The First Evil (asta77) wrote,
The First Evil

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Razor Write Up 2.0

Since greycoupon clued me in that Ron did a brief Q&A over at the Fans4writers site last night, this post went off into some areas I didn’t expect it to and thus is separated into parts.

'Razor’ and continuity after viewing the Season 2 ‘Pegasus’ arc.

Overall, I have to say I’m impressed with the continuity. When Cain recounts to Adama and Roslin in ‘Pegasus’ how the Pegasus escaped the attacks it matches what we see play out in Razor. However, Lee, in his speech to his crew, states,” Eight months ago the world changed, our lives changed”, yet the onscreen graphics state the attacks occurred ten months earlier. In the Q&A, someone asked about this and Ron really doesn’t have an answer for what happened:

Poster: Secondary question, in Lee's speech at the top of the show, he says that eight months ago everything changed, but in the flashbacks right after that, it says ten months before. Where's the time jump I'm missing? Was Scylla two months before Galactica encountered Peg?

Ron: I'm sorry, but I can't remember the timeline here and exactly when they said what and why. I'll take your word for it that you see a discrepancy here, but to the best of my knowledge, we combed through this stuff pretty carefully to make sure everything lined up.

It also struck me that it really doesn’t make sense that Kendra was Cain’s aid and part of CIC, yet we didn’t see her at all during the original 'Pegasus' arc.

If not for rewatching the 'Pegasus' arc right before watching Razor, there were several cool, little things I would have not picked up on.

Cain comments to Adama in ‘Pegasus’, “You know what they say about the best defense…”, and in Razor it’s Gina who states at the dinner party, “As they say, the best defense is a good offense.” It now plays as if Gina's words stuck with her.

Stryker, in ‘Pegasus’, refers to Lee as “Daddy’s boy”. Kendra will comment to Lee that the crew feels as if Daddy just handed him the keys to the car. Neither is making the most witty or original remark, but I like how it shows that Lee carries the stigma of being Adama’s son and it’s almost impossible to shed. (And it doesn’t help that Adama, in Lee’s CIC, took the keys to the car away from him…NOT THAT I’M BITTER!)

One bit of continuity I loved that had no relevance when ‘Resurrection Ship Pt 2’ first aired takes place on the shuttle as Fisk and Cain head back to the Pegasus. Cain asks Fisk to organize a detachment of marines, to hand pick them, and that they should be, "completely reliable, completely loyal, razors.”

Additional Thoughts on Helena Cain.

I think we had a good sense from when we were first introduced to Helena Cain that she was not going to turn out to be the person she presented herself to be. I never bought her declaration to Adama that she wouldn’t interfere in his command and she almost immediately transfers Lee and Kara in an attempt to alter the make up of his ship and separate him from those most loyal to him. What I find troublesome is that Cain did have some good points; Adama was too close to his officers and let them get away with too much. But for every good point Cain may have made, Ron presents us with a decision that undercuts that. ‘Trying’ Helo and Tyrol and sentencing them to immediate execution is a glaring example of a woman whose singular goal of destroying the Cylons had superseded all other considerations like the preservation of justice, fairness, and their own humanity. She was even willing to go so far as to destroy Galactica and it’s crew in pursuit of her goal.

The 'Pegasus' arc I think left many of us believing that the war, the near obliteration of humanity, and the isolation made Helena Cain who she was. She did what she had to do because she was left without hope and those to show her that there was a sliver of hope. Ron claims that Razor was meant to help humanize the character, but it only succeed in showing me that Cain is who Cain always was. I don’t want to steal danceswithwords what I’m sure will be brilliant observations, but something she said in IM to me last night has stayed with me, “She was never comfortable with human feelings or weakness; she took the first chance she could get to dispense with them.” And, in turn, I feel she successfully got her crew to dispense with them too.

In my previous post I talked about how Fisk appeared to be a decent human being after the attacks. He was obviously happy and relieved to discover the fleet and other survivors. He still had hope. But Cain quickly divested him and the rest of the crew of that. Life was no longer important, the mission was the only thing that mattered, a mission they would all die carrying out, and she systematically stripped away their humanity in the process because it wasn’t necessary to the mission.

Gina telling Baltar, “I want to die” and begging him to kill her was chilling enough the first time around. She was an obvious victim of Cain’s cruelty and abuses, but, until Razor it never dawned on me that Cain had done the same to her entire crew. She has the ability to break people. Maybe they didn’t actively want to die, but I saw no sign that they cared about living.

I also wonder if Adama knew what would be coming when he met up again with Cain. There was no joy in seeing her again, but then Adama is not a man to show his emotions. When Cain asked for a meeting on her ship after the near battlet, Adama responds with, “I don’t plan on cooling my heels in your brig.” Had he learned from his current experiences with her or did he know she had always been like this?

Random Observations.

The pacing of Razor seems slow when you throw in commercials.

After a second viewing of the film, it struck me that there is a problem with the narrative. Kendra is suppose to be our POV character which I feel works well, however, in the final act, depending on who you like I guess ;), it's Lee and Adama who suddenly become the POV characters.

I found it interesting that in ‘Resurrection Ship Pt 1’ Laura says to Cain, in regards to Helo and Tyrol’s scheduled execution, “The spirit of the law requires something more here than summary executions.” Isn’t that essentially what Laura wanted with Baltar? Sure, there was a public trial and Baltar was afforded a defense attorney and opportunity to present his case, unlike Helo and Tyrol, but Laura had expected Baltar to be convicted and executed. Both women wanted the situation resolved the way they wanted it resolved, it’s just that Laura was willing to put on the show.

It struck me on rewatch of RS Pt 2 that Adama really didn’t feel as if he was sending Kara and Lee on a suicide mission to assassinate Cain. When he asked Lee to cover Kara’s back, he seemed to believe that would be enough to protect her and that they would both walk out of the CIC. He was either incredibly naïve or, more likely, as usual, was blind to the reality of the situation.

I’m paraphrasing a bit here, but in Cain’s speech to Kara, she says, “Sometimes terrible things have to be done…You have to face that moment and commit a terrible sin…If we let our conscience get in the way, there are more kids in those body bags.” Cain is the the very opposite of Lee and Adama. The two men are unable to put aside their conscience at any cost (it's been two years and Lee still carries the guilt of the Olympic Carrier incident) and I think we've seen that they haven’t put more people in body bags because of it. Adama tells Lee that he, Roslin and even Tigh kept him focused on what is important and didn’t allow him go down the wrong path. He couldn’t have faced them if he had made the same terrible choices that Cain had made. Perhaps Lee doesn’t have a child’s eyes to look at to judge him, but Lee has always had his own set of ideals and principles that, by and large, have made him a good leader and one to be respected.

Cain also went on to tell Kara that “When the time comes, do not flinch.” When the time came for Kendra aboard the Hybrid’s ship, she didn’t.

I’m not sure how to take this exchange now:

Cain: “Frak you.”
Gina: “You’re not my type.”

Either they didn’t plan on going *there* with the Cain/Gina relationship or I suppose it could be read as ‘It was all part of my plan you dumb bitch’ and I final stab by Gina before she kills Cain.

I’m not going to analyze the Hybrid’s declaration/prophecy about Kara, but it did strike me that “she will lead the human race to its end” could have a very literal interpretation. “End” could mean destination and that destination could be earth.

I was amused that during Lee’s speech to the Pegasus crew they all looked rather bored. Heck, most didn't bother to button up their jackets ir stand at attention.

Oh, and I found this observation I made in an old email written right after I watched the mini for the first time: If Baltar didn't know about the humanoid Cylons until one told him, how did Adama know he was trapped with one on that munitions ship? Did he have some intel no one was privy too?

Hey, it only took three years, but I got an answer!

Thoughts on Ron's comments from the Fans4writers forum.

Here’s the link for the complete Q&A. I’ve copied and pasted the questions I found of interest and have added my $.02.

Q: I love the use of the "Old School" Cylons. I hope you can find a way to incorporate them into S4 somehow. I also really liked the Kendra character and the nod to "Gun on Ice Planet Zero." But I didn't find it believable that Apollo would give an order, on this particular mission, that would directly result in Kara's death. Given their long history together, it just didn't ring true for me. It seems to me that he would go to any lengths to rescue Kara. It all seemed kind of cavalier. My overall sense, though, is that the Galactica universe just got a little bit bigger, and that's a good thing.

A: I think you're right on the first point about Lee giving the order to Kara -- we pushed too hard there.

Maybe it’s because I’m not an L/K shipper, but I found it believable that Lee would give the order and that it was very in character. Lee has shown time and again that he will put the greater good above himself and his personal feelings. He lacked proper time to fully analyze the situation and was working with information provided to him by the team, Adama, and Sharon. Given what he knew, he perceived the hybrid as a potential threat to earth and their ultimate goal of getting there. If sacrificing Kara or the team to save thousands, perhaps billions (if you believe their earth is our earth), then, yes, he would order Kara to stay. And let's not forget he was willing to leave Kara behind along with thousands of others on New Caprica to ensure that humanity survived.

I do believe that Lee would go to any lengths personally to save Kara. He wouldn't think twice about putting himself in the way of a bullet for her or putting his viper in the line of fire to protect her. But there is a difference between sacrificing himself and the fleet.

Q: I LOVED Razor, but there was one thing that bumped me very hard out of the story. Adama belays Lee's order, basically taking over the mission - but just a few minutes later hands it back when it's time to make a hard decision. What's up with that? I just can't wrap my brain around it. Am I just being dense and missing something?

A: I can see why you might think that. But the intent here was that Adama took command for one brief moment and then it was handed back to Lee as soon as Lee takes the call from Starbuck. Lee then looks to Adama when the moment arrives and he makes it clear that he won't make this one for him as well. It was supposed to play as Adama bowing to Lee's primacy in his CIC on tactical decisions, while Adama retained strategic command.

Complicating things is the fact that this entire section was originally designed to play out over the course of the entire episode, providing a second "framing device" in the present day story, along with an extended Kara/Kendra conversation. With those two stories as the frames, the entire Kendra story and the story of Lee's first mission would then play out in flashback. It read better on the page than it did in the editing room and I took Michael Rymer's suggestion, eliminating the two frames entirely and simply started the story at the moment Lee takes command of Pegasus and told the rest through a flashback from that frame. So when the Pegasus CIC scenes are then stitched together at the end of the show, each individual dramatic beat feels somewhat artificially heightened, which is a result of the lines originally being intended to deliver great weight in very short bursts.

Thus, the moment of Adama belaying Lee's command is quickly followed by the question of who will be left behind, instead of having those beat separated by several minutes of screen time and each beat feels slightly too big as a consequence.

Maybe not the wisest choice on my part, but this is what I posted in response to Ron’s response:

Thanks Ron for stopping by to answer questions. It did help clarify some things for me. Unfortunately, sleep prevailed over me checking out the boards after Razor aired last night.

I was happy to see someone asked about the Lee/Adama CIC scene. Specifically, that Adama takes over the mission (after he informed Lee in an earlier scene that it was Lee's mission and he would not interfere), then returns command to him so that he can make the call as to whether Kara lives or dies. Your explanation that re-editing altered how the scene played out does help to explain some things. However, throughout the course of the series we have witnessed Adama undercutting Lee's decisions or, in this instance, outright overruling them. Time and again Lee has been made to look wrong and Adama right and I've always felt the situations were much grayer than that. I'm afraid I still don't see it as "Adama bowing to Lee's primacy in his CIC on tactical decisions, while Adama retained strategic command." While I believe editing played a role in my interpretation, it still seems as if Adama didn't like Lee's call, he steps in so Lee looks like he made another bad choice/Adama can be the hero, then Adama puts a really tough call - does Lee order the death of his best friend? - back on Lee's shoulders.

On the plus side, it did set up that really nice scene between Lee and Kara at the end. I love it when they show such maturity (and humor) with each other. Kara took away from Lee any future such tough calls (and this is BSG so putting Kara's life on the line would have happened again), thus doing a favor for them both.

Q: When did Lee (and Kara) find out about all the atrocities committed by Cain? I'm assuming it wasn't until after her death, so do you think it would have altered their perception of the plans for her assassination in Resurrection Ship, Part II had they known beforehand? I'm thinking particularly of Lee and how much the decision affected him.

A: Word of Cain's actions regarding both her XO and the civilian fleet certainly circulated throughout Galactica, and probably the fleet, following her death. I can't recall exactly what we said in the episode itself, but I could believe that both Lee and Kara knew before the assassination plan was broached, as we always talked about them having no illusions as to exactly what Cain was and what she was capable of doing.

Um, dude, you said NOTHING in the episode itself. Lee and Kara’s expressions of shock, dismay, sadness and disillusionment would not have been had they known exactly what Cain was capable of. And I sure as hell don’t think Kara would have said in her eulogy that they were safer with Cain then without her.

Since danceswithwords and I discussed this briefly last night:

Q: Are you aware of the evil/dead lesbian cliche? 'Cause it's happened before, and it happens again, and again. Did that come up at all?

A: We were aware of it, and I recall some discussion of it in the writers' room, but we felt that it was really coming out of the characters and their relationships rather than being added for effect and we decided to stick with it. I think Michael Taylor and I discuss this point as well on the DVD commentary track.

And, sadly, no answer to this question:

Q: This is a question related to the razorette #7. Was there anything prophetic in the fact that Doral worked the system to make sure Lee was on Galactica at the time of the genocide?
Tags: razor

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