Welcome to Tor.com’s round-table style discussion of this week’s episode of Battlestar Galactica, “Islanded In a Stream Of Stars.” The participants this week are Rajan Khanna, Pablo Defendini, Torie Atkinson 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: Well, the slow pace continues, and it’s driving me a bit mad. Leave it to BSG to take the “slow reveal” to new extremes. I really don’t know what to make of this episode—it was a bit hit-or-miss for me. While the Old Man finally finishes his journey to acceptance of the fact that he needs to scuttle Galactica (did everyone catch that bit of foreshadowing/harking back to the Pegasus when Hera crashes the model Galactica into the model Basestar?), Anders is apparently becoming the ship’s hybrid after all.
This was also a bit of Kara’s episode, as she struggles to make sense of who or what she is—and finally does something she should have done a long time ago: getting the blood on those damn tags tested. It was good to see Baltar back in the lab, even if it was just for a split-second. While it seems a bit late in the game for him to now spawn yet another theological tack, hopefully he’ll play a larger role in the two episodes left (!).
Speaking of Baltar, I was struck by his and Caprica Six’s exchange—and her assertion that he hasn’t changed at all. This is something I think we all suspect, but we may yet all be proven wrong. His rantings about the one true god, angels, and such will probably play a large part in the endgame for this series.
Watching Helo confront first Athena, and then the Old Man was painful. Poor Helo.
My boy Tigh proves once again that he’s made of pure loyalty.
Roslin is a total stoner, if it wasn’t clear before—that wasn’t some weak fumarello or something, that was a straight-up New Caprica blunt (I need to go check my books now...).
The Cylon colony establishing shot was unexpected and impressive, and it feels like it may owe a lot to the original series. I don’t really know, I’d have to check, but it’s got that kind of throwback feel to it....
The ships’ captains fighting over who get bits of the Bucket, and Lee’s subsequent freaking out were nice touches.
In all, a middle-of-the-road setup episode, I think. Which would be fine if they didn’t only have two. Episodes. Left. ARGH!
Raj: I agree with the frustration at the pace. As I was watching this episode I kept thinking that certain scenes could have been cut or compressed. Especially considering there are only three hours left. Total. Did we really need another scene where Tigh tells us his loyalties are to the Galactica and her crew? Did we need so much of the repair crew and their bickering? The Cylon saving them was a little too cliched to me.
My favorite parts were those with Baltar and Kara. For me that was an unexpected pairing at this point in the game, but one that worked, much like the Baltar-Gaeta scene that I thought really worked. Again, it’s another “full circle” move hearkening back to the early days when they flirted and frakked.
It seems obvious that Sam is at some point going to jump the ship. I don’t know how I feel about him being able to interface so easily with Galactica. It seems a bit too hand-wavy for me.
I wonder if they’re leading toward another tense standoff with the Galactica going after Hera and Cavil. They do that well, at least.
During most of the run of the show I’ve had faith in the writers, even during the dip in Season 3, but I have to say that for me, the writer’s room is showing as many cracks as the Galactica is. I hope at least they go out with glory as well.
Rob: I have to say, I really really enjoyed the episode. Yes, it was slow, but it was also very intense and concentrated very much on the characters, including Galactica.
I honestly don’t know if they’re going to be able to answer all the questions and tie up all the loose ends, and I’m beginning to suspect that they’re not. What I do want (and hope for) is that they answer the BIG questions in a dramatic fashion—but more important than that, I want all of the major characters to stay true to themselves. This is more important to me than anything else. The slow pace of the reveals is forcing me to prioritize now. I’d rather have the show end with a bang, leave certain questions unanswered, but keep the spirit of each character intact. I sure in the hell don’t want some character do something that feels forced or contrived just to satisfy some plot point. No way. I love these characters, and if nothing else I want (need) them be true to themselves to the very last minute of the show.
Speaking of ending with a bang, I think it’s pretty clear (which Pablo alluded to) that the Galactica is going to go out with style. It’s pretty obvious that the Old Man is going to crash the mortally wounded Galactica into Cavil’s colony ship. What’s interesting is whether Adama is going to be able to coordinate this action with the Anders/hybrid or if Anders is going to put an unsuspecting Adama into this tactical position.
There were so many good scenes in this episode. The one with Kara and Baltar, the one with Helen and Tigh, the one with Baltar outing Kara. I even liked the generic 8 model dying while holding Tigh’s hand. They seem to be emphasizing character and theme more so than anything else. I can dig it.
The moment that piqued my interest the most was when Cavil took Hera and told her that she’d have more playmates soon. Hmm....
Torie: I’m with Pablo and Raj on this one: this episode felt like total filler to me, biding time before the series finale. This was one of the weakest episodes so far. There were so many needless scenes of people emoting, and entirely too many cases of characters stating their feelings or opinions instead of showing them. We know Tigh’s loyalty is to the fleet, he doesn’t have to say it. We know Roslin loves Adama, we don’t need yet another exchange demonstrating that. This felt like a mid-season 3 episode, not like anything actually leading up to a finale.
I’m becoming increasingly frustrated by the characters themselves. Boomer’s umpteeth change of heart left me cold, and Starbuck telling Baltar of all people about her Deep Dark Secret just didn’t fit. Where’s the Chief? Where’s Leoben, who knows all about Starbuck, but has disappeared since that revelation? Does Starbuck actually know what she is? Did she get anything out of the last episode at all?
Instead of getting revelations, we’re getting thrown a hundred more inconsistencies, all of which are a bit too contrived for my tastes. Anders can instantly interface with the Galactica? What does that make him? Ellen comes back as Queen Cylon, then fades to the background in this episode? Really?
Too many questions, too many loose ends. The show is entirely too dependent on reveals, and I’m becoming certain that none of those reveals are going to be very satisfying. Let’s hope they prove me wrong.