June 14, 2008

Battlestar Galactica: "Revelations"

Colonel Tigh[WARNING, the following contains spoilers and plot information for the June 13, 2008 episode of Battlestar Galactica, "Revelations"]
I've never actually written a review of a television show or a movie, but after watching last night's episode of Battlestar Galactica (the mid-season 4 finale), I felt compelled to share my thoughts. It was about a year ago that I first started watching the show, catching up on the first two seasons via Netflix, and watching season 3 via various online resources (including streaming episodes at scifi.com and hulu.com). Right from the get-go I was hooked. I've always been a fan of science fiction, but Battlestar Galactica takes the genre to an entirely different level.
What about last night's mid-season 4 finale, though? One of the complaints about a serial drama series, is that sometimes there are episodes that are laborious to watch. This has been my feeling throughout many of the episodes of season 4 to date. Several were clearly setup episodes that were begging for a payoff further down the line. Well payoff they did. Easily the best episode of the entire series thus far, "Revelations" is one of the most badass hours of television you'll ever see. Let's start from the top:
D'Anna's standoff
When the Three's were unboxed last week in "The Hub," we knew the identities of the four cylons in the fleet had to be revealed to the others soon. Well right off the bat, D'Anna initiates a cataclysm of events that sends us right down this path. Declaring the members of the colonial fleet on the base ship her hostages, she visits Galactica and informs Lee that she will release the hostages as soon as the final four cylons have joined them on the base ship.
I love the subtleness of this scene. With Tigh, Tory, Anders, and Tyrol all present on the hangar deck, D'Anna says that "she's already been in contact with the four, and will be awaiting them on the base ship." Giving the impression that she's using some kind of secret cylon communication protocol, she's actually just contacting the four of them directly on that floor. Predictably, Tory finagles her way onto the base ship with some story about Roslin needing her medication. It is the reaction of the other three, though, and especially Colonel Tigh that makes this scene so riveting, and sets up the rest of the episode.

Tigh comes clean
The development of Colonel Tigh has been nothing short of awesome throughout this series. The irony of his character is that once he found out that he is a cylon, his transformation was overwhelmingly positive. Gods damn if he's a cylon, he's going to do his duty as a member of the colonial fleet. This is a far cry from the alcoholic train wreck that we saw in seasons 1 and 2. Well "Revelations" gave us the ultimate scene of his transformation.
When D'Anna begins executing hostages when the remaining three cylons have not been given up, Tigh sees it as an opportunity. He comes clean to Admiral Adama, revealing that he's a cylon, and suggesting that they can save the fleet, by threatening to blow him out an airlock. Surely, D'Anna won't risk losing one of the final five. The execution of this revelation scene is nothing short of spectacular. Tigh is stoic in his confession. He's a cylon, he knows it, and gods dammit he's still loyal to Adama and still wants to save the fleet. Adama's reaction is brilliant and believable: denial, then anger, then uncontrollable grief.

Lee's coming of age
The writer's of the show have done well to keep Lee Adama always somewhat in the shadow of his father. He somewhat broke out of this mold with his actions at the end of season 3 and his unbelievable monologue at Baltar's trial. But with his handling of the fallout from Tigh's confession, he finally establishes that he can stand on his own, and it is him that comes to his father's rescue in his moment of complete despair. I admit that while I was fairly sure the writers wouldn't kill Tigh off the show (his character is too good to lose), I wouldn't have been too surprised if Lee actually had airlocked Tigh when he took complete charge of the hostage situation.

Starbuck's revelation
Starbuck's plot thread has been the most mysterious of season 4. "Revelations," however, gives us a potential answer to those ominous words uttered by the hybrid in "Razor": "Kara Thrace will lead the human race to its end. She is the heralder of the apocalypse, the harbinger of death. They must not follow her.” What does this mean? Starbuck has been obsessed with Earth ever since she came back from the dead. Does Earth have something to do with it?
Starbuck is the one that returns with the mysterious Viper, and now we find out that the Viper was the "on switch" for the final four cylons. It was what held the path to Earth all along, and now Starbuck makes this revelation after Anders, Tyrol, and Tigh are drawn to the Viper after hearing that music once again. Heralder of the apocalypse? She ultimately brings them to Earth, and Earth's fate? an apparent apocalypse indeed...

I was very surprised that the fleet made it to Earth in this episode. They were only one jump away? Who knew? The penultimate scene, where the crew and the fleet celebrate the end of their journey is fitting and brings appropriate closure to this aspect of the story. The truce with the cylons? Believable, and the brightest injection of hope in the darkest season of the series. In fact, even with so many plot threads left unanswered, there was a feeling of satisfaction with this scene that they could have almost ended the series right there. Not that I would have wanted that, but it wouldn't have been a horrendous ending to the show (say if the writer's strike had killed the series).

The shocker
Thankfully, the show, and the series doesn't end with the fleet's arrival to Earth. In the last minute of the episode, we see Adama and many of the others standing on Earth, looking at an apparently demolished wasteland of what once was New York City. Wow...
So where do they go from here? This episode was incredibly satisfying and yet raises a ton of new questions, and still leaves many unanswered. What happened to Earth? Is this even Earth? Who is the final cylon? Where did the final five come from? What happened to Boomer and the 1's, 4's and 5's? Will Roslin survive her cancer? Will the truce between the humans and cylons hold up? Will they colonize Earth, or move on? There are so many more. I just hope that next season (or is it season 4.5?) delivers the finality that this outstanding series deserves.

So say we all.

1 comment :

  1. Liked your comments... There's not enough praise in the dictionary for the character/portrayal of Tigh...