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Finished S2 BSG. Hm. And still talking only about TV.

# The major plus is that the story is really fascinating (albeit still a bit too religion-heavy for my taste), but so far I can't even make an educated guess where it's ultimately headed, so no comments on that. S2 was a bit uneven, though. The arc with the Pegasus especially was very good, but the episodes between that and the finale were rather filler-ish.

# What I'm still a bit meh about is the characters. Roslin gives me the really creepy theocracy vibes 90% of the time. The mixture between genuine belief, the willingness to use faith to manipulate and to let the end justify almost every means, as well as a complete lack of scruples and self-reflection makes her character really problematic to me, and not in the interestingly ambiguous shades-of-grey way, but in the way of much of what came out of the USA during the Bush II years. If you need someone like Gaius Baltar to make you look better, you have a problem.

Baltar... Before I watched the last two episodes of S2 I wrote that I wanted Baltar to either finally redeem himself, or fall really hard, and I must admit the end of the season was very satisfying in this respect. If someone had it coming it was him. He is (was? maybe his downfall will finally result in a be a bit of character growth?) nothing but a vain, egoistical child that even or especially a Cylon should have better sense than to love. I never wanted to be the Vice President. That is, until this very moment. Giving Nr. Six the nuclear warhead, because Roslin's letter hurt his vanity. What is he, five? The first and last time I had a bit of sympathy for him was with Nr. Six in the cell on the Pegasus, because what happened to her genuinely shocked him, and for once made him think about someone other than himself. But even then it's rather obvious that his ego makes him pick the woman whose saviour he can be over the one who makes him feel powerless, and when barely a couple of episodes later he insisted on pushing himself on her, knowing she's been been tortured, repeatedly raped and severely traumatised, because he 'can't help himself' that quenched any spark of sympathy pretty fast.

I rather love Sharon (and I'd really like to see her and Helo's relationship work out *is a closet romantic*) and Starbuck, and I have quite a bit of probably not really justifiable sympathy for Tigh, but I haven't yet managed to make myself care much about either of the Adamas or any of the other characters.


# Is this a problem with the text, or is it my own issues talking that even with this show and all its gender equality and strong female characters I still have occasional issues with the way they're written? Rationally I'm aware that with the Cylons almost wiping out the human race they need to be careful, but somehow the show completely fails to sell this moral dilemma, because the way Sharon is treated never made me anything but intensely uncomfortable. And does Adama even realise that it's not much of a step from calling someone 'it' and a 'thing' to 'you can't rape a machine'? So it's nice that he apologises for that and all, but really a bit beside the point. Number Six, tortured, raped. Yes, she was a Cylon, but so far we've also had three male Cylons, and while Leoben was also beaten and tortured, he was never in such a vulnerable position for such a length of time as Sharon and Nr. Six; in fact he always gave the impression that he was ultimately in control of the situation. No sexual abuse, either.

Then there's Starbuck, who is, yes, generally awesome, and if I had once of those fictional-characters-I'd-sleep-with list, she'd be right up there, but also the abused child, which makes me feel more than a bit uneasy about some aspects of her relationship with Adama, most noticeable 1.4, when Adama more or less pushes her into that near-suicide mission, and knowing her and how badly she wanted his approval, should also have known how his words would affect her; guilt ridden and afraid of failing. Almost raped turned into a breeding machine by the Cylons. Her arc is always on the verge of being very painful to watch for me. Cally, bruised, her jaw wired shut, telling Tyrol that she forgives him and loves him. Now at least before that episode I never doubted that Tyrol was a fundamentally decent guy, but like with Sharon, like with Nr. Six, these are images that override the context. Admiral Cain, who, despite what Starbuck said in the end, was more of a psychopath than not, and certainly without the conscience and humanity that Adama with his books and carpets and sheer old-fashionedness personifies. Roslin, who needs Adama as a moral corrective quite a bit.

But maybe that's just me...

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
un_crayon_rouge
Dec. 23rd, 2009 08:35 pm (UTC)
Instead of responding with own profound thoughts about BSG, which I don't have anyway - I was content with shipping whatever was shippable, including, yes, Sharon and Helo, and just gawking at the pretty - I'll just say that I am suddenly grasped by a strong desire to watch the Sissi movie with you, maybe have a glass of wine, and giggle a lot. *sigh*
solitary_summer
Dec. 23rd, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
And there's certainly a lot of pretty there! *g*

And I'd love that, too. I know everyone mocks the Sissi movies, and maybe I have no taste, but to be perfectly honest, I think they're really well done. Totally kitschig, obviously, but not bad, and it's not as if they ever pretended to be history. And it's just not Christmas without them...
un_crayon_rouge
Dec. 23rd, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
So which one is this?
solitary_summer
Dec. 23rd, 2009 09:02 pm (UTC)
Fist one. We just had the whole Ball & Verlobung & Feuerwerk in Ischl...
un_crayon_rouge
Dec. 23rd, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
"Warum hast du mich vor so ein fait accompli gestellt?" OMG. I know this by heart. I suspect that makes me all kinds of pathetic.
solitary_summer
Dec. 23rd, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
I think it's adorable! :)

Now she's saying good-bye to Xaverl and setting free the birds... *slight sniff*
solitary_summer
Dec. 23rd, 2009 08:52 pm (UTC)
BTW, I know we haven't talked a lot lately, and I'm still all the way here and you're still all the way in Madrid, but if I can do anything to make 2010 a bit less stressful and generally better, let me know!
un_crayon_rouge
Dec. 23rd, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC)
I will :-) As country-song corny as this is, just knowing that you care already makes it better. So there. Besides, it's *Vienna*, not Antarctica, so who knows, maybe there could be a visit. Sometime.
solitary_summer
Dec. 23rd, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
True, true. :) Although it kinda was Antarctica a couple of days ago...
calanthe_b
Dec. 24th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
I'll just start by saying that the idea of William Adama as a 'moral corrective' to anyone makes my head hurt...he and Roslin are exactly as bad as each other, and they're meant to me.

And yes, the problems you're seeing with the female characters are really there. And they are going to get worse, because late Season Two is where the tendency for female characters to get murdered or commit suicide at a ridiculous rate, especially compared to the male characters, kicks in. I wrote a whole long rant about it here just after the finale, if you don't mind spoilers.

I'm interested to know what you think about the minor characters, though - Dee, Gaeta, Zarek, Cottle etc. Those characters are the reason I stuck with the show almost to the end...
solitary_summer
Dec. 25th, 2009 04:46 pm (UTC)
I'll just start by saying that the idea of William Adama as a 'moral corrective' to anyone makes my head hurt...

Not in absolute terms, but in the context of show canon it looked a bit like we were supposed to see it like that sometimes... She almost immediately suggesting that he kill admiral Cain, and he deciding not to do it in the end, he dissuading her from stealing the election...

I wrote a whole long rant about it here just after the finale, if you don't mind spoilers.

*bookmarks* I'm supposed to get the rest of the DVDs next week, I'll read it then.

I have to admit that I don't have much of an opinion about the minor characters yet, but I'll probably post something longer in the end.
calanthe_b
Dec. 27th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC)
in the context of show canon it looked a bit like we were supposed to see it like that sometimes... She almost immediately suggesting that he kill admiral Cain, and he deciding not to do it in the end, he dissuading her from stealing the election...

It can look that way sometimes, certainly. However, there's also that lovely moment in the 'Home' two-parter where Adama tlls her very solemnly that he forgives her (for...running away, splitting the fleet, being mean to him, leading his son astray? Being right where he was wrong?) and she says in a calm and patronising tone, basically, Thanks, Bill, but I don't need your forgiveness for anything. Which she didn't. The rest of the human species', perhaps, but not his.

The end of 3.05 'Collaborators' really pushes home how alike and far from moral superiority they are in their dealings with the civilian Fleet, though - keep an eye out for it! Gaeta and Cottle should start coming a bit clearer for you in the next four or five episodes too - they get some strong stuff there.
solitary_summer
Dec. 27th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC)
Now I really hope the DVDs will arrive before New Year/next weekend...
(Anonymous)
Dec. 28th, 2009 12:21 am (UTC)
Fingers crossed for you...
(Deleted comment)
solitary_summer
Dec. 25th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
Maybe I'd be a tiny little bit happier if they raped the male Cylons as well - because then it might actually be a case of "male writers looking at the hideous thing in the face"

I actually thought for a moment they were going there with Helo and Tyrol after they killed the officer who tried to rape Sharon and were imprisoned on the Pegasus, but they 'only' got beaten up a bit.

I guess it's not inconceivable, but it does seem a bit unbelievable that in a society that supposedly has achieved genuine gender equality, sexual violence towards women, and only towards women, is still so commonplace.

Then again, this apparently is also the show where the gay character is only allowed to be gay in the web-published episodes written during the writer's strike, or so I gathered...

calanthe_b
Dec. 27th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
this apparently is also the show where the gay character is only allowed to be gay in the web-published episodes written during the writer's strike, or so I gathered...

Well...simple answer to that one (the one you get if you ask the writers) is yes, but we don't want to admit it. Complicated answer--the one you get if you ask the actor--is that he was intentionally, consciously and quite overtly playing the character as queer from the start of the first season, and it took the writers a considerable amount of time to catch up. Like, not even the writer's strike, but after the whole series finale had wrapped and the sequel/prequel movie was being filmed...

solitary_summer
Dec. 27th, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
Complicated answer--the one you get if you ask the actor--is that he was intentionally, consciously and quite overtly playing the character as queer from the start of the first season

Interesting. I have to admit I didn't specifically notice, and this is one of the few things I've been spoiled for, if you can call it that. How do you play a character queer, if you don't play into the stereotypes, and if you don't have any kind of romantic or sexual relationship? The mere fact that he isn't obviously attracted to any of the women? At the end of Adama's speech about finding Earth in the pilot/miniseries he hugs the male soldiers standing beside him, but a hug does not a sexual orientation make, even if they seemed to be the only ones hugging. After that I didn't notice anything that could even by called some kind of definitive hint...

(Anonymous)
Dec. 28th, 2009 12:22 am (UTC)
Try looking at his interactions with Baltar.
calanthe_b
Dec. 28th, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
Sorry, the two anon replies above were both me - forgot I wasn't logged in!
solitary_summer
Dec. 28th, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
I thought it was you. :)
solitary_summer
Dec. 28th, 2009 12:44 am (UTC)
(Re. Gaeta and Baltar)

*facepalm*

Thank you for reminding me, I completely forgot about that; I know I went through the episodes much too fast. *feels stupid*
calanthe_b
Dec. 28th, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
Well, it is kind of a sub-sub-subplot - easy to overlook!
(Deleted comment)
solitary_summer
Dec. 27th, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
I've actually thought about this after I posted the comment, and then whether or not it would make a difference to the prevalence of rape generally speaking if a society has achieved full gender equality, although clearly in the BSG universe it clearly doesn't.

The gay character is Gaeta, but this is only revealed mid 4th season.
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