Episode Reviews: Battlestar Galactica: "Deadlock" (Season 4, Episode 16)

Republibot 3.0
Republibot 3.0's picture

And thus ends our Friday-night Science Fiction Triple Feature:

The Galactica and her fleet are still in orbit around Earth. Tyrol and a mostly-Cylon crew are fixing the interior structure of the ship. Anders is still in a coma. Caprica 6 and Tigh are still expecting their baby.

A Raptor shows up with Boomer and Ellen aboard. It's allowed to land. Ellen and Tigh make out, and Tyrol IDs Boomer, so Adama throws her in the brig. Again. ("It's the Sharon Valerii suite!") Ellen breifs Apollo, Adama, and Roslin about what's going on with the Cavil faction of the Cylons, and then Tigh debriefs her on top of a table, causing Caprica 6 to have all kinds of baby-related pains.

Down in the Love Grotto, Baltar's Angels have found a new leader in "Paula," who's been hoarding supplies and weapons to keep the cult safe. Baltar makes a poorly-thought-out plan to distribute food to the starving kids in Dogville, and immediately gets shut down by The Sons of Ares, who take his food. This results in Baltar realizing it's better to give than to recieve (Hey, someone should write that down! It's a good one! Funny no one ever thought of that before...), which results in Ghost-6 helping him through a rousing speech that allows him to retake control of his weird little flock of rnubile eligiously motivated athiest sex-bunnies.

The Five and a couple others meet at Anders' bed and discuss leaving the fleet to it's own devices and going off on their own to start a new pure Cylon race. They put it to a vote: Tori and Tyrol vote to go, Anders and Tigh vote to stay (Anders said that before he went in to the coma) and Ellen hasn't made up her mind yet.

Ellen's a bitch, though. She screws with Tigh and with Caprica Six, and revels in the pain she's causing, not unlike Cavil himself does. (She said she designed him to be like her dad...I wonder how much of that aspect of his personality came directly from her? A lot, I think.) She precipitates the discussion of abandoning the fleet, mainly to win Tigh back from Caprica. Ultimately, she votes to leave, resulting in Caprica having major problems with the baby. She's rushed to sickbay, and eventually looses the kid.

Meanwhile, Baltar discusses how bad off the situation is with Adama, Roslin, and Apollo: people are starving. This is not a mutiny situation, it's a revolution situation. "You think we don't know what you're doing with the Cylons? Your people are not ready for that. I'm giving you a solution, and it's the last human solution anyone will ever present to you." Adama gives Baltar guns, evidently to defend his sex bunnies and to distribute food or something, I'm unclear on what, exactly.

While walking down the hall, Roslin and Adama see a cylon pinning up a picture of a cylon on the shrine wall of dead people on the Galactica. They both realize that the merger of their societies has already begun when no one was looking.

The End.

OBSERVATIONS

How in the hell did Ellen and Boomer find Earth and The Fleet? Cavil clearly doesn't know where they are, or he would have wiped them out already, so how was it so easy for the two of them to get here? That's really nagging on me.

Tyrol voted to go? Really? Tyrol, who initiated the repairs of the Galactica on his own initiative, and who singlehandedly saved the ship from the mutineers a few weeks back? HE voted to abandon the fleet? Why? What motivation could their possibly be for that? He's abandoning "his" kid, too? Why would he do such a thing? This makes no sense whatsoever. The part was played very well, though, with his "Can we talk about the kid thing later and discuss wether we're going or not now?" delivery was great.

I'm not sure if it was the mostly-pointless Jane Esperson script, or the flat Robert Young direction, but this whole episode felt listless and flat to me. In fact, it felt too short, too, as though it had clocked in at about 40 minutes or so, and they padded it out with endless second-unit scenes of Adama staring pointlessly at the repairs going on inside the hull. Seriously, there were like six of those scenes, and they added nothing to the story.

That said, there are a couple good character bits. Tyron "outing" Boomer was a great one - some hard feelings there, still, but my favorite was when Ellen wants a drink and asks if anyone has a flask. To her surprise, Tigh doesn't have one, but Adama does. They don't showcase this, but the surprise that plays over all three of their faces at this scene is kind of fun to watch. Likewise, Ellen's asking Tigh about who he's been sleeping around with in her absence is sorta' fun. "What, after thousands of years of marriage to you, you don't think I know your behavior yet?"

Also, Ellen deftly manipulates Roslin et al in to get free run of the ship by emotionally discussing how their situations mirror each other - "imagine if there were only five survivors, rather than fifty-thousand..." - and it works. Ellen is dangerous.

There's a couple powerful scenes, all involving Tigh and the baby in some way. Firstly when he's holding a vigil for them in sick bay and Ellen tells him to tell them he loves them. "Why should I have to say it? Isn't it enough that I feel it? I feel it less when I say the words. I shouldn't have to do that." It's moving and primal, and your heart goes out to the guy. Later his anguish when they loose the baby is overwhelming. He goes to see Adama, completely wracked with tears. The two men hug, and all Tigh can bring himself to say is "His name was Liam." His loss is immeasurable. I'm very, very, very impressed with the actor. This is the most we've ever seen him stretch, and we've seen him stretch a lot on the show.

I'm less impressed with Baltar, who's oily charms are wearing thin for me - and his angels, I think. He's mostly just annoying tics and yammers here. This is the start of a new arc for him, but it's just wheels spinning on sand at this point.

As we've long established, something is wrong with Adama, and he's getting sloppy. Some of it is simply being burned out, but he's still popping those pills, and he's not even bothering to hide it from Tigh anymore. I think he's sick. I think he and his ship are dying, and he's trying to squeeze as much life out of both of them as he can because he still has a massive job to do and not much time left. In his drunk scene, he's mostly out of control, just a sloppy un-Adama-like lush.

Clearly there's more going on with the Cylon's reproduction. The Significant Seven can't do it themselves. They say their ability to reproduce requires both humans and empathy. It would appear that the Five deliberately denied them the ability to reproduce on their own. When Ellen and Tigh knock boots, the baby can feel it, and when Ellen tricks Tigh in to letting Caprica Six go, that triggers the baby's death. So what kind of connection is there here? Some kind of empathic feeback loop? If the couple become estranged, the baby dies? And *why* is this the case?

Probably it's got something to do with what a frustrated Tigh says at one point in the episode: "Pure cylon isn't any good, pure human isn't any good, neither one is strong enough by themselves." There's probably a desire to force both species to have to co-exist.

Interestingly, Tigh says that the five cooked up the idea of a loving God to keep the Cylons happy. Ellen immediately disagrees with him, and she's probably right since he doesn't have his 'old' memories back, but interesting just the same.

Anders' brainwaves appeared to spike towards the end of the episode.

When the Dogville goons hassle Caprica, did that remind you a *lot* of the scene in the original Galactica when those religious folk are hassling Cassiopea for being a prostitute? Even the dress was similar.

Hoshi's got Gaeta's old job, now. Poor guy.

Ok, do the math with me here:

1- Cylon # 7 ("Daniel") was artsy and sensitive. His production line was killed off by Cavil out of jealousy. They didn't say the prototype was killed, however.
2- Starbuck has some kind of weird destiny and (Evidently) resurrected.
3- Starbuck's never-seen father was a professional musician.
4- The Bar now has a piano player.

THEREFORE:

"Daniel" is Starbuck's daddy, and he's still alive and playing piano on the Galactica.

That's about it. Though the obviously stated theme was about synthesizing disparate parts in to a new whole, we didn't see much of that tonight.

It's frustrating, really. We've only got 4 episodes left, and we're killing time on an inconsequential plot that feels artificial from the get-go. I'm not even sure exaclty what Ellen was up to. Did she really want to leave the fleet, or was it just a way to hurt Tigh, or was it a weird scheme to get Tigh back from Caprica? It's never clear if they're *actually* leaving, or if this is all some Ellenesque mind game, and that's annoying as there's vastly more important, better things we could be focusin on here, rather than wasting the bulk of an hour on an entirely artificial conflict and needless ammounts of B-roll footage of Edward James Olmos gawking at girders with dayglo paint on them.

It occurs to me that the new home of Humanity and the good Cylons will be Ellen's mysterious Colony mentioned last week. It's got to be. There's not enough time left for a new search for a new world, and the Galactica isn't even spaceworthy anymore. So we're just killing time, I guess, before they can jump to this new world (Which I'm betting is called "Terra"), then the final conflict in which Cavil is destroyed, and then we're done, the new world is begun.

Even money odds as to wether they'll explain all the Cylon God stuff we've been seeing, or what the deal is with the ghosts in Baltar and Caprica's heads.

This was the weakest episode since the final batch of episodes started. Really, nothing much happens apart from Caprica and Tigh loosing the baby. They talk and they talk and then they talk some more, and then, when you think they're done with talking, they just go to another room and talk about the same stuff again. None of it makes any sense. But unlike last week's massively expostion-heavy episode, this one really goes nowhere and serves no real purpose. There's no sense that the timeless mysteries of humanity are being explained to us after five years of patient wondering. Rather, it's just a bunch of blather to fill time.

Disappointing. Really disappointing.

Tags: