Friday, January 23, 2009

Battlestar Galactica, "A Disquiet Follows My Soul": Okay, what's next?

Spoilers for tonight's "Battlestar Galactica" coming up just as soon as I give my teeth a good brushing...

"You know, there are days that I really hate this job." -Bill Adama

Last week's episode was about philosophy. This one's about practicality.

Where most of "Sometimes a Great Notion" was spent on the characters -- and the audience -- trying to make sense of the ruined state of Earth and one mind-bending revelation after another, "A Disquiet Follows My Soul" features the rag-tag fleet attempting to get back to business. There will be time for soul-searching, and for answers, later, but right now, everyone needs to figure out what to do now that Earth has turned out to be an even bigger dump than New Caprica.

The need to move on is signified with the long opening sequence of Adama going through his normal morning routine. To a career military man, routine is everything, and as we see him brushing his teeth, showering, taking out a fresh uniform, we see him setting aside all the angst he's been wallowing in for the last few episodes. No more crying, or punching mirrors, or getting blitzed -- there's work to be done, and that can only be done if the fleet is in the right mindset, and if its leader is setting the tone from the top down. (Note that he even starts picking up litter whenever he finds some in the Galactica corridors; if you let the little problems build up, ignored, then people feel free to create bigger ones.)

And, for the moment, the fleet only has the one leader. Where Bill has his act back together, Roslin is checked out, prepared to die on her own terms, luxuriating in the adrenaline rush of stopping her chemo treatments, and leaving the civilian government in the fear-mongering paws of Tom Zarek.

In some ways, this incarnation of Laura is more disturbing than last week's silent, fetal-positioned mess, or the vengeful robot she let herself become for much of the first half of this season. At least then, she allowed herself to feel something about the plight of her constituency, even if she overreacted to those feelings, curling into a ball or curtailing civil liberties. As Laura freely admits, she just wants to live a little before she dies, and the fleet can go crying to some other mommy the next time it stubs its toe. The moment when Bill and Laura finally consummate their relationship, finally give into their feelings even more freely than when she declared her love for him at the end of "Hub," should feel triumphant, the release of four years of anticipated build-up. Instead, it feels sad. I wouldn't begrudge either party their desire to get some before the apocalypse comes, to find some kind of happiness amidst all this tragedy, but I wish they could have reached this point before Laura gave up on humanity, both her own and everyone else's. I look at her glowing, and wish I could share in her happiness, but I can't.

When he isn't trying to corral, and eventually bed, the vacationing Commander-in-Chief, Adama has to deal with the realities of the fleet's current situation. Where do they go now? How do they stay safe from whatever's left of Brother Cavil's Cylon faction? And what's to be done about this fragile alliance with Six's faction? It was one thing for the fleet to go along with a short-term alliance, when it seemed like everyone's happy ending on Earth was just around the corner, but Zarek has a point: why should the fleet throw in its lot with the people who put it in this current horrible predicament? Even if they got to witness Natalie and Leoben and the rest have their come-to-Jesus moment (come-to-Baltar moment?) where they realized that maybe genocide was a mistake, would they care? And why, especially given how vehemently Adama opposed networking his ship's computers back in the miniseries, shouldn't people be shocked and outraged by the idea that he now wants every ship in the fleet to install Cylon tech?

(For more on Adama's reasoning on this point, I strongly recommend Mo Ryan's interview with Ron Moore on this episode.)

Zarek has a point. So, for that matter, does Gaeta, his new partner in insurrection. From our omniscient point of view as fans of the series, we can trust Tigh and Tyrol and Athena and maybe the rest of the rebel Cylons, but if we'd lived through this four-year nightmare? If we'd lost friends, loved ones, a leg, etc., to the toasters, and now our military leader -- who has a habit of making unilateral decisions that affect all of our lives -- declares that we're now bestest buddies with them, wouldn't we maybe think it's time for a coup?

The various Gaeta and Zarek scenes through the episode crackled, especially Felix confronting Kara about that fun time when she and two of her best Cylon buddies almost threw him out an airlock for allegedly consorting with the enemy. Alessandro Juliani hasn't been asked to do that much heavy lifting over the years, but he absolutely shines in this spotlight episode, showing you every ounce of Felix's hatred as Tigh demands to be called "sir," and matching every bit of Katee Sackhoff's feral energy as Starbuck and Gaeta swap insults. (Her: "Rimshot, big laugh, applause, applause, applause." Him: "So I guess a pity frak's out of the question, then?")

Richard Hatch got his own wonderful sarcastic moments -- asking Lee, "Are you the president again? Sorry, I get confused what your job is on any given day." -- and was allowed to make salient points, even though he was wrapping them up in the language of fear. My only complaint with this story is the evidence Adama finds of Zarek's corruption. Yes, this was set up all the way back in "Black Market," but for a show that usually relishes its moral ambiguity, I think it's an easy out to allow Adama to rightfully accuse Zarek of such hypocrisy. Wouldn't things be a lot messier -- and even more compelling -- if Zarek was every bit the freedom fighter he bills himself as? Wouldn't it be a lot harder to root against the insurrection, even though we've been on Adama's side since the miniseries?

The other practical matters to be dealt with here are questions of paternity. Tigh is, in fact, Caprica Six's baby daddy, which means that Cylon-Cylon breeding is somehow possible (and it would have to be, given the number and variety of Cylons we saw in the flashbacks to Earth pre-nuking).

Tyrol's son, on the other hand, turns out not to be his off-spring, but the result of a short-lived affair between Cally and dumb ol' Hot Dog. That addresses two issues at once. First, it means that Hera is still the only human-Cylon hybrid to date, which the writers had to address once they retroactively decided Tyrol was a Cylon. Second, it gives Tyrol -- already having pronoun trouble when it comes to referring to his newfound Cylon brothers -- even less of a connection to humanity. He thought Nicky was his own blood, raised him as such for the first few years of the boy's life, and will still care for him even after Hot Dog more fully enters the picture, but finding out he doesn't have any human relations (or half-relations) makes it even easier to start thinking of the Cylons as "us" and the humans as "them."

And when Gaeta and Zarek and their friends inevitably attempt to forcefully separate the humans from the Cylons, I don't think Tyrol's going to have a problem choosing sides. Do you?

Some other thoughts on "A Disquiet Follows My Soul":

• This was Ron Moore's directorial debut after four years of running the show, and several decades as a TV and film writer. A few of the sequences (Adama's multiple bouts of dental hygine obsession, Roslin sprinting through the corridors, Baltar's sermon) called attention to themselves, this final season has become more visually adventurous, so these didn't feel out of place.

• Baltar's sermon, in which he turns his back on his "you are perfect, because God is perfect" mantra and suggests that God has some questions to answer -- if He exists at all -- was the episode's one big philosophical moment, but even it felt practical. After Baltar spent the first half of the season spreading the monotheistic word, he would almost have to deal with the implications of God's plan turning out to be really imperfect, wouldn't he?

• Lee's slip at the press conference about the gender of the final Cylon makes it clear that Tigh told other people about his discovery about Ellen at the end of "Sometimes a Great Notion." Starbuck, on the other hand, appears to be keeping her own discoveries to herself, and it's eating her up inside.

• Am I nuts, or is one of the on-lookers cheering on the Tyrol/Hot Dog brawl Brent Spiner? He and Moore do have a professional history together, after all; maybe he was in Vancouver on this particular day and wandered by.

What did everybody else think?

65 comments:

Brandon said...

Great recap, as usual.

Any idea what medicine Bill's taking? Or is it insignificant and I missed it?

MB said...

It bugs me when significant events take place in between episodes and the viewers are expected to figure it out based on context.

For instance, Tyrol quitting the Colonial Fleet and suddenly joining - and apparently speaking on behalf of - the rebel Cylons.

Couldn't that have been mentioned a bit ... clearer?

mac13 said...

A bit of a mundane episode, and Adama's little philosophical waxing at the beginning was like a better version of Mohinder's voice-overs.

BUT I was really digging the new Felix. There's some really great anger brewing up, and from an actor that I never thought much of until now.

Todd said...

I thought Adama was just taking some aspirin, or whatever the equivalent is in that world - but now that you mention it...

Anonymous said...

Did it appears to anyone else that Bill is getting sick? Perhaps he is the dying leader.

Baltar stirs up the sh*t everywhere he goes. Looks like everyone's loosing their religion.

This can not end well for Gaeta. If you didnt see the BSG webisodes, featuring Gaeta, shown on the Scifi Channel website, I'd encourage you to go check them out.

I got a feeling, Alan, that Laura will find her way back to humanity again, before its done. Hard to believe we have so few episodes left of this beloved series.

Debbie

SteveInHouston said...

Anonymous, that's what I was thinking. It's been assumed by most (including me) that Roslin was the dying leader mentioned in the prophecies.

I thought that the bit with Adama "coercing" Zarek ended up being a bluff on the admiral's part - when he handed off the file to Tigh, I thought Tigh looked at it and said something like "laundry reports?" I don't know if that changes anything regarding the larger point about Zarek.

Interesting that Baltar has gone from "there is no God" to "I am a God" to "God is perfect, so therefore we are perfect" to "we are imperfect so therefore God is imperfect". And I think he's had a different hairstyle for every stage of his theology.

Adama picking up litter from the hallways ... taking a page out of Rudy Giuliani's "Broken Windows" philosophy there. Or Wilson/Kelling, if Giuliani makes your skin crawl too much.

Jeff L said...

Yeah, that sure looked like Brent Spiner to me, too.

I love Adama picking up the bits trash. It so perfectly captures his return to leadership.

Even in the darkest episodes, BSG has always found moments of comedy that both a) felt real in the moment and b) made me laugh out loud. Seems like it's been a while since we've had those moments, and it's great to have one of them here with Adama's "hate this job" line.

Number Five said...

As Alan said, we've moved from the characters all falling apart personally in the wake of finding Earth to the fleet now disintegrating as fear and hatred seep into the vacuum left by failed leadership.

I don't think the fleet has any leaders right now. Adama has put himself back together and is running Galactica (although I liked his trash pickup more as a sign that military discipline is still weak, and nicely mirrored by Zarek's throwing down the coordinates in the brig). But he's not doing much more to solve the crisis other than putting out the immediate fires caused by Zarek. He backed down when Roslin refused to return to the presidency, when she needed to be told yes, you did earn this, but you can't stop now...the survival of humanity is at stake.

Tigh isn't much better - the only thing he seemed affected by was his baby and Six in the opening scene. Lee sees the big picture, but without any other support, there's not much he can do. So it's heartbreakingly bittersweet to see Adama and Roslin finally coming together while they are checking out from their larger duties.

Meanwhile, Baltar (the religious angle), Zarek (the political angle), and Gaeta (the military angle), are all stepping in and inciting a fleet-wide mutiny (with Baltar's role being indirect for now). And the brilliant thing is it all makes sense, no matter how foolish or wrong they are. You can see how Baltar's "you are awesome" preaching from last season would lead to "you didn't sin, God did! Screw the authority figures!" now that Earth is a wasteland. Zarek's motives are harder to tell, but Alan is right that you can see how he's motivated both by power and a genuine fear that Adama and Roslin have to go. And Gaeta, depicted as a truly decent person for much of the show, has been so scarred by New Caprica through the amputation that you can see why he would lead the mutiny.

Everyone is acting poorly, but completely in character and in response to their situation. I'm blown away by this show, easily for me the best show in television, and I can't wait to see how they keep going.

-- In this season, which has to deal with a huge amount of material, I like that they've gotten better about picking which events don't need to be shown. Tyrol's confused pronouns and a bit of exposition told us all we needed to know about his position right now, and Lee's slip let us know about Ellen without having to deal with it in this episode.

-- The opening scene felt to me tonally off-kilter compared to the rest of the episode..other than that Moore's direction was very good.

-- I agree that the evidence against Zarek scene was a weak spot, both because it is more compelling if Zarek isn't corrupt, and because the "I bluff with fake evidence but you reveal your guilt" plot is a huge TV/movie cliche.

-- The confrontation between Gaeta and Starbuck was brutal...neither gave an inch. Really powerful stuff.

Mo Ryan said...

This might be a better link for the interview with Moore regarding Disquiet.

http://tinyurl.com/da5n23

He said, btw, that Adama's taking pain pills.

Mo Ryan said...

By the way, I had more or less assumed Roslin and Adama had been, er, sharing a bunk, as it were, since around the time of Unfinished Business. If not then, I assumed they'd become intimate at some point before Disquiet.

I thought that last shot was very nice.

Teev said...

I too thought they hooked up a while back but we never saw it because that would be disrespectful. I really liked that idea actually, and I may stick with it.

Antid Oto said...

My only complaint with this story is the evidence Adama finds of Zarek's corruption. Yes, this was set up all the way back in "Black Market," but for a show that usually relishes its moral ambiguity, I think it's an easy out to allow Adama to rightfully accuse Zarek of such hypocrisy.

I'm pretty sure Tigh's little aside about the folder being full of "laundry reports" was meant to indicate that Adama was bluffing and didn't really have any such evidence. Obviously Zarek is just dirty enough to fall for the bluff, but it's also the case that making the fuel ship disappear was just so much muscle-flexing for him: he wouldn't want it permanently gone either. So I didn't feel like he was folding anything big when he threw in this particular hand.

Crystal said...

Antid Oto beat me to it on the Adama/Zarek. Can't wait for next week.

Brian said...

Zarek caving in the face of false evidence may be less that he knows there is dirt out there that can hurt him than a realization that it simply didn't matter. In the face of being in a brig held by what is, in effect, a military devoid of civilian oversight or control, he may have recognized that it was pointless to resist.

Danny said...

The story did not move forward at all, these kinds of episodes may have been cute in season 2 but now that only 10 episodes are left wasting a whole episode on one single issue is just plain useless

Danny said...

Also, why does Batlar character has any credibility left? He has gone from being a brilliant scientist, a failed president who almost got them all killed, a cylon collaborator, being charged for war crimes to a religious preacher and now to an atheist preacher. It would be the equivalent to George Bush waking up tomorrow and starting to preach about the evils of religion-- he would lose what little credibility he has left. To an average Joe in the fleet he should have absolutely ZERO credibility left after his newest shenanigans. I have said this from the first part of season 4; the writers don't know what to do with Baltar and are trying to artificial create scenarios to give him something to do, which does not fit organically into the story.

Gaeta was the best thing abou the episode whose strry is least getting somewher

Craig Ranapia said...

Yes, this was set up all the way back in "Black Market," but for a show that usually relishes its moral ambiguity, I think it's an easy out to allow Adama to rightfully accuse Zarek of such hypocrisy. Wouldn't things be a lot messier -- and even more compelling -- if Zarek was every bit the freedom fighter he bills himself as? Wouldn't it be a lot harder to root against the insurrection, even though we've been on Adama's side since the miniseries?

Well, Zarek is a hypocritical douchebag -- and let's be honest about it, he does make some fair points but he's bringing a lot of wounded ego and an insecure purchase on the moral high ground to the table as well. (Just as Cain did in 'Pegasus' when she ripped Roslin and Adama new a-holes. Every word she said was true, but she's no less a heinous %$#@! for it.)

But the thing is that Adama (and Roslin) are totally complicit in Zarek's corruption. They knew he was up to his eyeballs in every racket going in the fleet -- but they were willing to turn a blind eye to the black market, as long as things like child trafficing and dealing in essential medicines stopped. Prostitution and black market luxuries, not so much.

And both Roslin and Adama were perfectly well aware that Acting President Zarek was running a extra-judicial death squad after the Exodus from New Caprica, and they could live with that.

So, I don't think the moral ambiguity has been swept under the carpet in this case after all.

Oh, and perhaps I missed something but doesn't Gaeta know his death warrant was signed by Tom Zarek? Felix has some major malfunction going on when it comes to making character judgements -- Sweet Six, leaving Galactica to become Baltar's CoS, helping out the resistance (and almost getting flushed out a launch tube), volunteering for the Demetrius mission (...and all I got was this lousy prosthesis), and dumping Hoshi when he can't score any more morpha. Somehow, I don't see Felix Gaeta living until the final credits.

belinda said...

For an episode ridden with bittersweetness, I also enjoyed the little comical bits in it as well.

- Tyrol and Cottle having some celebratory cigarettes in front of a pregnant woman (albeit, cylon) is just priceless.

- The Chief not being able to remember who's us and who's them.

- Then comes Hotdog, who was most famous for his rash, to be Nicky's real father. I do feel slightly guilty in laughing about that while the Chief's world is suddenly turned upside down once again.

- Lee oopsies daisies a pronoun into the final cylon. I kind of loved how Zarek responded to that with a look.

- Starbuck and Gaeta's showdown? Fantastic. It's been a while since we've heard such good verbal jabs. I'm really liking the direction they're taking Gaeta; it's one hell of a character development that's only helped by the webisodes.

- Zarek. Love him or hate him, he does have an excellent point, even though he's still an evil douche. Here's a character that I feel had been the least affected by the 4 years of the show (I'd say, prison had changed him way before the show even started), with a perfect mix of evil and good. It'll be interesting to see what seems to be a mutiny coming up soon, especially with the new duo of Gaeta and Zarek.

- I completely agree with you about the end scene. It is heartbreaking to see Roslin give up, and to a certain extent, Adama. It'll be interesting to see how they'd recover from this.

- Baltar. I'm still not exactly sure what's up his sleeve just yet; does he believe in his own drivel, or was that all for maintaining his position as spiritual leader? I can't tell. One thing's for sure - his supporters are increasing with each day, and I feel that his group will play a huge part in what's going to happen once the fleet splinters.

Anyway. Still filled with loads of thoughts, which is what I love most about this show. Great episode again.

Starphazron said...

I am loving this final season, but the only slight flaw I am seeing is that Gaeta's transformation into a dick is, to me, quite abrupt. I'd have liked some more lead in to this.

I am positive that whatever mutinous scheme Gaeta and Zareck have concocted will fail, and I am almost positive that this will ultimately lead to Gaeta's death.

Craig Ranapia said...

I completely agree with you about the end scene. It is heartbreaking to see Roslin give up, and to a certain extent, Adama. It'll be interesting to see how they'd recover from this.

I'm probably going to be hunted down and killed by every Ladama shipper in creation, but I'd always said the day they ever fraked would have been an FTL shark jump for the show.

Boy, did I ever get that wrong... RDM pulled such a nasty little mind-frak (I don't think Alan's reaction is going to be unusual) he's 1) just confirmed his status as the Sith Lord of evil geniuses, and, 2) should be getting the worse reaction from fandom since he killed Kirk. :)

Undercover Asian Man said...

I find myself siding with Zarek and Gaeta the more I think about their situation. Why bring the cylons along? Why not just go your separate ways at this point? It would probably be safer since the 'bad' Cylons are more focused on the 'good' Cylons than they are with humans, giving them the chance to make a clean break.

Also, it wasn't that long ago that D'Anna was ejecting humans into space if the Final 4 Cylons weren't transfered to the base ship.

I really admire the fact that the writers aren't letting an alliance happen without major thoughts of mutiny throughout the fleet. I can see a lesser show having a quick kumbaya moment and moving on from there. I like that so many aren't willing to forgive and forget after such atrocities, and that Adama is seemingly more like a tyrant or dictator than ever as he presses this on the fleet. I do wish there were more episodes left to go deeper with this possible human civil war.

I do hope they give us some satisfying story for Baltar and his mind's Six. Those two were so dominant in the first two seasons that many were led to believe Baltar and his imaginary Six were the key to everything. But they have been shoved aside for some time now. The Baltar as Messiah story is unsatisfying, and, unless things change fast, I'm sure the actor would agree as well that his arc is a disappointment.

It's still shocking to realize that they really aren't going to settle on Earth once and for all. Pretty good mindfrak for those of us who knew and experienced the original BSG and how Earth = paradise was always assumed to be the one thing passed from that campy series to this one.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Here are my thoughts on the "laundry reports" line. It could be a sign that Adama was bluffing Zarek (and that Zarek is still dirty enough to fall for it), or it could be Tigh making a joke about how Adama just handed him all of Zarek's dirty laundry.

It works either way.

jim treacher said...

"Language of fear." Funny how it's only the other side that engages in that, isn't it? Anyway, now that Zarek's been caught selling his influence, Galactica has its very own Blago. Similar hair and everything.

Any idea what medicine Bill's taking?

I assumed it was the Galactica version of Vicodin or Oxy.

As for Gaeta, I'm guessing this episode comes after the recent webisode series at the Sci-Fi Channel site. That mess was the last straw for him.

Maura said...

It bugs me when significant events take place in between episodes and the viewers are expected to figure it out based on context.

It doesn't usually bug me much, but when did Tigh and Six become a giggly couple? Will we see them showing everyone photos of the ultrasound?

I was smelling soap opera when I learned that Tyrol isn't his son's biological father. I like Alan's observation that it isolates him more from the humans who have been a huge part of his life for so long.

A revolt! I can't imagine it not happening. I would be disappointed if it didn't.

ddnnll said...

Yes, the "giggly" Cylon couple did seem sudden ... especially since we hadn't heard about it since then. Seems that Tigh has fully embraced his Cylon-ness. I wish we could have seen a little more of the Four dealing with that huge revelation.

No doubt that Adama will be the actual "dying leader." Seeds have been planted with the pain pill scenes.

Ingrid said...

I understand it was a setup episode, necessary to move the story forward. But I was bored and unimpressed. I was also quite annoyed with the Zarek storyline, although I guess it was to be expected.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"Tyrol and Cottle having some celebratory cigarettes in front of a pregnant woman (albeit, cylon) is just priceless."

One of my minor pet theories is that the folks in the 12 Colonies have absolutely no idea that cigarettes have any connection to cancer...

ED said...

Some of the discussion in these comments reminds me of "Lost". with people complaining that the plot isn't moving forward enough, only 1 issue was addressed, etc. For me, I am every bit as interested in the characters as the plot. I was mesmerized by the Gaeta's transformation into an angry, bitter rebel. Likewise with Roslin's epiphany. I thought last night was absoluteley great, and an example of why this show is amazing, and not just really good. Its not just about convoluted plot and interesting mythology, at its core it makes us care and love the characters and hurt with them.

Also, Alan, I felt that Gaeta's anger, when he didn't use "Sir" until directed, was aimed at Adama, not necessarily Tigh. Tigh was reminding him to address the old man as "sir", not him. This was the precursor to him plotting with Zarek.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, Alan, I felt that Gaeta's anger, when he didn't use "Sir" until directed, was aimed at Adama, not necessarily Tigh. Tigh was reminding him to address the old man as "sir", not him. This was the precursor to him plotting with Zarek.

Tigh was telling Gaeta to call Adama "sir," but what really chapped Gaeta's hide was that a Cylon was ordering him to do it.

Anonymous said...

Some petty disquiet about Disquiet:
1, I think Gaeta's image would have been better if they had not done the Junior High back and forth with Starbuck; just have him say to her: "You're not welcome here!" and then move to his meeting with the others. As is, he seems petulant rather than an emerging counter-leader.
2, Has no one on Ron Moore's team ever done any real sparring? The beating Tyrol laid down on hotdog would have put him in the hospital for weeks if not killed him. And what of Balter and his group doing nothing to intervene? Having Baltar step in, get smacked himself, and his followers pull Tyrol off would be more realistic in terms of the physics but also drive that end of the story better.
3, More exposition of how Adama moves from "no networking" to "we must have this cylon technology" to turn that story arc. They could have pushed that decision in his mind to the next episode and used this one to lay the foundation.

Anonymous said...

the thing that always bugs me about Zarek is that he typically doesn't provide alternative solutions, he just hates how things have gone and so seeks out to destroy the fleet at whatever cost possible. I know there's only so much time to go around for storylines, but it seems like Zarek's character would be a more believable leader if he offered solutions rather than just complain all the time.

Scott Stowell said...

It bugs me when significant events take place in between episodes and the viewers are expected to figure it out based on context.

It bugs me when significant events take place in ancillary media and then are ignored and/or contradicted in the main show. Programs like BSG, Heroes, and Lost do these webisodes and mobisodes and whatever with characters and plot points in them that are potentially interesting but have remain inconsequential to be fair to tv viewers.

So in this year's webisodes, it was revealed that Gaeta and Hoshi are (or at least were) a couple. Points to Jane Espenson for trying to cross the final frontier of sci-fi by making being gay just another regular part of life. Until now, shows like BSG get all real with the conflict and torture but can't bring themselves to deal with gayness.

(As a straight man, I can appreciate the visceral charms of the "hot evil lesbian" angle that always shows up in sci-fi, but it's frustrating and puzzling that we never see homosexuality dealt with in the same casually realistic way in which other parts of life are shown on BSG.)

In this week's episode, we see Gaeta taunt Kara by yelling "what, no pity frak?" Knowing the supposed truth of Gaeta's character, I read that line with extra layers of irony--or even further transgression against established mores of sexuality. But I'm sure most viewers, not having seen the webisodes, understandably take it at face value.

So BSG gets to be a tv show with a gay character or two but not freak anyone out by, you know, showing them on tv. This is a sad cop-out, like DS9 with its lesbian kiss that wasn't really one after all. I hope this gets fixed in another episode, but I'm not optimistic. BSG is just about the best show ever, but there's always room for improvement.

Anonymous said...

I think the webisodes established Gaeta as bi, not gay. They showed him kissing a Sharon too. (Or maybe that makes him omnisexual?)

Craig Ranapia said...

I think Gaeta's image would have been better if they had not done the Junior High back and forth with Starbuck; just have him say to her: "You're not welcome here!" and then move to his meeting with the others. As is, he seems petulant rather than an emerging counter-leader.

Which would have been a hella-boring scene, and about three seconds long. And I don't know about you, but when Kara Thrace wants to work on her 'Mean Girl', you don't get to make a dramatic exit until she's done. :)

Has no one on Ron Moore's team ever done any real sparring? The beating Tyrol laid down on hotdog would have put him in the hospital for weeks if not killed him.

He also would have killed Cally, possibly killed Baltar after cold cocking him in the Temple of the Five, and Starbuck would have been in a wheelchair long ago considering the punishment she keeps bouncing back from. I think it's called "reality rules, until it gets in the way of effective and entertaining story-telling -- then it can go frak itself". :)

ED said...

Alan, while I certainly agree with you that having a Cylon reprimand him for not using "sir" made Gaeta fume, my point is that I understood his not referring to Adama as "sir" at first to indicate his losing respect for Adama because of his willingness to trust the Cylons. While I wouldn't underestimate his hatred for Tigh, what stuck out to me in that scene was the disrespect (with regards to the command structure) that Gaeta would show to the Old Man. That was the moment, for me, that made it clear Gaeta would be part of a rebellion\coup attempt. He had gone from her worshiping the Admiral to having disdain in his voice. That element actually stuck out more to me than his response to Tigh.

Norgard said...

An entire episode full of recognizable human (and Cylon) behaviour? Are they still allowed to do that?

"By the way, I had more or less assumed Roslin and Adama had been, er, sharing a bunk, as it were, since around the time of Unfinished Business."

I find that unlikely given Roslin's surprised reaction when Adama Freudian-invites her to his bed in "Dirty Hands".

"Zarek has a point: why should the fleet throw in its lot with the people who put it in this current horrible predicament?"

He'd also have two other points, if the writers didn't want the audience to clearly side with Adama: one, the Cylons didn't just all but wipe out humanity four years ago, they also realised two years ago that that whole extermination thing was just a stupid mistake and what they really wanted is to enslave humanity for its own good. Now they want an alliance because they need it. Tomorrow -- after Cavil is dealt with -- they might decide giving the extermination of humanity another shot. Politically speaking, they're not exactly a reliable entity.

Two, with Tyrol even admitting that the intricate working of the Cylon drives goes over his head, installing the new drives means putting the fleet completely at the Cylons' mercy. The Cylons could easily put some remote control in there that allows them to send the fleet into the next sun should they ever feel the need -- and given the Cylon antipathy in the fleet this would only be prudent for them. Even if they play fair, humanity will for decades to come depend on the Cylons just to keep the fleet flying.

mustang sally said...

I love this show as much as anybody & hate that it is coming to a close way too soon. But one of the things i love about it is that it treats the characters as as if they are real people. As much as i love the heart pounding drama & twists of the "other" episodes, the ones that deal w/ the people being people are very appealing. And after losing everything, wouldn't each person, or cylon for that matter, have to cope in his/her own way? I appreciate the fact that Adama gets up every day & functions. I also appreciate that the crushing disappointment of the reality of Earth took everything out of Laura. She needs to put a back a little back before she can face facts again & go on. (Personally i think she will, eventually, step up again & go on.)

Also, am i the only one that thinks there was some significance to the fact that Adama picked up three identical pieces of crumpled paper? The first one i thought, oh good he cares about things again. (The scene where he walked through the corridor last week was beautiful, btw.) But the second one made me notice & the third, in the brig made me wonder even more.

For people who think the switch in Gaeta was abrupt, keep in mind that in the timeline of BSG, the events of the webisodes happened between this episode & the last one.

Craig Ranapia said...

For people who think the switch in Gaeta was abrupt, keep in mind that in the timeline of BSG, the events of the webisodes happened between this episode & the last one.

And I've never really brought that it was that "abrupt" anyway -- with all the shit Gaeta's been through, due to his invariably bad judgement when it comes to putting his absolute trust in people who throw it on the floor and jump on it, did anyone really think he was just going to shrug it off forever? Seriously.

excentric said...

I don't think I'm out here by myself, but I haven't like Roslin since the first season one election episode. She wants to keep her power no matter what and will do whatever it takes, moral, immoral, whatever. I don't much care for Adama, either. He started out strong, but just became complicit in her machinations over time. I also have one little nitpick. They are out in space with no sign of a habitable planet, and resources have to be scarce. Adama turns on the hot shower while still dressed and brusing his teeth. Excuse me?

jim treacher said...

One of my minor pet theories is that the folks in the 12 Colonies have absolutely no idea that cigarettes have any connection to cancer...

Or they've seen "Sleeper"...

Antid Oto said...

Here are my thoughts on the "laundry reports" line. It could be a sign that Adama was bluffing Zarek (and that Zarek is still dirty enough to fall for it), or it could be Tigh making a joke about how Adama just handed him all of Zarek's dirty laundry. It works either way.

Okay, I can see how it could be ambiguous, but I have to disagree: it really doesn't work either way. It seems like accidental ambiguity. Why would the writers want to leave the audience in the dark about whether or not Adama actually has the goods on Zarek? What purpose would that serve in a show already packed full of much more important mysteries? We can see that this isn't even close to the end of Zarek's machinations. There's a mutiny coming. Doesn't what was really in that folder make a big difference to the audience's understanding of how Adama reacts from now on?

keyser soze said...

Alan, is your title for this post a reference to The West Wing, by any chance? Because if it is... awesome. That reference works on so many levels.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, is your title for this post a reference to The West Wing, by any chance?

Yes.

OldDarth said...

Wow. 8 episodes left and the show is dicking around with politics again. I enjoyed the episode for what it was but c'mon folks there is only a finite number of installments left to explore some mythology here.

I see little seeds being planted but this looks like the series is going to be in a big rush to tie everything together at this rate.

Alan Sepinwall said...

OldDarth, I'd say the politics are at least as important to the show as the Cylin mythology. It's the real-world concerns that distinguish Galactica from lots of other space operas.

K J Gillenwater said...

"The story did not move forward at all, these kinds of episodes may have been cute in season 2 but now that only 10 episodes are left wasting a whole episode on one single issue is just plain useless"

I completely agree. What a waste of an episode. The important stuff...finding out the baby wasn't Tyrol's and the beginnings of mutiny after the fight with Starbuck could've fit into last week's ep or combined with next week's.

I also really really don't like any ep that is almost 100% focused on politics. I'm tired of the former prison inmate as VP thing, plus the Quorum nonsense. I just don't care. You don't have to have some political thing going on in order to have a revolt in the fleet. After finding out Earth was uninhabitable and a bunch of suicides, I think that would be enough reason for a split.

Here's to hoping next week is better.

mjryan said...

It's the real-world concerns that distinguish Galactica from lots of other space operas.

It's also this aspect that has made fans out of people that don't normally watch sci-fi - like my 69 year old mother.

I agree with Mo, I think Adama and Roslin have been sharing a bunk for a while.

I thought it was very strange for the Chief and Tigh to be embracing their Cylonness so willingly. The Tigh/Six/Cottle scene while good for a few laughs (sharing a cigarette, Tigh's "I still can't see anything") their togetherness was disturbing. But, I loved the medic's reaction. It's obvious that the fleet at large is still mightly uneasy about the Cylons.

I'm so glad they are addressing the disquiet in the fleet. I think Gaeta's mutiny is perfectly in character. Part of me is rooting for the mutineers, but only a very small part.

I also agree with whoever said that the powers that be don't know what to do with Baltar. He has never had real convictions, just convictions of the moment. I understand he's been used the last couple of seasons to address the religious angle. But, it would have been much more effective if the doubts of religion would have been explored through a true believer, like the priestess killed on Kobol (can't remember her name) instead of a leaf in the wind like Baltar.

Eric H said...

It's the real-world concerns that distinguish Galactica from lots of other space operas.

Not the least of which is our collective tendency to descend into blind, simplistic stereotyping of "the enemy." Gaeta decides all Cylons are the same, despite plain evidence that Saul Tigh is a different kind of cylon than the ones who destroyed the colonies.

On the flip side, Caprica Six doesn't get it either, proclaiming that her and Tigh's baby means "the Cylon Nation will survive."
As Marc Bernardin says in his excellent review of this episode, "Try replacing 'Cylon' with 'Aryan' and you'll get my drift."

Chaz said...

Great stuff Alan. I'm starting to suspect that Gaeta may actually succeed in wresting control of Galactica from Adama, leaving him to seek Cylon help (since they trust and need him). It'd be very interesting if Adama ended up having to use Centurions to kill humans in order to restore his power.

Jack WG said...

Excentic:
"I don't think I'm out here by myself, but I haven't like Roslin since the first season one election episode. She wants to keep her power no matter what and will do whatever it takes, moral, immoral, whatever"

I believe Roslin was always adamant about keeping her power because she could only trust herself to get them to Earth. It was her path to take, her responsibility and if that meant a bit of immorality on her behalf, she'd do it, for the greater good.

Craig Ranapia said...

On the flip side, Caprica Six doesn't get it either, proclaiming that her and Tigh's baby means "the Cylon Nation will survive."
As Marc Bernardin says in his excellent review of this episode, "Try replacing 'Cylon' with 'Aryan' and you'll get my drift."


That Marc really needs to step away from the keyboard and acquaint himself with Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies?

Considering that there's no more downloading, and presumably the remianing Sigificant Seven are eventually going to die, one way or the other, that baby and Hera are the only hope that the Cylon are going to survive past the present generation.

Don't see what anything about that simple statement of fact makes Caprica-Six some kind of Cylon Klanswoman.

And perhaps Caprica-Six in her ever optimistic way hopes this child, the second of 'the next Generation of God's children' -- this impossible, miraculous thing -- really is the start of a new beginning for both races. One without the stain of murder and hate and lies.

ticktockhouse said...

@MB said...

It bugs me when significant events take place in between episodes and the viewers are expected to figure it out based on context.

This is my single biggest gripe with BSG over the years. I appreciate the fact that the audience doesn't need to be spoonfed every little nugget of information, but there have been many instances of things happening "in between episodes". Not that I can actually think of any right now (apart from the big one - the year on New Caprica, but that's not quite the same).

I think it has the effect of distancing the lives of the characters from that of the audience. It is obviously sometimes done for narrative or budgetary reasons, but I think I speak for quite a few people when I say that we would appreciate being thrown a frickin' bone every once in a while, narratively speaking.

Also, am I the only one that feels desperately sorry for poor little Nicky? He really hasn't had the best life up until this point, has he? Born on New Caprica, brought up by a couple in a largely loveless relationship, almost airlocked, Cylon foster father - who was notably absent from his upbringing for large portions of the narrative over the last season and a half - I hope they were getting some quality time in "in between episodes". And now massive renal failure and he can't even be much more than 3 years old yet.

I know he's only a fictional character, but as a father it pains me to see it. Still, maybe that's the idea. The contrast with Sharon/Helo/Hera, as seen last episode, is quite stark.

That said, I love BSG and have been watching it right from the start, though I think it lends itself more to DVD/DVR viewing of several episodes at a time than week-by-week.

Richard Hoeg said...

Nice job, Alan, though I have to admit that I felt a lot more negatively about this episode than you did.

With respect to the "evidence bluff" scene, I think it's very possible that Zarek knew that Adama didn't have anything on him. Think of it this way, Zarek knew that the resolution the Quorum passed was a fairly democratic one (requiring permission to board the ships of the fleet is not the most outlandish of policies). He also knew that if he gave Adama the coordinates of the fuel ship, that Adama would be forced to begin a military action to recover it. How does this look to the rest of the fleet? Rather like a military coup I would say.

I think it likely that Zarek gave up the coordinates deliberately. He just let Adama think that he had won.

And in response to the questions regarding the "dying leader", I have long felt that Roslin was too obvious a choice to play that role. My thoughts on this have always led me to Baltar. My thinking on this is fairly involved. Feel free to check out my blog for more.

http://ricksflicks.blogspot.com/

thedalyn said...

Is it just me or does that tillium ship look remarkably like a cylon raider? (the front view)

Hartzler said...

I loved the paper in the hallways.

In the military, NO ONE would throw a scrap of paper on the floor. People are indoctrinated from day one not to litter and to pick up anything off the ground, "never walk away from a deficiency" We even did "Police Calls" everyday to pick up cigarette butts and debris.

This really points out how far military moral and the chain of command has slipped. The NCOs and the Enlistedmen have stopped doing their daily routines. The Officers aren't paying attention.

I hope that was intentionally to show the decaying state of the military.

Anonymous said...

There should have been more development of story lines in this episode. Far too much time devoted to setting up a coupe attempt.

Where is baltar's head six? Why does one final cyclon have superhuman strength (remember Callie getting knocked across the air lock?) while Tyrol can have a tussle with Hot Dog and not hurt him?

There is no excuse for not devoting more time in these final episodes to the main characters (Starbuck gets 1 scene, Baltar is background to another scene, and no cyclons (excpet a couple of the 5 acting like colonials)?

I don't buy gaeta as any kind of leader - he was a weasel during the occupation, he was an obvious liar in baltar's trial, and now he is a bisexual cripple? The military is going to follow this guy against Adama?

Alan Sepinwall said...

There should have been more development of story lines in this episode. Far too much time devoted to setting up a coupe attempt.

This kind of complaint makes no sense to me. The coup attempt is a storyline, and tensions between the military and civilian arms of the fleet have been a part of the show since day one.

There is no excuse for not devoting more time in these final episodes to the main characters

Don't get this one, either. Is Adama not a main character? Roslin? Tyrol has certainly become a central character, and all were heavily featured in this one.

If these final episodes did nothing but tick off boxes on the list of mysteries that Ron Moore promised to answer, it would be unbelievably boring.

I want to know who/what Head Six is, why there are two Starbucks, etc. But there are also stories to tell beyond explaining that stuff, and what happens to the fleet now that Earth has turned out to be a pointless detour instead of a final destination seems like the most important one of all.

Would you rather they spend the remaining time on Cylon mythology and end the series with the rag-tag fleet just floating in space?

Anonymous said...

Of course the military is primed for a mutiny. Everyone is disillusioned by the "earth" kick in the nuts, no one trusts Starbuck except the admiral, who has a cylon as his X/O and is now trying to install cyclon technology for the lame fuel reasoning (we need their faster FTL tech to get us to fuel). people who had survived a holocoust would not throw in with those that perpetrated it so easily (especially since they had the same problem in past episodes where they just sent out search parties to locate a fuel source and it worked).

Who in their right mind would follow adama at this point? the only reason he's still in charge is that he has had the military backing him up, but they have no reason to follow him now.

Mark Jones said...

I'm really annoyed by the second blunder in as many weeks by the writers. Last week, they claimed to be able to tell that all the bodies on Earth were Cylons--when for four seasons we were told it was impossible to tell Cylon from Human by any test known to man!

This episode begins with the comment that Tyrol's child (he thought) would need to bank his (her?) own blood because he/she is half-Cylon. That turned out not to be the case, but--what the frak!? Now human blood is incompatible with cylon blood? But they can't tell Cylons from Humans?

Who the hell is letting this stuff slip by--or do they just not care about it anymore since the show is nearly over?

Craig Ranapia said...

Last week, they claimed to be able to tell that all the bodies on Earth were Cylons--when for four seasons we were told it was impossible to tell Cylon from Human by any test known to man!

Mark: If you're going to pick-nits, it would help if you pay attention. It wasn't "man" who identified the 13th Tribe as Cylon, but the Rebels "using out protocols". Even if it hadn't been firmly established that Cylon genetic engineering and biotechnology is well beyond that of the Colonials, don't you think they'd know a thing or two about their own biology?

This episode begins with the comment that Tyrol's child (he thought) would need to bank his (her?) own blood because he/she is half-Cylon. That turned out not to be the case, but--what the frak!?

Even if he wasn't out of his mind over his son peeing blood (!), it's bad writing that a knuckle-dragger like Galen Tyrol isn't much of a doctor -- let alone an expert in the new field of human-Cylon hybrid paediatrics?

Hey, you're right -- than Ron Moore is an incompetent hack who doesn't know jack about his own show. Guess he's spent the last five years in his office chain-smoking and swilling single malt.

Mark Jones said...

Okay, you've got me on the first one. I missed that it was the Cylons making that determination. As for Tyrol--half-cylon child or not, and worried about his child or not, if Cylons are indistinguishable from human, any blood of the right type (human or otherwise) would do. I don't buy your defense of this scene. It was a stupid way to bring up Tyrol not being the father. A simple blood type mismatch could have worked just as well.

greyfable said...

As for Tyrol--half-cylon child or not, and worried about his child or not, if Cylons are indistinguishable from human, any blood of the right type (human or otherwise) would do.

Hmm... but half-cylons have no blood type, right? Isn't that how unborn Hera was able to save Roslin in "Epiphanies"? Not that Tyrol would know anything about that, but... Maybe have a no-blood-type is like having an O negative-blood type: you're a universal donor, but you can only receive O-negative.

Over all, I really enjoyed the episode. I've always enjoyed Geata, so even if he is being set up to play the part of antagonist, it is lovely to see him doing something. Retcon or not, I liked the way that they got baby Nicky out of the picture. Tyrol's just not he father. It's so easy it works.

Redoubtably, this episode was Adama's, and he really shined. I have the sudden urge to rewatch "A Day in the Life", an episode I never really cared for, just to compare it with "Disquiet". ADItL was supposed to show us so much insight into who Adama was (and, to some extent, "Hero" too), but it doesn't hold a candle to episodes likes this. BSG has always done better revealing character through plot/reaction to the plot, rather than building showcase episodes for their characters. I can't wait for next week.

Anonymous said...

Alan, the option isn't ticking off the answers to mysteries in a boring fashion OR spending 10 minutes on Roslin jogging. Yes, Roslin and Adama are main characters, but the time spent on them in this last episode did very little for the plot. They aren't any different at the end of the episode than at the beginning. Adama is on meds, she is off hers, and they are sleeping together (which has been suggested if not openly shown for a long time). 100% of what we got out of that storyline in this episode could have been shown with Adama's morning "routine", Roslin throwing her pills away (is there a drug manufacturer in the fleet? aren't med precious resources?), and them together in bed.

My wanting to see the other main characters heading to the conclusion isn't some silly whim I created - the writers have focused on them for entire seasons, and now they are marginalized in favor of a drawn out episode that unnecessarily sets up a mutiny. My complaint is that with only a few episodes left, "set up" bridge episodes are unnecessary and a little lazy.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I don't even understand the Callie episodes from last year leading up to her death if she knew all along that Tyrol wasn't her child's father.

It seems like she overplayed the "overwhelmed wife of a distant husband" if she knew her child had another father.

Anonymous said...

re: Tigh "embracing his cylon-ness" - has he really? it seemed to me that in the scene where Tyrol is lobbying for a continued cylon alliance they were contrasting with Tigh who continues to identify himself first and foremost with his duties to the fleet and to Bill and his military-ness, while Tyrol has not been able to do so (they are, no doubt setting up Tigh's inner-struggle between his fatherhood-cylon-ellen-six connection and his pre-cyclon self, but i think there might be a big decision to be made by tigh which could hold the fate of the surviving humans in the balance.