I should have known that after two good podcasts the streak wouldn’t continue. If anyone listened to the podcast for ‘Black Market’ or read any write ups about it you may recall how Ron went on and on and on about how bad the episode turned out to be. Well, he’s back to the self flagellation. I will give Ron points for his honesty because, frankly, how many creators of shows will admit when something failed to work and take responsibility for it? However, listening to 44 minutes of what didn’t work, why, and how it was a struggle from beginning to end does get rather old. I actually debated scanning past parts, but since it was the rare occasion when he talked significantly about Lee I ended up afraid to miss anything.
***There are some very, very, very minor references to Baltar’s trial, nothing I consider spoilery, but, just in case!***
The episode did not turn out as well as they had hoped and Ron mentioned that, like last season, they come to the second half of the season and seem to have trouble. He liked the story conceptually, a day in the life episode, but it’s a tricky structure and appears simpler on the surface. Television episodes are about atypical days, the amazing things that happened that day, not day to day minutia.
The Tyrol/Cally story was designed to be a small story, but they leaned on it because it’s an easier hook (straight up jeopardy) and they were having problems with Adama story.
It’s was Ron’s idea to get to know the woman Adama married. He thought she would be an interesting figure. Who is she? Why did Adama marry her? And Adama allows himself to think of her just one day a year. He fantasizes being with her, allows thoughts of her to enter back into his life. He puts all other mementos of her away, but he still wears his wedding ring. It’s a subtle touch and says something about him. (What does it say? They still haven’t addressed that directly. He can’t completely let go?)
Originally, Carolanne was to appear with Adama on the ship. She was to be like Head Six or Head Baltar – imaginary people only the POV Character can see – walking with him through the halls of Galactica. She was going through one day with Adama and commenting on scenes as they happened. The problem became how to distinguish Carolanne from the other imaginary characters. (I definitely think ‘Adama is a Cylon’ flags would have been waving.)
So they came up with the idea to do a house. It still was reminiscent of what they had done with Baltar, but it visually set it apart from Galactica and breaks you out of the show. Unfortunately, it also distances you from what is happening. They had to work over time to bring Carolanne into the show. Ron talked about how the Adama/Laura scene would have felt different had Carolanne been in the room with them making it more of a triangle. Having Carolanne around wouldn’t have saved things, but would have made them more dramatic.
They are playing more on the Adama/Laura relationship and how something may or may not happen. They don’t want to over step and don’t know if it will ever culminate in them getting together.
Ron says that with Adama and Laura, because of their positions, there aren’t any other choices for a partner for them. They are the only peers to one another and they relate to each other in a way they relate to no one else. There are so many other obstacles to a relationship between them, but there is a logic to them thinking about it and a pull between them. (OK, here is where I get a little irritated and not just because I’m a Lee/Laura shipper. I think they’ve showed that when they are talking Laura gets along pretty darn well with Lee and they seem to get each other. And what about Zarek? After events on NC, they seemed to bond a bit. Even on a certain level, I think Laura and Baltar ‘relate’. So don’t tell me this is her only choice - Adama’s, maybe, but not Laura’s. End of rant. ;)
Ron states that how they set up Lee getting involved in the law and Baltar’s trial works conceptually, but not dramatically. Lee becoming interested in law in this episode is an awkward introduction, though he does believe that Laura thinking of him in that capacity is plausible. ‘It’s the best you can do at this point.’ (In other words, they dropped the ball on developing Lee’s character earlier in the season and are rushing to play catch up now.)
There was a casting issue with the actress who plays Carolanne. Ron feels she’s a good actress and performer and they liked her, but the chemistry is missing and that is a crucial component. There was no sense of rapport, no easy sense of communication, and no spark.
Back to Lee getting involved in the legal system. They’ve always struggled in terms of exactly what they wanted him to do. Lee is the most straight up hero and a hard role to play. It’s been hard to know what to do with character. (Really? You were doing fine up until 2.5.) They did really like the idea of him getting involved in trial and felt it was something about the character and the actor that made it appealing. Lee is an intellectual and has an interest in something beyond the cockpit. He’s not all about military. And they wanted to build on the family history as they were working on the ‘Caprica’ prequel/spin-off. Lee is split between his father and grandfather. When he was younger, he perhaps had an affinity for and was fascinated by the law and his father’s non-interest would have been enough to spark him. Also, they wanted key players involved in the trial of Baltar.
They weren’t true to the ‘a day in the life’ concept – following Adama through his day. They let go of what made the idea work, the minutiae, the rhythms of his day, and got caught up in all these other stories.
We weren’t given enough time to care about Carolanne. The most honest emotion in the ep should not be on Cally and Tyrol and worrying about surviving and what will happen to their son.
Carolanne was all these terrible things. It wasn’t that Adama just left, she was this larger than life personality, a force of nature, they couldn’t get along and he had to leave her. Ron stated that you talk yourself into believing that that is going to be a surprise because the audience’s presumption proceeds on straight line. We think Adama is all work and committed to his job – that’s all he cares about. The marriage broke up because he was a bad husband and father and she’s perfectly fine, but then you find out it’s not true. However, the audience is smart and has seen this turn before. We are much more likely to presume she’s not likeable. (Actually, while I didn’t buy into the fanon image of her, I didn’t presume her to be an alcoholic, abusive harpy). Why would our hero (gag), Adama have left her? They were looking for the final twist and since they had already chickened out with their original story idea, Adama ended up married to a harridan (Ron’s word). It’s not a story they should have told. It’s not a direction they should have gone into for this ep or the series.
Ron said the natural comparison for this ep is to BM. But while BM disappointed him because it was so conventional, this was more of an honest misfire and he doesn’t intensely dislike the ep.
Lee’s involvement in the trial will continue. They feel it is a good way to go with him, and it pays off in a cool way. And it takes them in a new direction; it’s just an awkward set-up.
There was a mention that because they wanted to avoid a hassle with Standards & Practices they dropped some explicit references to Laura still having a joint left from New Caprica. She first brings it up to Adama in UB, it’s taped to a piece of paper in her diary, and in an early draft of the script for this sp there was a reference again. (OK, it was kind of funny in the flashbacks in UB, but there is something a bit odd and off putting to me that Laura is looking for an time to get high again. But it may just be me.)
Ron closed by saying you can’t make up your mind how you feel about Carolanne and Adama as a couple, you don’t really feel anything, so, in that respect, they failed.