K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick! (bop_radar) wrote,
K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!
bop_radar

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Battlestar Galactica 2.14: Black Market

AKA: K's Lee-rambles
I finally got to see this ep! I can't believe that I was waiting this long on a *Lee*-centric ep! It's a good thing I didn't know. I may have gone out of my mind.

Actually, that might have had some kind of reverse-psych good effect, as being *in* my head was not so great a place when watching this ep. Having run out of meds in truly unforgiveable fashion, I was sitting out the long night of withdrawal before my doc would see me in the morning. Possibly not the best time to watch Lee angst, but hey!

What the... ?
So first of all I am still totally reeling from the fact that somehow or other in BSG I glomped onto the depression-sufferer as my viewpoint character WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT. i.e. it was not apparent he was a depression-sufferer for a season and a half, goddam it! And yet--still my viewpoint character. I've seriously had the 'oh dear god, no! Tell me *this* is not why I identify with him!' angst for two weeks now and I'm just not shaking it... Please tell me that I've been watching too much Smallville and that this is 'coincidence' not 'destiny'! Because it is frakking by brain up. Did I just pick up on some weird sublminal depressy vibe early on? What the...?

So headlong into the Lee-angst... Black-Market was a bit of a roller-coaster for me. I was pleased to see a Lee-centric ep and one that dealt with the complexities and imperfections of his character. I really liked the discovery that he's not the perfect moral-high-ground-rider that he's cast as at times. His turning to Siobhan made a lot of emotional sense, especially assuming that his visits began or at least increased a lot following his near-death experience. And yes (internal groaning aside) I liked the portrayal of someone suffering near-crisis-like depression but continuing to function at a high level in his job, and getting the insight into just how much it costs him to simply keep going, with things getting greyer and greyer.

Of course, I was hampered somewhat in my one-eyed Lee-vision so supacat helpfully pointed out that the entire episode was about how Lee pushes women away. From an external perspective, Lee is incredibly commitment-phobic, so I could understand her confusion as to why he was just so impassioned and emotionally attached to Siobhan and her child. For me, that plot made instinctive emotional sense, but it took a while to unravel the threads.

Unworthiness
Lee is deeply emotional and is suffering the downside of that at the moment in terms of carrying a lot of emotional baggage. At a fundamental level he doesn't feel he's a good person. He doubts his capacity in his job despite all the external validation he receives, he compares himself unfavourably to others (his father, Starbuck), he dwells on his mistakes and he overthinks things. He's also capable of deep-seated anger (notably demonstrated in his relationship with his father). As a hyper-self-aware person, I'd guess he hates these aspects of himself and he's going to be hating himself a whole lot more now for having experienced suicidal emotions. That will only validate his feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness.

Unworthiness lies at the heart of his relationship-angst evidently. We got frustratingly little information about the blonde woman in his past but what we do know is that he was left with the feeling of having let her down, of having not lived up to her expectations. He was afraid of being a father. Why would that be? Well, he's the child of a broken family and he probably fears making the same mistakes as his father. He fears he won't be a good father, as he showed in his self-conscious 'I've never been good with kids' line (um... showing them cyclops-dollies isn't the way to win their hearts, hon!). There could be a wealth of other reasons as well, but it's clearly not just child-revulsion as he tried so hard with Pyka (sp?).

The near-death experience has prompted a tailspin for Lee and it's revived his emotional experience of failure with unknown-blonde-woman. His final words before losing consciousness were an apology to Kara, the one person who he would never have expected to let down. Earlier he had told her that if they didn't have trust, they had nothing. Yet despite that trust, he failed her. Initially through no fault of his own, through sheer accident. Yet despite himself, he felt relief in letting go, in letting her down, in failing. This emotional experience mirrors his earlier experience with 'letting down' someone he claimed he loved. He must have experienced both relief (at not having to face fatherhood and a further set of standards to live up to) and profound revulsion at himself for that selfish act, as well as simple grief at losing her. Siobhan asks if he loved her and he replies 'I thought I did'. He doubts even the quality of his own emotions in the wake of letting her down--he distrusts himself at a fundamental level.

So it makes sense that Lee would avoid emotional entanglements now. His coldness to Dee, despite being attracted to her, reflects the fact that he is numb inside. He can't even experience his own emotions clearly. He says 'I don't know what you want from me' and this represents a fundamental anxiety for him: he's already anticipating disappointing her. Further, he's so lost he can't even read what he's *supposed* to do any more, let alone live up to it.

So commitment-phobic makes sense. But why then, supacat helpfully asked, does Lee end up so emotionally attached to Siobhan? Firstly because she serves as an important emotional outlet for him and once unlidded, Lee has an awful lot of emotion to pour out. This would create a deep sense of intimacy with her, despite her status as prostitute. Lee is clearly overinvested in and overreliant on the relationship. Siobhan accuses him of reliving the past and certainly she fits the mould in terms of having similar (blonde) looks and a child as well. It's clear that Siobhan and her daughter served to help him work through his emotions about his past relationship at a subconscious level. And good on her for telling him to shove off! Because I think that's more demanding and more intrusive than sex, no matter how good a 'listener' she is. (The problem I suspect, is that Lee needed not only to be listened to, but also to act out the fantasy of being a caring boyfriend and surrogate father.)

Lee insists that that is not what the relationship is about. This is important because it indicates not just his denial reflex but also the genuineness of his emotions for Siobhan. I think he genuinely cared for her uniquely, not simply as a reflection of someone else. But this episode was all about grey areas and muddied waters for Lee and that's exactly the problem here--no matter how genuine his concern was, it was tainted by the fact that it was also selfish and self-serving.

A massive contributing factor to Lee's intensity about Siobhan was the fact that she needed something from him. His concern for her child in particular accessed the part of him that wants to be the perfect protecter and that fails time and time again. Once that cycle kicked in, Lee was trapped in reliving his anxiety about letting one more person, one more loved woman (and child), down.

Survival
I was fascinated by the final scene between Adama and Lee. I've rarely seen Lee so much like his father and I think they deliberately sketched the scene that way, with the mirrored slouches and sipping of drinks. Adama tries to reach out to Lee but Lee parrots back to him a platitude from earlier: 'We've all been through a lot'. These are the sort of platitudes that generally serve to frustrate Lee in their emotional simplicity. Yet here he resignedly uses one himself. It's still as much of an understatement as ever, but Lee seems to accept that that's all he's going to get from his discussion with his father. He can't imagine really opening up to him. And that leaves Lee in a situation very similar to that of his father's: steely-expressioned and outwardly unemotional, hiding greater conflict and complex emotions underneath. Lee's been driven there by necessity. If he really opened up about his emotions, he would be unable to continue as CAG. Instead, Adama invested him with even more authority in this ep and Lee shuts down even more, bottles things up even tighter, and keeps fighting on, drawing moral lines where he can in an effort to retain some sense of meaning in life.

Wow, that was bleak, wasn't it?! *g* Sucks to be Lee/me! Hee! (oh that rhyming was HIDEOUS!)

PS I'm actually quite chipper now, but I couldn't resist the subject-appropriate mood icon!
Tags: bsg_meta, bsgseason2
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  • 12 comments

  • Vidspiration

    FINALLY!!! Have vid idea for expressing what I feel I need to about Game of Thrones! But will it translate at all to others? And do I care?

  • Celebrating!

    Getting ready for freece's book launch of Captive Prince, and listening to her interview on Melbourne's JOY FM... So proud of my BFF! \o/ This…

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    2012 was fucking dreadful. Not ALL of it. But much of it. I've never felt so disorientated, terrified or dissociated from myself and life as I did in…