"Someone to Watch Over Me"
Air date: 2/27/2009
Written by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle
Directed by Michael Nankin
Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan
"Savor this alone time, but do not whack too much. We need you to conserve your O2." — Starbuck's morning briefing recommendation
"Someone to Watch Over Me" is the sort of wrenching emotional journey that is going to make me miss this series when it's gone. I'll miss it not just for its story revelations and performances and action and craftsmanship, but for its grace and artistry and humanity — even as that humanity may spring from dark places or end in sorrowful tragedies. This is a series about characters we've come to care about, and that makes an hour like "Someone to Watch Over Me" rewarding not because huge events happen, but because intimate character stories are valued.
This is a welcome return to form after the mystifying and unsatisfying "Deadlock." Where "Deadlock's" plot and characterization frequently seemed to clang and thud, "Someone to Watch Over Me" is pretty much pitch-perfect on both counts. Dare I say it evokes an elegiac tone. (Until the final act, of course, when all hell breaks loose. But even after that, its final shots are tragically elegiac.)
The episode's opening sequence is one of BSG's signature musically underscored opening montages, in the vein of "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 1," "Home, Part 2," "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1," and "Occupation." I can't recall if we've even had one of these since "Occupation," but if we haven't, then it serves here, as we enter the final hours of the series, as a callback to past methods.
Weeks have gone by since "Deadlock," a point driven home by the documented repetition of Kara's morning wake-up, shower, and pilots' briefing in the ready room. It suggests the daily drudgery of routine — which is about all Galactica has left these days. The mutiny has stretched personnel thin (with many who participated having been put off the ship, although that wasn't shown on-screen). It's strange (and interesting) to see Cylons in the ready room — who are now flying CAP — but for the characters even that fact has become wallpaper. If the daily drudgery weren't bad enough for Kara, Anders remains in a coma, with no end in sight. He has brain activity that can't be explained, but there's no evidence of conscious thought. Cottle's recommendation: "Get on with your life."
A key point about the music in the opening montage is that it's a solo piano performance. The last time that happened was in second season's "Valley of Darkness," where Kara and Helo went to Kara's old apartment on Caprica and listened to tapes of Kara's father, who was a concert pianist. The music we hear on the soundtrack here is also actually supposed to be Kara's father's music, something that takes on a significance as the story proceeds.
Part of Kara's routine is drowning her sorrows at Joe's Bar. This is how she meets the bar's mysterious new piano player (Roark Critchlow), who is endlessly composing a song, much to Kara's initial annoyance, and gradual interest. She plays critic to this guy, who is a through-and-through musician. Their discussions are enlightening, and what's great about this episode is how it takes its time in getting to where it's going. It allows Kara and the pianist to talk about things. First music, then her childhood, and then she even confesses that she found her body on Earth — something she hasn't told anyone. Kara's larger dilemma seems to stem from that universal question: Why am I here? She says that while she was leading the fleet to Earth she felt she finally had a purpose after a lifetime adrift. But now, with Earth in the rear-view mirror, she's adrift again. Full circle. And I thought to myself: Yes, that's Kara Thrace. Always looking for her destiny. Never finding it.
These scenes insightfully burrow toward the character truth here, which is that this guy reminds Kara of her father, who was himself such a through-and-through musician that he walked out on them when she was just a child. When he left, Kara gave up music, which was the harshest revenge she was capable of at the time. There's this one song, though, that she always used to play, and she tries to remember the notes. She can't remember the notes, but then she remembers that Hera, when she visited her earlier in the day, wrote a series of dots on a piece of paper. And it hits her: Those dots are notes. And not just any notes, but the notes of that long-forgotten song. And when that long-forgotten song turns out to be the Cylon version of "All Along the Watchtower" — well, what can I say but: Wow. Ain't that something.
The beauty of this story — and I really can't stress it enough — is that it's told so simply, so honestly, and with such an effortless, relaxed grace and style that it becomes almost hypnotic. This tale is an immersive and intimate experience, sold on performances that are so good they're transparent, and photographed with a lighting scheme that evokes an understated moodiness in every frame. And it's about character as much as it's about revelation. I'll even grant the story its narrative conceit, which is that the pianist isn't really there, but merely a figment of Kara's imagination (or whatever it is these "head characters" might ultimately mean in this BSG mythos), because this isn't about the piano player. It's about all the torment and scars that stem from Kara's troubled past.
Now about what we learn: It's clear that the piano player is merely a stand-in for Kara's father, so she can vent at him about abandoning her a child. ("He never called! He never wrote!") What's not confirmed but drawing obvious attention to itself is the possibility that Kara's father might have been the mysterious, artistic Cylon Number Seven, Daniel. It might explain why he never called or wrote but one day simply left, and it might also explain Kara's special destiny and her ability to return from the dead. (What if she is the first human-Cylon hybrid?) Not to mention that tape of her dad's music. The title is "Dreilide Thrace: Live at the Helice Opera House." Hmmm. Opera House. How about that. And Hera spontaneously drawing the notes of The Song is almost as creepy as when her coloring book was filled with blond women and the number "6."
But enough pondering. I must move on to the episode's other story, which is equally important and equally good. The fleet's Cylon allies want Boomer turned over to them so they can try her for treason, with the most likely result being the death penalty. She was the only Eight who sided against them in the Cylon civil war, and now she must pay. Tyrol is understandably alarmed. Boomer, after all, rescued Ellen from Cavil and brought her back to the fleet. Shouldn't that count for something? And Tyrol still has very obvious feelings for Boomer. He has a personal, emotional stake in her well-being.
So Tyrol goes to see her in the brig, perhaps out of a need for a new beginning, or closure. We see here that they still love each other, and always have, even when separated by death and betrayal. As the series reaches its end, there's a sense here that many things must come full circle.
What happens in the brig is intriguing. Via the magic of Cylon projection, they share a marriage fantasy that picks up from the plans they long ago made, and imagines What Could Have Been. This is more than a typical "fantasy" and more like a virtual reality environment where the most real thing about it are the emotions. The virtual life includes their dream home on Picon they always talked about, and the daughter they always wanted. What could've been a purely manipulative sequence is instead heartfelt and affecting — and, yes, very manipulative, but that's the point. Aaron Douglas' performance knocks it out of the park; he really sells Tyrol's pure joy over what he and Boomer share ... or might have shared in some hypothetical parallel life. But we also sense immediately that this is a dangerous game. When the other shoe drops, that only makes what they share here more tragic.
The show does a fine job of bringing us into Tyrol's state of mind. When he makes a personal appeal to Roslin to spare Boomer's life, the president dismisses Tyrol so coldly ("You're dismisssssed") that it plays almost like a taunt. It's such a sublime moment in the story's manipulation of us as viewers that you could argue that it's played this way to subtly suggest that it's Tyrol's subjective point of view. Even if Roslin is right that Boomer is a danger — in or out of the brig — this scene pushes Tyrol into a corner where he feels he has no choice. He can't let Boomer die. So he knocks out a nameless Eight working on the ship and does a Sharon switcheroo. He puts the nameless worker Eight in the holding cell and frees Boomer. (I'm not exactly sure how he did this. Where did the guards go?)
The switcheroo gag is something this series has avoided playing, perhaps because it might seem like an obvious thing to do. But it's well utilized here and proves interesting. It reveals that Boomer has a plan here that wasn't anywhere even approaching Tyrol's radar screen. (It also suggests that Cavil has known all along where the fleet is.) And it depicts an act by Boomer that is either deeply depraved in its gratutiousness, or simply a necessary improvisation during her plan. She punches out Athena, gags and ties her up in a bathroom stall, and then a few minutes later has sex with a clueless Helo on the bathroom floor while Athena watches helplessly through the crack in the door. It's just so ... wrong. Should Helo have known Boomer wasn't Athena from their lovemaking? And because he doesn't, what does that say about him? Or about Athena? Or about Boomer? How much individuality does Athena lose by having copies out there who know her well enough to undermine her like this? It's disturbing.
Boomer kidnaps Hera from Athena's quarters and makes her way off the ship with Tyrol's help, who has no idea what he is actually helping Boomer do. The ease at which Boomer does this is enough to make you want to scream at the television screen (and I mean that in a good way). She plays everyone here like a violin. It's chilling. It rivals what Six did to Baltar on Caprica.
I should point out that it's maybe slightly (but only slightly) more complicated than Boomer playing the chief like a violin. She plays him, but she still loves him, and tells him that no matter what happens, her love is true. That may be, but it doesn't change her mission. She hides so many things from Tyrol that by the end of it all, he can only possibly be revealed as a dupe. Roslin was 100 percent right. As betrayals go, this one is up there with the most heinous of them.
The details of Boomer's getaway with Hera turned knots in my stomach. The action (brief as it is) is built on an unsolvable Catch-22. Boomer is in a Raptor fleeing the ship. Adama can't let her go, because that means Hera will be in the hands of Cavil. But he can't open fire on the Raptor because Hera is on board. So he tries to retract the landing pods before the Raptor leaves, which causes it to crash, which causes it to go out of control, which causes Boomer to jump while too close to the hull of the ship, which causes the shockwave to rip a hole in Galactica. As if it weren't in bad enough shape already. Roslin collapses, as if her heart has been torn out with Hera's kidnapping. How is Roslin connected to all these pieces of the mythos? And is she dead? Dying? Welcome to the battlestar Galactica, where a routine day turns on a dime to become a major catastrophe.
Deep Space Nine used to have an annual "torture the chief episode" that put O'Brien through the wringer. Now on BSG, we've essentially had an entire "torture the chief season." But this outing takes the cake. The look on Tyrol's face when he realizes what has happened, what he has become complicit in, is ... well, it's beyond any useful description. This poor, poor man. It's almost too much to bear to think about what it means when Tyrol retreats into his projection of the fantasy home. The wife and daughter are gone. The world is a cruel laboratory designed to crush this man. This is the tragedy of Galen Tyrol. And it is devastating.
Previous episode: Deadlock
Next episode: Islanded in a Stream of Stars
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73 comments on this post
Thu, Mar 5, 2009, 11:50pm (UTC -5)
That said, comment away. What did everybody else think?
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 12:05am (UTC -5)
Very good episode.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 12:11am (UTC -5)
But is this the image of her father? I submit no, because the picture of her father on the concert flyer looks different.
What I would argue is that this man represents her father, but is not the same man. I, too, could be wrong.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 12:43am (UTC -5)
I was glad there was the mention by Kara at the start of the episode that their ranks are thinned from the mutiny. Something that should have been mentioned earlier.
I was frustrated in the previous episode when Tyrol decided to leave Galactica without hesitation. I felt like they made an unexplained change in his character. But this episode, you were able to read every single feeling that he had. Definite improvement in my eyes.
Sorry for not backtracking to find out an answer. Has anything been said about why the four of the final five Cylons were able to hear "All Along the Watchtower" within Galactica? How it was inside the ship...??? Was it constructed with it, was it infiltrated, is it a cylon???
Finally... was this a plan that Cavil had come up with months ago when Ellen showed up? To push her buttons in order to get Boomer back onto Galactica? Talk about perserverance through a long plan.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 12:45am (UTC -5)
Anyway, stellar episode... I've never really cared about music on TV or movies before Battlestar Galactica. Now, I find myself analyzing it as a fully breathing and essential part to any episode. Bear McCreary is a genius.
I'm ready for some action now, though. Here's hoping "Daybreak" has an epic final confrontation with the bad-Cylons.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 12:51am (UTC -5)
I am interested in why you gave it 3.5 stars. You wrote this as a 4 star review, in my opinion.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 12:59am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 1:28am (UTC -5)
excruciatingly dull 45 minutes of an episode that felt, like last week, mostly unnecessary beyond a final act that sets up the next episode.
Looking back, I think the writers struggled to fill out the twenty episodes of season 4 and had they cut out a lot of the lesser episodes they could have come rather close to wrapping up the show last year and would have made for a much more tightly written and focused arc.
I could have done without Baltar's cult, for instance, from the beginning since it hasn't been interesting at all. I didn't need to see repeated scenes of welding last week. And this episode was way too slow in the beginning and middle passages. Maybe the point was to show how monotonous life has become in the fleet. If so it did its job a little too well since I was bored and found my attention wandering.
Nothing interesting yet again was done with the Final Five. None of the remaining three seemed interested in getting Ellen whose memories were
completely restored when she downloaded to fill in the blanks that Anders couldn't now that he was in a coma. And one week of Anders in a coma to prolong advancing the story is annoying but two episodes in a row is aggravating--a soap opera staple.
For a brief moment, for the first time in the episode I was drawn in with the projection that I initially thought was more flashbacks to Tyrol's life on Earth instead of a life that might be coming from Boomer. Romances on this show have never sparked any investment into them on my behalf with the exception of Roslin and Adama. So like Caprica/Tighe/Ellen last week did not interest me in the least I was not at all moved by the show revisiting Boomer/Tyrol.
I guess it was my fault for thinking this might have been the definitive mythology episode for Starbuck based on last week's preview. I freely admit that for quite some time now the mythology of the series has kept me as a viewer. After mid season two my interest has fluctuated and I've felt the series has been all over the place.
I had some hope for the last season but I have to say I've been rather unimpressed except for the occasional episode here or there. I expected something more akin to DS9's Final Chapter-an exciting thrill ride for two months of a series building to an exciting climax conclusion with a lot of ground to cover. Instead it has felt like a worn out series stumbling to the finish line with tepid and lethargic storytelling grasping for ideas alternating between episodes that build momentum and episodes that do their best at halting it.
For me it seems like the writers didn't know what to do with the extra episodes and have stumbled towards the finish line.
This episode did pick up steam towards the end with the series of revelations and more set-up--the music becoming recognizable as
"All Along the Watchtower", the Five coming to her puzzled in the bar, Starbuck realizing it was her father and he is no longer there(an entity perhaps), Boomer double crossing Tyrol and kidnaping Hera for Cavil for some unknown purpose(at first I thought she was sent to snatch the Five to help Cavil rebuild the hub--I think the reason Cavil has not engaged the fleet is due to no resurrection hub), her jumping near the Galactica causing serious damage to an already fragile vessel, the ravages of Roslin's disease hinting at the end.
Moore made it sound that ending the show after four seasons would be a perfect fit to the
remaining material they had but as last season and especially these last few episodes demonstrate I think he seriously miscalculated.
My two favorite episodes this season were "The Oath" and "No Exit". I don't think anyone is saying interesting revelations are necessary for an episode to be considered good or entertaining. Same goes for action. But I just can't say that the other episodes that have focused on characters have been that compelling.
I haven't enjoyed Baltar this season. The cult storyline is a wash even if it salvaged for these last episodes in some way. I thought "The Disquiet..." was pure character but was boring. The character scenes such as with the Five we saw tonite in the bar were underwhelming. I didn't find the Starbuck/father scenes to be that probing or riveting. It is the same sort of "daddy issues" that has become a cliche. And seeing them try to compose a song and her talk of a father, who I think was mentioned once or twice back in season two, did nothing for me.
Also at this stage in the game the writers have held out on us for years for the big revelations that are an important part of the show and it seems they are going to hold onto them until the very end literally which again isn't a problem necessarily if the other material in the interim was worthwhile. And frankly it just hasn't been up to par.
As far as what Starbuck is--all of you could be right about her cylon heritage but I see some problems with it. I've always thought, although I could be wrong, that she was resurrected by a supernatural force--the third party orchestrating this. Sort of like Sisko and the Prophets.
I just don't know about the Cylon theory. And if she were a resurrected Cylon where did she resurrect? Can any Cylon resurrect? Well only the Five resurrected on their ship and none of the others on Earth did? The Cylons could have some of Starbuck's genetic material from the experiments on "The Farm" but if they didn't know she was a Cylon why make copies of her in case she downloads? How could it account for the obsession from last season to find Earth.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 1:46am (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 2:42am (UTC -5)
As always, the rating scale is an imprecise thing. It do what it do.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 4:42am (UTC -5)
Like many others, I felt 'Deadlock' was a mess that seemed to contradict the development of the characters, and I have to say that I'm a bit concerned that time is running out for a satisfactory conclusion to many of the threads in BSG.
Certainly 'Notion' and 'Oath' have been 4 stars, and I hope that the finale lives up to the promise in these 2 hours of TV.
A few questions that I wonder about: What happened to the 'Earth Cylons' that destroyed the 13th tribe? (or do I have that bit wrong?)
Where have the 'Colonial Cylons' been between the wars, and how do the new humanoid cylons relate to the centurions (maybe this is where the series is headed?)
Lastly - if we follow the direction that 'All that has happened, will happen again' then we'll have invisible Vipers and flying motorbikes. :) (But at least Starbuck will have one good episode)
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 5:17am (UTC -5)
Anyway on this episode:
I was struck by something I say mentioned on another website about this revelation of Kara being interested in her fathers piano playing. Not only does it point to why Kara is so desperately unhappy with life (because she was forced into choosing the career of her mother by circumstance, rather than her fathers career which she clearly really loves) but it also sheds new disturbing light on a throwaway line from 'The Farm' where we find out Kara was abused by her mother who broke her fingers. On its own, thats really disturbing, but this hints that her mother carried out this abuse because Kara perhaps continued her piano playing after her father abandoned her mother, which so angered her mother that well...you get the rest. Whether or not the writers intended this, it fits so well, it just gives so much more insight into her backstory too.
I must also say that your opening paragraph summed up for me why I think "quiet" non-revelatory episodes such as this which are nearly 90% character are so much more important for this show that something like No Exit, which whilst filled with 'answers', was ultimately nothing else.
When we're all rewatching this series years down the line, we'll all be deeply aware of every shock and twist that the story is going to throw at us, so whats really going to count and give BSG rewatchability and a timeless quality is episodes which focus on exploring character and issues and emotions, not unravelling plots. Thats just my opinion anyway, and its why I can't understand when people complain that a certain episode didn't have enough of the mythology in it.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 5:21am (UTC -5)
Love the lingering Boomer and Tryol romance. The more I think about it - the more Tyrol resembles Chief O'Brien from DS9 (especially in that Twilight Zone like episode where it turned out that he was a spy - similar to Tyrol's Cylon revelation).
I believe Roslin is finally dead - otherwise the whole dying leader premise would have been false. Can't wait until next week,
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 5:38am (UTC -5)
I enjoyed the second half of this episode, and the crescendo it reached in the final few moments, but I too feel culling bits from recent episodes (and consequently dropping the episode count in this season by a few) would have resulted in a more engaging story arc.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 7:43am (UTC -5)
1. In Tyrol's mind, when he was helping Boomer escape, where exactly was he helping her escape to? At least in his mind, she couldn't go back to Cavil since she had betrayed him and would suffer his wrath. She can't live in the ship forever, as she need O2 just like anyone else (as established in the webisodes). Where exactly did he think she was going to go?
2. Why didn't Tyrol go with her? He had to know that his switcheroo would ultimately be discovered, and that he would be suspect #1, #2 and #3 (he had just been groveling before the president to release her...who ELSE is going to help her get out?).
Once he decided to help her escape, that just would seem like it would be a game-ender in terms of him and the Colonials. Why wouldn't he want to go with his long-lost love to wherever she was going and try to carve out the life that they had always dreamed of? Just last episode, he voted to ditch the fleet without a moment's thought....so it's not like he has some kind of binding ties to his life there.
Again, overall I loved the tone, editing, acting, story, etc. But can someone give me some help in terms of the characters' motivations with the questions above?
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 8:56am (UTC -5)
Personally, I loved this episode. This has never been an action show. it's a drama that happens to have a lot of action in it. I don't need explosions all the way up to Daybreak pt 2. Whatever's going to happen is going to happen, and I'm along for the ride.
I bought this episode 100% and from a pure tech standpoint, I think the ascending birds-eye view camera shot above the piano is one of the most beautifully composed shots I have ever seen on television. Combined with the music and Tigh's reaction, best BSG moment ever.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 8:59am (UTC -5)
1. I figured he thought she was probably just going to fend for herself, a better position than the sure death she'd face if she stayed?
2. I don't think he really wants to abandon the fleet so much as be with the other Five, leaving with Boomer would be as bad as sticking around on Galactica if the other 4 were leaving.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 9:51am (UTC -5)
Jammer - I missed the Opera House reference. Excellent. (It took me long enough to figure out that the title of the recording was "Three Songs" Thrace.)
Anders - any chance he is "fusing" or "downlaoding" into the organic material that makes up the ship?
I don't think Laura can be dead because she hasn't yet figured out the meaning of the Opera House. (How come Caprica Six wasn't affected to the same extent by Hera's disappearance?)
Helo - Sharon may not have been "herself", but with everything that has been going on in the fleet, I suspect that everyone has been moody and a little "off." Since Helo had no reason to think otherwise, he probably assumed she was having a bad day.
Regarding "All Along the Watch Tower"
The current Kara isn't the original Kara, so it's possible the the song was introduced as part of her new programming.
On the other hand, if Daniel was her Dad "someone" probably knew about him life on Caprica and his half Cylon daughter. Kara may have been programmed to introduce the tune into Galactica (the raiders, as opposed to the toasters or most of the skin jobs, seem to be "in the know" about the final 5 - maybe something happened when she captured that Raider.)
"whoever" got Daniel to Caprica (?) probably knew about his human/cylon hybrid daughter. The ovary that was removed may have been used to create other copies of Kara. (Which side would this/these individuals be on?)
For some reason, the process of working out the tune in this episode kept reminding me of recurring melodic theme in "Close Encounters."
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 10:39am (UTC -5)
Hey..it could happen.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
But then they come back with a fantastic character based story like this one. Those are always the best episodes of BSG. Kara is great as a broken person, and this episode is another great chapter in her story.
I am OK if Kara ends up being half-cylon. Maybe that is what makes her the harbinger of death. Cylons also seem drawn to each other, which explains on why she keeps going back to Anders instead of moving on.
I was tounched by the life Boomer showed Tyrol. So I felt as betrayed as the cheif when I realized what Boomer was doing with Hera. and I doubt I was alone in yelling "Don't do it Helo" at the screen. In many ways Boomer seems to be the "evil twin" of Athena.
The comparisons with DS9's final chapter are unfair. DS9 was completing a story about a war. BSG is telling a story about survival and dispair. If all the remaining episodes had such strong character stories, would not care if I ever saw another space battle.
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 12:37pm (UTC -5)
I was also left with the same question: if the piano player is supposed to be her father, why didn't Kara recognise him? She would have been old enough to remember him, judging by the flashbacks (in which I note they were careful not to show him, only her). So did he look different? OK, so on the tape cassette, he's a lot older - but surely you'd recognise your dad whatever age he was? And it wouldn't make much sense if he was a white-haired old guy when he fathered her. That doesn't quite add up for me, and I hope it'll be dealt with in some fashion.
Other than that, a BRILLIANT episode which I'd also place on the cusp of 3.5 and 4 stars (though ultimately nearer to 3.5). Weddle and Thompson delivered another great character episode, and I thought the direction was brilliant, particularly in the scene where we see Boomer and Helo from Athena's blurred perspective through the crack in the door. Roark Critchlow was perfectly cast and struck exactly the right note, and Katee Sackhoff was once again outstanding - as were Aaron Douglas and Grace Park. What really made this episode work so beautifully, though, was the brilliant score, the use of the piano music throughout, tying everything together. The whole episode flowed like a symphony, and I found the scenes where the the piano flowed over into the Boomer/Tyrol storyline particularly effective - the abduction and escape, and the tragic final scene where Tyrol returns to the empty projection.
One other question: we haven't really been shown how and why Boomer suddenly became such a villain. She was a highly sympathetic character right up until her assassination - so plagued by her fear of being a Cylon that she attempted suicide. And when resurrected, she and Caprica attempted to convince the Cylons the human genocide had been a mistake - apparently to little avail. Since then, we've hardly seen her apart from a few cameos, notably in "Rapture" - and suddenly her identity and allegiance are 100% Cylon. Is she trying to find her new place in the world by being as Cylon as she possibly can? Driven by resentment towards her former friends on Galactica and towards Athena, who replaced her in every way? All of this is perfectly conceivable, we just haven't been shown it. Maybe Boomer is going through different psychological stages - after her horror at being resurrected and initial "denial" stage, maybe the only way she can cope with who she is is by rejecting everything human and fully embracing her Cylon side. It's all a result of the trauma caused by being a sleeper agent - I wonder if we'll find out that Cavil set her up like this? In many ways, she's the show's biggest victim - and I fully believe that she genuinely loves Tyrol, despite using him like that. Can't wait to see what happens next.
Nolan: about Boomer being one of Tyrol's "children" - I think we can ignore everything that happened in "Deadlock", it was basically a piece of crap...
One final thought: I also hope Tory's pragmatic airlocking of Cally will be revealed to the others and addressed as a plot point. Please don't let this be forgotten!
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
Why does Rosalin have to be the dieing leader? Why can't it be Galatica?
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
"Drei lide" means "threee eyelids", not "three songs". That would be "Drei Liede". So what does "Three eyelids" mean?
According to BSG Wiki:
'The name 'Dreilide' is German for 'three eyelids' ('drei Lide') and refers to the inner (third) eyelid, regarded as the gateway to the soul and realms of higher consciousness. The third eye is often associated with visions, clairvoyance, precognition, and out-of-body experiences, and people who have allegedly developed the capacity to use their third eyes are sometimes known as seers."
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 3:23pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 3:42pm (UTC -5)
I don't know what Dreilide is supposed to mean, or how it's even supposed to be pronounced. Maybe they were going for the "three songs"/"drei Lieder" idea, or maybe it's an anagram of something. After all, it does contain the word "riddle". In fact, "Dreilide Thrace" = "A heretic riddle"...
(although it's also an anagram of "Retreaded Chili", so I wouldn't read too much significance into that. "Retreaded Chili", however, would make a great band name.)
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 6:46pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Mar 6, 2009, 11:20pm (UTC -5)
The second time Tyrol and Boomer go into their house and Tyrol sees the marks and goes and sees his daughter... intercut with the chief's real facial expressions... it's one of the most emotional beats in the show, for me at least.
And then when the piano song suddenly clearly becomes All Along the Watchtower... just wow. Didn't see it coming, and yet it came so naturally. And Bear McCreary... great score as usual. This moment I think ranks almost alongside the Galactica New Caprica atmo jump and the ending of Crossroads 2. Very well done.
Sat, Mar 7, 2009, 1:39am (UTC -5)
McCreary wrote in his blog that Ronald D. Moore's originally wanted it to be the Dylan composition, but this proved to be a problem because a) the song doesn't lend itself to piano very well, and b) it's not a type of melodically complex song that would be easily recognizable on Hera's drawing.
Sat, Mar 7, 2009, 5:49am (UTC -5)
Roger Ebert, in a recent book he wrote containing 4-star reviews he had awarded for films made between 1967-2007, wrote something in the introduction - something about what it means to be a successful writer.
As Roger was getting his career as a film critic started, he recounts, he was given some advice by a newspaperman: "Don't write the first sentence unless you know how the last sentence will read."
This episode is a haunting embodiement of that advice in action - the episode gives itself the space, the time and the breathing room to tell a multi-layered story where events build upon each other instead of randomly piling upon each other, such that when we get to the end, we can see how and why we arrived there. Just beautiful.
Sat, Mar 7, 2009, 10:11pm (UTC -5)
Anyone have any idea who left him this note or why it seemed to trouble him so much?? Will it play into these final shows??
Just thought I'd ask.
Sat, Mar 7, 2009, 11:56pm (UTC -5)
Second, I think Adama might've been troubled by the fact that some person snuck into his quarters, I mean, who knows what dirty mags he might've left lying around.:P
Third, I personally think it was Baltar, and that was in fact the way it was supposed to be, but during editing it became more ambiguous, and the show runners decided they liked it better that way. As for if it becomes more important in these last episodes, I don't know, but I doubt it myself.
Sun, Mar 8, 2009, 5:15am (UTC -5)
Sun, Mar 8, 2009, 7:16am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 9, 2009, 1:55am (UTC -5)
That my friend, is why this show will never be considered an all time great in my eyes. Too many of these WTF happened to that, moments.
Mon, Mar 9, 2009, 1:59am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 9, 2009, 3:24am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 9, 2009, 6:34am (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 9, 2009, 8:35pm (UTC -5)
That list, okay so we think it came from Baltar. Why didnt Adama raise an eyebrow as to how the person that left the note knew that. Or how he got into the Commander's quarters.
That goes along with all the unexplained nonsense from the mutiny. There was some stuff on New Caprica that went completely ignored.
Id have to rewatch the series in its entirety to find out more.
Mon, Mar 9, 2009, 10:06pm (UTC -5)
Mon, Mar 9, 2009, 11:55pm (UTC -5)
And I've seen a lot of shows. And I've tried to find new "favorite shows" (like Mad Men), only to find them trailing BSG by miles.
Tue, Mar 10, 2009, 3:19am (UTC -5)
Tue, Mar 10, 2009, 9:52am (UTC -5)
No show, no matter how good can ever cover every plot thread to conclusion, because truely the show never could end. Each consequence would lead to more consequences and more threads and so an and so forth.
Honestly, once the show is over, I'm not going to care much about what I didn't learn. I'm going to be more sad that these characters who we've all come to know and love just won't be around anymore. sadface
Awww, now I've gone and gotten all BSG sappy.
Tue, Mar 10, 2009, 10:30am (UTC -5)
As good as BSG is (and it is very good -- among the best TV series ever to air), I don't think it tops The Wire.
However, something like 'favourite' is entirely, entirely subjective. BSG is my favourite show because I love science fiction and I feel like BSG is the show I have been waiting years for. But I do still think The Wire is the 'best' show on TV, specifically in terms of its structuring, narrative drive (very few bumps in the road, if any, and absolutely no one off episodes whatsoever) and ability to seemingly capture the ENTIRE city of Baltimore in fiction. James Joyce one said that he wrote 'Ulysses' in such a way that if Dublin was ever wiped off the face of the earth, one could reconstruct it all over again using his book. I would argue that The Wire does a very similar thing for Baltimore.
Tue, Mar 10, 2009, 2:05pm (UTC -5)
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Fri, Mar 13, 2009, 4:56am (UTC -5)
Sorry for the additional knitpicking, but the plural of 'lid' in German is 'Lider', not 'Lide'. I guess that corroborates Niall's belief that it probably was not to mean three eyelids. But Niall, I'd go and reserve www.retreadedchili.com just in case ;)
Thu, Apr 9, 2009, 11:59pm (UTC -5)
All of which would seem to tie into the unspoken possibility that Kara has actually been the first hybrid all along. Which makes it all the more ironic that they tried to use her to make a hybrid way back in "The Farm."
Tue, Oct 19, 2010, 4:44pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 22, 2011, 6:09am (UTC -5)
Sun, Jul 24, 2011, 12:03am (UTC -5)
Tue, Sep 20, 2011, 8:19am (UTC -5)
Back to this marvelous episode, WOW, what a breath of fresh air, that is what I felt the whole way through, characterization, arcs, moral decisions, BAD moral decisions, Aaron Douglass acting when he realizedx what happened. This episode blew me away, I don't care that it was slow, THIS is why I watch this series. Characters making decisions, for right or wrong. I am just pretending Deadlock is not cannon, and never happened. Argue the merits all you want, but "someone to watch over me" is a much more well done episode, and it is obvious from the 1st five minutes.
As to the point about The piano player being pr "representing" her dad. I think I am going to side with the "being" her dad folks. For one thing, I don't think it is established that she DIDN'T know from the beginning. She was remarkeably coy with him from the beginning, and didn't seem that surprised with the reveal. Plus, i don't think the writers (Not Esponsen) were trying to hide what was going on. that is what makes it so marvelous, no games, you new what you were getting when you sat down to watch.
Sat, Dec 3, 2011, 9:22am (UTC -5)
I HATED the scenes of Kara, the pianist, her reminiscences, and whatever symbolism any/all of it was supposed to have. Watching Kara drink cocktails at a protracted soiree is not why I tune in to B.S.G. I also don't care about her character enough--not anymore, at any rate--to care what goes on in her head or in her heart. What ON EARTH OR WIDER was the value of the guy playing the piano declaiming about his marital problems?!?!? That there are parallels to be drawn between him and Kara's father? She's carrying a lot of emotional baggage from when he abandoned her mom and her? Hey, newsflash: Who GIVES a !@#$%?! Will she play the piano, won't she play the piano, I'll play if you play, I can't play - you please play... - SOMEONE JUST PLAY THE F**KING PIANO!!!!
I know some of you are big on "character development," but we have only a handful of episodes left and I want to see how the STORY ends, not how the characters "develop" or deal with their childhood traumas.
The situation with Boomer was far more interesting. Now there are cracks within the non-Cavil cylon faction, and I was disturbed to see that not being resolved or made to evolve in any significant way.
The Boomer/Athena part was done very, very well; especially Athena's tangible anguish upon finding Helo. Tyrol's shock... - amazing. The final five minutes of the show were awesome; I wish so much time had not been wasted on Kara and her effing piano, plus more weirdness with Hera's musical score and Anders' brain waves.
Two stars. Barely.
Thu, Dec 8, 2011, 10:17am (UTC -5)
I honestly don't care whether or not "Slick" was a representation of her father or not, I don't think that was the point. He was there, he helped her come to terms with her new self. That's all that mattered. An interesting tidbit is that series composer Bear McCreary was actually asked to audition for the role.
Although I didn’t much enjoy it on its own, I’m now glad I watched 'The Plan' after “No Exit” because seeing her ‘real’ self during the first two seasons actually helped me understand her (unseen) transformation in season 3.
Mon, Dec 19, 2011, 10:37am (UTC -5)
Sat, Jan 21, 2012, 1:03pm (UTC -5)
Like many others, I started watching this series on Netflix long after the series first aired. I feel spoiled for being able to watch the series in a matter of months rather than years, and without the hiatuses and season-to-season waits.
Many others have said it before; I'll say it again: Kudos and many thanks to Jammer for creating and maintaining this website and contributing his well-written reviews. Having run a few sites myself (though not on the scale of what Jammer has here), I know how time-consuming it can be, and how it can indeed consume oneself.
Though I initially came to this site for Jammer's reviews and treated the comments after each review as afterthoughts, as time went on I came to appreciate (and look forward to reading) the comments almost as much as the reviews. As others have noted, it's a real credit to the commenters here who have collectively managed to approach things rather civilly overall.
I was hooked on this show from the time I watched the pilot/miniseries. It didn't take long for me to recognize the series is truly five-star (using the Netflix rating system). The writing, production, characterization, etc. are better than the great majority of other fare on television. That said, I agree there have been some disappointing episodes. Even those, however, are above-average compared to what else is out there on TV. So far I don't believe Jammer has rated any episode below two stars on his four-star scale; I would agree with that assessment, though I know a few commenters have noted a small number of episodes they would have rated lower.
Regarding "Someone to Watch Over Me," I agree to an extent with Joe H's comment above (dating back to 3/6/09) that the first part of the episode seemed to be dragging, like "Deadlock." Once it became clear what Boomer was up to, though, things turned around in a hurry. The fact that Jammer gave this episode three and a half stars (which I agree with) perhaps reflects how powerful the last part of the episode was, and how even better the episode as a whole could have been.
I suppose to get the payoff in the latter part of the episode, however, some set-up is needed. The set-up could have been executed better though. I enjoyed the humor in Michael's comment about how the piano sequences were done ("SOMEONE JUST PLAY ..."). Even though I've disagreed with many of Michael's comments, I appreciate his voice of dissent (and perhaps the fact he's apparently been watching these episodes closer to the time I've been watching them), because his perspective has actually helped keep me grounded, watching these episodes with a more critical eye.
Anyway, looking forward to the last four episodes. Having watched Lost as it aired and comparing how that show handled its characters, plot, action, and mythology with how this show has done so, I think there's no comparison. Battlestar Galactica has done a much better job of development, exposition, and explanation than Lost. Room for improvement? Sure, but overall I'm very impressed and believe this show easily ranks as one of the best in the history of television. Hopefully the last four episodes won't disappoint ....
Sat, Mar 31, 2012, 5:05am (UTC -5)
Sun, Aug 12, 2012, 7:16pm (UTC -5)
Anyway, as to the episode - GREAT! Beautiful stuff. I wouldn't put it among the *absolute* best of BSG episodes, but still very good, haunting and thoughtful.
Sun, Aug 12, 2012, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
I re-read my earlier comment above and remembered the feeling I had when drawn in to BSG, watching every episode in sequence on Netflix with my family.
For anyone who misses the "feel" of BSG and would like to rekindle your love of the series, I heartily recommend something I picked up last Thursday and experienced for the first time today -- Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. It's ranked #21 of over 1000 games, and #7 of all thematic games, on Board Game Geek. Those are hard-core gamers over there, so if they rate it so high, you know it must be good.
Even if games aren't usually your thing, if you try this game once you'll be hooked just like you were on the series. It is on the more complex side, but also very intuitively designed and easy to follow (and get absorbed in) once you get rolling.
I played on the human team and won with my wife and daughter. My son outed himself as a Cylon when we figured out it had to be him, and the early reveal made it hard for him to stop us.
I wanted to share my experience with others because I still have fond memories of watching this show.
Wed, Oct 24, 2012, 5:24am (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 5, 2013, 7:24am (UTC -5)
Thu, Sep 5, 2013, 7:32am (UTC -5)
Mon, Jan 13, 2014, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Dr Mike Horton from Days of our Lives is Starbuck's father? Whoda thunk it? :)
Fri, Jul 25, 2014, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
I see it differently. Athena would never act like Boomer. That shows how individual they are. Free will, and all.
Are we any different? I think not.
Sun, Apr 30, 2017, 10:58pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 10, 2017, 1:22am (UTC -5)
Thu, Aug 10, 2017, 9:21am (UTC -5)
Fri, Nov 1, 2019, 10:35pm (UTC -5)
Poor, poor Boomer. But poor Athena too, having to witness her frakking her husband before stealing her progeny. Nobody gets their shit pushed in like those two.
Fri, Nov 1, 2019, 10:41pm (UTC -5)
Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 7:34pm (UTC -5)
Not a wasted scene, and perfectly acted across the board.
Kara suddenly playing All Along the Watchtower is one of those moments I wish I could watch again for the first time.
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 4:39pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Apr 23, 2021, 3:15pm (UTC -5)
Fri, Oct 8, 2021, 5:23pm (UTC -5)
Sat, Oct 9, 2021, 6:30am (UTC -5)
Tue, May 30, 2023, 8:04pm (UTC -5)
Did I forget skin jobs can project memories onto each other? I suppose it's fair that an FTL jump can cause damage to something in close proximity -- but it always seemed like the ships in the fleet were quite close to each other when they all jumped... Anyhow, Boomer comes across as manipulative and pure evil.
But the significance of Boomer's act should be paramount as she's a wanted Cylon and Roslin feels the loss of Hera. So the gruntwork (Tyrol visiting Boomer in the brig, the visions of their house) put in here should pay off in a subsequent episode.
So who is this mysterious piano man like a father figure who knows all the right things to say to Kara? Just a very good vision of Kara's? It's another one of these BSG conceits in a Kara self-discovery sub-plot, which is a bit overdue (it has to be said) given what Kara found on Earth. But it feels like BSG has had its fair share of "messed up Kara" episodes.
What was cool is how Hera drew the notes for the Cylon song that Kara already knew as a child. So there's got to be a good connection between Kara and the Cylons...Kara's deadbeat dad a Cylon?
2.5 stars for "Someone to Watch Over Me" -- had the piano just like the VOY episode (which was superior for me). I can appreciate this type of BSG episode in its way of character analysis and Sackhoff puts in another fine performance, but they aren't my favorite. What are the rules of the game and what did Kara learn here? Will we see the piano man vision again? Boomer's little escapade should make the humans think further on how dangerous Cylons can be even with all the trust now with the rebel ones.
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