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Thursday, August 25, 2005
TV Round-Up
Battlestar Galactica: Home, Part 1
I'm always intrigued by how television shows use the "To Be Continued" caption at the end of certain episode of TV shows. It was use this week to lead into next week's episode, but I found myself wondering--was it really all that necessary? Because basically, the last nine or so new epiosdes could have featured that little tag to end the story since all the episodes closely follow each other in terms of the on-going story and continuity.

Not that I am complaining, mind you.

I'm just wondering about these things.

Because, honestly, there wasn't a lot to NOT like about this one. Yes, I realize that a lot of it was an elaborate coming together of the last nine or so episodes of the show and moving them toward some type of resolution next week with the conclusion of this arc. But I really liked the way the pieces began to move into place structurally. Last week, I noted I felt like the ships jumping away from the fleet wasn't really addressed at all, except for a comment or two by Adama. This week, we see how this is affecting things and how the splintering of the fleet has weakened things. Also, I found the character journey that Adama goes through a fascinating one. From being stubborn and prideful at the beginning in appointed a new CAG and making comments about loyalty to the conversation with Duala in his quarters to his decision to put the fleet back together. One of the interesting themes of the early season two episodes is characters being forced to embrace roles that are bit outside their area of expertise--from Tigh being the sole leader to Adama facing the press corp here to Roslin playing the religious card.

But in the end, it's Adama who is forces to swallow his pride and begin the journey toward putting things back together. To steal a quote from the original Star Trek's "Doomsday Machine," "We're stronger with you than without you." Looking back, it's easy to forget the exact details of how this current situation began (though you'd think the Cylons would be tearing in to take a potshot or two while the fleet is divided) but it was action of both Roslin and Adama that created the current crisis. Interesting to see that Adama is the one who is willing to offer the palm branch first and do what it takes to put the fleet back together.

Meanwhile, we begin to see more of the true colors of Tom Zarek. As I watch, I don't see Zarek as a typical bad-guy so much as a Gul Dukat type character from DS9. Dukat was absolutely convinced that everything he did was for his own personal good and to achieve his agenda, even when it seemed totally at odds with what was needed overall. Zarek is one of those where the ends seem to justify the means, but he's also smart to plot with a sidekick to take out Lee, thus leaving him an out should the plot be exposed. (And it might be as I don't see them killing off Lee).

And Starbuck returns to the fleet, leading to one of the many great scenes of the show--the standoff. Lee pulls his gun on Caprica-Boomer and Helo pulls his gun on Lee. The standoff and Roslin's promise to keep Boomer safe and then ordering her shoved out an airlock was great.

About the only huge nitpick I had with this one--and I'm sure there are others of you out there who thought it as well--was that if the fleet is out there and supplies are limited, where in the name of Kobol did they get walnuts?

But otherwise, a superb episode and I know exactly where I will be Friday night at 9 p.m. for the conclusion.

The Dead Zone: Coming Home
As I watched the first few minutes of this one unfold, I was rolling my eyes. The plotline of some type of evil stalking the hallways, stealing the souls of people was something right out of one of my least favorite Buffy episodes ever, "Killed by Death" (I can see Barry going into shock right now that I made a disparaging remark about my beloved Buffy).

But suddenly, instead of being a wacky almost Scooby Doo-like mystery of the week, this one took a dramatic turn into some character development and turned out to be one of the stronger epiosdes of the season. Seeing Johnny get inside the fractured family relationship of Sarah and her father was great. The scene in which Johnny tells Sarah of his vision of her mother's final few moments was genuinely one of the best moments this show has ever done in terms of effectiveness and hitting the right emotional notes. I know there are some who are critical of Nicole DeBoer's acting (I've not ever seen it....I tend to like most of what she does here and I liked her on DS9), but I can't see how you dould fault much of what happened in this one. To see that Sarah and her father are both blaming themselves for things surrounding Sarah's mother's death was nicely done. I can even go with Sarah's father having his epiphany moment because he fears he may be dying and wants to make peace with Sarah.

Good stuff all around.

And while the plotline of the lady running the nursing home has created this monster to scare the residents into staying in bed was a bit obvious, it actually worked and it didn't have me rolling my eyes when this fact was revealed. It did have me wonder why Sarah continues to let her father stay in the place at episode's end...but hey, this may be addressed in a future episode so I can let it slide for now.

The 4440: The Fifth Page

Watching this week's episode, I began to wonder just how much control Isabelle has over Lilly. It seems as if Lilly's personality swings and changes on an almost weekly basis, culminated here by her decision to leave the safehouse with Isabelle and go on the lam with her ex-husband. Seems to me as it this is all motivated out of some sense of self-preservation by Isabelle and her not wanting to be taken by the governmental agencies involved here.

Meanwhile, since I guess the great show The Inside is gone, Peter Coyote can come back for a couple of episodes, which is not a bad thing. Seems the 4400 have some type of disease that could be an epidimic. They're all ordered back into quarantine, a stance some of them don't take well. Richard, who is remarkably immune or at least not showing any symptoms yet, becomes the leader in the place of Shawn who is take ill. This leads to the potential for conflict that Jordan Collier warned about with some of the 4400 going into hiding rather than reporting.

About the only plotline that bugged me is Kyle. Seems as if we've had this protracted "should I tell or shouldn't I? think about his role in Collier's death going on far too long now. Yes, I get that he's conflicted about it. But honestly, his going to help the girlfriend of the guy accused in his place..yeah, not so much.

Just like BSG, this episode is all bringing things together and putting the pieces in place for the second half of the story next week. With the information that NTAC gave the 4400 this virus, what will happen now? And will Tom and Diana be forced to choose sides in whatever elaborate game is being played? And will this year's season finale offer us more answers than last year's did?

Time will tell...time will tell...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/25/2005 10:28:00 AM | |
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