Battlestar Galactica 4x18: "Islanded in a Stream of Stars"

Discussion in 'Battlestar Galactica & Caprica' started by Agent Richard07, Mar 6, 2009.

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Grade the episode...

  1. Excellent

    26.2%
  2. Above Average

    41.9%
  3. Average

    22.5%
  4. Below Average

    7.3%
  5. Poor

    2.1%
  1. Gregsmack

    Gregsmack Captain Captain

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    Toronto, Ontario
    A very basic point-by-point mini review (for those interested, there will not be a single occurrence of the phrases 'should have been,' 'pre-planned,' or 'filler ep'):

    - A good episode that captured the chaos from the aftermath of last week's conclusion. I really liked seeing and hearing Galactica's collapse.

    - Although the jury is still out for me on Kara's 'destiny' I liked how it was handled here. It worked into Baltar's story rather gracefully. I'm not sure if I find his broadcasts inspiring or absurd, but for the moment they seem to be working well in how they affect both him and the fleet.

    - I like that the Quorum is vying for Galactica's parts. In all the mysticism being tossed around (another aspect that for me the jury remains out on) this is one of the pragmatic realities that originally attracted me to the series. Further, I also like Adama's final decision to abandon ship. There's something very dramatically satisfying to me about this concession.

    - I DID NOT like the opening sequence involving the nameless mechanic, the Six, and the relentless vacuum of space. Was this selfless display of sacrifice and heroism really necessary? I felt it was a well-executed disaster scene undermined by a bit of staged silliness.

    - I'm on the fence about Boomer's scenes with Hera, particularly the ending with Hera behind the curtain wailing for Boomer as Boomer cries a river. Slightly heavy-handed. I feel like it was just a variation of scene I've watched countless times before. There are times when I think this series doesn't have faith enough in its viewers to recognize the stakes at hand without being strong armed into it. (Also: I hope that Boomer doesn't just pull an aboutface and snatch Hera away from Cavil. If this happens, it will drastically reduce my opinion of the psychological mastermind Cavil.)

    - What little was seen of Helo and Athena worked well, I thought. Helo's later confrontation with Adama really made him look both desperate and pathetic. I also like the very small beat near the beginning when Adama orders the SAR mission be kept from both Helo and Athena. Given their history, I wouldn't trust them either.

    - Adama's scene with Roslin was enjoyable, calling back the also enjoyable scene from 'Unfinished Business'.

    - Anders being hooked up like a Hybrid was... something. As with most things, we'll have to see where it goes. Certainly creepy, though. The actor did a great job selling it, I'll give him that.

    - My biggest criticism of the episode is the same one I've had of 'Blood on the Scales' and 'Deadlock' and that is that it seemed to have a lot of missing material. I understand this will be one of the episodes to be expanded on DVD, which is something I am completely fine with. In the end, any show lives on in DVD format and I like that the producers will be allowing some of these last episodes to stretch their legs outside of their constricted time slot. (Also: I really thought these episodes were going to get some extra runtime as per some article I read months ago. What the hell happened to this? There are times that I genuinely wish networks would make a slight concession for the good of their product and this is definitely one of those times.)

    All this being said, I enjoyed the episode. It was certainly written to segue into the two-part finale and in that sense it did its job. On our very misleading poll I voted 'above average' in that there were some great moments that made the show standout. On retrospect 'average' might have been better considering MOST episodes of BSG are well-made with standout moments. In this case, 'average' is not a bad thing, especially considering that the average episode of BSG that one would see each week is actually quite good.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  2. startrekwatcher

    startrekwatcher Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Jun 9, 2007
    Long-term planning isn't necessary for a solid storyline to be achieved. DS9 did a lot of its stuff on the fly and you couldn't tell.

    BSG is obviously more interested in the character stuff and only threw in the mythology to give a bone to fans of that sort of thing. Plot was also secondary on this--no surprise given Moore was never strong on that. Nothing wrong with that though. Just for my personal preference I like a balance of character and plot which a show like Lost provides.

    Another issue with BSG is that the writers can't seem to discipline themselves when it comes to fitting material into an episode or a season leading to important scenes deleted and a sense of something in the narrative is missing.

    But if you love the characters of course you are going to have fewer complaints about BSG. For me a lot of the character scenes these days aren't compelling. Just putting two characters in a scene and talking doesn't make it dramatic gold. And on the individual characters front, I can't say what Apollo, Baltar, the Final Five, Caprica Six etc have done this season has made their characters interesting or worthwhile.
    The problem with the Cylons is that they never were interesting enough as characters or villians.
     
  3. the_wildcard

    the_wildcard Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    How many episodes are left? 2?
     
  4. flux_29

    flux_29 Commodore Commodore

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    I wonder what cavil mean't by hera will soon have lots of "playmates"?
     
  5. steveman

    steveman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Very poignant scene. Sad because he knew there was nothing he could do to save his ship.

    People have complained about Adama becoming something of an emotional basket case lately. I, for one, give him a pass. Everyone has their breaking point. The back half of season four has shown us that maybe the Old Man has reached his. I prefer Adama being this way. I think it's more realistic. And it's pretty damn scary, too. What do you do when the man who's traditionally been the rock of the fleet starts breaking down?

    Also, his greater fragility parallels nicely with how the same thing is happening to his ship.
     
  6. the_wildcard

    the_wildcard Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I dunno, but it sounded really perverted in some way. Gave me some chills.
     
  7. Lookingglassman

    Lookingglassman Admiral Admiral

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    It was pretty good. I hope Baltar dies a painful death. What he did to Starbuck was plain wrong.

    Next week's episode sounds pretty good. Hopefully we will see some battles soon.
     
  8. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

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    One of the Cavil models calls himself Hefner.
     
  9. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    I absolutely agree. The last five minutes with Adama were very moving. I like this Adama that we're seeing; he's a broken man and all the more realistic for it. The scene between him and Helo where Helo said, "You can't let it go. The ship is dead!" hit me hard. Great stuff.
     
  10. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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  11. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You could tell with DS9, especially in it's final season. And that series, imo, worked better when it told smaller stories around a few characters like "In Pale Moonlight" and failed at it's mythology arcs (The Emissary, The Prophets, The Dominion, etc.).

    And as you wrote, BSG works better around its character moments.

    I think being open to unexpected possibilities is a good thing; however, I also think that having at least a vague notion of where you are headed with something is also a good thing.

    In the case of certain mythologies of the series, I felt they should have dealt with them sooner than later and allow whatever resolution -- and I use that loosely -- led into a new set of questions or problems for the storyline. On the whole, the writers have given us an entertaining and compelling series. But they've also allowed certain things to go on far too long to the point where it became uninteresting and hampered character development (Starbuck, imo).

    But it's a hard call and it's a hard thing to do. Some shows do it better. Some novelist do it better. Aye, there's the rub!
     
  12. jolau

    jolau Captain Captain

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    Seriously, I think he's planning on using Hera as a new Cylon model.
     
  13. Rii

    Rii Rear Admiral

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    I'd add that I don't think Baltar intended to hurt Kara in that way. It likely didn't even occur to him that she would want her status kept private, he's too wrapped up in his own affairs to consider such things. So far as he's concerned she brought him proof of her status to bolster his sermons. Certainly he appeared somewhat disconcerted following the slap.
     
  14. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    I commented to my friend who was watching the show with me, "Man, Adama sure has been crying a lot lately." He's always had to be the rock, the role model, and he's just at his wits' end. "I've had it up to here with destiny. Look where it's left us, the ass end of nowhere." This is just one situation that's completely out of his control. He feels like he's losing everything that matters. What does he have left to look forward to? Laura's death? Scuttling the ship? A disgruntled civilian or crewman putting a bullet in his head? I thought it was very touching, the way Roslin tried to tell him about being "home." She has a much clearer perspective on things.

    In the end, episodes like this are what I watch BSG for. No, it's not packed full of revelations or cunning plot twists--that's just not what the show is about.

    I hope we get some answers in the finale but I wouldn't expect everything to be sorted out by the end credits of "Daybreak II." I would expect the characters to get some closure but hardly for all the big mysteries to be concretely solved.
     
  15. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The great thing about nuBSG is that it allows a character like Adama to break down and cry. How many other SF-TV shows would allow their lead, commanding officer-type cry and have an emotional breakdown?
     
  16. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This episode reminded me a lot of A Disquiet Follows my Soul, and both of them just scraped an Excellent from me.

    The storytelling was discordant in both episodes and focused on character and not plot, but I felt that worked in both episodes because they are about things falling apart, in this case it is Galactica itself. It didn't work as well as last week's episode but I enjoyed watching it.

    And in the same way that Disquiet was a calm before the storm of the mutiny, I'm hoping this episode is the calm set-up for episodes just as awesome as the mutiny was.
     
  17. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

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    Dec 30, 2002
    So when they go on their suicide mission, will Adama order all the mutineers to be their front line infantry? :p
     
  18. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

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    Mar 16, 2006
    ^Actually, I think that's a good idea. Adama clears the ship and takes a crew made up of volunteers from the mutineers. They wanted to fight the Cylons, now's their chance but it's a one-way trip.
     
  19. scotthm

    scotthm Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh, worthy of a painful death for sure. :rolleyes:

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  20. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Clinton, OH

    Possibly. My reaction was "what? He's breaking down AGAIN?!? Oh come on!"

    Yes, under stress like that people would probably have regular relapses and break down. But seriously, how many times have we seen Adama do that now?

    And enough with Adama blaming God or the gods about their plight. A lot of the fleet's suffering has been the direct result of his and Roslyn's missteps. Own up to your own mistakes, man. Yes Earth was a radioactive waste but that doesn't excuse the inept leadership and power vacuum we saw a few episodes ago that lead to the mutiny.