Saturday, June 14, 2008

Review: BSG "Revelations"


Well, I hate to say it, but I found last night's "cliffhanger" disappointing. Battlestar Galactica has an amazing track record of putting on thrilling, surprising, revelatory finales. Think back to "Kobol's Last Gleaming: Pt. 2" or Admiral Cain launching alert fighters or Baltar surrendering to the Cylon occupiers. I had high hopes for last night; maybe that was my problem.

Those great episodes all share two things: a breakneck, exhilarating pace and a last-minute plot twist that leaves you infuriated that you have to wait for months to see the resolution. Last night wasn't fast-paced so much as it was rushed. Moments they have been setting up for years passed by quite perfunctorily. Honestly, I was more moved when Aidan found out Carrie was smoking again than when Starbuck learned Anders was a Cylon.

I didn't buy Adama's reaction to Tigh's "coming out" scene, either; it looked like he'd gotten dumped. I would have had a lot more questions for the Colonel, and would have felt incredulity more than rage and grief. The idea that a battle-traumatized and grief-stricken old man was going cuckoo is far more plausible than, "I'm a 60 year old robot," and I would have pressed to be convinced. Starbuck should have had Adama's blow-up scene, and vice versa.

Poor Tyrol! No one even cared that he's a Cylon. You'd think Athena, at least, would have something to say about that. The whole fleet seemed to adjust pretty easily to the discovery that the XO, the deck chief, the Caprican Pyramid star and the president's aide-de-camp have been Cylon agents the entire time. For a moment I thought we were getting somewhere when Tory snapped at Roslin, but she, too, seemed to recover from her petulance quickly.

Admittedly, I have a bias in favor of religion, and a large part of what fascinated me in the early episodes was the overtly evangelical language of Number Six and the unfolding colonial prophecies. The writers tried to return to prophecy and religion this season, but it has been altogether less coherent and relevant. That whole Kobol/Arrow of Apollo/Map to Earth thing from Season 1 was wicked cool. Last night we got a Viper with a GPS system. Instead of unlikely coincidences that suddenly appear to have been preordained, we got maybe one of the laziest deus ex machina moments since baroque opera went out of fashion.

And, alas, the final plot twist? I'm afraid I saw that coming, and not because I was feeling particularly intuitive. It just seemed obvious that this wasn't going to be what they were expecting. Of course, questions remain: who did it? Did the other Cylons get there first, or did the 13th tribe annihilate itself, as we ourselves seem on the brink of doing? And what do they do now? And maybe more importantly, do I still care?


kr said...

Instead of unlikely coincidences that suddenly appear to have been preordained, we got maybe one of the laziest deus ex machina moments since baroque opera went out of fashion.

Jade said...

I thought that Earth was either going to be a wreck, or they were going to send in a "We Come in Peace" group that would be shot down by the Earthlings for being Aliens.

The scene with the XO & Admiral seems like more was filmed & perhaps they cut a bunch?

It did kind of flatten out at the end, but I am curious to find out what happened to Earth, who was sending the signal, and why they were all called to that planet.

Matthew said...

Yeah, I can sort of see where they thought they were creating a suspenseful ending, but it didn't really work. Their other season cliffhangers were so much better.

The Law Fairy said...

When I first saw it I had the same reaction -- not the same heart-drops-catch-your-breath moment as the others. But I've watched the episode twice now and I gotta say... it's growing on me. And as I think about it, it's totally in line with the show's tone -- very bleak, leaves a lot of open questions, etc. I'm also really curious about the whole Kara-as-harbinger-of-doom thing... I dunno, I feel like the open-ended finale actually gives you a lot of room to ruminate and hypothesize and try to figure out what on earth (no pun intended) happened -- and, really, though, what were they expecting exactly, and why? I think to answer these questions they're definitely going to need to get more into the mythology/spirituality of the show, which I am psyched about.

I agree the revelations felt rushed, although I disagree about Adama's reaction. It totally rings true for me. Someone you've known most of your adult life and you suddenly find out he is not the person you KNEW he was? That's not just the loss of a friend -- that's a loss of yourSELF. If you were wrong about something so fundamental, in someone you have trusted for as long as you can remember... what else are you wrong about? I've recently had an experience that's somewhat analogous, so for me the emotions rang completely true -- but maybe that just means Adama has the emotions of a 26-year-old woman ;)

Anonymous said...

I agree with all your points, I feel like this episode may have been set up to end the series if the writer's strike did not end in time.

Going forward I would like to know had the destruction on earth occured by the time Kara first arrived there? What is the purpose of the final five (and they have a plan...)? Who is the fifth? What is the story with all the cylon-children (Six is pregnant!)?