As I watched last night, I had a gut feeling that I wasn’t going to be on the same page as everyone else. The critiques reviews pretty much found the premiere flawless. I saw flaws. However, the vast majority of critics aren’t as invested in individual characters as we are. But after the eps aired and I read a few LJ posts I saw that I wasn’t entirely alone in my opinions. Watching the repeat airing with friends, they seemed to share some of my concerns. So while I’ve seen some of season 2.5’s mistakes righted, the writers still have work to do, specifically conveying what the hell they are attempting to do with Lee Adama.
For anyone who doesn’t know me or know where my loyalties lie on this show, Lee Adama is my favorite character (Laura Roslin is a very, very close second). It pains me greatly to see either character treated badly. So, in Lee’s case (and Jamie’s because that damn makeup and padding seemed to cause him some limitations), I was pissed.
I can actually deal fine with the weight gain. I do feel it’s rather a lame short cut to convey not caring about oneself, but I was willing to cut them some slack on it. Granted, I could have done without the towel scene. I haven’t listened to the podcast yet and maybe they don’t even address it, but I felt as if it was Ron’s way of sticking it to the (mostly) female fans after all the buzz the previous towel scene got.
My problem is how they chose to show what kind of man Lee has become. Throwing his life away is one thing. Giving up and letting go in ‘Resurrection Ship’ made sense to me. But this is the same person who killed a man in ‘Black Market’ when he saw the lives of children endangered. I’m really supposed to believe that he’d have this non-chalant attitude about leaving tens of thousands of people behind to suffer and die? No matter what happened between he and Kara I can’t imagine him hating her to the point of abandoning her.
Part of the problem is, and brynnmck and at least one other have mentioned this, is that Lee is a very cerebral, internal character and any shifts in his personality have been, in general, subtly played out on screen. Now we are dealing with a missing sixteen months and no clue what-so-ever as to why Lee Adama is the way he is. Oh, wait, we get Dee’s psychoanalysis which misses the mark:
Truth is you’re a soldier who needs a war. And you don’t want to hear it because you got it in your head that your father’s the soldier and you sure don’t’ want to be like him, but you are. You are like him. You’re more like him than you know.
Ok, she is right, he is more like his father than he has ever cared to admit. But a soldier who needs a war? No. Lee does need focus. That’s what is missing from his life. I’ve always assumed that Lee’s been driven. He apparently made Captain quickly. When the Cylons attacked, he jumped into action. When he saw democracy being dismantled, he quickly chose to side with Roslin. He took command of the Pegasus under dire circumstances and was brilliant. But soon after, Baltar wins the election and New Caprica is settled. Lee is left adrift, literally and figuratively, aboard Pegasus. What goals are there now for him to aim for?
Lee has lost his edge, he has become complacent, and has become hesitant to act. Adama says he’s been “whiny” and unhelpful in the four months since the fleet split New Caprica; Dee is quick enough to back up this assessment (don’t get me started on the image of Lee stuffing his face while she does so). Why didn’t either of them, who supposedly love him, call him on his crap, oh, three and a half months ago? You wait until the eve of battle? Yeah, I know, it’s because of the time jump and what they need to show on screen, but it makes no sense for any of the characters involved.
Dee’s remark that one of the reasons she married Lee is because he is so like his father, imho, is one of the worst things she could have possibly said to him, not to mention a little disturbing. It’s like saying she settled for the younger, hotter version of the man she really admired. Ugh. Congratulations BSG, you just gave me a reason to support the Lee/Kara ship.
Something I hate in storytelling and character building is tearing one character down to, supposedly, make another look good. I know some applauded Adama’s “fat ass” comment to Lee or found it funny, I found it deeply hurtful and insulting. My guess is that Lee has looked in the mirror and just didn’t seem to think anyone cared.
My main problem though with the Lee and Adama scenes was that Lee made some valid points. Ships and pilots are in short supply and you drive them to the point of exhaustion that almost gets them killed? You want to mount an attack in days and expect to manufacture sophisticated equipment?. And you do need to think of the two thousand people you have in the fleet. If the plan fails, a distinct possibility, then that is what is left of the human race. I actually did enjoy the last scene between the two because I thought it was a fair representation of both men’s point of views without Ron pulling psycho analysis out of his ass or trying to paint Adama as the big damn hero.
Now let’s tackle Adama. They did him no service either. The scene with Sharon in her cell (which is quite homey now – does Helo live there with her???) was alarming. Adama feels he’s pretty much alone now accept for her? The model that shot and almost killed him? That has withheld information? He’s putting all his trust into her. Personally, I still don’t trust her. I do believe she loves Helo and her child and we’ll see how she still feels about Adama when/if the revelation is made about Hera still being alive. But I felt throughout the entire scene that she was telling Adama exactly what he wanted and needed to hear. Her gaining his trust could just be for personal goals, I can’t exactly fault her for that, but I sense more to it. And did everyone else pick up on her “We can survive” statement? Does she consider herself part of the human race now?
I’m sure Adama’s plan will work and he’ll bring everyone ‘home’ and they’ll be happy for about thirty seconds, but I think Adama’s decisions here will ultimately bite him in the ass.
My last major problem concerns Kara. For about three quarters of the premiere I found her and Leoben’s story quite interesting. I truly believe that Leoben loves Kara and that he feels “God sent him to her.” It’s twisted love, but its love. We know Cylons can love. Caprica Six (or I guess I can just call her Caprica) loves Baltar. Sharon loves Helo. The difference is there is selflessness to Caprica and Sharon’s love. There is a respect there for their significant other’s wishes. This dynamic does not exist with Leoben and his love for Kara.
I think the difference lies in the Cylons respective time spent humans. Caprica and Sharon were allowed to understand them, and to grow as individuals. Leoben loves Kara, but without any true understanding of human emotion or basis on how to act on those emotions. He’s trying to kill her with kindness, yet doesn’t grasp you can’t do that when the other person is a prisoner.
There is a fascinating aspect of Leoben’s relationship with Kara that tells me something about Cylons as a whole. He wants to possess her, yet he will not force himself on her. This made me think of Gina and how humans raped and brutalized her. The Cylons are not above using violence to get what they want. Cavil talks of instilling fear through murder. Torture is used to gain information. But there is logic behind that violence. They believe it will achieve their goal. Leoben will not harm Kara physically because he knows it will evoke the opposite response – she’ll hate him even more.
Where this storyline lost me is with the introduction of Kacey. Yes, the child is adorable and, no, I don’t believe her to be Kara’s biological child (though points for bringing up the missing ovary). We’ve seen nothing maternal from Kara in two plus seasons. I’m fine with that. Given her career choice, her childhood abuse, her selfishness (and that is not a slam btw), and her protestations at the farm, Kara Thrace has never been bound for motherhood and I’m good with that. Not every woman wants to be a mother, nor should they be. Kara’s not a bad person for not wanting to reproduce. She knows her limitations. So even though it was a little painful to hear her refer to this child (half Cylon or not) as “it” and “this”, it made sense that she was keeping her distance from the situation. Though the second Kacey gets injured (and do we want to bet Leoben caused that injury?) Kara goes into concerned mommy mode.
I understand wanting to help the child. I didn’t expect Kara just to sit there and let her bleed to death, but the bedside vigil and calling her “Honey” when she wakes up? No, no, no. This is wrong. Now, the argument could be made that this was all an act, a way to manipulate Leoben as he has been manipulating her. The reaching for his hand, yeah, I think that could be a conscious decision by her to draw him in, set a trap. Her sudden motherly affection for Kacey I fear is not. For a man who has seemingly gone out of his way to tear down gender barriers, Ron seems stuck with some antiquated idea that all woman want to have a family. Come to think of it, how else to explain apparently everyone getting married in that missing year?
Huh, my venting took up much more space than anticipated and, really, I did enjoy the episode over all. So let’s look at the positives.
Laura rocked. I wasn’t thrilled with the exposition narrative, but I have a feeling that was for the benefit of any new viewers tuning in. Every other beat for Laura was perfect. I loved the quiet dignity and unbreakable spirit she showed when facing Baltar in the prison. And even though this woman is a pragmatist, banning abortion to try and ensure the continuation of the human race, rigging the election because she knew she was the best one to lead them, as reasoned an argument Tigh tries to make for suicide bombings, it’s not a line she is not willing to cross. Laura has put the sanctity of human life above all else and for her to see it sacrificed in such a manner is too disturbing for her.
I also greatly enjoyed her too brief time with Zarek. I don’t think it’s in Tom to just come out and admit he was wrong or that he made a bad choice, but his addressing the election tampering and “I wish you had gone through with it” is as close as we are going to get. He must also realize that had he tried working with her instead of against her much earlier on it could have prevented a lot of this. Hopefully he’ll be around for awhile because I’m fascinated to see where his character may go now.
Tigh scares me. If killing all the Cylons meant wiping out his own race in the process I don’t think he’d have a problem with that now. Tyrol and Anders voiced their concerns about the use of suicide bombers, but deferred to Tigh’s reasoning because it meant possibly eliminating Baltar or causing the deaths of people who had chosen to help the Cylons. But when it’s discovered that Tigh intended to target the market where innocent men, women, and children would be killed, it’s then when you to wonder if trying to save humanity is worth losing your own.
I’m very scared for Ellen. She obviously loves her husband and believes that it’s worth doing anything to save him. Sleeping with Cavil is one thing, but passing information and causing others to be killed is going to cause her to lose the one thing that means the most to her. And what will Tigh do when he finds out the truth?. There were only four people in that room while the plan was being made. Anders was the group at the rendezvous and I doubt suspicion would fall to Tyrol.
If Baltar were in a lesser actor’s hands I’d be hoping for him to suffer a long, painful death. Not that I don’t want to see Baltar suffer, but even as I deplore the selfish and horrific choices Baltar has made James Callis has made me feel sympathy for the man. Baltar’s main weakness is that his desire to live overrides every other concern. He’ll choose to sentence 200 people to death and try living with that guilt because it means living, even if that life is a living hell, even if he’s destroyed the last scrap of his soul. Yet he can’t or won’t eliminate *his* enemies. He lets Roslin go after briefly questioning her. He throws Zarek in detention for not sticking by him, but Zarek was kept alive and actually looked pretty good for four months in confinement. And has he really convinced himself that no one is being tortured?
Now for some randomosity:
New credits! With Dorel!
Duck’s choice and Jammer’s betrayal make much more sense if you have seen the webisodes. I know I would have been going “Huh?” otherwise.
Candice? I checked out Imdb and, apparently, Kandyse is sometimes credited as Candice, but why change her name now? Maybe it was just a huge mistake.
Loved the image of Baltar just sitting there, not paying attention until they mention killing him as an example
Cavil and his use of air quotes. Hee!
Damn it, I like Anders now which probably means he’s doomed. The big difference for me is that we are seeing him as an individual and not just as Kara’s Lee replacement. He has issues with Adama for abandoning them. When he greeted Sharon there was happiness because she represented hope, yet he also seemed suspicious of her. There’s some interesting material to explore now. Oh, and his remark to Sharon, “Funny, I feel like I see you every day”, was excellent.
Gaeta! Your boyfriend betrayed you and now you are fighting mad. Now if Tyrol would just buy himself a clue.
Lee mentioned Laura! Sorry, I had to say it. ;)
Tigh to Laura: “You working for the Cylons now?”
I know there is this Cult of Cally, but, geez, she annoyed me here. You want to get back to your husband and baby? Kiss Boomer’s ass! Don’t tell her you’d shoot right then and there if you had a gun. Idiot.