Last night on Battlestar Galactica: More chit-chat than I thought was humanly (robotically?) possible to cram into 40 minutes of TV. The good part? All of the stuff they were talking about was awesome. And John Hodgman was there too!
Spoilers, hits and misses, and a place to sound off, all after the jump.
I've been thinking about this over the past few episodes, but last night's show really sealed the deal: It's pretty goddamn impressive that Battlestar Galactica has managed to shift its focal points (and even its protagonists) to the degree that it has. Admittedly, it hasn't always been a smooth transition, but there's still something to be said for a show that started off with robots trying to destroy humanity but then, a few years later, is able to devote entire episodes to the inner workings of those robots' society and history—and still have the show be just as entertaining and smart as it was to begin with.
And this episode was more or less all about that Cylon stuff—even when it kicked to drama onboard Galactica, said drama was almost wholly dependent on what else we could learn about the Cylons from Anders, or about how Cylon technology could be used to help repair the seriously busted Galactica.
Things I liked about this episode:
Cavil vs. Ellen In a Bickering Match to the Death! I feel like BSG's writers are starting to feel the crunch of only having a few episodes left—if I'm really critical about it, I feel like this episode was like a CliffsNotes version of stuff they wish they'd had time to show rather than tell. Starting off when Ellen was resurrected after Tigh poisoned her, "No Exit" then kept track of where Ellen has been this whole time. Unluckily for her, it looks like she's been trapped alone in a room where Cavil will occasionally swing by to be a jerk. Luckily for us, this version of Ellen is about 800 times less annoying and pointless than she was pre-resurrection, and Cavil is always awesome, so hearing the two of them spar over the point of existence and the creation of organic, "human" Cylons was excellent. (And maybe I'm crazy here, but did anybody else get a weird William Shatner vibe from Cavil doing his whole rant about how much he hates his "prehensile paws" and "ridiculous gelatinous orbs"?) Something else that I couldn't quite figure out but maybe somebody out there did: Does anybody else suspect that, unlike Tigh and Chief and Anders and Tory, maybe Ellen knew the whole time who (or what) she really was?
Everything we learned about the Cylons. Again, I wish we could've seen more of this rather than just being told about it, but so it goes when you've only got a few episodes left, I guess. I'm going to admit that relativity always confuses the fuck out of me, so somebody's gonna have to explain to me how the whole "we traveled at relativistic but sub-luminal speed" thing works, but all in all, finding out more about what makes certain Cylons different from other ones was pretty fascinating stuff, and (so far, at least) the answers we're being given about the Cylons' history are holding together in a more cohesive and less cheap way than I was afraid they might.
OMG, Six and Tigh are soooooo cute! Cutest couple ever! Waaaay cuter than Adama and Roslin, just because seriously, did you see how excited Tigh got when they were talking about buying a crib?! Awww.
John Hodgman! When I interviewed Hodgman a few months ago, I made him talk to me about Battlestar, because I am a nerd and he is a nerd and that is what nerds do—they talk to each other about Battlestar Galactica. Here's more or less all he told me about his role:
It is not me pressing a button and saying "Aye aye," but it is not a pivotal role. I believe my role is comprised of lines another character would have said if they did not have an obligation to put me in there.
Yeah, that sounds about right. But they did let him be funny, which was great, and they did give him more screen time than I thought they would, and his appearance was one of the more memorable moments so far this season. Plus, he played a doctor, and kind of a terrible one, and I like that Ronald D. Moore apparently has something against everyone in the medical profession: Either Cottle is smoking around his patients and being a dick to them, or Hodgman's acting all dorky and oblivious while talking about yanking bullets out of peoples' heads, or that one really bitchy nurse at the end of this episode is interrupting Starbuck's sweet monologue to Anders with a brusque, "Don't bother. Your husband, who you conveniently started to give a shit about again once he got shot in the head, is like totally braindead, so you're totally wasting your time." If I was ever on Galactica and got sick, I'm pretty sure the last place I'd ever want to go is their sickbay.
Roslin handing over power to Lee. And doing so in the blood-splattered, bullet-riddled room where the Quorum got blasted to shit, no less. "So... you're still really sick, and the fleet is super fragile from the failed coup, and we found out Earth is a shithole, and Galactica is literally coming apart at the seams, and now is when you want me to do all the 'heavy lifting' of the presidency? Hey, thanks, Laura. Thanks a lot. Great timing. Really appreciate it."
Stuff that wasn't so great:
Boomer hanging around in the background every time Cavil and Ellen talked, more or less obviously just standing there for no other reason than to inevitably save Ellen from Cavil at the end of the episode. They could've at least pretended to make it a little less obvious what was going to happen.
The hints about "Daniel" and "the colony." "They destroyed the hub, but they don't even know about the colony," Cavil says to Ellen at one point, and there's also talk of "Daniel," AKA "Seven"—a heretofore unseen Cylon who Cavil decided he didn't like and killed off, which made Ellen all sad. “I know what you did to Daniel. Daniel was an artist. So sensitive to the world," Ellen says. "I was very close to him.”
So in other words, there are 13 Cylons, not 12—which, frankly, feels like a pretty cheap, last-minute rewrite of the show's mythology or whatever, but okay, I'll bite, mostly because this stuff sounds intriguing, and I really want to know what it's all about. Which is kind of the problem: I don't want to be teased with this stuff, I just want to know what it is. Battlestar's a good enough show that it doesn't need to rely on half-hints and allusions to unknown quantities in order to string the audience along, and when they do, it's usually a disappointment (coughcoughELLEN), and if I wanted vague references without any sort of emotional payoff, I'd watch Lost. Anyway, we'll see where this goes; there is, of course, the Biblical business, and SyFy Portal has some kinda goofy other theories, too, and I've rounded up some likely candidates as to who could be this Seven/Daniel:
Admit it: That last one kind of makes sense.