March 20, 2007

Battlestar Galactica Musings

Posted in Television at 12:16 am by Calico Jack

The following is only going to appeal to a very small percentage of those who read this blog. Ignore at will.

For quite a while now, I’ve felt that Anders hasn’t added much to the show (no disrespect intended to Michael Trucco). His relationship with Starbuck had pretty much ground to a halt at the beginning of the season, and even after Starbuck and Apollo supposedly worked out their differences, Sam/Kara still kept going at it with no relief in sight. Anders wasn’t progressing the plot at all, and no matter how frustrated I’ve been with the producers this season, I still like to believe that they do things in BSG for a specific reason — even if we don’t see it at the time. And the strongest motive I could come up with for keeping Anders around (especially knowing about Starbuck’s departure) was that Anders could possibly be a Cylon.

If the producers do show the final five next week, and we have never met any of the faces before, the reveal will have much less of an effect that it could have. Because by giving us the identities of the last remaining Cylons, the producers have effectively made us omniscient…especially with the growing certainty that the Cylons do not, in fact, have a plan (unlike what we’re told at the beginning of each episode) and are merely winging it as they go along. The first season was full of paranoia, as people on the ship wondered which of their fellow crew members could possibly be a Cylon plotting the destruction of humanity. This kept everyone on a ragged edge, and brought quite a bite to the show.

But now, BSG seems to have settled into a holding pattern. That former paranoia no longer grips everyone; and I believe that even with the Cylons nipping at their heels, many people have grown complacent. That sense of urgency and headlong flight away from a collapsed civilization has shifted to an “Okay, now we’re racing the Cylons towards Earth; who’s going to win?” sort of tone, and it has affected the show more than I think anyone was anticipating. I also think it was a mistake to spend so much of the second and third seasons aboard the Cylon basestars, because the show was most gripping when we knew as little as the humans did. BSG needs to bring back that element of surprise and uncertainty, and the only way they can do it is to reveal an existing member (or three) as Cylons. If they don’t, and we see the five, we’ll effectively be privy to the Cylons’ opening gambit, middle, and endgame. No longer will they be able to lay plans and pull the rug out from under Galactica, leaving us just as shocked as the crew when the Cylon reveals him/herself to be the traitor amongst their midst. The audience needs to be guessing right along with everyone else, and the only way the producers can pull it off is to make one or more of the Five is a familiar face. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this person(s) be actively working behind Galactica’s back all along?

I put forth Anders as a Cylon only because he would be most convenient, plot-wise. And wasn’t it his voice in the promo for next week proclaiming that “We’re all Cylons”? But on my second viewing, once I realized that Saul, Anders, Tory, and Tyrol (missed him the first time around) all heard the music…well, that goes most of my theory. No way are the producers going to a) make all four Cylons, and b) make the connection so glaringly obvious. So the music has to play a different role; perhaps those four are somehow connected with destiny and finding Earth? I don’t think Tyrol’s story arc is over yet, just as I suspect Starbuck’s bound to return someday (unless we really are meant to think that having a foretold destiny is a bunch of nonsense).

I’m still willing to bet that we get a reveal of at least one member of the Five in the season finale, because it will give BSG a much-needed adrenaline shot — although the past several weeks have almost washed out the bitter taste that is much of Season 3. All I know is that I will be staying as far away from spoilers as I can until next Sunday evening.

And they had better convict Baltar, or I am going to need to buy a new television set Monday morning…

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