I fell behind on my BSG Season 4.0 posts when they originally aired. I'll be posting the last three entries as a lead-up to the Jan 16 premiere of Galactica’s final episodes. Brace yourselfs also for a write up on the new webisode, The Face Of the Enemy (Whaaa??? Didn’t know there was brand new BSG content already? Then you’ll want to hit that torrent asap).
Old Man Fight!! Old Man Fight!!
Upon repeated viewing, this episode isn't entirely bad. So why not start with the good.
Back in season one, we saw a similarly distraught Papadama risk the fleet and fuel supply in an arguably suicidal search for a misplaced Kara Thrace (1x05). It did an excellent job showing some deep flaws in Adama. Not just “doesn't get on with his son”, but “might not be fit for command”. The episode acknowledged it was a tactically stupid move yet it sidetracked you noticing too much the the standard television expectation that we should be rooting for Adama as he searched for “the hero/recurring player”.
Three seasons later, Adama's off the rails again. He's missing his surrogate-wife-Roslin and is prepared to damn the remnants of humanity to find her when he abandons the civilian fleet. So he’s consistent, but he’s also grown since those early days. Finally recognizing the toll he's putting on the fleet he relinquishes command. When Tigh asked Adama “What’re you going to do about Laura?” he was asking about more than he search itself. The final shot of Adama in the shuttle, surrounded by the blackness of space, answers that question. Without her he is alone, and he will risk everything to rejoin her. He’s realized it’s a personal need.
If only the turning point in his thinking hadn't been a conversation with Romo FUCKING Lampkin.
Memo to writers: Stop jacking off Romo on screen. They've fallen so totally in love with this character they are blind to his excesses. He's an extra-spicy mustard that must be used with care. Certainly it's rude to strap your audience to a chair and begin squirting said spicy mustard into their eyes, repeatedly yelling “The cat is a metaphor!!”
Romo's ostensibly brought in to help Lee select a president that Adama would support. Did he have the right to refuse the democratically elected Tom Zarek's ascendency? Something tells me this also is a change in Adama. This can't be the same man who prevented Roslin from throwing an election, only to place Baltar on the throne. Like Roslin, he's grown more dictatorial. Is it a change for the better? And great spaghetti monster in the sky, who? Who could they possibly choose? Who could possibly be the new president? Oh, what a puzzling conundrum!
Well of course it's Lee. He's only been groomed for the chair since the beginning of the season. The problem is structural: Two characters trying to arrive at a conclusion the audience has already reached is boring. And when one of them is a quirky‘n’quaint nervous-tick-having leprechaun, you'd best tread carefully. Just as much mileage could be wrought from Romo arriving at the conclusion near immediately and then spending the episode convincing a reluctant Lee. There are even moments where it seems Romo does know the outcome, and is leading Lee along.
Then Romo whines about his cat and draws a gun on Lee. Pardon me? This overwritten borscht is showing - dare I say it? - a few BSG clichés. The scene is supposedly about Romo's dead wife and a reconnection to their pre-apocalyptic lives. It could have worked so well as a quiet moment, but for some reason amping. up. the. tension. was the order of the day.
I know, a reviewer is better to stick to opinions, not re-write and speculate on what could have been. But the pieces of a good Galactica episode were all there only to be ass-fucked by writer's myopia. The bad taste of Romo permeates. Ah well, at least “room with a view” was funny.
Did you know the first time Edward James Olmos busted his model ship, it was an unplanned improve? Did you know it was a $100,000 one of a kind model? (cause EJO didn't; oops) And how the frak is CylonSix pregnant by CyclonTigh's seed?