Friday, August 21, 2009

“You bite me, I’ll bite you back.”

Act of Contrition, You Can’t Go Home Again and Litmus

While the whole show is about telling a story with characters, these episodes are about telling stories about relationships between characters. We get to explore more about the relationships of Kara/Lee/Adama, Adama/Lee, Adama/Tigh, Gaius/Head Six, Sharon/Helo, Sharon/Tyrol, Tyrol/Deck Gang and Adama/Roslin.

Kara’s story richens with Act of Contrition and You Can’t go Home Again. Her relationships with Lee and the Old Man are explored, uncovered, and rubbed raw. The scene in Adama’s quarters is pure heartbreak; Adama’s “walk out of this cabin, while you still can,” through gritted teeth pulls out so much emotion from the two characters. Of course, the guilt at this dismissal is heightened when Adama has to face abandoning Kara on the moon. But the scene that really shows a little bit more of who Kara is, is the scene in the hospital with the Old Man. She asks if her knee will be ok, and he, supportively, suggests that Starbuck is such a fighter that there is no way it could not be ok. The look of anguish on Kara’s face as she turns away to hide her tears speaks of many possibilities: of her literal pain; of thinking of the coming stress of rehab; of facing the thought of her fellow pilots fighting without her while she is bedridden; or that maybe, just maybe, she was looking for a reason to never get in a viper again.

I love the development of the Father/Son relationship between the Commander and Lee. They unite together in their determination to find Kara, no matter what the cost, putting aside whatever wounds have been re-opened of late about Zak. But Lee's heart-wrenching question to the Old Man after they decide to give up the search and leave the moon seems to splinter this sudden alliance: would the Commander actually never leave, if it were Lee down there? We may get an answer to this in a similar predicament later in the series...

We also get to see a little bit about how rank and friendship intermingle in the military. When Tigh admonishes Adama’s decisions to remain on the search for Kara, Adama “pulls rank” and dismisses him. Tigh’s immediate salute shows how much he values the importance of the chain-of-command and respect for the Old Man above all else. Regardless of personal feelings, the Old Man is the boss, in any situation. Further conflicts of rank and familiarity are shown in Tyrol’s relationship to his Deck Gang, in their willingness to cover for him no matter the cost. When Tyrol pleads with the Old Man for Socinus’ release, it is as one man approaching another for mercy and understanding, but Adama stands firm and again “pulls rank,” Tyrol salutes him in obedience, despite his emotion. Tyrol is realizing that being the Deck Chief brings more responsibility than just making sure the vipers are running, he is realizing that he has a team that looks up to him and counts on him. His respect for authority, and guilt over what his relationship has done to a friend and colleague, leads him to break things off with Boomer. Makes you wonder what this will do for her emerging internal conflict of Cylon/human loyalties…

The moment in the hallway where Gaius and Head Six are arguing is an interesting and expository scene. We are still wondering who, what and why this vision of Six is in Gaius’s head, but her forcing him against the bulkhead just brings questions to any theories of her nature. How can she physically affect Gaius if she is just in his head? What is going on!?

(Aside: I always found the description of her character as “Head Six” a little misleading; I don’t like the opportunity for it to be confused as meaning “Leader-Six” or “Boss-Six” instead of “In-Gaius’-Head-Six.” Before reading that this is the term used to identify her, I always referred to her as “Gaius’ Six,” which I like better. But, in the efforts of avoiding confusion, I will use the preferred nomenclature.)

The advancement of the story of Helo and Sharon on Caprica is very engaging. You can tell it is building up to something, and when Helo survives the attack to find Sharon missing, even he must suspect something is up. In the bombed-out factory, when Helo rescues her, the look on Sharon’s bruised and bleeding face as she says that they should get out of there is a little bit more emotional – a little scared, even - than just keeping up appearances. Could it be that the Cylon’s secret plan for Helo is backfiring as Sharon falls for him?

I love the irony of the witch-hunt tribunal focusing on Tyrol and Boomer’s whereabouts and the nature of their relationship; “…conspiracy and collusion with the Cylons.” Turns out, Tyrol actually was meeting and colluding with a Cylon, though neither he nor the Cylon in question is aware of this! Brilliance.

All told, there is nothing better than watching fledgling President Roslin rise up on her shaky legs and spank the Adama boys into obedience to reason. Her power in that scene speaks to the person and leader she will become: strong, reasonable, powerful, understanding, convincing, and – very often - right. The growing mutual respect between Commander and President begins here, with them both better understanding how to work with, instead of against, each other.

Next week, we get the unambiguous excitement of Shelley Godfrey, Leoben Conoy and Ellen Tigh. Can’t hardly wait!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment