Monday, March 19, 2007

BSG Mondays: Season 3, episode 56, "Crossroads, Part 1"

As hard as it can be to say anything substantive about any episode of a heavily serialized show like Battlestar Galactica, it’s practically impossible to say anything substantive about part one of a two-part season finale without devolving into a series of unconnected bullet points about what worked well and what didn’t work well. From the looks of the first hour, however, (and I haven’t seen next week’s episode, which many critics say is even better) the show will hopefully tie up what has been a fitfully frustrating season into a cohesive whole.

Above all, “Crossroads, Part 1” written by Michael Taylor and directed by Michael Rymer – the man who developed the series’ signature look with co-executive producers Ronald Moore and David Eick way back in the miniseries – felt shot through with the weight of time passed and the regrets incumbent in such a scenario. When I complained about “Collaborators” (the season’s fifth episode and the first post-New Caprica), I felt that the series hadn’t devoted enough time to the emotional fallout of New Caprica and resentments bred there to effectively create a scenario where the deaths of those who collaborated with the Cylons would have any resonance (though the show was to be admired for even having the guts to go where it did). Not so with the trial of Gaius Baltar (James Callis, continuing his string of incredible season three performances). Argue if you want (as a commenter did last week) that a fleet at war and on the run from an incredibly dangerous and powerful enemy wouldn’t pause for a war crimes trial (since the society presented in Galactica has always made a point of preserving its rule of law, it seems likely that they very well might), but the long-simmering anger at Baltar among the members of the fleet gained power by being given a whole season to keep growing and growing and growing. And because the characters we identify with all hate Baltar, it’s surprising to hear his lawyer, Romo Lampkin (Mark A. Sheppard), offer up a defense of the man that almost makes sense.
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