Saturday, January 24, 2009

episode: battlestar galactica, "a disquiet follows my soul" (4.14)

Whereas last week's episode mainly concerned itself with philosophical character developments, this week's episode, "A Disquiet Follows My Soul," very much moved the plot forward to the next logical step. When the Twelve Colonies were destroyed, there was despair and anarchy, so now there is no more "road to Earth" (i.e. hope), there is going to be despair and anarchy once again. The main storyline revolves around the politics of Galactica, how Roslin, who is no longer taking her medications and wants to die now, has checked out, leaving Zarek in charge, and how Zarek uses fearful language to influence the Quorum of Twelve's vote to deny any Cylons board amongst the fleet. This story took up a bulk of the episode, but other storylines included Tyrol finding out he's not the father to young Nicky (meaning Hera is still the only hybrid Cylon-Human child in existence) and Gaeta's increasing nihilist thoughts (which seem to be leading into the next episode's major storyline).

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

• "It was one thing for the fleet to go along with a short-term alliance, when it seemed like everyone's happy ending on Earth was just around the corner, but Zarek has a point: why should the fleet throw in its lot with the people who put it in this current horrible predicament?"

• "This was Ron Moore's directorial debut after four years of running the show, and several decades as a TV and film writer. A few of the sequences (Adama's multiple bouts of dental hygine obsession, Roslin sprinting through the corridors, Baltar's sermon) called attention to themselves, this final season has become more visually adventurous, so these didn't feel out of place."
Personally, I thought that, although this episode was plot-heavy, it was really well-executed and Ron Moore gave enough visually compelling images to compliment the story that I didn't feel bogged down while watching it. And while I thought the scene between Dr. Cottle and Tyrol was incredibly awkward -- "his father" should have been more ambiguous, but it was obvious when first uttered that Tyrol was not the father -- I thought that the scene between Gaeta and Starbuck was phenomenal. There was such animosity between them, and it was smart of the writers to draw in issues from all of the seasons, rather than current problems. Gaeta wonders what Starbuck's husband Anders was doing on Caprica before they "so conveniently" met; did he set off a few nukes? Gaeta also brought up the irony of the secret council (who almost airlocked him) being comprised of two Cylons and a woman married to a Cylon. Gaeta's bitter, and actor Alessandro Juliani really sold this scene.

I also agree with Sepinwall's assessment that Roslin's story arc is really sad to watch. I really love her character, but during the first and second season, I really thought she was the bad guy -- especially during the whole Cain conflict. She makes decisions without telling anyone, and these decisions come from very selfish reasons. She even tried to steal the election away from Baltar! However "right" her intentions are, she's not a good democratic leader. She and Adama are very much running the show on their own, and I absolutely agree with Zarek over Adama. No, they should not collaborate with the Cylons. They killed 50 billion people and have been manipulating the humans from the start. If I were on one of the civilian ships and I didn't know any of the Cylons personally, hell no, I would not want to be anywhere near these "things" that destroyed my entire way of life. Right, back to Roslin... I think she will die by the end of the season, but I also think -- or hope, rather -- that the prophecies are false. Religion has factored very prominently in this show (in forms of mysticism and mythology), but now I think it would be rational and realistic for people to still maintain hope, even though these prophecies turned out to be completely false. People will read into religious texts and believe in them... but that belief doesn't necessarily make them true. And I think Moore and the writers should stay away from making religion "true."

I'm really looking forward to next week's Gaeta-Zarek-centric episode. Starbuck points a gun at someone!

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