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Battlestar Fodder

Characters Face Boredom on "Battlestar"

A short recap for a weak episode. In "A Day in the Life," we learn not much has changed aboard the Galactica in months; there's been no sign of the Cylons, and rather than celebrate their good fortune, the crew are getting bored--and lazy.

Please, take my wife
Chief Tyrol and wife Cally are having problems at home, in part stemming from baby Nicholas--but at work, he's still her boss and can order some mandatory Quality Time while on the clock. Unfortunately, he picks the wrong hanger deck for their rendezvous. Because of a weak repair job, the two end up trapped as a broken and leaking airlock sucks away their oxygen. Admiral Adama and the others come up with a daring mid-space rescue to save their lives, but Cally's turn for the worse prompts Chief to rededicate himself to the struggling marriage.

Meanwhile, Adama borrows Baltar's trick and spends much of the day with a hallucination of his ex-wife. At first, she's a loving woman--even pushing him toward a relationship with President Roslyn--but a conversation with son Lee forces Adama to face her drunk and moody side.

I fought the law
Lee also addresses his growing interest in the law, which (as podcast listeners are aware), will tie in to Baltar's end-of-season trial. Even though this career path kind of comes out of nowhere, excepting for Lee's sanctimony, the move is a pretty good one; it's been clear that the writers need a new direction with the character, as the Starbuck romance plot line is burned out and there's only so far Lee's military plotline can advance with his father as the supreme commander of the only battlestar left.

All in all, a pretty boring endeavor. I said last week that I wasn't crazy about the internally focused eps; bring back the Cylons! (Or at least, get on with Baltar's trial).

Posted by DD on February 19, 2007 6:00 PM
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Weak episode? Weak? That's an understatement. That episode was completely worthless.

Despite a few great episodes this season, the rest of the season hasn't been good at all. It feels like the writers have generally been lost since they made the mistake of jumping forward a year in time.

I hope they find a way to pull it together. I want to go back to feeling that BSG is the best show on TV.

-- Posted by: Hurley88 at February 22, 2007 4:56 AM

I agree. This was a terrible episode! Adama talking to his long lost ex-wife?? Ack!! Does that mean he's losing his mind? Maybe the producers are if they think THIS makes for good TV.

-- Posted by: shannon at February 22, 2007 11:26 AM

Hurley, I'm of the same mind re: Season Three. After hyping the show for months to friends, it's been a cringe-fest trying to explain away the past few episodes to new viewers. But I did love New Caprica as a story arc; it was bold, inventive, and made sense within the BSG universe--if you were on a submarine for a year, wouldn't you want to surface eventually, anywhere you could?

(On a related note, if "Hurley" is paying homage to TV's other great, sci-fi-esque drama [and not a reference to the clothing line or, heaven forbid, your actual name], what's up with our favorite show runners taking huge plot risks this year? First, New Caprica on BSG; now the Lost "mini-series" with the Others. Despite Season Three's general weakness, I still give the creative edge to Ron Moore and co.)

shannon, I didn't make much of it in the (admittedly) short recap, but I -hated- seeing more Adama family ugliness, especially following the 'revelations' of "Hero." Also, if you are shannon of BSG recapper fame, let me take the opportunity to grumble--while reading your recaps made me want to write for TV fodder, I'm still squinting up to see where you left the bar.

-- Posted by: DD at February 22, 2007 8:04 PM

With the cheif and Cally stuck in the airlock, why didn't someone repair the leak from the outside. Not as dramatic. I hope episodes like this are not the shape of things to come

-- Posted by: Richard Jellicoe at February 22, 2007 11:06 PM

One thing that was lost by leaping forward a year (and spending time on new caprica) was the sense of complete and utter despair in the fleet. In seasons 1 and 2, it had only been a matter of months since the cylons came in and killed BILLIONS of people nearly exterminating their race in an unthinkable holocaust. You really felt these people trying and hoping to just survive. (Remember when we all used to think about Roslin's whiteboard more?) Now, they are further removed from all that, and are wallowing away after living on new caprica for a year and after not seeing the cylons for forty something days. The last couple episodes were particularly frustrating to me as I couldn't help but think: what about all of that temple of five and eye of jupiter and supernova stuff? Why don't they have their whole braintrust focused on that whole experience and on finding earth? Nobody's talked about all that stuff since the Baltar torture episode.

Also, I STILL don't understand what the cylon fleet is doing. Are they still looking for Earth for some new beginning as they suggested? If so, why? Why don't they just go back to the colonies they took over? Are they still considering wiping out the rest of humanity, i.e. the Galactica fleet like Cavil suggested a few eps back? What ever happened to the tag line from the opening credits: "And they have a plan..." Do they?!?!?? Sure doesn't seem like it! I don't know what the #$@ the Cylon's intentions are and I'm not sure the Cylons do either.

Honestly, I didn't really like the New Caprica arc, partially because I felt like they abandoned so many story arcs they built up in the 2nd half of season 2. It seemed like a cop-out. It seemed like they were pressing the reset button on the storyline. Plus, those episodes were riddled in sloppiness like the Jammer should have been dead since they never showed him miraculously escape fiasco.

Yes, I am a huge Lost fan too. A year ago I spent all sorts of time trying to convince friends to get into Battlestar Galactica and I would have told ANYONE that BSG is THE best show on TV, with Lost in 2nd place. However, I feel like BSG has taken a nosedive due to this season's writing, but I don't think there has been a drop off in Lost. Thus, Lost has taken over as my favorite show. I'm just as hyped about season 3 of Lost as I was about seasons 1 and 2. Yeah, the Lost writers and producers are not giving a bunch of REAL answers to fans that demand all of the answers right here right now. But I don't mind that so much. I love the mystery and like how it is unfolding and shake my head smiling when I think about how notorious the Lost producers are for answering questions with 10 more questions...

-- Posted by: Hurley88 at February 22, 2007 11:22 PM

Richard, I'm going to re-watch the ep (ugh) to see if there isn't some technical reason why the hull can't be repaired from space. But I'm inclined to agree with you--it seems like the writers manufactured a crisis, a device I might expect from "Jericho" or other shlock, but just intellectually dishonest for BSG's sharp audience. And hoping that the show turns around? So say we all.

Hurley, I could probably write an entire column in response to your comments, but here’s my (long-winded) thoughts: First, I'm betting Moore and Co. are feeling ratings pressure; maybe complex storylines like "Is Starbuck a prophet?/What's up with the Cylon god?" would get more attention if BSG's dedicated audience was growing rather than shrinking. So in trying to reach new viewers, the one-shot eps ditch the mythology for user-friendly formats, aping cop procedurals (think Lee in "Black Market" or Helo in last week's "Woman King") or character studies (Adama in "Hero”). Ironically, these one-shots aren’t any easier to follow, not to mention lose the best part about the show—the rich backstories—and I can’t see how new viewers would be enticed.

But forgetting the behind-the-scenes jazz, yeah, I’m befuddled why “the race for Earth” isn’t being given more play, or what the Cylons’ latest agenda is—my hope is these storylines will be better-defined and pick up steam in advance of the season-ending cliffhanger. Yet you haven’t convinced me New Caprica was a bad move; besides baby Hera’s role, what unanswered Season Two questions am I forgetting?

You’re right: Jammer’s miraculous survival made zero sense, unless the producers were tipping that he was a Cylon. But the worst New Caprica editing snafu? When Chief –lost his beard- between the time he found out his wife was about to be excuted in one episode and rushed to tell Tigh in the next. I mean, come on—a nice, slow shave can be therapeutic, but now’s not the time Chief.

Finally, I can’t be swayed on Lost; in my eyes, that show has slid considerably since its epic first season. Maybe this week’s ep of Jack vs. the Others was a great one—I still have yet to watch it—but given that I’m not rushing to watch anymore is a tip-off that I’ve lost interest in that show’s own mythology. (For my money, the best show answering questions with questions? Got to be "Heroes.”)

-- Posted by: DD at February 23, 2007 1:27 PM

Last Sunday's episode, "A Day in the Life," began with Chief Petty Officer Galen Tyrol and his wife getting trapped in an airlock. Fine. A typical sci-fi sort of peril.

But a bit later there was a scene in which Commander Adama walks into a conference room aboard Galactica to have a chat with President Roslyn, and the first shot of the room jumped out at me! .... Because in the foreground, arranged in row in front of the conference table, is a row of three chairs, and the design of the chairs is EXTREMELY similar to the design of the chairs in the lunar conference room in which Dr. Heywood Floyd conducts his briefing in 2001: A Space Odyssey:

If you recorded this episode of Battlestar Galactica and compare the first shot of the conference room aboard Galactica with the first shot of the conference room at Clavius, the similarity is startling. That, plus the plotline about explosive decompression (complete with mention of "explosive bolts"), and you will have to conclude that the producers of BSG were definitely giving a nod to 2001.

-- Posted by: Chuck Anziulewicz at February 24, 2007 8:54 AM

DD - Yep. It's me. Thanks for your comments on the bar setting. :)

It can be tough to boil it all down, but you're doing a great job. Keep it up!

-- Posted by: shannon at March 6, 2007 12:25 AM

So... like... aren't we a couple of reviews behind or somethin'?

-- Posted by: joeybaloney at March 6, 2007 2:39 PM

joeybaloney, all apologies. As Chief and Cally were suffering from hypothermia, not to mention Kara biting the big one, the DD family was dealing with our own family health issue (luckily, no one needs to be written out of the reality show that is life). For now, you'll find the "Malestrom" recap up on Fodder; in the future, someone will always cover for absentee writers.

-- Posted by: DD at March 6, 2007 9:23 PM

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