Saturday, March 14, 2009

Battlestar Galactica, "Daybreak, Part 1": Got a one-way ticket to the finish line

Spoilers for part one of the two-part, three-hour "Battlestar Galactica" series finale coming up just as soon as I feel the perfection of creation...
"Galactica has been more than our guardian. She's literally a vessel into which we've poured all of our hopes and dreams. And when she's gone -- when we can no longer derive the security from looking out her window and seeing her massive bulk floating by -- then this life will be over. And a new life will have begun. A new life that requires a new way of thinking." -Gaius Baltar
"Daybreak, Part One" felt very much like the first part of "Exodus": Adama preparing for what seems like another suicide mission against the Cylons, lots of set-up for the big confrontation, but all the real action saved for the conclusion. And if "Daybreak, Part Two" is even half as good as the corresponding chapter of "Exodus," then the series will be going out on an awfully high note.

But beyond moving pieces to their proper places on the board, the first part of "Daybreak" also takes the series back to its roots. With Ron Moore on script and Michael Rymer in the director's chair -- as they were together for the miniseries and as they haven't been since the first half of "Lay Down Your Burdens" -- it feels right that we open up with an extended look back on what most of our major characters (plus Anders) were up to in the months (and in some cases, years) leading up to the Cylon genocide.

There are still more blanks to be filled in -- What one-hour meeting was Adama so reluctant to go to? Is Lee drunk because Zak just died? Did Caprica Six really put Baltar's father Julius in the retirement community, or did she ease his pain the way she did the baby in the miniseries? -- but what tied all the stories together (except for Anders, but we'll get back to him) was the way they showed or hinted at our characters suffering devastating losses long before the nukes started flying over Caprica City. Zak Adama died in a Viper crash. Laura Roslin's family was wiped out by a drunk driver. Baltar had to care for an ailing father he openly despised (and vice versa).

And as I watched Laura step into her favorite fountain (last glimpsed, I believe, during her hallucinations in "Epiphanies") and let its water wash over her tears, and as I watched her carefully eating sushi and trying to act normal three months later, I began to wonder if maybe the grand plan for these characters isn't quite as grand as some of us want to believe. Maybe the reason that these are the people who have survived everything the Cylons have had to throw at them -- beyond luck, of course -- isn't a matter of destiny, or the work of the Cylon God, or any other metaphysical force. Maybe these are just the people who are gods-damned tough enough to take everything the last four years has thrown at them and keep on going. Maybe Laura Roslin has been able to keep it together after all this time because she already had her world taken away before the Cylons came back. Maybe she calls on the memory of that day the two cops came to her door when she needs to find the strength to get up off her death bed and hobble down to the flight deck, even though she can barely stand or speak, because she's not going to let her second family leave without her.

Because so much of this hour was devoted to setting up the true finale, there wasn't as much time for the big emotional wallops we've been getting throughout season four, but you'd have to be made of stone to not be incredibly touched by the sight of Bill Adama welcoming the woman he loves as she joins him on this suicide mission, and on Kara Thrace helping the president she admires stand up even as Laura's legs want to give out from under her.

Our trip back in time was also a reminder of just how much Caprica Six has grown and changed over the course of these four years -- and how much Gaius Baltar hasn't. She feels tremendous guilt for the role she played in the genocide; he's shrugged off the blame like water off a duck's back. She's no longer the slinky sex machine but a scared and strong woman; he's just found a new venue in which to pick up desperate would-be lovers. She crosses the red line and joins the mission to rescue Hera; he, despite staring long and hard at her on the other side, and despite having been shamed by Lee earlier over his life of selfishness, stays right where he is.

That said, I can't imagine a scenario in which Baltar doesn't have a last-second change of heart right before Galactica takes off from the rag-tag fleet. Though the writers haven't really known what to do with Baltar since the trial ended, he has to be a part of the grand finale, both because James Callis is such a great actor and because Head Six said he would play a role.

Why are so many people (including Doc Cottle, who has to be sent back for the good of the fleet) willing to join Bill on this foolish quest? Why, for that matter, is Bill willing to do it? This isn't like the New Caprica arc, where most of the galaxy's remaining humans were trapped down on that planet; this is one girl, and even though Ellen and the rebel Cylons talk about how important she is in the grand scheme of things, why would so many humans with practical survival concerns put themselves at risk for her?

I think the impending demise of the ship itself has everybody spooked, and contemplating, as Head Six suggests, that "The end times are approaching." They've been running for four years and almost nothing good has happened. Their supplies are dwindling, they're not making babies as fast as adults are dying off, Earth was frakked, and now the fleet's longtime protector is falling apart? I can see how that might put people in a less careful frame of mind, and/or how it might convince them that saving the Cylon/human hybrid is the only mission left worth completing.

Speaking of Head Six, with only two hours (really, around 90 minutes plus commercials) of the series remaining, I wanted to look back on that list of questions I asked Ron Moore in the wake of "Revelations" and see how many have been answered and how many are still hanging over the finale:

&bull: The identity of the final Cylon? Check. (Ellen)

The origin and nature of the Final Four and how they're different from the rest of them? Check. (See "No Exit")

The origin of the rest of the skinjobs? Check. (ibid)

What happened to Earth and what happened to the 13th Colony? Check. (op cit)

Who, if anyone, is orchestrating all of this? Maybe? (Moore said this one wouldn't be wrapped up in a bow, so we could read this as Cavil, or as the Final Five, or as a figure or force yet to be revealed in the final two hours.)

Will "All this has happened before and it will happen again" be explained in some way? Maybe? (Again, we could interpret that as involving the cycle of human-on-Cylon violence, or there's something more at work.)

The opera house? Still waiting on this one.

What happened to Kara when she went through the Malestrom? Still waiting on this one.

Identity and nature of the "head" characters? Still waiting on this one.

Tigh and Six's baby, and whether that means Cylons can breed? Mostly resolved in "Deadlock."

The fate of Boomer and whether there are other 1's, 4's and 5's floating out there? Check.

Roslin's health? Pretty much check, as I don't see her walking away from the finale, one way or another.

Can Moore answer the remaining questions, provide satisfying endpoints to the remaining characters, and deliver a good mix of action and drama over the final episode? I've got faith.

Some other thoughts:

• Anders' locker room interview about being less interested in winning and losing than in the perfection and geometry of Pyramid is the sort of thing that would have gotten him ripped up and down the Caprica sports blogosphere, their equivalent of "SportsCenter," etc. And while it didn't thematically tie in with the other flashbacks (at least not yet), it did show that maybe Sam has been heading towards this hybrid status all along, that maybe he always wanted to be as much machine as man. That, and he likes to sit in hot tubs, regardless of his mental state.

• As the series comes to a close, we get our first real interaction between Adama and Hot Dog -- and, therefore, a nice moment between papa Olmos and his son Bodie.

• Speaking of Hot Dog, while I admire his gallantry and willingness to follow the Old Man into Hell, is Nicky going to lose three different parents before his third birthday? And if Baltar's staying behind, does Lee really want to risk having a less careful eye in charge of the reconstituted Quorum if he dies on this mission?

• Adama freeing the mutineers to go on the mission got glossed over a bit, but it felt like a nice touch to have Racetrack and Skulls go on one last scouting mission together.

• The presence of Baltar's father also provided a nice callback to the scene in "Dirty Hands" where Baltar tells Tyrol about escaping the farm where he grew up and changing his accent into something more cultured.

• Despite the ominous sound of Simon prepping his instruments during our brief visit to The Colony, I can't imagine that even this show would let the big rescue mission arrive after Hera had been dissected. On this one, I have to side with Helo over Athena.

• I also found it interesting that Helo didn't seem that mad at Tyrol for his role in Hera's kidnapping. (There were apparently some deleted scenes from "Islanded in a Sea of Stars" that showed how Tyrol wound up in the brig.) Helo's barely holding it together, and the only way he can rationalize what's happened is to compare Tyrol's relationship with an Eight to his own, even though Athena is everything he's always believed her to be, while Boomer's loyalties are ever-shifting.

A few pieces of housekeeping before I open it up to comments:

1. For the last time with this show, I implore you to remember the spoiler rule, which basically translates to No Spoilers. No talking about anything from the previews. No talking about anything you've read or heard elsewhere about what's going to happen in the finale. Period. Any comment that I find even vaguely questionable will be deleted, regardless of what else is in that comment.

2. I'll be seeing the final two hours of "Daybreak" on Monday night at a Sci Fi Channel screening, and there will be some kind of media Q&A afterwards with members of the cast and creative team. So I'll have my finale review all ready to go after the show ends on Friday night. And depending on how the Q&A goes, I'll post highlights or a full transcript of it around the same time.

3. On Tuesday night, I'll be going to yet another "BSG"-related event: Ron Moore, David Eick, Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell at the United Nations to discuss the series' approach to 21st century geopolitical issues with a trio of UN reps, moderated by Whoopi Goldberg (who, don't forget, is a big sci-fi nerd who played Guinan -- and worked with Moore -- on "Star Trek: The Next Generation"). Depending on how that goes, I hope to have a write-up of that sometime on Wednesday.

4. I was going to do my list of Top 10 (or, if I get wimpy, Top 15) "BSG" episodes ever for today, but got tied up with other things. I have a good idea of what I want on it, but as always with lists, I'm willing to at least listen to suggestions -- particularly ones that don't involve mid-season cliffhangers, season finales or season premieres, which is where many of the really obvious choices lie. It's not hard to point to, say, "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2," but if somebody wants to make an argument for something like "Flight of the Phoenix," I'm all ears.

Keeping all that in mind, what did everybody else think?


Unknown said...

while [Anders' scene] didn't thematically tie in with the other flashbacks (at least not yet)

I think it tied in for Baltar, at least. It seemed to me as if the whole speech was about the idea of self-actualization or selfishness, which is what Baltar has always been battling with. We still don't really know where ANDERS fits into all of it, but I thought the philosophy fit just fine.

As for the episode itself, I can’t say I’m surprised that Moore would start off the finale on such a polarizing note, but I will say that I was left with a question.

The question, which I delve into a bit further in my own review, is whether or not this finale plan was at all changed when they went from a 13-episode season to a 20-episode season.

The reason I ask is that the episode felt really disconnected from the season thus far: the flashbacks were great from a series finale perspective, asserting that these characters’ arcs are even longer in the making than we realized, predating our own relationships with the characters, but they kind of took us out of the season we’ve been through. The focus on Baltar is great, but has been absent all season; heck, the people who got jailed during the mutiny were even let loose, as if it never even happened.

As a result, it feels like this was almost written in some form of isolation – it was more setup after Taylor’s episode last week was almost all setup, and while I found Adama’s speech incredibly powerful and the red line incredibly evocative and emotional considering where we’ve been, it seemed as if it would have been just as powerful if we had skipped half of what happened this season and condensed it into that 13 episodes instead.

So I actually am quite convinced that Moore knows what he’s doing with the finale after this hour, and yet can’t help but be retroactively convinced they were floating off in a salvage ship when the rest of the season was planned out. So a setup for a strong series finale, but not to a season finale – which is a tradeoff I’m fine with, just not one I think was necessary.

Raz Cunningham said...

I'm just waiting for the storm...

R.A. Porter said...

I'm dying to know what Adama's hour-long assignment was, so this episode was structured pretty solidly in that regard. I'm going to guess we'll learn about it either in next week's teaser, or at the midpoint of the two hours. That's a long time to wait for that little piece of information, but I think the tension is intentional.

I found it interesting that there were no post-credit shots of the episode ahead. I've gotten so used to the ramping in energy and excitement those provide, especially with the crescendo of drums backing them, that without it I knew we were in for something very different tonight. If anything, I think the absence of that few seconds made the episode feel even more introspective.

Finally, a very small guess about next week. I think Bear's going to find a reason to bring back the Colonial Anthem, either as part of the score or a massive space battle, pace Razor or diegetically. I think I would be very sad if BSG went out without that one small musical blaze of glory.

R.A. Porter said...

Sorry. I'm a bit tired tonight. My last comment should have been...

"...either as part of the score during a massive space battle, pace Razor, or diegetically."

Anonymous said...

One the one hand, I am still hoping we will get resolutions to some big mysteries (Starbuck, Opera House, Daniel). But if this show has taught me anything, it's that nobody is perfect, and I'm preparing myself to accept that we won't get all the answers we want, or in the way we want it. Nevertheless, these last 2 hours should be pretty incredible.

As for non-tentpole episodes that could end up on a Top 10, I found "Scar" to be an interesting episode. Not only was it a new twist on cat-and-mouse stories, but it was also one of the first episodes that showed non-skinjob Cylons as sentient, and perhaps even emotional on some level.

Unknown said...

As for Top 10 (it won't be wimpy when you go to 15, don't worry) inclusions, part of me has to return to "Final Cut" - sure, some people really hate the episode and it has its problems, but as the first real attempt to bring humanity to the lesser members of the cast and as the reveal of D'anna as a Cylon, it is a far more important episode than people give it credit for.

Anonymous said...

Too late to really post a comment but before I forget and go to bed..... "Flesh and Bone" from season one has to be on my top ten non season finale list. I still remember every second of that scene when Starbuck eats in front of prisoner Leoben.

Anonymous said...

"exodus I & II" aside, tonight left me queasy that next week won't be satisfying. Meh.

Also note that crossing the red line signified a leap of faith in Adama, just like their firstjump across the redline in the Holocaust.

Michael said...

I, on the other hand, thought the flashbacks were pointless and a waste of time. Sure, the CGI pan through Caprica City was fantastic, but how did Lee's first meeting with Kara advance the overall story? Were they trying to show that Laura's loss of her family led her to be the leader she is - and if it is, so what? I would rather have had a half hour more of current events.

When the 4.5 season started, there was a series of articles in Variety about people in various walks of life who are fans of the show. One of them (here's the spoiler-free link) was astronaut Garrett Reisman, who talked about watching the show while stationed aboard the International Space Station. He was invited by the show's producers to be in the finale, and he has a 10-second cameo as a Colonial Marine who gets thrown up on and then blown up. (I hope that's not a disqualifier!) I asked him which was cooler, being on BSG's finale or flying in space, he said he had to think about it.

Unknown said...

Anyone else notice that Sam-the-hybrid babbled lines from "High Flight"? I'm pretty sure he said "slipped the surly bonds of Earth and touched the face of-". Also evoking the Challenger tragedy with this particular sequence of lines from the poem.

I liked the episode on its own merits - lovely and intriguing intro sequence, Caprica scenes giving a different texture to the show. But I have to say I was a bit disappointed it was another "setup" episode after the previous one. I'm ready for some action, though dreading the end of the series.

Midnight Rider said...

Does anyone know what happened to the Cylons who destroyed earth? We know the final five escaped and everyone on earth were nuked- but i cant remember if they told us what happened to the cylons who destroyed earth.

Michael said...

Excuse my spelling.

This show lost my good rateings after season 2 wen it turned into schindlers list and into a bad soap opera afterwars... i realy have come to hate almost every character more and more (especialy the ones that are suposed to be good, yes - let´s kill everyone that things maniacs that work with the Computers that GRILLED OUR ENTIRE PLANET AND ALL OF OUR FRINDS AND FAMELY maybe should not be in power)...
This season is especialy bad because everyone is just whining and complaining and suffering and oh so sad... now they even turned the great past into pure and utter sadness. I guss the writes just can´t do anything different by now...

I just hope there is a stroke of genius in the last episode in wich the "good" cylon turn on em and everyone just dies. The chief at least hinted that it could happen.... that would play in their sadness sceem and would make me very happy. (even though i liked my old theory better -> Baltar acedently kills everyone by a mistake... the last shot with him being all alone floating in space... :-X)

Anonymous said...

Non-finale, or cliffhanger top 10:

Flesh and Bone
Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down
Unfinished Business
The Passage, or Dirty Hands
The Hub
A Disquiet Follows My Soul
Someone to Watch Over me

Anonymous said...

This is the proper character driven BSG. It was focused and tight. If anything that's what this past half season has lacked. There's a certain spirit to this episode, to how it's crafted that the others seem to be lacking. I felt as if I were watching season 1 again. It was warm, on the edge of my seat excitement.

I was in love with the shot of Adama's back, standing still underneath the light after he viewed Athena & Hera's picture. The way the camera stayed on him longer than usual. Such great cinematography.

I love this episode. Every character was well acted and felt purposeful. Each were complex. They were treated as their own identities.

Anonymous said...

Some non-season finale/opener favorite episodes for me -

You Can't Go Home Again - Starbuck is badass and cylon raiders are part organic
Valley of Darkness - great action and centurions are scary
Final Cut - another Cylon and also glimpses of the military life from minor character's perspectives
Someone to Watch over me - beautifully constructed and also devastating re Chief

Anonymous said...

I have a question for Michael. WHYLO?

Anonymous said...

While it was interesting to see some of the characters (yes, why did Anders get a flashback? Not that he's not important, but he's not a full on player as Adama, Lee, Kara, Roslin, or Baltar. Not that we don't all enjoy watching Anders in a tub.) and their flashbacks, I kept looking at the time to see when they'd get back to the present, because, we only have 90 more minutes of it. Not that I didn't enjoy it, because I did, and liked the setup to the finale, but this is crunch time, and I wish we'd gotten to see how Tyrol ended up in the brig, or how the mutineers received their news of being 'let out', or how they figured out Hera's notes into a GPS locator of the Colony, to name a few, as supposed to seeing Lee chase a bird/Zach? out of his kitchen.

I guess I am being a whiner, but I do wish they had more time/no. of episodes; there's a feeling of a lot of lost great scenes almost after every episode this season - but I guess that's one way of making sure i'd be buying those DVDs, if anything else. Anyway, this episode is one of the ones that would fit in with the older seasons of BSG, but in this particular season, where everything is in fast forward mode and there's so little room to spare, I'm not sure if I needed two episodes (this and last week's) to set up to the finale. I will no doubt be proven wrong next week, when we finally see the end.

Random stuff: Cottle! Obviously there was no way Adama would let him go, but it was nice to see even Cottle care enough to want to go. On the other hand, I'm still not sure how Baltar falls into all of this, or what exactly I'm supposed to feel about this character. It'll be interesting to see that piece of the puzzle fall into place by next week.

word verifcation: plato. Hm.

Unknown said...

Non cliffhangers/mid-season tentpoles that I still love:

-Flight of the Phoenix: one of the very few where it feels like our heroes actually won a non-Pyrrhic victory for a change--and yet the most victorious part isn't the turkey-shoot, but rather the building of the Blackbird
-Unfinished Business: bold, intriguing structure, gorgeous music, and excellent use of the missing year--this was the episode that convinced me to watch the previous seasons of BSG, because it cemented that this show isn't just enjoyable in terms of finding out what happens; it's about taking the journey with the characters to find out why and how it all happens
-Downloaded: another bold storytelling choice that propelled the series into one of its best arcs: New Caprica
-The Oath/Blood on the Scales: this was so action-packed it might be considered a "tentpole," but it was one of my favorite arcs of the series, and one of the hardest to watch, really marking the beginning of the end
-I thought there were a lot of really strong episodes in 4.0, though it's hard to single one out, because they're all fairly tightly connected. If I had to, I suppose I could narrow it down to between Faith (would someone just give Mary McDonnell an Emmy already) and Guess What's Coming to Dinner, which tied all the disparate stories in 4.0 and sent the characters careening toward the Hub and Earth in a very compelling, stylish way.

Nicole said...

33 needs to be on that list. It was far better than the mini-series and I think truly set up the darkness and the reality of being stranded in space that was to pervade this series.(as opposed to a show like Voyager) As a first episode after the pilot, it is probably one of the best ones for any series, because most shows are still trying to find their rhythm, whereas this episode hit the ground running.

Anonymous said...

I liked it a lot. Lots of nice character moments as we head to the end.

And I too especially liked the moment you mentioned of Roslin joining Adama for their "final" mission. And Starbuck holding her up.

The episode did feel like it had a lot more commercials than usual. I wonder if the finale was originally meant to play over 2 and a half hours and they stretched it out a bit over three hours? (Like maybe they were going to do a half hour retrospective beforehand.)

If it turns out SciFi has just been cutting important scenes so they can have more ads... well, that'd be really crappy and an insult to a very loyal audience. I hope that's not the case.

Ramy said...

That's funny that you cited "Flight of the Phoenix" as an example of an episode that people could try to argue into the top 10 (or 15). Were I not reading this blog with bleary eyes at 3 a.m., I'd be typing my argument for that episode right now.

I will say this: it's one of the few BSG episodes that invites the viewer to be happy. I guess that's not enough reason alone, but it sure stands out for me. Chief Tyrol's great story, one of Athena's (before she was Athena) first tentative steps on the way to becoming a vital part of the crew, Laura's reaction at the naming's all so great, and made better because it's such a satisfying piece of stand-alone character exploration that still manages to set up plenty of threads for future episodes.

Okay, so I guess I argued a little bit.

Anonymous said...

Not too much to say about this episode that Alan hasn't already mentioned, since we're mostly waiting for the next part. It was gripping, but hard to make the sense of without next week.

I think what made the flashbacks compelling beyond any direct/thematic statements was the general reminder of everything those characters, and humanity in general, have lost. It was made more effective by the fact that we've rarely seen exterior Caprica pre-Fall scenes, and those were very chopped up and stylized. These were played much more straight and provided a punch. And the sweet CGI helped.

Because BSG was effectively 7 half seasons of 10-13 episodes with lots of two and three part premieres/finales, there really aren't a lot of mid-season episodes to choose from. I would definitely recommend any of the three middle parts of the season 2 arc of episodes:

-- Fragged for the terrific conclusion to the crew stranded on Kobol story, including great work by Tyrol and Baltar. It examined a lot of BSG's questions on a small scale but life or death situation, and without it the return to Kobol in Home wouldn't have been as weighty or ominous.

-- Resistance for what happened to Boomer, how it did, and why it did. Even after the Hera-napping I'm sympathetic to her based on this episode.

-- The Farm for being the creepiest subject matter until the hybrids. Great suspense and a great turn by Starbuck, including how she killed Simon and escaped.

I second Flesh and Bone, Scar, Downloaded and The Oath that have been mentioned.

Collaborators - really the fifth episode of the New Caprica four parter, but such a standout aftermath episode it could go on the list. The Final Five and the Gaeta mutiny make it even more tragic in comparison.

Dirty Hands - Probably their best examination of life in the fleet outside Galactica. I was furious at both Tyrol and Adama but always understood their actions.

The Ties That Bind - I felt sick watching this. The show would get darker, but it's never been as harrowingly claustrophobic as it took us deep into Cally's insanity.

Finally, it just happened, but Someone to Watch Over Me for the music alone.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Adama speaking to the Admiral who set up his and Bulldog's mission inside the Armistice line? Although I seem to recall wondering why Adama was in a suit and not a uniform ...

Patrick said...

It's funny, I never think of it when I think of my favorite or the best episodes, but the single episode I rewatch the most is Colonial Day. Relatively light and fluffy, not terribly important in the long run, aside from setting Baltar into a position of power, but I always have so much fun watching it. Because I would totally watch and obsess over a version of The West Wing, set in this universe, with Roslin, Baltar, Zareck, and Adama as major players. The jump cut from the votes being read to Roslin announcing Baltar at the party is just such a great moment of lightness- whereas Flight of the Phoenix invites a relieved happiness, a moment of reprieve, I think Colonial Day just gives everyone a chance to have a bit of fun.

Todd said...

I see a few folks are boosting Unfinished Business, but let me add my name to the pile. It's both the best Galactica I've seen and one of the better episodes of television I've seen, period. The elliptical nature of the flashbacks felt fairly bold at the time (even if it's been co-opted quite a bit since), and even if the love quadrangle thing that followed was kinda stupid, the emotions in the episode were impressively raw, even for this show. It's also one of the better directed hours of a generally well-directed show (that final shot is a killer). At the time it aired, I was a little uncertain about it (since it didn't have the huge! action! beats! I thought I wanted from the show at the time), but I've since watched it at least 10 times, and I find something new in it every time I revisit it

Cory Martin said...

Alan, I've been lurking around here for a while now, keeping up with many of your different reviews, but seeing as Battlestar has now aired its penultimate episode and is about to go off into the great colony in the sky, I had to finally say something...

I think that you're wonderful -- well-spoken, insightful, funny, and caring. You clearly care deeply about this show and these characters, and I thank you for that. Your unabashed enjoyment of this great series (and others) shines through in each post, and it makes my enjoyment even greater. I look forward to all of your updates, but I'll especially miss your BSG coverage. You've given us a gift each and every week, and I thank you.

As for favorite episodes, I'll echo some other posters on "The Oath", "Blood on the Scales", "Flesh and Bone", and "The Farm".

Two of my all-time favorites, though, are "Sometimes a Great Notion" for it's unflinching look at true devastation and despair, and "The Hub", for it's allowance of Laura Roslin taking back her own heart, her own humanity, her own life. I *heart* "The Hub".

Again... thank you. ;-)

Mo Ryan said...

One question I'd like to see answered: Will Tyrol ever find out the lovely Tory airlocked Cally? Hmmm. Not the end of the universe if that's never addressed, but it'd be nice if it was.

Non-tentpole favorites of mine:

The Hand of God. This is what I wrote in my recent BSG re-watch post: "Watching it again, knowing generally how it turns out, I was still on the edge of my seat. There’s a moment in this episode that’s one of my favorite things in the entire series: In the middle of the heated battle, the cargo bay of one of the ships quietly opens to reveal a hidden cache of Vipers, which fly out to continue the fight. It’s a great moment in a completely satisfying episode, one that manages to evoke both John Wayne movies and Luke Skywalker’s Death Star run in 'Star Wars.'"


The Farm
Unfinished Business
Someone to Watch Over Me
Sometimes a Great Notion
Oath/Blood on the Scales

I know you know the tentpoles that rule but I have to chime in there too anyway:

Occupation/Precipice/Exodus 1&2
Pegasus/Resurrection Ship 1&2
Kobol's Last Gleaming 2
Lay Down Your Burdens 1&2
Crossroads 1&2

Oh, and Alan, in the sentence above about Hot Dog, did you mean Nicky Tyrol? I think you referred to him as Aaron.

Mrglass said...

part one of the two-part, three-hour "Battlestar Galactica" series finale

Again, I must ask, what's the evidence for the "three-hour" part, which implies next week final (NOOOOOOO!) episode is 2-hours instead of one. I just checked the Sci-Fi website, and according to this official source, it will be a two-part, two-hours finale - meaning: next week, one hour for the last hour of Galactica, ever (NOOOOOO!).

As for this episode? I actually cried during the Caprica flashbacks, I'm not sure why. Probably someone who never watched this show would be perplexed by this episode. But for people who watched it from the start: WOW.

OK, it didn't answer any "question" or "mystery". And I don't give a damn.

Mrglass said...

Hum, nevermind, I'm an idiot. The last (NOOOOO!) episode is indeed 2-hours long (yay... it's still the last).

Adam Whitehead said...

This episode has pacing issues, although this is understandable: originally this was supposed to be a 2-hour episode that would have aired in one go, but they shot so much material for it that they turned it into a 3-parter and still had stuff left over (which will appear on the DVD). Whilst this is good on one level (we get an extra hour to resolve what needs resolving), it does screw over Part I as it now gets separated from the other two and is just left hanging out by itself with no real ending, not even a cliffhanger.

That said, some extraordinary stuff in there. CGI-wise, it really shows how much they been keeping back for the finale with the gorgeous shots of Caprica and Caprica City. I was wondering how they were going to keep the CGI team busy on CAPRICA without that many space scenes, but I guess we know now. And apparently this is nothing compared to what we see next week. Also, Bear McCreary's musical store was stunning. Looking forward to his blog post about that in the next few days.

The flashbacks were interesting from a character-building view, although the relevance of Lee chasing a pigeon around his house is escaping me for the moment. It does show how Laura has been able to handle everything that's been thrown at her on the show, though, as she'd lost so much before the Cylon attack that she was able to just absorb it and keep going. Mary McDonnell did fantastic work in this episode, most notably in the scene where she hobbles onto the hanger deck and makes her stand. 'Julius Baltar' was amusing. Seeing Adama choose to go after Hera was great, if totally expected.

Anders saying something interesting: "Slip the bonds of Earth...find a perfect world for the end of Kara Thrace." He's going to find a new world for Starbuck and, by extension, the rest of humanity?

One thing that is lame: are they really going with the explanation given in the mini-series novelization that Baltar was so embarrassed at forgetting Six's cover name he never asked her about it again in the following two years?

As for non-cliffhanger episodes, EXODUS PART II has to be up there. The only other episodes which I think can compete with it for the title of best episode of the whole series to date are SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION, PEGASUS and 33 (and maybe REVELATIONS, cliffhangerness notwithstanding). SCATTERED and VALLEY OF DARKNESS have to be up there as well for showing for the first time why Adama keeps Tigh around: he's useless at the political stuff, but when things hit the fan militarily, he knows his stuff. I'll put in a mention for DOWNLOADED as well, for showing the Cylon POV for the first time and prefiguring the New Caprica arc quite nicely. It was extremely well-directed as well.

Anonymous said...

Apollo comes home from having met Kara, and very likely having feelings for her as they have an immediate connection but Kara is with his brother, and there's now this bird in his house that he can't get rid of. He'll try, and she'll be a nuisance at times, but he's stuck with the bird.

(Yes, I'm reaching.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and for favorite episode, that's hard as hell to say, but I think my favorite moment was when Lee yelled "I love you, Kara Thrace!" when they were on New Caprica. So sweet and so moving to finally see them together.

And of course followed by Starbuck's completely self-destructive behavior of marrying Anders the next morning because she was completely afraid of something real and meaningful.

Anonymous said...

I was struck by the apparent neutering (so to speak) of Tory by her fellow Cylons. Back when she was still human, working as President Roslin's aide, she was something of a backbencher, but after coming online as a Cylon, she seemed to find a new sense of empowerment -- killing Cally, manipulating Gaius Baltar sexually, leaving the humans for the Cylons.

That was very interesting, but even more so is the way that has all been more or less sapped away from her now now that she's no longer a Cylon with a blank slate but rather a Cylon with as much history and baggage as anyone usually has, to the extent that her empowerment and independence are pretty much gone.

Observe how she musters only a token suggestion of protest over participating in Adama's suicide/rescue mission, not because she necessarily wants to go, but kind of just because the others are going and, as Ellen points out, she never wanted to be left alone. Indeed, at the moment of decision, she passively lets Galen literally pull her across the red line as he literally commandeers her life with a dismissive assessment of her other possibilities.

In essence, the Tory who airlocked Cally is long gone, and her inability to go against those old habits and patterns is an interesting parallel to Gaius Baltar's apparent inability to overcome his own self-centeredness even as he looks it straight in the face with a sincere desire to ask more of himself.

Anonymous said...

It's sort of like Gaius and Tory are living embodiments of "all this has happened before and will happen again" on a very small and personal scale. The backbencher is back on the bench. The self-centered narcissist is back on the wrong side of the red line.

Anonymous said...

Nicole is spot on about 33. I watched that episode before the mini and was immediately hooked.

El Marpla said...

I find Unfinished Business a great episode, specially because of the way they cope with what happened in New Caprica. I think the idea of them boxing each other was really inspired

Mr. Guilt said...

For top 10, I'd have to have the second part of "Exodus" (how can you not include Galactica falling through the atmosphere, Vipers pouring out of the hull, arguably the most kick-ass moment of the show), and "Hand of God."

As for the Hera rescue, I've interpreted it two ways. On one level, there is the rescue of a child who is important to both societies.

On the other hand, the end game for humanity and cylons comes down to a battle between Adama and Cavil. Humanity can either be endlessly pursued and picked off by Cavil's group, or Adama can take out the Colony. The latter would potentially push back the Cylons to the point that the rest of the fleet has a chance to get back on its feet.

Anonymous said...

Gaius has alway been a pretensious prig and continues to be. I love James Callis!And if anyone can cell the redemption of Balter it is him.

I am already grieving the loss of the best show ever made.


Nicole said...

Was Baltar's dad supposed to have an Irish accent? I was trying to place it, especially after he claimed that Baltar had changed his.

I'm inclined to think that Six killed his father instead of actually placing him in a home. Nonetheless, he was funny in his fw moments.

I have also noticed how Tory has been to the side since the arrival of Ellen, if not before. While Anders hasn't been that prominent either, his status as hybrid is more important than whatever Tory is doing. I suspect that the writers just don't have much time to give her much to do.

On a petty notes, I hope Lee gets a haircut now that he is back in uniform. His hair seemed all over the place this episode, and having just watched him in Law & Order UK, I like it much better shorter.

K J Gillenwater said...

I really saw the 'mission' as purposeful suicide. In other words, everyone knows (or believes) there is no hope for the human race. There is no earth. They are eating algae. They've lost more people (the death of the Quorum).

Those who crossed the line to help Adama really truly believe there is no way to really save Hera, but at least if they die trying to save her, they've died a heroes death. Rather than go out with a whimper, like the rest who stay behind.

Cannot wait for the last 2 hours of this show. And one last do you people remember all the names of the episodes and what happened? I just remember favorite moments...

*The first time Kara and Lee got together
*Anytime Kara did something crazy and risky in her viper
*When Kara went back for the arrow and met up with Anders
*Helo trying to survive on a nuked Caprica
*When Tori airlocks Callie
*one of the earlier episodes when they've been jumping continuously and everyone is exhausted

I could go on.

Thanks, Alan, for your truly insightful comments about an amazing tv show.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan,

I made my own Top 15 list here:

and yes it does include Flight of the Phoenix! I found that I loved a lot of the two parters but not that many of the openers or finales (apart from Kobol's Last Gleaming).

Anonymous said...

Overall, I wasn't sure of the point of the flashbacks (was this an episode of Lost?) This late in the game, we don't really need to learn more about the characters' backstory.

That said, I had an interesting thought about the Baltar flashbacks:

The first time we see him in a limo, he's clearly with Caprica 6.
However, (and I have to watch this again), what if, in the later flashback, when he comes come to his apartment with a girlfriend and finds Six there, what if that was Head Six, not Caprica Six? As I recall the dialog was Baltar saying "What are you doing here?", and the brunette replied "Do you want me to leave?". Baltar sent her upstairs and proceeded to have a conversation with Six. What if it was really Head Six, meaning it was Baltar to moved his dad to the nice retirement home? It would have been the "first truly selfless thing he's done", tying back to the conversation with Lee.

Anonymous said...

Pure speculation: what if Adama is wearing a regular suit, and not a uniform, because his "mission" isn't a real mission per se, but Zak's funeral? Perhaps he isn't talking to a military superior, but a friend or a therapist, and this quote about "for one hour" is a way of psyching himself up for it, and "I've commanded Battlestars" is a way of saying "if I've been so tough why can't I deal with this?".

Or I could be 100% wrong and its about the armistice line. I'd actually totally forgotten about that story until someone mentioned it in one of the comments above.

I agree with all the comments about pacing issues in this episode. The entire episode felt very weird to me - as if it was written by someone who has never written BSG before, or who hasn't in a long time.

I've been worried for a while, probably since the first episode with Ellen that they're going to squander the remaining time in this half-season - that instead of learning all the answers to our questions, or getting epic stories and scenes, that instead we'll get stuff about Ellen Tigh's soap opera marriage. This episode felt like of that to me, but it is hard to judge these past few episodes until we get to the very end.

Did the flashbacks feel extremly like Lost to anyone else?

Some questions raised in this episode that I hope are answered next week instead of being glossed over:
- what was the question that Adama and Kara asked Anders?
- what made Adama completely change his mind about a rescue mission in such a dramatic and complete fashion?

Charles Purvis said...

Was I imagining things, or was the flashback scene with Kara, Lee and Zak actually filmed in the New Caprica/Leoben's apartment set, and NOT the set they used for her original apartment?

I don't have my DVD's with me (loaned out to a friend), so I can't compare, but I would swear that the wall on the left hand side of the stairwell was solid in Kara's apartment, not open.

Sorry if this is unclear . . . and even if I'm right, I have no idea what it means.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed seeing the scenes of 'normal' life on caprica - it struck me how claustrophobic the majority of the series has been cooped up onboard galactica

Anonymous said...

Hi. This is my first time posting here but I couldn't resist suggesting some of my favorite episodes for your best BSG episodes list. This list got a little out of hand. With a show this good, it's hard to keep it short:

"Kobol's Last Gleaming, Pt. 2"
"Home, Part 2"
"Lay Down Your Burdens, Pt. 2" (my all time favorite hands down)
"Exodus, Pt. 2"
"A Measure of Salvation"
"The Eye of Jupiter"
"The Hub"
"The Oath"
"Blood on the Scales"
"Someone to Watch Over Me"

Anonymous said...

As to the individuals who follow Adama on this mission, it may just be a matter of trying to find purpose to life again. This goes back to when Adama first mobilized the fleet with the story of Earth (then a lie, he thought), just so his fleet would get involved in doing SOMETHING to occupy their time. While self-preservation is important, the fleet is still stuck on "what do we do next?" with no real tangible place to go. This mission gives them something to focus their energy on.

I'll agree that this episode is hard to evaluate until the finale. I will say that this last half-season has been a disappointing lead-up to the finale, in that it feels like Ron Moore and Co. wasted a lot of time on trivial stuff so that everything can come out in the finale. That's putting a lot of pressure on the last two hours to come through. Not saying Moore can't do it, just that I have my doubts anyone can.

Anonymous said...

The song is a code or "switch." It was created by the final five, and used in the creation of the humanoid models. I believe it is a "re set" that, when used with the other models, either makes them compliant or shuts them down. It's built into their programing, though they do not realize it, yet. In the final episode, they will.

Anonymous said...

I loved the flashbacks. I want answers as much as the next person, but the flashbacks took us back to the characters roots. It gave us a glimpse of the world they remember. We, as viewers, have very little memory or knowledge of how life was on the colonies so even though we can understand their sense of loss, showing us visual proof of their lives before makes the entire series that went before, their trials, tribulations, etc. so much more poignant. But, humanity is back where they started at the beginning of the series - facing their end. They all know it and are remembering the life they had before all of this happened. As a way for the viewer to come full circle with the characters it was perfect.

I personally love the Top Gun parts of the show so the episode with Cain vs. Adama is in the top for me. And, Exodus, with the Galactica dropping out of the sky is just frakking awesome. I recommend making a few lists, top overall, top action, top character, etc. There are so many that deserve to be mentioned it's almost impossible to narrow it down. But, I'll say again - you really should include 33.


It's March 14th already!

Stay on groovin' safari,

Anonymous said...

I'll reserve judgement until after next week, but I did keep looking at my watch and thinking "Get on with it" during this episode.

My theory on the meeting Adama didn't want to go to? Something related to his divorce.

Anonymous said...

Agree with everyone who felt this was a letdown. I wa so bored and waiting for this ep to pick up some speed, instead, we get a bunch of wasted flashbacks (coulda done something cool with Zac but he's just another lughead like Apolle. Big Whoop). Don't give a crap about the Prez's dead family or GB's dad. Just a waste of my time and the story and the actors. Nothing important happened until we got to Adama and Starbuk 32 minutes into the ep and then the only other important thing that happened was Adama asking for help on the suicide mission. Oh, there was the brief scene with Helena getting ready to get chopped up. Another waste of time. And what was the point of the Prez hobbling out to join up? She's already on the damn ship. someone's gonna have to ask her sooner than later. what's the point of that? I don't know about you, but having watched two family members die of terminal cancer, I can tell you NO ONE gets out of bed when death is close, cane or not. The last 2 hours better be SHIELD level quality to be any good. Telling you now, the season and series peaked with the 2 takeover eps. Maybe that last look that Z&G exchanged before they were executed was saying they knew they had just starred i the best 2 hours of the show. Please let this get over with with some dignity. Does anyone else want to see the Prez get blasted by a centurion Dr. Manhattan/Vietcong style ? color me unimpressed.

Alan, could you settle something for a bro and I? Which costs more to produce: An hour of THE WIRE or BSG? I say BSG is the more expensive. Please, help, good sir.

Pandyora said...

In the file of "all of this has happened before," did anyone else read the whole red line on floor / suicide mission thing as analogous to the departure of the thirteenth tribe?

On best non-tentpole episodes, I would echo votes for "Unfinished Business", "Flesh and Bone", "Downloaded" and "Faith". In fact, I think "Unfinished Business" is arguably the best episode of the series, second only to "Exodus Part II."

On a side note, going through the battlestar wiki episode list reminds me of just how few clunkers there were in this series. Everyone rightly slams "Black Market" and "Woman King", but these disappointments were few and far between.

Anonymous said...

Pandyora, I guess I am just not a big enough fan because, yo be honest, I think the first 2 seasons as a whole are a pain to sit through. the only parts of the show that have been truly great to watch have been the New Caprica stuff with one-eyed Saul turning into the Taliban (genius) and the 4 of 5 finding their identities (again Saul kicking ass and taking names) and then the takeover eps. The series just hasn't been focused enough to ever be great to this viewer it lacks what LOST, MAD MEN (so far), DEADWOOD (first 2 seasons), THE SOPRANOS (first 2 seasons), Northern EXPOSURE (not counting the last season), 6FU (first 3 seasons only), THE SHIELD, and THE WIRE had in spades. Just one guy's POV.

Anonymous said...

I got the feeling that drunk Lee might be coming back from a tryst with Kara that occurred while Zak was alive. I think the extra guilt arising from that would help explain how their relationship has progressed. It would also tie into Zak's line about stealing his girlfriend.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to second what alot of people have been saying about Unfinished Business:
This episode is indeed one of the best hours of television, ever. The interplay between past and present set up this boxing ring trope in which it was demonstrated, clearly, that BSG is not about killer robots, but about the harm that we do to each other, the horrible things that humans inexplicably to do each other and to themselves, things that keep us locked into this cycle of pain. But then there's also those moments of pure transcendence that reconcile human existence--the catharsis of the last scene of this episode is the most poignant, moving thing I have ever seen communicated through television. And I think that "Violence and Variations" may be my absolute favorite of all of Bear McCreary's work, although that's a tough, tough call.


Hand of God-brilliant action, brilliant drama, brilliant character/relationship developments. Plus, the first statement of the Adama family theme.

Flight of the Phoenix-YESYESYES!! Roslin's reaction when she finds out what they've named the Blackbird is reason enough.

Exodus Part II-Maybe the best, edge of your seat action episode BSG has ever done. And although Adama shaves his mustache and smiles at the crowds that fill the halls, the tragedy of seeing Tigh and Starbuck standing on the deck, broken shells of their former selves, is what lingers after the closing credits.

The Oath/Blood on the Scales: These could rival Exodus Part II for the "best action" title. But what was truly amazing about these episodes was not the epic action sequences (Starbuck on the warpath! Roslin's coming for all of you!!) was the sensation of rooting for "the wrong side." The mutineers' logic was spot-on, they were RIGHT, and yet I was cheering as Adama reclaimed his ship and Zarek and Gaeta faced their ends. Brilliant.

Act of Contrition, Scar, and Maelstrom: This "Starbuck trilogy" contains episodes that are hard-hitting, emotionally brutalizing, and poignant and beautiful character studies of the most complicated and damaged character in this series. Her guilt over Zak's death in AoC and confession to Adama--I remember this moment as the first time I really, truly invested myself in the lives of these characters. Scar was a phenomenal action episode (the pacing of the storytelling was excellent), with self-destructive Kara dealing with more guilt and more internal conflict as large cracks appear in her warrior persona. And Maelstrom--the thematic "all of this has happened before" circularity of BSG is on full display here, and Kara hears "nothing but the rain" and is Apollo's "hotshot problem pilot" before she's sucked into the mandala of destiny.
Taken together, along with "Someone to Watch Over Me" (which was good, but not great, in my opinion), these episodes paint a portrait of the most complex, multifaceted, layered character I have ever encountered, ever, in any media.

Gods I am going to miss this show so much!!!

Anonymous said...

Nobody has mentioned Adama calling Starbuck his daughter yet.

Were Kara and Zak engaged? I really have trouble remembering some of these things from the very beginning of the show. This was the first time he's used that term, right?

Matter-Eater Lad said...

I liked the not-quite-uniform Lee wore after he signed up for the Admiral's one-way trip -- nice visual shorthand for how this character has never quite fit in anywhere at all for very long.

R.A. Porter said...

@Larry, I had thought the same thing, that the brunette's behaved as though Caprica wasn't there, but was Head-Six, but I couldn't be sure. I think it was written and acted to be intentionally ambiguous.

As for the pigeon in Lee's place, I'd assumed from his behavior that Zak had just died. My first reaction on seeing the bird was that it was supposed to symbolize Zak's soul. A little heavy handed, even for BSG, but that's where I leaned.

Ann T. said...

Loved the ep. One question: when Lee was on the phone, who did he say should be incarcerated for the mutiny, per the admiral's orders?

Anonymous said...

The scene with Baltar, tall brunette and Six at Baltar's house was certainly ambiguous as to whether that was real Caprica Six or Head Six.

As far as other, non-season/mid-season premier/finale episodes, some of my favorites are:

Collaborators- After the tremendous awesomeness of Exodus, this bottle episode showed that the exodus didn't fix the divides between people after the year in Baltar's hair and the occupation. This was the real conclusion of the New Caprica arc.

Unfinished Business - delved into the relationships between the characters, how those relationships changed and developed outside the confines and regulations of the military, and what happened when those relationships were put back in the pressure cooker of the military life on board Galactica.

Faith - for the great work by McDonnell.

Flesh and Bone - for raising questions about what does it mean to torture.

For bigger, more obvious episodes to round out a 10, I'd go with 33, Kobol's Last Gleaming II, Lay Down Your Burdens, Exodus, Sometimes a Great Notion, and Occupation/Precipice (since they aired as one double episode).

Honorable mention to Downloaded.

What if Baltar, rather than Roslin (who the prohpecy has always pointed to), becomes the dying leader who learns the truth of the opera house and leads his people to a new home, but doesn't join them there?

Anonymous said...

MattB said...

"Some questions raised in this episode that I hope are answered next week instead of being glossed over:
- what was the question that Adama and Kara asked Anders?
- what made Adama completely change his mind about a rescue mission in such a dramatic and complete fashion?"


I think those questions were answered in this episode. During Adama's big speech to the volunteers, he says somethning like: "I thought a search for Hera would be useless because we didn't know where she was taken. Now we do know."

That's a bad paraphrase, but essentially it was implied that they asked Anders if he knew where Hera was being kept and he told them. That would explain Adamas change of mind.

Maybe I'm misreading it, but that's how I saw it.

-Greg S.

Anonymous said...


First time posting as I do some internet reading to get my ducks in a row for the final episode.

Just a couple of random thoughts:

- The last episode flashbacks just reminded me that, like all great Sci-Fi, this was more about story and characters than great CGI

- Overall, there was a sense as to the seeming capriciousness and randomness of life events and how we really have no control, and how things are not always what they seem when viewed through a narrow lens (like Caprica 6 actions on earth)

- Case in point - in Adama's flashback on the "one hour of his life", wasn't he on the Galactica for a ceremonial decommissioning when the Cylon attack occurred? And hence was there purely by chance.

- Question, have you ever asked the show's creators what it implies as to true-life vs. fiction that Earth was inhabited by humanoid cylons? (i.e. we are all cylons)

Don't have my full list in mind, but my favorite episodes would have to be Exodus I and II for combination of action, drama and emotion, and Blood on the Scale, for truly embodying the dark nature of the series.

As for my pure *guess* as to how this immensively creative series will end....

I have to think that the singularity may play some role in a time/space sence, contributing to the "this has all happened before and will happen again".

And the answer to life, the universe and everything to be revealed....of course, it's....


The Rush Blog said...

I've said it once and I'll say it again. I think that Ronald Moore is overrated as a storyteller.

Anonymous said...

Nicole: I'm inclined to think that Six killed his father instead of actually placing him in a home.

I got that impression, too, from the way she says, "the last time I saw him... he seemed happy". And this, of course, was back when the Cylons believed that parents must die before their children can come into their own.

Kensington said...

There seems to be a growing sense among some that Ron Moore kept everything for the finale, but I'd like to remind those that we learned about Ellen Tighe at the beginning of this half-season. Imagine if we were going into next week and still didn't know who the last Cylon was.

We've also learned the nature of these final five Cylons and what differentiates them from the other skin jobs. It hasn't quite been the treading water that some suggest.

Kensington said...

Annie, unless I'm mistaken, I don't think Lee was ordering anyone to be incarcerated. Rather, I think he was conveying the Admiral's order that those being held on charges of mutiny be released. The funny thing is that I never even thought about the people from the attempted coup; rather, I thought he was referring to Galen Tyrol.

JakesAlterEgo said...

I know everyone has been saying this was Lost-like in its use of flashbacks, but I really think it's closer to West Wing's "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen". I thought the comparisons between the two episodes were really striking, actually.

Anonymous said...

Caprica City was also known for its deep-dish pizza, but Roslin was trying to watch her weight.

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

"Caprica City was also known for its deep-dish pizza, but Roslin was trying to watch her weight."

Octagonally-Shaped-Domino's Pizza!

Kensington said...

Oh, one more thing, please. I loved the flashbacks. To the commenter who likened them to LOST, I'll just offer that LOST flashbacks almost never stop me in my tracks, but the Daybreak flashbacks made my heart race. These were not routine. Battlestar Galactica earned these, and some of them were positively wondrous.

Laura Roslin wades into the pond and lets the fountain spray wash over her. Meanwhile, everyone looks at her like a crazy person, unaware of the catastrophic loss she has just suffered, but even less aware of the catastrophic losses they would all soon be dead and that the crazy lady would be the only civilian leader of a relatively tiny number of survivors in the aftermath.

I got chills.

Anonymous said...

I'll make a case for what I think is one of the 10 best BSG episodes. Season 1, Episode 8: Flesh and Bone.

I remember watching the episode for the first time and realizing how great this show really is. It's the first interaction between Starbuck and Leoben, where you wonder if this guy is just screwing with her, or if there really is something to what he's saying. It's a deeply philosophical episode that makes the viewer think and question a lot of things. It also holds that deep mystery and fear about the Cylons that makes them scary and unfamiliar with the threat of a nuke in the fleet. It makes Kara question, as well as the viewers, if she might just be a Cylon when she's told she has a greater destiny.

And then of course, there is the perfect mind frak at the end of the episode that perfectly sets up the following equally brilliant episode, Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down, which introduces Ellen. Before being jettisoned out the airlock, Leoben simply whispers into Laura’s ear the most damaging thing of all, "Adama is a Cylon."

Jenny said...

Regarding Cottle's wanting to join the rescue mission, that didn't surprise me one bit. Over the series that guy's soft spot for his patients has barely been disguised by the rough, chain-smoking exterior. He's always been devoted to his patients, whether they be human, Cylon or a combination of the two, and I always got the impression that he had a special attachment to Hera in particular given all the drama that has already occurred since her conception.

Mary Yanni said...

I have an idea about that hour of Adama's life he's so dreading: I think he's being ordered to have lunch with (or give a tour to) the secretary of education, who's going to be on board Galactica for the decommissioning.

Anonymous said...

The only time we hear Baltar mention his family and background is in “Dirty Hands” when he tells Tyrol that he was born on a dairy farm on Aerelon, and that his family were farmers. He left Aerelon on his 18th birthday for Caprica and never returned home. I’m fairly certain that Baltar also explicitly states in the same scene that he never saw his family again after leaving, and that “they’re all dead now anyways”. If that’s true, then why does Baltar’s old dad appear in Baltar’s Caprica flashbacks?

David said...

Some great non-"tentpole" episodes scattered throughout the series:

Litmus--the first exploration of what made BSG consistently great through its first two-plus seasons, and intermittently since: how to act when trapped between two morally compelling arguments (security versus liberties in that case; this was the one where Sgt. Hadrian convened a tribunal that Adama ultimately shut down because it was becoming a "witch hunt." But the viewer knew that the witch hunt was justified...)

Fragged--probably my all-time favorite, showing two well-intentioned leaders, Tigh in the Fleet and Crashdown on Kobol, both in way, way over their heads. Great performances throughout.

Downloaded--the episode that three-dimensionalized the Cylons, and set up the magnificent New Caprica arc.

Exodus Pt. 1--the teaser, in which Tyrol is frantic as he realizes Cally is about to be executed, is perhaps the most tense five minutes the show ever put to film, and Tigh's calm, commanding and effective guidance is both a wonderful moment in the relationship between the two men and a nice reminder of why Adama finds him so indispensable despite his many obvious faults. And the last bit--Adama's announcement to the crew before launching the rescue mission--is one of the great TV psyche-ups ever.

Blood on the Scales: the last great BSG episode and the culmination of a great four-episode arc to begin the final half-season. As with many of the best hours of BSG, it strikes an almost-perfect balance between character and plot.

As this suggests, I didn't like last night's very much at all. It felt like everything they'd been trying to invest with value this whole season--the dying ship, the Cylon love triangle, Starbuck's quest--was rendered moot and meaningless by the decision to mount a rescue mission. (To be clear: my problem is all the time spent on those things in the last five episodes, not the decision.)

Also, the decision of all the military and most of the civilian leadership to take the Galactica and presumably its Viper and Raptor wings on a likely suicide mission equates to the abandonment of the civilian fleet... most of which presumably won't be thrilled at having to turn to the damaged Basestar and its Cylon leadership for security. Oh, and Baltar.

I'm hoping the last two hours will be entertaining, but have no expectation for anything more than that. Which is a huge downer after the heights this series often reached.

Anonymous said...

I have a couple of questions... if Roslin is in sickbay (on Galactica) isn't she going on the final run by being in sick bay? for dramatic purposes she had to make her stand down on the red line, I guess. And it was a wonderful scene, especially Katie hesitantly then purposfully taking Roslin's hand, very beautiful.

And as far as the "rescue" goes, how exactly will anyone be rescued using a falling apart ship? I don't quite understand how this would work logistically. I guess everyone who "makes it" will go over to a Cylon basestar and that will be the "get away car."

And put me in the camp which is hoping for a redemptive scene for good ole bad Baltar.

Kensington said...

"I’m fairly certain that Baltar also explicitly states in the same scene that he never saw his family again after leaving, and that “they’re all dead now anyways”. If that’s true, then why does Baltar’s old dad appear in Baltar’s Caprica flashbacks?"

The answer I can accept is that Gaius was lying. People lie all the times, and self-serving people like Gaius Baltar lie even more frequently.

Anonymous said...

This is in response to someone asking if the music score is a code or reset for the cylons, i have been thinking and its curvy nature seems to match a loosely coupled helix (at least one strand) so maybe its the diference in the genetic code fo Hera, or what is needed for the cylons to be able to reproduce, or even the diffeent between the humans and cylons. What i could not understand is why Adama could not have taken a small sample of Hra's blod and get it analysed. Seems like they avoided scientific thinking along the lines of the human and cylons. I'd also like to know if the new cylon models (ie boomer etc) are based on the genetic makeup of the old cylon models (final 5). I wish the series was longer and Baltar was not only a scientist in his last few moments.

Anonymous said...

I would heartily agree with Mo's 2nd list but add '33' and Hand of God to it.
Hand of God
Exodus 1&2
Resurrection Ship 1&2
Kobol's Last Gleaming 1&2
Lay Down Your Burdens 1&2
Crossroads 1&2
That's either a top 10 or top 16 depending on how many fingers you've got or blurry vision.

But within Mo's first list I take respectful issue with two eps which comprise two of my three "hop towards the shark" episodes:
1. A measure of salvation: the writers should have let the plan go forward but fail, thus giving the cylons a moral issue vis a vis the humans, & 2. Unfinished Business. Number 3 hop, Epiphanies, would have been much more credible if Balter was seduced/tricked into handing over the nuke since I just don't buy it that he would not be a little afraid (self-preservation is a great goal of his, after all) to hand over the device to an emotionally unstable, suicidal cylon.
But back to, ahem, number two: I reserve a special distaste for Unfinished Business. Anyone who has ever done even the briefest bit of sparring (whether boxing or martial arts) can but guffaw over how bad this episode was in portraying physical combat. Art for art's sake, it betrayed even the tinyest modicum of realism in action or characterization. Adama holding on more than half a minute against Tyrol?! Roslin a boxing fan?! People who don't regularly work out to develop callosity having ten minute punch fests and no concussions?! Lee and Kara resolving their betrayed affections by beating the hell out of each other? We're to think that BSG just became "Sparta in space" for a day? It was all just much too much; Ugh.

The only show that ever did a good job with a boxing episode was NYPD Blue, it managed to do it twice. So,(In Kirk's voice) for the love of God, take this one off your lists! I have no doubt I've convinced no one; but it felt good. Cheers, anonymoose

Anonymous said...

The answer I can accept is that Gaius was lying. People lie all the times, and self-serving people like Gaius Baltar lie even more frequently.

Yeah, I agree that’s likely what happened. But a small part of me can’t help but think that this might be an important clue, although in what way I’m not exactly sure.

R.A. Porter said...

@anonymoose I understand your displeasure with the way BSG displayed the boxing, but the problem with your solution - don't do it if you're not going to do it right - is that NOTHING would happen on television or in movies if the knowledge of specialists had to be respected.

There'd be no police work, no medical dramas, DEFINITELY no courtroom scenes. There'd be no sports, no science, and not a single computer in sight.

And it doesn't come down to making it more realistic, because reality is often quite boring. Watch a courtroom or watch a hacker work sometime. There's nothing dramatic about it. So, license must be taken, even if it means specialists shake their heads in amusement or disgust.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the anti-cylon virus, another unresolved question that I think remains: who left the infected beacon and why?
-- anonymoose

Anonymous said...

The problem with your solution - don't do it if you're not going to do it right - is that NOTHING would happen on television or in movies if the knowledge of specialists had to be respected.
I take your point but I think it overreaches.
Defense exibit A: I refer you to those two NYPD Blue boxing episodes, one in the first year and one in the next to last season, I think(?). They were done very well, and quite believable both in terms of the context for the match and the action itself. There's the old saying that you have to get people to suspend their disbelief, whether showcasing courtroom crackups, hospital hysterics, or police precinct hijinks.
-- anonymoose

Raz Cunningham said...

Something else I was thinking about late last evening; in the Season 3 Finale, the lawyer prosecuting Baltar rhetorically asked "How do we measure loss?"

I think that these flashbacks and watching what's happening to Galactica itself partly answers that question.

R.A. Porter said...

@anonymoose, I understand, but I wasn't overreaching. For example, other than on The Office, I have never seen computer use represented in a realistic manner on television. I have never seen courtroom drama that wasn't laughably inaccurate.

So while you might be right, and boxing *can* be done right...that would satisfy a staggeringly small percentage of viewers who care about its verisimilitude. What about the significantly larger number of people who are specialists in areas that are *never* correct?

Pandyora said...

@Kensington: Octagonally-Shaped-Domino's Pizza

The perfect solution for those the new caprican weed munchies!

@anonymoose: Anyone who has ever done even the briefest bit of sparring... can but guffaw over how bad this episode was

Just as BSG has never been about the flashy space battles, "Unfinished Business" wasn't about the boxing.

Random question: RDM has always seemed to pull crazy stunts for season (or half-season) finales, but this season seems to be heading to a predictable big space battle showdown.

What are the chances all of this is a misdirection? I could easily see RDM pulling some sort of "Lay Down Your Burdens" style flash forward ten or twenty years into the future. Or maybe something else altogether...

ZeppJets said...

Favorite non mid season episodes:

3) Water.
Watching this now is like watching season one of Lost. There's something really lovely about this show in its best, minimalist form; sans years of developed mythology. Long before dreams of opera houses and Dylan songs in the hull, this show was about a band of survivors on the run. The enemy is close behind, and has a mole that no one (not even her) knows about. And look how much frakking damage she can do! Galactica's frakking water supply! Forget Earth, how are these people gonna survive a month with Boomer around. And don't get me started on the torments of poor Tyrol, denying/confronting the truth about his girl. Lots of great work by Grace Park and Aaron Douglas.

2) Scar.
This was actually the first episode I saw. The atmospherics are stunning, as we get to live a few days in the hellish, doom-ridden life of a viper pilot (a grandfather of sorts to that opening from "Someone to Watch Over Me"). Sackhoff was so good in this episode that she inoculated me against all other uneven moments. Starbuck laughing and falling all over the mess hall, drunk under the stress of trying to keep herself and her nuggets alive, was such a haunting and human sight. This was unlike any other sci-fi I had found. Hooked instantly.

1) The Ties that Bind.
Alan, you wrote everything I could say about this this shattering episode

Anonymous said...

I loved the flashbacks to Caprica because, like others have said, they showed/reminded us how much the humans have lost. This show has always been about the struggle of yeah, I thought it was important. And Sam's flashback about perfection was very much tied into his journey, and now, as the hybrid, his ending.

Also, a bird in the house is a symbol (old wives tale version) of death. And since I'm kinda hoping for a "Hamlet" ending, this bodes well for me.

A black hole? Bring. It. On!!!

ZeppJets said...

I agree that in his flashback, Adama is probably protesting having to babysit the Secretary of Education at the decommissioning, or the ceremony itself. "It's only one hour of your life".

Michael said...

Forgot to mention, the Adar that Laura talked about on the phone was the man who would later become President of the Twelve Colonies.

I was going to say merely that Adar was the last elected President of the Quorum of the Twelve in the original BSG, but after Googling him I see that he already made an appearance in season 2's "Epiphanies" in which it was revealed that they were having an affair (which I have no recollection of).

R.A. Porter said...

No one else has brought this up, but when Roslin was talking on the phone, she agreed to go on a blind date with a younger man whose name she recognized:

What's Mr. Perfect's name? Oh, Sean? I like that name. Sean what? Sean Allison. Sounds familiar.

I think that Sean is going to be the Caprica City policeman who came to tell Roslin about the accident.

Anonymous said...

@Pandyora & @ R.A.Porter.
Ah, there really is no accounting for tastes. True enough that things are never completely realistic, especially in sci fi. And usually I can let it go but on this episode I just remember wondering as I watched: are these people out of ideas? I imagined the writer's meeting, where someone suggested: "hey, what about a boxing match?"
And someone else says: "well, how do we get Laura back into the story?"
"Oh, we'll just say her dad took her to matches when she was a kid. She's into it!"
"So . . . anyone know anything about boxing?" (crickets)
That's a rickety plot driving characterization. And that's when a preposterous scenario becomes a problem. That said, I like the flashback stuff in the episode, and I did try to imagine (John Hodgman Star Wars 1 rewrite style) some boxing scenarios that I could have lived with. Anyway, I've overstayed my welcome on this topic. A2D(agree to disagree).
Best, anonymoose

Anonymous said...

I totally understand the maincast going on the final mission for serieis reasons, but I can't believe it would ever happen in the context of the story of the show. Lee? President of the just rebuilt Quorom? And given all the nervousness over Adama abandoning the Galactica and making the Fleet realiant on the rebel Cylon for protection, there is no way the rest of the fleet would allow Adama to take a dozen or so pilots, along with Tigh, Lee, and all the other support personell. Who is going to be in charge when they leave?

At least in Exodus Pt 2, Adama left behind Lee and the Pegasus to lead/protect the fleet.

I was really sad that we didn't see Adama take command of the basestar, because I would have LOVED to know what the christened it. I am sure by the end of next week, the rebel basestar will be known as the Galactica.


SJ said...

"33" is one episode I'll never forget. (I don't remember the names of the other ones). It was so amazing and so fresh to see something like that. And I loved the smaller "scope" of season one.

Anonymous said...

At least in Exodus Pt 2, Adama left behind Lee and the Pegasus to lead/protect the fleet.
I was really sad that we didn't see Adama take command of the basestar

I like where the story is going for the ending, and think it's appropriately Wagnerian. But I agree Laura and Adama going along is a problem plot-wise. It would be cool for them to remain on as leaders on the base-star so that we care about what's happening back there. And this would have freed up Apollo to be the leader on the mission with the Galactica. Lee and Kara need to come into their own, together, in this assault.
- anonymoose

Anonymous said...

Here’s a couple of thoughts about the writerly symbolism of the flashbacks: Laura’s first flashback ends with her in her fountain of grief. It immediately segues into the IV drip – the water of loss becomes something that is prolonging her life. What was abundant and splashy and external and devastating has become quiet, relentless, internal, and no less devastating. But it’s life-giving.

As to Lee’s bird problem, I think I agree with Tyroc earlier. Lee was totally gobsmacked by Kara. It was in his expression when she opened the door. And it was evident even in the present in his dealings with Baltar. He has Baltar’s number, but Baltar has his, too. A lot of Lee’s current antipathy stems from Baltar’s outing of Kara and probably Baltar’s one night stand with Kara back in Season 1. Lee is such a do-what’s-right-everything-in-its-place kinda guy that he doesn’t want random wildlife messing up his life. And yet, here she still is. Symbolically, a crapping rat with wings that still looks beautiful whenever it takes flight. And it just won’t leave, even after Lee’s furniture gets smashed as he drunkenly tries to get rid of it.

I think the other flashbacks were less symbol-driven, but I could be mistaken. I’ve only watched this ep twice.

IMO, the more the series lingers on the characters and how (and why) they are reacting to their circumstances, the better. It's why my favorite eps this season so far is The Hub and Sometimes A Great Notion and No Exit.


Anonymous said...


As it’s all drawing to a close, I want to take the opportunity to thank you, sincerely, for sharing with your readers your love for this show.
Your deep love for these characters is so evident, you treat the material with such insightful respect, and your opinions always illuminate different ways of understanding the show.

The first thing I do after watching each episode is read your blog, and Maureen Ryan’s blog; you both are so obviously committed to this story, and I want you both to know how much I appreciate your insights, your humor, your theories, your opinions. You’re both so entertaining, intelligent, and compassionate—exactly the kind of reviewers that this show deserves.

I only discovered BSG a few months ago, and am so glad that I got into it. It is truly a spectacular piece of drama, a stunningly nuanced exploration of the human condition. Thank you so, so much for letting all of us share in your appreciation of this journey.

Anonymous said...

"The only time we hear Baltar mention his family and background is in “Dirty Hands” when he tells Tyrol that he was born on a dairy farm on Aerelon, and that his family were farmers. He left Aerelon on his 18th birthday for Caprica and never returned home. I’m fairly certain that Baltar also explicitly states in the same scene that he never saw his family again after leaving, and that “they’re all dead now anyways”. If that’s true, then why does Baltar’s old dad appear in Baltar’s Caprica flashbacks?"

What he said to Tyrol was that he turned his back on his family. That doesn't mean that he never saw any of them again.

Anonymous said...

My personal favourite episode of BSG (not counting season/ mid season finales: Downloaded. The first comprehensive Clyon episode.

Unknown said...

Flesh and Bones has always made an impression with me especially along the lines of the bigger picture and how certain characters, Kara, Laura, Leoben, tie into the big picture

Mo Ryan said...

Thanks Anon 3:33 p.m. -- but I only made one list, not two (you referred to my "second" list). Hand of God definitely was on my list, it's one of my all time favorite BSG eps. And Measure of Salvation and Epiphanies were not on the list I drew up.

I'd echo others here and maybe add Flesh and Bone to my 20-or-so strong Top 10 list. A great self-contained hour on its own, but also our first glimpse of the always strangely compelling Leoben-Starbuck relationship.

One thing I've really been missing this season is Leoben. Damn that actor for getting a lot of work.

On my recent re-watch, I definitely found Downloaded to be even more interesting the second time around. I'd put both Faith and Downloaded on the Honorable Mention roster. Possibly The Hub too, but I need to re-watch season 4.0 to know what my favorites were from that bunch (aside from Revelations of course).

As long as we're talking Honorable Mentions (not that we are, but anyway), I'd throw the Son Also Rises on that list too.

Anonymous said...

I am frustrated by the apparent waste of time on the character back story.

The last thing we need now is more character exposition, especially when the characters are played by actors as gifted as Mary and James. If you don't get Laura Roslin or Gaius Baltar by now, you never will.

The BSG characters are great when they do something. Very little happened in Part I.

Here's hoping Part II doesn't let us all down.

R.A. Porter said...

@Allan, this week didn't let us all down. I for one was quite happy with Part 1.

Anna said...

Are you kidding me? This episode is nothing like "Exodus." This is one freaking child whom no one on the human side except, like, five people could possibly give a crap about, and who - if we are all right in believing that the cylon daniel is kara's father - isn't even anything special anymore!

I really hate that this is what the show is coming down to. It should've culminated with the mutiny. That was actually about something. Everything since then has felt like the writers just pulling stuff out of their collective ass.

And the flashbacks, too, are such a waste. I completely agree with Allan: if you don't know these characters by now, you will never, ever know them.

Unknown said...

Wow, I hated this episode. We still don't know (a) who the Head People are, (b) what Kara is, (c) Opera House wiggetywoo, (d) tons of other things. They have 3 42-minute periods to go...and they wasted them showing us frakking flashbacks to Caprica City? At this point in the endgame, i.e. THE END, I don't give a shit about Laura's dead family, or finally meeting Zak if that's all they do with him, or LEE'S PIGEON FOR FUCK'S SAKE. They WASTED half the episode on this stuff? REALLY?! I want to say, "this better be important and play out in the last two hours," but I strongly doubt it will somehow.

Also, Baltar's throwing a shitty fit at his dad was the biggest hissy the man's ever thrown in four years. The guy's humanity's biggest traitor and yet I have never seen him so upset until this episode. I kept watching it and thinking, "Caprica, you still fell in love with this asshole, why?!" If she wasn't a spy I'd ask why she'd even talk to him again after that, but falling in love with the dickweed was optional.

Anonymous said...

I guess I have to just accept that this series isn’t what I want it to be. There are many aspects of the show I like: I like the allegory. I like the idea of speculating about what happens to a civilization after that civilization is crushed. I am curious about the nature of the Cylons and their supposed “plan”. What I find tedious is the psycho drama and unfortunately for me, the second half of this season has just been mostly one heaping spoonful of psycho drama after another.

The flashbacks to pre Galactica life were interesting. I think an episode around the middle of the season that used this structure would have been fascinating but when the series has 3 hours of life left, to pull this out gave me an “Are you kidding me?” moment.

Learning that Rosilyn (sp?) lost her family even before the end of the world was an interesting turn of events that indeed does shine a little light on her charcater. However, taking 5 minutes of screen time to watch her stagger out in a nightgown and cleanse herself metephorically in a fountain is a snoozefest.

I just have to accept this is what Moore sees for this series and that is why he spending so much of their limited time focusing on it. It also seems my opnion is in the minority so I guess that means he know what he's doing :-) Here’s hoping next week’s episode is more Angel slaying a dragon and less Meadow parallel parking to Journey.

R.A. Porter said...

@srpad, I gotta geek-pick. Angel didn't slay the dragon. He befriended it and named him Cordelia.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

If you look carefully,
you might see Baltar shaking like hell. Indicading that he' wants to move across that red line but is struggling with himself.

Craig Ranapia said...

Speaking of the anti-cylon virus, another unresolved question that I think remains: who left the infected beacon and why?

Um, anonymoose, I don't mean this as a disrespect but why can't (pardon my French) bad shit just happen? That's what Cottle said: it wasn't part of God's divine plan, or some cunning plot, but viruses mutate in nature on a routine basis. This one turned into something the Cylons had no immunity to. I love (and indulge in) fan-wank as much as the next person, but sometimes you can be so busy looking for the subtext or the hidden agenda, that you ignore what's right on the surface.

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Sepinwall said...

I keep thinking back to some of the promos that came out before the beginning of Season 4.5 and have not seen any discussion regarding a specific line of dialog that opened one or more of these promos.

If it hasn't come up in an episode yet and you're assuming it's from the finale, than discussing it violates the spoiler rule.

Anonymous said...

If the Cylon colony ship is by a singularity, then the trip will truly be one way, since time dilation effects would return the B-G crew to a much, much older fleet. On the positive side, they can spend twenty years preparing for the mission because very little time will have passed from Hera's perspective. At least, this is what I recall from physics.

Anonymous said...

Mo, my apologies for the pathetic butchering of your list. Thank gods I'm anonymous so others won't know how senile I've become(embarrassed grin)! -anonymoose

Unknown said...

Craig, do we even know if he has dementia? Or if he's just a cranky old man?

No need to wish it upon me, as dementia and crazy is how my relatives go out, I've seen it plenty of times. Already got it, thanks.

Anyway, for me it was a Christian Bale moment- it's not that you're not justified to be mad, but it was over the top nasty. I wouldn't want to hang around someone who acted like that.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Caprica fell in love with Baltar because he is SO human. She didn't want perfection (Cylons), she wanted the opposite.

Anonymous said...

"Identity and nature of the "head" characters? Still waiting on this one."

There was a deleted episode (season 4) which seemed to explain this, where Head Six says she is going away because Baltar now has his faith. Now that he's losing it again, she has been reappearing in the last 2 episodes. So it seems to be just a representation of anima/animus, esp. when their personality dissociates due to their own guilt (Baltar, Lampkin) - or, in a larger sense, humans and Cylons being each's Other.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add, what also frustrated me a tad about the fashbacks is I got the sense that a big reason why they even did that little digression is that they had probably just put money into creating a CGI Caprica City skyline effect for the upcoming spin off and said to themselves, "Hey we paid for this; doggone it, we should use it in BSG too!"

Anonymous said...

Is Alan having an affair with Mo Ryan? Everyone wants to know ....

Alan Sepinwall said...

No need to wish it upon me, as dementia and crazy is how my relatives go out, I've seen it plenty of times. Already got it, thanks.

Yeah, that was over the line, Craig. Attacking other commenters is unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

Alan, why don't you use twitterfeed?

Anonymous said...

@Craig "That's what Cottle said: it wasn't part of God's divine plan, or some cunning plot, but viruses mutate in nature on a routine basis."

Thanks for the reminder from Cottle. I don't really care about the virus per se. Just that Alan listed things that weren't tied up yet and I suggested this might be another item. But, yes, it could turn out to be par hazard (pardon my french) as you say.
- anonymoose

Anonymous said...

Hey Alan check out my top 10

Craig Ranapia said...

Yeah, that was over the line, Craig. Attacking other commenters is unacceptable.

Well, Alan, I'm sorry if I crossed a line. Jennifer might just have been a little more thoughtful about her language, because there are plenty of people in the real world who've had to be caregivers to verbally and abusive family members with very little, if any, support. Might also want to do a little research on the levels of physical and psychological abuse nurses receive on a daily basis, and wonder why recruitment and retention rates are so dismal.

It might not be pretty to admit, but Gaius Baltar might be a little closer to the reality a lot of people have to face every day.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Well, Alan, I'm sorry if I crossed a line. Jennifer might just have been a little more thoughtful about her language,

Craig, I don't care. Jennifer was talking about the show. You were talking about her. Unacceptable. Period. I don't care about the rationalizations.

Anonymous said...

This episode was lousy. Why do "Lost" style flashbacks now? A few of the characters suffered tragedy before the HOLOCAUST? Come on! Everyone they know has been killed - billions, but their difficulties right before the attack is important? Drunken Lee swatting at a pigeon is important?

Clearly the writers had a finale in mind and have not been capable of filling in the number of episodes they have this final half season to get there. It really seems like they have diminished this top-notch series this final season. I know the finale will be great, so maybe after the fact no one will care, but the writers should be ashamed of themselves.

Anonymous said...

Flashbacks didn't do much for the show - did Kara have a breast reduction after Zak's death? (since the flashback shows a heavier bosom than the original mini series).

The last 15 minutes were great, but what a waste to have those dumb flashbacks and skip Adama and Starbuck's interview with Anders entirely. A well-written scene for that encounter would go a long way towards explaining why anyone but Helo would choose to be involved in a suicide mission into the "colony."

I love this show, but hated this episode.

Carolyn said...

@kensington: interesting thoughts about Tory. I agree, her passivity at this point is such a stark contrast to her strength upon discovering herself a cylon. she'd never be able to beat down Callie with this attitude.

@charles purvis: i believe the leoben/new caprica room/apartment was purposely set up by leoben to be identical to kara's old apartment on caprica.

erin said...

I quite liked the episode and enjoyed the flashbacks (and I never enjoyed the first two seasons I wasted on Lost because i never connected to the characters like I do to BSG--I didn't care what their flashbacks told me). I do understand there are two camps of BSG fans--ones who like the action, arc-based BSG (answer the questions!!), and the ones who prefer the character-driven storylines (explain the people!!). I like a mix of both, but I like storylines like this--the character-driven shows. I DO want to know that tragedy has hit Roslin (and I thought she was so beautiful and heartbreaking in all her Caprica scenes) and I find the fleshing out of Gaius, even after all this time, to be interesting. Frankly, my problem with the show (and apparently this is solely my problem) is that I've only seen every episode once, with big gaps between seasons, so I forget a lot of the arc details. And I feel stupid, but I forgot that Caprica Six was THAT Caprica Six (sue me, I'm cluless), and forgot about all of her backstory (she's had so much!) So her looking at Baltar on the other side of the line lost me a little bit.

There have been so many details about the show's arc and the Cylons that any more episodes like No Exit (which was just straight exposition) leaves me cold.

I did buy that people would volunteer for a suicide mission, even on something as slim as Anders's ramblings, because there just isn't much hope left. I think people are tired, and as someone else said, they'd rather go out on heroics (saving Hera) than by something else sadder and more desperate (running out of food/fuel/what have you).

What this comments section DID make me want to do this summer is re-watch the show as a marathon, with no breaks. I can't believe people remember the episodes as clearly as they do, with titles! I admire that level of devotion to the show!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe people remember the episodes as clearly as they do, with titles . . .

Don't know about others but I go to the battlestar wiki or to wikipedia's battlestar entry to remind myself of titles and events when discussing. Even then I make embarrassing mistakes at times.
- anonymoose

erin said...

Not that this has anything to do with BSG, but after the last post, I went back and search for some Craig R. posts to see the damning evidence of his verbal assaults. I found little to support that claim (and I couldn't see what was posted here originally--it was removed by Alan). What I did find were some interesting commentary aimed at the show.

Cranky people, stop being so ugly, to Alan and to each other! Although I guess by next week, we'll have one less place on Alan's blog to volley nasty insults at each other. Thank goodness!

Oh, and on a BSG related note, I had to check out the BSG Wikipedia page to see all the highly rated shows people were referring to. Now that I know what they were called, they were some of my faves too (Downloaded, 33, Lay Down Your Burdens) I'm DEFINITELY going to re-watch the show this summer! I know how everything fits together! I'm oddly excited about that fact.

Charles Purvis said...

Hey guys, just fyi--the podcast for "Islanded" is now up on

PrJoolie said...

fav episodes, non-bookends:
Scar, great characterization, loved the sparring of old jock and new jock.

Downloaded - loved the head Baltar, and seeing the story from the "other" POV.

Anonymous said...

My top 15 best episodes :

1- Sometimes A Great Notion (S4)
2- Resurectionship II (S2)
- The Oath (S4)
4- Downloaded (S2)
- Exodus II (S3)
- Blood on The Scales (S4)
7- Hand of God (S1)
- Resurectionship I (S2)
- Faith (S4)
- Home II (S2)

11- The Hub (S4)
- Resistance (S2)
13- Flesh and Blood(S1)
- Collaborators (S3)
15- Guess what's Coming to Diner (S4)

(no season premiere, no season finale, no mid season cliffhanger)

I realized I love a lot season 2 and 4...

I loved Daybreak part I, without forgetting is the first part of one episode. The hangar scene was so moving...

I do love Admiral Adama. I hope we will see him a good amount of time, but I'm affraid with the prophecies, the Opera visions, the rescue mission, and Lee and Kara, I'll be a lot disapointed.

I don't want any of them dead, I love them so much!

Finally, I don't know if I'm going to watch the finale...

Craig Ranapia said...

Craig, I don't care. Jennifer was talking about the show. You were talking about her. Unacceptable. Period. I don't care about the rationalizations.

Fine, Alan -- your house, your rules... I thought I was taking exception to Jennifer's rather salty language (which I personally found rather offensive and gratutious) applied to Baltar's reaction to a situation a lot of people find themselves in every day, while EXPLICITLY AND UNCONDITIONALLY respecting her right to express her disdain for the episode itself.

And personally, I thought that scene was a delicious insight into Baltar's character: Even when he's trying to do the right thing (caring for his father who obviously hates his guts), and is understandably under enormous pressure and not dealing with it very well, out pops the jerky, clueless Gaius we all know and love to hate.

Anonymous said...

I'm DEFINITELY going to re-watch the show this summer! I know how everything fits together!

You might want to wait until after the movie The Plan comes out. My understanding (I think reported at is that Ron Moore and the crew say you'll see the whole series from a different light after that movie, which covers the show's time frame from the cylon point of view. (I don't think saying that much is a spoiler, it's pretty much the official description of the movie. But I don't want to discuss it too much lest my post get airlocked by Alan :) ) Cheers!
- anonymoose