Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dawkins does Who

Larger version here.

The episode is called, "The Stolen Earth," and the Earth is stolen from its orbit and placed in another galaxy with 26 other stolen planets. I suppose it's a bit odd that when the earth is stolen and moved across space that they ask advice of a biologist. You'd think they would get an astrophysicist, like Neil De Grasse Tyson. Maybe the daleks exterminated all the astronomers. Or maybe it's because all scientists in TVland are superscientists who know everything, just like Gaius Baltar.

Not too bad, but don't give up your day job Richard:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Gaius Baltar Award for Moral Cowardice

There's a post on my favorite Battlestar Galactica forum called "The Gaius Baltar Award for Moral Cowardice." The author quotes this passage from an interview with Galactica's James Callis, he plays Baltar:

I think that there should be a Gaius Baltar Award for Moral Cowardice given out to people every year. And this man—it's just, seriously, reading it, I was like, "Christ, this guy is Gaius Baltar!" He's a schoolteacher. The earthquake hits. And he said, "Stay still, everybody, you'll be fine," and just ran! He ran for his life, without any of the kids who he's supposed to be looking after. And the miracle of it is that the earthquake didn't touch his school in the same way. He went back to the class, and they're all alive, thank God. And they were like, "But teacher, why did you run away?" And his replies are just extraordinary. It's like, "I'm not a brave man. I am a coward. And in situations like this, it's every man for himself. I don't really feel very guilty, because I didn't cause the earthquake, and quite frankly, if it had been my own mother sat next to me, I would have left her as well."

I like that idea and I've got a nomination to make.

SF Gate has this article, "Killer dad said he had to 'get the demons' out," that mentions the fact that some drivers passed by as they watched a man kicking and stomping a two year old to death.

McKain, of Crows Landing, said she drove past Sergio Aguiar's pickup Saturday night on West Bradbury Road and, at first, thought he was "kicking garbage or something."

But she said her boyfriend, Dan Robinson, told her to back up and put her headlights on Aguiar.

"Sure enough, he was kicking a baby around," McKain said.

Well, at least that couple called the cops, or someone did, but shit! How do you watch a guy kick around a small child and not do anything? I wonder how many rubber-neckers drove by and didn't do anything? Why not take a tire iron to the guy's face so he stops kicking his son? How do you stand there and watch a man beat a toddler to death?

I'd like to nominate everyone who drove by that scene and did nothing with a Gaius Baltar Award for Moral Cowardice.

Someone calling themselves "GothicJossMinion" nominated all the countries where this is still okay...and not just okay but honored:

Let's Watch A Girl Get Beaten To Death.

Last month seventeen year old Dua Khalil was pulled into a crowd of young men, some of them (the instigators) family, who then kicked and stoned her to death. This is an example of the breath-taking oxymoron “honor killing”, in which a family member (almost always female) is murdered for some religious or ethical transgression.

They win.

Friday, June 13, 2008

You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! Damn you all to hell!

Did the ending of "Revelations," the mid-season finale of the 4th season of Battlestar Galactica (last episodes will air in 2009 after a hiatus), remind you of anything?

It reminded me of Adama's speech in the very beginning, in the miniseries, when he asked, "does humanity deserve to survive?" There was a hint there that even after the genocide and the Cylon war that there would still be something human beings were in some sort of denial about, something in their nature and the inevitable consequences of their thought processes and their resulting acts. Here on this nuclear ravaged version of Earth they will probably confront whatever "original sin" they had also stained Earth with.

Hopefully the sin will be more original than the past cliché "sins of humanity" scifi writers want to accuse us of, you know, eating from the tree of knowledge (wanting to know things man was not meant to know), building towers to heaven (getting too close to God-like), wanting to bugger angels...

As I pointed out in my post about Galactica falling into the old "machines destroy their makers cliché". The Frankenstein, golems and Rossum's Universal Robots were just the tip of the iceberg. Here is another example of machines pissed off at humanity that I now think might hit closer to home:

You know who makes those machines possible:

Scientists make those machines possible:

A quick recap, the Cylons, now lead by D'Anna, took Roslin, Baltar and the others aboard the battered rebel basestar hostage to bargain the four hidden Cylons on the Galactica out of hiding. Tory uses the President's medication as an excuse to go to the basestar and join up with her "brothers and sisters," even telling Roslin "she doesn't take orders from her anymore," but the other three remain anonymous.

Colonel Tigh then admits to Admiral Adama that he is a Cylon and offers himself as a hostage. They can now threaten to airlock him. Adama tells Tigh to "get his damn, dirty Cylon paws off of me" and then has a psychological break down and even punches a mirror, making his fist bleed... Did that remind you of anything?

It reminded me of Willard (Martin Sheen) in Apocalypse Now and I think it has close to the same meaning. Willard also punched his fist into a mirror, destroying himself symbolically.

Lee, while Tigh is in the airlock, gets Tigh to rat out Sam and Tyrol, and I suspect Tory too. There is a melodramatic standard old standoff with Tigh in an airlock on Galactica, waiting to be sucked out into the vacuum of space, and the Cylons aiming nuclear weapons at the Colonial ships. Anybody tries anything, and everybody dies. It's resolved when Starbuck learns that her old Viper is now pointing the way to Earth. She stops Lee from airlocking Tigh and then everyone decides they'll go to Earth together, as one big happy family, not as enemies.

They all jump to Earth and have a celebration. Then they discover that the planet is a radioactive shit-hole. There's no animal or plant life to be seen, except maybe a few weeds growing among the rubble. Nobody feels like celebrating now (though there is one person with a smile on their face) as the camera sweeps over a matte painting of the devastated ruins.

So... What happened to Earth? Who blew it up? And why?

We probably did, us "undeserving of existence" humans, it's our not-so "original sin" if they can't come up with something better over the break.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Baltar's confession

The blog carnival is now posted here.
Submit your own reviews to the BSG carnival here.

After being disappointed with the last episode, with the near trashing of Romo, we finally got a really good one. It had everything, a lot of Baltar, important revelations, Baltar trying to talk to a hybrid, kick-ass battle scenes, Baltar evangelically witnessing to a Cylon toaster, major plot-driving events... and did I mention a heavy dose of Baltar? He even confesses to Roslin about how he gave the access codes to the Cylons and nearly destroyed humanity. However, its not like the old days when he was the whole story, that confession turns out to be one the lesser plot-driving events of this episode.

The episode started by flashing back to two days before Lee faced down Romo's four barreled pop-gun to become the interim President. We got to see what happened right after the rebel basestar jumped away. First thing to note is that Cylon basestar jumps have a weird effect on Roslin. She gets scrooged for being a scheming, unloving, pigheaded hard ass by getting visits from the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, or Head Elosha, every time the basestar jumps.

The first time Roslin visited jump-space she got a subtle change of wig hair and found herself wandering the desolate halls of the Galactica where she finds Elosha, her long dead spiritual adviser. The Hybrid quickly jumps again and Roslin's vision continues from where it left off: The Galactica is devoid of people except for Head Elosha and Roslin seeing herself dying of cancer in her hospital bed. Head Elosha then goes all Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come on Roslin. When the Basestar reappears in real-space, the vision ends and Roslin is back on the rebel basestar looking at a babbling hybrid (what a job for an actress, you sit in a tub of goo all day and act weird while babbling semi-nonsense).

One of the 8s (the Boomer/Athena model) tells them that the hybrid does what she wants and she thinks the basestar is jumping because something happened to Natalie (Whoa! the speculation back on Galactica last episode was right.) They also can't unplug the Hybrid, so Baltar tries to talk to the hybrid as if he's trying to comfort a young child so that she'll quit jumping. It was rather amusing I thought, Baltar has become more arrogant and comically overconfident now that he thinks he has found God. At one point he even claims he has made a "spiritual connection" with the Hybrid for he appears to have gotten her to quit jumping. But no, the Hybrid jumps again. Roslin pops back into delusion-space and she sees Thrace, Cottle and the Adamas standing over her bed. Elosha is still doing the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come act on Roslin telling her things like: "Don't you just hate these people?" And "At least you haven't taken that [their empathy] from them." And "You don't make room for people."

One of the 8s, the Sharons, figures out that the Hybrid is following the Hub so the attack on it is still on. Helo comes up with a risky plan where the vipers go in without power, they're towed on cables by Cylon heavy raiders, so they won't be detected. The 8 and Helo will sneak on to the Hub while the Vipers cripple it, and once they have D'Anna they'll nuke it. It's a risky move, and while Helo struggles with the risk evaluation the 8 massages Helo's back and Helo notes that Athena only learned to do that after meeting him. The 8 admits that she got curious about Athena and Hera and downloaded her memories. She doesn't mean for it to sound creepy. She says she doesn't want it to be strange, but how can it not be? It means that Helo is possibly living with at least several dozen look-alikes of his wife some of whom might also remember making love to him and all their other intimate moments. He handles it well, so far, but this has potential for a great Helo story in the future. What if when they're back on Galactica one of the not-Athena 8s decides to sleep with Helo and Athena catches them?

Roslin has a secret meeting with Helo and orders Helo to bring D'Anna straight to her first, which is a betrayal of the plan they agreed to with the Cylons. Helo objects and this is where Helo's character starts to get tested. Helo expresses reservations, he thinks the 6s and 8s are trustworthy (but we know from a previous episode they were planning their own betrayal). If D'Anna really does know the identities of the Final Five, Roslin doesn't want the Cylons listening in on it. On the surface Roslin's plan sounds stupid, they are guests on the basestar, probably outnumbered, and this would be a big betrayal of their deal with the rebel Cylons. However, Helo is a soldier first and commanders of soldiers can give orders without explaining them. You're obliged to trust them and hope they know what they're doing. That's why Helo let Starbuck go a little crazy until she wanted to bet the farm on her visions and he had to mutiny.

How much damage do you let your superiors do before you rebel? It's one of those questions we see being asked by people like former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

Meanwhile, on the Resurrection Hub, one of the 1s, that's the Cavils, has just unboxed D'Anna and he tells her about the "shameful" civil war -- the one his models started. He's brought her back so she can stop the Cylons from battling one another.

Back on the rebel basestar, the Hybrid reveals that a D'Anna has been unboxed and jumps (Another whoa! Those Cylons must have some powerful wifi networking going on to get that kind of live update while the colonial humans are still using analog radios). Roslin is again back in dream-space walking the hallways of Galactica and speculating that Elosha and the visions are a manifestation of her subconscious. Roslin and Elosha see Admiral Adama reading Searider Falcon to the dying Roslin. The first time I heard this (I had to watch this episode twice) Once I heard the word "scar" I thought of the Cylon called Scar and heard the word "Cylon" instead of hearing the word "island" so I thought the whole book reading was part of Roslin's delusion (I kind of wish it were because what I thought I heard the first time sounded better).

Back in reality, after the jump, while everyone else is busy attacking the Hub, Baltar finds one of the chrome toaster models, one the Centurions, and tries to evangelically witness to it. He thinks he can make an ally out of it apparently. Baltar tells the Centurion that he's noted a certain hierarchy and that the Centurions seem to be on the bottom. He asks the Centurion if they've told him about God and how "God doesn't want any of his creatures to be slaves." Oh, God doesn't want anyone to be a slave? Then why were there ever any slaves? And Baltar knows what God wants? How? Later Baltar's own logic should betray him on that point. It's also an indication that Baltar doesn't get AI after Allen Turing and the algorithmic approach to it.

On the Resurrection Hub, Boomer comments on the arrival of the rebel basestar and tells Cavil that the basestar has launched a bunch of Heavy Raiders. Cavil correctly concludes that the rebels are attempting to destroy the Hub, and doing so would be mass murder and would make death permanent for Cylons. Hearing that, D'Anna grabs Cavil by the neck and rams his head into the side of her goo-tub, killing him. Payback, no doubt for getting boxed.

Missiles destroy a node at the top of the Hub, taking out its FTL capability. Helo's Raptor heads towards the Hub and there he and the 8 find D'Anna and the dead Cavil. Helo tells D'Anna to run and grabs her arm. Once off the Hub, Helo announces that he has D'Anna and orders a nuclear strike on the Hub.

While Baltar continues to talk to the Centurion the rebel basestar is hit by a missile and the explosion destroys the Centurion and injures Baltar. (Jesus Christ On A French Fry!! Didn't Jesus get wounded in the side by a Centurion, pierced by a spear? Do you think they were doing Jesus symbolism on purpose?)

Baltar then finds himself in Roslin's care, alone with her. She has a First Aid kit and she bandages Baltar up and injects him with morpha. As the morpha takes effect, Baltar tells Roslin she needs God, and then about how he once harbored a terrible guilt that God took away. Roslin keeps asking "What guilt?" and Baltar finally admits that he gave the Cylons the access codes prior to the nuking of the Colonies. (Ohhh, is he going to regret that in the morning.)

Roslin starts to tremble subtly and Baltar tells her how the guilt went away when he realized that "God made the man who made that choice" so it was really God's choice. He talks about "the flood Pythia spoke of," which wiped out most of humanity. Hmmm... getting a bit of Biblical myth in there. I wonder if there's a Noah and the ark story in Pythia?

Baltar has realized that the concept of an omniscient and omnipotent God is a good way to absolve all guilt for any action. John Hagee, the controversial evangelical leader who endorsed John McCain, argued something similar for Hitler in a late 1990s sermon by saying that Hitler was sent by God, tasked with expediting God's will of having the Jews re-establish a state of Israel:

And Hitler, according to recorded speeches and his book, would have agreed with the doing of God's work part:

"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.... When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited."
- Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

If God knows everything we will do before we do it then we don't really have the freedom to do anything otherwise, our actions must be determined by all our experiences, nature and nurture and the type of soul given us etc.. If we could do something God had not foreseen, then God's total knowledge would have been incomplete and he couldn't be called omniscient. Therefore, either God knows all and everything is preordained (free will is an illusion) or God doesn't know the future.

If God knows everything then He knew before He created mankind that Baltar would mistakenly betray mankind, that Hitler would wipe out millions of Jews and that for hundreds of years slavery would be a Roman and Greek institution. God created everything, predetermined. He knew what they would do in the future just the way an expert pool player can cause a chain reaction of events that puts exactly the ball he wants in exactly the pocket he wants. God created it in a certain way on purpose. He wants to see the people nuked and gassed and and enslaved and destroyed by earthquakes and hurricanes, and even go to Hell if you believe in that since the damned don't think everyone who doesn't believe like them will go to Hell.

But who says God has that kind of omniscense and omnipotence? The Bible, apparently:

"Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? (Romans 9:19-21)

Shocked by Baltar's confession, Roslin tries to kill Baltar by removing his bandadges. Baltar begs her to stop, saying "please don't do this to me," then there is another jump. In Roslin's vision, William Adama stands over the future dying Roslin while the present day Roslin and Elosha watch. Elosha convinces her to show Baltar mercy saying you can't decide humanity's worth on a case by case basis. Ohh really? Why not? Why does all of humanity have to be judged on the same score card? Not that I think Baltar should die, he's a great tragic figure, someone who may have been driven to religious insanity by the weight of his guilt (with maybe some help from Cylon head manipulations). Besides my way of avoiding that kind of Baltar level guilt is to avoid that kind of life and death responsibility in the first place. I have no important codes I could be seduced out of and if some hot babe wanted my email and blog passwords... well... I'm not saying any more.

Once back in real-space, Roslin checks to see if Baltar is still alive and then begins bandaging him back up.

Meanwhile, Helo is back on the rebel basestar and tells the 8 that his orders are to take D'Anna to the president. The 8 acts all betrayed and D'Anna says "you've never got that human trait called double dealing." Really? Were not the Cylon rebels planning their own betrayal a few episodes ago? Wasn't Baltar betrayed? Isn't every hidden humanoid Cylon a betrayal and a lie? And why don't the 8 and D'Anna stop Helo from doing what he plans to do?

Helo brings D'Anna to Roslin but D'Anna isn't going to tell her anything, she just jokes that Roslin might be one of the final 5. She refuses to provide any information until she feels she is safe. She says she will tell them who the Final 5 are after she is taken back to the fleet. So, not only was Roslin's ploy useless for getting any information, she did real damage by giving the rebel Cylons a claim to the moral high ground that they don't really deserve.

At the end, Roslin sits, listening to the Hybrid, gets another chat with her head Elosha who tells her that Adm. Adama might be closer than she thinks. Indeed, Adama (who has been waiting in a Raptor) sees the basestar pop into real-space a moment later and flies over to them. In the landing bay, he gets all teary-eyed with Roslin and says that he missed her. She says that she loves him. And there it ends.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Dark Side of Hope

BSG Blog Carnival link: "So say we all."

This BSG episode, Sine Qua Non, is the 10th episode in the 4th and last season and I think of all the episodes so far this season this one was the worst, the 10th on the list in more ways than one. And like all the weaker episodes, no Baltar. Now, maybe it wasn't actually that bad an episode, it's just that most of the others have been kick ass. Maybe my hopes and expectations were too high because they were bringing back one of my favorite minor characters; Romo Lampkin.

Problem was, this wasn't the Romo I remembered. I felt like his character got trashed, ruined for the future.

Let's just dig into what I wish I could rewrite (if you need a recap, go here). First, the major storyline, the meat and potatoes, of this episode was the Romo Lampkin and Lee Adama story of how Lee becomes the interim President. It began with a scene in the Quorum room, a meeting is held by the Quorum of Twelve, all the delegates are trying to figure out what the frak happened in the last episode. Vice President Tom Zarek comes in to tell them that the rebel basestar jumped away with President Laura Roslin, Gaius Baltar and a lot of Galactica's pilots. He also tells them that a Cylon was shot by "one of Galactica's Marines" and fuels the assumption that the basestar's jump and abduction is related to Natalie's death.

Someone asks Lee Adama whether "your father will hand over power to this administration," to Zarek, and Lee says; "No." In a later scene in the president's office, Zarek insists that he should be declared interim president and he has a good argument for it. But Lee refuses to argue to his father for Zarek and says he'll find another candidate, and Zarek says; "Well, good luck with that." (Not going to be a famous Galactica quote is it?)

Stop! Freeze that moment in your mind and then rewind it to the point just before Zarek said that "Well, good luck with that" line. Now imagine instead of that line, Zarek instead accuses Lee of positioning himself for the presidency and Lee promising that it won't be him. Now, in order to become president Lee has to betray that promise. That raises the stakes a notch.

Next, when Lee goes to Romo Lampkin to get help finding a candidate, have Romo make the same deduction, "you are positioning yourself for the job but you need me to put you there because if you suggest yourself, then you'll look too ambitious" and then Romo points out why Lee is the best candidate. Romo questions whether Lee can get where he has already gotten without real ambition, without power seeking. Lee has to argue against his own candidacy; lack of government experience, his father is the Admiral and that looks bad, and he has made a promise to Zarek.

Next we have Romo come up with a candidate. We hardly know anything about the Quorum members so the writers could engineer the perfect foil for Lee, Romo would select this foil to express his "the last thing we need is hope and we should just accept that humanity is doomed" view. The candidate would be expressing views about not getting involved in the Cylon civil war, give up the quest for Earth, take things easy and stop to smell the roses before we aren't here to smell them any more.

Here's a nice sample of an anti-hope argument from H.L. Mencken:
"Despite the common delusion to the contrary the philosophy of doubt is far more comforting than that of hope. The doubter escapes the worst penalty of the man of faith and hope; he is never disappointed, and hence never indignant. The inexplicable and irremediable may interest him, but they do not enrage him, or, I, may add, fool him. This immunity is worth all the dubious assurances ever foisted upon man. It is pragmatically impregnable. Moreover, it makes for tolerance and sympathy. The doubter does not hate his opponents; he sympathizes with them. In the end he may even come to sympathize with God. The old idea of fatherhood submerges in a new idea of brotherhood. God, too, is beset by limitations, difficulties, broken hopes. Is it disconcerting to think of Him thus? Well, is it any less disconcerting to think of Him as able to ease and answer, and yet failing?"

Now if Lee had to fight for hope against arguments of that type it would have been more realistic. We need to get reminded that there is a dark side to hope, that hope costs, that it has driven spectacular failures as well as successes. That hope and ambition are linked.

Romo's candidate would so offend Zarek that Zarek himself would nominate Lee but feel manipulated into doing it. It would come up for a Quorum vote with each candidate making a speech. Lee's speech could be close to what he said to Romo, minus the Romo specifics. It was the no hope angle that didn't get a fair shake. It needed a better speech. Hope, real hope, costs. It means sacrifice for a future you're not sure you're going to have. It has real implications for how the colonists will act.

Doing it the way they did it, Romo lost that superhumanly devious quality he had when they first introduced him. Romo, in his previous role defending Baltar, was smart and potentially dangerous because he was always a step a head of everyone and always playing everyone. He played Lee, he played Baltar, he was going to do whatever was necessary to get Baltar, the most hated man on Galactica, off. He had his own unique moral viewpoint, he stole things and studied them to figure people out and frustrate them.

When Romo struggles to find a candidate, while we already knew it's Lee, the writers undermined what made Romo cool. Romo should have been a step ahead of Lee and us. He might have even played Lee, but we don't get to know that. Maybe he choose the "no hope" candidate as a way to guide Lee to realize his own ambition (his hope), and that would've been cool. But to have Romo be several steps behind us, a lot of the viewers, and then be crazy enough to point a gun at Lee... well, it humanizes Romo, but we don't need another humanized, flawed character -- Galactica has plenty. He was interesting because he was different, now he is not. Now he's like everyone else on Galactica; deeply flawed and perhaps on the verge of cracking.

I'm sure someone will argue that Romo's crazy behavior towards Lee is still manipulative; he forced Adama to defend a willingness to make tough decisions, tested all those qualities he liked. He almost admits it towards the end by saying; "Is that your last word?....Then swear it." And then Lee is being sworn in as president. The problem with that interpretation is that Lee never fought against his own candidacy as the possible president. You're not being manipulative until you're changing minds and we didn't really see Lee change his mind.

Also, it would have been interesting to see some people laying their cards on the table in the "hope or no hope" debate. Where would Tory fall? Her going for a no hope vote for humanity would be a different thing since she's not human.

Yeah, I'd scrap the whole dead head-cat (How long was the cat dead? Lee said weeks? Wouldn't it start to stink? Was the bag airtight?) And scrap the gun scene, that was too crazy and desperate for Romo. I'd have rather seen the kleptomania resurface; Romo stealing something from Lee and Zarek and his no hope candidate that proves Lee has ambitions, Zarek would still resort to terrorism to get what he wants and his no hope candidate had given up on some "Sine Qua Non" important personal hope.

Alas, what we got instead was a very different story. A story where Romo only says; " doesn't generally get the chance to wield political power without the ambition to actively seek it. That same ambition often compromises the unselfish motives that began the quest. In other words, in a battle of id versus ego, that ego rarely wins." And "...One could argue that Laura Roslin is a study in repressed ambition, just like you, Mr. Adama. Never seeking out a job until it's handed to you. Flight leader, battlestar commander, Quorum delegate. Man doesn't carve out a path like that through life without..." And after that story do you know that Romo is right? That Lee has repressed ambition?

Now, other elements in this episode were much better. The scenes between Saul Tigh and Admiral Adama were effective. And what wasn't good was at least completely necessary; like how Lt. Sharon "Athena" Agathon had to go to the brig for shooting Natalie (and she should be there longer) and Adama had to chew her out. They had to give Natalie at least the minimal death scene she got - But I, personally, wanted to hear her say "I don't want to die" after that speech about death she gave last episode. Were not even going to get an ironic admission that speech was bullshit. At most she merely seemed surprised, maybe mumbled a prayer but I'm not sure, and then she had some dreamy vision of the forest she likes. And even on that score we don't hear the doctor saying, "she's not fighting for her life." Just that reaching out of her hand.