Thursday, September 01, 2005

Review for Home Part Two

No new episode this week, due to a Stargate Watcher's Choice thingy. New episode next week though!


Opening with a beautifully scored montage of Adama and Roslin consulting the documents in which they place their faith, part two of "Home" gets off to an elegant start for an episode that will skillfully continue the show's examination of religion from the human and Cylon perspective. For Adama, opinions on Kobol are the result of the detailed maps and surveys collected by his crew. For Roslin, the ancient Book of Pythia, couched in figurative language and mystery, provides the lens through which she explores the long abandoned landscape. Without words, the opening moments establish where the two opposing leaders' faiths lie, but the actions of one will heal the breach that has split the fleet since the end of season one.
Bill Adama, despite his prejudices, is a very intelligent man. He believes that Roslin is wrong about Kobol and the legends she pursues. He also knows that humanity cannot survive in two warring halves, so he takes the first step in healing the schism and brings the olive branch to the President. He goes so far as to offer Roslin his forgiveness, a brilliantly realized scene in which the President illustrates the depths of her self-importance by throwing that forgiveness back in his face. The subtle shadings left on characters by moments like these are wonderful for the intricate way in which they erode audience sympathies one way or the other. Depending on the allegiances a viewer has already developed, they may now alter their feelings toward characters in slight ways that build across the season until the opposing character suddenly seems to be in the right.
If opinions on Adama and Roslin can be slowly honed by subtle character moments like a Japanese stone garden, the audience's feelings for Boomer must, by now, resemble a swiftly swinging pendulum. Her scheme to prove her loyalties to Adama was one of the best executed pieces of writing seen on television in years. The fact that it's so easy to buy into her actions at every step and still be astonished when her plan clicks together like a finely crafted watch is a joy. Her relationship to Adama now established, it will be intriguing to observe the triangle now completed by Tyrol on one level and Baltar on another.
Speaking of the Vice President, James Callis turns in another fine performance as Baltar obsesses over the nature of his Number Six hallucinations. Pleasant though the visions are, courtesy of Tricia Helfer, Baltar's increasing foreknowledge of events related to the Cylon plans along with Dr. Coddle's confirmation that he's free of implants, would suggest that Baltar may be one of the Cylon's the deceased Boomer revealed to be among the fleet ships. Having not yet seen the whole of season one, I'm loathe to hypothesize beyond the facts at hand, but I'm sure the talkbacks will set me strait on the details. As to Helfer, her lust-inducing nude Number Six does an unexpected one-eighty to become a "girl next door" model while attempting to assist Baltar with his self-analysis. This persona really shows of Helfer's range within the confines of her character and provides another color she can play with in Baltar's head.

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