Tuesday, March 24, 2009

in which our heroine never asked to be born

People usually defend the Battlestar Galactica finale by talking about "character," and insisting that a myopic focus on gaping plot holes misses the point of this character-driven show, and the real point of the finale is all the bittersweet emotional character moments. But the worst plot holes were character driven, story points that made no sense at all given what we have come to know about these people over the past several years. A few examples:

(1) BILL ADAMA LOVES HIS SON....so it's completely inexplicable as to why he's apparently "never coming back." I understand that your girlfriend is dying and you want to spend that time with her and give her a loving burial, but after that, why wouldn't you go back to the only family you have left in the universe? Why did you spend years repairing a strained relationship with your son only to abandon him once you reached the goal you were both desperately pursuing? And speaking of that goal....

(2) LEE ADAMA IS NOT A MORON....and as an unabashed civics nerd, he should probably know that remembering our history is the way we avoid repeating it, not dismantling and incinerating it. As someone who, from the beginning, has believed passionately in the value of his civilization's institutions, whence came this sudden pastoral love affair with the nobility of the savage? After all this time defending his people's democracy, with both pen and sword (or more accurately, wireless and gun) sometimes against his own father, sometimes against the president herself, he suddenly wants to go back to a state of nature? Which brings me to my last point....

(3) THE FLEET IS COMPOSED OF RATIONAL, SELF-INTERESTED HUMAN BEINGS....who for some reason acquiesed to giving up their already scant material possessions and creature comforts for new and exciting lives as hunter gatherers. There was a mutiny and nearly a civil war when they started smearing cylon goo on the walls, but everyone is really going to go along with this idea of becoming cave people? These are people who lived through the privations of New Caprica, which seemed like a relatively stark existence even before the cylons invaded. (Squirrel barbeque!) And that was with all of their technology, and with everyone still together in one place. What happens when you break your leg or your kid spikes a fever, and all of the x-rays and antibiotics have been sent into the sun, and the only medical personnel are a continent away?

Kara's undead-god-machine-ness aside (maddening all on its own), my major problem with the finale was summed up pretty succintly by AB: "Why is everyone foresaking their relationships?" I have always been impressed with running theme of BSG that there is nothing more human than having a love/hate relationship with your creator, be it God or your parents or the person who downloaded you into your body. And until now, I thought that BSG's answer to the problem was "relationships." Bill and Lee rebuild their father-son bond; Sharon and Helo make a freak-baby; Caprica Six realizes that genocide is bad when she falls in love; Kara posthumously (for both of them, it turns out) forgives her father for being a dick. But the finale's answer turns out to be "solitude," "aloneness." Dismantle your community. Scatter, wander, live alone or in pairs. Avoid building anything, like a city, that lasts, that imposes your values on generations to come. Make nothing in your own image by giving up the tools to do so. Avoid playing god by remaining a babe in the wilderness. Forget the past. Forget where you came from. Be like Cavil. Deny your history. Deny your ancestors. Deny your god. Avoid becoming your parents...by running away from home.

Monday, March 9, 2009

notes on media

I consumed a lot of geeky media this weekend (I say as though it somehow distinguishes this from other weekends).

Two thoughts:

- This week on Battlestar Galactica, we got to see just how angry Sharon was that her husband Helo had sex with another person, who, in Helo's defense, is an exact physical copy of Sharon. (Answer: very. Very very.) I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that if your workplace, which is also your home, is crawling with dozens of perfect physical replicas of your wife, you should be extra, extra careful when attempting to surprise her with semi-public sex...to the point of maybe just not trying at all.

- I also saw Watchmen this weekend. Since so much has already been written about this movie, I will confine my analysis to this: I repeatedly found myself suffering from what I like to call "Schindler's List Syndrome," which occurs when a movie's villain is too attractive, such that I find it difficult to focus on his many terrible atrocities. Mmm, Ozymandias.