It’s an amazing thing how a show can change direction so suddenly so many times over several years and still maintain its momentum. In the case of Battlestar Galactica we once again leave a 60 minute block of time in a completely different place than we started it. Where we left the mid-season finale asking ourselves “now what” with Sometimes a Great Notion we’re getting a clear picture that this show has no intention to “wind down” quietly. They start to this string of final episodes with one dizzying revelation after another.
I had to smile as the end credits began. The taste for blood is back and we’ve gotten the most entertaining hour of Galactica that we could have hoped for. The biggest head scratcher may be just how in the hell they can still be blowing things up so dramatically with only 10 or so hours left in the run of the series. As if there weren’t enough questions still unanswered at the start of this episode, apparently the writing strategy was basically just screw the last four years of teasing, answer all the questions raised in that time and let’s blow the audience’s mind by starting a whole new set of mysteries.
It’s hard to review a single episode of an episodic drama, but my overall gut reaction is shock and delight. Let’s just hit some high points:
Just in case you haven’t seen it, one more fatality drops the count of human survivors by one. It’s one of the most shocking and unexpected deaths of any character in the series so far.
What? The final Cylon is revealed tonight? Yep. To be fair (if you haven’t seen it) Ron Moore and many of the Battlestar staff had commented that they hadn’t seen ANY correct guesses on the internet. Well, for those that have seen it, we now know that was a complete bullshit statement. While the final Cylon may not have been the leading candidate, it had been put forth by many “professional” internet forum slobs and talkbackers. Yes it’s a person and not some “abstract concept.”
The discoveries made on Earth were appetizingly fiendish. It’s almost hard to wrap your mind around how much excessive speculation had been put forth over the last couple of years. Now vast questions about the nature of Earth and the Colonial religious folklore are simply cleared up and wiped away in a few key scenes.
I don’t know exactly why or exactly how, but I think we can all agree that Starbuck is screwed. Nothing good can come from the things she’s seen this week.
Saul Tigh continues to be one of the greatest characters on television. They’ve been leading up to this for entire first half of season 4. The addiction tables have been turned, and the revelation of a post apocalyptic Earth has helped Admiral Adama’s trip toward alcoholism along nicely, as well as begun to push the entire crew of Galactica and the rest of the fleet toward hopelessness bordering on insanity. One the biggest signs that you have a problem with alcohol is when SAUL TIGH has to tell you that you’ve had enough to drink.
One of the most intense, uncomfortable dramatic confrontations in the run of the entire series takes place in Saul’s quarters. I’ve never been so delighted by a performance yet dismayed by it’s implications.
There’s no question that one of the key reasons for the high quality of this program is the continued impressive performances of its leads. As great as the writing has been for the past several years, I’m not sure that any of this could have been have been sustained without Olmos, McDonnell, Callis, etc. This show has been elevated by the greatness of its leads and carried convincingly even in it’s “lesser” periods by this troupe of great actors. While I hope the show goes out with a bang in a couple of months, I also hope it goes out with a handful of Emmy Awards for it’s stars.
In short, if you had any doubts, Sometimes a Great Notion certainly seems like that Galactica isn’t going go out quietly. Can’t wait until next week.
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Mike “ScuzzBuster” Broda is a film critic and editorial writer for Deviant Knowledge, an entertainment/leisure blog.