Andrew Magrath (biggrumpy) wrote,
Andrew Magrath

A Rare Critique of Battlestar Galactica

I love BSG. I probably love BSG more than I should, but the last two episodes really kind of disappointed me. I'll tell you why after the link to prevent spoilers.  I'm hoping I get some comments on this entry as well, so I suggest if you haven't watched the episodes/season you not read the comments either because plot is being discussed.

With the series winding down I sometimes feel that in the rush characters are being sacrificed on the altar of plot device.  Last episode saw Tyrol vote to abandon Galacitca.  It was somewhat implied that he did so because Boomer was on board again, but this felt horribly horribly forced it should have been explored more.  Even if it had been, I doubt Tyrol would abandon the ship, no more than Tigh.  The Chief loves Galactica and is, in many ways, as fanatical about the ship as Adama.  I also thought that he would not have abandoned Nicky when he found out he was Hot Dogs son.  That felt really lame too, like they had to quickly think of a way to de-special Nicky and to make Hara more important.  The Chief more than anyone feels like his character is sometimes just a plot device and I really hate that in general and particularly because Tyron was one of my favorite characters during the series.  Which naturally ties in with Boomer.

Boomer was my favorite character in the beginning.  I thought she was a fascinating look at what it means to exist.  I read a fantastic philosophical essay about her and how she will never fit in.  As a "human" she will always have "dark" cylon impulses and the weight of the knowledge that she shot Adama, but as a cylon she will always have "perverse" human emotions of affection and love for those aboard Galactica.  She is forever trapped as the outsider.  And that does bring her character and her actions into sharper focus, yet the way she was written in the last episode was really poorly done.  I just feel like it was very out of character for her to be super evil.  It's okay for her to be confused evil, but not super evil.  Her previous actions are in some way understandable because she honestly wants to be a machine (in the same way she honestly wanted to be human on Galactica), but just as she experienced an existential crisis when she realized she was a cylon, she should have experienced an existential crisis by re-encountering the Galactica crew and realizing that she was not really a cylon either.  Boomer used to be one of the sweetest (and at times naive) characters on the show (along with Billy).  I just find it hard to believe that she would do this 180 and be evil all the time.  It feels like the only reason she is there is to be evil and that all notions of her character have been stripped out so she can forward the plot rather than have the plot shaped by her character.

I think that is my main critique of BSG right now.  I like that the cylons are complicated and not a hierarchical evil threat.  It was a very different model of "menace" than most villains/shows.  They evolved from a faceless "they could be anyone", to a complicated collective bent on destroying humanity, to a confused and fractured organization, to outright civil war and eventual human allies and rivals.  That was a very well done progression with a lof of interesting twists and turns, and yet (in many ways) they retained their facelessness throughout.  Yes we liked Caprica Six more than some random Six, but we couldn't tell who she was standing in a group of Sixes.  Even Athena -- the most flushed out of the Cylons -- was indistinguishable from other Eights (ask Helo after this episode -- lucky jerk).  There remained this notion that the cylons were interchangeable in many ways, even the ones with a "personality".  The interesting thing about the cylons is that they are not a monolithic enemy, they are a democracy.  They simultaneously have individuality (both within and between models) and yet are devoid of it (one model can speak for all in their line, no model "ruled" the others).  But that has changed.  Much to my chagrin, the threat of the cylons has been boiled down to ONE model One (John/Brother Cavil) and ONE model Eight (Boomer).  It just feels so horribly anticlimactic and contrived.  It feels so human.   And that is why the cylons were interesting -- they WERE human-esque but never human.  But this "twist" feels like the easy plot driven way out.  Give the good guys a singular bad guy to fight and call it a day.  The BSG universe is far more complicated than that, and they have done it a disservice. 

I'm sorry BSG, but the recent treatment of Tyol & Boomer, and the "master villain" nature of Cavil/Boomer has all been kind of lame.

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