BATTLESTAR GALACTICA “Sometimes A Great Notion”: Goodnight, Irene


Auuuuuuuuughhhhh. They broke Dualla (oh, Dee). They broke D’Anna (oh, Three). They broke the president (oh, Laura). They broke Starbuck (oh…Thing). If you’ve been watching the webisodes, you know they broke Gaeta (oh, Hoshi). They broke Adama and Leoben and Seelix. They may well have broken me.

It’s hard to concentrate on all of the important things that were revealed in this episode and all of the important doors that were opened, from the identity of the last of the Final Five (<Michael Bluth Voice>Really? Her?</Michael Bluth Voice>) to the fact that the members of the Thirteenth Colony were all Cylons to the idea that the Final Five were all killed in the nuclear holocaust that irradiated Earth…2000 years ago.  Any of these should be enough to make the break worth it and keep us occupied until next week’s episode.

But…this episode had Laura Roslin losing her faith. Blaming herself for death and destruction and deciding to stop her treatment and burn the scrolls of Pythia. This episode had Kara Thrace discovering her own downed Viper and dead body. Building her own funeral pyre and deciding to burn Starbuck. This episode had D’Anna deciding to quit–to just stay on the scorched Earth as the humans and their even-numbered Cylon allies limp away. Sitting down and quitting and deciding to let herself be burned away by the wind and the radiation.

And this episode had the end of Anastasia Dualla, who broke upon finding that the dream of Earth was poisoned and then decided to enjoy a couple of last pleasures before just ending. The brains behind BSG couldn’t have made a more devastating choice to represent the costs of the failure of the plan to find Earth–Dee has always been the fleet’s voice of reason. She’s the person who brought Lee back from the abyss. She’s the one who forced Adama to face himself and choose to bring his son and his president (and eventual lover) home from Kobol, healing what was left of the human race. But in the end, she took Lee’s speech to the Quorum altogether too literally–since she was no longer a slave to the ramblings of Pythia and no longer picking at the crumbs of the Thirteenth Tribe, she was free to go where she wanted to go and be who she wanted to be. Which, at this point, was Nowhere and Nothing. She went to go swim in the hybrids’ stream and turned with the current because she was just tired.

Episode writers Bradley Thomspon and David Weddle have talked about how the episode’s title was taken from the couplets that open Ken Kasey’s novel of the same name: “Sometimes I live in the country.  Sometimes I live in the town.  Sometimes I get a great notion.  To jump in the river and drown.” The story about the foxes that decide to swim to sea because they’re just too tired to fight anymore is from the same source, but surely Kesey got those lines from the old blues/folk tune “Goodnight, Irene.” It’s not a particularly cheerful song–other lines include “I’m gonna take morphine and die” (oh, Gaeta) and “I wish the Lord that I’d never seen your face” (oh, D’Anna) and “love her til the sea runs dry” (oh, Tigh) and “go ahead and kill yourself then” (oh, Dee). But it also sings us the only thing the survivors have left: “Stop staying out late at night/go home to your wife and family/stay there by your fireside bright.” It’s disheartening to think that the alliance between humans and Cylons will be tried in the next few weeks, because all they have left is each other. It’s time for them all to follow the Agathons’ example and respond to the end of all things with love. It’s time for Anders to sing to the women he loves (looks like there’s more than one). It’s time for Laura to sit up and give Bill her little seedling to plant when they find a home. And I imagine we’ll see Saul Tigh looking for his Ellen, don’t you think? Still, it’s going to hurt that none of them have Dee to sit with by the fireside bright–we’ll miss her more than Lee does.


2 thoughts on “BATTLESTAR GALACTICA “Sometimes A Great Notion”: Goodnight, Irene

  1. Pingback: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA “Islanded in a Stream of Stars”: Home Is A Place You Grow Old Trying To Get Back To « TV BACON

  2. Pingback: BATTLESTAR GALACTICA at the Paley Festival: Infecting with Accountability « TV BACON

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