Monday, January 29, 2007

EW Review of Taking a Break

From Entertainment Weekly:

TV Watch
Suicide Solution
On ''Battlestar Galactica,'' Baltar undergoes interrogation and finds a way to test whether he's a Cylon; plus, the partners in the love quadrangle square off

By Marc Bernardin

Amazing, isn't it? That Baltar's first thoughts upon finding out — in the middle of his suicide attempt — that he's a Cylon were ''Thank God, I'm alive'' and ''No one was betrayed.'' It's not that he feels any remorse over the things he's done, the choices he's made; he just wants to know that he didn't really screw anyone over. That he's always been true to who and what he was. His real gift is for rationalization. (Yeah, I know he's not a Cylon — I did watch the rest of the episode. I'm just proving a point here.)

The two presidents are two sides of the same coin. Beginning with the very smart mirroring of Baltar's treatment of Roslin when she was in a Cylon cell, and continuing through her interrogation, they matched each other shout for shout, accusation for accusation. And the thing of it is, Baltar isn't entirely wrong, and Roslin isn't entirely right. Still, the fury of Roslin Unleashed is something to see, isn't it? Even if it was just a ploy to get Baltar to talk, it definitely seemed like that anger was totally real. Why she — hell, why anyone in this cast — doesn't get nominated for awards is beyond me.

It's funny — somehow, I'm not so much rooting for Apollo and Starbuck to find the love they've been chasing for so long as I am thrilled that the cuckolded spouses (Dualla and Anders) finally threatened to stop being romantic punching bags and move on. If only they stuck to their guns. I know I can't be the only one who wanted Dualla to respond to Lee's heartfelt stay-with-me speech with ''No.''

(By the way, I hope that Joe's Bar serves a real dramatic purpose and is more than Ten-Forward on the Galactica. People can drink anywhere; I just hope Ron Moore and his team give us a compelling reason for them to drink there.)

Here's my problem with the Baltar interrogation scene: that they didn't thud him in the nards, Casino Royale-style. Seriously, though, my problem is that they took almost an entire storytelling act to tell us what we already knew. Sure, Adama and Roslin needed to learn about the final five Cylons and Baltar's true role in the Caprica genocide, but did we need to hear it again? Not so much. I'd have gladly traded half of that drug-induced dead man's float (in that weirdo Jesus-inmate outfit) for more of the Roslin-Caprica Six scene that followed the credits, which promised to deliver so much more than ''Oh, no, I'm not a traitor, I did what I had to, whimper whimper, blubber blubber.''

In truth, the only thing that surprised me, in a good way, was Felix Gaeta. I suspected that he had hidden steel after seeing what he did on the surface of New Caprica, supplying the resistance with valuable intelligence — and after seeing him refuse to beg the Circle for his life after he was condemned to death by airlock — but I never thought he'd plunge a ballpoint into Baltar's neck. What set him off, do you think? Was it something that Baltar actually whispered in his ear, or was Gaeta concerned that Adama and Roslin would think that Baltar was passing information to his once and future lackey? And was that tracheal perforation part of Baltar's plan, to insure that he'd get his trial?

Speaking of the inevitable trial of Gaius Baltar, am I wrong in thinking that there shouldn't even be one? Didn't Laura Roslin, in one of her first acts after she was sworn back into office, issue a general amnesty for any and all actions committed during the Cylon occupation? Shouldn't that pardon extend to Baltar as well? If I were his lawyer — and you know he'll get a lawyer — that'd be my first argument.

I was a bit underwhelmed by this episode. The Lee-Kara storyline no longer holds any real juice. As they say, crap or get off the pot. Seeing Baltar repeat things we already knew isn't dramatic. Some dude named Joe building a bar on the hangar deck isn't enough. I want more.

Where were Helo and Sharon and Hera? Why couldn't we have more Caprica Six? Where'd the Cylons go? (And why didn't they barrage the Galactica with nukes before they jumped out of the supernova's path last episode?) So many questions, so few answers, and the answers I got didn't shed any light whatsoever.

Other than that Gaeta's got some wicked penmanship.

What do you think?
Posted Jan 29, 2007

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