Nicki Cline - check's in the mail.


Base Star Galactica?

What would be more interesting? A soap opera with no Cylons, no conflict, no space battles, no familiar characters set 50 years prior to BSG, or seeing the story from the Cylon perspective? Wouldn't it be far more interesting to tell the story from the Cylon side of things, and see it their way? Why do they project? What composes their personalities? Why are they distinct from one another?
Why is Cavil #1? Why do they see the humans as a threat? How do they sense the repeating cycles of time?

USA (NBC-U) could order the series for at least a half season or longer with the same soundstages and some of the same crew and cast (the lesser known actors ... or make it a vehicle for Lucy Lawless if she's not committed elsewhere). Olmos, McDonnell, Sackhoff, Bamber, et al could basically guest star for certain episodes. They could make it as trippy and weird as they wanted visually to give insight into the Cylon view of living - with a built-in fanbase, the show should do well.

Et tu Romo?

I had a dream - Romo is the final Cylon. This is certainly not my choice, and it violates a fundamental rule of screenwriting: you do not introduce a primary character in the 3rd Act. But it was Romo's comments when he spoke to Six prior to Baltar's trial that popped up in a dream in which I was sitting in with the writers and the show's creators and we were reviewing footage from the day's shoot in which Romo was revealed as the Final Cylon.

The love Romo spoke of in that scene was for her. He is the final Cylon and he is also the architect of the Cylons. He created a model that looks like himself and he created a Six that looks like the woman he loved so that he could love her for all time. Something to ponder.


Six Of One - Episode Review

A big gear switch - down - from episode 1. Melancholy and a bit scattershot. Two tracks to the story: Cylon civil war is beginning to take shape and the Galactica fleet has a hangover, literally.

We finally get to know the numbers of the cylons as yet unnumbered (Cavil is #1, Leoben is #2, Simon and Doral, 4s & 5s), and Boomer is the betrayer yet again.

Kara doesn't pull the trigger, but Roslin does - and misses. Kara screams and writhes and agonizes, you've seen the trailers "We're going the wrong way!" Kara thrown in the brig.

Adama agonizes over Kara. Great scene with Roslin and Adama - she lays it out as only the amazing talent of Mary McDonnell can bring life to a writer's words. Lee and Kara have a goodbye kiss in the brig. Lee takes a Quorum position, nominated by Tom Zarek. There's a perfunctory going away ceremony for Lee and a laaaaame goodbye moment with Dualla.

The Cavils have decided to lobotomize the raiders so they will comply and attack the human fleet, the vote is 3-3 with the Dorals and Simons supporting the Cavils (and the lone Boomer as the swing vote for the Cavil side), and the Sixes and Sharons and Leobens understanding that the raiders sense the Final Five among the human fleet. This aspect of the story really deserves much greater exposition but they totally rushed it and the Sixes bring centurions and - as turnabout is fair play - reveal that they have removed the inhibitor devices from the metal models and now they are sentient and angry that the Cavil faction has harmed the raiders. Gunfire ensues and presumably now the entire model lines of the 1s, 4s and 5s are toast (pun intended).

The Baltar subplot thickened with a lame scene in which Tigh urges Tory to sleep with Baltar to gain access to him to discover if he is the Final Cylon. A follow up scene has Baltar seeing Head Baltar (!?!?) - absolutely baffling. How they will tie this development up is a mystery. The Head Six and Head Baltar subplot is a story stream they would do well to wrap up sooner rather than later - it is a distraction at this point. There must be some culmination to the Head Six character - a final reveal of her purpose and then be done with it. The subplot with the groupies and the "one god" messiah thing with Baltar just isn't gaining traction for this viewer. We'll see how it develops.

Adama wrestles with his conscience and feelings and secretly arranges to release Kara and give her a waste processing vessel (no doubt with many an obvious "we're in the sh*t" metaphors to follow) and go on her own to find Earth.

A bit disappointing this episode - they went down a gear or two too many from the powerful punch of episode 1. And if they are all eating algae slop now, where o where does the endless supply of alcohol come from?

[Ed Note: Upon repeated viewing, the episode holds up better - such were the nuances to the story. Clearly Six is portraying Head Baltar if you look at the feline body language James Callis so deftly emulated (see pic above). The Adama-Roslin scene is one of the best of the whole series and perhaps the best work by Eddie Olmos thus far.]


Resurrected Kara is a Clone?

Remember the ovary they took from Kara on Caprica? They cloned her and sent the clone back to the fleet in a new Viper. The clone has been programmed and Roslin is right - it's a Cylon trick. Her mission is to buy time for the Cylon fleet to find Earth first .... Ah, but what about the images new Kara brought back? And her description of the Earth's solar system - yellow sun, ringed gas giant, star patterns matching those of the Temple of Athena ? ? ?


He That Believeth In Me - Review

A fast start out of the gate for BSG in Season 4, Episode 1. Overall, excellent. Battle, Baltar, Kara returns, Roslin seeks Six's counsel, ToriTyrolTigh&Anders (TTT&A) commune, Brand new Viper and Time differential for Kara, Kara feels jumps, Kara seems extra powerful - er, bionic even - overpowers guards and Anders and is ready to kill Roslin - fin.

Baltar sub-plot with the girl groupies ... kinda lame so far, but the knowing look Head-Six gave him after he "healed" the boy ... hmmm. Is "God's plan" finally falling into place and Head-Six goes from lover to mother?

Battle sequence at the open - excellent ...
HOWEVER, why are the Cylons attacking sometimes and not others? At the Algae planet they could've launched a massive strike just before they jumped away and did not.

Kara seems to have amazing strength when she attacked the guards and Anders, and if it's not a dream sequence then she must be a cylon and that's a rather early reveal for the last of the Final Five. And what about the foreshadowing of Roslin twice? If she is not the final cyclon then what did she hear in the brig and in the C&C those two times prior to Cylons appearing/attacking in earlier episodes? And if the Kara ready to kill Roslin is also a dream - two dream sequences in one episode? The teaser for Ep. 2 makes it look like the Kara attack was real.

The scene with TTT in the background as Roslin pointed out cylons could be right next to them was priceless - excellent camera work - skillful and clever writing and directing.

Why does no character ever ask "What are we fighting for?" It seems at this stage they have more in common than in opposition.

[Ed note: I don't count Razor as part of Season 4]