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Max Udargo
Tue, Jun 1, 2010, 4:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S1: Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down

I thought the "screwball" mix-up comedy scene in Baltar's lab was near perfect, because it was such a surreal, dark, even chilling joke. In my mind, the scene referenced the comment Adama had made in an earlier episode about Baltar making fools of the leadership. And in this scene, indeed, we see Baltar doing just that: exculpating Ellen before ultimately drifting off into his fantasy world with that deranged smile on his face while around him the people responsible for the continued survival of the human race argue and wave their hands over their petty grievances and paranoid suspicions.

But it's really the Cylons who are in control and orchestrating everything. And the last, tattered, confused, divided, recriminating remains of humanity swirl around a grinning madman lost in an out-of-control masturbation fantasy.

The scene is both funny and creepy. It shows us just how easily the Cylons can tap into human foibles and lead humanity around by the nose.

By the way, I've only seen through the end of the first season, an I'm assuming that Ellen is in fact a Cylon. She has to be.
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Max Udargo
Tue, Jun 1, 2010, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S1: You Can't Go Home Again

I had trouble with this episode because I couldn't accept Adama's complete failure of emotional discipline. Once the clock had run out on Starbuck's oxygen supply, it was completely irrational to continue the search. For Adama to continue risking all 50,000 remaining human lives for his "daughter" should have completely discredited him, even after she miraculously turned up alive.

I wish they had given Adama some rationale for what he was doing, some justification for why it was worth the risk other than his own personal feelings. Perhaps by expanding on the "we'd never leave" scene with Lee, which was powerful but also seemed out of character for Adama, they could have had him somehow explain that he fears he will not be able to remain a solid and resolute commander if he has to bear the loss of what he considers another child, and that losing Starbuck could be a final straw that causes him to unravel, which he feels will cause the thread-bare, stressed, mangled military structure he holds together by sheer force of will to unravel with him. I know I'm stretching, but I felt like we needed to see Adama justifying his actions with some sort of rationalization, rather than "frak it, I'm looking out for me and mine and the rest of you can go to hell." Why would anybody not a part of his immediate family trust him after that?

And it makes him look like quite a hypocrite later when he throws President Roslin in the brig because she wants to divert valuable military resources to pursue her religiously-inspired vision of finding Earth. Apparently Adama's is the only heart worth following with irrational abandon.

Also, I had trouble with the idea of Starbuck flying the Cylon ship, as some others obviously did. It reminded me of some old Star Trek episode where a spacecraft is supposed to be completely automated, run by computers, but it still has a bridge with chairs and consoles with buttons and lights. Why would there be an interface for a "driver" if the ship itself is a self contained organism? It's like suggesting that you could remove my brain and you would find levers and pedals at the base of my skull which would allow you to actuate my arms and legs and walk me across the room.

The episode wasn't terrible, and it had some emotional weight, but it was a poor follow up to "Act of Contrition," and not a worthy wrap-up of the issue raised between Starbuck and Adama.

I don't like when characters act in ways that make no sense for the character, but only make sense from the perspective of manufacturing drama and advancing a plot. This episode did this with more characters than any other I can remember from the first season. Although, as far as I can tell, the Cylon in Baltar's head usually pushes him in completely random directions depending on the needs of the plot, sometimes seeming to help the humans, other times undermining them. I know her motives are supposed to be inscrutable but ultimately diabolical, but I have the nagging suspicion they are simply episodically plot-driven.
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Max Udargo
Tue, Jun 1, 2010, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S1: Bastille Day

"There's a difference between complex and muddled, and Zarek it the latter, not the former."

Yes, that's the distinction I was looking for when trying to understand why I didn't care for this character or the story built around him. He wasn't complex, morally ambiguous, or conflicted as much as he was just muddled.

For example, one minute he's happily anticipating dying as a martyr in a hail of bullets, because he knows a rescue operation is underway and that it will likely result in a bloodbath; then the next moment his little heart is breaking because he's shocked to discover criminal behavior among his fellow prisoners has resulted in bloodshed, forcing him to reevaluate his whole life.

Like you, I wish they had spent more time filling in some of the details of his politics and history, and giving us a more consistent picture of a conflicted man trying to reconcile idealism with necessity. I think Richard Hatch would have been up to it and it could have been a more interesting character and, by extension, a more interesting story.
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