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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

‘Battlestar Galactica’ blogging: “Islanded in a Stream of Stars”

(lots of spoilers! assumes you’ve seen the episode!)

(previous: “Someone to Watch Over Me”)
So it seems to be that this episode is all about getting the Old Man from a place where he adamantly — heh, that works as a pun, don’t it: adamantly — refuses to consider abandoning Galactica to a place where he resigns to the necessity of it. And I think it’s mean to prime us to expect the worst… if we weren’t already.

Suddenly, after this episode, I’m half expecting things to end up even worse than I’ve been imagining they would. We’ve got Roslin reminiscing about the cabin she wanted to build on New Caprica, and mentioning how often she lingers in memories of place that has only ever existed in her head. We’ve got Boomer discovering that Hera can step into her Cylon projection of a house that has only ever existed in her head. This idea, that a dream can be more real than reality… I wonder if that isn’t going to be more important that it already is.

I mean, we’ve got Gaius talking about “eternal life” and invoking Kara as an example of that. What if that really is the case? What if everyone — the whole fleet — is dead already and everything we’ve been seeing for quite a while now is a dream or a memory or a Cylon projection or just a program running on a Cylon computer somewhere? What if everything that has transpired since Starbuck’s Viper blew up is merely her dream or her Cylon projection? It would explain how Hera can have written the notes of a song that Kara’s father used to play for her when she was a child. And how that same song could have woken up the sleeper Cylons. What if everything since the nebula, when the song became a factor, has been Starbuck’s fantasy? (That would explain, too, why Starbuck would give her old dogtags to Gaius for testing, which seemed like it could only have been a bad idea — not to know what such tests might turn up, but what Gaius would do with that information. It might be a dreaming-Kara’s subconscious attempt to try to wake herself up from the dream.)

What if it all goes back much further than that? What if it’s all a Cylon projection of one of the final five — maybe Ellen — as a way to test whether their plan to “end the cycle of war between man and machine” would work in the long run?

I doubt I’ve actually hit on what’s really happening here. But I do think it will all finish unfolding in a direction that we’re not anticipating.

Where was Galen in this episode? I was expecting to see how he’s coping with his guilt about helping Boomer kidnap Hera, however unwillingly on his part.

And how desperate is the Hera situation? If Boomer doesn’t bring Hera back to the fleet on her own — and that seems unlikely — how will the fleet ever find her? Unless the opera-house vision is some sort of shared projection, too, and Hera will be able to communicate with Athena or Roslin or someone through it…

(Oh my gods, what did they do to that adorable child playing Hera to make her cry for her mommy so convincingly?)

“You’ll have all sorts of new playmates pretty soon,” Cavil tells Hera — does he mean a slew of new hybrid kids like her?

Are we going to see some sort of showdown between Tighe and Cavil? If Tighe is coming to terms with being “father” to millions of Cylons — just as he’s grieving over the loss of his own unborn child — as Cavil is, apparently, attempting to create his own Cylon children… well, it seems fitting that something big has to happen between these two.

Two more episodes, three more hours to go…

(next: “Daybreak: Part 1”)

(Watch full episodes and get recaps at Sci Fi’s official site for the show.)


MPAA: rated TV14-LV

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
posted in:
tv buzz
  • JT

    Regarding your question about Galen, from Bear McCreary’s blog:

    Not only are many of the dialog scenes expanded, but there are several scenes that were cut entirely from the show that required substantial original music. One of these scenes established that Tyrol is now in the brig for his role in Boomer’s escape and kidnapping of Hera. I was disappointed that this story point was cut from the episode, since Chief’s arc last week was so emotionally powerful.

    Hope we get to see that on the DVD.

  • “It was all a dream” is a twist ending to a 2hr movie, not a 4 season series… I hope you’re wrong about all of that, MaryAnn, because I’m pretty sure it would ruin Galactica. Gods… it wouldn’t solve anything. This is a story about characters and ideas, not plot points, and I think you’ve posited just about the worst ending for the show that I could imagine. :) I don’t hold it against you though, because I’ve had those same thoughts over the past few weeks.

    Here’s hoping the writers room came up with something none of us will see coming.

  • Spencer

    Maybe I just haven’t seen enough visual media yet to get bored, but I think that “surprise endings” are highly overrated, and not just because they are done well so infrequently.

    Part of it is what the last person touched on: even when done well, they usually in some sense sell out the preceding content. Part of it is that it seems like too cheap of a thrill (to me) to be a worthwhile selling point. Part of it is that the thrill is so easily gone once you know, and rarely holds up on repeat viewings. Mostly, though, I think it’s because I enjoy reading books over and over again: the true pleasure is the journey and not the destination.

    That soapbox aside, I think MAJ was just speculating on what that would be like if that happened, since it almost certainly won’t. It’s neat enough as a meta-analysis that the series itself has frakked with our minds to the point where we could be even half-seriously entertaining the idea.

    All I know is, I will be twitching from withdrawal after this Friday and trying desperately to frak with the fabric of spacetime.

    Quick request, MaryAnn: would you consider doing some sort of BSG retrospective post wherein you tie together all your ruminations/thoughts/feelings about the series as a whole– separate from a rundown on the last ep? I would be interested. Anyone else?

  • JoshDM

    Hera wrote the notes because Starbuck’s father was a Daniel (or she’s a Danielle, projecting), and all Cylons and therefore, cylon-hybrids, passively project their thoughts to be picked up and manipulated.

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