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(Dis)Integration

February 21, 2009
Bill, you're not the leader you were when we started.

Bill, you are not the leader you were when we started.

by millari
Screencap credit: Niciasus

This is a review, containing spoilers for episodes up through “Deadlock”.

I was not in love with this episode, even though some major plotty things happened. Nevertheless, “Deadlock” still felt like a connector episode, like setup for the next and last few four weeks to come. For example, Boomer returned to Galactica this week, and yet we got to hear practically nothing from her – again. In fact, she was even more silent this week. And I was confused and annoyed with how Adama didn’t think twice before throwing Boomer in the brig, and how the other Cylons didn’t even blink. I know she’s been in Cavil’s camp, so her motives less than trustworthy to them, but still, Adama once pulled her body out of cold storage to cry over it. You’d think there’d be some curiosity on his part about seeing her again.

There were a lot of returns this week – Ellen to Galactica, Head!Six to Baltar’s head, and Anders back to brain consciousness.

There were also some returns to form – Ellen going back to being the Ellen we knew from her life as a sleeper Cylon, and Baltar retreating from his epiphany on the basestar to being the narcisistic, self-centered, small-minded man we know so well by this time.

I really didn’t enjoy watching the fascinating Ellen Tigh of one episode ago, in possession of answers to questions of life and death and Colonial pre-history, going toe-to-toe with Cavil, rapidly devolve into the petty, possessive, scheming Ellen I thought she’d transcended with her return to Cylon consciousness. In this episode, she’s just as ugly as Ellen Tigh ever was, playing people against each other out of jealousy and bitter grudges against her husband’s new love and his longstanding loyalty to Adama and Galactica. It was heartbreaking to watch her play Caprica Six like a fiddle, as she did her best to break up Caprica and Tigh. It was also depressing to watch Caprica not really stand up for herself very much, although in that way, Caprica’s character was at least consistent and believable, which is more than I could say about some of the other characters in this episode.

To add tragic insult to injury, Caprica Six lost her baby this week, due to mysterious reasons of maybe stress, physical trauma (she got attacked by an angry anti-Cylon mob and defended herself more or less handily), or that random Cylon trouble with pregnancy that Sharon Agathon showed in Season 2.  Really, it was no surprise, as the show’s subtext has been telling us for some time now that a Cylon-human integration is the only way either group can ultimately survive. A Cylon-Cylon baby probably never really stood a chance, not even one made up two different kinds of Cylons. Like Tigh says, “Pure human doesn’t work. Pure Cylon doesn’t t work. It’s too weak.”

Still, my heart went out to poor Caprica, who seems about as incapable of catching a break as Felix Gaeta was. It’s perhaps not surprising that both Caprica and Felix had such close connections to that human black hole, Gaius Baltar.

Speaking of Baltar, he arrives back on Galactica only to discover that his flock had gotten along just fine and in fact, more effectively without him around. I thought for a second that we were going to see more of that emotional growth we saw two weeks ago during the mutiny and that he might acknowledge that his flock didn’t need him any longer. But instead, he regressed into his familiar narcissism, defensiveness and territorial behavior, fueled by the fear that he was not the most important person in the room anymore.

Naturally, it was at this moment that Head!Six showed up to play upon that fear. She always shows up when he’s feeling at his most vulnerable, and always to lead him in directions that seem counter to his emotional growth. Yes, Head!Six is back, apparently just in time to arm Baltar and his flock. Head!Six feeding Gaius lines to feed his flock about how they should get “MORE guns! BIGGER guns!” felt like more clunky setup for upcoming episodes, although it was an amusing callback to the Season 2 moment where Head!Six fed Baltar lines to convince Adama to give him a nuclear warhead.

Baltar’s speech to Adama about the possibility of a revolution if he doesn’t improve the situation in Dogsville was nicely free of Head!Six though, and felt like a more interesting move from Baltar, but it’s not clear where this is going other than getting to see troublesome Baltar cultist Paulla toting a machine gun Patty Hearst-style.

Bill Adama, meanwhile, is still drinking and popping pills almost as much as Gaius Baltar used to on New Caprica. When a character makes hard-drinking, compulsive alcoholic Saul Tigh look like the sober one in the room, you know somebody’s engaging in some serious debauchery. Bill Adama, in short, is falling apart, slurring and snarling his way through many of his scenes this season, as if to confirm that he’s falling apart in tandem with his ship. Sure, the old girl’s being patched up with Cylon biological goo, as Adama notes in this episode, but the price is Galactica won’t know herself anymore and neither will Adama. The mutineers will perhaps have the last laugh: Using Cylon technology is killing Adama from the inside.

Meanwhile, the Cylons consider abandoning the Fleet anyway, as Ellen tempts the Final Fivers and the skinjob models into leaving on the rebel basestar and finding a new life away from the human fleet. Saul naturally won’t leave, based on Sam’s warnings next week about staying with the Fleet. When they take a vote, Tory’s vote to leave is no surprise, but Tyrol’s unhesitating vote to leave seemed strangely out of character to me. This guy loved his ship. But then, what does he have to stay around for anymore? Even his son is not his anymore. (Incidentally, if you’d like to hear Aaron Douglas’ opinion on this question, go here): http://community.livejournal.com/aarondouglas/150842.html?thread=972858#t972858

We also get extremely brief nods to Sam and Kara this week, with Kara also drinking herself into oblivion in Joe’s Bar (with BSG composer Bear McCreary in a very subtle cameo, playing piano in the background). Suddenly, Joe’s Bar has a piano, which Starbuck notes with surprise, in a moment that lasts just a beat or two too long to be random and not mentioned again. It’s about time for a Kara storyline now, so I think we’ll definitely be getting one next week that hopefully answers what the heck she is if the real Kara Thrace is dead.

Drinking with her is Tyrol, who given that they talked about Boomer, is clearly going to visit her next week in the brig. Hmm…I wonder if this is why he was so eager to leave the Fleet, before he broke down and went to see her. Personally, I’m just glad to see them do something with Boomer’s character at all after so long.

Until next week…

4 comments

  1. I found it very interesting to contrast Ellen’s manipulations of Caprica Six with Head!Six doing the same to Baltar. The revelation last week that the Final Five each learned of the pending apocalypse on Earth by warnings from people “no one else could see” and who appeared in a different form to each of them, means to me that Baltar might be the only one left standing at the end of this. And Ellen’s guilt over what happened to Liam this week may cause her to reveal the location of the secret lab where all of her equipment is. If Cavil hasn’t shown up in the fleet yet, guns ablaze, then surely that lab is where he is headed.

    I enjoyed seeing Ellen return to form, and thought it would have been out of her character to not do so. She’s always been deeply flawed, but I enjoyed it.

    Thank’s for the link to Aaron’s comments. I didn’t have a problem with the Chief’s decision. I thought it made sense in light of the way he’s been treated recently. I look forward to seeing what happens between him and Boomer.

    Overall, I agree that this one had to fill in some blanks before we could get on with the final act. Got to hand it to Michael Hogan once again, his speech about feeling love was wonderfully done.


  2. Thanks for commenting, spacepug. You know, I find Ellen an interesting character, but a very emotionally difficult one to deal with. I almost always identified with Bill Adama when it came to Ellen. It felt like watching my best friend get hurt over and over again by this destructive force in their life. Head!Six went from intriguing and fun at the beginning of the series to more and more being like that. So it’s interesting that you talk about comparing/contrasting how they operate, because I realize that I have come to feel similarly about both of them. They feel like destructive, irrelevant forces in Tigh’s and Baltar’s lives at this point. The show is ended, they’re trying to transcend to bigger and better things, and here come these old forces from their lives, dragging them to old, obsolete ways of thinking. It’s a very astute comparison on your part.

    Kate Vernon was awesome, don’t get me wrong. It’s a credit to her acting skills that I kind of wanted to shake Ellen Tigh and say, “Where’s the woman I saw last week? She was AMAZING.
    *just like* this show to end with only the least deserving individual to be left alive. Of course, if Baltar was left with no one to reflect off of, he would surely go mad.

    While I do want a happy ending for this group of characters I’ve come to emotionally invest in over six years, a perverse part of me kind of wants the show to end on some scenes where the cast is all alive, but in some other dimension/time/whatever, and they are each running through familiar scenarios from the Mini, all clearly playing out each other’s roles. Like Baltar is living Lee’s life in the military, Starbuck is the smart, stick-to-the rules Lieutenant like Gaeta, Helo is the celebrity scientist working on the CNP program, etc., and the question we are left with is, will they get it right this time? Will humanity find a way to worthy of survival?

    Oh, and btw, I agree about Hogan’s speech about love. It was as frustrating and tragic as it was beautiful and poignant.


  3. What happened to Helo? Did he die? Was that Athena at Sam’s bedside, urging them all to decamp to the basestar?

    If so, would she leave Helo behind?


  4. Dj, Helo has been absent for a bit too long, hasn’t he? I’m hoping we’ll see a lot more of him this Friday!



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