Bi-polar episode. Loved the Let's Torture Baltar II: Psychedelic Boogaloo portion, completely bored by the endless love quadrangle. In what little I've listened to of the podcast so far, Moore says the quadrangle story was intended as a light comic break from all the usual bleakness, and it wasn't until they watched final cut that everyone realized that it was just as bleak as everything else they do. I'm trying to figure out what the original vision was, but mutual adultery with two decent cuckolds isn't an overtly wacky concept, and they've been playing the same note since "Unfinished Business" that I'm just tired of it. I admire the show's willingness to let two of its main heroes do selfish, despicable things, but this story's just running in circles now. Either have Lee and Kara actually get together for a while, or leave it alone. I would have much rather had the Bonus Scene integrated into the episode, plus whatever else was cut from the A-story, then to go through all this again.
(Plus, oddly, Jamie Bamber's accent completely changed for this one; it was still non-English, but he didn't sound anything like he usually does.)
But the Baltar scenes? Genius. He's been looking more Christ-like ever since he grew that beard, and this episode's imagery played into that (as well as, as Matt pointed out, a little "Macbeth" homage with the three Sixes standing around the cauldron-like resurrection bath). Adama's "In his eyes, he's the victim, not the criminal" describes Gaius to a T. He didn't think he was dooming humanity; he thought he was having a lot of sex with a hot blonde. Of course, from that point on, his mistakes become harder to defend objectively (giving a nuke to a Cylon rape victim being the worst of those), but some argument could be made. Marian doesn't watch the show very often, but as she was sitting through this one she kept asking of Baltar, "So he's the bad guy, right?" And I had to say, "He's not bad; he's just self-interested." And smart, too.
It occurs to me now that one of the big reasons I had an issue with the latter half of season 3.0 was the sidelining of Adam and Roslin, a flaw that came into sharp relief after seeing so much of them both, and Roslin in particular, in this episode. With a different actress, the shift from Laura playing nice with Baltar to Laura as screaming Airlocker-in-Chief would have felt jarring, but Mary McDonnell sold it with that one little head shake after Baltar insisted he didn't collude in the genocide of humanity. She's so amazing, it feels wasteful to have her in only one or two scenes an episode.
This is later than I wanted to post it (the above link to Todd VanDerWerf's review on Matt's site goes into more detailed analysis of Baltar's hallucinations), so I'll jump to some other quick thoughts:
- On the one hand, "Occupation" aired so long ago that I wouldn't have remembered Baltar giving Laura her glasses if the show hadn't bothered with that flashback. On the other hand, it reminded me of one of David Simon's recurring complaints about "The Wire" pilot and how HBO made him put in a flashback at the very end in case the audience was too dumb to recognize the murder victim from earlier in the episode. This is obviously a much longer gap, but there's a part of me that thinks it would have been cooler if Laura's gesture had gone unexplained, a little something for the real obsessives to appreciate.
- Where did Lee and Dee get wedding rings, anyway? When Billy proposed to Dualla with his class ring, it was with the implication that there isn't a jewelry store ship as part of the rag-tag fleet. (I assume that's one of the reasons Starbuck and Anders got those marital tattoos; ink's more available than jewelry.)
- My recording cut off before the closing credits. Do my eyes deceive me or was that Hey It's That Guy Tom Bower as Joe the bartender?
- About the only thing I found interesting in the quadrangle stuff: Lee, the alleged straight-arrow good guy, is the one lying to his spouse, insulting her when she calls him on it, and passive-agressively running back to her because he's afraid of being with Kara (and also to spite her for what she did to him on New Caprica), where Kara the psycho rageaholic is capable of having an honest, even loving discussion with her spouse about what she should do. She doesn't deserve Anders, but at least she's not trying to fool him about what he's in for in the future.
- Oh, and I also liked the acknowledgement that Cally is to Tyrol what Dualla is to Lee, and yet I believe the Chief when he says he doesn't think about Sharon anymore. He's more straightforward than Lee.
- The bonus scene with Roslin and Caprica was superb -- loved the disdain dripping from Laura at learning Six's nickname -- and I can't think of a single quadrangle scene that deserved to make the regular cut over it. But then Sci-Fi wouldn't have had an excuse to drive people to their website, would they?