If I didn't make it a secret in my last "catch up" post on Battlestar Galactica in this blog, I'll make it clear to you now: the second half of the Third Season of one of my favorite television shows has been extremely disappointing viewing. There have been some highs and some lows, but for the most part, the level of writing has ranged from mediocre to passable, with an occassional moment of brilliance that shines like a ray of sunshine in the darkness.
The remainder of the season constituted these episodes: MAELSTRON, THE SON ALSO RISES, and CROSSROADS ONE AND TWO. As usual, the numbering system on the SCIFI website doesn't exactly match my perceptions of what it's supposed to be from the podcasts.. oh well, what else is new. As in the last post, I will forgo examining each and every episode, it's getting to be headache inducing.
The Maelstrom showed some guts, but also a reckless disregard for well-established characters. They took one of the lead, pivotal characters and killed her off, in a very cleverly crafted show that was highlighted by flashbacks about Kara "Starbuck's" abusive background. Yes, they actually killed off Kara Thrace, but nobody really believed it. Unless I actually see the corpse, I'm not buying she's dead, either. Are they in some alternative reality? Is Kara going crazy? is it all a vision? Who knows. I do know this; the old show (from the 70s) occassionally 'resonates' in this new show, and they killed off a main character back then, too, only to bring him back later in a spiffy white Viper uniform. Go do you own homework!
The Son also Riseswas a big downer, and generally speaking, poorly crafted. Grief issues, Anger issues, Adamas father and junior grieving. Lawyers getting killed. A "terrorist" plot. The shining diamond is the introduction of the character of Romo Lampkin, lawyer for the defense of Gaius Baltar (a stunning performance by Mark Shephard, previously seen as "Badger" on Firefly). I can say without fear of contradiction, Lampkin is the best new character I've seen on BSG in a season. Complex, cynical, Irish and realistic-- Lampkin is just so wonderfully crafted, I hope he isn't a one-shot. The fight between drunken Adama senior and son (and Lee removing his wings, assumed to resigned from the service.. that's some good stuff). But the capper was Edward James Olmos "Free associating" at the end of the show.. he improvised a destructive grief scene by destroying a ship model his character works on routinely during the show. Problem is, it was a museum diorama piece rented for the show, worth hundreds of thousand of dollars! Way to go Eddie!
Crossroads, Part One is a standard courtroom drama, along the lines of LAW AND ORDER, but not nearly so good. Lee is now in a suit, helping Rolo Lampkin! The highlight of the episode was Colonel Tigh's steady mental disintegration and breakdown on the stand at the hands of Lampkin-- he finally admits in public that he killed his wife. Lee gets his chance to act without conscience when he takes on President Rosslyn on the stand (whom we learn is now back with cancer). Michael Hogan deserves an Emmy for this, but he wont' get one, because the rest of the episode is very lame. There's a bit with a music playing in the background that becomes important later, which is interesting, but frankly, as the setup for a season finale, I thought it was crap. The beautiful moment, for me, was the extra scene where Adama senior is putting Tigh to bed, dead drunk. Tigh mumbles: "I embarassed you today" and Adama replies "Saul, you're my best friend...". You get the sense that Adama has done this before, many times.
Crossroads, Part Two really had some fantastic moments and a glaring atrocity of logic. We learn some interesting things. Baltar gets off, but doesn't know what to do next-- and this is, oddly enough, Jamie Barbour's finest hour in the entire show playing Lee Adama, not in a viper cockpit, but in a suit in a courtroom. We learn that (incredibly!) Colonel Tigh,Chief Tyrell,Tory (Laura's assistant) and Anders(!) are FOUR of the FINAL FIVE Cylon characters. My reaction went from increduility to sheer disgust. According to the WELL PUBLISHED LOGIC of the show's creators (the Bible), Human seeming Cylons have only been around for two years .. Colonel Tigh has been a noticeable member of the Colonial Fleet for FORTY FRACKIN' YEARS!!! He fought in the FIRST CYLON WAR, for fracks' sake. Gaylon Tyrell has been in military for a while, certainly OVER TWO YEARS. And Anders!! Anders the celebrity athlete????? A deep cover agent? And how convenient is it that the personal assistant to the last president of the colonies (replacement for the murdered previous occupant of the position) turns out to be the a cyclon, too? If Billy hadn't been killed in season two, would HE be a Cylon now?
Oh, and Kara shows up in the last second, to nobody's great surprise, with the way back to earth.
I can't get over how dissapointed I am with the way things are working out on BSG. It's clear that they've put the show bible on the bookshelf, and are simply winging it now. There are consequences to life when people give up and stop doing their job.. and there will be consequences to this show because RONALD D. MOORE and DAVID EICK have basically given up and are no longer doing their jobs. It's very clear that these guys don't have the fire they once had. Which is a terrible shame. BSG was one of the finest things to be on TV in a long while-- certainly since the grand old single season of Firefly, and maybe long before that. I don't want to sound too much like Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons here; I loved BSG, and it's sad to see it go down the road to mediocrity, but I guess this is the fate of all things sooner or later. .