Sat
Jan 24 2009 4:08pm

Battlestar Galactica Round Table: “A Disquiet Follows My Soul”

In lieu of a traditional review, we’re back with the round-table style discussion about this week’s episode of Battlestar Galactica, “A Disquiet Follows My Soul”, and then we open it up to the rest of the Tor.com community for a big ol’ discussion. The participants this week are Torie Atkinson, Threresa Delucci, Rajan Khanna, and Pablo Defendini. The conversation starts after the cut, and there are so many spoilers it’s not even funny. So if you haven’t seen the episode, please stay away from this post!

Pablo: Oh, the Roslin/Adama ‘shippers are happy this week! Although I do think that the breakdown of Adama continues, and it’s following an interesting trajectory: self-destruction by giving in to the habits and relationships of the past—all of a sudden, he’s requiting his unrequited love for Roslin, he’s back to chummy camaraderie with Tigh, and what is up with all his pill-popping? Also, his constant picking up of litter throughout the show was a great touch, and a nice metaphor for how he’s handling this utterly frakked situation: putting things back to rights, and getting everything ship-shape, as it’s always been.

The alliance between Felix and Zarek is a formidable one, and it can’t help but end badly. Both these guys are angling to be airlocked (for real this time, in the case of Gaeta).

I found the initial scene with Caprica Six and Tigh looking a the sonogram of their kid creepy as hell, and the revelation of Hot Dog as Nicky’s real dad to come utterly from left-field. I don’t really understand why that was done, other than to cut the Chief loose from any human ties, and to re-establish Hera as the only product of a Human-Cylon pairing (which may be enough, but still, it felt tacked-on). In all, a relatively quiet episode after the clusterfrak that was last week, and a great directing debut for Ron Moore.

Raj: That’s interesting because the reveal of Hot Dog as the kid’s father was my favorite part of that. It bothered me that suddenly we had two Cylon-human babies, especially because Hera seemed to be this “chosen one.” This answered one of the big questions I had after the reveal of the first four of the Final Five.

The rest of the episode felt like set-up to me. I usually can’t take my eyes away from Roslin and Adama, but they bored me to tears. Roslin’s checked out and it looks like Adama’s there, too, though he’s still going through the motions. As to the pills, I thought it was interesting that both Adama and Felix are falling apart and they are both turning to pills to help them through.

Just one last personal note—as someone whose mother has cancer, I found the part about Roslin feeling better after coming off the treatments to be very accurate and a little note that I thought helped make her behavior believable.

Theresa: As a big Roslin/Adama shipper, I was definitely pleased with this week’s episode. I’ve enjoyed their tender, quiet relationship, when they get behind closed doors and put aside their public personas. Maybe share some New Caprican tobacco. I loved the scene of Adama pulling himself together cut with Roslin jogging through the halls of Galactica. She’s having what looks like a rather public breakdown, but privately, I think she’s trying to make a last stab at controlling her life. She pleaded as much to Bill and it was admirable and heartbreaking at the same time. As someone who has wanted these two characters together for a long time, now that they finally, finally are... the countdown to the death of Laura, and the series, is really beginning. I agree that Adama’s doing the same thing, allowing himself to fall apart. But he’s The Old Man. He’ll get the Fleet back on track.

Overall, I really liked this episode. Ron Moore wrote and directed some nice character moments here. I really want to track down the podcast for this one because there were some unusual developments. Love that Zarek’s back in the fold and I think his manipulations of the Cylon-hating fleet will be just the thing to bring Adama and Roslin out of their funks. But Gaeta... he’s become such a bitch. He’s been pretty much everyone’s lapdog and he allies himself to the worst idols. Baltar and now Zarek? At this point, I’m glad Starbuck is okay with hitting a cripple. Speaking of Baltar: where is his Jim Jones plot going this season? 

The Cally/Hot Dog revelation was really weird and random. Cally was, for me, defined by her pathetic blind love of the Chief. And all of her scenes in “The Ties That Bind” have less of an impact now. Is it just to give Chief less human ties? To make Hera a bigger deal? I agree that Chief’s son didn’t seem to fit with what we know about Cylon biology. 

Raj: I agree about Gaeta. I thought the same thing—here is a repeat of his situation with Baltar. I thought he might become his own man, albeit through some kind of terrorist action, but I hated seeing him buying into Zarek’s spiel. I think it’s interesting to look at Baltar and Zarek. Both had some kind of morals, I think, but in both cases they are overshadowed by ego. Baltar’s chief goal is self-preservation. Zarek’s is his martyrdom.

And I forgot to mention Baltar before—I have no idea what’s going on with him now. I certainly didn’t expect a 180 degree turnaround on the whole God situation. More Baltar, please.

Pablo: Yes, Baltar certainly seems to be going down the path of renouncing the Cylon god, after having renounced the many gods of the Humans. Having had personal issues with the religious aspects of the show previously, it seems odd to me to see this happen. I wonder about RDM’s intent with all the supernatural mumbo-jumbo: could he actually have a plausible, rationalistic resolution in mind after all?

Raj, I have no immediate experience with cancer patients, but Roslin’s attitude certainly rings true—trying to squeeze as much quality out of the life she has left, instead of submitting to painful and debilitating treatments.

Theresa, I think that’s exactly it, regarding Cally: cheating on the Chief with Hot Dog (come on, Hot Dog “my groin itches” Costanza??) just feels so out of character for her. I mean, it can be argued that Cally’s been pining for Galen since the beginning of the series!

I do think you’re being way to optimistic about the Old Man’s ability to pull his shit together, though. I don’t think this will end well for Bill Adama, at all. I get the feeling that we’ve already seen him take his mortal blows, and that we’re just watching him go through the motions as the effects take their toll.

Raj: I have to say I’m leaning toward your interpretation, Pablo, regarding Adama. At the very least, his heart is no longer in the game. I think that’s what this episode established. He’s moved on, whether he realizes it or not. “Sometimes I really hate this job” and not caring about the Tylium ship. What I’m wondering now is who will replace him. Lee left the military. Will we see Tigh step up? Now that he’s seemed to find some kind of peace? Or what about Helo?

Yeah, what about Helo? I mentioned I wanted more Baltar, but we haven’t seen much of Helo in ages.

Torie: This episode was a big retcon nightmare. Nothing bothered me as much as the revelation that Hotdog is the baby’s father. Are you kidding me? That makes zero sense in the context of Cally’s mental breakdown: she nearly airlocked her baby because she realized it was half Cylon. To say now that she knew the baby was human and Hotdog was the father comes out of nowhere. I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with the show taking established characters and then, to accomodate the needs of the plot, turning them into something else entirely. Cally’s whole life aboard Galactica in the early seasons was an unrequited love affair for the Chief. Now we learn that at the height of the fulfillment of that love (right after they got married; this isn’t when they were clearly having marital problems earlier this season), we’re supposed to believe she cheated on him with some guy she probably never interacted with.

The idea that Zarek, Mr. Ideology, is a conventionally corrupt politician, completely takes the teeth out of his arguments. I always liked that Zarek wanted what *would* be best in an ideal world (democracy and rule by the people), but would never work in the current circumstances. Now he’s just serving as a foil to the Adama-Roslim benevolent dictatorship without any believable motivations.

Did anyone else think it was striking that following the last episode’s bombshell of Dualla’s suicide, no one seems to be thinking about it or dwelling on it at all? Even Kat gets remembered repeatedly throughout the series--but no love for Dualla, so soon after her death. I do agree on the incredible creepiness of that first scene with Tigh and Caprica Six. That gave me the chills.

I find that BSG is astoundingly good at creating compelling drama and astoundingly bad at making that drama plausible. I got the distinct impression from this episode that the writers and creators have given up on continuity and are simply grinding forwards to the ending they’d like, whether it fits well into the context of the show as a whole or not.

Raj: One point of clarification - I may have misunderstood the thing with Zarek. I thought that he hadn’t really done anything wrong, but that Adama was going to release some documents to the press making it look as if he had been corrupt. Which he couldn’t bear. And that’s why he caved. I thought that Zarek was as clean as he always has been (which might not be spotless).

Pablo: Sadly, I can’t say that I disagree, Torie. I’d actually forgotten about why Cally had the baby in the airlock—you’re absolutely right.

The only thing I’d take issue with is in regards to Zarek—he’s never really struck me as Mr. Ideology, really. He’s always struck me as Mr. Opportunity—more Hugo Chávez than Che Guevara. That’s why, even though I figured that Adama was bluffing with the file he placed at Zarek’s feet, Zarek wouldn’t call his bluff—Zarek knows he’s been shady as hell, and we know it too, even if we haven’t really seen it outright. At least, that’s how I read that scene. This was reinforced to me by Zarek’s final comment to Adama: ...Murder, deceit, etc. “The only difference between you and me is that you wear that uniform.” I may have to watch again, in light of your interpretation, Raj.

Raj: I think that you guys are right - I think that Zarek did have secrets he didn’t want to come to light. But I do think that he has ideals. I just think they’re balanced against his ego and the need for him to be in the forefront. I DO think that he’s shady, but I think the show has been very careful to show that he has reasons for that and that he has a very “ends justify the means” attitude.

I thought his insistence that the captains of the ships have a right to request or refuse the Cylon upgrades was a sound one from his point of view. Adama often acts the fascist. As viewers, we can usually see both sides, and I for one think that teaming with the Cylons is the right move, but I understand the resistance to that.

Theresa: Zarek’s definitely not clean - remember the black market fiasco? (Damn, why couldn’t Bill Duke hang around for awhile?) I’m sure he’s had lots of shady dealing all throughout the fleet. Can’t he be both ideological and opportunistic? I agree with Torie - he fights for the ideas that *should* work in a society starting over. A fresh chance at democracy. But, he’s also self-serving and realistic. He knows standing for these ideals make him look like a romantic folk hero and, like Adama, a hero’s given a lot of legroom to do other, less admirable, things, too. Loved that line about Adama’s uniform.  

18 comments
Jason Henninger
1. jasonhenninger
I think after the shock and drama of the season opener, this episode was far too tame and went in weird directions when they've only got a very limited time to explain and wrap up a hell of a lot. In some ways, I think this was the worst episode yet.

As you all asked, what was the point of the "You ain't the babydaddy" storyline? At this stage in the game, every scene should count. If that situation doesn't genuinely affect the show, they should never have touched it.

And the Tigh/Caprica thing was strange. Why do they now seem so couple-ish? Just cuz ya knock someone up doesn't mean you're suddenly affectionate. Their relationship going from weird interrogations to romance should not have happened so much off-screen.
Mitchell Downs
2. Beamish
Torie: This episode was a big retcon nightmare.


Amen.

The entire Hot Dog revelation is just the most egregious example of this to date. I expect to see much more over the next 8 episodes.

I gave up on caring about this show or expecting the writing to make sense with the debacle of the New Caprica storyline resolution. If they had not announced an actual end date I would have quit watching entirely.
RamseyI
3. RamseyI
For more perspective/explanation on Gaeta's actions, watch the 10-part Webisode series called "The Face of the Enemy" on the Sci-Fi site: http://www.scifi.com/rewind/?sid=870861

It's very good, and reveals a LOT about Gaeta. Must watch if you haven't seen it.
Dayle McClintock
4. trinityvixen
@3: I watched them. I find that Gaeta has even less reason to be the one throwing stones at this point. I do understand on one level--he's angry and projecting (not in the Cylon way, although, hey, maybe?) and trying to blame his own failures on Cylons. (Specifically what the Sharon got him to do back on New Caprica.) And he has legit issues with Cylons, Anders not the least among them. (As we seem to be working on exploiting next week.)

But there's absolutely no call for these things to make him so villainous. Zarek neither. They're not wrong to be so hostile towards Cylons and to harbor resentments, even when they're wrong about doing things by committee ALL the time. It took airlocking Jammer and then almost airlocking Gaeta for the members of the Circle to be regarded as villainous. Gaeta is proposing (sort of) the same thing to Zarek--let's revisit this idea of punishing people for cooperating with people we don't like!--and he's immediately a bad guy. It also seems like he's got mutiny in his blood or something. How awkward that will be for Hoshi next week. "Omg, this is not the man I started dating!"

The Hot Dog thing...WTF?
RamseyI
5. Mighty Marc
I don't think Zarek is necessarily corrupt. The documents put forward by Adama were fake, and Zarek may well know that. However, being publicly humiliated, even on trumped up charges, is still something Zarek can't face.

I like Zarek's comment: the only difference between Adama and Zarek is that Adama wears the fleet uniform. I think it means Zarek knows Adama will twist the truth to get what he wants/needs.

As for Hot Dog, total retcon. The writers gave the Chief a kid before they knew he was going to be a Cylon, and now the have to fix it. But Hot Dog? I almost wish it had been Figurski instead. :)
Jordan Hamessley
6. Jordache
My new theory is that Adama is the "dying leader" we've been hearing about this whole time. I'd love to see Roslin swallow THAT pill.

As soon as I heard that the Chief wasn't Nicky's dad my first thought was "The only person who the writers would dump the kid on is Hot Dog." Hot Dog has a frakkin' action figure! They had to give him something to do in this final push. But it is a lame ret-con that makes me angry.

Only one scene with Starbuck and it's her listening to whiny Gaeta? Next week better step up it's game.
Theresa DeLucci
7. theresa_delucci
@trinityvixen - Totally agree with you on Gaeta. I watched/reviewed the webisodes here in fact. Still, Gaeta seems way too cheesy villain right now. All those shifty eyes! Of course he has reason to hate Cylons, even more than everyone else in the fleet. But it just seems too extreme. And ridiculous. Gaeta is Mr. Smithers! And this was before he was confirmed as gay or bisexual. He's an ineffectual yes-man whose plans always fail. What's the sudden threat?

Poor Mr. Hoshi. Will they ever acknowledge them as a couple in the series again?

And I'm sorry, but that baby looks way more like Chief and Cally's. Those cheeks! If only the series was going to be around longer, we'd get to see if Nicky develops the trademark Olmos skin condition.
Rajan Khanna
8. rajanyk
@Jordache I had the same thought - that maybe the dying leader could be Adama. That would be an interesting reversal.

Did the prophecy say that the dying leader would lead the people to Earth? Or just a home? Because technically the first happened. But if it's the second, that's different.
Blue Tyson
9. BlueTyson
The Hot Dog thing could be completely loopy if they up and make the Doc a Cylon.
Kate Baker
10. Kate_Baker
**anger**

There was a lot of foreshadow in this episode. I mean, more so than normal.

The worried/anxious glances from the physician's assistant when Six glowed with pride that they had found a way to replicate outside of a rez hub. I'm thinking something is gonna happen (attempted or successful) to the first cylon/cylon breed.


"We believe the fifth cylon to be dead." -- Quoth Lee Adama.

Somehow, I don't think that's the case. If Tigh wasn't hallucinating (which we've seen him do on multiple occasions), Helen has rez'd before, she'll do it again.

Which leads me to the 'if' in the previous statement. This could very well be a red herring in the reveal of the fifth. It could still be someone else.

In the preview of the next episode, Adama is removed from command by Gaeta. I would not be surprised if something happens where Bill dies. Which would explain why Roslin has her "I'm coming for all of you" moment in many of the previews.

As for the Hot Dog/Chief thing. I was angry with that. It doesn't make sense and really puts a damper on speculation of anything really.

One of the things I liked about this show was that you could go back through the time line and see how things unfolded. If the writers are just Frankensteining it with odd pieces here and there, I'm going to be as angry as I was with the end of Twin Peaks. ;)
RamseyI
12. Al-X
I think the Chief's kid is a setup for something awful... I can very well see Gaeta or sympathizer doing something to Nicky the Halfbreed... only to realize later he wasn't a halfbreed at all and he just did what Starbuck almost did to him.
RamseyI
13. RobotRevolution
I don't see the Hot Dog thing as a big deal. Cally was on anti-depressants when she tried to airlock herself/the baby. Does anyone think she was really in a good frame of mind and thinking clearly?

Also, she may have been airlocking herself and the baby not because the baby was cylon, but because she was married to a cylon.

Also, I'm not sure the Doc ever made it totally clear that Cally knew - though if she did, it certainly made her coldness towards the Chief more rational. She was full of self-loathing and paranoia already, compounded with the anti-depressants (which, if they're anything like our anti-depressants, can turn people suicidal).


On a different note, Jordache's #6 comment is brilliant. Adama as the dying leader? Completely awesome, especially considering he never believed in the frakkin' prophecies in the first place.
Mary Fitzpatrick
14. mfitzz
I think the whole thing about who is the father of Callie's baby is a read herring. Either that or it is just HUGELY sloppy writing and they forgot they had a second human/cylon hybrid kid floating around out there.

My guess is that we are going to find out that Cylons created humanity,( at least this version of humanity) not the other way around. And I think we are going to find out that at one time they has the ability to resurrect humans as well as Cylons. That is how some people escaped the destruction of Earth and got away to found the twelve colonies. It seems to me that is what the flash-backs on Earth were pointing toward, and that is what Tigh's wife was talking about.

That explains why Starbuck found her own dead body on Earth. The Cylons had her long enough on New Caprica to study her and have a new body waiting. I would not even be surprised if the four "Cylons" who were hidden in the fleet were not copies of four original human templates, not actual Cylons.

It is supposed to be incredibly hard to tell Cylons and humans apart in any case, and I don't remember the four hidden Cylons ever having any tests done to "prove" they were not human.
Rajan Khanna
15. rajanyk
@mfitzz I was leaning toward that interpretation, too. What bothered me, though, was that when they found Earth, and tested the remains (skeletons, etc) Baltar went ahead and categorically stated that the remains were Cylon. Which meant that they differed from humans in some way. I would guess that means they resembled the normal skinjobs rather than the Final Five who, I agree, probably shouldn't show up as anything other than human. So that means that the Cylons on Earth were not like the Final Five. So that seems, to me, to indicate that there are other Cylons out there somewhere pulling the strings. Which confuses things even more.

I still like your explanation the best, but right now there are major gaps.
Mary Fitzpatrick
16. mfitzz
One other thing that I think we might see coming is Cylon med-tech being able to give Gaeta a new leg. Then he's going to have a real crisis of belief.
RamseyI
17. Lucas W
I don't think that Baltar has renounced God. He was asking questions, leading people to challenge their faith, not renounce it. A fight broke out before he could give compelling answers. The answers to his questions will be coming in future episodes, though I suspect the answer to "what kind of god?" is "a very cruel one".
RamseyI
18. Aristarchus
Hey guys, love the way you are tackling the BSG reviews, keep up the good work.

I was a huge fan of this episode, and while I can see why there are some critiques, they just don't hold as much water with me. Freeing up Tyrol to follow his destiny with the Cylons, while rather "convienient" for the remainder of the story, isn't so egregious as to destroy my immersion in the story.

I also feel that leaving the Baltar storyline as well as the "rest" of the Cylons (Cavil etc) for another episode or two makes for a better and tighter show, especially as it comes to an end. Perhaps I'm naive, but having listened to the Moore commentaries, I don't doubt that Baltar's story will come to its resolution.

BSG has been surprisingly cohesive in its story, especially for a scifi story of its complexity. (Thinking back to the oft-episodic nature of DS9 and ST:TNG, that BSG has been able to pull off such an interlocking and complex storyline without getting cancelled a la Firefly is just stunning in the modern TV environment) There are a few loose ends, but that we argue more about a tertiary character like Cally and her baby clearly shows the complexity of the show. That they've balanced it this well is quite amazing to.

It is clear there is a groundswell forming, a whirlwind is on the way that will will only intensify as the show comes to an end. Who...if anyone will be left standing at the end is the question if the big question.

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