Saturday, May 31, 2008

Battlestar Galactica, "Sine Qua Non": Grumpy old men

"Battlestar Galactica" spoilers coming up just as soon as I find out if dog food comes in algae flavors...

"Sine Qua Non" was a frustrating episode, and not necessarily for the designed reasons. No, we didn't get a single glimpse of the missing baseship (unless you believe the wrecked one that Racetrack and Skulls found was it), but that was the point of the episode: to show how such a calamity makes everyone in the fleet -- particularly its military and civilian leaders -- go nuts.

My problem is that, for an episode with a number of seismic plot developments -- Lee becomes interim president, Adama finally acknowledges his feelings for Roslin and gives up everything he cares about to find her, Tigh is placed in charge of Galactica shortly after finding out that he knocked up Caprica Six -- "Sine Qua Non" dragged in many spots, and didn't make a lot of logic in others.

The entire story with Lee and Romo Lampkin was particularly annoying. I think the "Galactica" writers like Romo a lot more than the guy deserves, as he's less a character than a collection of colorful tics. The amount of time it took for Romo and Lee to recognize that Lee was the best man for the interim president job felt entirely like an excuse to spend more time with the guy. Since everyone and his brother watching the show at home has probably figured Lee for the top job ever since he entered politics shortly after we found out that Roslin was dying for real this time, the story might have felt less drawn-out if Romo's very first reaction to Lee's request was "You," and then we spent the rest of the episode with Romo trying to convince a reluctant Lee to go for it. Instead, we had to wait most of the hour for Romo to figure out something we already knew (even Romo himself admits that after writing Lee's name on the white board), followed by the strange "Sixth Sense" rip-off where we find out that Romo's cat has been dead for the entire episode (dun dun dun!) and that the loss of the animal has made him go bonkers. I appreciate that the series never tries to forget the emotional burden all the people in the rag-tag fleet bear as survivors of a genocide, but the time for stories about people who can't deal with that guilt isn't in the middle of the epic, season-long arc leading up to the series finale.

Beyond that, I have a hard time believing Tom Zarek, and the rest of the Quorum for that matter, would just roll over and install Bill Adama's son as the new civilian leader of the fleet, particularly in the midst of a crisis where the civilian and military parts of the fleet are at such odds. Remember Baltar's comment to Chief Tyrol last season about how the fleet's military leader would always be somebody named Adama? Yes, Lee has a history of going against the old man, but to anyone worried about consolidation of executive powers -- particularly Zarek, who's been a Power to the People guy his entire life, and who basically brought Lee into the Quorum to be his lackey -- this plan would at the very least be something requiring a lot of loud debate, if not something to be outright rejected. Again, the amount of time wasted on the cat twist and on Lee and Romo not seeing the answer that was staring them in the face could have been devoted to something much more interesting, like Lee having to talk Zarek into surrendering power to him.

The senior Adama half of the episode -- and after a few weeks of getting most of the cast involved, this one was really a four-character piece, Bill with Tigh, Lee with Romo -- was better, if only because it's hard to screw up something that has Edward James Olmos and Michael Hogan playing off each other. Plus, is there anyone who isn't a sucker for an old man fight? Particularly one involving two old men who actually know how to fight?

Where I felt this one fell down was at the end, when Bill made the decision to turn over command to Saul. In some ways, there's no other choice if Adama is determined to carry out this romantic suicide mission (how many algae bars can you fit into a Raptor, anyway?), as Helo's been abducted, Lee has mustered out of the military, Kara's probably only trustworthy to a point, and Gaeta's singing opera with one leg. Who else is available? Dualla? (I think she was technically XO of the Pegasus during the New Caprica/Fat Lee period.) But I have a hard time jumping from Bill finding out that Cylon-hating Tigh has been having regular brig booty calls with a Six to Bill trusting the guy with the safety of everyone in the fleet, and that's even with the understanding that he has no idea Tigh just found out he's a secret Cylon. As with Lee getting the presidency, I don't necessarily mind the end result; I just think more time needed to be devoted to explaining how certain characters rationalized their choice.

Still, as mentioned above, Olmos and Hogan were superb as always, and the closing sequence of Adama alone in a Raptor, cracking open "Searider Falcon" one final time -- I have a feeling he's going to read the last chapter this time -- and waiting to see if the woman he finally acknowledged that he loves (just after she was kidnapped, and just before she's due to die of cancer, anyway) was beautiful.

But overall, this was the first real disappointment of what's been a superb season to date.

What did everybody else think? And, again, a reminder: do not discuss anything you saw in the previews. I finally learned my lesson a few episodes ago and stopped watching the things.

70 comments:

jim treacher said...

The entire story with Lee and Romo Lampkin was particularly annoying.

No kidding! By the end of the episode I was like, "How did they manage to screw up Romo Lampkin?" But I like him a lot more than you do, it sounds like.

So: That was a ghost cat we were seeing the whole time? I did not understand what that was all about. But I guess it explained all those weird closeups on it.

I didn't really buy that Adama would go from giving Tigh a brutal rib-hammering for knocking up a Cylon to putting him in charge of the whole fleet, but at least it led to possibly Tigh's best moment ever: his eyeroll (singular) when Adama said he wasn't the same man anymore. Like, "You have no idea, old man..."

P.S. Sci-Fi's promo dept. should be put out of an airlock.

Eric said...

Was this an Angeli episode? It had the clunky subtext-exposing dialog. Was mostly missing the crypto-misogyny, though.

I agree with you totally on Lampkin. He always seems to have popped in from a Babylon 5 spinoff, and I never find him believable as a character, nevermind as a person.

When is the Quorum going to figure out that they've got about as much power as a High School Student Council? And why are they representing planets that no longer exist? If Baltar hadn't been so wacked out of his mind on New Caprica (OK, if he hadn't been Baltar) maybe they could have reformed the government to organize along lines that make sense for the present time. And does the disproportionate scrum of reporters remind anyone of the Golgafrincham B Ark?

Bobman said...

Ugh that whole storyline with Romo was horrid and nonsensical to me.


While we're on the topic of spoilers, am I the only one that literally covers his eyes during the "fast music" part of the opening credits, where they basically spoil the episode for you moments before it happens?

Alan Sepinwall said...

am I the only one that literally covers his eyes during the "fast music" part of the opening credits, where they basically spoil the episode for you moments before it happens?

You are not alone, though these days I just look down at my laptop instead of covering my eyes.

Kevin said...

This whole episode just felt like an excuse to get Romo back to give speeches that ramble on forever and ultimately mean nothing. I had to laugh when Lee finally spoke for the audience by saying "What the hell are you talking about?"

Some freedom fighter Zarek turns out to be. This guy cedes power at the drop of a hat. This whole Lee/Quorum thing has been such a farce. "Hey, you know that guy who was appointed to represent Caprica five minutes ago? Yeah, let's make him the President. Hey, at least he's not literally in bed with Admrial Adama like Roslyn is...what, he's his son? Oh well."

I also can't stand fights that just end with the protagonists basically thinking "well, we had to get that out of our systems. Now we're friends again.". Pretty lame.

Alan, how about changing your nickname for him to "Saul Caprica Six-Frakkin' Tigh"?

Mrglass said...

That episode wasn't that bad, but it just felt at times off, almost rushed, and definitely not as well written as the other episodes in this superb final season.

I completely agree that this was not the time to go back to the psychological scars of Lampkin, and too much time was spent on the selection of a new President when we all knew the outcome. Yet, I get the feeling Zarek won't give up that easily, so it may be too soon to complain about his behaviour.

On the other hand, everything about Saul/Adama was excellent. The look on Tigh's face when the Admiral calls him a "new man" who "has learnt a lot" about himself was just priceless. As for Caprica 6's pregnancy, that was really unexpected.

(Back to my theory for the final Cylon: did you notice how Doc Cottle held the hand of a dying Cylon, much like Sam the previous episode? Could he have anything to do with this pregnancy, or just lie?)

Without having seen the preview, my guess is that next week we will see the events on the Basestar because I can't imagine the destruction of the resurrection center won't be shown. And that will explain the damaged Raptor etc... That's a choice, but I feel it would have been better to have a few battle scenes in the middle of all this political drama.

Not a great episode, but it moved the story forward and had a few good moments.

Mattt Enss said...

I also cover my eyes or skip past the episode preview at the beginning. I've never understood why they spoil the episode that way.

I still don't understand how Six was impregnated by Tigh. First off, I think it's cheating reveal that they've been having sex via Adama, when we've been shown them together at length without seeing it. Secondly, I was fairly certain that Cylons aren't able to impregnate each other. Has this issue been tackled before?

BF said...

All will be revealed ... if you watch the promos.

Is there any way you can get in contact with the SciFi bigwigs and figure out how such a frak-up could occur? Cause unless they cut together two unrelated shots, that commerical was downright STUPID to reveal what it did!

Jackie said...

I agree with the Romo stuff in your review. At first, I was sort of whatever, they brought him back. He's not my favorite tertiary character, but I don't hate him either. And then the plot was a big timewaster and completely obvious and the whole thing with the cat was kind of whatever, but I get what they were trying to do with it I guess. The biggest WTF?! had to be him pulling the gun on Lee. Seriously? Whatever. The Adama/Tigh stuff saved this from being another craptastic epsode on the order of "Black Market" or "The Woman King". I do agree, though, that the shift from "I'm beating you up for frakking and knocking up a cylon" to "Here's the keys to the ship, old chap" about gave me whiplash. Finally, me = total sucker for Adama/Roslin and the final sequence was fab.

R.A. Porter said...

Alan's either tired this morning or showing zen-like restraint about @eric's "Golgafrincham B Ark" reporter dig. Nice one, btw.

I love me Mark Sheppard, so I'm generally okay with Romo's quirks, tics, and speechifying. But I too hated the wasted time coming to the obvious conclusion. For a minute, I thought they might really mix things up and make The Old Man the interim President. He was relinquishing his command, after all. No such luck.

And that ridiculous showdown with the gun bugged the hell out of me. This might be the final season and they may be killing characters off left and right, but there was no way Lee was ever in jeopardy. I could maybe have bought Romo as homicidal/suicidal there, but they didn't try to go for that. So the gun was as scary as a floppy slice of lox.

@mattt enss, it could be that the final five Cylons are different from the other seven in this way as well, or that Saul Tigh is just *that* much of a man that he can even impregnate a toaster.

Or maybe that they actually *love* one another.

Pandyora said...

There were a lot of characters acting, well, out of character during this episode.

Romo Lampkin, master theatrical manipulator, suddenly unnerved by the death of a cat?

Tom Zarek, ambitious political manipulator, suddenly willing to step aside, to an Adama no less?

Kara Thrace, crazed earth-obsessed prophet, suddenly the voice of reason?

Admiral Adama, loyal soldier willing to sacrifice his family in the name of duty, suddenly a hopeless romantic who decides to abandon the fleet?

Its not that I wouldn't be willing to buy each of these developments with a little work, but they all felt somewhat arbitrary and rushed.

Nicole said...

I can't escape seeing the preview because Space airs it immediately after the executive producer card and if I don't have the remote in hand, it's too late.

I don't mind seeing the part right after the credits because it's so fast and you don't hear what's going on so I don't find that it really spoils it for me.

I just hope that when the penultimate episode of this series airs, the promo monkeys don't blow the final resolution.

Oh yeah, the show.

The Adama/Saul moments were the only scenes keeping my interest as I could care less about the whole "what, me president?" coyness with Lee. It was obvious from the moment they wouldn't accept Zarek as president. The focus should have been Zarek holding up Lee's bid for president and not the talkathon with Romo. I didn't even understand the cat thing, it was dumb and we shouldn't be wasting time with the precious few episodes left with junk like this. It's like Romo is the BSG version of the DS9 Ferengi episodes. Pointless and boring.

I don't have a problem with Romo providing advice to Lee as president. That makes sense, and the attempted threat to Lee's life by Romo, was just out of nowhere.

Once again, Adama and Saul were great, and while it is jarring for Saul to take command, he is the only competent person left to do the job, and he has been the XO for so long, it isn't unreasonable for Adama to trust him with the fleet. Sure he was pissed about the Six thing, but he probably sees it as a pervy old man sowing his oats, and not a "security threat", but more of an affront to Ellen's memory. That's more personal and not a reason to doubt his command ability.

I noticed the Doc Cottle scenes with Natalie and was also wondering if there was some connection to the Final Cylons.

Mrglass said...

Admiral Adama, loyal soldier willing to sacrifice his family in the name of duty, suddenly a hopeless romantic who decides to abandon the fleet?
Actually, the opposite had been true from the start. In the first season he was willing to put all the fleet at risk just to find Kara.

As for Zarek, again we don't know what he will do in future episodes, but he was clearly outsmarted by Lee there.

Besides, all those characters are either depressed or completely crazy by now, which is what you would expect from human beings in such difficult times for so long. It is not surprising they act "out of character".

The only thing I found weird is that Kara is back to her command position as if everyone had forgotten that her ressurection is still a mystery, and when her Cylon "allies" have just kidnapped the president and half of the pilots. Shouldn't she be shown her way back to the brig?

R.A. Porter said...

@mrglass, the fleet is so short of pilots at the moment, I'm pretty sure a tin man who kept saying "by your command" would get to fly. Starbuck's the best tactician they've got, so I accepted that they'd reassign her as CAG.

Filipe Furtado said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ryan said...

I see I'm not the only one who had reservations about this one. I rather enjoyed the first third of the ep as it was pregnant with possibilities, but it really just fell flat. As someone who had thought that the writers had really brought their A games so far this season, this was a definite C effort. A pissed off Deanna looks like fun next week, though.

russ said...

Interesting contrast with Lost: Lost spent the whole season putting pieces into place for an event we knew would happen from the start. Lee, president within less than an hour? Sure! Don't want to show us the inevitable fights? No problem! I suspect Barack Obama wishes it were all so easy.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Guys, what did I frakking say at the top about not discussing, even obliquely, anything from the promos? I hate deleting otherwise interesting comments simply because people couldn't stop themselves from talking promo, but you knew the rules going in.

John F said...

I agree that the episode had its problems, but I think its primary flaw was not explaining the passage of time. Taken over the course of a couple days, the events portrayed don't work well. If it was explained that these events occurred over the course of a week or two, they might have been more believable. Nevertheless, the episode definitely had the feeling of moving the pieces into place for what's coming.

I don't know why, but I was kinda hoping that Lampkin was going off to kill Zarek to make the way easier for Lee.

All that said, Natalie's death, the Adama-Tigh fight, Tigh's eyeroll, and the reveal of Tigh and Six' pregnancy were very BSG and were easily the best moments of this episode.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan's either tired this morning or showing zen-like restraint about @eric's "Golgafrincham B Ark" reporter dig. Nice one, btw.

I thought the remark stood on its own quite nicely, actually.

Also, I've never had a hard time with the unusually large fleet press corps, because Moore was clever enough to give them a reason for being way back in the miniseries: these are the people who were covering the Galactica decommissioning ceremony.

Anonymous said...

I thought Zarek's acceptance was more a matter that he had to, since he was the one who championed Lee coming into the Quorum. An about-face on Lee's credentials would likely just undermine his own case. The rest of the Quorum would be open to it because Lee is both a military hero a number of times over and is no stranger to objecting to his dad and Roslin both. So I'm ok with it, though I would have liked to see a little more from Zarek on this, if nothing more than because I find him more interesting than Lampkin.

-Lance

Kenrick said...

Totally agree. There were a lot of interesting events that occurred, but it was marred by the terrible characterizations. Too lazy to read everyone's posts, but I'm sure these have already been touched upon. Adama giving Tigh command after finding out he's been frakkin' a cylon prisoner. Adama giving Athena her kid. Romo out of nowhere going all psycho. Lee not having a problem with Romo going all psycho. Starbuck as the one giving Adama rational advice about risking the lives of his pilots.

And yes, I was also frustrated about Lee looking for an interim president, when it so obviously pointed to him.

I did like Adama putting his actions where his heart is and "suiting up!"

DonBoy said...

I do admire the sheer, let us say, moxie of writers who first drag us through a half-hour of Lee and Romo clumsily not-suggesting that Lee become President, and then have Romo threaten to shoot Lee for dragging him through all that nonsense. I believe the term for that is "lampshading", but there does come a point, you know?

Owen said...

I don't like Romo Lampkin. I don't "buy into" him. He seems like a character from a lesser show. He's what I thought was cool when I was a scifi geek in high school in 1990: any guy with a trench coat and dark glasses.

So I didn't like the Lee and Romo scenes either. And agree that it was nonsensical that Lee being the perfect candidate was a great revelation. The whole slow pan to reveal Lee's name on the board was ridiculous.

But I have a lot of love for this show. More than enough to overlook a few flaws here and there. I don't expect every episode of my favorite shows to be perfect.

And I really liked that the whole episode didn't include the Basestar. Like you say, Alan, it really makes us feel the dread which makes it more of a shocking event than if they'd just cut back to it right away.

Anna said...

I completely agree with (almost) everyone. This was the worst episode since "The Son Also Rises." In fact, if it weren't for the blowjob reference last week, I would swear that Michael Taylor and Michael Angeli switched writing credits on these last two episodes.

I cannot buy for a second that Romo's sine qua non was his CAT, or that he wouldn't have been pushing for Lee as president from the very beginning, since he seemed to have specifically sought the boy out for whatever reason in "The Son Also Rises."

Also, the whole point of the search for a new president was to find someone Adama would approve of, which became completely irrelevant once he gave up his command anyway!

I also really hate the idea of a cylon-cylon baby.

Mrglass said...

@R.A Porter:
I understand that the fleet desperately needs officers at the moment, but if Kara is a Cylon agent who sold out the President and half of the pilots, putting her back to CAG is a very bad idea indeed. Until her resurrection is explained, some kind of suspicion should remain at least.

In general I don't really understand Starbuck's behaviour lately. She went completely mad because the fleet was GOING THE WRONG WAY, then got her ship and only found the rebel Cylons.

It seems that was enough to completely calm her and make her a model officer, even though her new plan (finding the Final Five) has apparently failed since their Cylon "allies" have all died in the attack - or at least the fleet thinks so.


Where is the fleet jumping to at the end of the episode anyway? Kara doesn't have a clue where to go (and it doesn't seem to bother her anymore), and Roslin is gone. Did I miss something?

Kristin said...

I think this episode was one of those 'oops' moments. They know they want/need characters to be in certain positions or in certain mindsets by the end of the season, but can't quite figure out how to do it. So it ends up being very clumsy.

I knew from the minute last season when Lee suddenly became a lawyer, he was somehow headed for the president's job. Which is unfortunate, because he was so much more interesting as the pilot/guy in charge of the pilots.

It was apparent from the very moment they were stuck looking for someone new as president that Lee would get the job.

The part about Tigh and Caprica?? What the hell? Tigh could barely believe it himself. Was he in some kind of trance? Did he not really remember having intimate relations with her? What does this mean if he is one of the final five and she is a 'regular' cylon?

I always fast forward through the giveaway stuff at the beginning. Why on earth do they do that?? I can't help but watch the previews, but I won't spoil anything here....

Anna said...

If you remember, they took the spoilery poundy drums part out of the credits at the beginning of season two, but so many fans complained that they put it back in. I like it, myself, but only upon rewatching. I always block the screen with my hands at that part the first time I see the episode.

Very good points, Mrglass. I have no idea where they're jumping to at the end. And it is kind of ridiculous that they would blame Sharon for the baseship jumping away but not Kara the mysterious possible cylon plant. More reasons why this episode doesn't make any sense.

xyz said...

Is it just me or is the season moving way too slowly. I thought like Lost now that they have an end date they could pick up the pace of storytelling although we don't have any standalone episodes (thank god for that) the story is still moving at a glacial pace. There have been maybe 3 good packed episode but most episodes have a ridiculous amount of filler. We are just one episode away from the season finale and barely anything of overarching significance has happened (except the cylon war), now to be fair this may be a result of Sci-fi splitting up a 20 episode season in two 10 episode season though, in that case I can't really blame the writers for it. Again, back to the Lost comparison because the two shows are in a very similar situation. This season on Lost you could see that setting an end date gave an adrenaline shot to the show, there was a sense of urgency the whole season (with the exception of Eggtown) but on BSG I'm noticing no such sense of urgency, hell they virtually wasted 2 episodes on Tyrol/Callie angst and a ton of time on the redundant Balter's cult story which at best should have been minor subplots but ended up eating huge chunks of episodes.

R.A. Porter said...

@xyz, some of us prefer BSG *because* of its syncopated pace which allows it to focus on character more frequently. If it were just plot, plot, plot, plot leading to big conclusions all the time, I know I wouldn't be watching.

I'm certainly not typical, but this is why I love BSG (even on an off week like this) and have never gotten into Lost.

greyfable said...

I really haven't been happy with how thye've portrayed the government at all. I am sick of seeing screaming twleve year olds sitting around a table. Does it convey a sense of dire failure? Sure. Does it seem even vaguely realistic, even in the browbeaten world of battlestar galactica? No. Yes, we all knew Lee was going to ascend to the presidency. It could have been a much more interesting journey.

Personally, I kinda wish he hadn't been able to talk Romo out of shooting him. That would have been more interesting.

As cool as the moment last week when Athena shot Natalie was, I am not sure it will prove worth is consequences. One of my biggest complaints last season was that Athena was almost completely sidelined. In spite of her visions, I fear it will happen again.

Saul in charge... where are you when we need you, Helo?

As for Kara being the CAG (and, now that Saul is promoted, XO, too, I'd bed)... what? I just don't see how, with her back from the deadness, she could possibly be trusted by enough of the crew to be acting in that position. They wouldn't trust her, and leaders need to be trusted. Much as I find Racetrack annoying... it should be Racetrack.

Galactica isn't always the best at handling interpersonal relationships (though when they are good, they are good, as with Adama and Roslin), but I am damn pissed at how they are handling the Starbuck/Anders dynamic this season. Sure, their relationship is rocky, often crappy, but in a relationship where they talk so much about people who have been left behind/lost/etc., I am surprised that Anders wasn't mentioned. He's with the basestar, too, right? But I guess that's just a symptom of the lack of character balance this week. Lots of MIAs.

Also... anyone else waiting for Tory to start trying to manipulate Tom Zarek? Now that would have been way more interesting than Lee becoming president. Tory makes Zarek her puppet (with Lee's help, I guess, since he needs to be doing somehting I guess), and then we have both the military and the government in cylon hands. It could still happen. Lee is an endearing tool, but, nonetheless, a tool.

Mrglass said...

At its worst (and I don't think this episode was, 'Black Market' or 'The Woman King' anyone?), BSG is still far superior to Lost. We still care deeply about those flawed characters, unlike in Lost where the most of the cast has become just annoying by now.

And yes, season 4 with no stand-alone episode is the best so far. I don't know what show you have been watching, but the plot advances steadily every week, and the actors are doing such a wonderful job that even 'slower' episodes are superb. Aaron Douglas and Michael Hogan in particular deserve major kudos (yet probably won't receive any award).

Tigh's eyebrow alone when called a "new man" was more entertaining than all of the amazingly boring Lost finale. Talk about a show that should have ended sooner, instead becomes an ever longer con on the audience. If BSG was Lost, the fleet would reach Earth at the end of this season, then decides to go back to Caprica over three more.

So it goes said...

Where is the fleet jumping to at the end of the episode anyway?

There is the possibility that the Cylons could be aggressively hostile at this point so it it makes sense to move in case they regroup and attack. It's less where to go and more lets get the hell away from here.

barefootjim said...

I'm also someone who doesn't watch during the poundy-drum sequence the first time around.

Man, after all of those great episodes strung together, I guess that a clunker like that one was inevitable. Of course, the fact that it came after a two-week layoff just made it worse.

I know that it's weird to say this after all of the crazy stuff that's happened during this season, but nothing in this episode made any sense!

Forget Adama deciding -- this time -- his personal obsessions have gone too far, and forget the stalling before Lampkin said to Lee "I choo-choo-choose you," but what about giving moving a small child into a military prison cell?

C'mon!!

Bobman said...

I really haven't been happy with how thye've portrayed the government at all. I am sick of seeing screaming twleve year olds sitting around a table. Does it convey a sense of dire failure? Sure. Does it seem even vaguely realistic, even in the browbeaten world of battlestar galactica? No.

I always considered it to be more ... allegorical, for lack of a better word. While real government doesn't literally function that way, it certainly appears to, doesn't it? Pointless bickering over politics, helpless figureheads who get nothing accomplished. Sure sounds like the government I know and love.

EssPee said...

I kept waiting for Athena to produce her daughter's coloring books to prove her point. At the very least, that should have given Adama second thoughts about throwing her in the brig. One more overly mechanistic plot point, I guess, in an episode filled with both literal and metaphorical dog food.

Anonymous said...

My theory: they will find the resurrection ship and the final cylon will get killed before we know who it is and wake up on it.

Anonymous said...

At its worst (and I don't think this episode was, 'Black Market' or 'The Woman King' anyone?), BSG is still far superior to Lost. We still care deeply about those flawed characters, unlike in Lost where the most of the cast has become just annoying by now.

What is with this whole 'We' business? Speak for yourself please. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that someone can like both shows. Other than the fact that both are "genre" shows with large casts, Lost and BSG are nothing alike anyway.

With that said this show was pretty weak. I like Lampkin, but I really wanted him to shut up this time. I really hope the whole "Lee as president" storyline has a great resolution, because so far, I preferred him as CAG. They're so desperate that they make Kara CAG and Saul in charge of the military, but Lee can quit? Never made sense to me.

Byron said...

I think you're all skipping over the most crucial point: Cylons can't have babies with Cylons.

What has actually happened to make us think Tigh is a Cylon? He just sorta decided he was. He doesn't fit either the Cylons' or the Humans' definitions of what the Final Five will be.

If it walks like a human, talks like a human, and impregnates like a human, it's probably a human, even if for some reason it thinks it's a Cylon.

R.A. Porter said...

@byron, unless I'm forgetting something that was specifically mentioned in season 1, we don't know that cylons can't have babies with cylons. We know only that they've never been successful in doing so.

Either the final five are different in some important way, Tigh is man enough to impregnate anyone, or the two of them are truly in love.

Back on Caprica in season one, Sharon told Helo it required the two to love each other to be successful which was why they were put through all that they were. To forge their love in the crucible of...sorry, that's too fruity...to make their love grow.

Anonymous said...

@Anna
Also, the whole point of the search for a new president was to find someone Adama would approve of, which became completely irrelevant once he gave up his command anyway!

I don't think Adama would've ever relinquished his command with Zarek still in charge. Adama showed his faith in Lee by leaving him to run the government without having him around. And since Adama is not going to return without Roslin, there'll never be an Adama/Adama controlled fleet.

CoolSid said...

@Mrglass
Lost and BSG cant be compared...
Because the primary forces driving the show are completely different.The only thing common between the two is the basic description-a strnage group of people thrown together by circumstance (plane crash/genocide) must learn how to live together while at the same time battle mysterious outside forces(Others,smoke monsters, frieghters/Cylons).
Other than that, they are both different shows.

Lost is at heart, a big giant game where every character is the player and the end is mystery. BSG is more emotional and has always been about how people come to terms with a great tragedy.The characters of Lost have always been tools to explore the powers and mysteries of the island. BSG has used vague and shaky mythology to explore the fallacies of the charactes. Ron Moore can possibly end the story without having to reveal who the final Cylon is. But Cuselof HAVE to tell the audience what the smoke monster is, otherwise they will be burned at the stake.

Both are great shows. But they're both using a common premise to explore very different themes and stories and as such, cannot really be compared.

Anna said...

I don't think Adama would've ever relinquished his command with Zarek still in charge. Adama showed his faith in Lee by leaving him to run the government without having him around.

Except that the scene where Adama told Lee he was stepping down happened BEFORE the confrontation between Lee and Romo, when Zarek actually was still in charge and they had no idea whether they could find a suitable new president.

Christy said...

Huh?

Started disliking Lee in "Black Market," began intensely disliking him when he resigned his commission, and I now completely despise him. Am I alone in distrusting anyone who talks that nobly? And he is the one who undermined the elected V.P! Yeah, I know it's fiction, but he sets off all my distrust alarms.

And this is the first time I actually liked Lampkin, though Sheppard is a favorite actor.

As Natalie was projecting as she died with Cottle holding her hand, I thought "Cottle's the final cylon!"

Then when Lampkin showed up, I thought, "Lampkin's the final cylon!" Think about it, he was projecting the cat.

jim treacher said...

"I think you're all skipping over the most crucial point: Cylons can't have babies with Cylons."

But we've also been told that the Final Five are somehow different from regular Cylons. I'm thinking they're some kind of missing link between Cylons and humans.

Alan Sepinwall said...

What has actually happened to make us think Tigh is a Cylon? He just sorta decided he was. He doesn't fit either the Cylons' or the Humans' definitions of what the Final Five will be.

He had the same shared experience with Tory and the others, and we know Tory's a Cylon from the way she threw Cally halfway across the airlock.

kathy said...

This episode was mind-numbingly bad. It's hard to understand such a major lapse in judgement, and surprising in what has been such a strong season to date. I think Romo is one of the worst characters ever on the show, as Alan, said, a collection of 'colorful' quirks does not a character make. His crappiness sticks out like a sore thumb on this show precisely because it is so good at developing rich, complex characters. HATE HIM.

I also agree with Alan that that Adama handing the ship over to Tigh right after learn Tigh had fathered a baby with a Cylon...uhm, no.

Also, WFT on Lee becoming president? Aside fron the issue of Zareck not putting up a fight, what about the concept of. I don't know..DEMOCRACY?. Laura came into office because of constitutional rules of succession. So why when she goes missing do those same rules not apply? It's nonsensical and they supplied no scenes that would give it any context/plausability. Pretty much, they decided Lee needed to be president to advance the plot and didn't care to put in the effort to make that action fit in with everything we know about the characters. That's extremely lazy storytelling and the type of thing that is done all the time in bad sci-fi. Weak, very weak.

I have no words about the ghost cat. Just...OMG.

R.A. Porter said...

@kathy, Laura Roslin didn't come to office her second time around thanks to constitutional rules of succession, unless you consider the backroom deal President Tom Zarek made with her in "Collaborators" to be somehow different from the Quorum's emergency appointment of Lee.

Roslin held no elective office at that time. Zarek reconvened the Quorum, nominated Roslin, then stepped down when she was accepted as VP. Not exactly what I would call democracy in action.

I don't disagree with your overall impression that it was a lazy way to make Lee President, or that the writers missed an opportunity to tell an interesting political procedural story for once, but his Presidency is no more un-democratic as Roslin's.

Bobman said...

@kathy : They threw out some half-assed explanation of how in a "time of crisis" they could appoint an interim president. It was kind of just thrown out there, but they did mention it.

Dark Tyler said...

Not only a lazy episode, but Lee-as-president has to be one of the low points of the whole series. Kim Bauer chased by a cougar-bad.

barefootjim said...


He [Tigh] had the same shared experience with Tory and the others, and we know Tory's a Cylon from the way she threw Cally halfway across the airlock.


Which was something else: if Tory has Slaye--I mean Cylon--strength, why wouldn't Tigh?

In other words, why didn't he totally kick Adama's ass?

R.A. Porter said...

@barefootjim, I think you're forgetting one thing. Like all the cylon skinjobs, the final five do come with New and Improved Cylon Strength, but it is constrained. It's actually PVAFS [Power Varies As Fits Story] Cylon Strength.

The PVAFS constraint is a time-honored writing contrivance. My favorite example is from Superman. If speedy can fly around the world fast enough to make it spin backwards, couldn't he have just diverted both missiles?

(If anyone can come up with a better initialization or acronym for that, please let me know.)

Mrglass said...

...Or maybe he didn't want to actually kill the Old Man.

I mean, really, the episode wasn't that bad. '24'-cougar worthy, really? It was terrible only compared to the average in this excellent season, and I have high hopes for next week.

There were some writing mistakes but all together it was still fine and nowhere near 'Black Market' (Dark Tyler, have you even seen that episode?) for example. Lee-as-president actually makes sense when you think of it, the young War Hero and Savior of Humanity over the former terrorist; it was just poorly delivered.

To add to what Alan said: Tigh is in the same group as Sam, and Sam's red eye definitely makes him a Cylon, even more obviously than Tory. So there is no doubt in my mind the 'Final Four' are indeed Cylons.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Adama beat a Leoben to death in the miniseries! Dude's not a pushover, even against someone with super strength.

Girl Detective said...

I really didn't like this episode, and often snoozed during the Lee segments. I agree that it feels like they're shoehorning in plot development events at the expense of actual plot and character development.

I think they left it open, for now, whether Tigh impregnated Six. Coulda been immaculate, Baltar, somebody else. Not _necessarily_ Tigh.

nameAshtaken said...

I too thought that even with all the pivotal "reveals" in this episode, it felt incomplete. I am also very confused on the Tigh - Six pregnancy. If he was visiting Caprica Six in the brig, how did Cottle discover a pregnancy in Natalie?

Also, on the note of Natalie - for just a moment, I thought they were going to save her. I'm so upset she died. I wonder if Hera is going to do another creepy kid scene and tell her Mommy something after seeing the subject of her (non-realistic for her age) "kid-art."

The final scene with Adama was brilliant. As for Adama Jr - I do NOT see how the quorum is going to roll over and let him take the presidency. And if the purpose of "picking" a new president was to please Adama senior - boy are they going to be pissed that he's not in charge anymore...

A frakking cylon is!

Anonymous said...

So is Lee Adama now Obama, the candidate of hope, or is he Dick Cheney, who was tasked with finding a candidate for a position which he ultimately took for himself?

The question remains: Why does Commander Odama's refusal to work with an elected leader mean that the elected leader has to go? And once he stepped down, why did they need a new elected leader? I realize, of course, the writers have something planned for President Lee, but really, the guy has less political experience than Bush or Obama. Gee whiz!

dan said...

The 12th Cylon is Romo's dead cat. It's got to be.

My friend and I were hoping that the message Romo wrote on the white board was going to be "Romo's kitty. Meow meow."

A real bummer of an episode. Talk about a momentum-killer.

mac said...

I think Lost is far superior to BSG, so nyah. Anyway, I definitely see the same problems everyone else is seeing, but I still thought the episode was a decent hour-killer. They're obviously saving their best material for the final ten episodes.

Niffer said...

I hate Lampkin, so when I saw that he was in the episode my expectations dropped. Yet, the show still stunk more than I expected.

Anyhoo, I wasn't bothered as much by Starbuck as CAG versus being in the brig, or why folks weren't blaming Starbuck. Why? Because I was too busy wondering how Starbuck was on Galactica. I thought she was on the basestar!!! Did I miss something?

As for the fight between Tigh and Adama - I thought it interesting that they were both tossing each other around, causing me to wonder if Bill has super strength, and why...

I was hoping Natalie would project and discover the meaning of the opera house, but no dice.

Oh, and I REALLY hated the Lampkin nonsense.

Anonymous said...

To those of you who keep picking on individual writers of the show, I'm afraid that's not how TV writing works. It is a complete collaboration. So some of you single out a certain writer for misogyny or being bad, know that every word in the script was approved by Ronald Moore. And more than that, the line or story you may not like was very likely not that of the writer credited with that week's script. The writer credited wrote the first draft and maybe the second draft, after which the entire writing staff under the guidance of the showrunner rewrites the script (the original writer is part of that process.) So the writer you hate might have come up with that line you like in someone else's episode. Or that story twist you adored. To pick on the individual writer is unfair as with TV you don't know what their actual contribution to each week's script was. But do know that no writer is working on a show of this caliber for long without frequently contributing in a big positive way.

Butch said...

does anyone else think that the "dying leader" is Natalie, and that the truth of the opera house was her final look at Dr. Cottle - that he's the final cylon?

Bob in SA said...

Just because Doc says Tigh's the Daddy don't make it so. Wouldn't it make more sense for Baltar to somehow be the Dad and that the child in the Dream has been misinterpreted all this time? Just a thought

Christy said...

OT but I'll ask anyway. I don't have cable so I download next day with Amazon Unbox. I received an email from Amazon this morning saying The latest episode of Battlestar Galactica that was automatically downloaded ... was not the correct episode, even though the episode is labeled 'Battlestar Galactica:
Sina Qua Non.'
and I should delete it and download the correct episode. It looks to me like the same episode everyone else watched. Anyone know what's up with this? I'm naturally curious about it and don't want to delete it if, ala "Lost" there's a backwards message embedded that tells me who the final cylon is.

Sam said...

Two thoughts, any chance that the Tigh-Caprica 6 baby is the final model-a true cylon-cylon child and not a half human child like Boomer and Tyrol's kids? Or am I reaching.

That is of course if it is Tigh's child and not Baltar's although I don't think the show has given us any inkling that Baltar has gone to see her in captivity? or am I forgetting something.

I also though starbuck went to the baystar w/ the President when it jumped. But apparently not has anyone rewatched that episode to see if starbuck is standing there when the roslin says plug her in?

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts, any chance that the Tigh-Caprica 6 baby is the final model-a true cylon-cylon child and not a half human child like Boomer and Tyrol's kids? Or am I reaching.

Could be! Remember the original hybrid's words in Razor?

"Soon there will be four, glorious in awakening, struggling with the knowledge of their true selves. The pain of revelation bringing new clarity and in the midst of confusion, he will find her. Enemies brought together by impossible longing. Enemies now joined as one. The way forward at once unthinkable, yet inevitable. And the fifth, still in shadow, will claw toward the light, hungering for redemption that will only come in the howl of terrible suffering."

Might he have been describing childbirth?

Kenrick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kenrick said...

You know, I was just thinking... if I were to write a joke episode of BSG, it might turn out something like that last episode.

Wouldn't it be funny of Tigh knocked up Six? Boy would Adama be mad!

Yeah, yeah, and wouldn't it be funny if the lawyer dude was hallucinating and there really was no cat! Like in The Sixth Sense!?! AND THEN HE GOES ALL BONKERS ON LEE!?!?

Hahaha, dude what would be great is if Starbuck turned out to be the SANEST of them all!!!!

Comedy gold!

Except it's not - 'cause it turned into an actual episode of BSG.

subodim said...

I was annoyed by the "ghost cat" thing, but only because it confused me at first before I understood why there was a dead cat in Romo's bag. (I didn't realize the cat we had seen in his room was only a figment of his imagination.)

However, after watching the episode again, the "cat thing" was very powerful to me. Reading between the lines, somebody killed Romo's cat after Baltar's trial because Romo had successfully defended Baltar. It was a horrible act of violence. Romo was deeply upset, and he began to feel that humanity is not worth saving. To me, that's powerful stuff. I might feel the same way myself if someone killed my own cat out of malice.

Romo had lost his entire family, and his cat was all he had left of his former life. Although he was not especially fond of cats, his cat meant a lot to him. The cat also served as a reminder of the terrible choice he had made when the Cylons attacked. To make a "meta" criticism and say, "That sort of thing doesn't belong in the show at this point of the arc," is to miss the whole point. It was a reminder (obviously a necessary one for certain viewers) that five years after the Cylon attack, people in the fleet are still haunted by remorse and still have wounds that can never really heal.

The show must continually ask the question, "Does humanity deserve to survive?" We've seen various answers to that question, and we will surely see more variations on the same theme. Romo was testing Lee. (That's the sort of drama most people should be able to appreciate, especially when they're asking for more scenes like that.) When Lee gave Romo his own answer, Romo told Lee to stick to his word and be a GOOD President. Lee understood that, and he empathized with Romo's pain, so he rewarded Romo with a new companion. As far as I'm concerned, it was a perfect "mini arc".

I was also moved by Adama's personal struggle. (Who wasn't?) I never expected him to give up everything to search for Laura. Watching him stay behind alone in a raptor was very poignant. In a way, he had a second chance to save someone he loved by putting his own life on the line, unlike Romo, who has no second chance. It's a nice contrast, which shows that the "mini arc" DID serve the bigger arc well.

lizkdc said...

Like a lot of BSG episodes, it contained some awesome moments so good they end up overpowering the weaker moments

* Adama alone in the viper, waiting for Laura
* The Tigh/Adama fight

I actually enjoyed the Romo/Lee scenes, but I agree they spent far too much time on that and left a big emotional/plot hole around the issue of the people lost in the Base Ship jump.

Beyond the fleet as a whole going crazy losing the President and part of their defense force, it feels like the episode should have shown more of the emotion around the others besides Laura who are missing.

There's this huge list of key characters who should be feeling the suspense:
Athena for Helo
Kara for Sam
Tori for Laura

and also, as people said upstream, Kara for mission/Earth which is her sine qua non at the point

BTW, the editing around the whole "something's off with Romo" was so weird that all sorts of crazy stuff rushed through my head, including:
* Romo is a Cylon
* Romo is in love with Lee?
* Romo is dying

and even:
* the cat is a Cylon?