BSG 4.5: “Sometimes A Great Notion”

by Susan Getgood on January 17, 2009

in Science Fiction, TV/Film

Spoilers for the episode but no future spoilers

The first episode in the final 10-episode arc of Battlestar Galactica, Sometimes a Great Notion, was exactly that.


Ron Moore and team consistently deliver excellent entertainment. If you get too emotionally invested in the fate of ANY character, you are likely to be disappointed, because the BSG team likes to do the unexpected.

I mean, given the 3 season build-up, who expected earth to be a radioactive wasteland? Originally inhabited by humanoid cylons and nuked more than 2000 years earlier?

But no matter what they do — even if you don’t like what happens to your favorites — it is almost always good entertainment. Sure, every now and then an episode misses, but rarely. Very rarely.

And you can never accuse any of the actors of phoning it in.  All the performances in Battlestar are consistently good. Even if you don’t like the character, you can enjoy the performance. Just think about Dean Stockwell, whose character Cavil has absolutely no redeeming features.

Based on last night’s show, we are in for a wild, dark ride as the series winds up. If you haven’t watched it yet, go do it now before you read the rest of my post.

What I liked:

Michael Hogan as Saul Tigh has become a highlight of the show. The character isn’t always likeable but when he’s on-screen, you are compelled to pay attention. I especially liked his scene with Adama, when he pulls the Admiral out of the bottle for a change.

Callum Keith Rennie as Leoben. Another unpleasant character portrayed with perfection by the actor. His scenes with Katee Sackhoff were amazing, especially the final one when he abandons her on the planet.

The overall pace of the episode was great, and every major character got some screen time, which isn’t true for every episode.

Some will disagree with me, and I know there is a fair amount of fandom angst that Moore has offed another female character, but I thought Dee’s suicide, while surprising, was good for the story. And  not just because I’ve always been a Kara Lee shipper.

As Tigh says, it is likely that many citizens of the fleet are having similar suicidal thoughts. This needs to be shown onscreen, but if it were a truly minor character, it wouldn’t have as much impact.

It works with Dee because the character was close to both Adamas, giving it maximum impact. It then becomes the plot device that both prevents Starbuck from confiding in Apollo about what she found on the planet and spurs the Admiral to move forward.

It’s also a fitting exit for the actress. There really hasn’t been much storyline for Dee since the end of Season 3, and I don’t think any fans — even Dee fans — wanted to see the return of the dreadful quadrangle of  “lurve.” This way, Kandyse McClure gets a showcase episode, literally going out with a bang that shocks the fleet.

What I didn’t like:

EJO’s angst was a bit over the top, especially in morgue scene and the early parts of the Tigh scene. I get that the morgue scene was to put the two Adamas in counterpoint, and like with the aftermath of Kara’s “death,”  show how tragedy makes Lee stronger even as others, including his father, crumble around him. But it was just a bit much. As was most of the Tigh/Adama scene. End was good though, with the fox story.

Now to the final cylon. It wasn’t terribly surprising. Ellen Tigh has been at the top of many lists since she appeared on the show. It will be interesting to see how they explain the Final Five in light of the new discoveries, and when/if/how Ellen reappears in current time.

And of course, what *did* happen to Starbuck?

Is it Friday yet?

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