Posts Tagged ‘Dirty Hands’

Dear Jane,

Yet another of these increasingly infrequent collections of snarky comments about New BSG: I seem to be getting through about a season every six weeks, appreciably slower than was the case with Star Trek and Babylon 5 (to draw the most obvious parallels). This is not to say that I am finding the series to be irksome, or watching it to be a chore, but I do find myself increasingly sympathetic to the season-3-went-off-the-deep-end opinion which  I have read so widely.

The good news, for me, was that the series was no longer so obviously just a load of Bush-regime political allegory. The bad news was that it didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be instead: the odd good episode crept through, but there was an awful lot of soap opera-ish filler and mysto-cobblers.

This time’s runners and riders, with commentary:

The Eye of Jupiter: what did I tell you? Mysto-cobblers (the stuff with the temple and so on) and soap opera (Apollo and Starbuck’s thing). Thank God the series still has Edward James Olmos, who has enough presence to give a sequence like the cliffhanger here actual tension. Intellectually we know that nothing and no-one is going to get nuked, but Olmos still manages to sell it somehow. Good work that man.

Rapture: Certainly a contender for ‘least accurately titled episode in history’, based on my response to it. Soapy nonsense with the underused Dee and Starbuck in the (apparently) only slightly wrecked Raptor, mysto-nonsense with Doc Baltar and Xena-Cylon. Presumably Lucy Lawless didn’t want to sign on for the duration which is why they write all the Xena-Cylons out after this episode. Shame.

Taking A Break From All Your Worries: This is the Doc Baltar-psychodrama episode, isn’t it? To be honest most of this bunch just sort of blur together in my head as the writers seem to be scrabbling to find stuff to fill space until the season finale. The Doc Baltar-psychodrama stuff is passable but I could’ve really done without yet more on the Starbuck-Apollo-Dee-Sam relationship. No-one ever listens to me, not even people in the past.

The Woman King: Hmmm, I was initially put in mind of the Babylon 5 episodes Believers and Confessions and Lamentations (doctor must come to terms with differing belief systems and there’s a plague! episodes respectively) but this didn’t turn out to be either of those. Reasonably engaging as a Helo episode, mainly because he seems like a decent guy who’s had a raw deal from the scriptwriters (a whole season stuck on Cylon-occupied Caprica, and so on. Hopefully I will never have to type the words C****-o******* C****** ever again).

A Day in the Life: I had to think hard to work out which one this is. It’s the one where Chiefy and Cally get stuck in the airlock, isn’t it? It’s not quite as bad as the someone-gets-stuck-in-the-lift episode of Deep Space Nine, but it’s getting there. Snoozy snoozy filler.

Dirty Hands: Finally an episode which genuinely interested me and which I really enjoyed, mainly because there’s no soapy character stuff and no mysto-cobblers either, just an attempt to look at the actual ramifications of these people’s situation and how it would impact on them both personally and as a society. Reminded me of the ‘dock workers go on strike’ episode of Babylon 5, in a good way, the only really bum note being Doc Baltar’s ludicrous Yorkshire accent during his scene with Chiefy.

Maelstrom: Now, regular readers aware of which character on this show I find particularly annoying may be expecting me to have done my happy dance at this point – but, truth be told, I already knew full well that when your writers are losing the plot, death is usually only a temporary inconvenience. I mean, this episode isn’t badly done considering it’s about a character who really winds me up, and at least there’s the funny anecdote about Edward James Olmos ad libbing smashing the ship at the end and not realising it was only rented from the prop suppliers. Oh, those actors!

Try as I might I can't find a picture of Starbuck actually exploding. So this will have to do.

Try as I might I can’t find a picture of Starbuck actually exploding. So this will have to do.

The Son Also Rises: Hey, classy pun. Of course, the prospect of a few Starbuck-free episodes is offset by the inevitability of an episode where everyone goes on and on about how wonderful she apparently was. This one is at least enlivened by the pieces for the end-of-season slowly starting to grind into place and the presence of Mark Sheppard. Now, I like Mark Sheppard, but here I was somewhat thrown by another dodgy accent: does his character hail from the obscure colony of Leprekon? Hum.

Crossroads: You can’t beat a good courtroom drama for some cheap and easy dramatic beats, even if you always knew deep down that Doc Baltar wasn’t going out the airlock. Oh, I don’t know: engaging enough, I suppose, even if the whole proceedings felt like they had a bodged-together quality – an artificial climax rather than a natural one. And then we come to the big revelations at the end. Am I supposed to conclude that Bob Dylan is a Cylon? If Bob Dylan is not the Imperious Leader after all, and what we are dealing with instead is a strange example of convergent songwriting (having seen all those Trek episodes about parallel Earths I’m prepared to go with this), why are the pantheistic colonists writing songs based on the monotheistic Book of Isaiah? There is a huge amount here which is suspect, perhaps even bordering on the preposterous in places, and that’s before we even get to you-know-who reappearing at the end. Plotwise, at this point the series looks like it’s at the point of just coming totally unravelled, and I’m fascinated to see if they can hold it together remotely credibly for another season.


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