Saturday, January 31, 2009
Battlestar Galactica: "The Oath"
The new episode, "The Oath," confirms the suspicion I had in my last review. This mutiny storyline will eat up a lot of time I would have rather seen spent on solving the mystery of how Cylons can be an older "race" than we were told.
You can watch the episode here, without commercial interruption, if you missed it. And if you missed the other two episodes this season, you can go here for the links.
There is something regressive about this storyline. It would have been a great episode back when they were having stories like the one about Adm. Cain, the Pegasus and how Adm. Adama almost mutinied on her for reasons just the opposite of Zerak's and Gaeta's. Cain was too ruthlessness, she shot her own executive officer (XO) and she let her crew torture and rape Cylon prisoners. She had let them sink so far into savagery that it was doubtful they could ever again become civilized. In fact, two characters from Cain's ship have joined with the mutineers and they seem intent on picking up where they left off, raping the Cylon women.
When Tyrol and Helo killed one of the Pegasus's officers for trying to rape Helo's wife, Adama was ready to launch Vipers and a Raptor full of Marines in order to take them back from the Pegasus brig. Cain was ready to counterattack. Starbuck was ready to shoot Cain.
And there was another mutiny, on the poo-barge. The one that cost Gaeta his leg. As they keep saying, "all this has happened before..." This is the third mutiny. Come on, if even your robots can't follow orders like robots should and they rebel on you, why would you treat people like robots? A soldier's faith in your command decisions still has to be earned and you have to keep your ears open for doubts about your decisions so that you know when you need to explain or compromise.
This story worked in the same way as the other mutiny stories, it was visceral, angry, tense, raw and action packed. Everyone's old resentments and fears were on display. And I think it will be the best of the three mutinies we've seen. Gaeta and Zarek pulled off their mutiny in a much smarter and more devious way than Adm. Adama or the poo-barge mutineers. Gaeta and Zarek were meticulous in their set up. In fact, Gaeta and Zarek are so devious that it may undermine the trust of their fellow mutineers. Everyone on the bridge saw how callously Gaeta lied to everyone who trusted him to set up the mutiny. He's undermining their faith by doing that.
The problem is that we've already been there and done that even if this one is the best mutiny on the show. Another aspect of the show's regression was the way Baltar and Roslin snipe at each other. I thought they had gotten past that after what had happened in "Hub" episode. The writers seem to be slipping back into the old conflicts they know how to write instead of developing the new ones, like the conflict the characters should be concerned about but cannot be now. The conflict between what 2,000 year old Cylon memories and the fact that we've all been told that Cylons were of more recent manufacture. That's a mystery story instead of an action story, at least it could be if someone cared enough to investigate. They need to be thinking "is our whole history a lie?" By my calculations there are only 7 episodes to go and we are no closer to answering that question.
Now the characters don't even have time to think about that and previews for next week’s episode look like the show will still be dealing with the mutiny and leaving them only six episodes left for answering the questions they raised.
I hope they had an end game in mind. These last half dozen episodes shouldn't be retreading old territory like this unless they've got something I'm not seeing in mind. How does all this get us closer to understanding the shared visions of the opera house? How can they answer why Earth was like it was when they haven't left a scientific team there to tackle the questions and report back?
And remember, TV Tyrant has the BG blog carnival: http://www.tvtyrant.com/