Sixteen episodes into season 2, and it seems like time for an evaluation.
Unfortunately, I have not been impressed with three of the last four episodes. However, we did have the fantastic “Scar”, so I am not entirely disillusioned. Click the “Read More” link to see my spoilery thoughts.I’ll start with the bad, so I can end with the good. I thought “Epiphanies” was a terrible misstep that indulged in some of the worst clich?s of the scifi genre. The president makes an abhorrent and totally unexplained decision regarding Sharon’s baby, has a convenient plot-generating vision about Baltar while on the verge of death, then has her cancer cured by technobabble. Meanwhile, Baltar helps her out, then in a fit of pique betrays the entire fleet in a ridiculously over-the-top cliffhanger gesture. So many bad things were set up by this episode that I seriously worried about where it was all going.
However, the next three episodes have almost completely ignored the consequences, for which I am grateful. This isn’t to say that “Black Market” was good. It wasn’t. In this episode we learn in some shot-through-a-filter flashbacks that Lee has some sad memories about a skinny, conventionally attractive girlfriend who wanted kids. Gee, I might care about this if we had EVER heard of her before! This just came out of nowhere. And the black market itself didn’t pass the plausibility test. Who are these petty thugs? Do they seriously think they can thumb their noses at Galactica and get away with it? What a bunch of morons! Or wait… what a bunch of caricatures! Memo to BSG’s writers: the cell full of sex-slave children sadly clinging to teddy bears? LAME! LAME to the Nth power!
The most recent episode, “Sacrifice“, had many of the same plausibility and caricature problems, but at least Dana Delaney could act. I am not pleased with the way the Apollo/Dee relationship is being played. Remember season 1, when Boomer and the Chief were ordered to end their relationship because it violated protocol? Well, how is the Apollo/Dee romance any different? I’m still waiting for even a hint that the writers have noticed the contradiction. I can only hope that Billy’s death will make Dee so ashamed and guilty that the whole mess will end soon.
Thank peep, there is “Scar” to redeem this latest batch of episodes.
Though the scary raider that can’t be killed provides some dramatic tension, the real story here is not a tacky thriller plot. It is personal. Starbuck has her moment looking into the abyss and comes out different. She doesn’t need to flirt with death any more. Younger people with less to lose (like Kat) can go ahead and take the glory. Of course, she wouldn’t be our Starbuck if she was well-adjusted. At the end of the episode, she is definitely not that. She’s just different. Intriguing.
I also thought the development of Kat’s character was interesting. She was certainly annoying, but she wasn’t singing just one note. “Stim junky” is a force to be reckoned with as well as an emotionally damaged survivor (like so many other characters).
I liked the return of the “hall of memories”. This episode, as well as being about a pissing contest between Kat and Starbuck, was an investigation of how grief affects people in their daily work as well as their inner lives. Fear, anger, and pervasive lack of hope eat away at the social fabric, and I liked how this episode conveyed that without being obvious.
Starbuck and Apollo — wow! drunken physical intimacy that turns out all wrong. Not what I was expecting AT ALL in this relationship or at this time. But it’s a stunning example of what this show does so well: turn over genre conventions in a way that seems perfectly natural and raw. And those two actors have SUCH chemistry. This scene rocked my world.
Starbuck’s personality gets more interesting all the time. I think it’s fascinating that at the end of season 1, she had sex with Baltar, fantasizing that she was with Lee, and that this time she gets hot and heavy with Lee fantasizing she’s with Anders! She’s just never satisfied.
I also love the contrast between her drunken statement to Lee that she can’t even remember the dead pilots’ names and her recitation in front of an entire crowd of a long list of them. What a poignant scene.
And it all ends with an unexpected, very funny and heartwarming moment between Starbuck and Helo. Never underestimate the power of endings.
So says me. I hope hope hope we have some more episodes of this calibre before the season ends. Only four more left…