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Monday, October 16, 2006
TV Round-Up
Battlestar Galactica: Exodus, Part 1
I will admit that when the words "One hour earlier" flashed up on my screen to start this week's episode, I almost went "Oh come on Ron Moore. You can't get out of the cliffhanger this easily."

But instead of being a lazy way out, Moore and company use the going back in time to show us the resolution of the cliffhanger to Battlestar's advantage. Instead of being an easy way out, the show gave us the impact of the what was going on on the characters. Seeing Tyrol's panic that Cally was targeted for death and the race against time to save her was nicely done. Seeing how Tigh reacts on the fly to these events and serves as the calm voice of reason (scary thought) was superb. And even when Cally had escaped, she still could have been killed by friendy fire to save the larger group of rounded up humans.

In the first five minutes Battlestar once again showed me why I love this show so much. And then we got into the other 55 minutes of the hour.

If last week was about setting the scenes for season three, this week is about putting some big pieces of the puzzle into play. We learned that Deanna is having dreams of Hera and knows she's alives, even going so far as to plant this idea inside Sharon's head and that the Cylons are having a harder time downloading. (I expect that will be huge in the coming weeks). Also, the Cylons are having a harder time maintaining control than they thought they'd have. The idea that they could just nuke New Caprica and be done with it was alarming. Wasn't their goal to bring the love of their god to the Colonials and now all they can think of is how to get out of New Caprica without any greater losses?

The thing with this week's episode is that while we have a ton of action in terms of fire fights and gearing up for battles, the real heat of battle is between characters. Ellen's betrayal comes to light even to Tigh. The look of horror and betrayal in Tigh's lone eye as the new sank in of just what Ellen had done to free him and the implications. But Ellen was doing all she did to save Tigh because on some level she loves him. But will she have saved his life only to lose him by this betrayal? And what will the cost to her since we know Tigh is very much a man who sees thing as us or them.

And then we have Sharon's unwavering belief that Adama would not lie to her about Hera. Yeah, I see that blowing up in everyone's faces soon. And could it be that Galactica Sharon would kill herself to download back with the Cylons and come after the fleet? Oh man, that could be great.

Meanwhile, Baltar apparently needs some Viagra as the pressures of the presidency are affecting him. I loved his asking Six to stay with him and the disconnect the two have in trying to relate to each other beyond the physical.

All that and I was a bit misty eyed when we had the "farewell" of Lee and Bill Adama. That scene was so perfectly played by both actors. The quick looking away by Bill and the salute by Lee. Perfect, absolutely perfect.

And once again, I am on the edge of my seat, eager for the next installment.

Doctor Who: School Reunion
Dammit, Russell T. Davies, you made me cry--for a robotic dog! In the final few minutes when K9 sacrificed himself to stop the Kryllatine, there were tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.

And it's all for a robotic dog from the 70s whose originally purpose on the show was to compete with R2-D2 and to be a plot device.

For that alone, this episode would be in the category of greatness. But yet, it wasn't done there.

I have to admit I had severe trepedation about this episode when it was first announced. The return of K9 and Sarah Jane Smith--that could easily go down the path of every self-referrential Who story from the 80s and easily dispell all the goodwill and accolades the show has earned to this point.

But it didn't. And not only that but it had a solid, wonderful storyline that felt like the perfect mixture of new and old Who.

The new--the consequences of being a companion and loving the Doctor. Rose gets a preview of what will eventually happen to her in Sarah Jane Smith. And we once again get the reinforcement of the Doctor's sense of isolation. Not only is he the last of the Time Lords, but he never ages. He stays young while those he cares about become older. He just keeps replacing one companion with the next and while they have fun for a time, does anyone really know him.

And we see how the Headmaster uses that to try and tempt the Doctor into helping them solve the equation to bend and space and time to their will. That that was the old style Who right there--innocent place being used for nefarious purposes. In this case, a school and computers.

As if that weren't enough, the Headmaster is played with delight by Anthony Stewart Head. Head has shown on Buffy he can be more than just the librarian and what a delightful villain he is. The scenes with the Headmaster and the Doctor by the swimming pool are just one of many highlights of this story. I still say we find a way for Head to be the Master. I don't care how you do it, just do it.

And then, as I said, this one had me misty eyes. OK, I'll admit in the end, I had tears in my eyes as the Doctor said "Goodbye, my Sarah Jane" and hugged her as the music swelled. And even knowing there is a Sarah Jane and K9 spin-off, I still went, "How could you not rebuild K9?!?" as the TARDIS faded away..and there he was. Such a wonderful coda to a great episode.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/16/2006 08:39:00 AM | |
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