Friday, March 24, 2006

Battlestar Galactica: 2x01-1x03

After the incredible highs of the first season finale, the first chunk of season two is a bit of a downturn, as the show has to deal with a ton of fallout from the first season finale. Unfortunately, this means that some of the most interesting plot strands don't get much screentime, most notably the humanoid cylons, who are all but absent from this run of episodes.

The primary arc running through these episodes is Colonel Tigh's struggle to deal with his role as ship commander. The first episode features a few flashbacks to his early days with Adama, these work okay, but considering how much is going on, it doesn't feel worthwhile to spend a bunch of time on stuff that happened in the past. In some respects, it's a shortcut out of character development, but it does give you a sense of his emotional situation at this point, unsure how to act without Adama's guidance.

I'm usually not as interested in the military side of things, so the issue with Galactica jumping away from the fleet wasn't that exciting. It's an artificially imposed plot development, and while it could become an ongoing arc, as done here, it felt pretty clear that they'd find their way back for a triumphant end of the episode. In a lot of respects, it was a retread of the emotional territory of '33.'

The stuff with the cylon attack on the ship's interior in episode two was entertaining, but didn't have that much substance. It was another example of a plotline that just happened, it didn't evolve out of anything or lead anywhere. I guess I'm not particularly interested in the robot cylons, they lack the moral complexity of relationships with the humanoid cylons. I'd guess that the intention here was to establish the potent killing power of the robots, and also to provide an action sequence uncomplicated by the issue of shooting these humanoids.

The more interesting parts of these episodes were going on with the stranded crew. The stuff with Starbuck and Helo was unquestionably the highlight of each episode. I was surprised when Sharon took the ship, because she had previously been on the run from the cylons. I'm figuring that she saw Starbuck as a threat, and knew that if they were to make it back to the ship, she probably wouldn't live for long after she gave birth. So, with the chance of making a life with Helo gone, she left.

The second episode scene with Starbuck and Helo in her apartment is one of the best from the entire series. It captures the alien feeling that she must have upon returning to this place where she used to live, but now feels alien, from a completely different time. The music here was phenomenal, and build up such a strong atmosphere that just watching them sit and talk was an emotional experience.

The other cool storyline was the stranded on Kobol stuff. This sequence also establishes how dangerous the mechanical cylons are. The most notable development is that Gaius and Six apparently have their own child. I assumed she was talking about being the father to the Helo/Sharon child, but apparently she is pregnant as well. I'm still not sure what the deal is with all the Sixes, the physical body that he slept with was presumably destroyed when Caprica was nuked, so did they harvest his sperm, or does the pregnancy transfer to different bodies as well? I suppose she could just be messing with him, but that'd be a pretty lame plot point.

I do like how Gaius now sincerely believes that he is an instrument of God, between him and Roslin, God is apparently taking a big role in the cabinet. Six does seem to be continually aiding Gaius, she is the one who inspires him to act to save Cally. So, he seems to be stepping it up and getting things together.

"Fragged" also saw some really interesting developments back on Galactica. Tigh pushes things too far, and brings about a potential civil war between the people who believe Roslin, and people who support the military. There's a lot of potential with this storyline, focusing on the issue of logic vs. faith. I'm really interested to see how the cylons factor into this, because they would seem to be more aligned with Roslin. How do they feel about this prophecy, and are their goals in line with what Roslin is trying to do? They seem to believe in a cyclical view of history, so they would likely believe in the prophecies.

And on the political side, there's the issue of how Zarek fits into all this, would he want a civil war to clear the way for his ascent to power, and is he still connected with Ellen Tigh?

There's clearly a lot of interesting stuff going on, but right now I'm missing the cylons. Sharon's barely been on, and Six has only appeared in Gaius' head. I'm hoping that like season one, the focus will increasingly be on the cylons as the season progress, and not the metal cylons either, the humanoid ones.

No comments: