I know I’m just reiterating what most of you already know, but the commentaries suck. These two in particular were horrible. Maybe the two bottles of wine they drank while doing them was part of the reason. I kid you not. There were a few interesting morsels of information, so I just made note of those as I discuss the episodes. As before, only very general spoilers for the first half of Season 2.
The opening of this episode kills me every single time I watch it. A moment of joy, of celebration - Flatops 1000th landing - and then, boom, thirteen lives lost in a tragic accident. I have a vague recollection of watching the episode for the first time, not knowing how it was going to play out, yet still having a sense of dread. Did the show condition us so early to expect the worst? I have to say the scene was so well crafted, they could have done without the anvil of the red paint crashing to floor.
As emotionally gut wrenching as the scene is, it also provides a set up for what will be the prevailing theme of this and the next episode. Actually, just about every episode that follows - family. We are given a rare moment of Lee, Kara, and Adama laughing, joking, getting along. Kara recounts the story of Adama’s 1000th landing to a seemingly unaware Lee showing the close bond Kara and Adama have formed. One that perhaps is much closer than that between father and son (which will lead me to a gripe later when I discuss ‘You Can‘t Go Home Again).
I didn’t have any big revelations with this pair of episodes. I don’t know if it’s because it was a Kara episode (I like Kara, but I’m not as enamored with her as others are) or because it’s a rather straightforward story. Kara is carrying around a hell of guilt for her part in Zak’s death. I have some issues with her not coming forward on her own with the truth sooner though fear is a motivator that keeps a lot of people silent. I don’t think for a moment she considered how it could effect her career, but she had lost Zak, Lee, for whatever his reasons, had pulled away from her over the past two years, and that just left Adama as the person she could receive support from. And we know how quickly he can turn on people he cares about when they fail to live up to the standard he’s created for them. However, once Lee’s slip up triggered the truth being revealed, I did take issue with Kara for not admitting her culpability once directly confronted by Adama. This combined with her decision to dismiss the entire roster of new recruits reflected some very poor judgment on her part. There’s letting emotion cloud your judgment and letting it blind you. But, it provides an interesting parallel to Adama and Lee’s later actions. All three were willing to risk the welfare of the fleet to protect a single life.
Other than the family issues, there’s a lot of little plot points I enjoyed revisiting or noticed for the first time:
- This time around, during the funeral for the dead pilots, as it’s intercut with scenes from Zak’s funeral, I got the impression that it was Lee recalling Zak’s funeral, not Kara. This was due to the camera focusing on Lee in the foreground and the expression on his face just before the flashback. Shockingly, the commentary was actually useful here. Turns out I was right! Sort of. When they were filming the episode, the intention was to focus on Lee, Kara, and Adama - each flashing back to Zak’s funeral. That didn’t come across clearly in the episode when the rest of the episode turned out to be from Kara’s POV. But they think there is enough information there that you can pick up on a shifting POV between the three.
- Two weeks have passed since events in the mini. I wish we had more of these time references in Season 2. I’ve been confused several times this season as to how much time has passed between episodes and events.
- Water ops are still ongoing. I guess it takes a while to chop up and melt ice.
- Starbuck telling the nuggets to refer to her as God leaves me rolling my eyes. I honestly don’t know how that was supposed to instill fear rather than laughter. And since they have a polytheistic belief system, shouldn’t she narrow it down to a specific god?
- What happened to the other group that was just starting basic flight? Are they still training?
- OK, call me stupid. (It’s OK; I’ll allow it this time) It didn’t occur to me to until now that the Cylons set Helo up and led him and Sharon to the abandoned restaurant.
- Doc Cottle’s first appearance! He has to be one of my favorite supporting characters ever. When Laura mentions the Chamalla as an alternative treatment for her cancer and he responds with “one of those” I still crack up. Of course, he’s not just comic relief. When he informs Laura that prayer may not be a bad idea he says it in all sincerity. He does care about his patients. Interesting tidbit from the commentary, Donnelly Rhoades was one of the finalists to play Tigh.
- Hmmmm, I’ve been curious as to the lack of Cylon attacks this season. It seems like in Season 1 they were constantly making FTL jumps. I believe it’s Tigh here who wonders how the patrol found them. Oh, could it be the sleeper agent in their midst helping them pinpoint their location?
- One final bit from the commentary I can mention (there’s another that’s interesting, but fairly spoilery). As originally conceived, the vipor pilot going down was to remain a mystery to the audience until the very end of the episode when it’s then revealed to be Kara. I can’t recall why they said they changed the reveal, but I’m guessing it had something to do with being more invested if we already knew it was Kara.
Not much here. There’s an expanded cut of the scene in which Lee gives Kara the list of new pilots. He asks her if she’s OK since they haven’t talked since the funeral. He points out that those who died were friends, family. She says she’s put it behind her and moved on and, unlike him, she doesn’t need to talk about her feelings. I found the last remark interesting because it set up a nice parallel between she and Lee in this scene and Adama and Lee in ‘Water’ regarding the Olympic Carrier. Adama’s feelings, or lack of, where much the same - it happened, now we move on.
Tyrol’s questioned regarding the detonator he ’found’ on Sharon’s Raptor. It’s a nice bit of foreshadowing to ’Litmus’, but it has no place in this episode.
Again, we see how important family is to Adama. He’s willing to endanger the entire fleet. And it’s one of the few times we have father and son seeing eye to eye…in a case of colossally bad judgment. I have to give credit to the show. They are not making any excuses for Adama or looking for ways to validate his choices. In other words, no Captain Kirk Syndrome. He’s wrong from beginning to end. Adama can argue that this is a case of “Leave no one behind”, but do any of us believe he would have gone to the same extremes for Hotdog? As we see him so often do, he’s allowing personal feelings to cloud his duty.
Interestingly, we see that Lee is capable of doing the same, at least when it comes to a life or death situation. That temper of his also makes an appearance as he grabs Tigh, nearly coming to blows with him. And a short time later we see him almost come to verbal blows with the president. Now, you must excuse me well I take a moment to squee here, because, damn, I forgot how great the
The scene begins with a perplexed Lee as he is informed that the president is calling him. No, sweetie, you didn’t miss a meeting. She doesn’t want a briefing. She’s calling to see how you are holding up. And don’t presidents just call up their political advisors all the time to check on how they are doing? No, they don’t. :p
Of course, Laura’s concern quickly dissolves into surprise and confusion as she discovers that it was Lee’s idea to redeploy the CAP and leave the fleet vulnerable to attack. I know, Laura, I was as shocked as you to see him side with the old man. Don’t worry, he’ll come to his senses later in the season. In the meantime, remind yourself you love him in spite of his faults. (Concentrate on the arms and eyes - it helps with his less then perfect times.)
“Are you very close with Lt Thrace?” Ohhh, she suspects they are more than just friends. No need to panic yet, they’re not *that* close.
“I’m close with all my pilots.” Liar! You’ve known your other pilots for two weeks. Kara could have been your sister in law. Though Laura doesn’t know that little fact until Tigh comes to her assistance later on (irony alert!) and fills her in on the tangled Adama family history.
Laura points out to Lee that they’ve left people behind before, he knows that. True, but maybe this is not the time to remind him of all his perceived failures.
“There are times when it is necessary for the safety of the fleet to put our - “
“Not this time.”
Lee cuts her off! How dare he. Oh, wait, he can be an ass. She’s right and he’s wrong, of course, but what I like here is that he feels he can speak up to her. His father certainly wouldn’t allow him to slide the way Laura does here.
Oh, and may I use this as an example of how ridiculous the commentaries can be? For the duration of this scene, RM and DE talked about the angle at which they shot the deck, the longer lens look, and visually isolating characters. Seriously.
Later, Laura gets to verbally smack down both Lee and his father when she confronts them face to face. I’m still a bit uncertain as to the psychological basis of her argument. I think their desire at any cost to save Kara had more to do with just Kara being Kara then being their last link to Zak. I suppose it doesn’t really matter, the point is they’ve completely lost perspective. Yet, I love that Laura ultimately leaves it in their hands to do the right thing. She’s correct, they both are honorable men and once confronted with all the facts of what this could cost them all, they’ll make the right decision and, in fact, do. If not, if they were to continue to be guided by selfish concerns, then the human race doesn’t stand a chance. Almost sounds like a Cylon argument. ;p
“If it was me down there instead?”
“If it were you, we’d never leave.”
I have to admit, the first time I saw this scene it got to me. Not just the words that were spoken, but the emotional responses from both men - Lee in particular. Could he actually believe that Adama loved Kara more than him? It broke my heart to think Lee’s been carrying that around inside of him for weeks, years perhaps.
But upon subsequent viewings, the scene no longer sits right with me. My personal take is that Adama loves Kara and Lee as if they were both his own and, therefore, loves them equally. By saying “If it were you, we’d never leave” Adama is now making it about blood - that Lee would be more important to him because he’s biologically his. I can criticize Adama for a lot of things, but I never felt the depth of his feelings was tied to DNA.
And the other reason I don’t like this scene is the same reason Jamie Bamber doesn’t (and I may have said out load ‘I love you Jamie!’ when I heard this on the commentary). Jamie struggled filming the scene because of the reaction Lee gave Adama. He didn’t want him to seem needy. I agree and, unfortunately, I do think he comes off as such.
The closing scene with Kara is indicative of how Adama deals with, or should I say avoids dealing with, personal conflict and the underlying cause of it. Confronted with nearly losing someone he loves, he’ll quickly forgive and move on. He’s been the same way with Lee every single time he’s thought he lost him. Doesn’t say a word, gives the kid a hug, and moves on to the next crisis.
Two random comments….I loved the homage to the original BSG with the ‘waggling’ of the wings, but how the frack did Kara tape Star Buck under the wings? And in the commentary RM mentions that with Baltar the character got away from them early in Season 1 as he became more funny and less threatening. They feel they’ve got him back on track this season.
*Really* not much here. Six makes a comment about Baltar wanting to have sex with Laura. And Adama gets a medical report from Cottle regarding the severity of Kara‘s knee injury. Apparently, it was completely smashed.
Next up, 'Litmus'. It's entirely possible I'll have nothing to say about that episode. It still remains my least liked of the series.