Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Battlestar Galactica: Season 2, part 2 and 'Downloaded'

I've been going through the second chunk of Battlestar Galactica's second season and on the whole it's been rather disappointing. The opening Resurection Ship two parter was solid, but from there we went into a bunch of forgettable episodes. For some reason, the producers decided to focus nearly every episode on the series' weakest character, Lee, the man who is put in mortal danger every week, but always survives it, the man who's loved by all women, the man who's very boring to watch. He's the Riley of this series, and to focus on him at the expense of the more interesting characters is ridiculous.

The show's always had a wide variety of elements, the military elements, the political elements and the cylon stuff. The military stuff is usually the weakest, only Starbuck can make those stories interesting, even though I like Edward James Olmos as an actor, most of his storylines are pretty boring. So, to focus most of the episodes on random military adventures is a big mistake. There's no sense of mortal danger from the cylons anymore, so the episodes where they fight rarely lead to major consequences.

There's some interesting elements, like the Cylon sympathizer group and the physical Six, but they quickly disappear and we're stuck with three out of four episodes in which Lee is in mortal danger. When he didn't die after the stranded in space adventure, it felt like a bit of a cop out, and that led to the showdown on the black market ship where he again survived. So, by the time we got to the hostage episode it was almost comical to see him in mortal danger again. Lee is pretty clearly a boring character, he's got no layers, and sleeping with a hooker doesn't instantly give him edge. He just drains the energy off the screen whenever he's on, so why give him all these episodes?

The thing that makes this worse is that for nearly the entire season we've got virtually nothing on the cylons. Every scene with Sharon was great, but she got very little to do, locked in a cell. The thing that makes this show unique is the cylons and the choice to not focus on them at all for the entire season was a huge mistake. There's no way to justify Lee nearly dying for the third time when you've got all this good story material out there untouched.

This part of the season exposed the fact that the creators built the show for the first season's plots and weren't really able to adjust after it ended. This leads to a lot of characters with no particular purpose and who haven't been given any new storylines.

So, with the show drifting away, everything snaps back with one fantastic episode, 'Downloaded.' The first scene of this episode had more interesting stuff than the previous seven episodes combined. One of the most interesting themes in the series is the increasing similarity between humans and cylons. This episode pushes that to an extreme, focusing on two humanized cylons.

I love the fact that Six has her own imaginary Baltar. That would apparently confirm that Baltar's Six is a hallucination, not the original Six manipulating him through a chip. I loved the Cylon bar, and seeing Sharon in her apartment, struggling to readjust to life in the cylon world.

The ending of the episode sets up a fantastic situation, where Six and Sharon will use their status as cylon heroes to subvert the collective mentality of the cylon world. Because they stand out, they have the influence to alter the direction of the cylons' war. It's also notable that they acknowledge it's wrong to wage war on humans.

At this point, I would be happy to never see the Galactica again and focus solely on the two Cylon heroes and their quest to change the world. I don't know if it's a deliberate choice, but the entire season, and this episode in particular, seems designed to make the cylons more sympathetic than the humans. The way Sharon's birth plays out, they're making Adama and Roslin into easily hatable characters. And it's not just because the perspective was switched here, Sharon has been extremely loyal to them and they give her no repsect whatsoever. Roslin's became a very unlikable character because of this.

The humans who raise the issue of trying to resolve things with the cylons are dismissed, but it looks the cylons themselves are going to make an effort. So, the cylon heroes are the most heroic people on the show right, and also the most interesting. I hope we get to see a lot more of them soon.

Related Posts
Battlestar Galactica (2x01-2x04) (3/24/2006)
Battlestar Galactica (2x04-2x07) (3/26/2006)
Battlestar Galactica (2x08-2x10) (5/19/2006)


Anonymous said...

Do you know what the song is, sharon listen to in her appartment?

Anonymous said...

I'd love to know what the song is too