Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock

This week, Ellen and Boomer return to the ailing Galactica and both hilarity and solemnity follow them. In other reunions, Gaius returns to his flock to discover that in his absence, they have found a new shepherd with a more pragmatic and ruthless style.

If you haven’t seen the show, or the most recent episode, and you care about that sort of thing, don’t click to the next page. There be spoilers, and lots of them; you’ve been warned.

Man, no one delivers an emotional sucker-punch quite like Jane Espenson; I have been a fan of her writing since her “Buffy” days, and she’s created quite the niche in the “Galactica” universe. “Deadlock” is her third episode this season (“Escape Velocity” and “The Hub” being the others, also favorites of mine), and it’s hands down my favorite of this 2009 batch.

Last week, I was a bit upset (and that’s not exaggerating; I wasn’t fuming, I was disappointed) with the all-talk, no plot, and I wanted a return to the happy medium of yore. This show has quite the habit of making wish fulfillment suck, and I’ve finally become a victim of it. Damn show, damn lovely show.

First off, Espenson knows how to bring the funny. From Gaius falling from a leader of losers to just plain ol’ loser, to Ellen and Saul’s impromptu tryst, to Laura’s trying to be a person and fumbling at having a nice and normal conversation with a Cylon, to Ellen’s attempt at being a mean girl to her rival, I was laughing more than I have since the first season episode “Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down,” which in a funny coincidence was Ellen’s first episode on the show. In that line, here’s a sentence I never thought I would write; I have been missing Head Six, and it was so nice to have her snarky self back.

At one point, I actually said to myself, “What is this show I’m watching? This can’t be my Battlestar!” but I was wrong. Everyone has laughter in their life, and social awkwardness, and personal drama, etc. Our fleet is no exception.

Of course, with all that laughter and the good times, I forgot an important lesson of the “Battlestar Galactica” universe; that happiness comes with a price. Most notably, Caprica Six’s miscarriage; Saul Tigh’s only child died inside his mother, apparently (just speculation mind you) set off by the infighting among the Final Five Cylons about whether to leave the fleet or run and form their own country. I can’t say if that’s a thread that’s going to be followed up on, but what a price to pay for a disagreement.

And you have to feel for Saul here; he’s put his heart in to three people, and all want him to pick his best love and stick with it, and unfortunately, the guy can’t choose. He’s given the biggest piece to his best friend and he can’t betray that, for anyone. While I love Earth mother Ellen, she’s still Ellen, and I’m happy to see that she’s grown to; she loves him enough to let him go and be happy with his new love and their baby, even if it takes her a while to get there (she’s a Cylon, she’s not perfect).

I will also admit that after last week, Ellen’s reversal here threw me a bit, but she is still Ellen, and this is the Ellen the fleet knows. From personal experience (which is all I can really draw from), we are different people depending on who we’re with, and I think Espenson is smart enough to know that while Ellen can be a loving mother figure to Cavil, she can also be the jealous, forgotten wife of Tigh, along with being the forgiving wife that knows how to heal him.

I was a bit worried we’d get the clichd blonde-on-blonde catfight, but Espenson didn’t let me down. How cool was it to see scenes, more than one, between women on this show? It’s weird and different and I like it.

Another thing to like is that William Adama’s recent heavy drinking is not going unnoticed (kudos to director Robert Young for that brief Roslin reaction shot), which is awesome because the dude is starting to get a little scary-dependent on the sauce.

And finally, finally, it seems like Roslin and Adama are beginning to see the lives their people are living, and our cloistered leaders are choosing to improve them, even if it means taking the advice of the most hated Gaius Baltar. This is one area where I got what I wanted, and it worked out. Hopefully it will last; it’s kind of fun to like Baltar after so many episodes of despising him.

I loved this episode is all I’m saying here, mainly because this is an episode all about love; not just romantic love, although there was a good deal of that too, but about the brotherly love Gaius feels for those suffering around him; the familial love Roslin feels for her growing, blended family; the maternal love Caprica felt for her threatened child; the great unknown love between actualized Cylons Boomer and Chief; and the paternal love Adama feels for his morphing ship.

So much love, so little time left, so much story left to tell. See you next week.