Not sure which is more shocking: that the Cylons gouged out one of Tigh's eyeballs, or that Ron Moore has suddenly flipped the 9/11 allegory so that the Cylons are now America and we're the Iraqis.
In our interview, Moore said the situation was more complicated than that, that the occupation is borrowing just as much from Vichy France and the West Bank and a variety of other occupied territories in modern history. But he also admitted that he wanted to provoke a reaction, to make viewers question which side they were on, and there's not a more potent, jarring way to do that then to have the good guys strapping explosives to their chests and blowing up real good.
It works that it's Tigh ordering the suicide bombings and the resistance's other extreme measures. Of all the military characters, he's always been the most extreme, to the point where I suspect he has a "Kill 'em all and let the Gods sort it out" t-shirt tucked away in his duffel bag. And his time in the Cylon equivalent of Abu Ghraib has made him even more militant, to the point where I wonder if Brother Cavil already took more than an eye in there. (See the "evil men in the gardens of Paradise" speech.)
And the genius of it all is that, just when you're feeling sick and disgusted that our heroes are pulling this stuff, Baltar -- Baltar -- is the one to argue against it, while Tigh insists that a suicide mission is the same whether it's being conducted with a viper or an explosives belt. (Collateral damage is all but expected from aerial bombing missions, even if there are attempts to contain it.) Again, which side are you on? Especially on this?
I definitely had the most visceral reaction to the suicide bombing material, but thought the entire hour was vintage "Galactica." The venue and tactics may change, but the tone and quality don't.
In particular, I got chills on several occasions:
- "Have hope. We're coming for you." Sometimes it's the simplest words that have the most power -- especially if we've seen the despair in which the recipients are living.
- Kara standing over her "daughter" (and, given what Moore has said in the podcasts about mutual love being a requirement to produce human/Cylon off-spring, I call shenanigans on Leoben) after Kasey (Casey? KC?) fell on the steps of Leoben's swinging jailhouse duplex.
- Tyrol coming home to find the baby alone and wailing. (Since the Cylons went to all the trouble of building a jail and creating a police force, do they also have social workers to prevent this sort of thing?)
- Callie, never a classy one, asking Boomer how many times she needs to shoot her to make her go away forever.
- Pretty much any scene with Brother Cavil, but especially that second sex scene with Ellen where he threatens to do much worse to Tigh. Hard to believe Dean Stockwell was only in a couple of episodes before this; he scares the crap out of me.
Some other random thoughts:
- Though Duck (the suicide bomber) and Jammer (the reluctant human police recruit) both figured prominently in the webisodes, the horse came before the cart here. The TV episodes were written, and then Sci-Fi approached Moore and company about doing the web stuff, and they realized they could use the web stories to provide some shading to two characters who were glorified extras most of the time.
- So what exactly did Kara stab Leoben with? Looked like a tuning fork to me, but she seemed to be crafting something under the table while waiting for his return.
- When Caprica-Six and Baltar reunited in the season two finale, I was really excited about the prospect of their respective hallucinatory best buddies playing a scene together, ala Al and Zoey (the Evil Leaper's sidekick) on "Quantum Leap." Moore said he toyed with the idea and even wrote a draft or two of a scene featuring Chip-Six and Chip-Baltar, but cut it pretty early in the writing stage. Too much else to deal with. Still, I find it interesting that Baltar still needs the fantasy of Chip-Six when he has the real thing right in front of him. (I also asked Moore whether Chip-Six and Chip-Baltar were really just hallucinations, since they frequently know things that a figment couldn't; all he said was that "they play into the larger mythology of the show."
- Gods, but the makeup people have done a good job making Jamie Bamber look like he totally let himself go. Moore couldn't remember if the naked torso shot was makeup or a body double, but the facial makeup looks terrific, more convincing than most fake fat faces (say it five times fast) that I've seen.
- I understand Laura's desire to keep a record of what went on during the occupation, but would she really risk keping a written diary that included significant details about the resistance, moles in the Baltar administration, etc.?
- Okay, so during the time-jump, we had the weddings of Anders and Starbuck, Tyrol and Callie, Lee and Dualla and Helo and Sharon. Frankly, I'm shocked that they didn't find some way to marry off Laura and Tom Zarek. I know there's a plan to do at least one episode that fills in some gaps on what happened in the last year (plus four months), but it feels like they'd have to spend virtually all of that on showing how Sharon went from dog-collar girl to Adama's BFF.
- Given Moore's desire to play on lots of historical locales beyond Iraq, I thought it was a nice touch that the police uniforms had a touch of Nazi to their style, which made them a nice parallel not only for the Iraqis who we're trying to train to be cops, but the Jews who were recruited to police their own people in the ghettos.
- Speaking of the Nazis, letting the prisoners out of a truck to stretch their legs was the pretext used to slaughter all the British soldiers at the end of "The Great Escape." Time to start humming that theme song.
- Caprica Six killing D'Anna was the first bit of Cylon-on-Cylon violence ever? Does Sharon killing one of the Six'es to get in good with Helo not count?