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Battlestar Galactica “Daybreak, Parts 2 and 3” Review (4×20)

14 Sep

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“If there’s one thing that we should have learned, it’s that our brains have always outraced our hearts. Our science charges ahead. Our souls lag behind.”

Battlestar Galactica is, at heart, a series about the ways we interact as a people, about the ways we define ourselves and move forward as members of a civilization. It has its ideas about religion and science and technology and conflict, but what it continually returns to is the notion of humanity, humanity at both its best and at its worst. Through this well-developed cast of characters, the writers have assembled a group of people who have faced unending pain and heartbreak throughout their lives, yet still find solace and purpose in the flawed individuals around them. And when the show uses those individuals to convey the dark side of human nature, it oftentimes does so with the possibility of something better on the horizon. The capacity to destroy each other, the capacity to love someone else, the capacity to redeem ourselves…human beings have the capacity to do so many things, and it’s up to us to choose where we end up. Even though the execution of the final set of scenes runs dangerously close to the show taking sides about technology, the ultimate point I see for the series is that technology is not inherently bad; rather, what determines our fates is how quickly our souls can catch up to the science.

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Battlestar Galactica Season 4, Episodes 16-19 Review

25 Aug

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EPISODE 16: “Deadlock”

I’m kind of disappointed there isn’t more mutiny fallout in recent episodes. I see what this one is trying to accomplish with its love triangle, but the hour is so full of melodrama and forced motivations that the message gets lost in the shuffle. Although the actors involved elevate a weak script, the complex questions at the center of the show are reduced to bullet points and Ellen Tigh regresses to her usual insufferable self. Of course, that’s the point the episode wants to make about change and identity, but coming after a character shift seen in “No Exit”, it’s a very disappointing move by the writers. However, I do like the way Liam’s death can be seen as Six’s action in the miniseries coming full circle.

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Battlestar Galactica Season 4, Episodes 13-15 + “The Plan” Review

21 Aug

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EPISODE 13: “The Oath”

This is one of the most well-made hours of action this series has produced, but what makes it even better is that it’s not solely focused on the mutiny; it sweeps across the whole fleet’s history, bringing people together and splitting them apart as the show portrays the final release of pent-up frustration and desperation. After all, the reason many people went along with various plans was due to that glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel: Earth. Now that the true sorry state of the planet has been revealed, though, the past is bubbling to the surface again; no longer can these characters hold it in anymore, and what results is a battle between people who used to work together. I don’t think Gaeta or Zarek really have a solid plan for what happens next–even though they make some good points–but what’s happening right now is that people are lashing out at the pain of the past and the bleakness of the future.

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Battlestar Galactica Season 4, Episodes 10-12 Review

18 Aug

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EPISODE 10: “Revelations”

This show is incredibly good at standoffs, but it falters a bit when it comes to payoffs. After all, as great of a series as this is, it’s been in a holding pattern for a while now, unable to fully allow real shit to go down because there were always more episodes to make. Now that we’re moving into the final 10 episodes of the final season, however, it makes room for a status quo shakeup, for a cliffhanger that feels less like a cheap “Watch the next episode!” plea and more like an intriguing “What happens next?” question.

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Battlestar Galactica Season 4, Episodes 7-9 Review

15 Aug

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EPISODE 7: “GUESS WHAT’S COMING TO DINNER?”

The series as a whole constantly deals with the question of whether or not the Cylons should be considered humans, but “Guess What’s Coming to Dinner?” narrows the focus to the concept of mortality. “For our existence to hold any value, it must end,” Natalie tells the Quorum. “To live meaningful lives, we must die and not return. Mortality is the one thing that makes you whole.” The Resurrection Ship is a big factor when it comes to the Cylon identity debate, so it’s interesting to see these Cylons delve into the idea of mortality. Of course, even though Natalie reaches out and gives this speech, it doesn’t mean she’s free from the ongoing struggle between human and Cylon. Eventually, she gets several bullets right in the chest, and the irony is thick as we see the life rapidly draining from her body.

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Battlestar Galactica Season 4, Episodes 4-6 Review

12 Aug

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EPISODE 4: ESCAPE VELOCITY

Let’s get this out of the way right now: “No, we are not going to talk about the fragile body of Gaius frakking Baltar!” is the funniest line ever uttered in this show. It singlehandedly makes a repetitive and dull storyline fairly tolerable, and it is perfectly played by Michael Hogan. I say repetitive and dull because it’s the show trying to turn a bunch of high concept visuals into a compelling story, when it would do well by simply focusing on the character aspect of the story. That’s why the Tyrol storyline is more compelling here. The ideas of guilt, the past, and identity all intersect in a fantastic scene between Tyrol and Adama at the bar, and Aaron Douglas does a great job of conveying the conflict brewing in his mind.

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Battlestar Galactica Season 4, Episodes 1-3 Review

2 Aug

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EPISODE 1: “HE THAT BELIEVETH IN ME”

“If my brother had climbed out of that cockpit, would it matter if he were a Cylon…if he always had been? When all is said and done, would that really change how we feel about him?”

With the reveal of the Final Five, the ideas of loyalty and identity become even more muddled. The series has tackled myriad questions about humanity in relation to the Cylons, but now, it’s clear that those questions are going to get even tougher; now, even a Cylon hater like Colonel Tigh is going to have to grapple with his own self-concept, and he’s intending to fight against himself at any cost. And of course, everyone’s wondering whether Starbuck’s a Cylon or not, and the reintroduction of her character is extremely well done in this episode. It begins with a stunning and marvelously crafted opening sequence, and it ends with a tense standoff between her and Roslin (followed by a stupid “To be continued”, as is the show’s staple).

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