New meta blogger to the foldApril 17, 2008
This is Millari. At 13th Colony blog owner Spacepug’s invitation, I will be regularly posting viewer reactions to the episodes of Season 4. Since we figured this out a bit late in the game, I’m a little behind and I’m going to post a double-long entry to cover both “He That Believeth in Me” and “Six of One”. I promise to be much quicker with the blogging for this week’s episode, and a tad shorter.
But if at this point, you’re still interested in reliving the glory of the last two week’s episodes, go behind the cut and see some thoughts on:
- The CGI-gasmic premiere teaser (Long live the Wheely Ship!).
- Some friendly advice for Kara Thrace. Also: Lee hugs like an eight-year-old, but kisses like a man.
- Gaeta: Will working with the woman who almost airlocked him last season push him over the edge?
- Baltar: Season 4′s Charles Manson or St. Augustine? And the intro of Smite!Them Girl, aka Paulla, and:
- Unfortunate Sex: 1, Gaius Baltar: 0
- Why the Dylan Four need an agenda at their meetings.
- Unfortunate Sex: 2, Gaius Baltar: 0 (aka “why, Tory why?”)
- Baltar meets Head!Baltar: Oh my giddy aunt! What is he doing there?
- What the Raiders and the Fleet’s tylium workers have in common
- A guide to Cylon numbering.
So apparently, my favorite moments of the teaser involved a lot of yelling:
- When Racetrack yells at Anders to take his thumb off the transmit button
- When Gaeta yells out (he sooo sells it) that they lost the Pyxus
- When the Chief yells generally at the deck: “Come on! Your mama’s not gonna save you today!” I still wish they’d used Aaron Douglas’ “Drop your dicks and pick up your sticks” adlib though.
- And my #1 favorite moment: When the Chief yells at Anders, totally against military protocol: “Anders, get the frak in your Viper!”
Somehow, I was totally chagrined to see the big Wheel-in-The-Sky ship get blown up. I don’t even know why. I don’t even know its name, but I was like “Oh noes! They blew up the Wheely Ship!”
Speaking of which, weren’t the battle scenes absolutely BEAUTIFUL? The group of folks at my house watching included a friend who owns his own animation/special effects studio, and even he was gaping. I think they’ve decided its the last season so they’ve deciding to zero out the CGI savings account. Oh and I loved Roslin for thinking of the captain and 600 souls on the Pyxis, just like that, as soon as it blew up. That’s the Roslin I loved from S1. In fact, there have been so many little callbacks to previous seasons in this episode, like they’re resetting the clock. This was further reinforced for me when Adama said, “We’re back where we started all over again” (Cue to ominous shots of the Dylan Four in the background…)
Wow, Lee’s hug was INTENSE. It was a like an eight-year-old’s hug. But that kiss sure wasn’t an eight year old’s. Nevertheless, it was a very short respite in what otherwise has been the trainwreck that is Kara Thrace these days: She is constantly screaming, crying, begging. She talks to Adama sometimes like she doesn’t respect him anymore, and she is crazy fearless. Remember “Act of Contrition?” When Adama kicked her out of his office? She crumpled. That Kara is gone.
It’s so painful to watch Kara be on the outside. She’s so used to being listened to and respected that I think it’s actually harder for her not to be taken at her word than it would for the average person. She’s like the head cheerleader in high school suddenly turning into the nerd. She’s lashing out in such destructive ways – knocking out Sam, telling him she’d put a bullet through his head if she found out he was a Cylon. And speaking of bullets: Kara honey? Why, why, why did you pull that gun on Roslin? That is so not going to help your cause, girl. The whole thing made me frustrated with her, in the way I sometimes get very frustrated with Baltar, actually.
Speaking of Kara/Roslin: I’m really wondering what to make of the fact that both of them seem to be experiencing the same nasty headaches whenever they jump the ship. Remember her headache during the season finale right after they jumped? Is it the same thing? What does that mean? Are they both the same?
Oh, and Laura? Thanks for doing this week’s “What the Frak” recap for us, right in the middle of your heart-to-heart with Admiral Atheist. Wasn’t necessary, but you’re still a teacher at heart, so we know you can’t resist the urge to school us every now and again. And I’m sure there were some new viewers out there who appreciated getting up to speed on your heady journey from being 42nd in line to becoming Madame Airlock, to Dying Leader, to Not-Dying-Leader, and back again. Btw, when are you going to break down and just ask your new gal pal Sharon for some of that crazy hybrid-baby blood? No one wants to see the Fleet lose Mom….
Is Gaeta losing it?
He didn’t get a lot to do this episode (because he almost never does), but I was all sorts of psyched for his scene with Kara. He got to be snarky and yo, it was the first time he has interacted with her since she was about to AIRLOCK him! I was like, “Whatever else he might be thinking about her Cylon-ness or not, he’s also not forgotten about the godsdamn Circle“.
Besides, when I think about it, poor Gaeta’s had a pretty rough day of it so far: He perjured himself for nothing; he’s just been through a massive Cylon attack where they lost at least one whole fleet ship. Then he’s forced to work in close quarters with the person who kicked him in the chest and told him to beg, and maybe turns out to be a Cylon. From his point of view, she’s essentially trying to bully everyone into believing her crazy story about Earth and she wants everyone to just believe her without proof. In Gaeta’s world, there are rules about this sort of stuff.
But you know the irony of their interaction is that she’s now in the same position that he was only a few months before, after New Caprica. She’s the one on the outside now. I’m not sure whether or not Gaeta can see that right now, or if even worse, he can see it, and he’s kicking her when she’s down anyway because it’s revenge for the Circle. He’s shutting her out in her time of vulnerability the same way she did to him when he returned to Galactica and in a way, it seems like it’s a LOT harder for her to deal with. I fear for his soul a little in that moment, because I have to wonder on some level he knows exactly what he’s doing and feels justified in doing it because she may be a Cylon and he can tell himself that she’s a machine not worth caring about.
On a shallow note, still love the fuzzy, curly Gaeta hair. Give him more to do, writers!!
Baltar: Season 4′s Charles Manson or St. Augustine? Plus: The Intro of Smite!Them Girl:
Wow, they managed to do such a creepy job with Baltar’s entrance into the Den Mothers of the Apocalypse safehouse/abandoned storage hatch. The way every single one of them wouldn’t meet his gaze? And I was so thankful to see that Gaius seemed just about as creeped out as me. Oh, and I’ve seen it before in trailers, but it’s the first time I got to see the shrine in all its tacky, schizoid, hippie commune/Christmas-display-gone-awry glory? I just about died laughing every time it showed up on camera.
I totally LURVE the crazy cool-crowbar wielding stylings of the new standout member of the Den Mothers – God Gave Me the Power to Smite Them!Girl (now revealed as “Paulla”). The way she stormed out of that head talking about God’s love coursing through her, with Gaius trailing after her – I suddenly got a flash of S1 Head!Six. I suspect it might have even been deliberate. The camera work in that scene seemed to be another purposeful callback.
Um, was Den Mother Tracy there supposed to be a teenager? The fact that Gaius had sex with her kinda creeped me out. Maybe I’m crazy, but somehow I’d pegged him as attracted him to real women, women of power. I’d given him more credit than to take sexual advantage of a naive girl in the throes of existential doubt. In conclusion? Unfortunate sex: 1, Gaius Baltar: 0
I don’t know what to make of the redemption track they’ve very suddenly put Baltar on. On the one hand, the BSG writers seem to be setting Baltar up for Galactica‘s version of the Manson Family, but then on the other, they are making him into a St. Augustine figure, the Christian saint who kept telling God, “Lord, please save me; just not yet.” His behavior in these last two episodes has been intriguing, if a bit jarring at times: One minute he’s sexing up Tory in the cafeteria, the next he’s admitting to a reluctant belief in God and generally seeming pretty darn genuine about the weight of his guilt. But one thing I know: Callis is definitely bringing back the hysterical rolly-eyes move (“Oh, yes, I’m praying for his recovery…”) to his Baltar repertoire, and for that alone, I could hug him.
The Dylan Four Need a Meeting Agenda
The Final Four need to stop having pointless meetings to emote about their situation and they need to do something, or I’m going to get sick of them pretty fast. However, it should be noted that when I say “do something” I do not mean Saul Tigh pimping out Tory like a Mata Hari, especially on nothing more than an off-chance that Baltar might have some intel on the Fifth Cylon. But then, I suppose this is the guy who sent suicide bombers out on New Caprica, saying there was no difference between sending young men to blow themselves up and sending them out in a Viper. I shouldn’t be surprised, should I?
I find it frustrating that Tory’s experience of Cylonhood is so much more filled with weakness and erratic behavior than any of the other three. Each certainly are going through it in their own way: Anders does sex up Tory, so I suppose their some equal comparisons between him and Tory to be made there, but still, he’s holding it together enough to support himself and Kara. Tigh is having hallucinations of shooting Adama, and yet, somehow, it’s Tory’s who’s reduced to crying, which feels miles longer into a mental breakdown than the others, and I don’t know what to make of that. Interestingly, Tyrol seems barely affected. And I suppose this could be because he’s been wrestling with the question of Cylonhood a lot longer than the others have.
Unfortunate Sex: 2, Gaius Baltar: O (aka: “Why Tory, why?”)
As for Tory’s decision to have sex with Baltar (Tigh was so full of it when he said Tory didn’t have to sleep with Baltar. Of course she did. I mean, she works for Roslin, for frak’s sake. She was going to have to do something major to gain Baltar’s trust), I am disturbed to think that the writers might believe that Tory’s journey to accepting her Cylonhood is going to involve her sexing her way through the Fleet (c.f. Sam Anders: Are they never going to talk about that again? Ever?). That aside, why does she make the decision that she does? Because at first, she’s rightfully insulted by Tigh’s suggestion. To understand her decision, I had to think to way back when we first met Tory. I realized: In her own way, Tory’s hardcore. Our first introduction to her is her on Colonial One, essentially telling Roslin to grow up and live in the real world because we’re stealing that election if that’s what we’ve got to do.
Interestingly, the sex scene itself actually felt like yet another callback, this time to a scene way back in Baltar’s past – his sex with the Six model Gina, just before she blew up the Cloud Nine. Notice how both Gina’s room in Cloud Nine and Baltar’s harem headquarters are dimly lit and full of similar kinds of lush, jewel-toned fabrics. Also, in both cases, the woman he’s having sex with is in a dark, confused place, which she’s doing her best to hide from him. Neither woman is very much present in or happy about the sex they’re having with him, (Tory to the point of crying). If the writers did this on purpose, I think they were trying to make a point about Baltar as much as about Tory: In this scene, he seems less petty, less self-absorbed than he was in his sex with Gina. The Baltar of “Lay Down Your Burdens Part II” wouldn’t have noticed Gina crying or consider that he was hurting her. Or tell her that she shouldn’t apologize for crying during their sex. Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so he doesn’t actually oh, I don’t know, actually end the sex and take care of her a little more once he notices all this. But he does in his own unwitting way give Tory something she needs to hear right now – that she isn’t broken.
Tory doesn’t know what she is anymore. And so I’m thinking that despite her antagonistic history with Baltar, Tory might actually take seriously what he has to say. She wants to feel that her Cylonhood means more than simply a machine turning on, and Baltar is unknowingly dangling that possibility in front of her. What moves her is the things Baltar has to say about the humanity of the Cylons, their capacity to feel, their possession of a soul. Baltar lived with the Cylons, so he’s a potentially credible source, especially for someone in such need like Tory. Given the way she jumped right on his words, I’m thinking Tory’s mission to find out about the Fifth Cylon may end up taking a backseat to her own personal journey of self-discovery.
The Tylium Worker and the Raider
I have had an odd and unexpected sympathy for the Raiders ever since I rewatched “Scar” a few months ago and I saw that Athena speech to Kara about how the Raiders download over and over, but have no free will, causing some of them to be filled with rage. So the lobotomizing of the Raiders really got to me. The Raiders and the Centurions of course bring up all the disturbing questions that lurk in the background of BSG’s beginnings, but the reality of what their existence must be like has hardly ever hit a real nerve on the show until now. All along, the Raiders and the Centurions have been sentient. Was it okay to use them then? Is it only now that they have moved from animal-like status to human-like greater self-awareness that it’s no longer acceptable to enslave them?
I’m also intrigued by how the situation of the Raiders and Centurions in some ways mirror the situations of all those workers mentioned last season in “Dirty Hands”, those people who are trapped working in jobs that they can’t ever leave. Nor can they control their own working conditions. And there are people like that on ships all over the Fleet, according to Roslin. It’s also the situation of the soldiers in the Colonial Fleet, who can’t quit their jobs, at least not until they find (if they ever find) find Earth. Once the Raiders and Centurions become self-aware, how are they much different from all these humans living out this semi-enslaved life? This new plot development makes me more and more convinced that Season 4 is going to be all about tearing down the distinctions between the humans and the Cylons, in every way possible.
Baltar meets Head!Baltar
I know this post has already had a lot of Baltar in it, but I just couldn’t let this pass without mention. First of all, how hysterical is it that Baltar sees an ephemeral image of himself and takes all of 60 seconds to accept it as normal? He’s been with Six waaay too long. Also of note: This episode marks the first time in the entire series that Baltar has ever directly addressed (sic) any of the Sixes by name. My two favorite Head!Baltar moments were:
When Gaius turns to him and tells Head!Baltar, “You’re very observant”. Um. In case you missed the implications of this, folks, he’s TALKING TO HIMSELF!
When Head!Baltar is all “WTF, Gaius, could we please focus? Um, Tory? Um, fragile?”
Runner up: This passed by very offhandedly, but I was totally intrigued by Head!Baltar’s complete awareness of Head!Six. If indeed Head!Six is an “angel from God” as she has proclaimed from time to time, does that mean Head!Baltar is too? What about Head!Leoben? Are they all from the same God? From competing Gods? I’m personally voting for Head!Six and Head!Baltar as Terry Pratchettian Azriaphale and Crowley figures. Like they’re both secretly defying whatever Godlike entity of whom they are minions because they’d both rather things to stay just the way they are.
A Guide to Cylon Numbering
Finally, just in case you were wondering:
If you made it to the end of this long post, thanks for reading. See you again soon.