Sat
Feb 21 2009 9:01pm

Battlestar Galactica Round Table: “Deadlock”

Welcome to Tor.com’s round-table style discussion of this week’s episode of Battlestar Galactica, “Deadlock.” The participants this week are Rajan Khanna, Pablo Defendini, Jordan Hamessley and Robert Bland. The conversation starts after the cut, and there are many spoilers. So if you haven’t seen the episode, please stay away from this post!

Pablo: This episode was kind of hit-or-miss for me. It felt well-written, and everything hung together well, so maybe it was just the slow pace after the breakneck pace of the last few episodes, but it felt it a bit weak. That said, there’s plenty to remark upon.

I found the dynamic between Ellen, Caprica Six and Tigh to be interesting. As expected, Ellen thinks that frakking the skinjobs is tantamount to incest, even though she’s done a fair bit of skinjob-frakking herself. Granted, she did she didn’t know she was a Cylon when she did the frakking, but still (Cavil did, though, which is weird, but I digress). And, as always, Michael Hogan did an amazing job with his one good eye.

The miscarriage was a surprise to no one, I trust.

Raj, we got some Baltar! While it was great to see someone call Baltar out on being a self-preserving ass, Baltar’s slipping back into drinking his own Kool-Aid was slightly disappointing. I always enjoy Baltar the best when he’s trying to think himself out of trouble—it’s that desperate machination in the service of saving his own skin that James Callis does so well. And, “last fully human offer for help” or not, I find it very hard to believe that the Old Man would give Baltar and his harem heavy ordnance. It says a lot about how tired and resigned Bill Adama is these days.

Raj: Yes! Baltar. But I was a little disappointed as well. I thought he would go a non-violent route and I don’t know where this is going. Except possibly for a bullet in Baltar’s back. He has his very own Judas set up, so that’s what I’m expecting.

I thought this episode was very heavy on the melodrama. It seemed very soap opera, moreso than usual. But there were a couple of really great moments, I thought. Mostly on the Tigh side. I just loved that last scene. It felt incredibly real to me.

But all the stuff with the baby, and there being a crisis just when Ellen tells Six that Tigh loved Adama more than her baby - blech. I didn’t like that at all.

It was great to see Head Six back, but why now? It just felt arbitrary to me.

And I never thought I would get tired of looking at Tricia Helfer, but...

Rob: Well, the soap opera elements came into full swing in this episode. It was interesting how upon Ellen’s arrival her presence seemed to be instant poison. Even when Tigh and Ellen were getting it on (unbeknownst to Caprica), the baby was on its way out, an obvious sign of things to come.  It seems to me that Tigh is holding the moral compass of the show right now, as he said that the “pureness” of anything (be it either Cylon or human) doesn’t seem to be the solution for anyone—and, of course, he and Caprica paid the dearest price regarding this spoken truth as they watched their baby die.

I usually enjoy seeing Baltar, but the scenes with him and his flock didn’t really do much for me either. It just kind of felt like we were going over the same ground here, and I have to say, when I saw them loading up their new high-powered guns, the first thought in my head was, “Well, that was easy.”

Watching Adama watch his ship being repaired was funny in the sad sense of the word. The ship is being reborn and it’s killing him. Yet he seems to be willing to go through the pain of this transformation and although it might seem like he’s falling apart, I think he, like the ship, will come out stronger in the end. The scene with he and Tigh (after the baby’s death) was emotionally palpable. Man, both of these guys are being put through the wringer. I think that was a beautiful scene.

I was expecting a hint as to Cavil’s response that Ellen got away. Oh well. Guess that will happen in the next episode. I’m expecting a BIG response, too. It looks like Anders’ brain is revving itself out of the coma and maybe we’’ll be in for another truckload of reveals—but I hope not.  I want things to play out, not be spewed out.

Jordan: This episode upset me. I feel like last week I really started to love the “new” Ellen and after this episode I feel like she hasn’t changed at all. I understand that she sees having sex with skinjobs as incestuous (despite her knowledge of “the swirl”), but Tigh wasn’t aware of the fact that they created the skinjobs until Anders had a bullet in his head. He still doesn’t seem to have memories of making them, so I forgive his new relationship with Caprica. I really dig Caprica now. I feel like she held her own as best she could with jealous Ellen and had no problem telling Tigh and Ellen to shut up when she was having her miscarriage.

What’s up with the Chief’s vote to go to the baseship? I feel like if he cared that much about leaving the fleet he wouldn’t have spearheaded the project to use “Cylon-goo” to save the Galactica. It seemed out of character. I do feel like he will end up changing his vote though.

For all the complaints about the soup opera-esque tone of the episode, I quite enjoyed the exchange that took place over Anders where Ellen found out about Six’s baby. Watching the others watch Ellen’s reaction was really funny to me.

Baltar’s harem has always annoyed me and have now become an extreme annoyance. I’m also expecting Paula to try and kill Baltar, but I really hope she fails. And a big “yay” for the return of Head Six who has now switched to a white dress. Looking forward to seeing Baltar deal with her again.

I agree that Tigh’s rant about “pure” civilizations was one of the best moments in the show along with Roslin’s acknowledgment of the dead cylons.

This episode showed how two best friends deal with the death of their baby. Tigh’s cylon child and Adama’s ship. Seeing the two men come together at the end was the highlight of the episode for me.

I do hope that next week steps it up a bit. I’d love to know more about the new piano in the bar that Starbuck seems so interested in. I’m also looking forward to Anders going nuts when he finds out the others want to leave the fleet and the return of Cavil. Four episodes left... AAAHHH!.

11 comments
David Palmer
1. David Palmer
I didn't think of this at the time but: did anybody but Starbuck acknowledge the existence of the piano, and was it playing "All Around the Watchtower"?
David Palmer
2. Matt Velic
I thought the writers gave a good bit of foreshadowing to Adama when he was looking over his ship, mentioned that "she looks like Galactica on the outside, but no one's gonna know what she is..." same words that had been used to describe Starbuck. I don't think it's an accident by any means, and I think they might be hinting that Kara is a half-breed herself. How or why, I don't know, but it really stuck out to me.
David Palmer
3. CODVA
Over at Galactica Sitrep they saw the rough cut with an additional 11 minutes of footage and apparently Baltar getting the heavy ammo makes more sense when you see the unedited version. The Marines have essentially given up so it's anarchy in the civilian trenches and the best Adama can do at this point is put Baltar on equal footing with the rest.

I didn't notice what the piano was playing, and now that I think about it, I don't remember anybody reacting to her comment at all. Interesting observation.
Pablo Defendini
4. pablodefendini
@Matt Velic #2
Interesting—I've always thought that Kara was a half-breed (Hylon) myself, and the existence of Daniel now lends a bit of creedence to that. I could totally see Daniel being Kara's father, the man playing the piano way back in the episode that featured Socrata Thrace. This would also account for the piano at Joe's, especially if she's the only one who can hear it.

Additionally, towards the end of Season 3, and right at the beginning of Season 4, I thought that maybe Kara's restored Viper, featuring its funky Earth-finding Dradis, could have been the Final Fith Cylon. After all, if there are Cylon Raiders, Heavy Raiders, and Centurions, wouldn't it follow that that segment of the Cylon population be reflected in the Final Five as well?

Now that Galactica is getting a Cylon retrofit, I wonder if it will bring about another 'class' of Hylon, or maybe the mechanical contingent of the Hylons, of which Hera (and possibly Starbuck) are the biological contingent.

Jordan,
You're absolutely right about Tigh's attitude towards Final-Five-on-skinjob-action (that's an awkward phrase. Can we just appropriate "the swirl" for this? As in "Tigh pulled the Swirl on Caprica, and now Ellen's pissed!"; "Galen and Boomer were Swirling way back in Season 1, and no one was the wiser!"; "If Starbuck is a Hylon, was Anders doing the Swirl with her?").

I've never been too comfortable with Galen's zen-like acceptance of his Cylonity. Torie did so with gusto, relishing in her betrayal of the humans; Anders was rather incredulous, and somewhat in denial at first; and Tigh refuses to let it define him—he's sticking to his allegiances, and by the Old Man; it's always come off as a bit creepy how implacably Tyrel just seems to fall into the role of Cylon. This—along with that happy-face he made when he saw Boomer—actually leads me to believe that eventually he and Boomer will reconcile somewhat, even if Ellen Tigh does not approve. I, personally, don't know how I feel about that. I hate Boomer's guts (but I love Athena. Man, I'm way too vested in this show...).

Rob,

I really have no problem with the soap opera elements of BSG, I never really have—what threw me off considerably was the drastic change of pace from the last few episodes to this one.

I, too, responded very strongly to that last scene with Tigh and Adama, and your tying the loss of Liam ("short for 'William'"—aw, man! Now that's bromance!) to the loss, as it were, of Galactica is a deft observation. It's a frakkin' crime that Michael Hogan hasn't gotten a gorram Emmy yet for his work on BSG. Damn skiffy ghetto.
David Palmer
5. Katalina77
Why is Tory always wrong? ALWAYS?

Also, can someone explain how Boomer and Ellen found Galactica so easily? Does this mean that John Cavil also knows where Galactica is?
Rajan Khanna
6. rajanyk
@Katalina77 That's a great last point. And while someone could probably make up something about Ellen being drawn to the other members of the Final Five or Boomer jury rigging something using the Raptor, I think the correct answer is that the writers needed to get Ellen and Boomer to Galactica, and they're running out of time.
Mary Fitzpatrick
7. mfitzz
The baby's death made me mad. I guess the point is that it is always the innocent that suffer in any conflict, but still, what a downer. I don't expect a big pink spun sugar bow at the end of this series, but I would like just a seed of a glimmer of hope and re-birth and I'm now pretty sure we aren't going to get one. That pisses me off too. Why do people think things need to be depressing to be great art?

Everyone goes on about Michael Hogan's great acting, I usually agree, but he seemed to chew the scenery a little here. There was something too over the top about his fight with Ellen while the baby was dying. I continue to be impressed with Tricia Helfer. Sure playing more than one character does give her a chance to show a little range, but she still always rings true to me, and shows more depth that I would have given her credit for at the start of the series.

Also agree that Tyrel voting to leave Galactica did not ring true at all. Maybe has cut his ties to humanity, but I can't see him leaving in the middle of an unfinished repair job. That just goes completely against his character. His work ethic has always been part of what defines him as a character. He can't stand to leave things broken, he has to try to fix everything, both people and machines. Isn't that part of why he married Callie, and why he fought in the resistance on New Caprica?
David Palmer
8. Matt Velic
Yeah, I still have trouble understanding why Galen came out on the side of wanting to leave. It does seem very uncharacteristic of him. Still, think about all the changes that have occurred to him (as well as the others) in the last few weeks - discovering that they are Cylons, albeit different (and above?) the others that they bonded together to create; that his wife is dead; that his son is not really his son; and despite his loyalty to Galactica (and the human race), there are signs all about him that the Cylons are not truly wanted, even though without this symbiotic relationship both groups would not be able to survive.

I think he's just fed up with it all and he's got nothing holding him down anymore.
Torie Atkinson
9. Torie
@ 8

I would buy that if they hadn't gone out of their way in the last few episodes to show how committed Tyrol was the Galactica. He accepted a promotion from Adama and is leading a crew to sort of resurrect the old ship. I think they just had him vote with Tory and Ellen to artificially create conflict for the purposes of the plot.

As to the rest of the episode, the Ellen vs. Caprica fighting over Tigh was absurd, melodramatic, and painful to watch. This episode felt like total filler, which is astounding to me considering how near we are to the end of the series. I'm concerned that they're not actually going to wrap things up, and are just going to throw another miniseries at us down the line.
Kate Baker
10. Kate_Baker
So I just had the opportunity to watch, as I was away at ConDFW.

I have no idea what to make of that episode. It's funny, I sat there hating Ellen again and then was like, wow, what a turn-around from last week. If anything, it shows Kate Vernon's ability as an actress. I actually respected her a week ago. Couldn't care for Ellen now.

The Tigh and Adama scene at the end actually almost made me cry. I had an actual tear. Completely and totally believable, although I had a strong feeling that Liam was gonna die at some point.

Although I could care less for the Jerry Springer drama at Anders' bedside and while Six was having a miscarriage.

Did anyone else catch the Kara line, "..watching my parents make out?" ;)

I guess I'm just confused. I thought this was an end to the series. Not a beginning. I'm just waiting for the nukes. :)
David Palmer
11. Sagitarion
Okay, so here are a couple of theories, tell me if anyone thinks these'll stick:

First, could it be that Kara IS Daniel, downloaded into a new body to hide her from the Cavils?

Before this episode I'd thought that perhaps Ellen had made it back to Earth before the Galactica had reached there, and that she was the one who had rez'd Kara into a new body and given her a new viper. But this doesn't work now, because it seems that Boomer and Ellen never stopped anyplace else on their way back to Galactica... right? Does this time line even check out?

Or, maybe it'll turn out that a copy of Daniel somehow survived and made it to Earth. Perhaps he actually is, as was suggested in a previous comment, Kara's Father, which is an idea that is starting to make a lot more sense than anything else I can come up with.

If so, that would mean that Kara is a half-breed, enabling her to download to a new body that her father had waiting for her on Earth, and that it was he who sent Kara back to the fleet.

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