BATTLESTAR GALACTICA “The Road Less Traveled”: On the Good Ship Lollipop

One of the things making Battlestar Galactica difficult to enjoy so far this season is that it’s hard to know who is supposed to be sympathetic. Starbuck’s crazy; her patched-together crew feels sorry enough for themselves that I don’t have to; Apollo dumped his friends and family to play politician; even the Sixes, who were making sense, shot a lot of fellow robots up good. We used to know who we were supposed to feel sorry for or empathize with, and while it might be argued that making none of the characters sympathetic makes the story deeper (sigh), it also makes the story less fun. It’s just not much fun to watch Kara wigging out with the slimiest version of her dreamquest robot while solid good guys like Helo, Athena, and Gaeta decide to commit a mutiny we know isn’t going anywhere because of the Sci Fi promos.

This may be why the interaction between Tyrol and Baltar last night provided the high point–Tyrol never asked to be a Cylon (well–as far as we know), and we can sympathize with the way he’s caught between two worlds. And for all Gaius Baltar strutted around asking to be a science hero, asking to be president, asking to be one of the Final Five, or asking to be a martyr, the one thing he never asked to be was a prophet. Trying to wrap my head around the idea of Gaius Baltar as a genuine prophet might make me as crazy as Kara Thrace–heaven help me if Baltar ends up being the dying leader who never makes it to the Promised Land.

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2 thoughts on “BATTLESTAR GALACTICA “The Road Less Traveled”: On the Good Ship Lollipop

  1. I totally disagree with you on the Baltar thing. At our home we’ve been watching episodes of BSG from the marathon that the Sci Fi network put on earlier this year, and so it’s interesting to see Baltar’s evolution take place over the series while also keeping up with the more recent episodes. It seems like the “Baltar as prophet” storyline is about as plausible as (or more plausible than) any other. He’s the only one of the supposed prophets that is actually being visited regularly by an angel. And it’s also easy to see how last season was a sort of preparatory stage of tribulation that makes this more-humbled version of Baltar more believable. I rather like it.

    I’m also not having any trouble sympathizing with Kara. She saw a freaking vision or had some sort of out-of-body experience. She’s all messed up inside and doesn’t know what to do with it.

    My favorite character transformation of the season though is Colonel Tigh. That guy is one internally conflicted character. I like how they have taken Tigh’s rough demeanor and adjusted it to his new knowledge that he is a cylon. Last week’s episode with him seeking redemption from his dead wife was masterful, I thought.

  2. I’ve actually been enjoying this season very much, and I don’t think the characters always have to be totally sympathetic to still enjoy them and the show. This season is the darkest yet, with all the characters in places they never dreamed they’d be. So they’re wrestling with themselves and each other, and, like real people, are imperfect and flawed. Battlestar deals with a lot of shades of gray, where the lines aren’t drawn between just black and white, and that makes things more complex and, in my opinion, more realistic.
    And even with everything going on, I still have found sympathy for many of the characters. Roslin and her heart wrenching battle with cancer, the four of the final five cylons wrestling with who they are, Athena and her struggle to distance herself from her own kind, the Six who died and the pain Natalie must have felt having to klll her…I could go on. I think that while the characters have become more complex and you may not understand them all the time or sympathize with them, they are still engaging and very real people with a whole list of internal debris that they’re all trying to sort through. This show has stood out from other sci-fi shows because of the way it approaches its characters, and I think this season is no different.
    This season isn’t supposed to be fun, I don’t think, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. This is the heavy, emotional, crazy road to the climax and the finale and I only imagine things getting darker and darker.

    Brent

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