"Islanded in a Stream of Stars"
Air date: 3/6/2009
Written by Michael Taylor
Directed by Edward James Olmos
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"I've had it up to here with destiny, prophecy, with God, or the Gods. Look where it's left us — the ass end to nowhere. Nearly half of our people are gone, Earth a worthless cinder, and I can't even walk down the halls of my ship without wondering if I'm going to catch a bullet for getting us into this mess." — Adama
"Islanded in a Stream of Stars" is a contemplative meditation on death that's light on plot and heavy on characterization. In its quiet and foreboding way, it is riveting. As the calm before what must be the inevitable storm (part one of the finale airs next week), "Islanded" does exactly what it sets out to do. It reminds us that death can be a slow and gradual process that is devastating precisely because it is both inevitable and apparent. Is it better to go out with a sudden surprised bang, or a prolonged all-too-aware whimper?
In this case, the one dying is Galactica herself, who is in its painful death throes right alongside Roslin, as if they share a fate that's tied together. As we approach the end of Galactica the series, it would seem we've already reached the end of Galactica the battlestar. If there is going to be another major confrontation between the Colonials and Cavil's Cylons, it will apparently not be fought by this ship. Galactica creaks and groans and feels as if it might disintegrate at any moment. The shockwave from Boomer's FTL jump only further weakened an already hurting ship (even if we've never before seen evidence that an FTL jump could cause this sort of potential destruction; so it goes). The installation of the organic resin, undertaken by a massive repair effort for weeks, has apparently done little if any good. Structural collapse of the ship seems, at this point, a foregone conclusion; it's just a matter of when. An engineer says the ship has at most five FTL jumps before there's a 90 percent chance of structural collapse. (This begs the episode's biggest unanswered question: Where's Tyrol? He's conspicuously absent — neither seen nor mentioned. Has he been cashiered off-screen for his involvement in last week's mess?)
The new civilian government, now in place, is arguing over who will get the leftovers when Galactica is eventually stripped for parts. Sonja, the Six copy who is the Cylon representative in the council, wants to know when Adama will transfer his personnel and command over to the baseship. And there's a harrowing early sequence where a work detail, representing the last real hope in trying to repair the ship, faces a catastrophe when a hole in the hull causes the chamber to decompress. Dozens are killed. As a failed repair effort, it may be the last straw.
The episode is about, among other things, Adama's refusal to accept the inevitable, which is best put into words when Helo says, "This ship is dead!" I saw an article where Ron Moore said that the decline and slow death of Galactica serves as an emotional parallel to us as viewers not wanting this series to inevitably, before our eyes, go away. He's right; it's a good meta-allegory. It might seem expected that Galactica could be destroyed in the series' final episodes. But what seems more natural — and, paradoxically, less expected — is the notion that Galactica might die a gradual death before our eyes — one that is foreseen and gives the characters the time and forethought to put up an effort to (futilely) stop it from happening ... much like Laura Roslin the cancer patient.
Laura, by the way, is back in sickbay, for what one cannot help but think might be the last time. Once again, Bill reads to her. These scenes comprise an emotional texture to an episode that is, really, all about texture. They have a discussion about that day on New Caprica (see "Unfinished Business") where the concept of "home" seemed actually possible. Laura says that the last few months, aboard Galactica with Bill, have made her feel at home more than any other time in her life. Home is not about where you are, but who you're with.
"Must be tough saying goodbye to both of your women at once," she notes. If Adama (or anyone, for that matter), survives to the end of the series, he will have lost so much it may be too much to bear. Roslin pleads with Adama to face reality before it's too late: "I know you love this ship. You probably love her more than you love me. Bill, if you don't get us off this ship you may lose both of us at the same time. Why don't you give us a chance?"
Of course, there are plenty of other goings-on here. For one, we've got the return of the Opera House, which has shown itself once again to Roslin, Athena, and Caprica Six. (It was noted in a line of Roslin's dialog in "Deadlock": What does it mean that there were no Opera House visions during Caprica Six's pregnancy?) In the case of Athena, the visions might very well be driving her mad. It doesn't help that it's a reminder of the fact that her daughter has been stolen from her. She can barely stand the sight of her husband, whose error in the mistaken Boomer identity led, in part, to Hera's kidnapping.
Hera, of course, is especially significant. With Tyrol's kid actually turning out to be Hot Dog's, and with Caprica Six's miscarriage, Hera is the only part-Cylon child left. Not to mention the fact that she wrote the notes to The Song. So we must go after her, because she's "the key" to everything, right? Adama isn't so keen about that; he's had enough of prophecy and destiny, which has mostly had bad results. (Then again, without prophecy and destiny, these characters might've had equally bad results. It wouldn't have changed the fact that the dark-centric Ron Moore is the God pulling the strings.)
Ellen says Boomer most likely took Hera to the mysterious Cylon colony, their home that we've never seen. It takes some pressing to get Adama to commit even a Raptor to make a recon trip to the colony's last known location, which, as it turns out, Cavil moved. (It's worth noting that the Cylons don't want to be found any more than the humans wanted to be found on New Caprica. When you have your entire civilization to protect, you seal your borders.)
There's excellent character work here for Tigh and Ellen, who argue over the merits of being Cylons. Ellen wants him to invest in Hera as the future of the Cylon race, but Tigh still, after everything, is a Colonial military officer, period. His people are the people of Galactica. He might even be more stubborn about his commitment to the uniform than Adama. I love that about him. It speaks to a stubborn moral code that cannot be shaken, despite every indication that there is something out there that should trump it. This is a man who has an identity and will be damned if anyone's gonna take it away. Although, when Tigh coldly remarks that he had a child who died, Ellen has a point worth thinking about: "You're wrong, Saul. You had millions." Because they created the Cylon skinjobs.
An Eight lies dying in sickbay. She wants Tigh to hold her hand, because she just wants a chance to meet her father. Emotionally, it's an intriguing moment. Tigh resists because he doesn't feel he deserves the God treatment. Intellectually, the scene is intriguing because the Eight's dying words are, without any context, "too much confusion." Whoa. Even the children of the Five have The Song buried in their minds.
Meanwhile, we've got Baltar, still out there on the radio preaching notions that continue to draw a sizable audience (as evidenced by the council member who asks Lee what Baltar has to say about a situation that Baltar has absolutely nothing to do with). Baltar keeps talking about the "angels" he sees in the form of Head Six. The thing about Baltar is that you never know where his psychological confusion ends and his BS begins. At this point, I believe that he believes Head Six could be an angel. But I also think he uses that tenuous belief as an excuse to say things on the radio that will get him the biggest audience possible.
There's a brief scene where Baltar encounters Caprica Six for the first time in a long time. Since the second half of season three when they've both been on Galactica, I think this might be the first time, unless you count the whole issue regarding the pen during his trial. It's fair to say the whole Caprica Six/Baltar relationship has been eschewed by the writers in favor of the Tigh/Six relationship this season. That might not have been a bad idea, but I'm still glad to see the relationship finally revisited here, where she basically rejects him on the basis of her belief that she has fundamentally changed and he has not. This realization wounds Baltar fairly significantly.
And then there's poor Samuel "Persistent Vegetative State" Anders. Out of a last-ditch hope, the Cylons have hooked him up to Galactica's computer like a Hybrid, and apparently even Cottle has given up and agreed to drop any objections. This is one of those situations where it might've been useful to have more details as to how we got here (or perhaps not, since I honestly have no desire for technobabble explanations), but the writers of late have been more interested in joining situations in progress. What's important here is how Anders has essentially become a zombie who occasionally talks like a Hybrid and will probably never recover to become a person. Kara goes in to do the equivalent of pulling him off life support (via a bullet) before strange events intercede. It can't be good that now even Anders is calling Kara "the harbinger of death." And how about the way Anders' eyes blink in unison with the flickering lights? Bizarre.
And then Helo. He begs Adama to let him take a Raptor to look for his daughter on what would obviously be a fruitless suicide mission. Adama can't let him do it, and it's a great example of reason trumping emotion. That emotion is raw and searing. Helo's anguish is palpable and immediate even as you can see he's doing his absolute best to contain it. It's a painful scene, made all the more interesting when Helo turns the tables and tells Adama that he's every bit as guilty for not being able to let logic prevail. There's nothing that can be done for Hera, but nor is the case for Galactica — and Adama, like Helo, is clinging to baseless hope above all else.
Also, there's a line here that I must comment on: Just how many times in the course of the series has Adama looked at one of his officers, given them a directive and then solemnly asked, "Do you understand?" It's happened so often that I have little doubt it's an ongoing in-joke among the writers. I had to finally mention it after all these years, seeing as I'm running out of chances.
Boomer. She's taking kidnapped Hera to the mysterious Cylon colony. Along the way, she relents and tries to comfort Hera, even inviting the toddler to her Cylon-projected house of comfort, which brings a certain amount of calm to Hera (who is able to perform Cylon projection). Eventually, Boomer arrives at the colony, which is good for some impressively imagined CGI shots. When Boomer turns Hera over to Cavil, it tears Boomer up, and we see just how deeply conflicted Boomer as a person is. She's been all over the map since "Downloaded." How did she become such a disciple of Cavil, and what will her role be in these final episodes?
I said at the outset that this episode was a meditation on death. Take, for example, the multi-tiered approach to the funeral for those who died in the work detail. Adama's service is very military oriented, very secular — whereas, on the other hand, the Cylons' and Baltar's services are more spiritual and religious. It's an interesting contrast. But it's not as interesting as the meditation on death by those who have died before.
Kara. She asks Baltar to run an analysis on her former self's dog tags to get to the truth of what finding her body on Earth actually meant. Baltar confirms with scientific evidence that Kara did, in fact, die there. The implications of Baltar outing Kara after the funeral service are fascinating. On a character level it's very Baltar — self-serving, wrong-headed, classic grandstanding. But it also presents scenarios for those out there looking for hope. If Kara could cross over and resurrect, could anyone potentially have that ability? I mentioned earlier this season the possibility that anyone could be a "Cylon"; maybe all that means is that you resurrected via technology rather than having children. This seems to be what Baltar is hinting at here. But ... if indeed Kara is the daughter of Seventh Cylon Daniel, well then she's a hybrid and all bets are off. Either way, it's intriguing.
What's key is that this plot point finds a 100 percent character moment between Kara and Lee, where he basically tells Kara that no matter what she is or how she came back, it doesn't matter. He's here, she's here, they're alive, and she can feel it when he touches her. That's what matters. I absolutely loved the moment where Kara is able to find her peace in this madness: The grin of calm serenity and acceptance on her face says more than dozens of lines of dialog ever could. And then she puts a picture of herself on the memorial wall. It's simultaneously a moment of tragic melancholy and joyous victory. Starbuck may have died, but she lives again because she can accept that fact.
It's one of many great moments. "Islanded" is sold on its performances and texture, right down to its final scenes of Adama's acceptance that Galactica cannot continue on its mission. He concedes that fact in a dramatic, private, emotional breakdown where he throws paint at a wall. It's an actor's showpiece, and one that works, but far more effective is the scene where Adama tells Tigh that it's time to abandon the ship. Tigh's initial reaction is perfect: "No! I can't let you do this. I won't!" If there's one man who might hold onto Galactica longer than Adama, it's Tigh.
You know, when BSG is over, what I'm probably going to miss more than anything is the friendship between Adama and Tigh. Here are two men who have been through everything. They've been through the most fundamental reanalyses of who they thought they were. And yet they know who they are. They are each other's friends. They have each other's backs no matter what. In a world where you can't take anything for granted, that means something.
Previous episode: Someone to Watch Over Me
Next episode: Daybreak, Part 1
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78 comments on this post
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 2:13am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 2:51am (UTC -5)
Whatever the case, this course of events must've taken place off camera. And the writers deemed their audience percipient enough to connect the dots?
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 3:28am (UTC -5)
Season 4.5 seems to have a lot of somewhat important scenes cut for time, I hope that the DVD's contain extended episodes in cases like that.
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 3:44am (UTC -5)
P.S. Jammer, is it a coincidence that the answer to the antibot question is "47"?
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 4:47am (UTC -5)
About "Islanded", I felt it doesnot completely succeed in the portrayal of this final moments, and I´m begining to be fed up of seeing Adama crying around.
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 7:45am (UTC -5)
The North American DVDs have extended episodes here and there, but generally most are as-aired.
However, I have heard (and read from Bear's Blog) that this is one of several episodes that will be getting the extended treatment on DVD. Not sure HOW extended, but he did say that he specifically composed two different scores for the two cuts. (Another episode I hope gets extended time is Blood on the Scales - a good episode that could possibly be elevated to great with a good 10 more minutes or so).
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 8:54am (UTC -5)
My first post here, but a long time fan, back in the days when the cynicscorner.org was still active in your links section. :) Does he still write somewhere?
Anyway thanks for writing thoughtful reviews, and please try to keep your review for Daybreak 1 also ahead of next weeks Part 2.
My 2 cents:
Man have i been hooked on this new BSG universe. Right from the get-go it's been a hell of a ride. Regardless of flaws, which are hard to ignore but also easy to accept because the overall quality was always there.
I remember when we were all frustated by the lack of continuity in Voyager or by the obnoxius Ferengi eps in DS9. This is in another league, and it should be, as people wouldn't watch that kind of entertaiment anymore.
Let's enjoy it while it lasts. Here's for an enternaining finale! Cheers!
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 9:07am (UTC -5)
"I´m begining to be fed up of seeing Adama crying around."
Ever been in the military?? Specifically a branch where you serve on a ship? You fall in love with that ship. It houses you, feeds you, protects you as best as it can. When it is retired, sank, destroyed, whatever, a part of you dies.
Now imagine that that ship is all humanity has left to defend it, and you are the man responsible for keeping it alive. You'd probably be crying too. Talk about the weight of the world on your shoulders. The character of Bill Adama has lost more than most people will ever know. It's very fitting and true to his character.
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 9:10am (UTC -5)
@ Vlad: As far as I know, the Cynic retired years ago, as seen at cynicscorner.org (which still exists, but is not updated).
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 11:04am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 11:59am (UTC -5)
@ Jason. I understand how he feels, just don´t like tha way the series is presenting it: it just loses its impact when all we see is Adama cryind around all day ;) Some time ago, seeing Adama loose its temper was potent. Now, it´s a bit overused, IMHO
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
From the title, I assumed it would be about Anders and where he mind is in some mystical "stream of stars" where we would find out things about god and destiny and all that jazz.
Oh well... 3 hours left to pile it on.
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 1:49pm (UTC -5)
But I thought Anders becoming a hybrid and controlling Galactica through the Cylon goo almost required too much suspension of disbelief - it's very "hard sci-fi" for this show, a potential shark-jumping moment, and they've spent the last 4 episodes contriving it - it's obvious this is the only reason for the entire "Cylon goo" plot. Judging by Hera playing with the models at the start of the episode, it seems pretty apparent that Galactica's going to ram the colony next week, controlled by Anders, and Adama, having lost Roslin, may choose to go down with the ship. Perhaps they'll be reunited on "the other side" and get to build their little cabin together. I haven't read any spoilers - those are just my personal predictions.
I was also surprised at Kara trusting Baltar - and appalled when he "outed" her at the funeral - but possibly even more appalled when she didn't stop him and merely slapped him after he'd finished. And the Adama paint scene was far too overdone and histrionic, and lost a lot of its impact because it's one of so many similar Adama breakdowns we've seen this half-season.
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
If that doesn't deserve execution in a situation as dire as the Colonials', I'm not sure what does.
I also agree with Joe Doe, that all of Adama's breakdowns (while understandable) have lessened the dramatic impact of them.
Did anyone catch the old school Cylon ship in the colony?
One quick unrelated question while I'm thinking of it: Does anyone have any idea how the old school Cylons seen watching the action in Razor play into things? What was up with that? Anyone know?
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 3:13pm (UTC -5)
Hehe, I guess I'm just too big of an EJO supporter to find fault in his performances. I've watched the guy act my entire life and I just love the way he does things. I mean, nobody says "Busti-kaka, ES UN BRA" in reference to a woman wearing a short shirt shaped like a bra, quite like EJO, lol.
In my view, while all the breakdowns combined may lessen the impact, I think they are still true to his character and what his character has gone through. Compile onto that they way he has been drinking and popping pills, he is probably very unstable emotionally. My wife went through a recent prescription drug addiction (which thankfully she has overcome) but she was a wreck through it all. I would imagine Adama is feeling the same way. Dramatic/impactful or not, at the very least, it's real.
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
I'm 45, of course grew up with TV, and this remains the only TV drama I've ever made the effort to watch every episode.
After each episode, I'm just as interested seeing what you'll have to say about it. Your keen observations add resonance to the experience - I can truthfully say you've increased my appreciation for the show.
Anyway - kudos on a job very well done.
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
I took the dying Eight's iteration of the "Watchtower" line to be an early clue as to how plugged into Galactica the Hybrid-Anders really was. The Eight and Six that were supervising Anders' condition in the tank informed Tigh and Kara that he had accessed Galactica's electrical grid through the organic resin melded with the ship's super-structure. The flickering lights in the first half of the episode were his doing as well.
It's not inconceivable that Anders' mind, plugged into the data stream (and whatever other, heavenly "data" stream that feeds prophetic information to the Hybrids) could wander into the mind of another Cylon. The dying Eight was, after all, plugged into a lot of electrical equipment.
Lest we forget that "too much confusion" was Anders' line of the spoken "Watchtower" stanza in the second part of "Crossroads." ;)
Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 10:08pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 14, 2009, 11:44am (UTC -5)
Will you be reviewing the finale as two parts or as one giant show? It looks like the more I think about it, it was written, cut, and put together mostly as one giant piece and just sliced up due to scifi's airing constraints.
Sat, Mar 14, 2009, 1:40pm (UTC -5)
From what I've been hearing, the season 4.5 DVD set should be an interesting one, with several extended episodes. I wonder if "Daybreak" will be combined into a single episode at that time.
Sat, Mar 14, 2009, 3:36pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Mar 14, 2009, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
This season has been absolutely listless. These last three episodes have felt drawn out with the real sense that there simply wasn't enough material to sustain 10 episodes and as a reult the writers are trying to pull out enough episodes until the finale.
I'm thinking "this has all happened before and will happen again" could easily apply to a lot of what has occurred in this stretch of the season.
What new did we learn about any of it. I thought hooking up Anders might reveal some new intriguing information. No, we learn for the third or so time Starbuck is the harbinger of death. We see the Opera House visions but nothing new is added just the same chase sequence we've seen in Crossroads and GWCTD.
I could have done without the roadtrip bonding onboard the stolen raptor between Boomer and Hera. The two have had so little focus in years that I really couldn't get all that invested in Boomer's inner conflict or Hera being in jeopardy. I would have much rather jumped straight to the colony in order to spare us the regurgitated Boomer's "what if" fantasy we already picked up last week but of course we can't reach the colony until the end of the series because the writers don't have enough material. Meh.
We see HeadSix but she doesn't provide anything interesting to the mix. This was what her fourth appearance this season and she really hasn't contributed much other than a cameo. Although I'm feeling more confident that Starbuck isn't a Cylon but resurrected by these supernatural entities.
The funeral service did nothing for me. They were all faceless Cylons and colonials.
Once again though another strong cliffhanger. Maybe I should just watch the final five minutes of the show from now on.
Set-up need not be slow or boring especially at this stage. Now I will admit sometimes transitioning from one season long arc to a new one at the beginning of a new season can be a little tedious as the series re-orients and you come off of the high of an exciting climatic stretch the previous spring and now the writers are trying to get a new arc up and running but in the resolution phase where BSG has been for at least these past few weeks we should have been treated to much stronger hours.
Arcs for me work best when the writers decide what elements, threads and characters will be its focus and gradually they begin seeding the first few episodes with those aspects. Then they use that scaffolding and begin developing them in interesting ways constantly building on what came before with plenty of plot exposition, advancement, complications, new interesting character dynamics along with a conscious effort to have each episode raise the bar and up the ante in order to contribute to a continuously mounting tension that explodes at the end. In my opinion, BSG has failed in doing that.
Baltar and his cult, the Final Five and any number of other threads have just been poorly handled. The show has basically been a stitched together patchwork of isolated character moments mainly centering on Adama and Roslin and to a lesser extent with Starbuck. Then the other characters get a bone tossed to them and usually it isn't very interesting. Elements are introduced in one episode and are never heard from again. Whether it is due to them being cut out of later episodes or the writers, for whatever reason, deciding they didn't pan out I don't know but the show in my opinion is just not well structured. Sometimes writers can mask this to where the audience isn't keenly aware but not here.
You can look back to season one of BSG and then compare that tightly written and focused interesting arc of the show's freshman year to what we've gotten last year or this year and there is a world of difference.
At best for me this is a **1/2 star episode owing in no small part to a few of the better character moments.
Sat, Mar 14, 2009, 7:01pm (UTC -5)
All bets are off as to how BSG will end as the writers throw curveballs at us all the time. I just hope that Admiral Adama will go down with the ship (Galactica) as I cannot see him existing without it and that all loose ends will be warapped up. Not sure about starbuck - chances are she is a hybrid. Great episode and insightful comments everybody!
Sat, Mar 14, 2009, 10:24pm (UTC -5)
I agree with your comments. I feel that seasons 1 and 2 were way way better than the past 2 seasons. The story arcs and mythology were more interesting, and I found there were far more jaw dropping moments than what we are getting lately. Let's hope the finale is good.
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 7:49am (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 10:56am (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
The finale is three hours total, aired over two weeks. Part one is one hour, and part two is two hours.
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
Hopefully (though I have no confirmation), they will put the Daybreak episodes back together for the DVD, like the miniseries DVD. I'm pretty sure the Daybreak on the DVD is also going to get extended, along with Islanded and Disquiet (according to Bear McCreary's blog)
See everyone on the flip side! Can't wait for your reviews, Jammer after the finale.
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 6:19pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Sci Fi moved it to Sunday nights for season three to let it play with the big boys (which, unfortunately, didn't work). NBC Universal also tried airing several season one episodes on NBC (granted, on a Saturday) to see if there was a larger market for the show. The answer appeared to be no; the ratings were pretty awful. NBC also aired promos for the show back in season 2 and 3 when they were trying to build the audience.
Honestly, I think the show could not survive on a major network, certainly not with the creative freedom that it has had. It is too dark, too serialized, and too niche-y. I don't think Sci Fi can be blamed for anything except maybe the long hiatuses ... which it should be noted are because it wanted to maintain the show and the critical acclaim it brought to the network as long as it could (until "Caprica" was ready).
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
Sure, some of SciFi's promotions for Battlestar have been evil and strange, but they've always stood by this show, given them the freedom to really push the limits, and become the best show the crew and cast could make it.
If SciFi really didn't like Battlestar that much, I doubt they would have supported it this long, or allowed Caprica to get a first season. So, cheers!
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 7:10pm (UTC -5)
Guess Fox thought that the show was too dark and complex, and wanted less character work, and more action (along with other changes), to make the show more identifiable with fox's perception of the channel's audience base. While the show may still see the light of day, the pilot has already been massively retooled. Moore is too upset to talk about it in interviews (or at the very least, has no comment)
I suspect, as Jammer noted, that similar occurrences would have happened to battlestar if a major network had considered funding the show.
I think we all understand Jason K's frustration about certain actions on SciFi's behalf (those hiatuses were nasty!) But now that it's all over, we can have the episodes on DVD forever, as the show was intended. For that, I am happy.
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 7:24pm (UTC -5)
While I'm sure everyone wants their show on a major network, the increased visibility means increased studio oversight and less creative control for the writers.
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 7:46pm (UTC -5)
Yes, apparently, Fox has interfered heavily with "Dollhouse", which has caused a lot of grief in the process (especially for Whedon). I've been watching the show since it started last month, and while I have tentatively enjoyed it so far, I think it's taking a little bit to find its own groove.
Now, Whedon has claimed that the network "understands" the show now, and Whedon promises to try to balance Fox's need for action with his own tastes, but I guess those who watch will have to wait and see.
I'm happy to have battlestar on some "weird" network (SciFi is so strange sometimes), with pretty low ratings, because the show never needed to be popular on TV to be good; it has earned revenue from DVD sales. Yes, anonymity can go a long way towards more creative freedom.
Sorry for rambling so much; been studying for an accounting test on my computer, so, it's "gonna be one of those nights"...lol.
(Oh yes, and Whedon has promised that the 6th episode of Dollhouse, the one airing this Friday, is the one to watch. But guess which other show time Dollhouse interferes with on this coming Friday?)
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 8:55pm (UTC -5)
I have to wonder what BSG would have been like had someone been there to effectively "edit" what Moore & co. were coming up with -- particularly through season 3 & 4. Perhaps some creative tension would have gone a long way toward making BSG much more focused and consistent (particularly with the characters).
This is, of course, purely speculative (and in a large part subjective) ... but with the end so close, it makes for an interesting train of thought ...
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 9:23pm (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 15, 2009, 9:42pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 16, 2009, 6:54am (UTC -5)
I agree that Moore has a tendency to experiment just a little bit too much for the show's own good. While I understand that you have to push the limits to achieve something truly great, I think that the writers just got too carried away on some occasions. Take for example Six and Tigh storyline. It has been pretty meaningless and amounted to nothing, and Moore himself said (in a podcast or in an interview, perhaps) that he didn't have a clue where it all went, other that it sounded cool to make Six pregnant. I just feel that the writing team had one too many of these "wouldn't it be cool" concepts lately.
Of course, BSG is still among the greatest things that have graced the TV screens. I just wish they were more focused this half-season.
Mon, Mar 16, 2009, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 16, 2009, 9:50am (UTC -5)
I think the main problem in S 4.5 is the series' (partial) inability to blend the character moments with the plot. In earlier episodes, plot-driving scenes WERE the character scenes: think of Adama's coup, Lee pulling the gun on Tigh, Cain vs Adama, Starbuck asked to "pull out the gun and shoot Admiral Cain in the head", Roslin stealing elections, Tigh sending men to blow themselves up, etc. Think not only of those episodes/arcs but of the scenes that made those episodes come to life. They were the perfect synthesis of character and plot, where the first directly lead to the second.
Nowadays, episodes and scenes are often all plot or all character, with the worrying tendency of plot driving the characters forward, and not the other way around.
Mon, Mar 16, 2009, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
To be honest, I don't think we're going to get a straightforward answer to Kara. It'll probably be left as a mystery of the universe/hand of god. For one, Baltar seemed to be believe that something like that was up. For another, it would be inkeeping with the theme of Starbuck's death in 'Maelstrom'.
Still, there is the question of how she is the harbinger of death. I do want an answer to that.
Mon, Mar 16, 2009, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 16, 2009, 8:52pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 16, 2009, 9:21pm (UTC -5)
I would just like to, on an active thread, say thank you for your reviews. I have been reading them for more than 10 years. I still remember eagerly awaiting your review for DS9s "What you Leave Behind." It's sad to see BSG go, it is easily one of the best shows I've ever watched. But it's also sad to see your reviews end. I've looked forward to reading them each week for so long. Do you have any plans for a next review project? Thanks again.
Mon, Mar 16, 2009, 9:36pm (UTC -5)
My theory on "you will lead them all to their end:" The end is the end of the cycle of war. This end also represents a new beginning. I doubt "the end" will be something so simple and un-philosophical as just the end of Galactica or the Cavilcade.
Tue, Mar 17, 2009, 4:58am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 17, 2009, 5:50am (UTC -5)
I think the reason for that is quite simple. The writers have the endgame in mind, and are steering the characters towards that pre-planned endgame. Therefore, "the hand of the plot" is more visible and awkward than it used to be.
Tue, Mar 17, 2009, 10:13am (UTC -5)
I've been reading your reviews for years and consider them my primary source for these shows. I hope that you consider taking on a new show to write insightful reviews about.
I'm glad to see you give the last few episodes of BSG rave reviews. Many people seem annoyed by the slow character-driven pace of the recent episodes, but I think it's a case of getting what you need and not necessarily what you expect. Everyone is so obsessed with big reveals that they miss that much of season 4.5 (save 'Deadlock' but including 'Daybreak Part I') has been exceptionally well-crafted and dramatic. The amount of information revealed in 'No Exit' was intoxicating, but I've found myself giving 'Someone to Watch Over Me' and this one the multiple viewings. Hopefully the finale will tie things together enough to where folks will look back on these episodes as the gems they are. It's a little weird to end the series with the slower-paced 'Inner Light' or 'Tapestry' sort of episodes (for a TNG comparison, although I guess DS9 would be more fitting), but that should not take away from their quality and dramatic punch. Looking forward to your take on the finale!
Tue, Mar 17, 2009, 5:22pm (UTC -5)
March 15, 2009 - 10:56 am (USA Central Time)
An old loose end - how on earth did Baltar survive the blast that killed Caprica 6?
How do you know he survived?
In the pilot, we see him, Caprica Six, the house, and everything go up in a huge pressure wave. The next time we see Gaius Baltar, he loses out in a lottery, but Helo give up his seat so that Baltar can ride back to Galactica. Which brings us to an even more silly loose end. - Whatever happen to Boxey? =)
[Begin closed-mouth screaming here.]
And if it weren't for Boxey, Helo would never have met Athena and there would be no Hera.
Baltar had died in the blast, and was resurrected by Cavil and placed onboard the Galactica as an unwilling Cylon agent with a Head Six to keep him in line with their plan...
(Actually, I don't really know. I'm just making this stuff up. Heh. =P)
By the way, Baltar didn't have to make a Cylon detector. Everyone knows that Cylon skinjobs have a red light that goes up and down their backs when they have sex. Just turn the lights out, and look for a red glow. =)
Tue, Mar 17, 2009, 8:26pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 17, 2009, 11:12pm (UTC -5)
Well you might ask what they have to do with Starbuck's resurrection. It donned on me as I watched that episode that maybe despite Moore's statement of not having aliens on the show that he borrowed that idea. Granted this is all speculation but in the episode the crew of the ship were bathed in white and their ships were bright blinding white with piercing sounds that could appear out of nowhere.
I remembered in "The Road Less Traveled" Starbuck asking "What is that sound"? What if that refers to the ship's sound? Also we saw the Final Five in D'Anna's vision wearing bright white robes and bathed in white light and in one of the last episodes we saw Starbuck bathed in white light as she entered the room where Anders was being hooked up as a hybrid.
Furthermore Baltar talked of angels and coincidentally--or not--the camera was focused on Starbuck. Plus Anders in "No Exit" mentioned angels.
It was implied that an adversary who was called Count Iblis was evil and might have been the inspiration for Satan. So by extension wouldn't that make the Ship Of Lights beings angels or God--the third party.
Also it is possible that Starbuck's dad wasn't a Cylon but one of these beings who was either sent to guarantee Starbuck was born out of his union with her mother--like Joseph and Sarah Sisko--so she could fulfill her destiny.
Or could he have been one of these entities who wanted to experience corporeal existence and was called back to his people explaining why he abruptly left. It could also explain his tie to the Opera House and why the visions center on it--perhaps the Opera House was from their world before shedding their corporeal existence.
It would also play into my theory that Starbuck is not a Cylon but one of these beings and like Sisko she is an angel of sorts and could be resurrected.
I think it is a cool idea how they were able to weave an interesting idea from the original series into the show. My only concern is revealing a new player in the last two hours of the show instead of rolling them out earlier and exploring them more. Maybe two hours is all that is needed but it does feel a little last minute that they dump them on us. I'll wait and see how it is handle.
Wed, Mar 18, 2009, 9:16am (UTC -5)
"What ever happened to Boxey??"
Isn't it obvious? Boxey is a younger version of Daniel, who was "boxed". He will grow up to become Bob Dylan.
It could happen....
Wed, Mar 18, 2009, 9:41am (UTC -5)
March 18, 2009 - 09:16 am (USA Central Time)
"What ever happened to Boxey??"
Isn't it obvious? Boxey is a younger version of Daniel, who was "boxed". He will grow up to become Bob Dylan.
It could happen....
LOL!!! True, I think Boxey would come back to the show as either either Bob Dylan or Doctor Zee!
Oh, I can't keep doing this... too much confusion...
Wed, Mar 18, 2009, 10:06am (UTC -5)
He wasn't seen on screen, it would just be a fair explanation.
Wed, Mar 18, 2009, 10:25am (UTC -5)
March 18, 2009 - 10:06 am (USA Central Time)
Wasn't Boxey killed in the accident on the hanger deck during the Thousandth landing party?
He wasn't seen on screen, it would just be a fair explanation.
I don't know... what would a early teenaged boy be doing on the flight deck of a battlestar that was conducting military operations at the time?
A better explanation would be to assume he was living on Cloud Nine or one of the surround ships when Baltar's firecracker went off, courtesy of Gina Inviere.
...Or he was one of the many thousands executed on New Caprica... or maybe he was a colaborator and blown out of an airlock... or he was gunned down by some marines in one of the riots. The imagination just runs wild with the many possibilities. =)
Thu, Mar 19, 2009, 6:16am (UTC -5)
Thu, Mar 19, 2009, 10:10am (UTC -5)
March 19, 2009 - 06:16 am (USA Central Time)
There's also the simple possibility that the writers simply had this character in the pilot and didn't feel they could do anything with his character over the course of the series. Sometimes child actors can ruin a great thing....Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker anyone??
Well, obviously that was probably the actual situation. Another "try to keep some commonality with the original series" idea that just didn't work.
I was hoping for something more interesting, but I'm willing to place Boxey onboard the Olympic Carrier and just leave it at that. I love irony.
I thought Jar-Jar Binks was the main source of destruction of the series. Bratakin didn't help any... but it was too late for Lucas pull his X-Wing out of its terminal nose dive into Beggar's Canyon. I did end up seeing all the prequels, mainly because I can't avert my eyes from a train wreck. Here's to hoping the last two hours of BSG aren't one.
Thu, Mar 19, 2009, 4:36pm (UTC -5)
The writers did have scenes with him throughout the first season, but almost all of them were cut.
Sorry to burst the irony bubble for ya, conroypaw. ;P
Thu, Mar 19, 2009, 5:15pm (UTC -5)
March 19, 2009 - 04:36 pm (USA Central Time)
Boxey coulden't have been on the Olympic Carrier, as he turned up for a scene in "Bastille Day." After that, he was never heard of or seen again.
The writers did have scenes with him throughout the first season, but almost all of them were cut.
Sorry to burst the irony bubble for ya, conroypaw. ;P
He was?!! Dang it all. Oh well. Wait! There is still hope for my irony! Tom Zarek could have ordered his execution at some point after leaving New Caprica, right? =D
Thu, Mar 19, 2009, 6:09pm (UTC -5)
[Reminder from Jammer: Please do not post spoilers of anything not contained in this episode or an episode before this. This includes anything from trailers or podcasts or articles you read elsewhere.]
Thu, Mar 19, 2009, 7:55pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Aug 28, 2010, 3:00am (UTC -5)
1) Athena confronting Tyrol in the brig - great scene and necessary plot as well. Tyrol turned himself in but she doesn't care.
2) Kara and Helo getting plastered at Joe's. Kara whines about her confusion about destiny and everything, Helo gets pissed about it and turns the tables on her. This is right before he confronts Adama in the corridor. Explains why he seems to be really out of control, because he's actually roaring drunk during that scene.
Tue, Sep 20, 2011, 8:51am (UTC -5)
On the other hand, I think there is a tragedy aspect to this, I wonder if the show recognizes this, but asks the agonizing question, "what other choice to these people have", "the old man" is all they got, warts and all. Without him, there is nothing separating them from the cold hard truth of their miserable existance. I wonder if Adama was intentionally a weaker leader than Picard because of the very reason that these people have no other choice, it is Adama or anarchy.
I admit I still kind of like the character, but he has been in my bottom 3 for a few seasons now.
Either way, powerful scene, powerful episode, I am ridiculously excited for the finale!!!
Tue, Sep 20, 2011, 9:01am (UTC -5)
Sat, Dec 3, 2011, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
Having said that, I'm, again, not certain what the purpose of it all was. What: We're retiring Galactica? Helo's pissed, Athena's pissed? Kara's plumbing new depths of weirdness? Roslin's still on her deathbed? I dongeddit.
Anyway, whatever it set out to do, the show was entertaining and watchable, and well acted, too. That's what you want from a show, I guess. A solid 2.5-3 stars.
Speaking of my favorite seasons, the order is, from most to least: 1, 2, 4, 3. The first seasons and a half is the best T.V.--never mind sci-fi--I ever saw in my life, period. Though that standard was never reached in a subsequent episode, and even the Season 4 shows I praised do not come anywhere close to the best ones from that period, I am nevertheless extremely glad I watched this series and infinitely thankful to Jammer for introducing me to it.
I don't have high expectations for the Finale. My gut feeling is that it is going to heavily feature weirdness (head-trips, mind-f*cks, mythology, Hera's supernatural abilities, religion, ethereal musical scores, and such) at the expense of the gritty realism and logical resolution that made me fall in love with this show in the first place. Judging by most of the comments though, that's what "the people" seem to want, so enjoy, everyone!
Thu, Dec 8, 2011, 10:37am (UTC -5)
This wasn’t a bad episode, but it was a quiet one that only barely moved the story forward. At any other point in the series, I wouldn’t have a problem with this. But now, I am very worried because I don’t see how it’s possible to wrap up all the story arcs and characters that have been set up in the last four seasons in a mere 2½ hours of screen time. If they succeed, I will be impressed. But I’m not holding my breath.
Wed, Oct 17, 2012, 8:52am (UTC -5)
Nice bit of foreshadowing there.
Sun, Dec 30, 2012, 2:42am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jul 6, 2013, 10:52am (UTC -5)
On behalf of people like me watching this for the first time, thanks [/sarcasm] for posting the completely unnecessary spoiler, dude. Yes, I noticed it too, and figure there was something going on there. But I did not want someone who already saw the finale to come here and CONFIRM it.
Grrr. Before you go back -- during one of your future "yearly marathons" of rewatching this show -- to post an insight about the finale in an even earlier episode, please stop a minute and THINK. Please be more considerate of other people who are enjoying this series for the first time. ESPECIALLY when you have NOTHING more useful to say than "nice bit of foreshadowing!" Grrrr.
Mon, Jan 13, 2014, 11:03pm (UTC -5)
I am counting on Boomer to come to Hera's rescue. Can I add that the Cylon ship Boomer went to is all kinds of cool? The shot of her ship landing inside of it was positively spooky.
Three more to go. Better save them until tomorrow night or I'll be up until 130 in the morning. I'm going to miss these people.
Fri, Jul 25, 2014, 5:13pm (UTC -5)
Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 7:26pm (UTC -5)
I agree that the slow death of the Galactica would be an intriguing way to end it's journey. However, with all the investment plot wise into the use of living cylon material to repair the ship, and having Anders plug into the ship as a hybrid (even taking control of some of the ships functions), is too much of a giveaway as to the ship's role for the remaining episodes. It is a very transparent setup, IMO. That said, I am very excited to see how everything comes together for the finale.
Thanks for all the company during my journey through this phenomenal series, Jammer. You are awesome! Reading your reviews as a companion to each episode has certainly enriched the experience!
Fri, Nov 1, 2019, 11:58pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 8:44pm (UTC -5)
I blazed through it in just three weeks.
I feel like Adama, who said a dozen episodes or so ago, how he deliberately never finished his favorite book, because he didn't want it to end. That's how it is with me and Daybreak. It's the last one and I don't want it to happen, because I don't want it to end.
No show moves me like this one. No show is nearer and dearer to my heart. I've been watching science-fiction since I watched the Next Generation's 3rd season premier as a child. TNG was my favorite, then DS9. For years that was the king, no show would ever be better.
BSG is my favorite now and forever.
Sun, Jun 14, 2020, 2:44pm (UTC -5)
For me this is a really strong 3 star episode, and I'd give the other half star to the Oath.
Boomer is an endlessly fascinating character each time we catch up with her. She is torn apart by feelings of betrayal by the Cylons (for discovering she IS a cylon) and by the humans (for killing her etc). She copes by trying to cling being human (Downloaded) or by going hard on loyalty with the old
line Cavil group after none of that works (like with New Caprica). Here at the end, she's still convulsing across all these loyalties and betrayals outside and within herself. She's really quite broken, and I have appreciated the mess in contrast to Athena or the Final Five in reconcling (with effort and struggle) who they are. Not everyone in every situation can.
Wed, Mar 9, 2022, 9:25am (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 25, 2022, 11:44am (UTC -5)
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