Friday, March 30
At long last, here we are, with season 3 behind us. And I’m stunned. I am a little nauseous, and a bit worried. The last time I felt this way was when Baltar put his head in his hands and sent us a year into the future. It’s worth remembering, in the wake of the sucker-punch that is “Crossroads pt. 2” (or more precisely, the last fifteen minutes of it), that Ron Moore and company have taken great risks in the past. When New Caprica sank in, unquestionably, as reality, I felt sick to my stomach, wondering whether Battlestar would survive the paradigm shift. Once I got over the shock, though, I relaxed and became excited about the possibilities. Such is also the case with “Crossroads,” to an extent. A few days of perspective reduce its “freak-out” value, though not completely.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the big story of the week, of the half-season, really. The wrapping-up of The Colonies v. Gaius Baltar. I hoped, a couple of weeks ago, that Adama’s own words would come back to haunt him, when he showed, to Lee, his bias in the case. It was a small vindication that the show chose to go this route. Lee’s absolutely right to bring up Adama’s partiality to Baltar and Lampkin, and to suggest a mistrial. Course, Baltar’s reaction is understandable, not wanting to sit around waiting for a whole second trial. It also doesn’t hurt his case that mistrials don’t make for good TV drama. So “no mistrials,” as Baltar says, “there will be a verdict.”
All of this culminates, of course, by way of a somewhat convoluted path, with Mr. Lee Adama taking the stand. Lee’ s diatribe on the stand, while perhaps not quite having a direct bearing on the case, was a wonderful calling-out of all the times that our heroes have gotten away with murder, including his own albatross of the Olympic Carrier and his decision to take Pegasus away from New Caprica. Lee’s indictment of the fleet’s hypocrisy in trying Baltar, works so very well, because it also includes the understanding that all of the pardons have been necessary, if the fragile society they have is to even stand a chance of making it. It’s one of Lee Adama’s best moments on the show so far, the payoff for all that angst he exudes each episode. I’d call it one of the finest moments of the third season.
The trial ends as it has to, with a “not guilty” verdict handed down, with Baltar bouncing back to cockiness and then to panic again, and with Lee wondering if he’d done the right thing after all. If there’s a good to come out of the trial for him, I think it’s that for maybe the first time, Bill Adama really listened to his son, and did the right thing, voting to acquit.
There’re a lot of other things going on in this episode, too; that’s one of the problems. “Crossroads” opened with Roslin’s dream of the Opera House, and we revisit the dream this week, also learning that Sharon and—get this—Caprica Six have also had the same dream. And that’s it. We get absolutely no closer to learning a blessed thing about Hera. Don’t worry, she’ll have company as far as “unexplained stuff,” soon enough.
I have two great problems with where “Crossroads” leaves us. The first is perhaps the result of being jaded. I’m expecting a cliffhanger by now. Something along the lines of Boomer shooting Adama (!), or Pegasus and Galactica squaring off (!!). As it stands, the cliffhanger we get (cylons jump in, the fleet can’t jump) lacks by comparison to what has come before. And that might be an unfair comparison, but the show raised the bar itself. The cliffhanger also feels a bit less organic than those of previous seasons. The entire first season, after all, was building up to Boomer’s outing as a cylon. Season 2.5 built up pretty regularly towards the confrontation between Roslin and Baltar, from which New Caprica was a direct effect. This time, we get the unmasking of (most of) the Final Five. And personally, I was a bit confused at the choice to have that be the big payoff. After all, we hadn’t really had Final Five on the mind since Number Three got boxed. Personally, I felt like the show owed a bit more to Hera’s development or, perhaps, to those women obsessing about Baltar.
The second issue which I have with this season finale is just how difficult a task RDM and crew have set themselves, to avoid jettisoning suspension of disbelief entirely. Last year, with New Caprica, it was a paradigm shift and no mistake, but all it did was require interesting stories to tell with the occupation (which they did). This time around, the writers have work to explain not only the future, but the past as well, and they’ll have to be pretty deft to make it work. The cylon reveal is not the catastrophe that many are making of it; nor is the return of Starbuck, because really, all those were, were setups. This season finale’s payoffs were sort of odd that way: You can’t really judge how well they worked because it’s not yet clear how they did. The problem lies in that, for many people, myself included, the “cliché alarms” are ready to go off. Tigh and Tyrol as cylons could either be the first time the show has succumbed to typical sci-fi plot twisting, or could work quite well, depending on what we discover the Final Five to be all about. Chalk them up with Hera, though, in the list of things which we are no frakking closer to understanding than we were half a season ago.
And Kara. It’s a real shame that the show ended on her, because she’s, dramatically, the weakest link in this finale. Once again, a lot depends on how they explain Kara’s return next January. But in the meantime, Starbuck’s a liability, because her appearance from a dramatic standpoint, essentially negates the impact of “Maelstrom.” After that episode, I mourned the loss of Kara Thrace. I felt sure she’d be back in some form, but it’s only been three weeks, and such a short length of time before her reappearance makes Starbuck’s death feel suspiciously like emotional manipulation.
Lastly, as a side note, “All Along the Watchtower.” We find out that this is the song that Tori, Tigh, and Anders were hearing last week. I try not to bring stuff from “official statements” into the reviews, but I have to here: Bear McCreary has stated that this was not a case of some transmission from Earth, but rather that some Colonial songwriter came up with it, perhaps from the same source as Dylan. And I hope I’m not alone in going “what?” I suppose it’s possible that the “Watchtower” connection will be explained next season, but I somehow doubt it, and in the absence of an explanation, it just comes off as needlessly bizarre. Still, good song, if you’re gonna choose one.
Overall rating? It’s hard to call, and I reserve the right to disavow this rating once the full stories of Starbuck and the Final Five are revealed (if they are separate, that is). For now, 8.5/10. A straight “B.”
Episode reviewed by Gooby Rastor.
US, March 16, 2007 - When I first began to talk to Mark Sheppard about his new role on Battlestar Galactica, the actor put it to me as simply as he could, saying, "I think I have the best character on the best show on television." Sheppard is a very familiar face to TV fans, including notable roles as Badger on Firefly, as Ivan Earwich (AKA "Yellow Tie Man") on 24, and as the evil Dr. Charles Walker on Medium. He made his debut on Galactica this past week, as the memorably named Romo Lampkin, a defense attorney who takes the case of none other than the infamous Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis). Sheppard will be appearing in the final three Galactica episodes of the season, and the day after his first appearance aired, I spoke to him about his experience working on the acclaimed series.
When I asked how he got the part, Sheppard replied, "I'm a huge fan of the show. Absolutely huge fan," and noted that he is friends with Galactica executive producer Ron Moore and his wife Terry. "I know Ron through [CSI Executive Producer] Naren Shankar and [Medium Executive Producer] Rene Echevarria. They all started at Star Trek together. Ron and I got to be friends and talked and talked and I said, 'When I grow up, I want to be a Cylon.' And he tried to make that happen. It was gonna maybe happen last year, and I wasn't available and it just didn't work out. I was in the middle of doing Medium. I was totally crestfallen, because it's my favorite show, without question. Battlestar is, I think, the best written show on television."
Sheppard then recalled being at a party with Moore and Galactica's other Executive Producer David Eick, "And David said, 'You still want to be a Cylon, right?' I said, 'David, I'll play anything!' He said, 'We may have a trial coming up at the end of the season,' and I said, 'Keep me in mind.' Then I was at Ron's house, and he said, 'I have something for you.' And I said, 'What's that?' 'Three episodes of Battlestar.' I nearly fell over! I read the first script and Michael Angeli's characterization of Romo, which I think is fantastic. There's a lot more stuff then was in the episode. The intro scene [for Romo] was a three page monologue about fear, which was taken out. There wasn't room for it. But it explains the puzzled look on Laura Roslin's face and, 'I'm glad to hear you're not afraid about defending the most hated man in the universe!' Because I'd just given her a massive speech about fear, very weirdly."
Sheppard recalled arriving in Vancouver to work on the show, "and everybody's like, 'Okay, why does smarty-pants here have all this amazing dialogue to say? Who is this guy?' And we sat and did a table read, and as soon as we finished the table read, everyone was like, 'Oh, we're gonna have some fun!' I was welcomed with open arms. Edwards James Olmos is the most extraordinary individual. Lovely, lovely, open man. Very much into the acting; very much into the doing. If people are there to play and to make it better, there isn't anything he won't do to support that. The same goes for Mary [McDonnell]. They really do lead from the top."
Sheppard talked about how delighted he was to explore his character's connection to Joseph Adama, the lawyer father of Admiral William Adama (Olmos) and grandfather of Lee "Apollo" Adama (Jamie Bamber). "I'm sort of like the real son of the grandfather in a way," Sheppard observed. "I was always described as the protégé of Joseph Adama, which I think was fascinating to play. Because obviously, without giving away too much of what's coming up next, I'm fighting what Baltar calls 'The Emerging Aristocracy.' I'm fighting the Royal Family. And I'm fighting with a bunch of people who believe that Baltar doesn't actually deserve a trial, which is kind of frightening, really, if you think about it. Because that therefore makes me the last custodian of sanity in the universe. [In this] military-industrial complex, which has now been reduced to 40,000-odd people, if we throw out the conventions that make us civilized, everything goes. We're worse then the Cylons, and we'll never survive. And I think that's the major point of my argument, and the major point of Joe Adama's argument, is that not only is everybody entitled to a trial, but everybody's entitled to a good one. They're entitled to fair and reasonable representation and a chance at proving a point."
Sheppard revealed that the "bonus scene" at the end of this coming Sunday's episode ("Crossroads, Part 1"), "Is Lee saying, 'Well you know he's guilty, right?' To which the answer is, 'Well, he's guilty of something. We all are. But is he guilty of an actual crime? No. Absolutely not. Has he done anything separating himself from the royal family? Absolutely. Will they kill him for it? Quite possibly! But has he actually done something? I don't think so. I don't think they can prove he did anything at all.' So I'm fighting a system that unfortunately breaks its own rules, continually. I think it's a fantastic character to play. And now I have two [more] episodes to take apart the entire structure I think."
When I asked Sheppard what it was like coming in to do such a large part on a show with an already established cast he answered, "Once they got past the, 'Who is this guy and why does he have all this cool stuff to say?', Jamie, James and myself, we became known as The Three Amigos, after ten or fifteen minutes. All of our stuff was together for three episodes. It was a wonderful experience working with Jamie and James. Two of the smartest men I've ever met." Sheppard also explained how Olmos took him out to dinner, "And I got the most extraordinary evening of wonderful stories, just trying to pick his brains about his experiences. And how much he loves the show and how much he cares about his cast. The same is with Mary." He added that the cast, "were actually surprised that I loved the show and had seen every episode to that point. Because there's gonna be situations where some actors won't. Episode five or so had just aired of the season, and there I was shooting episode 17."
Sheppard's first episode actually came right after a rather massive upheaval for the show. "I arrived just as Katee [Sackhoff] had been killed off," the actor noted. "So Starbuck is dead and I'm like, 'What?! No way. Whoa… What the hell is going on?!' It was the most extraordinary feeling on the set. It truly was mourning going on. It was a very, very odd energy around, which you can totally understand. It was a huge, tactile loss to the cast. And every question came up [for me]. 'How the hell is Caprica Six on Galactica right now? What is going on?!' Eddie was like, 'Well, I directed an episode. I think you should watch this, because now you can know what's going on with Baltar.' And he was absolutely right. He gave me a copy of 'Taking a Break From All Your Worries,' which I think is a fantastic episode. And I was like, 'Oh wow… All of this has changed!' I didn't know the Cylon position for the last ten episodes, and so it was such an extraordinary learning curve. It was such a wonderful thing. To be asked to play in this playing field is a remarkable thing. I have friends who are very good actors who want to kill me now, because I've done Battlestar, their favorite show. I would have played anything, but to be allowed to do this much…"
I was curious where the idea came from that Lampkin would wear sunglasses nearly all the time, and Sheppard explained, "That's [Michael] Angeli. Angeli wears sunglasses a lot." Sheppard noted that Lampkin was, "Originally conceived as an older character. I think a 55 year old character." He elaborated on his feeling that Lampkin, by being the lawyer Bill and Lee are not, is, "almost like Joseph Adama's second family, who actually followed in his foot steps. That's where I started from. That was my theory. So I think there's a very intense situation between myself and Bill Adama, because I know a lot about him. I know a lot about where he comes from, because I know his father. The glasses were there to hide."
Sheppard said he also felt, "Lampkin's eyes are a weapon and a tool. As a major arch manipulator, he chooses his time to engage, the most important being with Caprica Six. That's their star witness. If Caprica Six gets on the stand the way she's feeling, he's torn to pieces. All she has to do is tell what happened at the beginning, and it's over for him, as far as Baltar is concerned. But I think giving Lampkin the ability to discuss things with her on a very deep level was lovely." Laughing about the fascinating back and forth dynamic in the scene where Lampkin speaks to Caprica Six, Sheppard said, "I get a 'make out' scene with Caprica Six, using somebody else's pen… which I stole!" Sheppard pointed out that he'd worked with Tricia Helfer ("Six") before on CSI, in what was one of her very first acting roles.
Sheppard added that it was also "Angeli's idea that [Lampkin] steals; You want to talk about a fatal flaw in a character!" It's revealed that Lampkin steals many items because he believes it can subtly change the perception of those he's facing in court, and Sheppard felt, "It's a beautiful thing to play. He's absolutely correct."
As for what's to come, Sheppard had to remain understandably secretive. "I don't want to say too much about the last two episodes, but I will say this; It was amazing to sit in a room and actually shoot eleven minutes of dialogue and action in a row and then go back and do it again. Every actor was at their peak and able to do it, [and able to] transition between three different situations in a scene, as you'll see in the [next two] episodes." As for his character, Sheppard said, "There's so much more I can tell you about him, but it would blow your experience."
While Sheppard is definitely on Battlestar Galactica through the end of season three, it's unknown if we might see his character again next year. When I asked if there was room for Romo Lampkin to show up in season four, Sheppard replied, "Well, there's always an opportunity to come back on Battlestar. But I don't know. I have no idea where Ron and David and everybody are taking the show. I would be honored to come back. I'd come back in a heartbeat. It's a great character to play."
Tuesday, March 27
Katee Sackhoff was briefly interviewed on the Cort and Fatboy radio show and she talked a bit about the return of Starbuck, and her work on the new Bionic Woman.
Ron Moore has updated his blog and reports that he's posting two podcasts related to Crossroads part 2, one will be a Q&A session he had in Berkeley, CA. Ron talked to E's Kristin about the finale and season 4. And TV Squad reports on several recent statements from Moore.
On his blog, “Battlestar Galactica,” composer Brear McCreary tells fans the show’s third season will be out on DVD in August 2007.
McCreary says the release date will coincide with a third-season soundtrack release.
This news has not been confirmed by any official sources from NBC Universal, nor are we aware of any extras that may or may not be on the releases. It’s assumed (based on previous releases) the Ron Moore podcasts will be included as commentaries as well as the webisodes that led up to season three. Other potential extras could include the deleted scenes shown on SciFi’s web site, producer David Eick’s video blogs and the blooper reel that made its round on YouTube.
Maybe this will help the long wait for new “Battlestar” as we all ponder the revleations from the final moments on Sunday night’s finale episode.
So...can you say "huge creative risk"? The Battlestar Galactica writers certainly can, not to mention love to take them. Season One ended with Adama bleeding out in the command center; Season Two took the year-ahead leap to New Caprica.
But by outing Cylons, resurrecting characters, and jamming to 1960s rock and roll anthems in this week's epic season finale, the BSG brain trust went above and beyond previous cliffhangers...especially when you consider that the show won't return until January 2008. Frak me! Who can wait that long for answers?
Just a quick recap on where "Crossroads, Part 1" left off. Tigh, Anders, and Tori were hearing some unidentifiable song that kept them up at night; President Roslin was dealing with her breast cancer's return; everyone hated Baltar, who was on trial for his life; and everyone hated Lee for joining Baltar's defense team.
On to "Crossroads, Part 2."
If Lee's suit don't fit, we must acquit
Over on "Law and Order: BSG," things don't look good for Baltar and his defense team. Sure, they've weakened the credibility of two key prosecution witnesses, but lead lawyer Romo Lampkin and Lee know that the balance of opinion is still against them. Lee argues the defense should go for a mistrial, on the grounds that the Admiral has already pre-judged Baltar's guilt; quoting his grandfather, he also believes that a re-trial would give the defense a strategic advantage. But Baltar refuses to go along with this idea--he wants a verdict, and Romo assents to try for his client.
However, a shocking turn of events (is there any other kind?) awaits in the courtroom. Testifying for the prosecution, Gaeta lies that he saw Baltar sign the execution order for 200 humans--and willingly, at that. It's flat-out perjury, as viewers and an irate Baltar know it went down a little differently, what with a gun to the puppet president's head, but Romo dimisses Gaeta without a cross-examination. Romo seems to think they can't challenge the perjury, but personally, I'd hoped that this would be Caprica-Six's entree to the trial; she could destroy Gaeta's claims even while provoking questions about whether a Cylon's testimony could be trusted.
Instead, Romo decides to use Lee's idea and go for a mistrial, on the grounds that one judge has pre-decided Baltar's guilt. And to out that judge, he puts associate defense counsel Lee on the stand. I'm no lawyer, but having the defense counsel testify on behalf of the defense...well, that's a little bit of a stretch. We'll let it go, though, since the ineffectual prosecutor basically does.
Anyway, Romo pushes Lee to rat out Adama's lack of fitness for trial, but son isn't so much feeling the dad-bashing for once. Instead, we get a soliloquy--more like a sermon--where Lee recounts every mutinous act, every rebellious action, every crime that the crew has committed over the past three seasons. Tigh--using suicide bombers on New Caprica. Lee--drawing a weapon to the XO's head. Roslin--encouraging secession. And so on. As we know, each character has erred at some point; that's where all the good drama comes from. But Lee notes that every other act was forgiven; the president even issued a blanket pardon back in "Collaborators."
But for some reason, Baltar's exempt. Baltar must be made to suffer for his sins; Lee argues that he's suffering for everyone's sins. Baltar represents the shame over the New Caprica disaster; the hurried escape of Adama and the fleet, the willingness by Lee to leave the humans on New Caprica to die.
Now, viewers know that Baltar's a weak, self-absorbed character, whose crimes go much deeper than what he's on trial for. But Lee's got a good point; when humanity's down to 41,000 individuals, you can't go around killing the leftovers. Maybe this lawyering thing will work out for him.
(It also helps that the foot-dragging prosecutor doesn't interrupt him on this.)
The speech is enough to sway the judges and, notably, Adama's the swing vote in favor of acquittal. This doesn't play well with a furious Roslin. Nor with the masses, some of whom rush to throw Baltar out the airlock themselves. However, there are a few Baltar fans--the weird cult-like followers who think he's got healing powers--and they eventually spirit him away to parts unknown.
Having played role, Romo also takes his leave of BSG; the most interesting guest star since Admiral Cain pulls a mini-Keyser Soze, ditching his cane and re-donning his vanity sunglasses.
Phantoms at the opera
While being treated for her cancer, Roslin has more visions of the Kobol Opera House--again seeing Hera running along the stairs, chased by Sharon, and being swept up by Six. Yet we discover that these are group hallucinations, as the imprisoned Six, Sharon, and Hera are actively sharing in them. Six is surprised that Roslin is apparently "projecting" as Cylons do, for lack of my better understanding; that shouldn't be possible, she notes. Does this mean that Roslin also is rocking some Cylon parts? But then how'd she get cancer in the first place?
Who watches a one-eyed watchman?
Meanwhile, the mystery song haunting Tigh, Anders, Tori [who is having an illicit relationship with Anders, much to Seelix's chagrin], and now Tyrol too is revealed. And it's no typical, soaring Bear McCreary anthem that has come to mark BSG; if you can believe it, the song is...Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower". As the four start singing the lyrics, almost instinctively, it's perhaps the most jarring moment of BSG to date. And I don't know if that's a good thing.
Regardless, the four are drawn by the tune to a secluded room on board Galactica. They confront the situation: Each was a resistance leader on New Caprica; now, it appears, each is a Cylon. How this is possible--given that Tigh's relationship with Adama seemingly pre-dates the creation of the human Cylon models, plus Tyrol has a child--remains to be seen.
And how a rock and roll song plays into this also awaits explanation, although I'm willing to wait. I couldn't help but groan when watching the scene as the four first hum and then belt out the lyrics; Tigh had the right idea. Enough with the frakkin' song, he yells; regardless of what this means, I know that I'm a colonial officer and that's all that matters for me. As an alarm blares the arrival of the Cylons (see below), each retakes his or her position, with the spectre of a Sharon-like activation now hanging over the characters.
Ionian neighborhood #3 (power's out)
Seeking the next clue on the way to Earth, the fleet finally jumps to the Ionian Nebula...only to simultaneously lose power. Lot of panicked shots of trying to restore the engines. When systems come back online, they detect a Cylon fleet massing for attack--but the ships' FTL drives have been down too long to immediately jump. They'll need the Galactica and its fighters to buy them at least 20 minutes.
As alert fighters scramble, civilian Lee can't help but run to his Viper; before long, he's flying patrol, per usual. In a redux of "Maelstrom," (as well as "Flight of the Phoenix"), Lee chases a mystery bogey that's hopping all over his ship. He can't seem to get a good look at it.
But then the suspicious fighter pulls up next to him...it's a Viper. Being flown by none other than Starbuck! [who, in a tremendous snow job by Ron Moore, is contracted for Season Four, despite appearances to the contrary]
Starbuck's been to Earth, she placidly tells Lee; she knows how to get back. And she's going to take the fleet there. Cue the dramatic zoom-out of the Galactica-Cylon dust-up...through planets and galaxies...and re-orient on Earth from space, a very clear image of North America.
So...wow. There are tons of theories floating around on the whole Interweb about the song, Starbuck's return, and the reasoning behind the Cylon reveal. But if you pushed me, here's my take: The bad guys were originally supposed to be called the Dylons anyway (it's just one key away on the old QWERTY keyboard); Bob is clearly the Cylon God. If only the show had better copy-editors, it would all make sense!
Monday, March 26
For a few minutes I was with the rest of the Battlestar Galactica fans in asking ‘What the hell is with the Dylan tune?’ Now, I think I can safely say I have come up with what is the most reasonable explanation for it, maybe. It’s kind of a crazy theory, but crazy times call for crazy thinking, and Batttlestar Galactica fans could use some sort of an explanation. Right?
So my idea goes a little like this: remember the probe that was found that emitted some sort of radiation harmful only to Cylons? Whose probe was that? The Cylons would have recognized it, no? So this was significant since they also were careful not to give any indication that the probe had come from Earth, which would have been too much information for sure.
One thing about the final five is their identities are a mystery even to the Cylons themselves. They are not just another model, they are revered entities with their own agenda. Is their agenda the same as the Cylons that we have come to despise, yet pity from time to time? Or, do these Cylons in fact harbor some of the original ideals of their masters? Are they the keepers of the ‘perfect form’, beings designed to further exploration?
So here comes my what if. Ron Moore indicated he chose ‘All Along the Watchtower’ for a specific reason. What if the reason was not the lyrics of the song, but when the song was published. The end sequences of Galactica showed us briefly that the rag tag fleet indeed does exist within the same galaxy as our good old planet Earth, and while the sequence was too quick for us to even get a general idea of how far away they were, you definitely got the feeling that they were close.
Okay, get on with the theory already. What if the song is being broadcast from a probe, a probe designed to fall into an orbit around a world, sample the radio frequencies, and then transmit them continuously in a band only receivable to Cylon hardware; in particular, final five Cylon hardware. Let’s remember that Athena and Six showed no signs of having received the signal.
This makes sense because the Cylons were probably looking for Earth a lot longer than the humans. If the final five were working with a secret agenda, they could have launched these probes far in advance of the Caprica war. In case hostility erupted betweens the humans and the Cylon’s, the final five would be designed to hide themselves and their agenda since they are not hell bent on revenge as the metallic and clone variety.
So if it is a beacon, and we assume the final five are the only ones that can receive it, and the signal is a radio wave, and (this is the big leap) we assume the show is taking place in present day, the significance of the song would not be its contents, but when it was first broadcast, which was in 1967. This would mean that the humans, and the Cylons, are a mere forty-light years from Earth.
- Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
Executive producer Ron Moore discusses thrilling 'Galactica' cliffhanger
Fans of Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica" are no doubt filled with questions this morning following last night's third season, cliffhanger finale. (If you didn't watch last night's episode: SPOILERS AHEAD)
Four of the last five unidentified Cylons were revealed to be patriotic Colonials, characters viewers thought were human -- Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan), Chief Tyrol (Aaron Douglas), Anders (Michael Trucco) and presidential aid Tori (Rekha Sharma). And in the final moments, Starbuck (Kara Thrace), recently presumed dead when her Viper shattered into a million pieces, appeared to Apollo (Jamie Bamber), and she seemed to be very much alive. Starbuck said she'd been to Earth -- Galactica's much-sought destination -- and will show them the way.
With so many questions raised, it was time to seek answers from the main man in the know: "Battlestar" executive producer Ron Moore. In our chat last week, he also discussed plans for a direct-to-DVD movie and the state of the proposed prequel series, "Caprica."
Rob: Why did music cause these newly-revealed Cylons to discover they were indeed Cylons. Sharon didn't hear music when she figured it out in season one.
Ron Moore: It's more that they arrived at a certain point in space and they were made aware of who they are. The music manifests a dawning awareness. These are four of the final five, which puts them in a separate category from everybody else. There are reasons for that I can't really get into. We'll be playing out those plot lines for quite a while.
R: Now there are two half-human, half-Cylon babies -- Hera and the Chief and Cally's child. Will you be dealing with that?
RM: Oh, yeah.
R: Are there other half-human, half-Cylon children?
RM: You never know.
Click the Post Gazette link to see the rest of the article
I'm of three minds about the season finale. I'm simultaneously completely satisfied, sorely disappointed, and totally frustrated.
The conclusion of the trial of Gaius Baltar gave me everything I wanted from this story line. It ended exactly as it should have: It forced the men and women of Galactica to play by the rules they've made for themselves. The substance of Lee's little tirade was spot-on: Everyone in the fleet has been willing to forgive everyone for everything — except Baltar. Because someone had to take the blame for all the horrible crap that's befallen humanity. (Granted, the leap in jurisprudence that it takes to have a member of the accused's legal team take the stand is equivalent to Evel Kneivel's jump over the Snake River Canyon.) If you're intent on giving Baltar a trial, one that adheres to a legal system roughly based on old episodes of Law & Order, then Baltar absolutely should've gotten off. The prosecution, as Admiral Adama said, just didn't make its case.
And so Baltar walks. But what does he walk off to? A life hidden in the fleet, jockeyed from ship to ship, protected by his cadre of priestesses willing to shelter their exonerated messiah? That shot of him walking through the corridors of Galactica, holding his meager box of possessions, untethered to anyone or anything, was just priceless.
In years past, the Battlestar Galactica cliff-hanger has been an event of monumental story-line importance, a grab-'em-by-the-short-hairs whirlwind of plot threads. Season 1: Adama stages a military coup; Starbuck arrives on Caprica; Boomer fires a couple into the old man's chest. Season 2: Roslin loses the presidency; humanity settles on New Caprica; the Cylons place everyone under a robotic boot.
And now, in season 3, we get the revelation that four of our beloved crew are Cylons. It's not that I hate the idea that Tigh, Tyrol, Anders, and Tory are toasters; it's that I hate how we learned that they are. A song? Really? When Boomer's programming kicked in, I don't recall hearing any classic rock. There had to be a better way for them to all twig to each other than listening to music from within the ship.
Of course, we're led to believe that these four are members of the Final Five. Which, of course, they must be, because they're special. They're different. For instance, unlike other Cylons, they must age; otherwise Bill Adama would've noticed that his friend of 40 years never got any older.
Beyond that, I wanted that revelation to mean something. They're Cylons. So what? They've still got their day jobs. They're clearly different from other Cylons, so it's unlikely they're gonna haul off and start shooting their best friends.
And I wanted this to make sense, in the way that every other cliff-hanger made sense. How is it that they're all humming a techno cover of ''All Along the Watchtower''? Is the nebula acting as some sort of harmonic conductor, allowing signals from Earth to reach Galactica? If so, why can only those four hear it? There were just too many questions left in the air. At the end of a cliff-hanger, one shouldn't be thinking, ''What the hell just happened?'' The only thing on your mind should be ''What the hell happens next?''
Here's my theory about Starbuck's ''resurrection.'' I think she's still dead. It's not clear that anyone else but Lee saw that ''unknown'' vessel on DRADIS. So she's talking to Lee from beyond the grave and will speak through him to help lead the fleet to the promised land. Which is exactly what we needed on this show: more people talking inside others' heads. Why couldn't Starbuck just be dead? Why not have the courage of your convictions? You wanna kill her? Great. You wanna keep her alive? Just as good. But pick one and stick to it. Sometimes you can't have it both ways.
Hey, were there good things in this episode? Absolutely. I loved Gaeta on the stand, willing to perjure himself to get back at Baltar. (And I loved Baltar calling him ''butterfingers'' for botching that murder attempt.) I loved Tigh going to Adama, talking about the music in the ship, feeling trapped, and then saying to no one in particular, ''There must be some kinda way out of here.'' Still loved the crap out of Lampkin. And I loved Lee remembering that, before he's anything else, he's a pilot.
But there was something rushed, maybe even reckless, about this episode. As if the producers weren't sure that they were coming back for another season, and wanted to accelerate the progress toward closure — and in the process left things even more vague.
Now, I know there will be a hue and cry about this TV Watch. Some will think that I've turned on Battlestar Galactica or that, perhaps, I never even loved it to begin with. Those people are wrong. I love this show. I have ever since I cracked the miniseries. And I still feel it's one of the best shows on TV. But that love doesn't mean that I have to ignore its shortcomings, or blind myself to the point where I think it doesn't have any.
So that's season 3. See you guys in January '08 for season 4. In the meantime, post your reactions, criticisms, and predictions below. Gods-speed!
‘Battlestar Galactica’ season three has come to a close, so let the theories fly. Ron Moore and his team have given fans not only one of the best episodes of the entire series, but a years worth of discussion to keep us enthralled for the rest of 2007. In a season that’s been marred with a few misses, BSG finishes stronger than ever. Of course, the frustration of now knowing who four of the final five are without any inkling of what it means will weigh heavily on our minds. Let’s just dive straight in and see what “Crossroads (part 2)” has for us.
The fate of Gaius Baltar has driven the overall plot to the season. As we began the final countdown last week we knew something major was about to happen. Baltar and his defense counselors discuss what their plan of attack is going to be, and Lee is the one who voices what appears to be the only course of action. The entire fleet hates Baltar, and when Lee met with his father the Admiral stated the good doctor didn’t even deserve a trial. The fact that one of the judges has already made the ruling in his mind is solid grounds for a mistrial. This would give Baltar and his defense team a tactical advantage in the next trial, as they’d have all of the prosecutions case prior to stepping into the courtroom.
Baltar, in a semi-surprising maneuver, vehemently insists that there be no mistrial. He does not want to sit in a cell and go through the ordeal again. It’s interesting that the man who embodies a “survive by any means” attitude wants to face a verdict. This desire belies the truth of his disillusionment. That by being acquitted he would be absolved of his crimes. While he may want to believe such an outcome to the trial would benefit his standing in the fleet, deep down I’m sure he’s aware he’ll never be accepted again. A trial is a formality; in the minds of the human race Gaius Baltar is already guilty.
Back in the courtroom the prosecution is questioning Felix Gaeta. Here’s a man who nearly worshipped Dr. Baltar, and he served his idol during the occupation on New Caprica. Anyone who’s watched the season was in no way surprised that Gaeta would knowingly and willfully perjure himself. Gaeta had tried to kill Baltar, but failed to stab Gauis. Or as Baltar said so eloquently in the courtroom, “But you missed, butter fingers!” Gaeta now has the chance to, in a way, finish what he started. When questioned whether Baltar put up a fight when asked to sign the death warrant for his fellow citizens, Gaeta proudly exclaims he did not. Intercut with the testimony is the actual scene where the Cylons put a gun to Baltar’s head and force him to sign the documents. As Romo prepares to cross-examine Felix he watches the lieutenant smirk and prepares to continue the lie. There is nothing that can be done, and Lampkin knows this. He refuses to ask any questions.
Baltar is confused and upset by this decision, but Lampkin quickly sets his client straight. “If he’s ready to perjure himself, there’s nothing we can do.” Lampkin, ever the puppet master, stands up and addresses the judges. He calls for a mistrial on the grounds one of them has already prejudged Baltar. “That’s a very serious charge, Mr. Lampkin. Which judge,” Admiral Adama asks him. “That would be you, Admiral,” Lampkin responds simply. To make his case for a mistrial, Romo asks to have Lee take the stand. OK, time to suspend disbelief for a moment here. The prosecutor objects, but the panel of judges decide to let it happen. With that decision made, Jaime Bamber infuses Lee Adama with more passion and emotion than the character has ever had. Gone is the forced confrontation between father and son that felt a little off when it was introduced again a few episodes ago. Now, we faithful fans get the payoff for that storyline.
Lee is not only reluctant to take the stand; he absolutely does not want to testify against his father. Romo asks if he met with the Admiral, and Lee answers he did. Lampkin then asks if the Admiral stated that Baltar does not deserve a trial. Lee mimics Geata’s shrug. Now Lampkin is in his element, skillfully maneuvering the young Adama by telling him he swore an oath to the court and if he doesn’t answer it goes against the very ideals of the justice system he believes in. “What frackin’ justice system,” explodes Lee. That’s it, Romo has done all he needs and knows it. It’s a simple matter of getting the snowball rolling. Everything is about to be laid onto the table.
Room asks if Lee believe Gaius deserves a fair trial. Lee states that he does, not only because everyone deserves one, but also because Gaius Baltar is not guilty of the crimes he’s been charged with. When the prosecution objects, the judge who allowed Lee onto the stand agrees, as does Lee himself. It’s when Admiral Adama states that he’d like to hear the testimony that Gaius’ fate is sealed.
Lee gives a speech on the stand that mirrors what the legions of Baltar fans around the world have been saying for the entire season. Yes, Baltar has made mistakes. What he has not done is commit treason. He was faced with an impossible situation. The Cylons show up on New Caprica, and they have the human race by the balls. Maybe he should have stood up and died. But would anyone else have done differently? It’s quite probable that such an action would have resulted in a nuclear strike against the colony. Gaius had seconds to make a decision, and he made the same one most anyone would. He made a horrible choice, but he’s not the only one.
Except that President Roslyn issued a blanket pardon, so those people are no longer held accountable for those actions. Tigh used suicide bombers that killed civilians; Helo and Chief murdered a Pegasus officer; Admiral Adama instituted a military coup d’etat; Lee, acknowledging his own tough decisions, shot down the Olympic Carrier, a civilian ship with 1,000 souls aboard; Lee committed mutiny by raising a weapon to a superior officer; worst of all he ordered the Pegasus to jump away from New Caprica the day the Cylons arrived and tried convincing the Admiral to never return. All of these acts have been forgiven. Nothing mentioned is held over anyone’s head. So why does Gaius suffer a different fate?
The crimes of others are forgiven because they have to be. Rules have to be bent, or even broken, for mankind to survive. It’s why in all the rage directed at Baltar, no one sees the hypocrisy of their belief that he’s a traitorous bastard. Everyone else is forgiven, but someone has to be held accountable. Why not Baltar? No one likes him. He’s arrogant and a bit of a prat.
“This case is built on emotion, anger, bitterness, vengeance. But most of all it’s built on shame. It’s about the shame of what we did to ourselves back on that planet. And it’s about the guilt of those of us who ran away.” So that’s it, there you have the reason Baltar should be thrown out an airlock. The human race needs to place all that shame and guilt somewhere. The hated Dr. Gaius Baltar is the perfect scapegoat to allow everyone to get on with their lives. If he can be strung up, then all of that goes away. Except that’s just not true. All of that inner turmoil will remain long after Baltar is dead.
With a 3-2 ruling, the court finds Gaius Baltar not guilty. Remember what I said about the trial being a formality? Baltar is going to find out how true that is now. Back in his cell he’s celebrating the victory with Lee and Romo. But when he states he would have liked to see the Admiral squirm a little more Lee tells him not to push it. Baltar then turns to Romo and asks if he would help out with a book tour. Lampkin, now a hotshot lawyer with the justice system established, declines. These people are not friends, and now that the journey has ended it’s time they part ways. Romo’s exit from the show is perfect. He says goodbye to Lee then walks to the shuttle, leaving his cane behind and walking with no limp. I hope to see this character in season 4.
With nowhere to turn Baltar walks the halls looking like a mutt who’s just been kicked. When all seems lost for him, some mysterious people show up and cover him in a shroud. These are obviously the religious zealots who have begun to view Baltar as a messiah. But what does this mean for Baltar? He’s a man who always embraces fully the reality of who is at any given time. While he may have seemed reluctant at the beginning of the previous episode, it’s a near certainty that Baltar will embrace his new role as savior.
The testimony by Lee literally saved the entire season. Every misstep we’ve endured was cured with an incredible piece of writing and acting. There’s another aspect that’s been missing in season 3 that has made the show great in the past. President Roslyn has finally made a significant return to the show. Welcome back Madam President, we’ve missed you. I especially liked the opening scene with Roslyn and Adama on the phone.
Once again back on the kamala, Roslyn is having her funky visions. While in a hospital bed she dreams she is in the opera house, chasing Hera and trying to reach her before Athena does. Caprica Six gets there first and Roslyn awakes screaming. She’s not the only one, Athena is there too. The two women look at each other, knowing that they just shared the same vision. They go to Caprica Six to see if they can figure out what it means. Six is shaken by the news, and when asked why she was after Hera simply stated, “I just knew I had to protect her with my life.”
After the trial is over Roslyn speaks with Admiral Adama. During the course of the conversation she comes to realize he was the third vote to acquit Baltar. She’s hurt and pissed to say the least. “There’s a difference between innocent and not guilty,” Adama tries to explain to her. But she walks away and the fleet prepares to jump to a nebula. When they arrive at their destination, President Roslyn has a bad reaction and begins to look as if she’s going to faint. I made a special note of this because immediately afterward the power went out. There’s something to that, and I think it relates to one of the greatest twists in ‘BSG’ history.
…some way out of here
Last week there were four characters who heard a strange song no one else could. First of all, I’d like to acknowledge one of our readers who pointed out that it was not clear Chief had heard the song. I rewatched the episode and my claim that he definitely did was not as concrete as I claimed, but it still felt that he did.
No reason to get excited
The song this week is much clearer as the episode begins and Chief gets out of bed. Sitars are playing a melody that seems oddly familiar. He goes looking for the source, but can’t quite get it. Anders and Tory are in the barracks and she mentions hearing the song, but before they can talk the other pilots show up. On the hangar deck Anders hears Chief humming the song and talks to him about it. They both agree that it’s like something from childhood. Just something they’ve known for a while but can’t remember exactly where they heard it.
There’s too much confusion
Col. Tigh goes to the Admiral, telling him that the Cylons have put the song in the ship. The Admiral tells his friend he believes him, and will look into it. “You’ll look into it? I’m here telling you there is Cylon sabotage aboard our ship,” the Colonel responds. Musical sabotage Tigh? That seems a bit odd. Michael Hogan’s performance throughout the episode once again underscores just why he deserves that Emmy nomination. He’s really beginning to crack, but he has every reason to.
There most be some kind of way out of here…
After the fleet jumps to the nebula, the power goes out. Now Chief can hear the song clearly, and begins to follow it.
Said the Joker to the Thief
Tigh hears it clearly as well.
There’s too much confusion
Tory throws up, but can hear the song too.
I can’t get no relief
The four begin to follow the song, finally converging on a room. Anders, Tory, and Chief arrive first. Looking at each other they immediately know what this all means. Some sort of switch has been flipped. It’s a lot for them to take, and naturally they have trouble reconciling what appears to be the truth of their lives. Then Tigh walks in and has the most amazing reaction when he sees who’s in the room. “Whoooaaahhh.” I think that pretty much says everything. When Anders sees Tigh he refuses to believe it could be true. There’s just no way that Colonel Saul Tigh could be one of them.
Aside from the revelation in the scene, there’s an undercurrent of intense emotion that runs through all of them. Tigh is pissed. All his 40 years in the service, the death of Ellen, the months in the detention center. It means nothing. Anders can’t believe after all the friends he watched die, and the occupation, that it comes down to this.
“Sam, it’s true. We’re Cylons. And have been from the start,” Chief tells them.
At that moment the power comes back on, and the Cylons show up to attack. Tigh tells them to get to their stations, it’s an order Chief questions. I mean, if they’re Cylons then it might not be a good idea to be in a position to cause irreparable harm to the fleet. To which Tigh responds, “My name is Saul Tigh. I am an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Whatever else I am, whatever else it means, that’s the man I want to be. And if I die today, that’s the man I’ll be.” How many times do you get to watch a television show and have a physical reaction to what’s happening? It’s rare, but the season three finale of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ did it for me. I had chills as Tigh made that statement.
The four go to their stations and prepare for whatever is to come. At CIC there’s a moment where Tigh stands with Adama and Tory with Roslyn claiming their allegiance. The two share a glance that says volumes. Here we are, two Cylons situated next to the two most powerful humans in all the fleet. What a fracked up situation this is.
With the power outage it’d take twenty minutes to get the FTL drives up and ready to jump. So the Vipers are deployed. Lee immediately grabs a Viper and heads off to fight, I guess the whole no longer in the military thing will be taken care of later. But while out there he spots a bogey. As he follows it the ship disappears. He looks for it as for the first time ever on ‘BSG’ a pop song plays. “All Along The Watchtower” by Bob Dylan swells as Lee looks for the mysterious ship. When he finds it there’s a shock. Starbuck is the pilot. Kara Thrace, looking like she’s completely at peace, tells him that it’s really her. She’s seen Earth, and she’ll lead them there.
That ends season three. A pretty decent season overall. But with this finale it becomes so much better. There are lots of questions still to be answered though. Is the “us” that Kara mentions relating to the humans, the Cylons, or both? Roslyn was affected when they jumped to the nebula. Is she the final Cylon, or is it Hera’s blood that affected her and allowed the President to share a vision with two Cylons? What are the four revealed Cylons going to do? When the time comes, will they even be able to fight whatever programming is in them?
The last shot of the season flows through the stars and comes in for a close-up shot of Earth. Giving me goose bumps, and shows just how close the fleet is to a new home.
Holy frak! Starbuck is back! I still haven't decided if I think she is alive or if she's some sort of spirit guide that's working with Lee to take the last of the human race to Earth. "Don't freak out. It really is me. It's going to be OK. I've been to Earth. I know where it is. I'm going to take us there." And if she really is "alive," her ship was blown to bits, so where did she get a new Viper? Either way, I'm pretty excited that whichever way she's returned, she has returned and her higher purpose has been revealed. Which means her "death" wasn't in vain, so that makes me happy.
Tigh, Anders, Tyrol and Tori are four of the five remaining Cylons, or at least they think they are. I'm not quite sure that I buy it. Anders, Tyrol, Tori… sure. I've got no problem with any of them, and I think that the fact that Anders and Tyrol were freedom fighters on New Caprica and so anti-Cylon is especially ironic and exciting. But I really don't get how Tigh could be a Cylon. He was alive as a human when the old metallic Cylons disappeared during the first war, 40 years prior to when they reappeared and attacked regular Caprica and the rest of the human planets. Heck, he's served with Adama for 40 years. Unless he was an original prototype for the skin jobs, which the Cylons were working on way back before they disappeared, I just don't understand how it could be possible. I'd be more inclined to believe that the Cylons were just somehow frakking with him and they implanted a weird chip in his head when they held him captive on New Caprica. The only other thing that even remotely makes sense to me is if they took a human that was already alive and could somehow make them into a Cylon. Either way, they've got a lot of explaining to do next season.
I did love that the Cylon music was actually Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower." Anders was humming the words "all along the watchtower" right before he talked to the Chief, and then Tigh quoted the tune early on in the episode. Then when they were all being drawn together they each had a segment of the song stuck in their heads. "There must be some kind of way out of here," said Chief. "Said the joker to the thief," said Tigh. "There's too much confusion here," said Anders. "I can't get no relief," said Tori. Very interesting. Maybe the Galactica crew is closer to earth than they realize. I love the version of the song that they played over the end of the episode. I really need to get a copy of that. And maybe a clip of Adama telling Roslin to "get your fat lazy ass out of that rack," to put as my morning alarm clock.
When the simultaneous power outage among the whole fleet, which was restored when the foursome actually said the words that they were Cylons, Roslin also suffered from a splitting headache. Could that mean that she is actually a Cylon, too? Or is it just because she has Cylon blood in her from her transfusion from Hera? It would make a lot of sense considering that she also had that freaky dream along with Six and Athena. Her being a Cylon, despite her age, wouldn't surprise me as much as Tigh. I did think Tigh's reaction to discovering that he was a Cylon was pretty awesome. His "the ship is under attack, let's get back to work" attitude impressed me. I'm surprised that the other three followed suit; I'd have probably curled up for a few days. But for all Tigh's flaws he does know how to give a pep talk: "My name is Saul Tigh and if I die today, then that's who I'll be."
And if all of that wasn't enough, there was also that intense trial of Gaius Baltar. I kind of love that he was found not guilty. As Adama astutely told the President, "Not guilty is not the same as innocent." Baltar going free means that basically he has to live in human society as an outcast, and find shelter among his few supporters. He'll live the rest of his days in fear of being lynched by an angry human who lost someone because of him. That's much more messed up than just tossing him out the airlock. Sure, dying in space is a painful way to die, but to have to live under these circumstances could be some sort of excruciating torture for him. I just loved the horrified look on his face when he realized that Lee and Lampkin were leaving him on his own. Priceless.
Gaius shouldn't really be mad at Lee for abandoning him though. The younger Adama is really the main reason that Baltar even has his freedom. Lee's speech about forgiveness for all of the heinous crimes that were committed in the name of survival was well thought out and very important considering that while so many laws have been bent, the rules are so stringent for Baltar. I think that Lee's dear old dad recognized the hypocrisy and realized that while his son was giving testimony that would free this awful man, it wasn't because he liked him or because he respected what he had done, but because it was the right thing to do in order to keep a society with some structure in these times of war.
Lampkin, though, totally played Lee to get the win — by putting him on the stand and keeping the cane around so that Lee would feel bad for him and stay on the defense legal team. Scheming and underhanded… somehow I don't think we've seen the last of him.
At the end of the day, Lee, like Tigh, realized that despite all that had been going on his life, he was a soldier. Apollo hopped back into uniform and into a viper to help out his crew. Was it to make him feel less guilty for letting Baltar go free? Was it to make up for not wanting to save the humans when they were trapped on New Caprica? Maybe a bit of both, but either way, he did what needed to be done.
Now the whole fleet is under Cylon attack, just as they've reached one of the signposts for Earth. Did Kara bring along a whole army with her from whatever land she's been in? Because that looks like what they'll need to fight off all of those Cylons, since they are basically sitting ducks unable to jump for a while. I just can't believe that we have to wait until 2008 for more new episodes, though I am excited that we'll be getting another full batch of 22. I watched this episode a couple of weeks ago, and my head is still spinning. Maybe by the time the new ones roll around, I'll have figured out where Kara got her ship, or come up with new theories about Tigh or Roslin, or both. I can't wait to hear what all of you thought of the episode.
The following post discusses Sunday's season finale of "Battlestar Galactica." DO NOT read this if you have not seen it yet. If you have, then by all means, join the discussion.
How cool was Sunday’s “Battlestar Galactica” finale?
Pretty cool. Actually, I thought it rocked.
So Tigh, Tory, Chief Tyrol and Anders are all Cylons. I don’t know about you, but that revelation blew my mind.
And as others have pointed out, all of them were leaders of the resistance on New Caprica. Coincidence? Maybe not.
Since lurking on the TelevisionWithoutPity.com “Battlestar” spoiler board a while back, I haven’t been able to get one commenter’s idea out of my head -- that maybe there are no humans. Maybe there are just different Cylon factions at war, and the Tigh-Tory-Tyrol-Anders contingent is just one faction within that war.
I think that's a pretty compelling idea: What if there are no humans, and this show’s been about the Cylons’ attempt to reclaim or develop the “humanity” of their human creators -- who are long dead?
Here’s another theory posted on this site earlier this week: Maybe the Cylons created the humans, not the other way around.
That’s even wilder, but as we know, “Battlestar” doesn’t shy away from the wild. I enjoy it when the show upends my expectations in such radical ways -- having earned the right to do so with solid storytelling first. And these last couple episodes of the season are about as solid as it gets on TV (and of course, some of Sunday's developments might have been set up well before this last bunch of episodes -- then again, knowing Ron Moore's affinity for shaking things up along the way, maybe not. Who cares. This finale worked for me).
All of these thoughts are pure speculation, keep in mind. I have not a scintilla of information about what is actually going on and what we’ll see next season. And that’s the way I want it -- now we can actually spend the long months until the show returns in January 2008 trying to figure out what the writers have up their sleeves for season four. Of course we’ll probably be wrong, and I have every hope that they’ll come up with something far better than what we can dream up.
So, Kara “Starbuck” Thrace – still alive? Reborn? A Cylon? Tanned, rested and ready to rule the galaxy as some kind of intergalactic goddess? Knows where Earth is? Ready to lead the fleet there? All of the above? Or is Lee Adama just having one completely tripped-out vision?
I’ve got no idea. My only concrete thought is that, if she's found a wormhole, she should stop by Quark’s bar on Deep Space Nine at some point. Saving the remaining human population (if that’s what the people aboard the fleet's vessels are) is thirsty work. Say hi to Morn for me, Kara!
Slightly more seriously, a large number of commenters on this site in recent weeks seem to think that Kara may now be (and always has been?) a Being of Light or a goddess or some other sort of celestial creature. Then again, she could have always been a Cylon and she may have downloaded after Lee lost sight of her in “Maelstrom.”
Or she could be none of the above. And in all truth, I tend to think Lee was not seeing a vision, and that the Starbuck we saw was real.
One quibble that doesn't have anything to do with the finale itself: I can’t say I was thrilled with the promotional tagline on Scifi.com for the final episode of the season. It said, “Who are the final five Cylons? Find out on the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ season finale.”
By my count, we met four Cylons in the finale. Not five. So are we to understand that Kara is a Cylon? My speculation is not really leaning in that direction. But it’s kind of a drag that the tagline could be read as leading us to think that she is the fifth Cylon, when she may be something else.
I tend to think Kara’s something other than just a garden-variety Cylon. But I could be wrong.
In any case, I’m wondering if fans are going to be mad about that tagline. We didn’t have a fifth person clearly identified as a Cylon, so unless I’m missing something, the tagline was wrong.
Another bit of speculation -- did anyone else notice how Laura Roslin became a little ill when the fleet arrived at their destination, just before the power went out? They didn't show that she heard the music, and she didn't quote any lines from Dylan's inimitable song, but I thought there were a few clues here and there that she might be the fifth Cylon. She was in that weird opera house scene with Six and Athena and Hera, for one thing. That's got to mean something, though it may not mean Roslin's a Cylon. (Critic Alan Sepinwall has some interesting analysis on Roslin and other finale matters here.)
One theory at Sepinwall's site: What if those four aren't Cylons, and there's a third party at work? Yikes. We're in deep waters here. But that's where "Battlestar" does its thing best.
Finally, I have to say that Bear McCreary, who does the show’s terrific music, did a great job of incorporating “All Along the Watchtower” into the final episode. This was a risky move that could have been really cheesy -- but it wasn’t, thanks to the skill of McCreary (and “Battlestar’s” editors, who did a great job of making that last set of scenes, when the four characters realize they're Cylons, compelling).
One quibble about the music -- I wouldn't have picked the vocalist that was chosen to sing the song in the closing moments. He reminded me of the guy who sang the "Star Trek: Enterprise" theme song, a theme I never really liked -- either version.
In any case, what does it mean that a song that is recognizable from our own, current Earth era was used in that episode? An episode in which the humans may have actually found a way to Earth? Very suggestive, no? I thought it was.
Here's what McCreary said, in part, on his blog regarding the use of "All Along the Watchtower":
"[T]he idea was not that Bob Dylan necessarily exists in the characters' universe, but that an artist on one of the colonies may have recorded a song with the exact same melody and lyrics. Perhaps this unknown performer and Dylan pulled inspiration from a common, ethereal source. Therefore, I was told to make no musical references to any 'Earthly' versions, Hendrix, Dylan or any others. The arrangement needed to sound like a pop song that belonged in the Galactica universe, not our own."
(McCreary adds that his version of "All Along the Watchtower" will come out in August, on the Season 3 soundtrack CD. One final digression, there's a recent Salon interview with Ron Moore.
All in all, I found the last two episodes of this season wonderfully compelling. I enjoyed Romo Lampkin quite a bit, and Lee’s scene in the courtroom, in which he excoriated the hypocrisy of putting Baltar on trial while allowing others in the fleet who’d done questionable things resume their lives – well, all I can say is, bravo, Jamie Bamber. That was excellent work and great writing.
The first time I watched the last two episodes of the season, I saw them both together, and seeing Baltar's trial all at once really amplified its impact. On Sunday, I watched the finale for a second time, and I enjoyed it again, even though I knew what would happen. I did notice some snippets "All Along the Watchtower's" lyrics in the first half of the finale script that I hadn't noticed before.
There may have been some uneven moments this season, but as Matt Roush said on his site Friday, “I can take an off episode here and there on any series as long as it ultimately delivers, and to me, 'Battlestar' does.” Amen.
So, was it a reason to get excited? Too much confusion? Can’t get no relief? Share your thoughts here.
UPDATE: There's another very good interview with Ron Moore here, in it he talks about the season finale and what it means for the fourth season. He also says Katee Sackhoff is signed for Season 4 and says that some Cylons are "fundamentally different." Hmmm. Anyway, read Pittsburgh Post-Gazette critic Rob Owen's entire interview with Moore
The only thing more compelling than the season three finale of Battlestar Galactica was whether or not the series would get a fourth season. Ever since it was confirmed that Battlestar Galactica would get at least half of a fourth season, fans have shifted their focus to speculating over just what the ace creative team behind Battlestar Galactica might have in store for a fourth season. Tonight that speculation came to an end as Battlestar Galactica ended its third chapter with plenty of tantalizing new threads wagging in front of BSG fans everywhere.
Probably the least surprising twist was the acquittal of Gaius Baltar. For one thing, they really didn't have much of a case against him. Yes, he was a debouched idiot through most of his presidency, but once the Cylons showed up in force he did what he could to keep himself, and his people, alive. Would anybody else in his position have fared any better? Probably not. If someone like Roslin were in office, for instance, they simply would have exterminated their way down the chain of command until someone like Baltar came along. Compliance with the Cylons was an inevitability for the citizens of New Caprica, whether they knew it or not.
What was an amazing twist was the revelation of the mystery tune that was plaguing Tigh, Anders, Tyrol, and Troi. As the episode went along we got scraps of lyrics to go along with the hauntingly familiar melody. '...said the joker to the thief...' Whether you like the Hendrix version, or the original Dylan, there is no mistaking 'All Along the Watchtower'. So why were these four hearing an earth tune? Somehow, the consensus amongst them is that they are all Cylons, and this is why they hear the music. I still don't get the logic. I don't find myself coming out of this episode feeling like I have seen four of the final five Cylon models, and if they are Cylons, their loyalty is still with Galactica and the fleet because in the end, when a Cylon fleet jumped out to greet them, all four returned to their jobs and did what they would have done any day before.
So are they, or aren't they? I suppose this ambiguity is part of the BSG crews plan to keep us talking about the show, and anxious for its return. Aside from all hearing the same tune, they all had something else in common too: they were all on New Caprica long enough to have some nifty Cylon implants installed. On the other hand, if this whole vignette was supposed to leave us utterly convinced they were Cylons, I have a bone to pick. If that was the intent, the whole mess was very poorly executed.
Probably the biggest, meanest loose thread of them all was the surprise return of Starbuck. Apollo ran into her while piloting towards the Cylon fleet, and she had some pretty wild claims. First was that it was really her, then it was that she had been to Earth and would show them the way. Of course, right after the little rag-tag fleet humbles those four Cylon base stars siting a few clicks out spitting raiders towards Galactica's scarred carcass of a hull.
The worst part of all was the news that Galactica would return with all new episodes... in 2008. Yipes. Seems like it is going to be a long hard nine months (minimum). However will we pass the time?
- Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
Sunday, March 25
I have to admit that I have a strong appreciation for a television show that knows when its story has been told, when it has approached its final chapter and chooses to say "The End." The better the show is, the more I find this to be an important realization for the creators (and the networks!) to come to recognize and accept.
The New York Post is reporting that the creators of Battlestar Galactica have it in mind for the show's fourth season to be its last, a season which just recently got the OK for the full 22-episodes. It's not a set-in-stone plan ... yet. But as much as I love the show, I think this could be the way for it to go out on a high note (and let's not forget the planned 2-hour season-gap-bridging movie). It's refreshing to know that the creators have a plan and they're going to see it through, and not allow it to be milked beyond its capacity.
Since creator Ron Moore has said before that the planned spin-off series, Caprica, hasn't been picked up yet, I could see the plan being to end Battlestar should Caprica get a greenight. If Caprica hits a stop, maybe there will be a way to see Battlestar continue past its prime, but just for a little bit. I only wish other popular shows could follow the same example, but for some it's already too late.
Saturday, March 24
In an intereview with Laura Miller in Salon, Ron Moore talks about season 4 and confirms that the fall 2007 BSG 2 hour telefilm for Sci-Fi Channel and DVD will be about the Battlestar Pegasus:
So you couldn't say now whether you think of Season 4 as the last of the series?
I'm considering that right now, to be honest. It's in the air. I don't know. It hasn't been formally decided and I haven't made my own decision. It's a possibility.
The worst thing that could happen to us is if we overstayed our welcome and got to a place where we had not finished the story and then we got canceled. I'd rather go out on my own terms creatively and go out strong.
We won't be seeing Season 4 until January 2008, but I understand there's going to be some kind of miniseries or movie coming before then?
There is something that they're calling "extra episodes" or "extended episodes" -- they keep shifting the nomenclature. Essentially, we are shooting two hours of "Galactica" that will be broadcast on SciFi Channel sometime in the fall. Let's say they broadcast it on a Friday; then, on the following Monday, it will be available on DVD.
That story will not pick up our cliffhanger at the end of Season 3. That didn't seem right. The story will be set on the Battleship Pegasus and will take place in the past, relative to where we are in Season 3. But the events set up in that story will then pay off in Season 4.
What was the reasoning behind doing that?
They came to us. It gives Home Video something to sell in the stores. Since we won't be back until January, which is a long time to be off the air, it gives the fans something to see and keeps the show alive. So it serves multiple masters. There was no way we could pick up the cliffhanger in that format, and then ask people to wait to really start the season later. One of the story lines everyone had really liked was the Pegasus story and the character of Admiral Cain, so we decided to go with that.
Are you already at work on Season 4 of "Battlestar Galactica"?
Yep, we've broken the first eight episodes. We're pretty happy. There are a lot of things coming; a lot of things change in the season finale of this season and propel us into the story lines of next season.
Read the full interview with Ron at Salon.
Friday, March 23
Tahmoh Penikett gives new meaning to the word mesmerizing. Irresistibly tempting, he captivates viewers with his brawny and tough presence on and off cam. He takes on movies and television shows with much passion and enthusiasm, which makes him very pleasing to the crowd. Heavily loaded with wit and drama, he persuasively portrays challenging character roles with delight. Undeniably gorgeous, he graces the show Battlestar Galactica, which establishes his stance on the television loop.
Born on May 20, 1975 in Yukon, Canada, Tahmoh Penikett studied at Victoria Motion Picture School and attended Lyric School of Acting in Vancouver. As an actor, he started with minor roles and gradually progressed to more notable and distinguished characters. He appeared on shows such as Hush, Cold Squad, Smallville, The L Word, Under the Cover, and Murder on the Iditarod Trail.
On the television series Battlestar Galactica, Penikett stars as Captain Karl Agathon, an Electronic Countermeasures Officer. His love struggle with a woman-turned-robot-in-disguise became an interesting element of the story line. In addition, his inclusion on the series gives him the opportunity showcase his well-trimmed physique, not to mention his compelling stare. One of the fine looking guys on show, he is one of the reasons why the show continues to be a blast.
-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
The Cylons are closer than you think.
For much of the season, fans of Sci Fi’s “Battlestar Galactica” have been teased with the notion that one of the five hidden Cylons would be revealed - as a member of the Galactica crew.
The third-season finale (Sunday at 10 p.m.) delivers on that premise and then some.
“Cliffhanger” is such an inadequate word to describe the episode.
Cries of “Holy frak!” will arise from fans all over the country after the final moments air. The “Battlestar” universe will never be the same after the revelations in “Crossroads Part II.”
Some fans will be jazzed for the new season. Others will accuse the show of jumping the shark. But no other TV show on any other network has shown such a willingness to both surprise its viewers and rip apart its own formula in such a challenging, creative way. Ronald D. Moore, executive producer/writer, refuses to take the easy route and let his cast or his viewers get comfortable.
Baltar’s (James Callis) trial takes a shocking twist. President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) has a strange dream that reveals her subconscious is linked to those of Cylons Sharon (Grace Park) and Number Six (Tricia Helfer). Several crew members are haunted by a strange melody that only they can hear.
The fleet is attacked by Cylon ships. At a crucial moment, Lee (Jamie Bamber) becomes separated from the rest of his squad and encounters hope from the most unexpected source.
I’ve already said too much. There are spoilers on other Web sites that give away every detail of this episode. Please avoid them. Give yourself the chance to enjoy “Crossroads Part II” as it was meant to be. Allow yourself the pleasure of being genuinely surprised.
There are far too many shows on the air that are capable of doing that. “Battlestar” is one of the few that delivers and one of the best.
Sci Fi announced yesterday that it has picked up “Battlestar” for a full 22 episodes, to begin airing in January. In addition, an original two-hour “Battlestar” film will air in the fall, to help bridge the wait between seasons. While the entire cast is expected to appear, it is unclear at this time whether it will pick up from Sunday’s finale or tell a stand-alone tale. My bet is it will be some sort of prequel.
When “Battlestar” returns, it will be a new show, with some incredible stories to tell. This is one viewer who cannot wait.
“Battlestar Galactica” Season finale Sunday at 10 p.m. on Sci Fi -- Grade: A
Last night the SciFi Channel had their upfront presentation here in New York City. The big announcement of the evening was that the network was picking up Battlestar Galactica, one of the best shows to ever run on television, for a full fourth season, after only initially agreeing to 13 episodes. As part of that announcement, Grace Park, who plays Sharon Agathon, a Cylon living and working among the humans – out in the open – as a pilot (callsign Athena), was on hand. The upfront is really just a big party, and the way it works for people like me is that you hover around the talent like a creepy guy at a singles bar until you can get one of the SciFi Channel publicists to introduce you, and then you get a couple of minutes to talk.
I managed to get six minutes with the very gorgeous in real life Park near one of the two bars at the place. I don’t know how she was doing, but I was a couple of beers and cocktails into my night. However many she did or didn’t have, she was funny and quick on her feet, and she told me her opinion about the impending end of Battlestar that may be in line with how some fans of the show feel…
This season has been really interesting and is ending on this intense cliffhanger… but they don’t let you know what’s coming next, do they?
They don’t tell us what’s coming next. The thing about a straight-to-DVD movie – that’s news to me! They don’t tell us anything. I think my manager called to tell me there was a spin-off show, and the day before we had been sitting in the board room with Ron [Moore] and David [Eick]. Did they say anything? Not a peep.
That is some CIA-level shit.
It makes me wonder what else they have up their sleeves!
When you first signed on, at the beginning, did you know you were a Cylon?
I shouldn’t keep admitting this, but I didn’t know. In my defense, it’s because I originally went out for Starbuck, and I didn’t really understand the weight of ‘By your command,’ which was said at the very end of the mini-series, which outed Sharon. When I read it again I did a double-take and I went to Ron Moore and said, ‘Why did you switch this?! Is it something about me that made you think you could do this?’ and he said, ‘No, it was always like this.’
When they’re keeping you so much in the dark, is it harder as an actor to create a character?
They already love to drop the scripts on us [at the last minute]. They treat us like the viewers even though we’re in on it with them! So it’s actually a bit perplexing, a little confusing, but you can tell they love their job because they want us to experience the same thing everyone else does. But it can get a little grating, because it’s like, ‘We are part of this show with you! You can’t keep us in the dark until the last second!’ But it seems to have worked so far. We’ve done so many scenes where I’ll ask Tricia [Helfer], ‘What are you guys looking at?’ and she’ll go, ‘We have no idea. The director didn’t tell us anything.’
What kind of input do you have into your character? While TV is such a writer’s medium, you’re playing these characters every week, so you sort of get to really know them. Do you ever go back to Ron and say, ‘No way, Athena would never say that?’
Absolutely. The wonderful thing about our show is that Michael Rymer and David and Ron are very open to the things we have to say. We’ll call Ron, who is at the airport and running for the plane and run ideas by him and he’ll say OK. They’re open to it, and it makes us feel great because it’s nice to be acknowledged by the people at the top. Do we always get our way? No.
But your voice is heard.
Yeah, but they’ll do what they want! They’ll roll their eyes wondering why you’re there. And I’m in line behind Jamie Bamber, who comes in and rattles off a few things and they’re shooting his scenes, so he has to go. But the fun thing is that things are always in flux, and it’s a creative ensemble in many ways.
Ron Moore has said that the end of season three begins the third act of Battlestar, heading towards the ending.
Yeah, I feel it.
With that in mind, where would you like to see Athena end up? And considering what kind of show she’s on, where do you think she’ll end up?
Everytime I assume something they do something different, so I can’t even start to guess with any accuracy what’s going to happen with Athena. I do think you’ll see some development with her family, the meaning of Hera and what role she has to play, and hopefully some kind of coming together or closing of the seam of these two ripped fabrics. I don’t think everybody is going to be saved, but I think there will be a patchwork quilt of them. I do think you’ll see more of that starting to happen. I don’t know if they’re going to go to Earth by themselves. I personally don’t want to see them go to Earth.
You don’t want them to go to Earth? Why?
Am I a pessimist? I think it’s because, first of all, I’m wondering at what time period are they going to hit Earth – the medieval era, the future, where? And I certainly don’t want to arrive there and have President Bush blow us all up. But I think that this show is so timeless and to bring it back to the AD timescale will bring up this other sense of reality that may take away from the metaphors.
But this is why I’m a pessimist – I believe Earth is a beautiful place that is still somewhat untouched, and I think if they go there, I just know that the Cylons and the humans, whether they get there together or not, are going to bring their baggage with them, and spread it. I feel like Earth is the last hope, and I want to keep it that way.
It’s funny going down to Little West 12th Street – it’s in what used to be the Meat Packing District of Manhattan, and it was where you went to buy meat… either the kind that comes from an animal or the kind that’s hidden inside the skirt of a tranny hooker. The neighborhood is very different now, and is a center of whole annoying area of rich douchebag nightclubs and restaurants. It was there that the SciFi Channel had their annual upfronts, where they announced what’s happening in the coming year.
The event was really just a big party with some speeches and a video presentation. My first stop was, of course, the bar. They had some fancy cocktail called Prohibition Punch, but it lacked the kind of punch I was looking for, so I switched over to bottled beer. Nine of those in two hours did me very nicely, and it was only because those beers made me go to the bathroom a number of times that I was able to meet Alan Cumming. More on that later.
The big announcement that night was that SciFi had decided to pick up the back nine of Battlestar Galactica’s fourth season. The network had previously only ordered 13 episodes, but now had gone for a 22, despite the show seemingly dipping in the ratings. I asked SciFi president Bonnie Hammer what motivated the full season pick-up, especially since so many fans had been worried that the show might get cancelled altogether.
“First of all, it’s not really down,” she told me. “We’ve grown the younger audience and we’ve grown women, so the shift from Friday to Sunday has been a positive one. But we also, with all the new research that’s been done, realize that one out of every four viewers DVRs Battlestar Galactica. So if you add 25% to our ratings in terms of a weekly basis, it’s huge. And it’s one of these shows where everybody I bump into watches it, but we’re never quite sure how, when or where. Is it downloaded, is it DVR, is it home video? But if you look at the masses of audience that actually know every piece of BSG, it’s huge.”
She also confirmed that the two hour direct-to-video Battlestar movie was being looked at as a possible ‘backdoor pilot’ for the proposed spin-off show, Caprica. “It’s one of the options that we have in terms of doing the two hour.”
For more on Battlestar Galactica check out my interview with Grace Park here.
While I had Bonnie for a couple of seconds, I had to follow up on something I had heard during the video presentation. They showed the Flash Gordon logo and said that the show would be on later this year – and they played the iconic Queen theme song from the 1981 Flash Gordon movie over it. Would that song be the theme to the new show as well? “It’s too early to say,” Hammer told me, which is too bad – if the show is using the Queen theme, I think we might be able assume that it’ll be aiming at the same campy vibe as the film. Time will tell.
The party was also full of other SciFi Channel stars. I spent a lot of time drinking next to Terence Mann (he was having wine while I was knocking back Brahma Beer), one of the stars of The Dresden Files (and of the Critters franchise. How did I not talk to him about that?). Also on hand was Paul Blackthorne, who plays Harry Dresden on the show. I have never seen an episode of the program so I didn’t have anything to ask these guys, but I can tell you that Blackthorne is very tall. When did actors stop being short? I got into this business so I could finally be considered tall, for god’s sake.
I did talk to Major Victory, though. You may remember him as the former male stripper who got tossed from Stan Lee’s Who Wants To Be A Superhero – unfairly, I think. I told him that he was robbed, but he said that he’s pretty happy with the way things turned out as the actual winner, Feedback (also on hand, also in costume), was a real comic book fan. Also, Major Victory met his current (very cute) girlfriend in the audition process… plus he is going to be hosting a show on SciFi Pulse, the broadband internet channel, where he’ll be interviewing the losers from the next season of Who Wants To Be A Superhero as they get kicked off the show.
We didn’t get to see any footage from Tin Man, the re-envisioning of The Wizard of Oz that the SciFi Channel will run at the end of the year, mostly because they haven’t started shooting yet. Alan Cumming was there, though, but except for when I literally bumped into him in the men’s room, I don’t know where he was hiding. His co-star from the show, Zooey Deschanel, was mingling, however. She is just as stunningly beautiful as she was the first time I met her, but so much skinnier. Eat, Zooey, eat!
I ended up leaving the event pretty early, showing an amount of self-restraint when it comes to free booze that I rarely, if ever have. I did stop at another bar on West 14th Street briefly on the way home, and it smelled like diapers and I was served by a huge transsexual Puerto Rican. Maybe all the last vestiges of the old Meatpacking District haven’t been wiped away yet.