The Algae Planet Arc
EPISODES COVERED: “The Passage” (3×10), “The Eye of Jupiter” (3×11), “Rapture” (3×12)
This show is still entirely capable of crafting compelling, entertaining stories, but the foundation for those stories is oftentimes so flimsy that you can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. Take “The Passage”‘, for example, which pulls an entire backstory for Kat out of thin air–not to mention the food shortage as well–just in time for her to die of radiation poisoning. It’s a “Hero” concept all over again, and that only happened two episodes ago.
The thematic set-up revolves around the Starbuck-Kat relationship, which had its last big showcase in “Scar”; this feels like a successor to that, but considering the distance between the episodes, the emotional payoff for them isn’t as affecting as it could’ve been. What’s ironic, though, about Starbuck here is that as she’s attempting to take the moral high ground on Kat, we know that out of all the members of the cast, she’s the one most with a past that continually has its claws in her. Eventually, Kat’s past eats away at her, consuming the new life she’s made for herself, and her story winds up being a classic, tragic tale of someone in the background rising to hero status and sacrificing herself for the cause.
As for Starbuck, there’s a self-destructive streak to her that manifests itself in her relationship with Anders. I get the sense that she does want him, but at the same time, he’s her way of toppling everything she had with Lee, her way of keeping some semblance of control over the situation. The problem with this storyline is that although it makes sense for Starbuck’s character, it’s incredibly tedious to watch. I am not interested at all in this Love Quadrangle of Stupidity, and that’s all I have to say about it. Might as well just bring in Doc Cottle and make it a pentagon.
Something else that was becoming tedious was the Cylon basestar storyline, which seemed to just consist of someone waking up after a hot threesome, having a nice chat with the Hybrid, and gliding around the ship while spouting philosophical gibberish. We finally get a move on with all this, however, when the Galactica comes into direct contact with the basestar, when the two sides are going after the same thing: the Eye of Jupiter. As a result, the conflicts within the Cylon group become much more interesting, with several of them breaking from the rest in one way or another; D’Anna believes she’s fulfilling her destiny and is driven by her need to find Earth, while Caprica Six helps Sharon and Hera escape to Galactica. The latter has its foundation in the miniseries, in which one of the first scenes consisted of Six snapping a baby’s neck; now, she’s saving a child from a neck-snapping.
Eventually, Cavil boxes D’Anna up, but not before she sees the Final Five in the temple due to the effects of a supernova, aka the Eye of Jupiter. On paper, it sounds ridiculous, but the final act of “Rapture” works wonderfully because it commits to the craziness of it all. The visuals are spectacular, the set is impressive, and the action is just plain entertaining. Going into the second half of the season, I expect another lull in the plot soon, but I guess it’ll at least be fun watching Baltar piss his pants for the rest of eternity.
GRADES: “The Passage” (B-), “The Eye of Jupiter” (B+), “Rapture” (A-)
-The Cylons are terrible at organizing their room of boxed up models.
-I wonder how long the writers can continue to pull back on the Cylon-human conflict. The best storylines always result when they’re facing off against each other, but at some point, we can’t just keep having intense cliffhangers that wind up not paying off.
-I laughed at the following scene: Tyrol walks away from the temple, then dramatically turns around. “If only I had more time,” he says, staring wistfully at the glyphs.
-The Athena-Boomer storyline illustrates the idea of identity, the idea that knowing who you really are is much better for you, and others, in the long run because you have time to accept the situation and deal with it how you choose.
-My favorite part of “The Passage” is the Kat-Adama conversation in the sickbay. Great performances there, and the emotional connection is genuine.
Photo credit: Syfy, Battlestar Galactica