[more images to come]
This is the last ep directed by Eddie Olmos, and he always delivers something interesting. I thought the direction was the best thing about this ep, actually - interesting camera angles, some warm lighting, good character exchanges, visceral - really, all of it. Jamie Bamber should also be singled out for his performance. I usually find him a bore, and there have been a few good moments - particularly in Sometimes A Great Notion - where he has shone, but this ep he was consistently good and interesting. All the other actors were fine, and Grace Park had some wonderful moments as a conflicted Boomer, and Tahmoh Penikett was terrific in his scene with Olmos - really stellar work there.
The weakness, again, is the writing. And, again, it is the small choices the creative team as a group locked themselves into. Ellen as the 5th was just a terrible choice, pure and simple, and every time she dons the mantle of the great leader and spouts some self-important gibberish which is really just another expository info-dump it makes you cringe or is just laughable. Fortunately the info-dump was brief this time - but MOMENTOUS. This is no fault of the actress, Kate Vernon, who is terrific, but she is burdened with the task of Sisyphus in selling this garbage Moore and the writers' room came up with. The latest character which plays into our finale and is introduced in the Third Act is The Colony (and crafty Cavil has moved it) - which, as predicted, is like the Lexx (but sporting a big crown)- it looks like a big bug and they fly through portals and caverns inside of it as with the Lexx.
I enjoyed the ep, since my expectations were so low, and particularly the interesting things Eddie Olmos did behind the camera, but it was another bridge episode - not much really happened - it was, once again, more set up.
Here's the rundown:
Hera dreams of crashing the Galactica into a Base Ship - probably a big foreshadowing of how the Galactica will meet its end and take out Cavil's forces, then the dream morphs into Hera running down the Opera House hall. CUT TO: A Natalie-Six and a generic Eight argue with a hairy human over the goo-repairs and vulgar language ensues before RRRRiiippPPPP - a big tear in the hull and Natalie-Six saves the hairy human before being sucked out into the cold dark emptiness of space. Doc Cottle tells us later 61 dead, 26 of them Cylon. There is a big memorial service (where do they keep the dress uniforms and who presses them?) and Baltar decides to (well, I'll get to that)
... CUT TO: Sure enough Sam Anders is made into the Galactica Hybrid by the Cylons - 6s and 8s (still no Leobens ???). Love the cool red disco space-invader lights dancing on the walls - possibly my favorite thing in the whole ep. Michael Trucco's version of Hybridspeak is a bit ... awkward - it comes across a bit as of a parody rather than mystical-sounding - and the choices of the words ... er, wouldn't there be more of a transition between his "word salad," his regular speech and Hybridspeak? But I quibble.
Adama reads to Roslin - who lives - in sickbay (which is pretty busy and looks smaller somehow). They share a Kamala joint - kind of a Cheech&Chong moment (wink) - they did come of age in the 60s ... cute. More Opera House visions by Roslin, Athena and Caprica Six that tell us nothing new (Hera running, Roslin and Athena concerned and Baltar and Head Six sweep her up and take the little girl into the auditorium and close the door - we got it). Ho hum.
Great line from Adama when he finally says "I've had it up to here with prophecy and destiny" or some such. Great line-reading by Olmos on that one. Given how the story is turning out, many in the audience can now say it too. They laid it on so thick and heavy earlier in the series that it's tasting rather thin now - like watered-down wine. Speaking of tasting, plenty of alcohol still around for everyone - I'd like to see the booze resurrection still. Adama agrees to give the Final Fivers (er, Four) a Raptor to do recon for the Colony, and Ellen tells us (drumroll please) "Where we and the Centurions went after we ended the war and got them to end their experiments with evolution in exchange for resurrection technology" (Brakes screeeeeeech) Er, what? All one can do after that is exhale a heavy sigh. SLAP-CHOP anyone? Adama doesn't want Helo and Athena knowing about the little Raptor recon though (What? Whhhyyyyy?) ... phony. They would be the perfect people to put on the mission, so we must assume the writers need them for a later episode positioned differently. Okay.
We hear of Sonja Six, Cylon Quorum member, has urged Adama to transfer his ship's flag to the Base Ship and then there is a terrific scene of the new Quorum (Sonja is there) - now made up of various ship's representatives - arguing like the dickens over what they can rip out of the dying Galactica.
CUT TO: Baltar radio address (people are still interested in hearing his drivel?) where he describes angels, and looks at Head Six (now in a more demure white dress, not that weird sea-nymph outfit) as he says they're real and I see one and "they take the form of those nearest and dearest to you."
CUT TO: Boomer jumps her Raptor to a place between Jupiter and Ganymede it looks like and has a bonding moment with Hera after being mean to her. Boomer's vulnerable side emerges a bit and she projects with Hera into her dream house. Yes, of course Hera can project, silly Cylon. CUT TO: Dumb scene of harlot Ellen hectoring Tigh and he finds an empty booze bottle under his sofa and tosses it against the wall. Hell, why not? I feel like doing that now when I watch the show. Ellen reminds Tigh that they, in their earlier lives she remembers better, sought to end the cycle of war between man and machine, to which the best line of the ep is spoken by Tigh, "Well, that was a bust." Heh-heh.
CUT TO: Kara on a toilet while Baltar shaves (why did he get rid of the Jesus beard anyway? Couldn't Ellen put that into an info-dump?) ... again the Galactica is strangely empty - no one else in the formerly packed bathroom. The scene gets much better after Kara thankfully washes her hands and then challenges Baltar she died and to check her duplicate dogtags. SIDE NOTE: The past few eps have felt more and more like the budget has dictated the reduction in numbers more than the references in the dialog telling us they've died or moved to other ships. It feels like some sets have been torn down already and they're working around it, as in The Face of the Enemy webisodes. CUT TO: More Sam Hybridbabble and they unplug him then plug him back in and it turns out he's used the Cylon goo's conductivity to tap into the ship's systems and is operating things (none of us saw this coming - riiiight). Kara takes her musical notes to him and tells him he's gonna figure it out and 'splain it to her.
BACK TO BALTAR AT MEMORIAL SERVICE: Baltar outs Kara to all those in attendance as one who has come back from the dead and she walks over and gives him a tiny little slap. Uh, what? That's right, that's all she did. After Helo begs Adama to let him have a Raptor - and Adama says no, Adama has another breakdown - kind of a redux of the Kara-Leoben gesso paint thing but with no booby-grabbing, just sobbing. Adama cleans up his face and hands, but not his pants, and Tigh enters and they sit like the old saws they are (drinks in hand of course) and accept Adama's decision that they are going to abandon Galactica (but Galactica fans, remember Hera's little dream, the old girl has one job left).
I haven't thought of the movie Porky's in like forever, and thought it was a stupid teen movie at the time, but I remembered it because it sort of encapsulates where we are right now as the audience of Battlestar Galactica: We really want it bad, so bad it hurts, a great satisfying ending to this magnificent show - after all that buildup. But ... like the horny virgins in that movie, we are ending up with an old haggard hairy-mole hooker. It's a let-down.
It just seems impossible for three 42-minute segments (a 1 hour and and a 2 hour ep) remaining to wrap up this story in a satisfying way, especially with strip joints and Zak Adama.
The one bright spot of the ep was the unexpected way in which Cavil took possession of Hera - it was almost with fatherly love ... so what his ultimate plan is could well be the interesting wild-card. More fool me for my optimism I suspect.