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Battlestar Galactica 2K: "Final Cut"

Sort of a bottle show, but then the genie gets out of the bottle in the end. Questions which linger in the mind of the audience are addressed (yay continuity!). An astonishingly revealing shot of Lee, but in context and in character, and not the focus of the plot or the arc, so I'm fine with it. The next set of problems with Pregnant Sharon gets underway. Adama and Roslin -- united -- show surprising political coglioni.

The Fleet TV screen also has eight sides (a rectangle with chopped-off edges) like their paper. I just kept noticing it every time we cut to that grainy footage.

Lucy Lawless, who played D'anna Biers, based her performance on CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour. She said in interviews that this is the first time she's used her native New Zealand accent, and with the blonde hair and altered makeup, I would never have recognized her as Xena if I hadn't known who the actress was. Of course, now that Xenanne ("Xenane," while spelled correctly, looks weird, and "Xenanpour" sounds like an etiquette instruction or a yoga movement) has been revealed as the sixth humanoid Cylon model, I imagine we'll be seeing her again, at least in Cylon group scenes. She's a good actress, which was a pleasant surprise (I didn't watch "Xena" so I have no prior experience with her), and she held her own with the very strong cast. We'll be happy to have her return.

Now knowing the ending, the first scene on Colonial One takes on a new flavor. "I want to put a human face on the officers and the crew" of the Galactica, says Roslin. In the end, that's what the broadcast does -- we see the pilots and staff as they are, both strong and weak -- but Xenanne hears a human face differently. "You might not like that face when you see it," she warns. As a human reporter, she would be sniping that the precious officers aren't as great as the leaders are making them out to be. As a Cylon, she's sneering that their "human faces" are full of savagery.

I was completely taken by the stalking-Tigh plot. I really thought Lady MacTigh had set it up or was doing part of it herself. She's certainly capable of it. (And I laughed so hard I had to pause and rewind the TiVo over Kara quoting poetry to disprove Lee's belief in her innocence. "Can I be a suspect again? Please?") Good camera work with the mirrors, both framing the Tighs with the words and later when they're talking and his reflection is in a slice of mirror next to the locker. ENT tried that once or twice and screwed up the angles.

If Lee was wrapping a towel around his hips when Xenanne came in the locker room, does that mean he was naked for his entire prior conversation with Kara? I suppose it's intended to show that the officers are accustomed to working together around their gender differences, but hoo! Not to mention that I think we caught a glimpse of the Brazilian border when the towel fell. Again -- it worked in context, Lee responded in character (as an officer being disturbed during an off-duty moment), and it wasn't dwelled on ad naseaum. Cable certainly is, uh, not UPN! More importantly, however, in that scene we also saw Kat acting up and being wild, which was the first hint that she was on stims and not just excessively immature. It's hard for me sometimes to keep track of the tertiary pilots.

Was Xenanne really affected by Dee's statement, that she "just wanted to believe in something"? Is any Cylon capable of being touched by humans, or is it a "weakness" of the Sharon model?

Baltar's self-importance is so ridiculous it's laughable. He plays hard-to-get with all the subtlety of a 16-year-old. And Six is right there, feeding him and provoking him. "This one can help us," she purrs. At first viewing, it's just her usual manipulation. In retrospect, she probably knows Xenanne's larger agenda of getting footage of Pregnant Sharon back to the Cylons (although if Baltar's Six has access to the groupmind, couldn't she just tell them? Or can she only receive and not send?) or at the very least she assumes that any Cylon is working to the advantage of the Plan. Xenanne just thinks Baltar is very strange. I wonder if she's looking at him from a Cylon-in-the-street viewpoint, or from the vantage of knowing his part in the ongoing schemes.

Lee's quiet but heartfelt defense of his pilots was appropriate, moving, and impeccable. He's the leader for a reason. He earned that rank; Daddy didn't give it to him.

In the scene where Kara breaks up the fight between Kat and Chief, and Lee leads her off, there's an almost perfect balance between Lee and Kara, the new characters of BSG2K, and Apollo and Starbuck from Classic BSG: the authority and the firebrand, the cool head and the hothead who are best friends regardless, the two leaders keeping their people stable and in line. It's a beautiful moment of character and plotting, and all kudos to Ron Moore and his staff and the actors who work so hard to make it look real and effortless. My hat is off to you.

So since Tigh's ship was sabotaged and he didn't get to that meeting on Cloud 9, is he going next week or did the meeting happen without him? And what did they discuss if it went on without a representative from Galactica? These writers don't drop plot threads like that and not follow up.

You just knew that if the camera focused on the control panel, which they never do, that something bad was about to happen. On Classic BSG that was just in the script as <STOCK SHOT // VIPER CONTROL PANEL> to move things along from A to B....

Live flame for the remembrance candles? On a spaceship?

Helo, tellingly mumbling that "it's not that easy" to shut off emotion and become a killing machine on duty. Poor guy, he can't know that Xenanne knows more about the Plan and his role in it than he does. Separately, how did he know Sharon was in trouble? Telepathy? If the guard heard her gasping, why didn't the guard call Sickbay himself? Why call Helo?

A few too many lingering shots on Xenanne's full glass and Tigh's rapidly emptying one (his eyes light up: ooh, the good stuff!), but her ploy was brilliant. He saw through it before she did too much damage, though. He's not stupid -- he's just not a leader, and he drinks way too much. And as before, knowing that she's a Cylon, her questions ("So you have no regrets whatsoever" about the deaths of the civilians) are just as much about the Cylons interrogating humans to prove to themselves the humans' hostile nature as they are a reporter trying to get at the truth.

Adama may be right when he says that nobody involved in the Gideon problem has a free pass, that they "all gotta live with it," but as the Marine proved, some people are living with it better than others, and even if they are living with it, there has been no official response to the mistakes. Nobody in the entire chain of command, so far as we can tell, was even reprimanded. It's a very legitimate question for the news to be asking. Adama's answer is basically that he can't afford to lose Tigh because he ordered something which went bad, and he won't hang the Marines out to dry for even a fatal mistake. It's a difficult question, and I'm not sure what I think. I don't know if I agree that in times of war, critical personnel can make mistakes without being punished. Lee was in the brig while he was off-duty. Cally was sentenced to thirty days on a weapons charge. I don't know if a demotion or a letter of reprimand means anything any more, but isn't some kind of official public Bad Dog No Biscuit called for?

"I'm sick to death of people like you questioning my patriotism," Xenanne snarls at Adama. Huh? Shouldn't he be saying that to her? Patriotism isn't what's behind governmental or military censorship; it's morale and crowd control. It's not unpatriotic not to shout "fire" in a crowded theatre.

I sort of blinked mentally when Adama said that the Fleet couldn't know that Pregnant Sharon was aboard. We're so used to knowing what the main cast knows that we forget that we're part of the privileged group, who has access to all the secrets. I guess the Fleet knows that Sharon is a Cylon model, but not the rest of it.

I become more convinced with each episode that Gaeta is a Cylon. Maybe his crazy-for-the-military background is too pat, maybe it's not. But someone had to be transmitting that unaired footage to the Raiders so it could be relayed, and Xenanne was recording in CIC and her caddy was recording on the flight deck. Unless their cameras can record on one tape and transmit from another simultaneously, either she had that tape set up to broadcast remotely (or, knowing that the Raiders were coming, she was broadcasting it before Baltar's interview -- she checks tapes carefully before loading it) or someone else on Galactica did it for her. And in any case, why didn't someone catch the transmission? We still don't know how they all communicate with each other. Pregnant Sharon is definitely offline, or the group in the theatre wouldn't have been surprised to see her alive. If Gaeta is a Cylon, then he could be sending the transmissions, or allowing them to be sent and covering the tracks.

So what happens if Baltar were to "lead the Fleet," as Six suggests? How does that help the sprog? Or is she just saying whatever will feed his ego?

What did the Cylons learn about the human response which they didn't know, and which didn't make the final broadcast? What did they learn tactically? About supplies and resources? How are they going to use that against the humans? And is Baltar's "detector" considered completely useless now, that they don't even try to screen anyone who comes aboard?

While the gritty, newsreel-type footage was intermittently annoying, it was interesting to see the dogfight literally through that lens, to sit with Chief and worry and wait, to listen with Dee and Adama, and not to know what's happening other than through comm yelling. And yet how does that affect Xenanne? Does she care? Does she see these people as real? Did she believe a single word of her stirring conclusion?

I just about stood up and cheered to hear the Classic BSG theme at the end of the documentary. If the Colonials are hearing it, does that mean it's their anthem?

Okay, The Man With the Screaming Brain? Is this SCI-FI or the Saturday Afternoon Creature Double Feature? Bruce Campbell has not achieved the stature of William Shatner that he can invert his career into mocking himself for a living.

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