EPISODE 13: “Taking A Break From All Your Worries”
This is essentially two episodes in one, but the writers attempt to spin it so that the two storylines are connected somehow through some *Clever Editing*. However, the reality is that the Love Quadrangle of Assholes drags down the more interesting Baltar interrogation plot, which utilizes people like Roslin and Adama and Gaeta well while on the other side of the divide, Lee and Starbuck and Dualla and Anders are floundering. So, there’s predictably not much to say on the Quadrangle, but there are some interesting scenes with Baltar. The standout is Roslin as we’ve never seen her before, flying into a rage at the man to get him to talk; part of it is a bluff, but part of it is the buildup of so much pain and suffering amongst her people on New Caprica. She has someone to blame, and he gets all of her anger.
Roslin eventually realizes that Baltar hoping to be a Cylon is pretty much his only way of looking for some kind of redemption. She can’t understand why anyone would want to be a Cylon, but after seeing Baltar tortured and after hearing him confess, she’s willing to give him a trial. Baltar, the man drowning in a pool of water, with Six underneath and nowhere to go but under.
EPISODE 14: “The Woman King”
I feel like I’m repeating the same criticisms of this show over and over again. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the writers did to prepare for this episode was look through some old scripts, find something they mentioned a few times–the whole deal with the Sagittarons, for example–and get it into their heads that they set up the episode perfectly well. It’s not that the prejudice and dehumanization and religious fundamentalism being explored are unnecessary to explore; rather, it’s that these storylines are being wielded by a hand with the words “RACISM=EXISTS” written on it, and nothing else. Dr. Roberts is here because the episode needs a bad guy and because Doc Cottle hasn’t smoked himself to death yet, and everyone’s uncharacteristically resistant because we need another episode that emphasizes Helo as the “lone voice in the wilderness”. Sorry, guys, but stick to exploring these issues with the humans and the Cylons. “Lone voice in the wilderness” probably describes the amount of people who like this episode.
EPISODE 15: “A Day in the Life”
I have nothing against standalone episodes unless they’re as poorly done as this one is. The concept of a “day in the life” episode is interesting enough–it’s not really what we get here, though–but it also brings up a major problem for this show: time, and by extension organization. I get that when you’re in space, on the run from Cylons, time seems to blur together, but it’s just extremely difficult to tell how long after the last episode each subsequent one is; that’s largely due to the introduction of subplots that dwell in the past, popping up at seemingly random times to cause *INTERNAL CONFLICT*.
There is very little organizational sense to this season, and as a result, the characterization is faltering. No, exploring Adama’s past–this time through some inane Head Six-esque interactions–is not the only way you can handle an Adama story. No, placing Cally and Tyrol in jeopardy is not the best way to look at their marital problems. No, just because you noticed you had kids in your show doesn’t mean you can expect it to suddenly hold the utmost importance. No, a character study episode doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn something interesting about the character. At least Roslin and Adama have lots of chemistry, or this would be another D-range episode.
EPISODE 16: “Dirty Hands”
This is an improvement, and it’s essentially a much better “The Woman King” in terms of thematic ideas. It does sacrifice important nuances of Roslin’s and Adama’s characters in order to make a point, but there are still certainly some interesting ideas in here about class divisions. We actually get a look at the people who are doing all the grunt work, and the episode asks us to weigh their awful working conditions against the survival of the fleet; after all, if they don’t do the work, then the whole system is pretty much done for. However, although there are some nice ideas here, the episode never really gels because it cleans everything up in the span of three minutes, sputtering to a conclusion and once again giving Roslin and Adama the short end of the stick.
The most interesting scene, though, involves Baltar and that accent in the prison cell. We become privy to backstory that hits home his self-serving nature, and it’s interesting that people would view him as credible at all, even if he’s articulating the prevalent issues surrounding the internal aspects of the fleet.
Photo credit: Syfy, Battlestar Galactica