Saturday, July 25, 2015

Battlestar Galactica: Mis-rememberences

So a while ago I finished a third re-watching of Battlestar Galactica (the reboot).  The first time was by myself, the second time with friends, the third time by myself again, sometimes half-watching as I did chores or whatever.  Here are things that I noticed/remembered/mis-remembered:

MAJOR BSG Spoilers below!  Seriously, don't read if you haven't seen or finished the series!
  • Admiral Adama and President Roslin are actually terrible people, when given the opportunity.  There's a lot of blame thrown around the show for people letting personal feelings get involved, but Adama and Roslin are guiltier of this than most.  Adama risking the fleet to search for Starbuck, for example, and Roslin flinging shit at Lee once he becomes a politician because he won't be her yes man.  Of course their saving graces were their ability, after a fashion, to swallow their pride and admit they were wrong and eventually find their way to doing the right thing.
  • A good example of this is the tillium (sp?) factory that has terrible working conditions, and Adama and Roslin just roll their eyes and laugh at Chief's concerns.  Like literally, I think they're drinking wine in Adama's cabin and rolling their eyes at the crybaby tillium workers (and the fact that there was no chance for upward mobility, if you were born on a tillium ship you were stuck there).  Finally the Chief unionizes the workers and has them strike.  Adama threatens to execute Chief's wife, because on a military ship they can't allow people to refuse orders on a whim.  Then, when Chief relents and shuts the strike down, Adama makes the union official and gives in to their demands.  It's an interesting ending, and Adama has a point, he wasn't just doing it to be a dick I don't think.  But it took him too long to take any of it seriously.
  • In contrast, Lee Adama is really the hero of the entire show.  He is the only purely moral character (or at least the closest to it) who survives the whole run of the show---Dee would qualify, but died.  Gaeta started out that way, and veered off into moral self righteousness.  Everyone else lets personal feelings get involved, but Lee always seems to look for the most right thing to do, no matter the cost---and no matter how he feels about the results.  For instance, he ignores that Tom Zerick is/was a terrorist and backs him when he's right, opposes him when he's wrong.  Also, see Baltar's trial.  Lee is the only person stating the obvious---that there's nothing Baltar could have done, when Admiral Adama disappeared with the fleet as soon as the Cylons showed up.  I would have liked them to have asked Roslin when she was on the stand, what would she have done?  What was the right response? Also, Roslin gave blanket amnesty to everyone after the war, did anybody ask why that didn't apply to Baltar?
  • Case and point, Roslin eventually tells Lee she thinks he'd make a great president, but she has concerns that he regularly chooses what's right over what's smart.  What the fuck kind of logic is that?
  • Helo was gone at the beginning of the series way for longer than I remembered.
  • Sarcastic Admiral Adama is a highlight of the show, but unfortunately he very rarely shows up.  When Gaeta and Zerick do their rigged trial of Adama, and Gaeta accuses him of providing aid and comfort to the enemy, Adama goes into full sarcasm mode.  "Oh yes, I aided them, I gave them comfort, I washed their feet."
  • Another really funny (to me) moment:  President Roslin tries to get Baltar's cult shut down, due to her personal grudge against him.  The advising council is irate---the way this law is written, you could apply this to shut down most of their religions!  Lee Adama rallies the councilors and they strike the law down.  Then, at the end of the episode, Baltar is making some speech about how God made everyone so everyone is perfect just as they are, and there's this hilarious shot of Lee Adama watching this, making a face like he'd just stepped in a pile of dogshit, before he walks out.
  • Roslin remembers seeing Baltar with a Cylon on Caprica, and this is part of the basis of her distrust of him.  Which is ridiculous, as there were multiple Cylon models who had infiltrated the government---The PR director of Galactica in the pilot episode was a Cylon agent, and had seemingly unrestricted access to the ship.  Oh, and Boomer.  Baltar was in fact working with the Cylons---Caprica Six greatly improved Baltar's father's quality of life, and she pretended to work for a defense contractor, requesting access to Caprica's defense grid under the guise of wanting a leg up on the competition.  But everyone else was working with the Cylons too.
  • How many times does Adama get drunk and punch his bathroom mirror?  Do they have a room full of replacement mirrors for this?  Most likely they pull the mirrors out of lower ranked soldiers to put in Adama's room.  "Sorry, we discovered who another Cylon was, the old man had another bender.  You know what's coming, I'm going to have to take your mirror."  Also, he might puke on himself more than he punches mirrors.  Gritty realism, that is.
  • Starbuck found her corpse the same episode they realized Ellen Tigh was the final Cylon model, but she found it before this realization took place.  Clearly they wanted to get the last bit of mileage out of the "Starbuck may be a Cylon" theory, but as creepy as that moment was, it would have been so much darker if she found her body after they knew for a fact that she wasn't a Cylon.
  • The first time I watched the series, I pitied Gaeta.  The second time, I incredibly resented him, knowing what he would eventually do.  The third time, I don't know how I felt.  Interested I guess.  Before his mutiny, he comments to Starbuck that the war tribunal which tried him was full of Cylons (and her, who was unknowing married to a Cylon).  I would have been curious to see his reaction upon learning that his partner, Tom Zerick, was the one who initiated those tribunals, and Adama shut it down as soon as he heard about it.
  • Yet again I forgot how it ended, whether Helo and Athena survived the show. Baltar was told the child would be his.  And the opera house dream seemed to confirm this.  But no, they both live, and keep custody of their daughter.  Baltar wants to return to his farming roots, mourning his father for the first time, which was another touching moment I'd forgotten.
  • Admiral Adama had kind of a sad ending, flying Roslin around, knowing it would be her last trip, knowing he wouldn't be coming back either.  Helo and Athena were fine, Baltar and Caprica Six were fine, The Tighs were happy together.  Chief went off on his own, which he welcomed.  Anders was turned into a hybrid, but the show made the case that he was happier that way.  Lee on the other hand had everything stripped away from him by the end.  He was excited to explore the new planet, but Dee was long dead, his father left for good, Starbuck disappears into thin air, and it's just him alone on a hill somewhere.  I'm sure he'd be fine, but the dude has no people at the end of the show.
  • When I first watched the show I felt kind of betrayed by what I saw as a strong turn into religion at the end.  Upon this last viewing it was obvious I was just ignoring the signs. Baltar's vision of a Six model was eventually proven to be real, having direct effect on the world around her---carrying Baltar, etc.  Starbuck wasn't an angel, but what was she?  I guess the same thing her father was, plucked out of the time stream to help her remember that song.
  • I have a huge pet peeve to add to my list.  Referencing a song as dialogue in a show.  THe Powerpuff Girls did a Beatles episode where they crammed as many Beatles lyrics as they could and it was super annoying, too bad because the plot was a cool idea.  In BSG it's All Along the Watchtower, a song which I could take or leave to begin with, but having the cast stagger around and speak lyrics as if they're their own thoughts, well for me it crosses the line into bad taste.  Cheese of the lowest order.  Yuck.  A million yucks.
  • For some reason I remembered the Adama/Roslin relationship to be a big will they/wont they thing that never bears fruit.  No, she admits she loves him, they're naked in bed together, they're properly a thing.  Strange that I mis-remembered it so greatly.
  • Twice in the show---twice!---Admiral Adama takes off his wedding ring and puts it on President Roslin's hand while she's nonconscious.  The first time she's in a coma, the second time she's dead.  Dude!  That is super creepy!  How the fuck would you feel if you woke up from a coma and some dude's wedding ring was on your finger?  I'm sure it was supposed to be romantic.  It would have been just as romantic if he offered it to her before she died and she accepted.
  • The show goes terribly off balance once Starbuck comes back, and four of the final five are revealed.  However, they then start to cover the Cylon civil war, which picks up a lot of the slack, and then Gaeta's mutiny, which makes staying with the show completely worth it.
  • I actually found the Chief somewhat bland until he realized he was a Cylon, and Callie died.  And he goes crazy with the truth.  Screaming at Adama that he didn't love Callie (probably a lie, just he loved someone else more), but thanks to this war nobody is with who they really loved because they're all dead.  Also, for all the fans dying to know what she smelled like, the Chief revealed that she stunk of cabbage.
  • Boomer is the worst, you guys.  Soooo awful.  I wish they'd have dumped her in a vat of acid.  They did a good job of making you think she was going to redeem herself, only to be even worse.  Oh no wait, she's going to redeem herself.  Nope, even more evil.
So those are my loose thoughts.  I should add that the beginning of the series is a masterclass in building up a solid and thrilling premise. Adama's ship being turned into a museum, his impending retirement.  Roslin dealing with news she has terminal cancer.  And then, 99% of humanity, wiped out.  Really a lot of the show is about juggling your personal baggage so you can get some shit done.


No comments:

Post a Comment