Like I've been saying, Ron Moore put his money right where his mouth was. While I can see ways that the show could get back to the fleet-on-the-run premise sometime next season, Moore and company appear to have applied Gina's nuclear detonation to the entire structure of the show. Almost everyone's planetside, heavier and sporting unfortunate new hairstyles. And now humanity get to be the guests of the galaxy's swingingest resort/concentration camp, or, as Shannon from "Lost" would call it, Craphole Planet. This is not a dream, not an imaginary story, not something that Geordi and Data can reverse by switching some wires around in the warp drive and wrapping tin foil around the deflector dish.
That fucking rocked. When I saw the date stamp in Baltar's office, my jaw hit the floor and, much as I did when I got done with the new "Sopranos," I wandered around my house cursing up a storm for a good half hour.
I've seen other shows try to pull off this kind of massive time-jump, notably "Alias," and it never works. Either the whole thing is a cheat just designed to mess with the audience's mind, or a way to avoid dealing with the consequences of something the writers didn't think through all the way, or everything goes back to normal in about five seconds.
Not this time. There was a natural, logical reason to skip directly ahead: to make the settlement seem real, something that was tried, that changed both society and the characters down to their cores. I mean, they could have spent an episode or two showing the Chief supervising construction projects and somebody from Geminon officiating over Starbuck and Anders' wedding, and even Apollo scarfing down a lot of donuts, but after a few weeks, the absence of the Cylons would have been stifling.
Ditto the effects of Caprica Six and Boomer's peace movement among the Cylons. I'm sure at some point there will be explanations of how they pulled it off, and then what made them change their minds about the whole mutual non-agression thing, but I'm not sure I would've wanted to see a year's worth of episodes about this.
In the podcast, Moore mentioned that they're submitting Mary McDonnell for lead actress at the Emmys, which is the right category but the wrong year to be doing it in. Mary was amazing throughout, especially in the scene where she tried to talk Adama into letting her steal the election, but the combination of sci-fi's bad rep and presence of Edie Falco's JGHTDERN performance in "Sopranos" episode two will squelch any shot she would have of winning. (Assuming they can even get the Academy to nominate them; I wonder whether the retirees who will fill up the new blue-ribbon panels will take the show seriously.)
I think it's great that "Galacitica" is wrapping up its season just before "Sopranos" comes back, and when "Sopranos" goes, it'll be replaced by "Deadwood," which will be replaced by "The Wire." Those are the four best dramas on television by leaps and bounds, and it's great that I'll be able to see at least one of them in every week from now until the end of the year.
UPDATE: Since technical difficulties and time management problems kept me from posting until late yesterday afternoon, I rushed it a bit and left out commentary on some of my other favorite moments. So here goes...
- I've seen some message board speculation on what happened to create this big rift between Apollo and Starbuck. I don't think we need to wonder. That scene where Kara did everything short of tying Apollo down, clipping his eyelids open and forcing him to watch her have wild, angry I Just Saved You From Extinction So Will You Please Help Make My Unrequited Lover Jealous sex with Anders. As with the vote tampering story, I love that the writers aren't afraid to make the heroes act very, very ugly.
- Dean Stockwell, comic genius. Cavil's rapid gear shift from denial to resignation when he saw one of his duplicates was hilarious. And I've rarely seen an actor play two roles in the same scene so well. The timing between the two Cavils was so great I started to wonder if this was a Jill Hennessy/Linda Hamilton situation where Stockwell has an identical twin who's not in the business but shows up now and then to help out with scenes like this. (Linda and her sis obviously did that climactic scene in Terminator 2, and I remain convinced to this day that Jill didn't actually go to Baltimore for the Law & Order/Homicide cross-over.)
- Traumatized, scarred, man-fearing Gina is so afraid of losing Baltar that she gives him the only thing he really wants out of her, in a scene as creepy as all the Caprica Six/Baltar sex scenes (both real and imagined) are hot and/or funny. And then, of course, she goes and not only kills herself but destroys the rag tag fleet's booze and hooker stockpile. Does this mean Lee's ho friend and her daughter bit it in the explosion? If she'd appeared in more than one episode, maybe I'd feel bad for him.
- Speaking of Baltar, he was a large pile of blow from going full-on Tony Montana. I look forward to the moment when Gaius joins Kara and Tigh's resistance movement, whips out a machine gun and tells some Centurions (in a precise English accent) "Say hello to my little friend!"And does this mean that Laura is really Robert Loggia in drag? Not sure I want to contemplate that. So, to shake that image out of my head, I'll say that Baltar's realization that he had betrayed humanity again was perfectly played, and I can't wait for the scene next season when Caprica Six explains that she's the same woman he fell in love with way back in the miniseries -- preferably with the respective Six and Baltar hallucinations bantering with each other, like some kind of demented Al Calavicci/Zoey poetry slam. I mean, hell, they already have Dean Stockwell on board.