Saturday, October 14, 2006

Battlestar Galactica: We few, we happy few, we band of brothers

Spoilers for the latest "Battlestar Galactica" just as soon as I decide whether to wear my glass eye or eyepatch today...
"Look around you. Take a good look at the men and women that stand next to you. Remember their faces, for one day you will tell your children, and your grandchildren, that you served with such men and women as the universe has never seen. And together, you accomplished a feat that will be told and retold down through the ages. And find immortality as only the gods once knew. I'm proud to serve with you. The dignity and integrity of the human race rides with us. Good hunting."
Chills, people. I got chills. If that's not the band of brothers on St. Crispin's Day-level great, it's because the language is plainer, but Edward James Olmos sells the hell out of it. In a way, the speech reminded me of the pep talk Coach Taylor gives Matt Saracen in the latest "Friday Night Lights," an attempt to psych up someone or someones who clearly aren't up to the task at hand but have to be, anyway. The difference is that Coach Taylor obviously thinks this is a lost cause even as he's doing it, while Adama -- true believer that he is -- has convinced himself that, yes, this raggiest of the ragtag bunch of pilots and soldiers have a chance of pulling off this impossible mission.

(Also chill-inducing? Adama leading the deck crew in a farewell salute to Fat Apollo, complete with the Adama family bagpipe theme.)

Down on the ground, things are seriously frakked for all parties. The Cylons can't agree on anything (though I'm curious about how much the other Sixes and Eights are still with Caprica-Six and Sharon), Six and Baltar are just having hate sex, Tigh is finding out that Ellen betrayed them (and how brilliant is Michael Hogan that he can say so much with only one eye?), and D'Anna is hot on the trail of baby Hera -- even telling Sharon about her. (Though, at the moment, Sharon's too invested with her regained entry into Unca Bill's inner circle to believe he could have perpetrated such a horrible lie upon her.)

My only significant gripe was with the punchless resolution to the cliffhanger. It's cheap -- especially for a show like this that is all about consequences -- to set up a situation where it looks like several characters we know and care about are going to die and then kill exactly none of them. Although the human victory there did giveus another insight into just how hard-core Brother Cavil is -- he cut his own carotid with a spent shell just so he could resurrect faster! Nice use of each regeneration being harder on the Cylons as a metaphor for the rising body count in any occupation.

So what did everybody else think?


R.A. Porter said...

Hell, I whooped and hollered when they bagged the centurions with the RPG! I didn't even feel that copped out with the resolution to the cliffhanger, since it was obvious last week that the gunfire wasn't going to be the death of Tom and Laura (though Cally's mortality is always in question.)

The inevitable consequences of Adama's betrayal of Sharon will provide great grist for a mid-season arc. And since it looks like D'anna is going to get Hera (though probably not her wisdom) there will be a reason for the humans to track the cylons, even if the cylons finally want to abandon humanity.

Best show on television.

Anonymous said...

I really thought this episode was good as a show, but great as an accomplishment.

It was essentially an inbetweener, sandwiched between last week's events and the rescue yet to come. It also had the unenviable task of juggling so many different storylines. It did a good job with all of that.

The biggest problem I had was how cheaply they wrote themselves out of the cliffhanger Alan mentioned. Going back to an hour before the cliffhanger in this episode is a cheat. Had we seen that in chronological order last week, we would have known there would be no worries about the execution.

This show has never been able to shift its scenes out of chronological order without making it seem cheap. They really need to ease up on that.

The show is also getting way too dependent on cliffhangers. Sometimes, a chapter just ends. It's too good a show to rely on gimmicks.

Anonymous said...

Alan...get a new catch phrase, or do away with the "just as soon as..." bit altogether. Once in a while is okay but every article. Nope.

PS: since I post anonymously here, my word verification this time is "jzzren." Why does that sound dirty to me?

Anonymous said...

Overall, I enjoyed the episode but I was a little surprised to see Tyrol show up with a brand-new haircut and clean-shaven so soon after his wife had been abducted. This was reaction after Callie had been taken by the Cylons?

Alan Sepinwall said...

In the podcast, Moore says that the logistics of the shooting schedule meant that Aaron Douglas would have to be clean-shaven by the time this episode was shot, so they had two choices: 1)Have Tyrol lose the beard without much explanation, or 2)Give him a fake beard for the episode. And Moore hated the look of all the fake beards. Not an ideal solution, to be sure.

Anonymous said...

Overall I liked this ep, but the cliffhanger resolution bugged me because of the "choreography," so to speak. The scene we saw last week of Cally running away didn't match up with what we saw this week, and it bugged me. Others have said it's cheap, and it is.... And it makes me distrust the show to some extent.

Love Brother Cavil, or at least his characterization. And, when the Cylons complain about humans being sooo uncivilized I wanted to say, "Well, duh!! What did you expect? Freaking toasters..." ;)

Anonymous said...

I found the St. Cripsin's Day speech rather flat, actually. It was almost entirely cliche-laden. I liked "defined immortality as only the Gods once knew," although I don't know how I'd feel about it in a different sort of speech.

It just wasn't in character for Adama, either. He gives things... short, plain, and hard. Real. And he does have a penchant for the dramatic, but he's not a ham--he dramatizes towards a particular end, when he does so at all. He cuts to the heart of things. He doesn't pile one cliche on top of another like this.

A sloppily written speech, orated only passably, and hopefully not indicative of the direction the series is going. If it falls down towards that popular tunnel, it will lose a portion of what makes it great.