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'Battlestar Galactica': Rolling a hard six

You know a show is great -- better yet -- you know a show's FANS are great when one of the loudest cheers at a screening comes when the writers' credits hit the screen.  But that's how it is with "BSG," and that's how it was earlier this week at The Envelope's Screening of "Battlestar Galactica's" midseason finale at the ArcLight Theater's Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.

Battlestar190 Before getting to the finale, we can/should talk about the panel -- Katee Sackhoff, Mary McDonnell, Tricia Helfer and show creator Ron Moore.  Times reporter Geoff Boucher provided great moderation of a well-received discussion that touched on topics ranging from McDonnell's portrayal of a strong female leader stricken with cancer to Helfer's agnostic views and how her Cylon character has influenced her personally.  Moore recounted pitching the story, and how perceiving Starbuck as a woman helped the whole series fall into place in the pre-production stage.  And Starbuck herself?  Well, Katee Sackhoff let an audience member know that she still prefers the old-fashioned f-bomb to the new-fangled 'frak.'

The screening itself was also a plea to get out the Emmy vote for our favorite BSGers.  Eddie (as McDonnell calls him) James Olmos, McDonnell, Jamie Barber, Helfer and Sackhoff all received their "for your consideration" push as the crowd watched emotion-filled scenes from each.  Click here for more on the screening series.  (Another note:  A fan near me asked if it was OK for her to write in Laura Roslin as her choice for president, and McDonnell replied that she could, but "only if I can have Hillary as my VP.")

Now on to the episode (here's the obligatory SPOILER ALERT) ...

It's pretty unfair to call this a midseason finale when the show is not returning until February of 2009.  That's a long time to wait to see what "Revelations" (episode title) really ... reveals.

First reaction:  What?! They find Earth and it's in ruins!?!?  What the heck happened? Who did this? What time frame is this?  Where are the other Cylons?  I have to wait eight months to find out?!?!?

But I digress. We knew this was coming -- meaning the long wait -- so many of us have prepared for it (though some have lost their way).  We've got our deep-breathing methods going, we may write songs like Alessandro Giuliani/Gaeta, could learn to play the card game, or we may just prep for Comic-Con to see the stars and eat bread from a "Battlestar Galactica" "toaster."  You heard right.

But again, I digress.  Leading up to the the discovery of the Blue Planet, all heck broke loose.  As Deanna (3) returned to get "hers," the four Cylons were revealed.  To everyone.  Bill Adama took it a lot harder than I thought, totally breaking down.  Lee took it better than I thought and took control of the situation, not hesitating to kill Sol Tigh if his people weren't returned.  Definitely a gutsy move that, as said by Roslin later, won't "let him off the hook" now as being a leader of the fleet.  The Viper conveniently leading the way back to Earth was a little gimmicky, but wasn't too over the top.  You still wonder how? And why now -- questions to hopefully be answered next year.  Other show highlights included:

  • Adama's breakdown was unsettling.  More so than a plot twist, it was downright jarring.  Remarkably, it was understandable and believable when Adama wouldn't get up, though I was urging him to as much as Lee.
  • Roslin's dilemma about whether to help Baltar or let him die was tougher to decide, at least for this viewer, than it seemed.  This guy helped bring about the deaths of millions.  But in the end, it's about what she could live with.
  • Deanna's return gives the Cylons more structure, but will her new self-defense mode bode well for the rest?
  • Capt. Starbuck has been awfully quiet for a woman who was crazy-obsessed with this planet.  Sackhoff mentioned in the panel that Kara was trying to be cool so that people wouldn't think she was a Cylon.  Well, we still haven't heard from No. 5.

And that's the big one.  No fifth Cylon revealed and huge questions left unanswered that will plague fans for a long time to come.  The delay is hopefully not 'rolling a hard six,' and I doubt the show will be forgotten, but it'll be interesting to see what kinds of things SciFi will be doing in the interim to keep the show relevant. 

-- Jevon Phillips

 
Comments () | Archives (48)

So we have the following unresolved issues:

1) What willl the Chief do when he finds out Tory killed Cally?

2) What about the pregnant number 6?
A baby from number 6 and Col. Tigh? That's some bad ass baby...

3) Where is Brother Cavill and the rest of the old guard Cylons?

4) Can the 8's unite and end the Cylon civil war?

5) Where is the 13th Colony?

6) What is Starbuck? Who or what made that Viper of hers?

7) Can't the Cylons make new base ships / resurrection hub? Where is their home planet been for the last 40 years?

8) Will Starbuck kill Anders?

9) What about the half human / half Cylon children? Hera and the Chief's child

10) Will Adama have Baltar executed when it comes out he gave the defense mainframe codes to the Cylons?

11) Is Bill Adama a Cylon?

12) If BSG ends with "they all die" will we care to watch the new show Caprica?

well in a earlyer episode, the hybred said the 13th coloney will lead to the 14th. so what is the 14th coloney

That ending was a bit confusing. What year is it? It looked like a nuked 2008 Manhattan, 100 yrs later. I had thought that maybe the refugees would actually form the basis for humanity on Earth - that the 13th colony never grew there and that the colonial and cylon remnants would actually be the basis for life on Earth. So, the show would actually be taking place during our ancient history and all the theology was the basis for our ancient religions. Also, BSG has had a history of intermission teasers, like the webisodes and Razor, will there be any until the 2nd half of the season begins?

Personally, I thought the series should have ended when they landed on a destroyed earth.
I can't see how they can extend the series another season because everything else is anti-climactic.

1. Probably nothing drastic

3. On the other side of the Cylon civil war, the bayship with the fleet is the rebel ship.

5. The 13th colony is Earth, which is where they happen to be. I assume 100~ years after WWIII, we destroyed ourselves, the 12 colonies children destroyed them. Cool eh?

7. Probably on the other side of the galaxy, thousands of jumps over a 3 year period, the other half of the civil war won't be coming for a LONG time, if ever.

10. Unlikely, it is not his decision.

11. We have already been assured he is not one, unlikely we would be lied too by the producers.

12. It is a amazing show, I doubt they would make one worse then this.

The series is great. Though the long delays between 'seasons' really kills my attention span. I am definitely not as interested as I was during season 2. By next season, I might just skip it completely. Run the final season SOONER!

Yeah, too bad they did not show the head of the statue of liberty, but then again we may have thought they had landed on the planet of the apes.

1)Probably not a lot

2) Back on Caprica didn't Simon say that the Cylons had been trying for a baby for years and hadn't been able to conceive. Hence the reason for all those nasty baby making machines. So doesn't that leave us with a greater quandary.

3) I'm guessing we'll find out in the very next episode... It would be very like Cavil to just appear with a number of Base Ships just to rub it in even harder

4) No chance, she's an evil 8

5) The implication thus far being that we've imploded our selves... "now there's a surprise" *rolls eyes*

6) Yep Jury's still out on that one... But I'm going for not a cylon. D'anna said that 4 we're with the fleet. I'm going to through a curve ball and suggest that Baltar isn't out of the frame yet and that D'anna knows the 5th. One of the Prisoners could be a cylon and the producers did very carefully cut away from the scene when he enters the room to negotiate.

Remember "Baltar's ostensibly mystical visions of the beautiful Cylon Number Six remain unexplained." [Quote taken from BSG website]

7) Chicken and egg what came first the hub or the cylon?

8) I doubt it that would be too obvious for this production

9) Same question as two really - these children and for that matter roslin's visions still haven't been "explained"... I'm guessing that the rebels still have the opportunity to kidnap these children!

10) No - I think that Roslin's got over it and probably won't even reveal that.... or hold it as a future trump card...

11) No - we've been told that... and on the assumption also that D'anna knows the 5th too

12) I agree with Eric LaPalme. The crew and writers have done a fabulous job and I'm sure that the same team could make an equally fabulous spin off!

> 5. The 13th colony is Earth, which is where they happen to be. I assume 100~ years after WWIII, we destroyed ourselves, the 12 colonies children destroyed them. Cool eh?

Not quite. The "13th colony" is the *people* who settled on Earth. Where are the people? Are they really destroyed? Or are they just displaced from their homeworld like the Twelve Colonies?

I have to agree with Will W. After following new Battlestar from the beginning I knew that they'd arrive at Earth either in our distant past or future. Turning up in the present (see old movies!) would be coma inducing lame, though my personal thoughts were that a better story would be had from our past. Predicting the future in days let alone centuries can be very hazardous. And if "everybody dies" at the end, the producers will deserve lifetime poo-bombs in the post!
Alison Dale.

It is impossible to please everyone, and the writers know this. I am hopelessly hooked on the best show on television despite my occasional disappointment or displeasure. The incredible writing, and acting far outweigh ANY petty grievance I may have from time to time. I watch to be entertained, to have my thoughts provoked, my preconceived notions challenged, and to escape for an hour. This show absolutely blows away anything else on television in all those respects. Who besides me is tired of knowing what is going to happen before it happens? That is almost never the case on BSG. Once in a while the viewer may see something coming, but when that something arives, what happens next, is still a surprise, and a relevant revelation. Suck it up you wimps with flea like attention spans who can't wait. In February the last episodes begin playing, and when they are gone, you will be whining about that. I view this as one great long story, and to truly be great, there needs to be a beginning, a middle, and a conclusion. Let us hope the conclusion is as satisfying as the rest has been. BRAVO!!

MB

BSG is one of the best written shows ever. I just saw the mid-season finale and marvel at this show that leaves us with more questions but also with great satisfaction knowing that the relevancy of their survival is dependent on cooperation between human and cylon. Perhaps a message for us today.

Is there a chance that they've turned upto to the planet Terra? which was part of the original series and the how/what has been guiding them needs them to save Earth from a peril? like the other Cyclons for instance? much of this series is based closely on the original

Hasn't it occurred to us all that the writers are making it up as they go along? Hence the contradictions and mysteries in the plot.

For example, previously, the Cylons 'had a plan'; but now it seems they don't. Does someone else have a plan?

Some thoughts concerning Tigh:
He's been known by Adama for 30 years. Did it only take the Cylons 10 years to make the first 'skin-jobs'? Weren't they still messing with the (much more interesting) hybrids back then? If Tigh can have a baby with a 6, maybe he isn't a Cylon after all. In which case, perhaps the other outed Cylons are not either....

And come to that, how did those dumb, slow, clunky metallic Cylons make ANYthing? Right now it seems they first made hybrids, who are the best - know everything and are extremely powerful, then made much lower grade humanoid Cylons who seemed tough but now seem as much 'out of the loop' as the humans. Four of the final five seem still more clueless. So does the fifth know what's going on? Or is there no complete, worked out plot, and will BG end with grumbling fans and a million loose ends?


Concerning Earth:
The atmosphere is clear; the war should have been a long time ago; maybe there are survivors and green areas. Maybe they've been brought back to repopulate.

That's Earth they arrived at, and the ruins of the 13th colony, who destroyed themselves in war.

This is taking place far in our past, and we are the descendents of Adama (Adam) and the Cylons.

I loved this "midseason finale", and the past season has been my favorite one so far. Like M Baker, I'm grateful for a show that doesn't cause me to think: "riiight..I remember writing this script...when I was six". I'm also very grateful for a sci-fi show where the character development scenes flow from and advance the plot, rather than being mere soap-opera 'filler'. I feel so cheated when a themed show runs out of plotlines and degenerates into endless character soap opera. Or, like the Cold Case episode I tried to watch last night, the theme is relegated to the background and the show is actually about another subject altogether. I enjoy social/political background in cold case shows, but when the show is about a social/political issue using "cold case" as the background I feel cheated and turn it off.

Were Baltar's visions of cylons ever explained?

He could see Six, or sometimes a 'cleaner' copy of himself, that nobody else could see. What was that all about?

Do we know how many episodes there will be Feb 09?

The line "all of this has happened before, and will happen again" that keeps re-occuring makes me think that Earth was destroyed just as Caprica was. Its a big cycle - humans make cylons, cylons kill humans, cylons and humans settle down and make babies and forget where they came from, latest batch of "humans" make cylons.... etc.

The comment about the 10 year skin job development made me think back to the original series' more advanced Cylons that "grampa" Baltar worked with who directed the toasters. They could have used Baltar's genius to work out the cloning techniques.

The bombed out Earth actually can be considered consistent if you consider the legends state that this has all happened before... and will again...

The Tigh - 6 baby was conceived in love, something the Cylons were not able to do before their involvement with humans. Tigh and his wife, etc.

 
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