Daily Archives: March 14th, 2011

BSG rewatch: Unlimited access

2.8: Final Cut

This episode interweaves the repercussions of what has become known to the Fleet as “the massacre on Gideon” – when Tigh sent marines in to get their supplies, and they opened fire on civilians – with the sort of episode I didn’t think we’d get on BSG: the behind-the-scenes, daily-life one. Both of these strands are made possible by a new character, D’Anna Biers, played by Lucy Lawless.

D’Anna is investigating the ‘massacre’, and will potentially put out a very damaging (for Tigh, and Galactica) report. To counter this, Roslin and Adama invite her on to Galactica, with unlimited access to the crew, so that she can get a sense of what it’s like for them – and report on that to the rest of the Fleet.

This is a very clever thing for Roslin and Adama to do, of course; the theory is that finding out that the pilots who protect you are human, and have their own fears and dreams, will make the Fleet more sympathetic towards them and more forgiving. It’s also a clever piece of writing for the show, because unless you introduced a psychologist character, or showed them having fairly uncharacteristic D&M conversations with each other, showing the sort of emotional turmoil we get here would have been very difficult indeed. As a result, we get to hear why Cat has been taking stims by the fistful, and we get to see Dee trying to put a brave face on everything, as well as a few other character insights. I love Felix Gaeta more and more with each episode – he’s so competent, and calm, and yet in this episode, he talks quite frankly about why he smokes and what his plans had been before the attack. Oh, and seeing Baltar so desperate to get interviewed is quite frankly.

Meanwhile, Ellen has been terrified by some graffiti in the cabin she shares with Tigh, and a shuttle Tigh was meant to fly on develops a problem that would have killed him and the crew if it had taken off. It turns out that the man who led the Gideon mission has been sent a little bit nuts by the event and its repercussions, and is seeking vengeance through Tigh. It’s an interesting insight into the ramifications of acting as a soldier, and the conversations had by various people about how to react to the events – from Adama, and Tigh, as well as others – show that the writers were not trying to paint anyone as wholly good or bad. I was a bit disappointed with just how patriotic and triumphalist the episode got in the end, though; it verged on nauseating.

The very, very end of this episode is chilling. A theatre, with the human-looking Cylon models watching D’Anna’s footage… and D’Anna there, reassuring them that yes Caprica-Sharon is doing well, and the baby is still alive.

CYLON!!

BSG stats:

  • Starbuck in the brig: 1
  • Baltar in the brig: 1
  • Women Baltar shows interest in (not including Six): 4
  • Women Baltar actually gets to sleep with: 2
  • Baltar religious conversions: 2
  • Different sexy dresses worn by Caprica-Six: 14 (and one sports outfit)
  • Apollo sides with President against Dad: 4
  • Number of Cylons viewers know about: 6
  • Number of Cylons humans know about: 2 (and Starbuck an additional one)
  • Roslin has a vision: 3
  • People deliberately thrown out the airlock: 1 (+3 threats)
  • Ships lost: 1
  • Ellen gets suggestive: 3
  • Starbuck and Apollo do fisticuffs: 1
  • Starbuck and Apollo kiss: 1

BSG: Putting the band back together

2.6: Home, part 1

Starbuck, Helo and Caprica-Sharon make it back to Kobol and the 24 ships that have followed the President back there. Apollo, of course, goes slightly insane on seeing Sharon, his father only just recently coming around from being shot by the original. The President threatens to throw Sharon out of the airlock, to Helo’s obvious horror, and then she mentions that she knows where the Tomb of Athene is… which buys her some time. Things are not all hunky-dory among this rebel crew, of course: Mr Meier, Zarek’s off-sider (played by the same guy as played one of the nastier Jericho characters), keeps encouraging Zarek to consider what might happen out there to, say, Apollo and/or the President. Now that they have the Arrow, Roslin takes a crew down to Kobol to search for the Tomb and thus the way to Earth. Everyone is terribly suspicious of Sharon, of course… and the fact that she saves them from a Cylon ambush actually doesn’t help very much. It’s always possible to see something like that as still being self-serving.

Back at the main fleet, Adama seems to be losing it a bit. He’s back in charge but he is far more wounded than he would like to admit by Apollo’s desertion of him. He chooses a new CAG – one that Tigh is very much against, with good reason it turns out, since his inattention nearly gets Cat killed on a training op. Having been invited to speak with him frankly, Dee tries to encourage Adama to see that putting the Fleet back together should be of paramount importance. He dismisses her, but eventually realises he was right and announces their return to Kobol. Of course, the real question is just what will he do to Roslin, Apollo, and everyone else who ‘abandoned’ him?

This episode doesn’t sound like a particularly exciting one, but once again it’s the seemingly little moments of tension that really make this show amazing. Roslin’s duplicity in stopping Helo from threatening Apollo and then ordering Sharon’s death is a remarkable demonstration of her ruthlessness. Adama not immediately coming back to full strength and being visibly affected by the loss of people to Kobol is a slightly uncomfortable reminder that this man, who is in charge of the safety of humanity, is himself frail and flawed. Apollo is incredibly pleased to see Starbuck – perhaps more than he should be – and even gives her a kiss on the lips. Plus, it’s a two-parter, so you then have to go straight on to…

2.7: Home, part 2

Once again this episode has two narrative tracks. One is on Kobol, as Adama finds the President and they fulfil her mission; but the other is on Galactica and centres on Baltar.

Baltar is getting increasingly frustrated with Six; she has told him that their child will be born in Galactica’s brig, and Baltar just can’t stomach that. Six gets so frustrated with him, in turn, that she next appears to him looking completely different: hair straight and slicked back, little make up, and instead of her trademark slinky dress she looks like she’s just back from the gym. In this guise she laughs at him and tells him that he is indeed going nuts, and she is his sub-conscious mind playing tricks. The possibility of insanity is played up by the cinematography, because there are a number of shots of Baltar, mid-conversation, talking to an empty room. This has rarely happened in the past, except perhaps at the end of a conversation. Baltar then goes off to get his brain scanned, looking for a Cylon chip, but of course there isn’t one…

Meanwhile, on Kobol, Adama – and Billy, whom Adama decided was a good addition to the team looking for Roslin – do indeed find the Indiana-Jones-wannabes. Adama of course has a very bad reaction to Caprica-Sharon… and the Chief, who is also along, perhaps as bad. It’s all very fraught really. They spend a bit of time reconnecting, camping in the rain, and then tramp off looking for the Tomb. Meier is working on Sharon, getting her to agree to killing the old man (again). When they finally get to the tomb, Sharon double-crosses Meier – shooting him – and willingly surrenders to Adama, to prove that she is working of her own free will and not because she is programmed. No one much really believes her, although I think Adama is troubled by it.

The episode ends with entry into the tomb, and our heroes being shown how to reach Earth: it’s the place where all of the constellations representing the Twelve Colonies are visible in a certain way in the sky. Now, this is slightly problematic from an astronomical point of view, but it is beautifully done for the show. I love that the main pointer for them, from where they are, is the Lagoon Nebula – because I’ve seen that, through my telescope. So we conclude with hope: the President is reinstated, martial law is over, and we know (kinda) how to find Earth. Hurrah! … although Caprica-Sharon is in the brig, Helo and the Chief are going to have some serious issues, and Baltar is… well, Baltar. Good times.

BSG stats:

  • Starbuck in the brig: 1
  • Baltar in the brig: 1
  • Women Baltar shows interest in (not including Six): 4
  • Women Baltar actually gets to sleep with: 2
  • Baltar religious conversions: 2
  • Different sexy dresses worn by Caprica-Six: 13 (and one sports outfit)
  • Apollo sides with President against Dad: 4
  • Number of Cylons viewers know about: 5
  • Number of Cylons humans know about: 2 (and Starbuck an additional one)
  • Roslin has a vision: 3
  • People deliberately thrown out the airlock: 1 (+3 threats)
  • Ships lost: 1
  • Ellen gets suggestive: 3
  • Starbuck and Apollo do fisticuffs: 1
  • Starbuck and Apollo kiss: 1