Tag Archives: Cylons

(Mid) Season Finale: Battlestar Galactica – “Revelations”


June 13th, 2008

Since New Caprica, Battlestar Galactica has been a series defined by the intersection of two races – of their people, their beliefs, their actions and their futures. At odds with one another from the moment the Miniseries began, humans and Cylons have slowly but surely centralized into two groups of people who are searching for a greater purpose and a greater understanding. When the Cylons occupied humanity on New Caprica, Caprica Six and the other Cylon leaders felt that they were meant to co-exist – of course, one cannot force such a peace as easily as they had hoped.

No, it takes the right moment for that to happen, which is perhaps the very definition the show’s purpose in the first half of its fourth and final season. It seems as if the search for Earth is, in fact, that point of intersection: conveniently for the series’ narrative, the human desire to discover a new home on Earth requires the discovery of the Final Cylon models, the discovery of which is the goal of the current batch of renegade Cylons. And so we have spent nine episodes bringing these two groups together, now finally reaching the point where all the pieces are in play.

We started the season with a mysteriously untouched viper and four newly found Cylons, and they return here to ask the question of everyone on each side of the conflict: are you willing to accept the intertwined fate of these two peoples, or will old wounds win the day? As the driving force behind a tense showdown with an infinite number of potential outcomes, “Revelations” proves something we knew all along: that few shows on television can have us questioning everything as easily as this one, and that no show on television can measure up because of it. Plus, after all the questions are over, we’re left facing an answer we never saw coming, and a future that waiting seven months for will be, well, a frakkin’ bitch.

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Battlestar Galactica – “The Hub”

“The Hub”

June 6th, 2008

[I’m filling in for fellow blogger Todd VanDerWerff over at The House Next Door this week (Thanks to Todd, and Keith, for making that happen!), so here’s an excerpt of this week’s episode review and a link to the site. Enjoy!]

Say what you will about “Sine Qua Non,” nearly unanimously considered the fourth season’s worst episode yet, but the dramatic undercurrent that has propelled the rest of this season was present in certain aspects of the episode. The episode was too blatant with its plot movements, no question, but there was also tantalizing hints of the story we weren’t seeing.

While there was dramatic purpose in keeping us in the dark to reflect the fleet’s confusion in the wake of the “Guess What’s Coming to Dinner?” cliffhanger, we were really waiting for “The Hub.” Written by Jane Espenson and directed by Paul Edwards, this story of the basestar’s quest to destroy the Cylon Resurrection hub and unbox D’Anna (Lucy Lawless) is the one that we wanted to see last week, which made those brief hints more frustrating than intriguing.

This is not the first time the season has done this – Espenson’s last episode, “Escape Velocity,” was coincidentally itself a divergence from the Cylon Civil War and the Demetrius’ search for Earth in favour of building Tyrol and Baltar’s interesting, but less pressing, storylines. Here, however, Espenson trades off, drawing the gig of writing the payoff for a change.

For the most part, she succeeds – it’s hard to screw up what the show does best, an intersection of human and Cylon combined with meaningful action sequences and a spiritual journey for humanity’s dying leader. There’s a certain diversity in the episode’s tone that could turn some off, with some strangely humorous or laid back sequences, but when much of it was given to Mary McDonnell and James Callis it was at least in good hands. By grounding itself in both the ongoing plot and the series’ central characters and themes, the episode can’t help but provide momentum into the final episode of the year.

Continue reading @ The House Next Door.

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Battlestar Galactica – “Sine Qua Non”

“Sine Qua Non”

May 30th, 2008

Yes, you’re not seeing things: that date above is in the future, which means that I have perfected the art of time travel. Or, more accurately, I’ve perfected the art of hijacking a British satellite feed in order to watch this week’s episode of Battlestar Galactica three days before it airs on this continent.

Yes, SkyOne is now three days ahead due to the Memorial Day holiday break on Sci-Fi, which is good news for those of us able to see it early. Now, I was trying to decide whether to write a review now or later for this one, and know that my decision to focus on the former is largely due to a desire to discuss it while it is still fresh in my mind; I know how hard it will be for those of you on feeds to resist the temptation to read before you watch, and I apologize for the trouble.

However, there’s a lot to talk about here, some of which I found interesting and some which, well, I didn’t. Plus, the return of a much-loved character that, although engaging, ultimately falls in the latter category…I think.

So, head below the jump for thoughts and spoilers…and, if you’re not coming back until Saturday, see you then!

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Battlestar Galactica – “Guess What’s Coming to Dinner?”

“Guess What’s Coming to Dinner?”

May 16th, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Season Four.

Yes, certainly, there has been some strong episodes in this first half of the fourth season, so my apparently very late welcome to the series is not to say that the show has been wholly off its form since its premiere in early April. However, with this our 7th episode in the first half of the season that is likely to serve as our only episodic Battlestar fix in 2008, the show is finally returning to what it does best: episodes that combine every conceivable point of strength for the show into a single forty-minute segment.

Here, we have everything: the subtle character moments (albeit in smaller number than episodes past), the haunting thematics, the secret agendas, the political intrigue, the mythology of the series emerging, the cliffhanger endings, and most of all the kind of acting that you just don’t get on other shows these days. The episode leaves us with so many unanswered questions that you’d swear we are leaving for a lengthy break starting now as opposed to in (likely) a month’s time.

But, nope – in two weeks time, we will find out what all of this week’s fantastic episode means. For now, let’s dig in.

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Battlestar Galactica – “The Road Less Traveled”

“The Road Less Traveled”

May 2nd, 2008

After last week threw us into the psychological and religious conflict brewing on Galactica, it’s natural that this takes a back seat to the plots we really want to see: Starbuck’s struggles to find Earth and the Cylon’s internal conflict. We’re thrown right into the action this time around, with Mark Verheiden’s script starting with a definitive revelation for the Demetrius.

That was what was lacking last week, as to an extent “Escape Velocity” seems unnecessary by comparison: here, we get the kinds of reactions that we expected to find last week but didn’t. We get a glimpse of Baltar, and one that perhaps didn’t need such an extracted investigation as we saw last week. Similarly, did we really need last week’s events to explain Tyrol shaving his head and obsessing over his wife’s death? I liked last week’s episode alright, but it feels as if it was a lot of exposition without much comparative value.

Last week felt totally wrong when it comes to the central conceit of the season: the blurring of the line between human and Cylon is integral to defining the series moving forward, and this week we return to the concepts of shared destiny and identity within the context of the series. The result is a sharper episode, one that feels like we are, indeed, traveling down a particular road as the two storylines missing last week coincide.

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Battlestar Galactica – “The Ties That Bind”

“The Ties That Bind”

April 18th, 2008

Speaking to a friend ahead of this episode, I said the following:

“I’m curious to see where it goes from here – the human plot has kind of hit a roadblock, so it’s going to be up to the Cylons to carry the dramatic weight I fear.”

So, considering these expectations, I should have been really frustrated with “The Ties That Bind,” an episode where almost all of the dramatic weight was founded on Cally, one of the most maligned characters amongst certain populations of the show’s fans. While there were a series of intriguing and fairly fantastic revelations on the Cylon side of the coin, it was ultimately a footnote in the episode compared to our central drama.

Now, I’ve never been on the side of Cally haters per se, but rather of the mind that Cally’s character was never given a justifiable reason to exist outside of her relationship to Tyrol. The character was never asked to carry any dramatic weight outside of either being beaten to a pulp or being placed in mortal danger – as a result, we got a lot of screaming and crying, but little in the way of nuanced emotion or any such things.

I’m not saying that what we saw from Nikki Clyne last night was revolutionary performance, but Michael Taylor managed to draw from her past in order to craft, at the very least, an intriguing point of representation. Cally, through anti-depressant fueled journeys, becomes a loose cannon – she is suspicious and paranoid in her altered state, and begins to suspect Tyrol is hiding something. Upon investigation, she stumbles across his biggest secret, and all of a sudden Cally has gone from nuisance to all-out ticking time bomb.

And then it went off, much sooner than I think any of us expected.

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Battlestar Galactica – “Six of One”

“Six of One”

April 12th, 2008

With a gun in her hands, and a suicidal Kara Thrace in front of her, Laura Roslin pulls the trigger – she misses, and while we ponder how she did so at such close range we notice something: what she shot was a photograph of Adama and Roslin, together. If that’s not an omen, I don’t know what is.

If last week’s premiere was perhaps a symbol that the show was starting off on a slightly different trajectory than the third season, then this week’s episode solidified our point of reference: this is season two all over again.

We have questions of faith, the schism between our two leaders, and even the same people in positions of personal crisis. I don’t say this as if it is derivative, but rather that it is a strong return to form – it may not be the 0 to 60 we saw last season, but it is a strong mythology turn that will serve the show well.

Read on to learn while Starbuck is in a cell, parts of her are all throughout the ship.

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Season Premiere – Battlestar Galactica Season Four – “He That Believeth In Me”

“He That Believeth In Me”

April 4th, 2008

I had said earlier this week that I was going to spend copious amounts of time analyzing the third season of Battlestar Galactica…and then proceeded to spend copious amounts of time watching it instead. As a result, I expected to enter into this episode ready to compare it to the season which preceded it.

Instead, I’m comparing it to Lost.

Like any good serialized show of this nature, Ronald D. Moore and Co. ended last season on a cliffhanger, something it has done in past seasons. However, something was different this time around: I don’t know if it is that the stakes are lower, or the action slower, but something has changed. My point of comparison is this season’s Lost premiere: we had the revelation in the previous Finale, so the premiere will pale by comparison.

I think, in this case, I had already watched this episode in my head: the new Cylons happening to stumble into scenarios where people question their humanity unknowingly, Starbuck struggling to return to the real world after her absence, and everything being very bizarre for Gaius Baltar. I think the problem was that the episode never went beyond that: it was great for what it was, but having already deduced much of this myself I was sort of behind.

I actually quite loved the episode: laughed out loud, gasped in horror, loved the acting, etc. It’s just that after such a huge revelation, what was put on the screen was everything we had already imagined as fans of the series dealing with a year-long hiatus. And, well, that’s kind of a let down. But, let’s discuss further.

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Battlestar Galactica: Razor – Spoilers, Commentary and Discussion

Earlier today, I spent some time doing an “official” review of Battlestar Galactica: Razor. This was light on spoilers, and focused more on alerting people to its existence. Now, however, the geekiness begins. As mentioned, I am actually writing my thesis (partially) on Battlestar Galactica, specifically its ramifications on the longevity of medieval romantic tropes and heroic representation. And yes, it’s mildly crazy. However, in writing about the legacy of the Cylons and their complicated place within the idea of the heroic within the series, watching Razor has certainly opened a new portal of discussion. And, now, I want to be able to extend that discussion and consider the ramifications (or, perhaps, lack of ramifications) of this two-hour event on the series as a whole

[Warning: This discussion will feature major spoilers for Battlestar Galactica: Razor, and the series’ third season. Do not read if you wish to avoid these spoilers.]

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