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12 February 2006 @ 09:40 pm
Battlestar Galactica 2.16: Sacrifice  
Mixed emotions
What a relief that the reversed-time-sequence episodes are over! That was the first emotion of many I felt in watching Sacrifice. This was an old-skool BSG episode for me and I was pleased to see nearly the whole cast involved (no Six, no Gaius). The concept itself, that word of Sharon helping the military would get out to the fleet and unsettle people, was an interesting one, and I really liked that the hostage situation went to hell. BSG does frak-ups so well. It shows people really torn, making real mistakes and suffering the consequences.

But I didn't love everything about the episode, and as I'm incredibly predictable, the bits I *didn't* like related to (the destruction of) Lee/Kara.

Now that we're back into episodes that progress the overall plot (i.e. cylon conspiracy) it's interesting to look back on Black Market and Scar and see what they've achieved. And in retrospect, they're frustrating. I don't feel like the discoveries from either episode have been tied well into the continuing plot. Lee dating Dee? Well, he's made a remarkable bounce back to cheeriness if he feels he's ready to do that. I didn't get the sense of that in Scar, where he was still drowning his (or rather Kara's) sorrows. And Kara being troubled about Lee being with Dee? Hang on, isn't she in love with Anders? Maybe I'm just cranky (I have a headache) and perhaps when I rewatch it will make more sense, but I didn't expect this much of a disconnect from the previous two episodes.

I'm neutral on the Lee/Dualla thing. I don't think it was set up that well, as until this episode I didn't see what the attraction of Dee was to Lee, other than at the simple physical level. (She did look stunning! But then so did Kara and Lee himself. Everyone was just glowing in their off-duty clothes!) Part of me is glad that Lee has someone who wants him to live and who will be supportive, but the diehard Lee/Kara shipper in me is crying. I really felt for Kara at her not being able to go to Lee's bedside, particularly since she shot him. In this episode *she* seemed like the one more invested in their connection and that's just baffling to me.

I never was a big Billy fan but I warmed to him after seeing the cut scenes from Season 1. I liked him when he spoke up and was not the silent meek secretary, so this episode I enjoyed seeing him stand up to Adama. That made his death more tragic for me, though I admire the show for doing the hard hitting. I found the actual proposal to Dualla a little baffling as I couldn't work out if we were meant to think they'd reached a committed stage in their relationship but she was having cold feet, or he was simply really stupid at dating. It seemed too much, and I almost feel it was unnecessary in retrospect.

Having said that, I was moved for Roslin. Billy's death is a big loss to her. Of the three--Roslin, Tigh and Adama--with loved ones in the hostage situation, she was the one that lost someone, and she was the one who advocated against negotiation. I am so angry it wasn't Ellen Tigh! Grr. I was not surprised that Adama would 'negotiate' to save Lee as we've seen him put family first before. And his trick, or 'calculated risk', could have worked. But I'm really glad that it was shown to be dangerous and resulted in unforeseen casualties, because that seems realistic.

I think the thing I am most frustrated about in the episode is that Lee and Kara didn't save the day. At first that seemed to be what they were setting us up for. It was the classic Lee-and-Kara plan whereby they each contribute their own skills: Lee from inside setting up the situation to allow Kara to infiltrate. But it ended in the shooting and then Adama wouldn't let Kara help. It was BSG being hard-hitting and tough, and I love that, but OUCH: they hit me where it hurts with the Lee/Kara rift. More than just the death of any romantic possibility between them in the short-term (which I'm ok with), seeing them fail as a team really hurt. I wonder what the message is in this? For the first half of this season they built them up as the Destined Two, whose powers combined protected the fleet. Now I feel like that's been torn down. And I'm not sure where the writing is going with that or why.

Time will tell?
Current Mood: confusedconfused
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K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!bop_radar on February 13th, 2006 02:27 am (UTC)
Grr... LJ just ate my long response! *starts again*

Thank you for your comments. They have given me a different perspective, which I felt I needed after viewing.

I think it's BECAUSE she shot him that she doesn't feel she has a place at his bedside
I'm not sure I can agree here, because she did go to visit him but turned away because Dee was there. I think the fact that she fessed up to Adama showed she was willing to confront the results of her actions and I think she would have gone to Lee if someone else wasn't there. I think she thinks she has less right to be there than Dee, but not no right at all.

I was irked that Roslin seemingly had absolutely no interest at all in the fact that LEE was a hostage
Oh me TOO! The way the writers have seemingly lost all interest in the Lee-Roslin relationship annoys me, as I found it one of the more interesting relationships on the show. I don't know why they've lost interest in it. Grr.

You are right that Kara did frak up, and I feel sorry for her. I guess the magic touch/luck that she (and Lee) had so often in the past failed her here. And I DO like that. It's real and honest, as you say.

I've decided the things I dislike the most about "Black Market" and "Scar" is that if they had never happened at all, this episode would still make perfect sense after "Epiphanies"
That's a really good observation, and one that points right to the heart of the problem with these eps. I expected more continuity from these eps and instead, as you say, it's as if they didn't happen. I would still have been puzzled by cheery-dating-Lee after RSII, but I could have fanwanked that Dee was good escapism for him. As it is, it seems that the whole purpose of Black Market and Scar was to show Lee and Kara as less than perfect, to show their strengths failing them. And that's ok as a concept, but I would rather it had been integrated throughout the season. Now it feels like the discoveries in those eps exist in isolation and that's not effective.

I guess we come at the 'chosen ones' thing from different angles. I'm a sucker for 'chosen ones' plots. I'm happy to fess up there! Clearly this is colouring my reactions, but it's just something I've always liked and hooked into. And what I loved about Lee and Kara as 'chosen ones' was that they were also inherently flawed. I liked the sense that they were both 'special' but also capable of frakking that destiny up. It was the double level I liked.

I see how the idea of them being no more special than Ellen Tigh is appealing--it is tough, brave, honest writing. It just isn't what I personally wanted or where I thought BSG was going with them. That's ok. I'll get over it and I'll keep watching because I do find BSG's bleak vision compelling, destined two or no destined two.
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K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: bsh lee/kara dreamybop_radar on February 14th, 2006 11:43 am (UTC)
I like the idea that Kara was putting Lee's needs first in turning away from Lee's bedside. I think that's a plausible reading, and one I hadn't considered. To be honest, I was so busy having heartache for her over the shooting, that I was more in the reading whereby she simply doesn't think she's worthy in comparison to Dee--so more of a self-centred/self-pitying turning away. I guess we can't know for sure *why* she walks away, but you're right that the result is that she doesn't put her own need for absolution over Lee's needs. I just hope she doesn't beat herself up too badly!

I found your suggestion of a split between the 'Starbuck' persona or identity and Kara Thrace interesting. Certainly in this ep Kara showed maturity beyond the simple cocky bravado of Starbuck in her confession to Adama. That was really moving.

I think it's important that she realises that Starbuck doesn't always save the day ... as long as she draws the RIGHT lesson from it, which is not that she always hurts the ones she loves, but that sometimes she's not the center of everything
Yes, I'd like to see her learning that lesson too. If her not going to Lee was not just self-pity, but a genuine realisation that she's not the best person for him right now, then great--it's character development!

I think Lee's love for Kara is wonderful, but I also think he needs to have someone love HIM that way
I both agree and disagree (to be tricksy!). I do want to see Lee have someone love him fully, and it feels like a nice balance to the Kara/Anders idyllic romance. However, I'd also like something a bit more interesting than just devoted-girlfriend out of Dee. It's quite possible that it *will* be more interesting than that (I'm spoiler-free) but I haven't really seen enough to tell yet.
Kara is not capable of it at the moment because she doesn't even love herself
I think that holds equally true of Lee right now. And that's where I do have a little confusion about Lee/Dee as a relationship, because I had understood from Black Market that he was not in any place to hold down a real two-way relationship with anyone right now. As we've already discussed, it's as if that ep never happened, because now he's dating her, no explanation given. So do I assume that he's got over his emotional baggage? Or do I assume that he's still got it but is willing to burden Dee with it? If it's the former, than I don't feel it was well explained on the show. And if it's the latter, then I *am* a little uncomfortable with Lee/Dee, simply because I don't like the idea of the woman doing the man's emotional work for him in a relationship. That's very untypical of BSG's gender politics, so I suspect that's not the case. But I'm still waiting to see what the dynamic in their relationship will be like.

You are right that the double level of heroes but flawed is still there. I exaggerated! Or rather, I didn't make my question/concern specific enough. The question I have in my mind is what the writers' direction is at the moment. They seem to be focussing on the flaws in the Starbuck and Apollo identities. If, as you argue, this works to show greater complexity and character growth, then that's great. But I don't instincively (yet!) have that understanding myself from watching the eps to date. The recent exploration of flaws has been interesting, but I want it to be leading somewhere/to be integrated into the overall plot.

it makes them no less heroic if they are also human and flawed and imperfect
Oh absolutely. I'd argue it makes them *more* heroic, and it certainly makes me love them more. My question or concern is really more about where the writers are going with them: I'd like to be confident that it was really about character growth/insight. Because the disconnected eps of Scar and Black Market have left a, well, scar (bad pun!) on my trust. (Just to be more contrary (*g), I don't even really want to know for sure what's planned, as I prefer to be spoiler-free: but it's still frustrating not to know!)
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K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: bsg lee/kara hel-lo!bop_radar on February 15th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
Mm. Yes, to so much of that, especially the difficulties of being a Lee fan at the moment. I have a fair degree of anger at the moment. You nailed it with not being able to figure out what my favourite character is thinking right now. So frustrating! So unusual. I'm clinging to the hope that the plots will pick up and this is just a bad patch. And I agree--Sacrifice seemed good in comparison to recent eps, but not compared to the best eps. Grrr. This is the first really big letdown for me from BSG. I demand a lot of it. I forgive waaaaay more easily in my other fandom, because sloppy writing is par for the course there... but I'll be way more mad if BSG continues in this way, because it had so much more potential and really was pulling it off for a while.
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K, Bop or Boppy--take your pick!: Jamie Bamber smrt is sexybop_radar on February 21st, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
Yes. When you know that something has the potential to get it right, it's a lot harder to forgive errors. Especially as BSG held out so much hope of avoiding all the usual sci-fi clangers of implausibility.

It's still an above-par show for me. 'The Captain's Hand' was definitely getting back to form, if not the best ep ever. I guess the Honeymoon Phase is over, though! ;)