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Battlestar Galactica 2K: "Black Market"

Well, that was depressing. In fact, at one point, it got so bad that I was actually thrown out of the story, thinking, this is why I am a Trekkie. I watch Trek because no matter how dark it is, ultimately there is hope. At the end of the day there is something positive. We are worthy of survival. "Black Market" was realistic, credible, logical, in character, and naturalistic. It was also a big downer. This is supposed to be entertainment. It can be dark, but if it's unrelentingly so, I won't enjoy watching. The real world is unhappy enough.

I was also aggravated that I couldn't understand the kingpin character. He mumbled and slurred to the point where I rewound some of his dialogue three and four times and still couldn't hear what he was saying. That's not acceptable.

The "48 hours earlier" device is officially overused. You can do that once, maybe twice in a season -- but not two episodes apart. Shock value is completely gone.

So we finally get a look at how the civilian 90% of the fleet is living...and it's a horror. Bartering for antibiotics? Paying for food when there are less than fifty thousand survivors? Am I stupid to think that money is somewhat irrelevant right now? Prostitution doesn't bother me; what two consenting adults do is their own business. (Child prostitution is something else, without question.) And if you don't have money you have to have trade. But it disturbs me deeply that if there is medicine on the black market, then someone has control of that medicine and somehow it's not Galactica or the civilian government. Why weren't the ships inventoried and critical supplies secured by now? In the initial rush, okay, but it's been six months. I sort of understand Roslin's outrage that not merely petty criminals are doing business but an entire mafia has its own ship. (The Prometheus -- bringing fire to the masses, which the gods have declared is only for themselves?)

"People want what they want," says Jack blithely. People want chocolates. People die without antibiotics.

Jack and Baltar doing bidness over cigars -- corruption sinks to find its own level, I suppose.

I guess the problem of Jack the Jerk Leader has been resolved -- and he was proved to be an even bigger ass than I'd thought. Pegasus has only been part of the fleet for two or three weeks show time, and he was already hock-deep in extortion, stealing, and bribery. Who's next in the chain of command on Pegasus, Richard Nixon?

Shouldn't Lee be wearing a helmet on his Raptor trip back to Galactica, or is that another indication of his lack of self-preservation?

Doctor Quack leans over the corpse with a lit cigarette in his mouth, and I was waiting for the ash to fall into Jack's open mouth and ruin the evidence.

Once again, the Props department chooses the ick factor over realism: blood which is several hours old is dry, brown to black, sticky, and dull. It's not shiny red like icing or half-solid jello. Unless Jack bled cherry ganache, the table shouldn't have looked like that.

Moore has resumed the dual conversations with Six. I hope he buries the technique again soon. It's very annoying.

Has Dee been playing the field, or did she just want to know if she should break things off with Billy? She's perfectly entitled to spread it around if she hasn't given Billy any commitment, although it's courteous to let Billy know that. I think she did exactly the right, and adult, thing: she looked Lee right in the eye and asked him where things were going. She was looking for a yes or no. He couldn't give her a yes, so she chose to give him a no, and returned to Billy. See, that's how mature adults handle relationships, rather than angsty hormonal teenagers. ahem. Sorry.

Wisely, Roslin decides not to tip her hand yet. She tries for the easy solution, because there's always time to give your enemy a chance to surrender peacefully, but now there's a li'l civil war declared. Has Baltar not figured out that she can cut him out of practically any loop if she so chooses? Adama backs her, and her staff is loyal to her, and his increasing arrogance is not winning him any friends. When are the next elections? Is Baltar going to run on his own? Since Jack is gone, is he going to cultivate Zarek, or is Six going to keep grooming him for Imperious Leader?

How long does the cast have to rehearse to teach themselves not to look at Tricia Helfer as she slinks around? Moore said that the scene in last week's ep where she grabs Baltar's tie was shot twice, once with her and once without -- is that standard procedure?

Sort of like on ENT where everyone was called by their first names to the point where I occasionally forgot what Hoshi's last name was, on BSG2K the characters are either addressed by their rank or by their first names -- Lee and Kara -- to the point where when Zarek comes in the room to talk to Lee, I forgot that the first time Richard Hatch and Jamie Bamber met up onscreen, it was a big deal that The Two Apollos were talking. Craggy, slithery, shifty-eyed, age-broadened Hatch is every inch Tom Zarek, and who the hell remembers what Lee's call sign is?

So how truthful was Zarek being? Did Jack actually try to starve out Astral Queen? Had Zarek been dealing with the kingpin and just refused to bend to bully-boy Jack horning in on an established relationship? He shows up at the end with one of the kingpin's goons; I don't think he can afford to take over the mafia. He might well have just been on a standard run, or trying to re-establish a standard run which Jack short-circuited. Zarek has great political acumen, even verging onto statecraft. It's a bleak outlook, primed to look for oppression and exploitation, and geared towards adapting to existing circumstances more than setting a goal to change the situation. I don't think Zarek aims his future too high. But he is aiming. He's paying attention. (Unlike Lee, who walks out of Shivon's room and leaves his bag behind! With all the evidence he's collected so far! In Zarek's hands!) Then Zarek unknowingly echoes Roslin's "offering you a way out," and I spent several minutes trying to figure out the parallels. A leader offers a troublemaker the opportunity to walk away quietly, without exhuming the skeletons in the closet? And both choose to keep going.

There is some truth to the kingpin's argument in any economy with currency. There are always luxuries or rare items people will trade for. There are also limits, like child prostitution. And in the fleet's desperate situation, it's truly unfair for these people to be making that much of a profit when everything is finite.

As wretched as the scene in the bar was, it was darkly refreshing for the hero to plug the bad guy who so richly deserved it. I was surprised, however, that the goons didn't immediately fill Lee with holes. I guess they believed his story about Galactica venting them to space.

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