Thursday, 28 April 2011

Battlestar Galactica Season One: " Water" - My Mind Made Of Nuts And Bolts

Water would probably freeze in space right? Whatever, it looks awesome.

- A quick touch-base with the characters before we get going to avoid further confusion. Commander Adama, is the tough but fair, high-ranking military officer on board Galactica, His son Lee is a pilot/squadron captain dealing with issues of idealism, Starbuck is a girl pilot, only hates everyone and everything in the most awesome way, Baltar is a genius scientist who unbeknown to everyone caused the end of the world, and also hallucinates an apparition of the Cylon model (number Six) that seduced and betrayed him. The Cylons are our robot villains who look both like humans and terminator like monsters, Boomer is a pilot who is also a cylon sleeper agent, something she doesn't even know herself, Laura Roslin is the interim president of the human race, Helo, the soldier stuck on a nuclear ravaged planet, Tyrol is an engineer and Saul Tigh is Adama's right hand man. Exhale.

- OK, without further ado lets get into ' Water'. Ron Moore made the good decision to nominally have each episode to focus on a character, but not have the arc narrative and the rest of the cast disappear, like what happened in the earlier years of Lost. Instead we continue to build the world, yet give each character a turn in the spotlight to deepen and such. 'Water' was the turn of Boomer, our unknowingly villainous cylon sleeper agent.

- Now the concept of the 'mole' is something run into the ground with serialized action/adventure shows. Usually played for maximum mystery points, BSG is doing something a little different with it. It tells us Boomer is a cylon from the get go, and rather play the character as a plot point, it's exploring Boomer betraying her adopted family and friends against her will, and the effect it has on her, rather then just for a holy shit it was her moment.

- The arresting opening sequence sees Boomer in the ship's armoury, covered in water with no idea how she get there. I love the amount of visual ways Moore tells his story. We go on to find that boomer has in her sleeper cylon state, planted C4 in the ship's water tank, the subsequent explosion of which vastly minimizes the fleet's supply of water. A desperate Boomer recruits sometime boyfriend Tyrol to help her cover it up.

- I won't say Grace Park gives a good performance as Boomer, because she doesn't. Not really. She's kind of wooden in this episode, but Moore's writing of the character makes her interesting enough to watch anyway. Park isn't the worst actress in the world, but she's a little flat is all I'm saying. Aaron Douglas gets to give Tyrol a little more texture in this episode, a character perhaps the most under-developed of the regulars at this point.

- The slow opening was a nice. calming touch after the fast-paced ride that was last week's episode. It's nice to see quiet moments in any sci-fi show, but seeing characters like Tigh. Lee, Roslin and Adama alone, in moments they're not bound by military exposition is important for their characters.

- Ah, the beginnings of Lee Adama, political idealist are seen in this episode. I hate that guy.

- Enjoyed the calm way everyone dealt with the disaster, rather then resorting to hysterics. It gives the impression that life-threatening situations are a daily occurrence. Which of course they are.

- I don't know quite how I feel about the Boomer/Tyrol plot except to say that it makes Boomer more interesting and Tyrol less interesting. Doing anything for love is one thing, but helping out someone when they've clearly stolen and used explosives against your friends, and by all logic can only be a cylon agent is definitely another. Don't be such a sap, tyrol.

- Some prime Baltar in this episode, from his blase, could give less of a shit attitude in the tactical meeting to his sexually charged card game with Starbuck. Good times. Starbuck is already my second favorite character, she plays the assholeness with a creditable humor. It makes it fun and not taxing. Enjoyed that rare scene between them very much.

- Edward James Olmos' performance as Adama is easy to ignore, but its a very savvy, emotionally rooted one. As is that of Mary McDonnell as Roslin. Old people are always good actors aren't they?

- Also, the comedy stylings of Tricia Helfer anyone? The way she delivered 'you have a friend' as Gaeta followed Baltar around made me laugh out loud.

- Our Helo sideplot on Caprica doesn't really go anywhere this week, just him continuing to get closer to the other Boomer Cylon. They shall robot/human sex very soon.

- Boomer is part of the search team going out looking for H20 and of course she's the one to find it, and kind of has to fight her way through her programming to tell her flight buddy. I kind of liked that scene, but do wish Park could have brought more to it.

- I always say a show's second episode should be its worst, because it has to continue to world build yet without the novelty of the pilot. Yet for the most part 'Water' was a pretty solid outing, setting up the world, the hierarchy of the miltary and the government, the continuing saga of Baltar and Boomer's A story pretty effectively. It had a lot to get through and did it mostly effectively. It lacked a little of the flair and style of last week's episode, but that was inevitable.

- What's effective is that BSG is less at the whim of whose episode it is, and is capable of producing a compelling episode about one of the less then compelling characters. Solid if not extraordinary.

Rating: 6/10

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