Introducing new BSG set designer Jackson Pollock.
I’ve had my own experiences with suicidal thoughts. Something I was reminded of when an old friend I hadn’t seen in years recently committed suicide (RIP Yogi). As Dualla suddenly pulled that gun out and shot herself, point blank in the temple, I thought “Yeah, I get it.” As the episode went on I kept thinking how un-sensationalized and honest the portrayal was. Dee’s story is a microcosm of how many in the fleet must be thinking and it felt exactly right. If you picture a set of old fashioned scales with depression on one side and coping mechanisms on the other, suicide happens when the coping mechanisms are overwhelmed by the depression. Everyone within the fleet just had the big weighty weight of “Earth will save us” removed from that coping side. I would hope that anyone in our world would seek out friends, write something down, start smoking cigarettes, find some way to tip the balance towards coping. But in the world of Battlestar Galactica, what hope or support could anyone else possibly provide.
During the first episode, 33, fleet-wide suicides were written into the plot. A fairly reasonable supposition when everyone’s planet(s), families and everything they knew had been annihilated. The network, however, felt a theme of mass-suicides was perhaps not the best way to open the show. After three and a half seasons, it seems they’ve won the right. Plus its not some extra that we’ve never met, it had the impact of being a character we’ve known (and on occasion liked). It was a courageous story direction to go, it fit the tone, it was effective and raw.
Dee’s story is just the centerpiece in a sea of despondency. Consider the scene where Adama, drunker than Tigh, walks through the halls of the Galactica. More startling than the distraught crew members lining the halls in various states of anarchy was that Adama didn’t respond to any of it. He didn’t care about how his soldiers were conducting themselves because he was on his way to attempted suicide-by-Cylon (to borrow Alan Sepinwall’s phrase). Drunk Adama is full on fraking scary and an Adama without hope? Well goddamn, if Adama is lost, what hope does anyone? The words in Adama’s fleet-wide speech are just as inspirational as the many emboldening speeches he’s give over the course of their journey. But its falling on deaf ears and not even he believes the words he’s saying. This episode takes place between the question “what now?” and an answer that may never come. It is a truly imaginative person who could be believe that things could get better.
The big series questions have even been answered (they’ve just posed lots more when we weren’t looking). They’ve found earth, and we even know who the fifth Cylon is. Obviously it was Ellen. Wait. Whaaa...??? Ellen? Only last bsg-post I commented how awkward her introduction was but by now I’d mentally justified it as the writers fumbling, not a dangling plot thread. Yeah, so, apparently there was a reason after all. I had also forgiven Tyrol smashing his wife’s face in with a wrench for no reason as stupid writers until it turned out he was a Cylon too. Aw frak, they’re not going to make me like Romo’s cat by the end of this series, are they? Does this relate to why Tigh kept seeing Ellen’s face instead of the Six he was fraking? Is it more than projection, but some Cylon personality? If there are any hints as to what will happen during this final stretch, Galactica has hidden it well. Likely also hidden it in plain view.
Earth being home to a tribe of Cylons makes sense in some ways. If 2000 years ago there were both Humans and Cylons, a segregation policy would explain why Earth was so far away from the rest of them. Yet there were intentionally placed markers. Placed by Cylons? So Man creating the Cylons wasn’t such a unique thing? Were the blueprints still kicking around on someone’s hard drive?When the scriptures say “all of this has happened before”, they ain’t kidding. Is it a repeating cycle they’re locked into? Did Tigh and the rest of them sneak over to Earth and take a long nap? Is there a 2000 year old resurrection hub sitting around in the clouds? This is all god(s)’s plan?
Mr “there is a plan and I’m so cool I just know I’m part of god’s plan”, aka Leoben, was even freaked out and directionless. I mean, what the hell is going on with Starbuck? The dog-tags of Charbuck said “Thrace” on them. My friend Gabe pointed out: there was only one dogtag (the other one was given to Anders) and it had her ring on it! Did she die and was she reborn? Yet she’s not a Cylon? What the frak?!
This episode did a fantastic job at painting a picture of a fleet adrift. With its close study of Dualla and Lee; of Starbuck’s questioning; Adama’s hopelessness; Roslin the schoolteacher burning books; it kept our personal connection to these people alive while giving us no clear direction. What a string of incredibly strong performances by all. Once again its the final four that are finding the way but like in times before they’re just following a half-heard music. Memories and hazy details swimming into focus for a brief moments and giving us jaw-dropping hints. (again: Ellen?!) I expect we’ll see Cavil and the rest of the Cylons show up for some background action while these four continue to trailblaze the way. Starbuck is also tied in with this somehow, I guess we’ll just have to keep following the music.
Do you have any idea why Charbuck’s corpse was on planet Erf? Any guesses as to what “everything’s in place for our rebirth” meant? Like, what had to be in place, did she make sure the usb-keystick was plugged in? Oh yeah, who nuked Erf? Humans? Kara? Cylons themselves? Could I write an entire article with just questions? I think I could? oh yeah, it’s been bugging me lately: can anyone explain Shelly Godfrey? Blergh!