>TV Round-Up: Battlestar Galactica

Watching the mid-season finale of Galactica, I found myself wondering if SciFi’s scheduling might not have helped bring the show to its early end. Each season, except the first, the writers and producers have been forced to build to two cliffhangers, two big events per season, two points of interest to keep the fans coming back. I’m not advocating that the series should have been kept going beyond its natural storytelling end, but I do wonder how the pressure of building to two massive cliffhangers per season took a toll on the show.

This year’s mid-season cliffhanger felt like a season ending cliffhanger more than the mid-season one. It was one of those series-changing types of cliffhangers like we got at the end of seasons one and two. This may be the most intriguing series-changer since they jumped forward in time a year to end the second season.

I’m sure there’s a lot of divided opinion on this, but I’m going to come out and say I’m intrigued they’ve already found Earth with ten episodes left to go. Of course, the fact that once they got down on the planet that it was not going to be all legend had cracked it up to be was fairly obvious. I know there’s been some complaint this year that special-effects intensive episodes have been spaced out a bit. But when you get visuals like the fleet coming up to Earth such as we saw here, I can see why they’d put their eggs into one basket like this. The moment was stunning. Combined with the stirring soundtrack and it looked like an Emmy clip for best effects and best music.

And that was before we had the highlight reel for Edward James Olmos. I’m sure I’ll only be annoyed when they announced the Emmy nods later this year that BSG was overlooked again. I’m not sure how you can see Olmos’ superb work here and deny him a nod and give one to, say, James Spader. But I’m sure it will happen.

Watching Adama break down upon finding out that Tigh is a Cylon was superb. To see Adama’s faith in himself shattered was incredible. Yes, this scene was shown in the previews, but even then it didn’t capture the pure, raw and terrifying power of it. In a lot of ways, it felt like the torch of leadership in the fleet was being passed from Bill to Lee in the scene where Lee has to comfort and reassure his father.

On another level, I almost expected a bit more of a power struggle when Laura Roslin returned. I guess there’s only so much you can put into an hour, but the fact that Lee provided the leadership and played hardball with the Cylons, including ordering the destruction of the basestar with half of the fleet’s defenses on the ship was nice. Also, it does bring up a question of if Lee will survive the series since it turns out that he was (in a way) the leader who took them to Earth. And since we know that part of that prophecy is a dying leader will take them to Earth, are Lee’s days numbered?

The entire standoff between the two fleets was some of the most suspenseful stuff we’ve seen all year. I was on the edge of my seat and that could easily have been the cliffhanger.

But that’s the good thing about this show–it doesn’t just go for the obvious choice. It will give you what you expect and then still pull the carpet out from under you, all in the same episode. And I’m glad they found Earth now. And I’m glad it wasn’t something out of Galactica 80. The fact that it’s not what we were promised and what do we do know should provide some fascinating material for the final ten episodes. And it also manages to keep the storyline for the final episode that much more of a mystery. Which is probably what Ron Moore wanted.

The only part of the story that I didn’t like was Tori’s new-found arrogance and acceptance of her Cylon heritage. Did the arrogant program switch on? Or is she playing politics and trying to side with the winners? Her arrogance toward Roslin seemed a bit much. This was someone who Laura held as part of the inner circle and while Roslin was hard on Tori at times, it seems a bit of a stretch that Tori would take the first chance she got to turn on her former boss.

So, we’re left with a lot to ponder until next year. At least the wait won’t be as long this time, though I’m sure that it’ll seem a lot longer.

A couple of random things:

  • I found myself wondering if we’re seeing some kind of circle. With Earth apparently destroyed by some kind of conflict, did the Colonials destroy themselves there, flee to the Colonies and create their own destruction again? Now they’ve come back and it would fit the “this has happened before and will happen again.”
  • Speaking of Emmys, Michael Hogan needs one. His performance as Tigh was, as always, amazing.
  • I liked the reaction by the various members of the final four to being discovered. Tyrol almost seemed relieved, even though he was going to die. Just to stop living with the secret.
  • Will anyone else find out that Tori killed Callie?
  • Anyone else think the fifth Cylon is dead?
  • Has the discovery of Earth and the revelation of the Cylons within the fleet made finding out who the fifth is a bit anti-climatic at this point?
  • Loved the scene of Bill Adama picking up the dirt. And the long pan across the regular cast standing on the planet. Only person missing: Tom Zarek.

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