Saturday, February 21, 2009

All My Cylons ... these are the days of our fives ... As The Galaxy Turns

DEADLOCK comments:
Spoilers ahead:


[The Galactica Blog Carnival is here.]

[FIRST A LITTLE MUSIC, click here to get this week's tune]



The show does not feel like it is coming to an end. We're down to the Final Five episodes and things are still getting complicated in ways that make me feel the show is turning into an old fashioned Soap Opera. With the show closing they continue to weave intricate and convoluted stories, now involving Soap Operaish elements like sex, pregnancy, falling in love and adultery. Ellen Tigh very much seemed to belong in a Soap Opera. You could literally plop the actress into a soap and she'd do great there playing the same character.

This episode featured one clearly standard old fashioned Soap Opera element; Saul Tigh's extramarital affair with Caprica-6 and that bit of cheesy sexual drama that followed. On learning about Tigh’s relationship with the 6, Ellen confronted Caprica about it, even telling Caprica how she and Tigh fracked the minute she got back to Galactica. Ellen then changes her tune and tells Caprica that Tigh loves her, Caprica, more than almost anything else, but then goes on to play a head game on Tigh and Caprica that proves this isn't quite true.

[CAN YOU NAME THIS TUNE? OR TELL ME WHY I CHOSE IT?]

Ellen pretends to vote to for leaving Galactica and Saul insists on staying, even if both Ellen and Caprica-6 go. Thus it is, according to Ellen, revealed that it’s Bill Adama and Galactica that Saul loves more than either Ellen or Caprica-6 or his own baby. Over at cinemablend.com they celebrated Tigh's bromance with his boss using this fan video from youtube:



I say old fashioned soaps because I haven't watched a soap in decades and I understand they've evolved. I'll have to check. But some other old fashioned soapy cliches I can find in Galactica: Amnesia (the Final Five had their memories blocked) previously-unknown children (Ellen only recently learned that the Cylons are in a way her children), siblings and twins (of the evil variety) are there in more abundance on Galactica than you'd ever see on a soap. Established characters come back from the dead to upset and reinvigorate the relationships (a character's death is not necessarily permanent even when you see an on-camera corpse in both soaps and on Galactica). Unexpected calamities disrupt weddings, childbirths, and other major life events with unusual frequency in both soaps and on Galactica.

On the flip side, my sister has told me that science fiction elements started creeping into the soaps back in the 90s. Someone who knows both mediums will have to confirm my speculation about the soap influence on Galactica. And unless there is a soap about an ex-scientist turned cult leader I don't think you'll find anyone like Baltar on the soaps.

Baltar's arc is starting to get scary again. He returned to his harem/cult to find some angry balcubines who were feeling that Baltar and God abandoned them. They are now armed and hoarding food. Gaius is lucky they let him back into his own cult. While on a lower deck to do some trading, Gaius sees how badly some of the people are suffering and decides to become charitable and give away some of the balcubine's food. Those thugs, the Sons of Aries, show up and take what’s left of the food they brought.

Now in danger of losing control of his cult, Head-6 reappears to give Baltar the right words to influence the women and regain control of his cult. Paula seemed to be in charge and Head-6 whispered in Baltar’s ear that, "the sheep have a new shepherd." The plan that Head-6 gives Baltar involves getting more guns and so Gaius talks the Adamas into giving him such guns... Wait! How did he do that again? Crates of guns were delivered to cult quarters and this makes the women happy, especially Paula.

I've been wondering for awhile if Baltar's religion is some form of Cylon Creedocide:



A hungry religious cult with some big guns... What was Adama thinking? When the food runs out they can start killing each other and solve their food shortage problems by decreasing the demand? Has Adama finally decided that the human race doesn't deserve to survive?

UPDATE:

Ms. SP, Also known as Marie, has a comment below with a link to Maureen Ryan's interview with Jane Espenson. In addition to the comments on Adama giving guns to Baltar's group, Ms Espenson also remarked on the soapy quality of Ellen's scenes:

I never thought of it as soapy, but as emotional. Fights over love probably feel soapy because these are the sorts of stories that were traditionally told about women, while men got workplace stories. Now these two types are just some of the stories we tell, but they're still worth telling. And they don't have to be soapy. I hope the Six/Ellen scene isn't too close to Dolly Parton's song "Jolene," because I suppose that is the danger. I just tried to write an exchange I believed, about emotions as complex as I could muster.

The term "soapy" is subjective. What makes a scene soapy to me isn't quite the same as what makes a scene soapy to someone else. As for Ellen's character, I can now name who she reminded me of: Erica Kane from "All My Children." Erica used to play exactly the same kind of tempestuous head games on people as Ellen did on Saul Tigh and Caprica-6. I only watched a few episodes of that old soap and perhaps what I saw was atypical. Does the comparison ring a bell for anyone else?

7 comments:

memphisto said...

I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now and I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your weekly Galactica roundup. I agree that there doesn’t seem to be anything to indicate that the show has only four episodes left. But I wasn’t bothered by the “soap opera” aspect of this show. In fact, I thought it was a nice piece of characterization that Ellen Tigh would be so maliciously jealous after being so promiscuous and unfaithful herself. Dualla’s suicide was a shock, but she always seemed to be a little too sensitive to be a soldier. Gaeta’s mutiny also seemed to be true to the character’s sense of duty and self-loathing. Starbuck sits on the edge of self destruction. Apollo is the John Glenn of the fleet. Adama is the “old man” and Rosslin is the politician. You may call it soap opera, but as far as I’m concerned the thing that makes Galactica different from any previous Sci-fi television show and even different from most written SF is that the characters are finely drawn and believable.

Marie said...

It ended up being cut so I don't know if it counts. I wish they would have left it in though, because it would better explain the Baltar with Guns situation.

Initially, there was going to be something about being so short of Marines on Galactica that they considered, just for a moment, of having Centurions come over.

I think Adama took Baltar's "last human solution" over something even more unacceptable.

normdoering said...

memphisto,

The most soap opera thing about the episode was Ellen. She really did seem like a character they plucked right out of a soap opera.

In spite of the soap opera elements on steroids there is a lot that isn't soapy at all. Baltar, mutinies, war stories and such are like nothing I've seen in soaps (what little I have seen of them).

normdoering said...

Marie wrote:
"It ended up being cut so I don't know if it counts."

How did you find out what was being cut? Has Ron Moore got up a comment vid?

"...there was going to be something about being so short of Marines ... they considered, ... having Centurions come over... I think Adama took Baltar's "last human solution" over something even more unacceptable."

Wow! They should not have cut that.

Adama is counting on Baltar's cult siding with the Cylons and himself?

Ms. SP said...

I'm not being consistent with my name line, but this is still me.

Norm, Maureen Ryan has had post-episode interviews with all of the writers for this half-season so far. Jane Espenson talks about some of the cut elements in the interview for Deadlock.

I noticed that they did try to get the idea in during the last scene, talking about having the Centurions walk the halls and so forth, but given many of the reactions I've heard so far, I think they failed to get that point across.

I think Adama's idea is to keep the peace so that further security decision will not be necessary. He really should know better with Baltar, but I suppose if the alternative is to have food riots or people dying on your decks, he's going with Baltar for the short term.

normdoering said...

Thanks Ms. SP,

I've read a couple of those Maureen Ryan interviews before -- but I didn't know the one for Deadlock was up until you noted it.

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