Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Battlestar Galactica Ep 6, 4.5 review: Deadlock

Cylons Sharon/Boomer Eight and Caprica Six

SPOILER ALERT Look away now.

Written by Buffy veteran Jane Espenson, Deadlock, Episode 6 of 10, brings Ellen Tigh back to Galactica’s crippled fleet, now carrying 39,556 surviving humans with no prospect of sanctuary.

Dead alcoholic Ellen was revealed in the first episode of the series to be the Mother of the 13th Cylon Tribe. Revived and tidied up in last week's episode, she had displayed the powerful side of her character when confronting Brother “Jon” Cavil (Cylon model Two) over his determination to wipe out the humans. She’s now delivered by one of the Boomers (Cylon model Eight) to the Galactica. With food running out and tempers high, the old ships aren’t the only things falling apart from wear and stress. As Gaius Baltar later observes, starving humans don’t make for a mutiny, they make a revolution.

But far from representing hope, this particular “revolution” is a venting mechanism for all the humans’ fears and frustrations and of course, the Cylon outsiders are the obvious scapegoats even though they are providing the stricken ships with superior technology to get them out of their current mess. Admiral Adama and President Roslin are at a loss what to do. It’s interesting that in this post-911 allegory, with its critique of the War on Terror, our sympathy is orientated towards the military and political leadership — representing stability, order among chaos — caught between the threat of imminent detection and obliteration by Brother Cavil’s Cylon army (al Qaeda, as some have suggested), and the humans on auto-destruct (civil unrest at home).

Despite a major personality and grooming make-over, the dipso maneater of old is still at Ellen’s core. She informs Admiral Bill Adama and his officers that Brother Cavil intends to rebuild the Resurrection Ship which recreates Cylons when they die and which our heroes had managed to destroy. But before her husband, Colonel Tigh (revealed previously as a reluctant Cylon), can tell her, “I made Caprica Six pregnant”, she’s shagging him on the table, his eyepatch and cares tossed to the stellar winds.

They've been doing this for thousands of years throughout their numerous reincarnations. So when Ellen does find out that there’s a Cylon baby on the way, instead of greeting this as an evolutionary marvel that will ensure the continuation of their species without the Resurrection ship, she gets jealous. Hmm, not so enlightened and omniscient, after all. As she reminds him and us, she and Tigh created Six all those thousands of years before. She eventually makes her peace with them.

Caprica Six yearns to be “pure and safe". Sensing danger, she and Boomer propose to the Cylons that they escape by taking the base ship. Tigh and Sam, still ill from a bullet wound to the head, oppose the move.

The tension takes its toll and Caprica Six loses the baby. With procreation no longer a viable alternative, the survival of the species will depend on the return of the Resurrection ship.

Ellen and Colonel Saul Tigh

The writers are still having fun with Gaius Baltar who is as slimy and self-preserving as ever. Providing a darkly comic commentary on the absurdities of ruddereless humanity under threat, his every selfish action is (mis)interpreted by his cult followers as being of supreme spiritual significance, reflecting life as it is and not as it should be, as well as chucking in an homage to Life of Brian.

This week Gaius has to find a way to scupper the female leader who emerged during his absence when he ran away to save himself, and whose qualities of smarts, courage and tactical thinking he recognises as a threat to his position as top dog among the airheads and losers who make up his troup of female acolytes.

Gaius rails against the Cylons, even though his phantom internal Six is back as his guiding light. He acquires superior weaponry, enabling his women to fight off a male cult that's been stealing their food, and regains his position as leader.

Elsewhere, in another reference to 911, our Cylons are sticking photos of dead loved ones and comrades onto a Ground Zero wall of rememberance on the Galactica; which is touching but separate from the ones the humans are using. Mourning is no healing process. It's one more marker in the gulf between two species who actually have so much in common.

Gaius Baltar

BSG Season 4.5 Episode 1 review: Sometimes A Great Notion
BSG Season 4.5 Episode 3 review: The Oath

List of Battlestar Galactica (reimagined series) episodes here
Screen Junkies' excellent and thorough BSG recap and flowchart!


Renegade Eye said...

The producers of Battlestar Galactica should thank you for the review. Your analysis elevates the show, probably more than it was intended to be.

OT: I have had a series, where every few weeks I post a recipe and plug ther blog, of bloggers who send me recipes. I have had recipes from the wife of singer Ned Sublette (who mixes Cuban percussion with American cowboy songs), a Turkish Kurd etc. Send me a recipe at my email address. My food posts are the only posts that stay friendly at my blog. My Academy Award post, was a disaster, with fights and threats.

Madam Miaow said...

The cookies looked fab and most tempting, Renegade.

I'm going to run a few of my own recipes here and link to blogs who are doing the same: that's you, Lucky Cat and Ned Raggett's so far. I can sling mine across to you if you fancy including them in your food series. Food just like Dad used to make (he was by far the better chef).

Yes, I got the flavour of that Oscars thread. Some of us were wondering why you didn't delete the troll.

Renegade Eye said...

Be sure to shoot a recipe to me. Best would be ethnic and simple.

I like having a dialectic at my blog.

If you attack a conservative personally, they get crazy. They think they are a persecuted group. I'm just letting them tire. Fight it out until, they lose interest.

I had much worse problems with trolls.

I don't like banning people. I found out that later I would want to save the flaming stuff as evidence later.