The preparations for Baltar’s trial are in full swing; the judges are being picked, the lawyers are getting ready for a fight, and after a series of assassination attempts, a new career path opens up for Lee Adama.
A note to first time BSG watchers; these aren’t the reviews for you. I plan to write about the show with the ending in mind. If you haven’t seen the show, you will be spoiled on stuff that happens at the end. You’ve been warned.
I really wasn’t looking forward to this episode.
Don’t get me wrong, Romo Lampkin is one cool third-act surprise, and Mark Sheppard gives everything he’s got to playing this not-so-merry trickster but…I still have to consider the rest of the episode, and it’s just lacking.
The episode has certain markers it needs to meet, like Lee and Anders bonding at Starbuck’s mini-funeral or Lampkin convincing Caprica Six not to testify against her former lover. We need to see these things, especially since the trial is going on in the next two episodes, but the episode is just setup; it never soars as a lot of the other episodes do.
Those just happen to be structural failings, easily dismissed if the rest of the episode works. But what can’t be overlooked here is the lack of emotion throughout the episode.
Just one episode before, two weeks in BSG time, the fleet lost its light; she inexplicably died, killed herself for no reason anyone can see, and while we *know* the fleet – particularly the Adamas and Anders – is suffering, the emotional moments don’t work. Michael Angeli has greatness in him (just look at “A Measure of Salvation” or “Six of One”), but here, his script is going through the motions.
For starters, the assassination stuff comes out of nowhere, racks up a bit of body count, and then just stops after Captain Kelley’s nonsensical confession (and since I dislike her anyway, let’s just mention that Cally proves herself to be even more stupid and mean than I ever thought possible in her one scene).
Likewise, Admiral Adama benches Lee, forces him to serve as Lampkin’s bodyguard, picks fights with him when it really feels like they would be bonding (especially considering how far their relationship has grown since the miniseries), then gets pissy when Lee wants to help Baltar’s legal team (the job Papadama set him up for the first place).
The whole episode kind of feels like that; the writing is heavy-handed, the actors can’t connect with the script (and therefore can’t connect with us), and I spent the whole episode waiting for it to end so we can get to the good stuff coming next week.
But take heart; this is Angeli’s last sucky episode; from here on in, I love him unconditionally.
I certainly have problems with this episode, but Lee Adama has been a rather neglected character for a while now, and it’s a brave move to finally get him to step away from his father’s path and find his own (it’s been a long, long time coming). He’s a fine pilot, but really, he’s a lot better leader.
One scene that did really work is at the beginning, a wordless scene where Admiral Adama looks over Starbuck’s file. It’s gripping, understated and really stands out from the rest of the plodding episode. Maybe that’s the key…going wordless.
Romo, I don’t blame you one bit for hating Joseph Adama. Not one bit.
Who knew it would be that easy to manipulate Caprica Six? Just get some fast-talking deception artist and boom, she’ll do whatever you want. (Sigh. And grrr…)
Next up: “Crossroads”