I can see what they meant about this being a possible endpoint for the whole series. Wow! I am so SO glad I was unspoiled for any of this going in, so I thank everyone who marked their spoilers carefully from the bottom of my heart! I'm super-glad I hadn't even seen the previews because it made everything an amazing surprise. *G* It was not what I had expected AT ALL. I did think there was a chance this would be a decent episode, but I thought I'd wind up more frustrated if BSG hooked me back in again just to be on a cliffhanger for goodness-knows-how-long. I'm not frustrated at all! I feel some degree of closure. *marvels*
It'll be interesting to see how this episode settles with me but right now part of me doesn't really want any more to the series... the bad bits of this season were SO bad, and while I did love this episode, I think it whitewashed over a lot of difficult issues in its speed. The remainder of season 4 will either deal with those successfully and in an interesting way or ... won't. I think I'll be very very wary of the rest of the season because I don't want a repeat of what happened to me with this half (i.e. expectations getting raised and then unfulfilled until the last ep).
I had SO many squee moments in this episode, I don't know where to start. 'Hey there, Mr Pres' would probably do though! :D Oh, my glee that they ACTUALLY TALKED. THANK GOD! Despite how awesome the rest of the episode was (and it was) I think I'd have still felt something was missing without such a scene. The season opened with Lee and Kara: it needed to end with them as well, and while it didn't END end with them, at least they built in this scene to provide some sense of continuity with the way the season opened.
Their exchange was really interesting. It foreshadowed, of course, the arrival at the temple of Aurora on Earth. But in many ways it felt like it was also the missing dialogue from the scene where they saw Adama off. Kara's tone was tease-y when she called Lee 'Mr Pres' and Lee was all emo (awww) about his dad... I found it very interesting that Kara was so calm and was the one to offer emotional insight in the scene. It feels like she's really found that calm centred space that we've seen flickers of ever since her return. I loved Lee's story about fearing going into his dad's study (OMG I relate to that SO MUCH! My father had a desk I dreaded as well!) as insight into his childhood, but also to build a sense of what a long shadow Adama casts. Kara's observation, even if it did come via Leoben, is a valid one and I wonder if it foreshadows at all what might happen in the second half of the season (probably not though: I don't think the show's that brave these days).
Second squee moment of the season was definitely Laura telling Bill he had to nuke the basestar if need be. Yay Laura! Gaius thanking her for saving her life was hideously awkward and if I was her I'd have been seriously regretting doing so at that point in time. But her resolution did provide a brilliant comeback. ;)
Third was seeing Gaeta back on duty! :D I'm so glad. And I squeed when Dee called him 'Felix' and I loved the way she lifted her chin when he said 'good to go'. I think those two would be really cute together, and I guess I'm just really glad that Gaeta has a friend to see him through this hard time. (In my personal canon she totally visited him in hospital.)
Fourth squee moment? Lee and Kara running down the ladder together. Oh how I've missed that!
D'Anna's entrance was very compelling, especially with all four secret Cylons present. That was one time I didn't mind the anvilly looks, because the threat of exposure was right there. And it was interesting that one of the Four had the opportunity to go with the Cylons without exposing herself straight away. Tory has most embraced her Cylon aspect so it was very fitting that she sided the way she did, but her 'cover' (Laura's medicine) worked well.
The contrast between Laura and Gaius when Tory revealed her identity couldn't have been more marked. Gaius immediately claims that he'd known all along (HA!), whereas Laura admits honestly that she had no idea, and she apologises. Her fight with Tory was nasty, though I still kind of think that Tory deserved a lot of it, and I didn't like Tory's snide comments to her. I did think Laura came off as quite desperate in trying to persuade Tory to get the Cylons to listen to her--she showed her hand far too soon and underestimated how alientated Tory was.
Of course this scene also began the awesomeness of seeing Lee actually act as President. Colour me VERY surprised that they let him do that! My fifth squee moment was Adama saying 'it's your call, Mr President' and Lee saying 'Roslin's right' (she is! yay!). I'm not usually one to see Lee and his father as incredibly alike (despite the way the show textually pushes that idea), but I did think it was very obvious in that scene that both Adamas were hiding their pain about potentially having to kill Roslin, Helo and the others. It was very reminiscent of Razor, actually.
I really enjoyed Tigh in this episode--probably because he got his shit together. :) I'm very glad they chose him as the one to threaten airlock to, because if it had been either of the other two I would have been bidding for them to get airlocked. But as it was, I was invested in Tigh staying alive, because he was the only one with the guts to come forward. He acted out of love for Bill, and his emotional journey in the episode was well tracked. Tigh's desperation was obvious when he asked if there wasn't an alternative, and I loved Kara's snappy reply. When Lee ordered the basestar nuked, Tigh looked seriously in shock. The parallel to him killing his wife because he thought it was the 'right' thing to do must have been so strong to him when Adama responded to Lee's command with a restrained 'yes, Mr President'.
And yes, that was my biggest squee moment of the whole ep. I just loved that Adama had to accept his son in that role. I know the show decided to play Adama as being ok with Lee's career shift, but they've also stopped short of him actually giving Lee his approval. And then to have the first major decision of Lee as President be to order the execution of Roslin and the others... wow! He absolutely had to do it, and I think Adama did know that, but of course it was hard to swallow and not surprising that both Adamas avoided conflict over that. (Hee! I think that might actually constitute growth for them!)
I loved Tigh coming forward to Adama--that was a fabulous scene, though Bill's inital lack of reaction made me laugh. I'm glad it was made clear it actually was denial, because sometimes I can't tell! And FINALLY they address the oddness of having Tigh be revealed as a Cylon (the fact he's aged, the fact he has a history with Adama) and the mindfrak aspects of it (his imprisonment on New Caprica, Ellen's death). I actually found it really convincing that Adama would explore first of all the idea that perhaps that Cylons did something to Tigh on New Caprica--I'm surprised Tigh himself didn't suspect that at any stage. The impulse to think of some other way to explain things would be a natural reaction, I'd imagine.
After all Tigh's own denial it was very cool to see him assert his identity to Adama. And I loved the way he instantly removed his hands from Adama's shoulders when asked, to show how he's not a threat, he's still just him. And wow, what a cool self-sacrificial act! I think Tigh's reasoning was solid: it did seem likely that D'Anna would back down, but I do also believe that Tigh knew there was some real risk to himself, and I believe he was willing to die if necessary.
Against all expectation, I actually did feel some sympathy for Bill. I couldn't help thinking that this could have been Lee and Kara... I can SO imagine Kara going to Lee and telling him to threaten to airlock her because the Cylons wanted her. And Bill's obvious distress and rage at the impossible situation were therefore a bit easier for me to connect with. He did lose a touch of sympathy though when he drank himself into oblivion... *frowns* And poor Lee... even as President he has to caretake for his own parent.
I thought it was interesting that Lee assumed that Bill was blaming himself for not noticing that Tigh was a Cylon. It makes sense that Lee would think that because it's how Lee's mind would work, but I'm not sure if it was Bill's biggest hang up or not. He seemed to be more just... sorrowful. And his breakdown about so many people to die kind of just confused me. I mean I think he's made mistakes sometimes but to generalise like that made no sense and I couldn't quite understand what emotional journey he was undergoing there. Does he feel the whole war is pointless if the Cylons are just like him and Tigh? But they could hardly just have turned round early on and said that, could they? The Cylons would have nuked them. And in any case the Final Four didn't know, and we STILL don't know what they really are or how they function. (The wooly status of the FF is still something that sits uncomfortably with me.)
I loved (of course!) Lee telling his dad to get it together. I nearly made another insta-reaction post just for that. ;) And I thought it was REALLY interesting to reflect on their journey since the mini-series when Adama first announced the idea of finding Earth to the fleet, believing it to be a lie. Lee didn't believe in it immediately, but along the way he's evidently come to believe it and Kara coming back had a huge part to do with that, I believe. Though I personally wish we could have been given more insight into Lee's shift in understanding regarding this, especially as it proved so critical in this episode!
But ohhh, heartbreak on the 'I'll take care of it!' line. Oh, Lee! *heart thump* Of course, it gave him the opportunity to punch Tigh and I imagine that must have been very satisfying. ;) And omg, I was fangirling him so hard in his exchange with D'Anna! :D :D :D
My love for Tigh continued to grow when he gave up the names of the other two. YAY! This does a lot to redeem his despicable actions in Collaborators for me. Galen and Sam came over as far more cowardly, though I know we were meant to think that they were preoccupied with the Viper. Personally I think that was just a convenient distraction to avoid thinking about the many people who were about to die (thank you, Tigh!). Of course it turned out to have actual plot purpose, but then Sam always does get off the hook for things.
Kara's frustration with them was enjoyable. While I can understand why Sam brought up the fact that they'd trusted Kara, the problem was that Kara didn't have any particular reason to believe that they would have a connection to Earth unless they were secretly Cylons and she wouldn't want to believe that. And oh, my poor poor Kara! (Another time I nearly insta-reaction-posted!) Finding out about Sam that way was terrible I thought and she looked so completely devastated. :( I know they didn't play it this way on the show, but to me, I feel she'd be seriously VERY freaked out to know that Sam had been lying to her and sleeping with her all this time knowing he was a Cylon. He didn't even get time to tell her how long he'd know. She's basically just found out that she's been reliving her experience with Leoben without even knowing it.
Of course with the pace this episode was blasting along at, she didn't have long to experience that trauma or work through it. I'm glad for her in one way (Kara in more pain than before is not something I want) but from a storytelling perspective I thought it was kinda weak. It's one reason I'd have rather seen the material in this episode explored over a two-parter. But anyway, conveniently Kara had the Viper to focus on.
Lee didn't really seem to react at all to finding out that Sam and Galen were Cylons. That felt odd to me. He's worked with Tyrol for so long! And he and Sam have had a long rivalry but they also found respect for each other, especially after Kara's death. I expected ... something. I realise it was a crisis situation and Lee was keeping it together very well (good boy!) but it also felt like a missed opportunity and rushed for omg!drama reasons. Having said that, I thought the tension was built wonderfully and I was totally gripping the edge of my seat. *g* I did wonder whether we were meant to read anything into him leaving Tigh as the one to be airlocked (first) but really, given that Tigh offered himself in that position, that was a no-brainer.
I really appreciated the fact that Gaius proved at least potentially useful again. All through the series he's played a part in critical turning points for the fleet, and while he usually talks up his role as being even greater than it actually is, it's impossible to prove for certain that things wouldn't have turned out differently if he hadn't been there. Also I looooved that Gaius knew how to read Lee correctly. (Tory, you do NOT know Lee. Shut the hell up!) It built on the fact that Gaius knows Lee's psychology well from the trial, and gave another aspect to Laura saving Gaius.
Side note: Galen really creeped me out with his little nod to Tigh. What the hell was that?
Trucco gets points for making me splutter coffee all over my computer with his delivery of 'let me guess: you told them?' That was very funny.
The other very funny scene?
Kara: Like it or not, Lee, something's orchestrating this for a purpose.
Me: *screaming at screen* YEAH! RDM!
Hmph. I'm with Lee. It's a stretch. I think that scene between the two of them was probably the most rushed of the whole episode for me. It was such a critical turning point and it needed to be sold as psychologically convincing. And I'm sorry, Kara, but I don't buy that all these dots you're joining were necessary. Are we supposed to believe that the Hybrid on that specific basestar was the only way they could ever have found out that the Final Five have been to Earth? And that the buzzer wasn't going to go off in the heads of the Final Five until D'Anna showed up? o.O So 'like it or not' is well pitched to me. I don't like it, it doesn't feel solid to me, but I have to go with it anyway.
The actual end results of all of this, I'm on board with. I just don't think the path there has been paved as well as it should or could have been. It was at this point that the episode really started whizzing through material, I felt. It was SUCH a huge thing to share the information with the Cylons. I do buy that Lee would do this, I think he's one of the only leaders who would do so. Adama and Laura are maybe too stuck in their ways--certainly we know Laura wasn't about to, though who knows what her recent discovery of 'love' might have changed in her? *eyeroll* I can see two reasons why Lee would take this path: firstly he believes in Kara and that Kara will find Earth, and she's advocating it; secondly it's sensible politics, it's politics of trust and believing the best in people (or Cylons!) and that's what he's all about. However I do think we needed to see more of his inner psychology regarding the Cylons, as well as about the fact that he's still a skeptic where it comes to the idea of a higher power. But perhaps that's just a Lee fan craving more of her favourite character...
It felt rushed from other character perspectives too. After the terrific material between Helo and the not-Athena Sharon last episode, I thought it would have been good to have shown them in the 'handover of information' scene. Or at least seen the reaction from that particular Eight to the shift in human policy. It was a big shift for D'Anna as well, after being so willing to kill all the remaining humans. They'd made clear that the Cylons would follow the leadership of the Four, which is fine, except that we didn't actually get to hear what the Four said themselves! I presume Tigh and Sam opted to stay with the humans, but Tory and Galen's psychologies are enough of a mystery to me that that wasn't a given in my mind. In a longer episode I would have liked to have seen more on that. If they spent so long exploring them in the rest of the season, why not now when their decisions really count?
But thank goodness they built in time for a Laura-Lee scene. *grateful* It was short but beautiful and I actually really love that it wasn't played as conflict. They were both just so beautifully gracious to each other! I believed both of them completely as well. Lee IS glad to see Laura back, and Laura does think Lee did a good job. *sniffles*
In a longer episode we could have seen the Kara/Lee recon. plan... *yearns*
Oh well. Jumping to Earth did need to be a big moment and I did find it moving. It was showy and emotional and over the top and I totally LOL'd when Bill said they had to 'roll a hard six' (what the frak does that MEAN?! I still don't know!) but fitting. And great fun. And moving also. The bit that gave me total spine tingles was Gaeta saying 'visible constellations are a match'. Like Laura and Lee I totally teared up at that! And I had to laugh at Lee feeling that stripping was an appropriate way of celebrating. He should have kept going! Gaeta got hugs: whoo!
The shots of people around the fleet reacting were alternately hilarious, moving or tragic to me... I liked seeing the little Cybrids--a good reminder of the future, Gaeta's religious cult still freaks me out and their reaction was too absurd for me not to laugh at. Lee saying 'you did it' to his father felt very like Lee being self-deprecating, quite frankly. I know he meant to show Adama his appreciation for leading the fleet for so long (Lee knows how hard that is!) but I felt the 'we' was a lovely gesture following Lee's critical involvement in the final stages.
SO cool to see the fleet beside Earth... and then I kind of freaked out when I realised there was more. And wow, what an eerie montage to end on. So that was the Temple of Aurora but it's in ruins, yes? And it's so desolate. Kara's facial expression was the thing that really broke me though. Clearly Earth is not going to be the haven they hoped it...
And I guess that last montage was to pave the way for the second half of the season. It was very ... stagey. Most of the characters were not reacting, had stony faces. D'Anna was among the most animatedly, obviously upset, which I thought was interesting. I liked the way she came and looked shocked at Adama and Roslin. That sold the idea that it was a shock for both Cylons AND humans. It was an unsettling ending, but in another way it did feel like closure of some sort. I guess the nihilist in me likes the idea of their 'destined' endpoint not being a utopia.
Thinking about it this feels like an episode to please everyone, and that contributes to the sense of closure. I was kind of laughing at how they covered all the ships and characters in some way:
- Adama/Roslin were central, obvy
- Kara/Lee had several scenes where they actually talked (!) and clearly worked as a team
- Kara/Sam were framed as Kara's current ship, even if they're still on uneasy terms for now, when they panned around the Fleet (and yes, I did have a selfish pang for the miniseries equivalent scene which was Lee/Kara *sniffles*)
- Leoben was standing nearest to Kara on Earth
- Laura and Lee had a lovely if brief scene
- Dee was in the episode LOTS *shock*, and there was implied Dee/Gaeta flirting
- Caprica approached Tigh near the end
- Tory approached Sam and he shrugged away but since they haven't had anything to do with each other for ages I figure that's a reflection on inner-FF angst, not shippiness (presumably the other three are not on good terms with her). Interesting that Tory wasn't with Gaius though...
- Helo and Athena were shown briefly (they were probably the most neglected in this ep but there's been lots of them all season)
- Galen was shown with his baby...
Something for everyone! \o/
The big thing I'm really left wondering about is who the final Cylon is, if it's not anyone in the Fleet. Does that mean it's someone we don't even know? Or is it someone from the past/the dead? If Kara can come back from the dead, I guess other people could? Ugh, it's all so foggy anything's possible. Next half-season I want ANSWERS!
Ok, that was long and rambly and not very meta-y but I am out of practice with 'real' meta, as daybreak777 calls what I used to write about the show... perhaps there will be something more coherent once this settles. *g*