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Battlestar Galactica “Water”/ “Bastille Day” Review (1×02/1×03)

23 May

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WATER–Season 1, Episode 2

This is Grace Park’s episode right from the opening shot, one of water dripping from her hands that effectively sets the mood for the rest of the episode. There’s an ominous, unsettling feeling throughout, and what makes this episode so impressive is the fact the the tension is derived not from the idea of a ticking bomb, but rather the idea of a ticking person: Boomer.

The camerawork captures first her confusion, then the escalating fear that culminates in an excellent, suspenseful scene during a Raptor scouting mission. Park’s able to convey the struggle through merely her facial expressions, and when it’s all said and done, we really feel for Boomer because the situation itself is unexpectedly heartbreaking: yes, she ‘s able to overcome her inner Cylon, but the thing is, she doesn’t exactly know it. This also brings up some intriguing questions about the Cylons and their tech.

What I love about this episode is that it focuses on a very simple idea: water. On the surface, it isn’t quite as exciting as being pursued by Cylons, but as this show made clear from day 1, it’s telling a story about survival. Yes, we have clear antagonists in the Cylons, but the humans’ interactions with them are very much influenced by how they survive and work together.

A-

BASTILLE DAY–Season 1, Episode 3

If there’s anyone who’s the polar opposite of Tom Zarek, it would be Laura Roslin. Roslin comes to power through necessity, while Zarek takes it out of a skewed view of necessity (and I say skewed because although he has valid ideas, the line of succession was followed correctly). The interesting thing about him is that he very much knows this, but unlike Roslin, who values each death as a personal loss, he’s willing to sacrifice. I’m happy that he’s being put on the backburner for now, as he has the potential to develop into an intriguing character; right now, he comes across a bit muddled, and there are a bit a too many inconsistencies in this episode for me to fully warm to him–I want to explore more of his backstory, too. I certainly recognize the untapped wells, though.

All in all, the prison stuff in this episode is fairly standard, but there’s some interesting work done with Lee’s character, particularly in regards to the underlying theme of realization. “Bastille Day” also does a nice job with portraying different views of Zarek–from Lee to Billy to Dee–as well as the idea of idealism and respect permeating various character interactions.

B+

OTHER STUFF:

-Love the shot of Gaeta checking for money when Baltar tries to get in on the card game.

-Lee Adama, trying to take on the entire prison population.

-Starbuck. Ya gotta love her. In particular, I’m talking about her poker game with Baltar and her talk to the pilots (if I were to take notes during that scene, the page would just be filled with “ZING!”s). Also, we see the K. Thrace avatar still!

-BSG’s really nailing episode structure down, isn’t it? There are self-contained storylines, but they seem like logical progressions from the previous episodes’ events, and they writers are deftly handling a wide range of arcs.

-It is a very bad idea to give Gaius Baltar a nuclear warhead. I am nervous.

-Next up: “Act of Contrition” and “You Can’t Go Home Again”.

Photo credit: Syfy, Battlestar Galactica

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