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Sunday, February 20, 2005
TV Round-Up
Enterprise: Affliction
What an absolute blast of an hour of Enterprise this was.

It ties together not only some plot threads from within Enterprise itself, but also uses those to a larger degree to explain some things within the Star Trek universe. Within the Enterprise universe, there are so many nods to previous epiosdes this year--from the Augments arc to the Vulcan storylines. It's nice to see that things aren't happening in a vaccum and that things that occurred four or five episodes earlier are having an impact on the course of events here. I love the the Auguments and Soong's genetic manipulation of them is having unexpected consequences within the Klingon empire. The Klingons, fearing that humanity will start putting Augments on their ships to take over and destroy the Klingons, try to create their own genetically enhanced supermen. But things don't work so well, resulting in the non-cranial ridged forehead Klingtons with big eyebrows we saw on TOS. Add to it that the genetic enhancements mutated with a flu virus and are now airborn, wreaking havoc and you've got one of the more plausible reasons as to why the Klingons of TOS era looked the way they did. My inner geek was dancing with joy at this little revelation because it actually works. It's been well set-up within the context of what we've seen on Enterprise and it's an interesting and well thought out way to explain a question that has been around the Trek universe for years. I have to applaud Manny Coto and company for a great, plausible and interesting take on this age old question. Again, this is what Enterprise should have been doing all along and it does make me a bit sad to think that just as it's getting interesting and compelling and telling stories that are uniquely Star Trek that it gets cut down and cancelled.

Of course, this revelation is helped by the fact that this is one of the stronger episodes we've had in 2005. From the begining with Phlox's kidnapping to Tripp's trying to fit in with a new crew to the ship being taken over by a Klingon computer virus, this one was nicely plotted and paced. The mark of a good "To Be Continued" is when you get to it and can't wait to see the next episode--and I am definitely looking forward to where we go next.

Now, that is not to say it was prefect. I refer specifically to Malcolm's apparently being part of Section 31. I found myself thinking about the revelation on DS9 that Bashir was genetically manipulated as a boy and was, in many ways, superior to those around him. This revelation was one that, in the context of the series, made a lot of sense and suddenly made you look at old Bashir episodes in a new light. And while I think that's what they were trying to do with Reed's character here, I am not sure it's worked as well. I like the idea that Reed is working for someone else and that his loyalties are conflicted. That was all well done. But I am not sure that the idea was established well enough by the previous storylines about Reed and what we've come to know about him. He seems too straight-laced and by the book to really be part of a covert group like Section 31. As the episode unfolded, I found myself thinking back about what we knew about Reed and seeing if this new information gelled with what was previously established and I just don't see it.

All of that said, I'm also a bit nervous that part two won't live up to the standards of part one. Part one felt epic and it felt like--things are happening here. Big things, important things. If there's one huge area that Trek has dropped the ball over the years it's having brilliant initial segments and coming up a bit short in the second half wrap-up. Enterprise has done a decent job this year of telling well-paced multi-part stories, though I do admit that sometimes part three can be rushed. I just hope that I don't come away from Friday's episode disappointed because this really was, nitpicks on Malcom's arc aside, a good hour and one of the most enjoyable we've had all year.

Battlestar Galactica: Six Degrees of Separation
I really hate it when the shows I get into reward me for not having a life. In the case of the two discussed in this post, both episodes this week made it really worth my while to stay in and watch them on Friday evening.

I loved what this epiosde of Battlestar Galactica did. Baltar rejects Six's religious ideals and gets punished for it--in a big way. A copy of Six comes on board with evidence of Baltar's betrayal and slowly begins to put the screws to him. I loved how Baltar tries everything in his power to try and cover up the evidence of his betryal--evidence that was fabricated to start with. I do admit that as the episode unwound, I found myself less and less certain that Baltar would be exonerated in any way. There were so many great scenes with Baltar slowly losing control of the situation--from the early scenes with Baltar's disbelief that everyone can see Six to his conversation with Gaeta in the restroom to the scene where the President tells him she is disappointed because she believed him. It makes you wonder if Six's manipulation of Baltar here has created a sense of distrust between Baltar and the crew. As the President said, the evidence against Baltar FELT true and that was what hurt the most. I have to think that Adama and company will keep an eye on Baltar a bit more in the future.

But I really liked that all this was a test to break Baltar down. And notice that Baltar does not call up gods in his prayer at the end by prays to god--we're assuming the god of the Cylons. I love how one of the central conflicts of the series is between two races with very different views of god. And how the Cylons are willing to wipe out humanity because their view of god doesn't agree with what the Cylons believe. It's fascinating and one of the many great things about this show.

Meanwhile, there are other things happening. Starbuck is nursing her injury and the crew is trying to figure out the Cylon raider. Also, there is some continued fall out from the end of the Tyrol/Boomer affair from the last episode. I loved seeing Tigh go down and get after Starbuck to get her out of bed and back on her feet. And the continued paranoia about the fact that Cylons are among the crew was great. Of course, I do wonder if the Cylon's didn't play a hand a bit early to teach Baltar his lesson here by having Six revealed to the crew .

Of course, it's interesting that in both cases of Cylon clones manipulating members of the Galactica crew--Baltar and Hilo--that both are reverting to the emotions of love and lust to do so. With Baltar, Six has pretty much got to him through his lust since the beginning (I loved that Baltar throught that Six wanted a profession of love right after she pulled her vanishing act from his mind) and Hilo is being manipulated to care for Boomer--which is expressed here in how he takes care of her and then they're making love. (As Boomer's spine glows red no less). I guess the Cylons know how to hit humanity and its weak point and are exploiting it. Interesting also that Six tries to pull a simliar trick on Adama, but he is more resistant to it. I also think that the Cylons are targeting people who are lonely and in need of a touch--both physical and spiritual--and manipulating that. I just wonder if there are male Cylon agents who are doing the same thing with females within the fleet. And will Adama's apparent rejection of Six's advances make him more dangerous to them as their plan continues to unfold.

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