BATTLESTAR GALACTICA “Deadlocked”: Oedipus Blechs

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Every once in a while I start noodling with the idea that if I don’t see a movie the day it comes out, I just shouldn’t bother at all. Knowing too much about how something was made or how the pieces interact with other cultural objects ends up affecting how much the story can affect me. Something that’s really extraordinarily good can overcome that, but anything less than stellar suffers when you can see how the sausage is made. This is why avoiding spoilers is absolutely crucial–expectations can rarely be met, so it’s best to avoid raising them. (This is also why seeing The Dark Knight seven months after everyone else did may contribute to not thinking it’s a particularly good movie. Yeah, I said it.) I keep fooling myself into thinking I can stop poking my nose into the sausage grinder, but for a completist, that’s pretty hard.

If I didn’t know we were down to the last five episodes of the years-long journey of Battlestar Galactica, “Deadlocked” would have been an annoyance–this year’s “Black Market” (oy) or “The Woman King” (oh, Lords of Kobol, hear our prayers), episodes that are molasses-slow and in which characters spout lines that don’t sound like themselves just to shove a lumpy plot forward. (Chief wants to jump away? Huh? Why? So Ellen can be the deciding vote. Meh.) Those botched episodes are, well, not up to snuff, but in the middle of the story they’re annoying but can be overcome. This time, however, we just lost 20 percent of the story that was left on Desperate Housecylons. Knowing that shoves the episode’s failures beyond annoying.

It doesn’t really help that we spent a lot of time moving forward the Oedipal components of the Final Five storyline, components I frankly could have lived without in the first place. Because…ick. Pile on top of that having it shoved down our throats again that Bill Adama is the bestest, most wonderful, most lovable creature around whom the entire universe revolves, and…meh. The Adama-Tigh romance might be more appealing if I found Bill Adama at all appealing these days, but I’m still waiting for him to show any self-awareness. When Gaius Baltar has to call you on your blind spots (hilariously), you shouldn’t expect the rest of us to want to hug you and give you pie. But would the urge to deny pie feel so strong if this were just an interim stop instead of the race to the finish line?

Speaking of Adama’s blind spot, I guess any human who was concerned about whether the rebel Cylons are trustworthy was just silly, because there’s no way those Cylons might just change their minds, break the alliance, and take off on their own. No way at all. I have long been and remain a huge fan of the idea that the way to break the “all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again” cycle is by the humans and Cylons choosing each other, but hanging a picture on the Wall of Remembrance doesn’t erase the fact that the Cylons voted to run out the door 20 minutes earlier.

Can’t imagine that a magically appearing piano player–how artistic–is going to bring the subtlety back. C’mon, Battlestar–when you’re good, you’re so, so great. Maybe we’re putting unreasonable expectations on you because we’re sad the end is near, but no more revisiting “The Woman King,” okay? Blow our minds a little, please? We know you can.

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8 thoughts on “BATTLESTAR GALACTICA “Deadlocked”: Oedipus Blechs

  1. I wasn’t nearly as disappointed as you. I don’t expect a lot out of Adama. One of his signature personality characteristics is his lack of self awareness (which is correlated with his obsession with the health of Battlestar even if it’s to the detriment of the rest of the fleet). I rather liked the moving back and forth between Tigh and his child’s impending death and Adama and his concern with the health of the Battlestar. His doom and gloom attitude is what’s making possible this rising insurgency in the very guts of the ship that he loves. Baltar is probably more right than he knew with his big speech. That worked for me.

  2. I think you’re probably right on the nose in noting that if you don’t expect much from the characters, they can’t disappoint you. I need to let go of the Royal Couple. (I also agree that Baltar was spot on, which is…scary :)).

    I think the core of my disappointment is that I got neither emotion nor answers.* The first few episodes of the mini-season packed a huge emotional wallop; last week’s, while inelegant, gave us lots of long-awaited answers. I appreciate that, I really do (hi, Lost, how you doin’?). This week was a step backwards, though–no new answers pushing things forward, little to no emotion. Which leaves…As the Basestar Turns, which is not my favorite flavor of Battlestar.

    *I think a key to how much emotion a viewer felt, however, might be attached to how much s/he cared about the Pure Cylon Baby. I never understood how Tigh and Caprica’s baby was supposed to fit into or drive the narrative, so it never occurred to me the darn thing would survive. The emotion of losing it, then, didn’t cross the screen to me.

  3. Oh. Oh, yes, we can call it Tada!ma. In fact, we must call it Tada!ma. So say we all.

    I expect that is exactly how they will announce it to Laura and Ellen, so…

  4. McAmy, that is a great relief. Come huddle next to me in the corner, and we’ll discuss how no one noticed a guy in full clown makeup rigging a huge hospital for a giant explosion as we hide from the people who were angry it wasn’t nominated for Best Picture.

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