Thursday, March 19
Review of DAYBREAK, PART I
This is perhaps the most difficult review of a BSG episode I have been called upon to write here at GS/RA for 2 main reasons. But we must plunge ahead anyway; I give the episode 8 out of 10.
Firstly and most basic, DAYBREAK, PART I is by no means a stand alone episode, it is the first third of a three hour season and series finale. Thus elements that don't make sense in the first hour may (and hopefully will) make sense in the final analysis.
Secondly and more emotionally, DB,PtI, represents the beginning of the end of the six and half year journey with BSG that we all began in May, 2003. Six and half years of watching every detail, discussion with other fans about everything from major plotlines to details of Colonial uniforms. One doesn't put this effort much into a show without building up a major emotional investment. I'm going to miss these times, no doubt about it.
Regardless of these problems, I have put together what thoughts I could about this important segment of BSG. Lets see what I came up with.
A major element of controversy in the episode are the opening flashbacks--all to life on pre-attack Caprica. We see then Cmdr. Adama in a meeting not wanting to do something (my presumption from the dialogue is to go on a job interview). We see Roslin pre-Government days, with her family and being informed of their deaths, and her beginning her arc into the Adar Administration. We see Lee and Kara in their first meeting, in Kara's Delphi City apartment, where apparantly she cooks! Who knew? And most importantly we see Caprica Six and Baltar in their first meeting and how Caprica Six gains Baltar's confidence--through Baltar's difficult father.
How useful these flashbacks are to the final show I have difficulty in saying. I suspect that they help set the mood for ending of the show by showing us where the major characters were at the beginning of their arcs, thus preparing us for how the characters will end up.
The major portion of the show was first the preparations for abandoning the Galactica (and who among us doesn't find this as heart rending as the death of any other major character?) and then the change of course when Adama decides to attempt rescue of Hera. Adama is able to decide this in part because Racetrack and Skulls (released from the pokey) find Cavil's Colony (which to my eye bears a striking resemblence to a Babylon 5 Shadow Ship).
Adama organizes his strike mission on a strickly volunteer basis and while no known major character refuses to go (except Baltar who can't bring himself to), you do see large numbers of crew of the old girl decide to not go, thus avoiding the groupthink that so many shows seem to fall prey to. Adama also pulls Doc. Cottle aside and asks him to stay with the RTF as he's too valuable to risk, which Cottle does.
2 interesting character scenes are in this sequence--one between Lee Adama and Baltar and the other between Helo and the Chief in the brig. Baltar shows some growth of character in his scene where Lee is pretty much brushing him off and asks Baltar when he had ever done anything that wasn't advancing the case of Gaius Baltar. Baltar looks at Lee and answers honestly that if Baltar were Lee, he wouldn't trust Gaius Baltar either and leaves. Rarely has Baltar shown such self awareness.
The scene between Helo and Chief Tyrol is also quite interesting. The Chief denounces all 8s as mindless machines ("blow-up dolls") who will betray you in a nano-second. Helo, by the way, is being quite civil and even sympathetic to Tyrol, given that Tyrol had a hand in abetting Hera's kidnapping. But I find the Chief's motivation here to be 2 level--by saying all 8s are mindless machines, he is venting his self-loathing at Boomer, because it must tear himself up to have been used by her yet again. On a deeper level, though, by lumping Athena in with the 8s, Tyrol may also be assuaging his guilt by saying that Athena is also a machine and thus cannot really be hurt by what Tyrol did.
Now on to the final 2 hours of our favorite show. It has been a long journey and I'm glad to have had all of you along with me.