Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Galactica Musings: Part Whatever

Spoilers people, this shit is red-hot.

I'd just like to say that tonight's Galactica was really good. It's ironic that plenty of us (including me, though not as much as some) complained during the tail end of Season 3 that too many episodes were just treading water without moving the main plot along.

Guess they sure showed us. The first half of Season 4 felt like a three-part arc-heavy storyline stretched to ludicrous proportions. There were far too many moments when all I could think was "God, bring back Dirty Hands, all is forgiven [1]".

A Disquiet Follows My Soul managed to modestly move forward a few plot arcs, but at heart it returned to what Galactica always did so well, offering us as many character moments as possible and framing them inside a crisis. The collapse of the civilian government and Adama's attempt to move into the vacuum makes complete sense to me, so much so that I can forgive the shades of Kobol's Last Gleaming and The Farm. Bonus points also for making Hot Dog a dad (poor shmuck) and dodging the bullet (or should that be bullet-head? ZING!) of Nicky being half-Cylon (we're back to just Hera and whatever it is growing inside Caprica Six).

Mainly, though, the episode was Gaeta's, and it was Zarek's. I always like the political wrangling in this show, and Zarek is finally back to what he does best, drum up support by telling half of the truth, and hoping everyone else is too scared and/or angry to fill in the blanks. Bill attempted to beat him at his own game, and thinks he succeeded, but Zarek is playing a longer game. He must be: persuading the Hitei Kan to mutiny had no benefit whatsoever on the face of it, but it made Zarek's position on the Cylon alliance very clear, and has left him in Galactica's brig (which is, like, the galaxy's most visitor-friendly prison) where he can be visited by mutinous officers.

Mutinous officers like Gaeta, for example. Now there's a character who just gets more and more interesting. He might have seemed pissy in his confrontation with Kara, but he did raise a very good point, and after what happened in Raptor 718 he's on a mission to remind everyone in the fleet that even the friendliest Cylon is still just a machine, painted pink. Besides, his conversation with Kara wasn't in any way meant for her. He was spouting off about Anders, Tigh and Tyrol to see if anyone else in the room objected. How else do you judge who's on board for a mutiny? Plus, he annoyed Kara to the point where she slouched off, which left him clear to get his plotting on.

It finally feels like Galactica is getting back to the show I used to love. A reprieve from all the quasi-mystical destiny bull-shit, and back to a whole mess of people trapped in tin cans dreaming of ways to kill each other.

Let's see how long it lasts.

Oh, also: hurrah for Adama and Roslin finally getting down to sweet, sweet business. It's a credit to the show that such hideously old people can get their groove on and it not be icky.

[1] Actually, Dirty Hands was proper awesome, and anyone who disagrees is an idiot. Fact.


jamie said...

So say we all. I thought it was awesome too. Sure, it was slow, and talky, and not in the slightest bit action-packed, but it was an essential episode that finally dealt with the fleet's responses to the events of the last two or three episodes. Anything less would have been a criminal neglection of logic and common sense.

The Nicky/Tyrol/Hotdog subplot was a bit annoying from my perspective, as it was quite transparently an exercise in writing themselves out of a corner they had painted themselves, but at least it's out of the way now.

The politics aspect was brilliantly handled, precisely because everyone's responses made so much sense from their perspective. You may have noticed that I'm having an extended argument on the SFX forum with someone about why Adama and co. don't lock up/airlock the Final Five, and I suspect that the consequences of such a sequence of events might be played out very soon...

All this, and despite the episode's low-key nature, we had some of the best lines and moments for a long while; Baltar's 'we're not children; well, obviously you're a child- there are children here'; Tyrol's pronoun confusion and Tigh's weary contempt at it; Cottle's love of deathsticks; the whole of the exchange between Gaeta and Thrace; Roslin's very human relinquishing of responsibility and intention to live for the moment; and so on and so forth.

It just makes me baffled and confused that so many people are complaining that they didn't enjoy it, and doubly confused that said people seemed to love the first two episodes of season 5 Lost to death...

Kim said...

The only problem I have is the Gaeta plot. (Of course I'm delighted he has more screen time) Unless you have seen the webisodes, Gaeta's slow descent would appear to be strangely accelerated. I am also horrified at all the people saying what a baddie he is. Tigh is the only person who attracts more of my sympathy than Gaeta. I bet he doesn't get the special Adama I-like-you-so-lets-foreget-the-insubordination/mutiny deal that everyone else seems to receive. Back in that airlock for poor Felix it would seem. :(

SpaceSquid said...

To be fair, I really enjoyed the Lost season opener when I watched it. It took me a while to realise that pretty much nothing happened, it was just that nothing kept happening really fast.

jamie said...

I might well have felt the same way about the start of Lost too if I hadn't been completely shattered when I tried to watch it, and so after almost dropping off a few times I ended up rewatching sections whilst slightly more alert. It did really drive it home that all that was really happening was more rushing from place to place at one hundred miles an hour.

Where are these people saying that Gaeta is a baddie? If that's the case, talk about hypocrisy; just when a character gets a chance to do something really interesting people start baying for his blood (cf. Tory).

Kim said...

sci-fi forums and televisionwithoutpity forums have a whole host of Gaeta haters.
Who wants Gaeta to get airlocked?
Even mad people who thought Gaeta unfairly attacked poor defenceless Starbuck. Did they all fail to notice it was a mirror scene to the one in collaborators? And where is Tory? Shouldn't she be in a big gold chair on a stick barking orders at cylons or something?

SpaceSquid said...

"Did they all fail to notice it was a mirror scene to the one in collaborators? "
I'm sticking with it being a deliberate sounding-out of the mood in the room. I also wanted Kara to say "Be fair, Felix, I was only on the Circle because the third Cylon on it had pussied out".

"And where is Tory? Shouldn't she be in a big gold chair on a stick barking orders at cylons or something?"
Ooh! There's something the show has shamefully failed to address: the concept of Cylon bling.

jamie said...

" "Did they all fail to notice it was a mirror scene to the one in collaborators? "
I'm sticking with it being a deliberate sounding-out of the mood in the room. "

I don't see there's any reason why it can't be both...

And as to Cylon bling, wasn't there a golden oldie cylon on board a foxbat during 'Razor'?

SpaceSquid said...

"I don't see there's any reason why it can't be both..."
True, though the fact that Kara was such an arse in the scene being mirrored doesn't really justify Felix doing the same thing now.

"And as to Cylon bling, wasn't there a golden oldie cylon on board a foxbat during 'Razor'?"
Yeah, but that's old bling. The Cylons have had forty years to upgrade thier bling technology, and I want to see what they've come up with.

jamie said...

They've come up with Six's hair, which surely counts as organically-based bling. Clearly their bling technology has moved in the same direction as the rest of their society.