Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Stepping Over the Line

The Syfy Portal reviews the episode Pegasus in this essay:

Stepping Over The Line
Author: Alan Stanley Blair Date: 09-28-2005
Since the second season started, I have constantly been in a state of awe with the level of storytelling each episode of BSG has shown by creating an intricately woven tapestry of action, drama, political and religious intrigue and suspense. But never did I think that bringing all of it together in a single episode would be such an overwhelming success.
“Pegasus” was that success.
With the Galactica uncovering another Battlestar, the door opens to possibilities that were previously unavailable. And the best part is, it was done without stepping on the toes of the 1970’s series by brandishing the usual adult themes that permeate the series.
It’s exactly that darkness that keeps the series one step ahead of its competition, but as Boomer was forced over her bunk and Thorne unzipped his trousers, I couldn’t help but cringe.
Is this too far for sci-fi? Is this too far for television? If not, it’s certainly walking a fine line. Before Boomer could cry out, I almost cried out for her. I was on the edge of my seat, and for a moment I don’t think I was even breathing, just hoping that Helo and Tyrol would reach her in time. And when they did, everything else faded away. Nothing around me seemed to exist because I was so transfixed by what I was seeing that nothing else mattered. Each blow delivered to the Pegasus soldiers by Galactica’s Cylon-loving crew was like a breath of fresh air.
But “Battlestar Galactica” is not the first genre show to tackle such a controversial incident –- during its sixth season, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” included a rape scene, and much like the super-strength Cylon Boomer, Buffy Summers was reduced to a powerless girl. I think that’s why the drama that unfolded in “Pegasus” was so potent: it was all about power. Power gained, power lost and power relinquished. So why then was the effect of this rape sequence so profound when compared to that of Buffy?
Well, as I see it, there are two answers. Perhaps the most logical was numerical. In Buffy, the attack was one-on-one. But in BSG, Thorne had a gang assisting him, pinning Sharon to her bunk. However, the most fundamental and thought provoking concept is exactly who was involved. Or rather, what was involved.
Now I’m not going to delve into the debate as to whether or not a Cylon is Human (I’ll save that for another day), but instead take a look at the assailants – they weren’t demons. These were human soldiers, Defenders of the twelve colonies…and the same kind of characters we have come to love over the last two years. The most shocking thing about it is that this could have been Galactica’s crew under different circumstances. Regardless, it is destined to become one of television’s most shocking scenes of 2005.
The mirror effect that followed only helped to elevate the entire situation, with Six (Tricia Helfer) breaking apart at the sight of her abused alter-ego. Since the mini-series, Baltar (James Callis) has been a sort of anti-villain. A victim of circumstance rather than a malevolent presence within the series. But as he connected with the catatonic Gina, it was the first time I felt genuine sympathy towards his situation…and towards the Cylons.
When I learned Michelle Forbes had been cast as Admiral Cain, I thought it was a mis-step. This was a genuine “The Next Generation” actress. Someone who embodied Gene Roddenberry’s noble vision of the future. Now granted, Ro Laren was far from perfect, but she wasn’t evil. Far from it. She was a freedom fighter who believed in helping those who could not help themselves. Forbes was not welcome on BSG.
Even when she stepped on board the Galactica I maintained that opinion. But when she stood there with gritted teeth and ordered action stations within the Pegasus I realised that the casting was spot on and no one else could do a better job playing the Hard-assed bitch! I love it! Putting Roslin (Mary McDonnall) in her place as the Secretary of Education was a brilliant maneuver and reminded everyone who wears the brass and who has control of the fleet. But I knew where it was going, and I certainly couldn’t wait for it to happen.
The second Adama (Edward James Olmos) ordered Tigh (Michael Hogan) to assemble a strike team and the drumming started, I knew this was going to be good. I knew that what I was about to see was nothing short of breathtaking. Especially after what happened to Boomer. Cain pushed Adama too far and finally crossing the uncrossable line. It was about damn time Adama pushed back!
The only problem is that we now need to wait until January to see the resolution. But it will be worth the wait.
Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus


No comments: