The First Evil (asta77) wrote,
The First Evil

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Black Market

Not quite as long winded as last week. I'm trying! ;)

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. I’m spoiled. I knew this was a Lee Adama episode. I was predisposed to like it. And I did. Though even given the copious amounts of Jamie Bamber screen time, I still wouldn’t rank it as one of my favorites. However, I do feel it’s a more successful and satisfying episode than last weeks ‘Epiphanies’.

I think the main problem is that the varying plot elements were not tied together very well. The black market story in and of itself was plodding and not as shocking a development as I think the show wanted it to be. Black markets exist anywhere there is a demand for products not readily available either because of a supply shortages or legalities.

There is also an ongoing effort to flesh out (no pun intended) the back-storys and psychologies of the various characters. I just fear they are shoe-horning those developments in wherever they can find the time and making it fit into the main plot.

Lee Adama is, at heart, a good man, a decent human being who wants to do the right thing. He can also be arrogant, self-righteous, hot-headed, insecure, and a prick. Where do those aspects of his character come from and why do they arise when they do? As presented, I’m not fully satisfied with some of the explanation we’re getting. Pre-attack, Lee panicked when he was confronted with being a father. (Jamie in an interview stated that Lee never wanted children, though that isn’t as clear here. It would be just as easy to assume he wasn’t ready at that time.) The world ended before he had the opportunity to right a wrong. This would way heavily on him. We’ve seen him often question his actions and allow his self-doubt to affect his behavior. Even so, while I’m willing to accept this particular event played a part in his downward spiral, I’m having trouble reconciling it playing such a large role in his desiring death two weeks ago.

This may sound odd, but I was actually relieved that Shevon was a prostitute. Lee’s self aware enough to know he’s in a very bad place right now – one in which he doesn’t wish to drag anyone he cares deeply for into with him. It wouldn’t have made sense to me if we discovered he had been having an off-screen relationship (more on that later – I’m having issues with the writers continually expecting us to fill in the blanks) with someone important emotionally in his life. I’m also wondering now if Kara’s comment in ‘Epiphanies’ about not seeing much of Lee in the past several weeks and his hesitancy to say anything is because we now know where he disappeared to.

But Lee being the kind of person he is can’t even make sex with a prostitute simple. You don’t tell a prostitute “I’m not sure when I’ll be able to make it back” if you haven’t developed some feelings for her. It’s not romantic love, Lee is realistic about what the relationship is, and I’m sure his intent was to use sex as temporary escape from his despondence and the drudgery of his existence. He’s not really that type of guy though - the love em and leave em type. I don’t have a doubt that, if the world hadn’t ended, Lee would have had some part in his child’s life. He cares about people, he takes responsibility seriously, yet he struggles with making emotional connections. He thought he loved his girlfriend, but now isn’t sure. With Shevon, for a time, he is able to pretend he feels alive, but as soon as he’s off of Cloud 9 and in the raptor with Racetrack, he’s back to being a million miles away. He reverts to wrapping himself in self-loathing and holding back tears as he’s plagued by thoughts of failing to be what he wants and needs to be. I also find it very telling he’s not in full gear - if anything happened to the ship, he could be a dead man.

The last scene between Lee and Shevon is problematic. I don’t agree that Lee wants Shevon to be Her in a literal sense and I don’t believe he wants to be Paya’s surrogate father. However, she is being used as a replacement. Lee sees in her an opportunity to fix things, to make their lives better, and to not walk away from a tough situation. He’s using them to make amends.

Speaking of Paya, I had some problems with the unsubtle way children were used as a plot device in this episode. I get that she was used as a representation of what Lee lost, but do any of us believe that Lee wouldn’t have come to the aid of a sick child regardless of his past? Then we have the introduction of the child prostitution. I know the show wants to be gritty and realistic, but did we need to go there? My guess is it was to make Lee more sympathetic when he executed Phalen. ‘He’s allowing children to be molested. Now he has to die!’ Accept, and maybe I’m in the minority here, I had no problem with Lee pulling the trigger without that revelation. Phalen had two people murdered, if this society believes in capital punishment (and I have a feeling they do) then Phalen would have been killed at some point later on. More importantly, taking into consideration past events and choices made by Laura and Adama, had they been there I think they would have come to the same conclusion of what needed to be done.

A side note: I had to laugh at Lee’s remark about not being good with kids. Sorry, this is one place Jamie failed as an actor because, as a father of three little girls, he was obviously quite comfortable interacting with that child.

I found some of the interplay amongst the regular cast very enjoyable. I love Laura. And I love that she’s healthy enough to start dealing with some of the things she let slide while she was sick. She hasn’t forgotten her epiphany regarding Baltar. More importantly, she’s realized how terrified he is to assume the presidency. Instead of grabbing power for himself, he saved her. That’s a danger to the fleet – a man unable to accept responsibility and take charge. (Unlike, say, Lee Adama. I still think, come the final season, he will be the next president.) Her “one time offer” gave me chills. She will make sure he never takes office and we’ve seen to what links she will go to insure the fleet’s safety. And now Baltar has his back up even more.

The Lee/Baltar/Six scene was interesting from a visual standpoint. I don’t recall those three ever being in a room together before, but the scene feels flat. I couldn’t come up with a reason why Baltar be a suspect in Fisk’s murder.

“I find anything else I may retire early.” Doc Cottle needs to be in every episode. Just sayin’.

Tigh, alcohol is not a necessity. Though at least I know where you’ve been getting the real stuff all this time.

Did Lee bring up the trust issues between he and Adama? Did Adama notice that Lee’s been different, harder to reach, since the Blackbird accident and he wants to understand why? Are they really addressing their relationship? Am I watching the right show? ;)

When Adama says, “You should have told me about the woman.” I assumed he meant Shevon because I could see how that information would get back to Adama. But I’ve seen others make a good (and interesting) point that he was talking about the girlfriend.

I’m open minded about the possibilities of Lee and Dee but, boy, was that scene awkward. My main problem is that we’ve seen very little build up to a relationship on screen. So what does the show do? They have Dee tell us it’s been going on off-screen through their “time together” and “our workouts”. Sorry, we need to see this development in order to understand why Dee wants Lee over Billy. I think Lee spoke for the audience when he said “I’m just not sure what you want me to say.”

To add insult to injury, the next time we see Dee she’s playing the loving girlfriend with Billy. I don’t believe Dee is a two timing hussy for a moment. Don’t portray her as one.

Damn you Zarek, you made me like you again! He and Lee have one thing in common, they see the necessity of the black market, but they have their limits as to how far they’ll wade into the mud. He also made an interesting point about Laura and the rest being blinded by the past.

Pardon me for a moment….LEE AND LAURA WERE IN A SCENE TOGETHER!.....Now that I have that out of my system….I actually quite adored that scene for other than obvious reasons. It was a wonderful parallel to the scene between they and Adama in ‘Bastille Day’. Once again, Lee has made a call and expects them to honor his decision. But there are a couple key differences this time. Most tellingly, Adama backs him up, giving him “full authority” in the matter. In other words, he trusts him. The other intriguing change is that while Lee is still sticking up for his ideals and what he believes is the right thing to do, this situation is a far cry from ensuring democracy and personal liberty. Now he must settle for making the best out of a bad situation. They can’t stop what’s happening, but they have the means to control it. Laura’s not happy, but what choice does she have? Do they expend the military resources to eliminate this ‘business’ leaving the fleet vulnerable and the people at each others throats? All our characters are a little more tarnished than they were six months ago. I love it. ;-)
Tags: battlestar galactica s2

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