Air date: 2/20/2009
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Robert Young
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
Now here's a dysfunctional episode about dysfunctional people. After "No Exit" — an episode that contained more information than one thought possible in a single hour and somehow maintained utter clarity and great characterization — "Deadlock" contains very little new information and somehow comes across as a ponderous, unfocused mess. There are solid, good moments and ideas to be found in "Deadlock," but they are adrift amid a sea of half-baked motivation and frankly ham-fisted drama.
What's a surprise — or, come to think of it, maybe it shouldn't be — is that the story's problems all stem from the volatile nature of Ellen Tigh, who strolls off Boomer's Raptor onto Galactica at the beginning of the episode and reveals to everyone that not only is she alive and well, but that she's basically still Plain and Simple Ellen. (Plus a ton of new information.)
"I'm still Ellen, you know," she says. She asks for a drink — or a flask, if someone has one. Apparently, you can take the memories out of the alcoholic, but you can't take the alcoholic out of the memories. She and Tigh make passionate love while he envisions Caprica Six, which is sort of the reverse of the situation with Six in the brig previously. It's like a three-way, Cylon Projection Style. When Tigh fesses up about thinking about Ellen while being with Six, Ellen's response: "I was your mental porn? That's just sad."
At some point, a conscious storytelling choice was made that although New Ellen has retrieved all her memories from her original life as one of the Final Five, the bulk of her personality still remains from Old Ellen, the Colonial Wife Whom Saul Poisoned. As such, she is quite capable of all the Old Ellen behavior: being petty, vindictive, bitchy, and insanely jealous. One of the tenets of the episode appears to be that we cannot change who we fundamentally are, even if we did suddenly remember that we invented resurrection and built an entire race of AI beings. Although New Ellen has great insight into the entire human-Cylon situation, that doesn't erase the very flawed Old Ellen who "frakked half the Colonial fleet" and is basically still pissed off because Saul is married to his job.
This would be a valid thesis if not for the fact that, well, virtually everything about "No Exit" played against this notion. Ellen's rediscovered memories made her a different person — one who was able to calmly argue and philosophize with Cavil for 18 months. But now here, most of that wisdom seems to vanish. It's a non-credible backtrack for the character, one that doesn't make a whole lot of sense and is less interesting, not more. Instead of doing her best to help the fleet, Ellen plays some rather cruel mind games.
But not always. There are scenes where she seems like New Ellen, where she marvels over seeing all of the Final Five, once again finally reunited, and ponders the possibilities for the future. But that vanishes when she learns that Caprica Six is pregnant with Saul's baby — a piece of information Saul carefully, stupidly omitted. The jealousy of Old Ellen comes storming back; she and Saul never could have a child, despite years of trying, you see. This is good for some tension and some cruel laughs; Ellen can be ruthlessly nasty with devastatingly cutting remarks while playing innocent, like she does when she visits Caprica Six in her quarters ("I come here trying to be good..."). But this can also be perplexing, as she turns on a dime and suddenly seems genuine. The bottom line is that all this seems petty and counterproductive when you consider the stakes. Maybe that's the point: If the fate of the human and Cylon races rest with people who behave as shortsightedly as Ellen, everyone's in trouble.
The problem is that too much of the drama feels schizophrenic, forced, or like it came out of left field. The main crisis here is that the Cylons want to leave the fleet and go it alone, and take Caprica Six and her future-of-the-Cylon-race child with them. But they won't do it unless the Final Five go along. So: Stay or go, Final Five? It comes down to a majority vote, because that's how such decisions are always made by Cylons. Anders voted last week when he said "Stay with the fleet!" before falling into a coma. Tigh of course wants to stay, because his loyalty to the fleet is second to none. Tory wants to leave, also not a surprise. Tyrol votes to leave. That makes Ellen the deciding vote, which she will leave up in the air while she plays out her little drama.
But back up a minute. Tyrol wants to go? I think that's worth a little examination (although the story doesn't agree). Yeah, Tyrol has had a rough go of things lately and has become disillusioned about life aboard the Galactica. But what does life on a Cylon basestar get him? A fresh start, I suppose — but Adama gave him a fresh start by giving him his job back. He has a chance to make a difference at a turning point in the fleet's history, when it's clear Adama is committed to the alliance. So why does he vote to leave behind everything he has ever known? I'm not necessarily saying he wouldn't cast his vote for leaving; what I'm saying is that story doesn't for a moment examine it. It's arbitrary.
For that matter, just how many of the Cylons want to leave? Another theme this show examines is the societal melding of the humans and the Cylons who are now living on Galactica. There are Cylons working to install the organic gel that will fix the metal beams in the ship. And as we see in the final shot of the episode, the Cylons have even started using Galactica's memorial wall for their own fallen comrades. That's a very intriguing moment, and the most genuinely poignant point of the story.
Also interesting is the symbolic notion that installing the gel to fix the ship is itself a melding of humanity and Cylon; Galactica is no longer who she used to be, but a hybrid of something new. And there's another great drunken scene between Adama and Tigh where Adama laments the death of Galactica as we knew her. While all this alcohol cannot bode well in the long run, watching these two old guys continue to drink together through all this mess is somehow reassuring, and I'd like to introduce a mathematical postulate: Adama + Tigh + Alcohol = Great TV.
By the way, the whole storyline involving the organic gel — it still makes me very uneasy. Surely Tyrol would've researched this mystery substance and declared it safe. Surely it's not going to grow into the metal and become something that could destroy the ship from within. But maybe not so surely. I don't know if Adama's obsessive alarmed gazes are just bemoaning the end of Galactica as she once was, or if he's concerned that this could end up being catastrophic. There are so many separate ominous shots of Adama watching the work being done (six, to be exact) that by the end of the show I wanted to declare these shots as the basis for the episode's official drinking game.
But I've strayed from my original point, which is: Given all that has happened that is tethering the humans and the Cylons, why do the Cylons want to leave the fleet?
Also not explained, nor attempted in even the most oblique way, is how Boomer was able to find the fleet in the first place. If she can find the fleet, why can't Cavil? (Or maybe he can, or always knew where it was, in which case he's playing waiting games.) Shouldn't Adama be asking a few questions along these lines?
Instead, it's straight to the brig for Boomer, which strikes me as plausible, I guess, but not particularly forward-thinking or intriguing as a dramatic choice. If we can forgive Athena for being a Cylon, and Caprica Six for helping nuke the Colonies (though I'm not sure anyone knows that except Baltar and Roslin), why do we come down so hard on Boomer for shooting the Old Man under preprogrammed directives she had no control over? Perhaps there are simply too many Eights roaming the ship, and Adama needs to know where they all are.
Also not explained: What the hell is a pregnant Caprica Six doing walking around the Dogsville section of the ship, which is overrun with gangs and people who hate the Cylons? That's just stupid. At this point, Caprica Six, given that her unborn baby is the future of the Cylon race, should probably be locked away in her quarters whenever possible. There are a lot of people, I'm sure, who do not want this child born. So why would you make yourself a target of violence and put the entire future at risk?
Speaking of Dogsville, it's one of the other tiers of this week's story. Baltar returns to his flock, who have started to look to Paula as their new leader. She used to be a member of the flock, and when Baltar left for the baseship, she took over. Now they become rivals in a quiet ideological struggle for leadership of the flock. Head Six returns to help inspire Baltar with words in this struggle. But a funny thing happens on the way to the pissing contest: The whole thing becomes a pointless lackluster exercise.
When Baltar was preaching against the establishment and in favor of the One True God, I understood where that notion came from. But that has all been wiped away and the priorities have been reset to the basics of finding food and hoarding it. Amid these events, Baltar's naivete is kind of mind-boggling. He tries to make a difference when he should damn well know better; Paula warns that guys with guns will steal the food, but Baltar doesn't listen. Then the guys with guns come and steal the food. I'm not sure what to make of this; I found it all sort of muddled.
What does ultimately work is Baltar's appeal to Adama, where he cites the fact that Galactica is becoming Cylonized, and the civilians, already pushed to their limits, won't accept it and are about to rise up in a revolution, which is about the last thing Adama needs. Baltar needs guns to provide security against the gangs of the lower decks. So Adama gives him the guns, probably against his better judgment. The problem with this whole storyline, like the episode in general, is that it feels concocted and perfunctory rather than urgent and logical.
The Ellen plot comes to a head on what might as well be called Ellen's Dramatic Theater Stage. She invites the Final Five (minus Anders; still in a coma) and Caprica Six into one room where they discuss the merits of leaving the fleet. When Ellen announces her vote to leave, Tigh rejects it outright, and Ellen accuses him of loving Adama and the ship and the uniform more than her, more than Six, more than his unborn baby. It must be noted that Tigh is awesome even in the middle of this petulant drama display; Michael Hogan is great at growling dialog and punctuating it with variants of the word "frak" in ways that make you want to cheer for him in the face of absurdity.
The psychological effects of this drama are enough to land Six in sickbay and put the baby's life in jeopardy. The whole notion of all of this is predicated on the belief that True Love is what's apparently needed to sustain a Cylon fetus. One scene I thought worked pretty well was when Saul struggles with the silly need to put love into words when he feels far more for Six and the child than those words could ever express. And I liked how Ellen transitioned from the role of selfish troublemaker to loyal supportive wife in the blink of an eye. Complicated and dysfunctional, this is.
But the baby dies, which I found to be blatantly manipulative, and more motivated by the writers' apparent need to make Hera the sole face of the future than by what actually jells here in terms of story. Apparently, the psychosomatic effects of a Cylon's mental doubt that her lover actually loves her can result in the baby's death. Wow. Sorry, but that's a bit much for me. Besides, if a Cylon baby allegedly cannot be conceived without this notion of ironclad True Love, how was the baby conceived in the first place? Six and Tigh conceived the child during some sort of strange Cylon therapy session. I doubt they were in love at the time, as would've been required by the Cylon Conception Rules suggested here.
I dunno. This episode is kind of a manipulative cheat and is dictated too much by Old Ellen, who somehow displaced the far more intriguing New Ellen. Last week, New Ellen was the matriarch and Cavil was the petulant child. This week New Ellen is gone and instead we have Old Ellen who behaves like a petulant child. There are probably ironies to be found there, but as drama this just doesn't work.
Previous episode: No Exit
Next episode: Someone to Watch Over Me
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84 comments on this post
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 12:19am (UTC -5)
SHE wrote Ellen to be overly bitchy
SHE executed an interested story for Baltar in a poor way.
SHE didn't give any reason for Tyrol's vote
SHE made the baby's death seem wrong
SHE made it too clear that the baby died from lack of love, when it should have been more muddied.
SHE wrote dialog that stated Saul was in true love with Six, something I don't buy since their relationship I always thought was based on him seeing Ellen in her, loving Ellen, not her.
A lot of this story could have worked if a different writer had been given it. It walks the fine line in working and not working, and in Espenson's hands... it doesn't.
I would be more forgiving of Espenson and more willing to say larger problems were at work, but every problem I have could have been solved with a more skilled writer. The story is not bad at all, just the execution.
And, because Espenson has had all of her scripts except for The Hub be troubled in execution (The Passage, Dirty Hand's poorly executed climax, Escape Velocity's distance)... I'm willing to say that she's a very good writer when it comes to dialog (she writes Baltar at his best) and small character moments.... but she's a terrible storyteller. She can't execute it well.
It's really disappointing that the season's only less-than-stellar episode (I'd give Disquiet a 3), comes so close to the end... and isn't just a 2.5 disappointment, but a 2-star clunking failure.
On a separate note- I don't think Adama's uneasiness about the cylon goop on Galactica is any kind of fear that it'll fail or lead to bad things. I think it's just that its very presence is destroying Galactica. Its very presence is offensive. I don't think this subplot will amount to anything big or bad, it's just a little bit of theme and ending closure on Galactica.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 12:54am (UTC -5)
This episode, upon repeated viewings, has left me even more enthusiastic about it, as I believe that it really rang true with who these characters are, who they've always been, and who they are trying to be. With the baby, you really can go either way (was it science, or faith?). Take your pick, it didn't feel forced to me.
Additionally, I appreciated the humor this episode brought to the fore front; it's something that we need, given that we're about to take the next plunge into the final hours. For me, it all really worked, and I wish that we didn't have to wait several weeks to watch the end, because when I think it's over, I will have gained even further perspective on this episode.
Good review, nevertheless, Jammer!
3 stars, easy.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 1:30am (UTC -5)
With the rewrites upon rewrites of scripts, and with the editing process on the final cut of any episode, it seems harder to gauge who is to praise/blame for an episode.
All that said, the problems with "Deadlock" were more with the script than the acting or directing or editing, which all struck me as solid. So this was more about the writing staff than the production staff.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 1:35am (UTC -5)
and Robo- it took a lot of thought and searching for other reasons before I came to the conclusion that Espenson bears most of the blame. And it has more to do with her track record, as I said, than anything else. But I do give credit where it is due and say that she is a great WRITER (dialog, character pieces), but not a good STORYTELLER.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 2:47am (UTC -5)
As these things usually go, there is going to be a difference in taste, and that's what this ultimately boils down to. I really enjoyed Escape Velocity and The Hub, The Passage and Dirty Hands were fine (not amazing), and Deadlock is rather unique. Espenson usually gets the in-between episodes, it seems (with an exception to The Hub), which on BSG, are often used to lay groundwork for future episodes. As the saying goes, art is never completed, only abandoned...heh
Well, anyways, this forum has always had great discussions,and I think that as long as the forum can avoid the massive bile and hate comments that I've seen floating around other sites in the past few days, things will be a lot more respectful, as well as honest.
And with that, I eagerly await the next episode!
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 4:05am (UTC -5)
I understood Tyrol's decision to move to the basestar, but would have liked him to actually think about his decision, like Jammer mentions in the review.
As for Jane Espensen, I don't think she is a bad writer. I loved her work on Buffy and her episode of DS9. One thing I notice in her episodes is that the Adama/Tigh friendship gets a bit of focus, which is never a bad thing. I agree that TV is a more collaborative exercise than some people realise though. I think that the fundamental problem with this episode is the decision taken to move several characters in odd directions, something I doubt just one person would come up with.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 4:17am (UTC -5)
Also, having a story about the Cylons wanting to leave the fleet without bringing in Helo and Athena is just dumb. We all know that they would have strong feelings about this and Athena still counts as a Cylon.
I was thinking about how Boomer found the fleet though. I think that in the absence of Resurrection Cavil and the other Cylons don't want to engage the Galactica and the Basestar and risk actual death. Way back in "Scar" Roslin commented that with the lack of the Resurrection ship the Cylons had become reticent to launch a major action so the case is probably the same.
I had one question about the Cylons posting their photos on the wall: When did all these Cylons die and how? Since the Basestar joined the fleet there hasn't been a combat action. Are we to believe that all these Cylons died in accidents or in the mutiny? If that many Cylons died while supposedly allied with Galactica I'd probably want out to! But, I guess that's just another example of sorry viewer manipulation without actual reasoning.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 4:18am (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 5:14am (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 6:20am (UTC -5)
How many of us have ever woken up one day (hopefully not in a puddle of Cylon goop) and said "today's going to be different." We make promises to eat better, live better, treat our girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband better, etc. We're gung ho about it for a while, only to finally get to the moment of truth and do a complete 180?
So when Ellen was on the baseship, it was easy for her to say she had changed, that she forgave Saul for what he did on New Caprica. However, when she saw him, it was right back to old times. I think it does more to humanize her character and the final five for that matter. It shows that they are just like us in a lot of ways.
That being said, I think the rest of the review is spot on. Tyrol's choice to leave pissed me off and Tory still makes no sense to me at all. It was fun thought to watch Adama literally watch paint dry. Does anyone watch paint dry better than EJO??
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 6:49am (UTC -5)
"Let it be said, the issues that weren't dealt with regarding the mutiny at the end of "Blood on the Scales" do not get sufficiently addressed here, in my view. And if they don't before it's all over, that will be a mark against the season at large, but mostly against "Blood on the Scales." But I will not hold that against "No Exit," which proceeds full-speed-ahead toward the end of the series, and does so very effectively."
In the podcast for this episode, Ron Moore mentions that there was supposed to be scenes showing that the mutineers were sent (including Racetrack, Narcho etc) to the Astral Queen and imprisoned for their crimes. Thus the Galactica's crew has been severely reduced, which is why there are no marines to protect the people in Dogsville or Baltars group etc.
I don't know if this was cut as a deleted scene or just never filmed, but its definitely one of those "canon, but happened off screen" things.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 7:04am (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 9:37am (UTC -5)
That being said, those few lines of dialogue (about the lack of marines for security, etc.) would have gone some way to rationalize Adama's decision. As it stands, it literally made no sense at all on screen. Maybe they could have cut 2 or 3 of those scenes of Adama staring pensively at the walls?
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 9:38am (UTC -5)
@Robo: You are right about this forum. It's a clean, friendly place of spirited discussion, and I really appreciate all you folks who make it what it is. I only wish we'd all had more time with it before BSG ended.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 9:50am (UTC -5)
The Cylons want to leave because they will never be accepted by the fleet. When the missle hit the shit accidentally in 'Blood on the Scales' they were about ready to up and leave. Now that they are all together and their ship is reasonably repaired, I totally believe that they are wanting to go.
The problem with the episode, however, is that this was all seen through a lens of the Ellen-Tigh dynamic. Their battling is certainly interesting, but this much of it becomes tedious, and especially when it pertains to a seemingly monumental moment in the series.
Tyrol's desire to leave I bought. However, like the guns-for-Gaius plot point, it seems to just leap onto the screen. Someone, writer, producer, editor should be hanged for this mess. Apparently critics were shown longer cuts of the episode which included a scene about Laura Lee and Adama discussing the idea of bringing centurions on board to do the policing. However, this scene was cut, and now the episode raises even more unnecessary questions.
Cap-Six's baby dying I don't find manipulative at all. I've always been intrigued by the Cylon infertility concept and here I am again. I don't think its manipulative, and I DO think that the writers did this to bring more focus onto Hera. That's the point, I think.
However in the end, the fact that this episode aired as it did was unforgivable. It's sloppy in almost every respect, however I don't find it as problematic as I did 4.0's 'Sine Qua Non'. More care should have been taken this close to the end. I was really hoping we wouldn't see an DS9's 'Extreme Measures' kind of slip up. We'll see how much of a chink in the armor this episode ends up being for BSG because the end is still to come. However, for now, the episode sits like a sore.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 9:54am (UTC -5)
I agree with your points.
However, I think we have to have faith that the writers will pull this out in the end. There's never really been a string of bad bad episodes during BSGs run, so I'm hoping the pattern repeats itself. We'll find out tonight.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 10:08am (UTC -5)
After reading my post again I just want to clarify a few things:
I have no problem with Chief wanting to leave, and truly don't believe getting his job back is the perk he needs. A job is a job and he was frustrated with it all even BEFORE he lost his entire family. Maybe this needed a beat of reiterating but I am not convinced it does. We are all careful and conscientious viewers here. Tyrol's frustration has been building for a while now.
I also have no problem with the CYLONS wanting to leave. They wanted a spot in the Quorum (but obviously that ain't happening now) and the fleet that they are allied with has degenerated into a gang of wild men (if it wasn't already so). I find their desire to leave very fitting. However, in the end this episode becomes about Ellen wanting to hurt Tigh rather than the Cylons wanting to leave. This show is always focuses on showing the human circumstances and reactions to monumental events, but in this case the focus was very poorly handled.
Also, despite what I've said, I want to say that I don't think this episode is as bad as I may have come off. I'd give it **1/2 on Jammer's scale. My vitriol is mainly based on the fact that this season's quality has been so extraordinarily high that a rough patch like this (particularly near the end) is very, very noticeable.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 11:06am (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 11:12am (UTC -5)
Maybe the DVD releases will be better... or rather blu-ray since I've been watching it on TV in HD so going to DVD will be a bit of a let down.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
On the podcast, Ron Moore said that there had been very little change from the the original story draft for this episode. Presumably this episode, like the previous one, was designed to get all the pieces in place for the conclusion of the story. This is a natural outcome of the way the series was put together. Lack of a guiding structure left lots of room for creativity and spontaneity, but also generated lots of loose ends, false leads and contradictions. Overall, I've enjoyed watching the creative process through the podcasts so much that I'm willing to put up with a couple of awkward episodes to set things up for a grand finale. Hopefully, at this point, the pieces are all in place and we can settle in for a while ride to the end.
Saul - Ellen - 6
I never saw a relationship between Saul and Caprica 6, I saw Saul having a relationship with a projection of Ellen onto Caprica. How this became Saul's falling in love with Caprica was never shown, and the whole pregnancy, relationship thread never made sense to me. Ellen's reaction in this episode also came out of the blue. I can't see the Old Ellen giving a frak about Tigh's having sex with someone else and the New Ellen would have dealt with the situation better.
I've never gotten the feeling that the writers (in aggregate) have any conception of Tory as a character. I can well imagine that, having picked the other 4, they decided they had to have "another female Cylon," and the options were pretty limited. They use her as a plot device. I can't say I've seen any character development.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
It resembled an episode of "Heroes", after season 1.
Badly written, strange characterizations, contrived nonsense.
I agree with this review top to bottom, there are some good parts (BSG never fails to have some redeeming aspects of any episode), but on the whole it was a mess.
I would add a total disbelief that Tigh actually loved Six. How in the world could Tigh love this cylon who commited genocide? Don't buy it.
On the flip side, I wasn't quite as miffed at Old Ellen. Yes, it was a departure from No Exit, but I think it was true to character. Being back with Saul brought it out in her. It was believable... even if the drama she created was petty and pointless.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
It was easy for her to say she forgave Saul when she was neatly tucked away on a baseship. Seeing him again in the flesh brough back a lot of the bad feelings.
It's the same for me when I think of old high school crushes. I say now (that I'm hundreds of miles away) that I'm over them, but whenever I see them, I can't help but feel the slightest bit bitter. Imagine that feeling amplified over a period of thousands of years...
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
A) It would have been an interesting issue, which this episode really needed.
B) It would have made me believe that Adama would really arm Baltar's crazies of all people.
@ Robo, yeah I realized the caps were a big mistake and if I could write that post again it'd be less... venomous.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
This was the worst episode in Battlestar history. The absolute worst. If someone can give me a worst episode, id like to see it.
1) Why the hell would Adama give a bunch of civilians and Baltar a box of machine guns after they had a freaking mutiny where civilians were armed!!??
2) Why did we need so many shots of upset Adama going through his ship crying about how its falling apart. We got the point LAST WEEK.
3) With 5 episodes to go in the shows life, did we need 44 minutes of Ellen and Tigh bickering? Couldnt we of done with some more serious dialogue such as, Tigh poisioning his wife? Where Ellen came from. What Ellen has been doing. Maybe some sensible dialogue regarding the past of the final 5.
4) More about the 8th cylon.
5) As a previous poster indicated. The relationship between Tigh and Six is ludacris. In fact, relationships have been something this show has fumbled time and time again.
This was a mess. And an even more disapointing mess considering how much time we have left to tell this story.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
Tyrol wanting to leave made very little sense as it was presented. It was clearly just an arbitrary contrivance by the writer so that there'd be a tie in the voting.
What I don't get: why did they introduce the pregnancy just for it to fail? This isn't retroactive continuity like with Tyrol's kid - the baby's only been around since "Sine Qua Non", if I remember. So what's the point in even having the pregnancy storyline? Or did it beam its consciousness into Ander's empty head when it died?
Before I start criticising a particular writer, I have to acknowledge that Jane Espenson has written some good stuff in the past - like DS9's "Accession". I enjoyed "Escape Velocity" (perhaps even more than most people), and I think she did a good job on the webisodes. But I don't think serious character drama is her strong point. Her background is in situation comedy ("Dinosaurs", among others) and shows like The OC and Gilmore Girls. She's much beloved by parts of the geeksphere for her work on Joss Whedon shows like Buffy and Firefly - which are a world apart from Galactica. The problem I have with her writing style is that she tries to infuse everything with humour, lightness and flippancy - even on a bleak, realist show like BSG. She does manage the occasional genuinely funny line (like Hotdog's remark at the start of this episode), but generally, her attempts at humour are misfiring, out of character and out of place. Adama's crude comment about taking a crap, Tigh's "power sander" gag, and - going back to "The Hub" - the ridiculous joke D'Anna plays on Roslin ("you're the fifth") and the comment about Boomer ("until she sees something shiny"). It's juvenile, teenage writing of the "aren't I clever" variety, shoehorned into every possible scene - the sort of throwaway gags you'd except to find in a piece of fan fiction on the internet, not in an actual show. And when she does try to write seriously and tackle actual character drama, it just comes out at a teenage level too - heavy-handed, soapy and melodramatic, with a lack of subtlety and a poor or non-existent understanding of character.
On kitschy shows like Buffy and Firefly, you can get away with being farcical. It's part of what those shows are about. But this is BSG - the final few episodes, no less - and this episode was farcical in all the wrong ways.
"I always look for places to put jokes. Not specific jokes, just places for ANY jokes. Sometimes a script isn't right for humor, but if I think the situation can support it, I jump on it."
Jane Espenson on "Deadlock"
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 6:38pm (UTC -5)
What bugs me most is horrendous characterization. There have been some instances of people behaving out of character before, but never on this level. Adama giving Baltar and his cult (it's a cult for crying out loud) guns without any explanation whatsoever; Tyrol voting to leave the Galactica without any explanation as well (not to mention that he would have left his son on the ship); Ellen reverting to her old self in a heartbeat; baseship Cylons wanting to leave the fleet ASAP, only to see them posting pictures of their dead on the memorial wall the next scene... Bad, bad writing.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 7:12pm (UTC -5)
Remember that fantastic little scene in Home Pt.1 with Dualla, Adama and his sailing ship? Remember Tigh's speech to Roslin about winning wars in Occupation/Precipice? Or Lee's passionate defence of Gaius Baltar in Crossroads? BSG, no matter how thickly plotted it was, always had the time for its characters. These last episodes just don't give the characters room to breathe. They are moved around like pieces on a chess board, without the writers giving them a chance to explain their motivations.
I hope that trend doesn't continue. I enjoy and respect this show tremendously and would like to see it go in a blaze of glory.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 8:49pm (UTC -5)
I never bought the Caprica / Saul storyline because most of it happened off screen. It just didn't feel like they earned an emotional investment from me. And this is the first time it's actually played well for me. But this should have been the payoff to a storyline that's really only been played lip service to in the past. I only find it odd that the Caprica / Saul thing seems to have completely overwhelmed the Caprica / Baltar thing - I don't think they've had a single scene together this season, and that feels...wrong. I also find it hard to feel any sympathy for Caprica in relation to her having a baby, when we basically saw her snap a baby's neck in the miniseries. It seems like poetic justice that she should lose the baby so I find it impossible to sypathize.
I do feel bad for Saul. Saul was a shining light in this drek. The scene where he went to Adama after Liam's death and said: "It's not like Zach, I know." moved me to tears.
I don't think Ellen's return to her old ways is that shocking. She may have lived this false Ellen's life and then got her real memories back, but she did live that life and it has to be part of her now. So...I don't see her behavior here as a continuity flaw. But I still find it very disappointing after the wonder that was New Ellen in "No Exit" - whom I loved. There were moments of the New Ellen here - and I LOVED those moments, but...ugh. This whole episode just feel misguided. A missed opportunity. I do love when Ellen talks about there only be 5 survivors compared to the fleet. That was really good.
Seeing Adama stare at the ship becoming something else was fine the first time they showed it. But when they want back to it again and again...with nothing to add, it felt like filler.
On Deep Space Nine, they had this impressive 10 part story finale - and almost all the episodes were good or great, with the exception (IMO) of the 4th to last episode "Extreme Measures" - which this episode of BSG reminded me of. Hopefully, just as DS9 did, BSG will pick back up in the remaining episodes and go out in style.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 9:08pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 9:39pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 10:12pm (UTC -5)
OTOH, this one really makes me appreciate a truly great ep like tonight's 'Someone to Watch Over Me', my favorite the S3 finale.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
We liked the new Helen, so seeing her revert was almost painful.
As Abama mentioned, she always brought out the worst in Saul. Well - we can also say that the opposite is true. Saul brings out the worst in her.
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 11:01pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Feb 27, 2009, 11:58pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Feb 28, 2009, 2:30am (UTC -5)
Sat, Feb 28, 2009, 2:49am (UTC -5)
Sat, Feb 28, 2009, 3:37am (UTC -5)
What pissed me off the most was; Tyrol choice to go, but in retrospect, it made sence, and Ellen's overal departure from the previous episode, though I must addmit it seems in caracter.
Overall I really thought this episode could have been told better, such as the rummered centurions coming over to Galactica to help with security. And why could they not cut a few scenes of Adama looking at the repair work being done? I mean, pretty sure we got the point after I donno, 3 times!?
Jammper: "Adama + Tigh + Alcohol = Great TV." Yeah I liked that scene, it reminded me of the Deleted scenes in 'Scattered' and 'Valley of Darkness'. I always thought these two old men had good chemistry.
Niall: Wow a lot of interesting perspective there, I would love to rebuttal, but I lack the coherent thought a.t.m.
Josh: "Now the series isn't sure what to do with itself." Though I do not agree with that statement; I will say this season has def. been of an arc approach. The first half and one episodes felt like 4.0. Then we have the mutiny covering 3 episodes. Now I am quite sure from 'No Exit" to the end will be one arc. One that cover the entire series.
I have confidence in RDM.
Cheers, And GN
Sat, Feb 28, 2009, 3:44am (UTC -5)
Buy the way, since the show obviously argues "pro blended" (at least I have the impression it does), does it argue "contra Adama", too?
Sat, Feb 28, 2009, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
However, given future developments... can't wait for next week! :)
Sat, Feb 28, 2009, 4:24pm (UTC -5)
So while I agree with Jammer and most of the other comments on this episode, Im just glad Galactica got so much right and will actually have a proper ending. In fact this is not my least favorite episode from this season,That would be "Disquite"
BTW What are the pills Adama is munching on?
Sat, Feb 28, 2009, 6:47pm (UTC -5)
Remove Tigh from Ellen's life, and New Ellen that we saw last week comes to the fore. Bring them back together, and she quickly becomes Old Ellen again.
Sat, Feb 28, 2009, 11:48pm (UTC -5)
This show could very well end with Adama holding both halves of the ship together in a zero G suit and mumbling "I'm holding this fleet together" while the inertia tears him in two, Bear McCreary's score pounds ever so gently in the background and the rest of the fleet are crammed into an escape pod and forced to watch mornfully as it all happens. They then beg Gaius to end their misery and all the cult use their guns and a nuke in close quarters to seal the deal. The show ends with all the photos of the dead floating around space and then pans to a habitable planet mere inches away where the natives worship the new great light in the sky. The photos then burn in the atmosphere and nobody every knows the story of Battlestar Galactica.
Granted that's a worst case scenario...
Sun, Mar 1, 2009, 11:31am (UTC -5)
And besides, what about the rest of the ships in the fleet?
Sun, Mar 1, 2009, 12:15pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 1, 2009, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 1, 2009, 4:29pm (UTC -5)
Can't wait for the review on the next episode
Sun, Mar 1, 2009, 11:35pm (UTC -5)
If they'd just suddenly had radical personality transformations it would have been hard to swallow, but with the exception of Tory, who--let's face it--didn't have a personality to begin with--they all remained more or less the same people.
The same, I think, should apply to Ellen. Yes, she has her memories back, BUT that doesn't mean that she should suddenly be some other person. And I for one don't want it to mean that. I don't think Cavil rewrote their personalities. In fact, I would suspect he made a careful point of leaving their personalities as intact as possible. He wants to make a point to these people, er...Cylons...not make a point to a bunch of random characters that he created and implanted in their heads.
You make a fair point that Ellen seemed very pulled together in No Exit, but I don't think we got to see enough of her to really tell and I don't think the situation was really the sort of situation that would allow her character to really come out.
Did this episode have problems? Maybe, like I said--I mostly enjoyed it. But I don't think one of those problems is that Ellen is who she has always been...
P.S. I feel you're jumping to silly conclusions at the end by saying that it was a psychosomatic effect that killed the baby. I'm sure Six would tell you that doubt killed the child, but technically speaking any number of other things could have also done it (the stress of the whole situation couldn't have helped matters, although research on the effects of stress on pregnancy are apparently mixed).
Mon, Mar 2, 2009, 2:20am (UTC -5)
By the way, shouldn´t the antispam filter read Prove you´re not a cylon ;)
Mon, Mar 2, 2009, 9:00am (UTC -5)
And the "cult army" plot is not very reassuring.
Although it did give what I thought was the best line of the episode and typical Baltar - "Strength comes from within.... and Guns!"
Mon, Mar 2, 2009, 12:01pm (UTC -5)
Clearly he has some role to play in the mythological aspects of the finale, but unfortunately I have no idea how they're going to prominently feature him without having him feel shoehorned in.
Mon, Mar 2, 2009, 2:12pm (UTC -5)
Wouldnt it suck if he was the 8th cylon?
Mon, Mar 2, 2009, 5:35pm (UTC -5)
Honestly, I think the Paula story should've been played after Baltar came back from the Baseship. I think he was gone about the same amount of time (including investigating Earth), and I thought what happened with him btwn Revelations and Oath was a real lull. So he'd have had something interesting there, and it could have been another interesting thread in the Oath, as he's FORCED out, rather than running out (not sure it would have been better though).
Mon, Mar 2, 2009, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 3, 2009, 12:45pm (UTC -5)
I also found Caprica 6 being in Dogsville totally contrived as well and really felt that a scene explaining that must have been cut. As it was, it felt like an excuse to show pregnant 6 kicking butt, which is all well and good, but probably could have been explained in a quick line or two to make it more palatable. And I found Saul not telling Ellen about the baby contrived as well.
I totally disagree that Ellen had character regression though. In last week's episode, there was definitely a blending of "old Ellen" and "F5 Ellen" as Ellen asked for and drank booze then, manipulated Boomer, etc. Also, you have to put yourself in her shoes. She was poisoned by her husband (which she forgave him for), gets all her F5 memories back, realizes that she was sleeping with her "son" (Cavil) who looks like her father. The same son who has engineered the attack on the colonies that she had put a stop to before, caused a Cylon civil war, tortured, raped, memory wiped, etc. the F5 and you know while she recognizes his responsibility in this, she still feel guilty about all this since she created him. So then she is imprisoned and isolated by him for 18 months (iirc) and finally escapes (remember during which some of the above happened like the civil war). She returns to her husband whom she has forgiven for poisoning her and even for sleeping with Caprica 6, even though it grosses her out, but he doesn't tell her himself that Caprica 6 is pregnant.
Once she finds out, all those last 18 months and everything Cavil has done just comes crashing down. She is hurt that Saul and Caprica are having a child because she believes that it means he really loves her (doesn't matter if it is true or not, though it does seem to be true now, she believes it) and that he didn't even tell her. Saul and her could not have children, so imagine how hard that is on top of believing that he loves someone else more and while she knows in her heart that he loves her, her mind is saying "maybe he didn't, not enough". Not only that, but the baby is going to be named what they would have named their son (named for Adama).
I don't think she is pissed about Saul's love and loyalty to Adama, I think she just knows that is the easiest way to hurt him. She is angry/sad/upset/etc. to the Nth degree and wants to strike out against him. The two of them always have been that way, running hot, and she is so caught up in hurting him back (knowing in the end she won't actually have the cylons leave the fleet) that she doesn't see how it will hurt Caprica. As often happens when people are in a relationship, your emotions really can cloud your reason. Everything seems hazy when you are in the midst of it.
Now whether the baby died because Caprica doubted Saul loved her, it's implied for sure, but there is definitely some doubt. And I agree the whole true love = babies thing is just bizarre. And honestly, with all the stress and everything Caprica has been through, I can see that at least contributing to this.
Tue, Mar 3, 2009, 1:29pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 5, 2009, 11:25pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 12:02am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 7:48am (UTC -5)
It might have also hurt it that, while it was a decent show, it was nestled within some simply Great ones, so it ends up standing out like a sore thumb.
I thought that Saul would tell Ellen immediately, because there was a bigger picture. Yes, he was happy to see her, but I think too much had happened to simply have a quickie on the table. So that didn't work for me. He had stood up and told her hard truths in the past and it looked to me like he just didn't want to rock the boat. And when they were in the infirmary and I realized he hadn't said anything yet, I thought something along the lines of "Give me a Frakkin' break". Perhaps he just felt guilty for killing her...
Tyrol doesn't really have anything to keep him there, so I was only mildly surprised when he voted to leave.
"...And Guns. BIG GUNS!" (paraphrased). I had to laugh at that, but I didn't feel that it went along with his peace and love message. Felt a smidgen forced. Still funny though.
I had thought that while Caprica 6 and Saul had become really good friends, I didn't see that turning into love. At least not the be-all/end-all type that was shown here. Yes, they have been brought closer because of the child and there is some affection that has grown out of that, but the episodes didn't show much more that holding hands with an arm around her (with silly grins) when they were looking at the baby. I don't like that they are inferring they fell in love off-screen. Just my humble opinion, of course. And, at first, I didn't even realize it was Caprica 6 walking in one of the most dangerous areas of the ship, I thought it must be another 6 or something. My mind couldn't wrap itself around the fact that she would be there in the first place, doing what, looking for food?
Hmm, my comments seem to be more on the negative side as I reflect on the episode. I had no problem with Adama walking around his ship looking at the repairs, over and over. I thought it just showed his love and concern for the old girl. He is just so torn over what has happened to her and what needs to be done to try and repair her. If she is gone, he is in command of, what? From where?
I think it is neat that, as we wind down the series, the comments part of the page are longer than the review.
Take care everyone... Todd
Tue, Mar 17, 2009, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
I thought the whole baby story, though feeling extraneous, made sense. The Secret Ingredient required for Cylon conception has been established ever since season 1 when Athena, along with the Five and the Six, frakked with Helo's mind.
Not a great episode though and at this late stage, I would have wanted better.
Fri, May 22, 2009, 8:06pm (UTC -5)
Is this just me or was it an oversight?
Sat, Jan 30, 2010, 12:05am (UTC -5)
As for Ellen, the writing was too much 'old' Ellen. As others have observed, when the final four were 'woken up', their personalities didn't change. But in Ellen's case the change should have come from the memories she now had. Her fake life as a human never had her as a brilliant scientist and an achiever of great things, which is obviously what she was in her real life on Earth. I would have expected her to show up on Galactica and take charge of the other Cylons, have a firm plan to deal with Cavil and act like someone who had created these things. But also prone to petty vindictiveness.
Writing her instead as *exactly* the same as fake Ellen was a jarring mistake imho
Thu, Jun 17, 2010, 11:50pm (UTC -5)
Did anyone else notice, right after the scene when Roslin is talking with Caprica about her baby (the "of course my baby's special" scene), they cut to the bar, and Kara asks when they got a piano. If you look closely, though its out of focus, that's clearly her dad banging the keys.
I've watched the show several times now, but I just finished a few minutes ago and caught that.
Sorry if it's well known, but I thought it was cool.
Sat, Dec 3, 2011, 7:08am (UTC -5)
Granted, there was no action or deep drama, but neither were there mind-games or silly mythological trips. Tigh ended up in a bit of a pickle; well, that's what happens when you dip your wick all over the place. I liked the cylons' humorous repartee over the comatose Anders.
I also enjoyed Adama's continuing his journey toward self-destruction. He has painted himself into a corner. Giving automatic weapons to Baltar's lunatic cult shows his desperation and total disorientation.
It's endgame. There's no way any of this is going to end well, for anyone.
BTW, is Roslin still the "president"? Hasn't she been promising to pop her clogs ever since Season 1? Now she's anointed Lee (why, who else!) to take over her position. The hubris of these people is remarkable.
Mon, Dec 5, 2011, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Mon, May 7, 2012, 9:11pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Apr 30, 2013, 12:44am (UTC -5)
First off, every episode of a show like this is planned collaboratively in the writers room. The staff 'breaks' the story together, meaning that they decide what will happen in the episode scene-by-scene in great detail. So everyone has input from the beginning. These story breaking sessions are usually led by the showrunners -- these are the head writers of the show, and they always have the title 'Executive Producer'. In this case, Ron Moore or David Eick or both; although not every EP is necessarily a writer or a showrunner -- title bumps in writers' contracts often mean that if a show runs long enough and writers stay with it, you could have many, many Executive Producers who aren't necessarily the head writers.
If those showrunners need to delegate to one of their top lieutenants (while they're overseeing editing, or casting, or something on the set, or directing an episode, as Ron Moore did a few episodes before this one), they still review everything and make whatever changes they want, as they're the ultimate say on the show's content.
The episode will then usually go through an outline stage, which might start off with a lengthy synopsis, which will be written either by a showrunner or farmed out to another writer. But before it goes to the network for notes, it will be rewritten and signed off on by the showrunners. At that point, the network (and studio) will give their notes. Chances are by this point on BSG the network and studio probably weren't giving notes anymore, but they would still have to read and formally approve outlines and scripts.
At either rate, though, before a script is even written, it goes to a detailed outline, scene-by-scene, and often including some dialogue. Again the showrunners rewrite and sign off on every sentence, as do the network and studio (and sometimes production company, too!).
After that outline has been approved by the showrunners and the network and studio, only then does it go to a script. It will be assigned to someone on the writing staff. In stand-alone episode cases, it's sometimes the person who may have come up with the original idea, but that's not a definitive rule. In a serialized show like this, it's even less definitive.
A draft is then written by the writer assigned to it. There can be several drafts, and things can change dramatically. Completed drafts also sometimes wind up back in the writers room, where they are pored over by the whole staff and lines and entire scenes are rewritten. Sometimes what seemed good in the outline stage doesn't work structurally, and whole episodes will be restructured and reworked.
Other times the episode is handed off to another writer to do a new draft, as sometimes the first writer has done all they can, or they have another script to write, etc. To use an example from DS9, "In the Pale Moonlight," which is held to be one of the best episodes ever (and one of my favorites) bears Michael Taylor and Peter Allan Fields as its writers (story and teleplay, respectively, if I remember correctly) but Ron Moore, as a co-executive producer, was tasked by Ira Steven Behr with doing a complete rewrite from page one. Yet the original writers' names remained in the credits -- another common thing. (Showrunners often do complete rewrites of episodes and never put their names on them. Seth MacFarlane is known to do this for almost every episode of Family Guy.) In fact the original draft of "In the Pale Moonlight" centered on Jake, who I believe isn't even *in* the final episode (I'd have to go back and watch it).
The showrunners, once again, have the absolute final word on the assigned writer's work, and they have the ultimate responsibility in deciding what gets filmed.
So people can blame Jane Espenson if they like, but it's important to remember that she didn't just go into her office and write this episode from nothing, and it wasn't sent straight to the stage and shot. It is collaborative every step of the way, and every single line is subject to approval (and possible rewriting) by the showrunner.
Love your work, Jammer (I still remember the old ST: Hypertext days!), and everyone else -- great to see all the comments all these years later. :)
Mon, Jul 1, 2013, 12:00pm (UTC -5)
The rest I thought was good though.
Fri, Sep 20, 2013, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Nov 7, 2013, 11:01am (UTC -5)
On a separate note relating to model 8/Daniel... This is my conjuncture at this point without having watched any future episodes. I hate when others write spoilers, so I would not do this to others. How about Starbuck being the original Hera? She seems to have the military smarts of her mother but at the same time loves to paint? This would also explain why her relationship with her mother was so difficult, and yet she knew that Starbuck was special (her special destiny). I wonder if Leoben knew this or was told by Daniel? And this could also explain how Starbuck was resurrected after exploding, but a special kind since she is a 1/2 and 1/2.
Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 10:49pm (UTC -5)
Also, how does Adama still have a functioning liver after all these years?
Sun, Sep 20, 2015, 8:11pm (UTC -5)
But what really made me write these few lines is the Adama-comforting-Tigh scene. That, to me, is among the most moving scenes of the entire show, made all the more meaningful by the passage of all the time and events since Season 1. Lovely.
Wed, Nov 9, 2016, 9:19pm (UTC -5)
What? Seriously? I mean this guy has been wrestling with his Cylon'ness for a while now. Not comfortable with them, not comfortable with the humans either. Adama gives his rank and position back, he seems like he really cares about fixing the ship and then... poof, fuck the ship, and the repairs, lets just strand all of humanity here in a broken ship that can't jump. No. No way. Completely out of character for him.
Then Adama goes all humanist all of a sudden when it comes to using Cylons and Cylon technology to repair his ship. I mean, excuse me but didn't he just goddamn execute an officer on his bridge who stood up for the fleet when the fleet didn't want Cylon engines? Huh? What is his motivation all of a sudden? He turns hypocrite really quick when it's his own ship. Poor Gaeta's dead body floating through space riddled with Adama's bullets and now Adama turns a 180? Stoooooopid writing.
Also, the timeline makes no sense whatsoever. Ellen was killed months earlier, was resurrected months earlier, but Cavil doesn't decide to dissect her brain until after the final five have been awoken and Tigh is about to have a baby... months after she woke up? Oh, and by the way, he knows all about her even though he's been programmed not to even think about the final five? Then Boomer rescues her and takes her directly to the fleet? I mean.. uhhh, if they know where the fleet is, then why haven't they jumped 50 base stars in and destroyed it. That's a plot hole you could walk a mule through. There's no damn way boomer knows where the fleet it.
Six's baby is unceremoniously dumped by the writer because they have no clue how to plug it into the prophecy. Shitty writing.
Oh Gods, I almost forgot Adama handing Baltar and his cult crates of military spec weapons to defend themselves against the gangs. What? Not a snowballs chance in hell this would ever happen. Adama is entirely too much of a tyrant to allow the civvies that kind of firepower running around on his ship doing his marines jobs for them. I mean, Adama reallllly likes to send his marines in blazing, but this one time he says nope and arms a religious splinter faction that undermines his and Roslins beliefs at every turn?
This entire episode is utter crap. It even makes Black Market look good by comparison. Jane Espenson is a hack.
Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 11:05pm (UTC -5)
Thank you for the insight into the workings of a show, I enjoyed it, and figured someone needed to mention that, even though a few years have passed...
I was actually thinking along those same lines. Yes, Jane Espenson is credited as the writer, but she didn't just say "I think I'll have the baby die", then go with it. She was given the honor of fleshing out the story that had been given to her to write. The outline of the baby dieing was already there, and she had to try to make it work (just using that plotline as my example). So from that point of view I think she did fine. If there is any finger to be pointed, it'd be at the folks that gave her the outline.
Now, for my take on Caprica Six and the baby. They showed her getting into a rather nasty fight, and later while eating some sort of gruel, she drops the bowl and grabs her tummy. I might be the only one who thinks this, but I believe the fight damaged the baby, leading to the death. The Cylons can go on about how the baby no longer felt loved and gave up the ghost, but I think that was just part of a delusion they shared for the baby being in danger. Reality was the fight eventually killed it. That was why Six was in Dogsville, so she could get into the fight, and eventually miscarry, because the powers-that-be decided the baby had to go (for some reason...)
Just my take on it... RT
Sun, Apr 30, 2017, 7:23pm (UTC -5)
Many of the characterizations (e.g. Adama giving Baltar guns) still don't make sense, but at least with the deleted scenes there's a half-hearted explanation. This one would REALLY benefit from being re-cut.
Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
"Great grandpa was a power sander."
Fri, Feb 9, 2018, 5:01am (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 2, 2019, 4:53pm (UTC -5)
Also, Jane Espenson wrote the only bad episode of firefly, and the awful fourth season of torchwood. With her, I feel like the characters are just puppets to advance the 'on the nose' plot. Many out of character moment, bad continuity. I hope she'll stay away of the series i like from now on.
Wed, Jun 10, 2020, 12:35am (UTC -5)
I think it's biggest problem is it had to move pieces in place for the final stretch, specifically with regards to the miscarriage, and there was not enough time to do it organically. So there's a bit more contriving than I prefer in my storytelling.
That being said, Ellen switching from sober mother of the skinjobs to petty jealous ex(?) wife makes sense. As she says, she's still the same old Ellen. She's capable of being mature but she often yields to her baser instincts.
Personally, I'd have cut two of the six scenes of Adama inspecting the ship, and replaced them with the quick scene of him talking about the lack of marines, to justify giving Batar heavy ammo.
This was the weakest episode of the season but it's still endlessly more watchable than Black Market, The Woman King, or Hero. Those three can be skipped without consequence. At least this one answered some questions and moved the plot forward.
Sat, Jun 13, 2020, 10:24am (UTC -5)
I actually really like the characterization of Ellen in this episode now. I see more nuance as she struggles (failingly) to be the Revered Final Fiver of No Exit despite circumstances triggering all the Ellen defects of character. To me, it's a great expression of how human and fallible these revered ones are. And I like the circumstances of Ellen's life can produce versions of her from early on in the show as well as the new Ellen with all her experience and memories-- and yet all parts are in her, waiting to be triggered under the issues of love and Saul that really get her. She can handle all the loss and Cavil's actions in about the best way possible, but when it comes to this one ever-trouble area, it all flares up (even as she tries to maintain the exterior). I also like that when Ellen votes to go with the Cylons and that pure cylon is the way to go, she is doing it for the "petty and vile" "human" defects---Saul is right that human or cylon alone is no good, and together is better and they can temper each other.
I also liked Baltar's story and the rest of the episode fine.
I don't know that the loss of the baby now reads as an appropriate development, but I don't have any objections to it now. A little distance from my expectations at the time, and kind of 180 on my reaction to Ellen this episode... and I do like this episode lot more.
Not to say the episode is entirely successful or without issues. 2.5 I think. Definitely better than Black Market, Passage, Day in the Life, and Hero (setting aside Tigh's scenes there).
Tue, Dec 29, 2020, 12:47pm (UTC -5)
And what has happened to Leoben? Doesn't he get a vote?
I don't believe Tyrol would've voted to leave, unless he's still got a thing for Boomer.
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 10:30am (UTC -5)
And yet, this is still much more captivating than Picard or Discovery so I’d still give it 3 stars easily.
Fri, Oct 8, 2021, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Wed, Dec 14, 2022, 5:34am (UTC -5)
I also caught the big mistake of Boomer jumping into the fleet. If the fleet is that easy to find then Cavil should already be there.
The drama with Ellen and Tigh was bizarre. I also don't understand why there was a sudden vote for the rebel Cylons to leave the fleet, when they worked so hard to become integrated into it, even going so far as to use Cylon technology (the goo) to save the Galactica's infrastructure. I thought it was agreed much earlier on that the rebels had to join forces with the humans to avoid being hunted down by Cavil?... who, apparently can already find the fleet because Boomer just jumped right in?
Anyway. After "No Exit", this was weak sauce.
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