I had read interviews with various cast and production staff who built this episode up to be one of the best of the season. We were to get some big, shocking revelation about Adama’s past. Usually when you get a lot of hype you are in for a big let down, and, sure enough, my instincts were right. The show should avoid doing character-centric episodes that delve into back-story – ‘Epiphanies’, ‘Black Market’, and now ‘Hero’ have all fallen flat and have provided more WTF’s? than insight.
‘Hero’ perhaps has the biggest continuity gaff in the history of the show. That it’s been three years since the Cylon attack seems about right to me. That Adama was commanding the Valkyrie, a ship we’ve never heard of before, three years ago is a huge ass mistake. Kara establishes in the mini series that she came to serve under Adama aboard Galactica shortly after Zak’s death – two years previously. And it was pretty clear that the crew had great affection for the Old Man, something that wouldn’t have developed if he had just recently arrived. I always assumed he had been there for years and that the ship held a special place in his heart not that it provided him with a place for “graceful retirement.”
The really frustrating thing is we didn’t need this ship introduced to create discontinuity. Why couldn’t Galactica have been sent on the recon mission? Wouldn’t it actually have made more sense to send a ship that was about to be decommissioned and no one would have noticed was missing? You cold have had Tigh and Adama in on the black ops mission while the crew was told they were investigating the Toran’s mining operation and that Bulldog died in some sort of accident.
Survivor’s guilt played a significant role in this episode and it’s why I didn’t have an issue with Adama heaping blame upon himself. When confronted with what he felt was an error in judgment from his past (and how often do we get to see Adama admit he made a mistake?) he allowed emotion to take over and assumed responsibility for the Cylon attacks. It's not logical, but it's human nature to second guess ones choices and wonder if they had done things differently what the outcome might have been.
Now, one thing that did not dawn on me until this morning is that there is actually a nice bit of continuity here with ‘Water’. I had been concerned in regards to Lee’s reaction to Adama’s confession. Would his disappointment cause him to lash out? Would he take the opportunity to get some pay back after repeatedly being reminded how he fails to meet his father’s expectations? No, we saw a very mature and sympathetic Lee reach out to support his father. And it struck me that Lee may have flashed back to his own difficult choice, an action he questioned, and a burden he stills carries with him – the shooting down of the Olympic Carrier.
Once that thought occurred to me, I rewatched a few scenes from ‘Water’ this morning. Lee had confronted Adama asking him if they had a responsibility as leaders, an obligation to question their actions and make sure the decisions they made were the right ones. Adama’s response: We did what we had to do son. A man takes responsibility for his actions, right or wrong. He accepts the consequences and lives with them, everyday.
Ignoring the issues with the introduction of the Valkyrie, could Adama have been referring to the black ops mission ? But three years later, with the return of Bulldog, he’s seeing the consequences of his actions and having trouble, as Lee did, dealing with them. Lee may see this and understands all too well what he is feeling. Lee points out that Adama was following orders, doing what he thought was right at the time, and that he was only one man among many involved in the mission. Lee must have had to remind himself of the same over the last three years.
Laura was right too, it could have been one thing or a culmination of hundreds of things that the human race did wrong to cause the Cylons to do what they did. It’s also possible the admiralty set him up to fail - to trigger a confrontation. We had that interesting remark by Adama that the military was not happy with Adar’s administration. And I’d like to point out that Six was on Caprica for two years helping bring down the defense grid with Baltar’s unwitting assistance. Though Adama believing they brought his all on themselves, that they are the war monger, helps to explain whey he was so against the idea of genocide last week.
In other character news….
I’ve seen a few people criticize Kara’s characterization here in that the show has seemingly had her forget everything she’s been through recently. I have to disagree. I thought Kara was very in character here. Kara doesn’t deal with her issues, she buries them. When Adama knocked her on her ass, for better and worse, it forced Kara to drop the attitude and recommit to the one thing that has provided her with some stability over the years. She’s focusing all her energies on being the good soldier again. We see her commanding the CAP. We see her alone obsessively going over the same footage again and again trying to deduce what the Cylons are up to. We also see her take her revelation not to the CAG or the XO or Adama – all her superiors who need to know this information – but to Tigh. Again, this is in character, not just because she’s distanced herself from the others, but because she knows that Tigh is the one other person who has a personal axe to grind with the Cylons and is as eager as she is for payback.
I was rather surprised by Tigh’s ratting out Adama to Bulldog. Not because he was undermining his commander or betraying their friendship, but because he knew what reaction it could trigger. It’s when Tigh sees just how far Bulldog and, by extension, he is willing to go he realizes exactly what he has become. Both men survived something horrific and when they couldn’t get revenge against their tormentors they focused their pain and frustration at Adama and it nearly destroyed them both.
I have to say I thought it was pretty neat having the previouslies jump back to the very beginning of the series.
Laura telling Tory to hang Baltar’s portrait in the bathroom over the toilet had to be one of the best and funniest moments of the series. They need to let Mary be humorous more often.
Awwww, they mentioned Billy. Nice they didn’t forget about him like Zak.
Isn’t Bulldog a little old to be a lieutenant? I mean Lee was a captain when the show started and we’re not even sure he was 30 yet.
41,421 – Cool to see the number go up just after meeting the newest survivor.
Did they bleep Adama saying “shit”? It amuses me since we all know what frak means.
I really did think D’Anna was onboard Galactica. Nice fake out.
D’Anna, Baltar and Six in bed – standards and practices heads must have exploded. Not that it’s out of character for any of them, but I still found it to be ‘Hey! Look what we can get away with!’ and wasn’t Caprica kind of distanced from both last week?
When Kara mentioned that the Cylons let Bulldog escape did anyone else immediately think, “They let us go. It’s the only explanation for the ease of our escape.” I know there are other ‘Star Wars’ geeks reading this.
“Your resignation? You got to be kidding me.” Please writers, more Laura humor.
I was expecting Laura to strip Adama of his rank since he wanted to be punished in some way and, um, they are down to one ship. But I like her solution better. The people need heroes and it will be much more painful for him to be lauded as one when he knows his actions don’t warrant it.
Ok, where did Laura get the new wardrobe? It’s starting to bug me she can change outfits two and three times in an ep now.
Lee knows the truth., but given Dee’s enthusiasm at the ceremony it seems he hasn’t shared what he knows. Part of me likes that he’s not sharing everything with her, part of me wishes he’d knock his father off the pedestal she’s put him on.
Finally! An eye patch! I was beginning to wonder about that. The moment he walks in with it is rather symbolic. He can’t hide what has happened to him, but he’s choosing to not have it be such an obvious reminder to himself and others. He’s attempting to move on and reclaim his life.
And one final note...TOO MUCH DAMN EXPOSITION. Seriously, my beta would hand me my ass if I had my charaters tell the whole damn story like that.
Still no podcast. I'm so disappointed. ;-)