Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Deadlock

Our episode opens with Adama watching the Cylons repair his ship, something we’ll cut back to repeatedly this week. Caprica 6 is in Dogsville, which is apparently the new name for the DP camp on Galactica. A group of men harass her, but her Cylon strength brings a quick end to it.

The real action starts when Boomer’s raptor shows up on the DRAEDIS. Given permission to land on the Galactica, Ellen’s grand entrance makes the expected splash. Roslin, ‘Oh my gods, that’s Ellen Tigh.’ Hotdog, ‘How many dead chicks are out there?’ After Galen identifies Boomer as the 8 who piloted the ship, she is taken to the brig. I am not entirely sure why. I understand that she is the Cylon who shot Adama, but, as more than one person has pointed out, Caprica 6 killed tens of billions of people and she walks free. Saul arrives and they jump into each others’ arms. Everyone else is standing around wondering if the father-to-be might be getting ahead of himself.

However, Ellen isn’t given free reign of the ship, either. From her cell she fills Roslin, Adama, Lee and Saul in on what’s happened. She tells them that Cavill wants the Five to rebuild the resurrection ship. She assures them she is still Ellen and asks for a drink. Adama passes her a flask. She wants to see the other Four, but it’s obvious that Lee, Adama and Roslin don’t want her too. She asks them to imagine that, instead of there being 50,000 survivors, there are only five. At this moment Roslin and the Adamas leave, and so does the previous episode’s new found Ellen. The Tighs have sex on the table. He tells her that there is something he has to say, presumably about the baby, but he never does. Watching them grapple one another it occurred to me that the cell’s cameras would still be on. He always shut them off when he was with Caprica 6, but there’s no mention of them here. From a comment later made by Starbuck, we can assume they were functioning. Cut to Caprica 6. She is having sudden pains. It’s a sign of things to come.


Post-coitus the Tighs have the sort of ‘honest’ talk that always leads to trouble. Do people really do this in the real world? I mean people their age. I knew this was a stupid idea before I was out of my teens. She assumes he hasn’t been faithful and he admits he has had sex with a 6. She didn’t want to know, obviously, and his assurance that he always thought of her when he was having sex with the 6, well, that goes over as badly as you’d think. Ellen’s anger stems, in part, from her view that the eight models made by the Five are their children, but you have to wonder if she would have behaved differently if the other woman was Tory or a human. Of course, he could tell her that he didn’t know he made the 6s until Sam told them, but things are not moving in the direction of a peace reconciliation.

They go and see Sam. Galen and Tory are there, making it the first time the Five are together. A 6 and an 8 are also there. Cottle takes one look at the large group of visitors and tells them, ‘don’t anybody unplug anything.’ The 6 and the 8 ask the Five to join them on the baseship. They can jump away. Ellen points out that they can’t leave Hera, but Tory tells her there is a new hope. Something Saul forgot to mention. Tory and Galen want to join the baseship. Saul and, they concede, Sam want to stay. Ellen will be the tie breaker, but she refuses to decide. News of the pregnancy is a bit much.

The mom-to-be is not having a great day. If having been harassed by goons and getting recurring pains isn’t enough, she’s about to have two unwelcomed for visitors. The first is Roslin, who apologizes for what happened in Dogsville and calls her Caprica for the first time. She wants to talk about the visions they once shared, but haven’t had for the entire time Caprica 6 has been pregnant. Roslin asks her if she thinks her baby is important. It’s a poor choice of words. Every mother thinks their baby is important. Then Ellen comes to her quarters, which were Ellen’s before New Caprica. Caprica 6 is sleeping in her bed, using her stuff. Ellen lets it slip that she and Saul have had sex since her return. Ellen tells her that she isn’t trying to threaten her, but Caprica 6 sees through that easily enough. Ellen leaves telling Caprica 6 that she’s won, that the baby is proof of his love for her, but the damage has been done.

Ellen’s next dose of drama comes with Saul. He tells her the Galactica needs the baseship, but she doesn’t care. She has decided to cast her vote in favour of leaving. Saul argues that they can’t do it themselves. They tried to go it alone on Earth and it failed. He isn’t leaving however they vote, ‘go and be pure and safe or whatever.’ She tells him that all he really loved was Bill and the Galactica and the uniform.

It’s all too much. Caprica 6 starts to lose the baby. Now Ellen is in a panic. She only meant to hurt Saul. The mother is struggling to keep her child and the father and his wife are trying to push their own problems aside long enough in the hope of helping her. Saul’s chief emotion though is anguish. He tells Ellen that it’s ‘no wonder we had to invent some compassionate god for them to believe, we couldn’t have them deify us.’ Ellen starts to say that they didn’t invent the god, but now isn’t the time. She tells him to tell Caprica 6 that he loves her, but he thinks he shouldn’t have to say it, that the love he feels should be enough for Caprica 6 and for Ellen and for Liam, the name he’s chosen for the baby. Caprica 6 asks the doctor to cut it out, to save it even if she can’t be, but her pregnancy is only four months along and there is no way he’d consider a caesarean, whatever the circumstances. Ellen offers to go, but its too late. The baby is dead.

This story dominates the episode, but there is another. Gaius is back among his followers. Things have changed in his short absence. Under the leadership of a woman named Paula they have taken arms from those killed in the mutiny and have been able to go out among the rest safely to trade and to build up a significant store of food. Gaius is feeling a little put out. While the group walks through Dogsville he seizes a chance to reassert his authority. Seeing a malnourished child he offers to feed everyone from their stores. They bring the food only to have the Sons of Ares sweep in, much better armed, and taKe everything away. In the aftermath Head 6 reappears and steers him a new direction again. He questions them about Paula’s direction, her pragmatism. They will bring hope, he assures them. They only need strength. And guns. More guns, bigger guns.

He meets with Lee, Roslin, and the Admiral:

What you have right now are starving civilians, with no representation, no recourse. They're broken, they're exhausted. They've had enough. That is not a mutiny Admiral, that is a revolution… [To Adama] Galactica is slipping away from you, drop by drop. You are pouring Cylon blood into her veins. I see the Cylon pilots. We all see them! We all see the Cylon work force. Where they're going into the far recesses of the ship? When are you inviting the Centurions over, to join in all the fun we're having over here? Of course when you do that, that very moment, this becomes a blended ship. Only half human. And right now I am here to tell you your people... your people are not ready for that. I am offering you the last human solution you will be ever presented with.
When next we see him, Marines are giving his followers assault rifles. ‘I told you, you do good deeds and you’re rewarded.’

It may have been the remark about the ship becoming blended that stirred Adama. He voiced a similar fear to about the ship itself and the new Cylon technology. Later he comforts Saul about the death of his son, Galen watches Boomer sleep, and Sam suddenly begins to regain brain activity. Roslin and Adama walk down the Memorial Hall. Cylons are working, others, including Cylons, are looking at pictures of their departed. They see that the Cylons have been putting pictures of their own dead up and realize that they have already become a blended ship. The Admiral reaches out to Boomer’s picture, touching it only for a second. Touching it as though it were too hot to touch.

This is an episode with a lot of good parts to it, but taken as a whole it feels like a misstep. The story of Ellen and the pregnancy is the biggest problem. Ellen’s character development seemed to have taken such a big step forward last week, only to take two steps back now. Obviously she didn’t really want to know who Saul had slept with when he thought she was dead, but if they had only taken a moment to discuss things, she should have realized just how little Saul knows about himself and his relationship to the 6s. And why, exactly, did the pregnancy end? If love has to be there, fine, but what kind of love dies at the first sign of adversity? Sure it was a lot of adversity, but if even a little doubt causes a pregnant Cylon pain, they better start rebuilding those resurrection ships as quickly as possible.

The Gaius sub-plot was interesting. Is Paula to Gaius what Paul was to Christ? I am sure the show won’t go on long enough for us to find out. From the disbursement of guns to his flock I am assuming Adama has decided to create a militia. That makes sense. The marines are too few and the people need to be able to protect themselves from thugs like the Sons of Ares.

Probably the biggest problem with the show is how little the main story points were advanced. Ellen is back, Hera is the important one, and people have guns. Not much. Really, Adama arming civilians is the only new thing. Last week’s episode was turned into an exercise in exposition in order to accommodate everything, this week there was a lot that could have been cut back. We need to find a happy medium.

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