Friday, January 30

Galactica Station's Review of "A Disquiet Follows My Soul.'

Once again, Captain Kickass comes to you from her warm and toasty couch to bring you her thoughts on the latest Battlestar Galactica episode. "A Disquiet Follows My Soul" is an episode designed to set up plot points for coming stories. I had jumbled thoughts about this one; it was somewhat inconsistent in characterization and I almost felt that it was overshadowed by “Sometimes a Great Notion’ which was almost too action-filled. Perhaps the two should have had more combined elements? Anyway, let me give you my take on “Disquiet” first before getting too ahead of myself:

I felt that this episode left much to be desired with the implied, sudden, and very marked, character developments in Tigh and Tyrol. Tigh, Tyrol, Anders, and Tori at one time agreed to stay with their current roles and identities, staying true to their cause. We watched Tori come to embrace her cylonness after feeling rejected by humanity. Although Anders did not embrace being a cylon in the same way, we at least saw him contemplating the idea with Starbuck’s return. Tyrol, on the other hand, was generally content to forget about his origins and go about his duties until his wife, Cally, died. Similarly, Tigh only revealed himself as a cylon when he was forced to, and up through “Sometimes a Great Notion,” Tigh wanted to explain his reasons for keeping his Cylon secret to Adama.

Contrast that Tigh with the Tigh in this episode. He and Caprica Six held hands anxiously as they searched the screen of the ultrasound machine and were fairly bursting with delight as they saw their baby, exclaiming that it would be the savior and hope of the Cylon race. When did we get any reaction from Tigh about the baby other than shock? Suddenly he’s bursting with pride and excited? And for a man who just realized that the wife he killed may be around somewhere, he seemed uncharacteristically unconcerned about figuring out how the resurrection may work for her. Tigh’s character history of obsessing over Ellen would have led me to expect that he would be as equally obsessed with the possibility of her being alive somehow. Yeah, he doesn’t know for sure that she’s out there, but when has something like that stopped Colonel Tigh? But Tigh’s busy pondering the savior of the Cylon race. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s interesting that Six and Tigh are having a baby, I just think Tigh’s actions and reactions are just out of character with what we’ve seen. I hope Tigh does think about Ellen-related possibilities in the next few episodes to come.

Similarly, Tyrol is apparently playing the go-between between the fleet and the Rebel Cylons. He even knows which models would be useful in ship repairs. Wow. How is it that he was so easily accepted by the Rebel Cylons as their negotiator in such a short time? And why didn’t we see or even get a passing reference to the arrangement? All we know is that Tigh and Tyrol are still in the fleet (perhaps only accepted by a few like Admiral Adama) and they are functioning as the go-betweens amid the Humans and the Rebel Cylons. As the negotiator, Tyrol asked for fleet protection for the Rebels in exchange for Cylon technology. Adama swiftly agreed, much to the consternation of Gaeta, who wasn’t the only unhappy camper as evidenced by Zarek and the Quorum. But again, I’ll come back to that. First, let’s take about Nicky for a minute.

I thought that Nicky’s paternity reveal was quite the shock. I think Aaron Douglas played the scene perfectly, first as a concerned father asking the right questions on how to save his son, then as a man slowly trying to come to terms with the knowledge that the child he had loved and raised for years was not biologically his son. The scene may have played out a bit differently had Nicky’s well-being not been on the line. As it was, Hotdog had to be informed that he was the Nicky’s biological father, and I predict that this will lead to difficult interactions between Tyrol and Hotdog as the season goes on. I did wonder though given the recap of Cally’s death, what might have Cally been thinking right before her death? We know she was distressed about the Four. Would she have revealed the truth about Nicky and taken him from Tyrol if she had lived? We have no way of knowing, I suppose. But what does it all mean for Nicky’s future? And what will it do to Tyrol?

Ok on to bigger things. Gaeta was a particularly intriguing character in this episode. Actually, scratch that. Gaeta has always been an interesting character, one that has often been used to illustrate what happens to lower level leadership figures in the fleet. Gaeta has never been particularly cylon-friendly and we started to see his extreme dislike of the race early in season three as he helped the resistance efforts in New Caprica, and later during Baltar's trial. In fact, Gaeta is decidedly pro-human. But who could blame him? After all the Cylons did obliterate Gaeta’s entire race just four years before. Unlike the character shifts with Tigh and Tyrol, Gaeta’s character development was remarkably consistent and set off like a lighter to a firecracker in this episode. We watched his anger mount as he waited for medical assistance from Dr. Cottle – an anger that was compounded by the sight of Saul and Caprica being happily served before him, and Nicky put before him when Tyrol rushed him in. Gaeta clearly didn’t think of the couple as a man and a woman expecting a child or see Nicky as a child needing help. He simply saw them as cylons, and that one difference was enough to spark fear and hatred in him.

Gaeta isn’t alone. We saw the fear on the face of the nurse tending to Six and Tigh, and Baltar and his followers trying to make sense of things. During the press conference, we watched as Zarek became disturbed by the thought of an alliance with the D’Anna Faction and barely managed to hide his displeasure from the reporters, who were quickly distracted by Lee’s fumble about the gender of the final cylon. I was glad that Zarek challenged Lee’s role at the conference. Lee’s stint as president should be over – Roslin’s back; we know, she’s not really back and it is hard to guess whether she will ever really return in her former capacity. Regardless, at the moment, Lee does not have an official position other than the Caprican representative to the Quorum.

Anyway, Zarek was unhappy and frustrated, so he convinced the Quorum to vote for giving the ship captains the choice of whether or not to allow the cylon technicians to update the ship technologies. He also ordered the Trillium ship to jump, forcing Adama to blackmail him in order to retrieve the fleet’s fuel supply. And then, Zarek hit Adama with an interesting and startling point: ‘The only difference between you and I is that uniform.” In a way, Zarek is right. Both he and Adama have certain ideals they will do anything to uphold. Adama just happened to hold the upper hand in that instance.
As the episode came to a close, we saw Gaeta ready to take action as he visited Zarek to discuss their plans to stop Adama from forming an alliance with the Cylons. The combination of Gaeta/Zarek is disconcerting. We know that each has been through enough that they are willing to do anything to get their way. There is a hint of mutiny already, and we do not know if they will also attack the Rebel Cylons or the cylon members aboard the ship. Put another way, we know there will be a reckoning between Gaeta/Zarek/ maybe Baltar & Co. and Adama/Lee/Tigh/Tyrol/Starbuck but it is unclear how far it might go or where it will lead. To me, that’s the charm of the show. It’s exciting, intelligent, and uncomfortable all rolled into one, and the dilemmas presented in the show parallel problems we face in our own society.

Well. I deliberately left Adama and Roslin for last. The episode opened with Adama waking up uneasily and getting dressed for his day. For some reason, this scene struck me with a sense of dread and I was sure that something was about to happen to the Admiral, but to my relief, he was fine. I had the same sense of foreboding later in the show when Roslin was out for a run. I don’t know what it is about these two characters but they almost function as the heart of the show. Maybe my sense of dread is preparing me for the likely possibility that one or both of them will die before the final episode, and I can’t take it.

I think the show has always done an admirable job of conveying the burdens and boundaries followed by Roslin and Adama as they worked to keep the human race afloat. They never let their fear show because they knew they had a goal to reach. Roslin has always had an incredible amount of faith, and as one would expect from any individual, we saw her slowly unravel when her faith appeared to let her down. Roslin seemed to give up and the revelation that the prophecies were “wrong,” (Oh, we know there’s something to them), led her to hit rock bottom. Once she hit the bottom however, she almost seemed to attain a sense of freedom and subsequently made a decision to live out the remainder of her life the way she wanted to. Adama understood and accepted that her decision and we finally saw Adama and Roslin let go of their boundaries and lay in bed together, actually thinking of the present for a while. It was a beautifully done progression, and a long-awaited nod to the Roslin/Adama fans.

Now that I’ve effectively put you to sleep with my novel of a review, let me give you a quick recap:

This episode was intended as an introduction for major storylines to come and it accomplished the goal to some degree. The setup for Gaeta and Zarek’s bid to wrestle power from Adama and an absent Roslin was done systematically, showing both Gaeta and Zarek’s distrust of the cylons and dissatisfaction with future prospects. Tyrol’s reaction to Nicky’s paternity was realistic and heart wrenching, and we finally got to see Adama and Roslin take the next step in their relationship. However, I think that the episode tried to set up too many threads for the rest of the season (Gaeta/Zarek vs. Adamas, Tyrol/Nicky/Hotdog, Tigh/Six), and as s a result, the episode appeared rushed in some places (causing characters like Tigh and Tyrol to be somewhat inconsistent in their actions), but had an overall, slow, rolling feeling. It may have been better to combine aspects of “Sometimes a Great Notion’ and “A Disquiet Follows My Soul.” The former was exciting, action-packed, and such a heavy hitter that it was almost too much at once; the latter paled in comparison and left you with a sense of “Huh? When did that happen?”

Final Rating: Given the ups and downs, I’d give this episode a 6.5 with some major room for improvement. But despite the mild disappointment, you can bet I’ll be right here on my blue comfy couch with some black spice tea and Cheez-its as the last episodes continue to air. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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