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11 December 2011 @ 04:25 pm
Battlestar Galactica  
The purpose of this post is simply to express my appreciation for the wonderful show that is Battlestar Galactica. I recently borrowed all 4 seasons from a friend (which fyi, Blu Ray is the way to go for this show) and while I've only gotten through the first half of season 4 (up to Revelations), I really needed to take a moment to write up what I'm feeling - because it is that good (and I'm sure my old roommate who originally got me into BSG in college is tired of getting texts with numerous expletives and exclamation points whenever anything crazy happens).

So for anyone who hasn't watched BSG or Season 4.0 (though I highly, highly recommend it), spoilers (and some of those expletives) ahead. I only ask that if there's anyone on my f-list who has seen 4.5, please no spoilers.

I'm not quite sure where to start, but probably should go with this:

Frak me.

Holy shit. I'm not sure what I was expecting from Revelations (except of course some revelations), but it wasn't THAT. This was an outstanding episode of television. My only complaint is that it was perhaps a little rushed, and I would've loved to see some more reaction shots to four of the Final Five being outed, but what we did get was powerful and effective. Honestly I didn't think anything could top Edward James Olmos breaking down after Saul Mother-frakkin Tigh (thank you Alan Sepinwall) reveals that he's a Cylon, but Kara's wordless shock at seeing Tyrol and her hubby (ex-hubby?) Anders arrested was pretty damn good. Can we just get this whole cast a truckload of Emmys please? Because they are KILLING it (more on this awesome cast later).

I'd love to start with the ending (because again, holy shit) but there are so many moments in this half of the season that deserve mention I'm just gonna work my way up to that. I was on such a high after watching Hub and Guess What's Coming to Dinner that part of me was afraid the mid-season finale wouldn't be as amazing the episodes before it (excepting Sine Qua Non IMO, unfortunately) but if it's one thing BSG knows how to do, it's finales. (See the end of S2 with the time jump to the settlement of New Caprica. Brilliant.).

Highlights of Season 4 thus far:
  • Starbuck mysteriously reappearing with a shiny new Viper, claiming to have been to Earth. Now Starbuck is one of my favorite characters on this show, as a dysfunctional screw-up in her personal life who is also the best damn pilot in the fleet. After the mind-frak she had to endure on New Caprica with Leoben, it's been pretty clear that she's not the same person she was pre-New Caprica, but even after coming back from Earth, this is not the same Kara Thrace that piloted her Viper into the eye of the storm. She's changed yet again - whether it's for the better or not remains to be seen but I for one am enjoying the ride.
  • Four of the Final Five being revealed to the viewer (technically occurring at the end of S3). I think most shows would stretch this out as long as possible, revealing it only when a switch was flipped on at a crucial moment, but here we not only get to see who the Final Five are, but also their reactions to the news. This knowledge weighs on the characters, informs their every action. Adm. Adama giving up command of the ship to Tigh, telling him he trusts him because Tigh not the same man he was before. Athena asking Tyrol to take Hera away from Natalie-Six. Anders' paranoia that he's going to harm his own (or who he thought was his own) in battle.
  • The scene where Tigh imagines shooting Adama in the CIC - his horror at what he's done - in those few moments you can feel his despair, wanting to turn the gun on himself but unsure of what might await him on the other side. All without a single word. Michael Hogan can convey more with one eye than most actors can with their whole bodies. Gave me chills. (This also may have been in the S3 finale but it was amazing).
  • The sequence where Athena is chasing after Hera in the halls of Galactica, inter-cut with her visions at the Opera House - wow. Talk about building up suspense - kudos to the editing team. And I will say I didn't expect Athena to actually shoot Natalie-Six (twice!), considering the insight she has into Cylon thinking. Way to completely fuck up any possible collaboration between the Cylons and humans.
  • The Hybrid jumping the basestar after being plugged in. This was one of those moments where my jaw dropped.
  • And I loved how they spent a whole episode after that in the fleet, with no information as to what happened to the basestar. We were just as much in the dark as they were.
  • The Hub: There are many, many noteworthy scenes in this. Mary McDonnell was beyond superb in this episode. Roslin's shock and disgust at hearing Baltar FINALLY admit to giving up the access codes to the Cylons - I don't even think I can do it justice by describing it. The way she was physically sick at what he was saying (and to add insult to injury, his belief that he's been rewarded for what he did), the way she turned, hands shaking, to pray, her decision to let him die, and then her subsequent panic that she had in fact killed him. The show repeatedly brings up the notion that it's not enough for humanity to survive, but that humanity needs to be WORTHY of surviving. Here we see that theme again, but in a way that is specific to Laura Roslin, President of the Colonies. It's amazing to think back at her evolution since the miniseries/"33" to this woman now, who will stop at nothing to ensure the fleet's survival. We've seen shades of this before (fixing elections) but now we see the toll it's taken on her personally, with her inability to let herself love - ironically, the quality that was supposed to separate the humans from the Cylons.
  • Of course, Adama and Roslin admitting their feelings for each other. It's been a long time coming (as Adama says, "it's about time") but usually that line is applied to couples that have been kept apart through artificial contrivances. Nothing about the Adama/Roslin relationship rings false. Others have said it better than I can, but it's been a joy to watch these two develop a mature relationship, the kind that takes a lot of patience to build and see through. It helps, of course, that MM and EJO have great chemistry and consistently elevate every scene they have together.
  • Also in The Hub: Baltar stirring up a revolution with a Centurion and preaching the word of God, only to have the Centurion be blown to bits. That whole conversation was hilarious.
  • Cylons can no longer "download", thus making them as mortal as humans. It forces us to ask the question, what exactly separates Cylon from human?
And now the end of Revelations:
Again, I didn't expect the fleet to actually get to Earth at this point, and I certainly didn't expect it to be after a tentative truce with the Cylons. Following the scene of everyone celebrating - they've FINALLY FINALLY made it - with what seems to be a post-apocalyptic Earth was stunning. To see Adama take his fistful of soil (a nice callback by Roslin to New Caprica) and realize that it's radioactive was heartbreaking. The look on his face, on Roslin's as she utters "Earth", on D'Anna, and Tigh, and panning to the wreckage of whatever is left on this planet - insane. Everyone's reactions deserve a write-up, really (Caprica-Six comforting Tigh for example) but suffice it to say that this rag-tag fleet with these rebel Cylons are devastated. THIS is the place they've been fighting to find? THIS is their new home? Where the hell do they go from here?

On the one hand, this development raises interesting questions as to the nature of "all this has happened before, and all this will happen again". Who was here before? The 13th tribe? What happened? How did the Final Five get from Earth to the fleet? When were they on Earth? Who is the fifth Cylon? There are many questions still to be answered in BSG's mythology.

On the other hand, I find myself not all that anxious to have those answers. In the end, this show for me is a grim look at a post- 9/11 world that asks a lot of tough questions. What does it mean to be human? How far are we willing to go to ensure our survival? At what point do we not deserve to survive? What role does faith play in people's actions, and how do we measure the morality of those actions when we are from different faiths/backgrounds?

So who is the final Cylon? My answer is, who cares? Unlike Lost, where I was caught up more in the mystery than the characters, BSG is about the bigger picture for me. And whatever may happen in the final 9 episodes, it won't change what has come before it.