In the sixteenth episode of the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica, the writers find yet another way to make everything so painfully awkward that I start to wonder if it’s the only way they could subsist in our universe. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Battlestar Galactica.
I don’t think episode (until the end) is much like many others in the entire series, and it certainly doesn’t have as many mind-melting, hands-being-thrown-in-the-air moments of frustration or confusion as the majority of episodes in season four. It’s not that “Deadlock” takes a break, though, as it’s a direct continuation from the ramifications of “No Exit.” Instead, this story is one of transition, and it’s one that can only belong at the end of this show.
I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite of season four, but there are so many subtle turns (amidst some not-so-subtle predicaments) that make this a thoughtful episode for me, one that examines how much the line between Cylon and human has been almost entirely obliterated. I think this episode in particular shows us how various characters–Tigh, Baltar, Adama, Ellen, and Caprica Six–cope with the reality that nothing is really “pure” anymore, that things are so complicated and mixed up that even simple definitions don’t work.
It wasn’t until long after “No Exit” had finished and I’d already written the review did a disturbing thought enter my head: oh shit, Tigh is going to have a child with Caprica Six. WELL THAT’S FUCKING AWKWARD. What I thought would be just awkward becomes MONUMENTALLY HORRIFIC, exponentially increasing in awfulness as the very “human” nature of Ellen Tigh begins to come out in response. It’s tied in with Tigh’s ultimate rejection of Cylon rule; it’s related to Adama’s despondency over losing the “identity” of Galactica as more of the resin is used to repair the hull and internal parts of the ship. All of these characters deal with Cylon and human cultures crashing together.
But let’s just start with what might be one of the oddest scenes in the whole series: Ellen Tigh speaking with Roslin, Lee, Tigh, and Adama in Adama’s quarters aboutâ€¦.well, they have a whole lot to talk about, not the least of which is her sudden reappearance. And as she tries to relate what’s going on to them, I couldn’t help but laugh at the not-giving-one-fuck faces of Lee, Roslin, and Adama, who are all so tired and probably irritated at the ongoing Cylon drama. I MEAN SERIOUSLY THEY JUST QUASHED A MUTINY CAN THEY GET ONE WITH THEIR LIVES. Of course, you also have to think about how little the humans understand about the complicated past of the Cylons. Adama demonstrates a bit of knowledge about them later in the episode (in that amazing drunk scene with Tigh), but I think most of this escapes them.
Baltar’s off in his own little world (surprise!!!), but he is also faced with a change in purity. In this case, his followers are not necessarily quite as devoted to him as before, particularly Paulla Schaffer. His absence, when he left to “hide” on the base ship during the mutiny, forced those he left behind to start to take control of things themselves. I love Paulla Schaffer dearly, and I love how she made this transformation from a follower to a leader, especially one who can see right through Baltar’s ridiculous bullshit. It’s actually pretty entertaining to watch her and Baltar continue to one-up one another, both astutely aware of what the other one is doing.
Oh, right. OH MY GOD HEAD SIX IS BACK I HAVE MISSED YOU SINCE FOREVER. Oh god WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Did she reappear because Baltar was losing control of his little “cult”?Â It seems so, though it does raise more questions for me: why does she push the whole “God” of the Cylons? We know now that the belief is, in essence, artificial. Whether it stands that the single God of the Centurions is actually real has yet to be addressed, but the Final Five put these thoughts into the other eight models. So why was Head Six always nudging Baltar in this direction?
I suppose that there’s a larger question here, and it has more to do with the idea of Cylon projection. Multiple characters have projected the existence of someone in their physical world, a person (or a cat) that they can see and interact with. Obviously, Gaius Baltar’s entire story arch over four seasons wouldn’t nearly be as interesting without Head Six, but we see another manifestation of the same thing with Tigh when he has sex with Ellen. I’m still confused as to when Caprica Six and Tigh even had sex to begin with, since we were never shown it; it’s not an unbelievable thing, though, especially since Tigh projected his dead wife onto Six when he was visiting her earlier in the season.
I don’t know that I need an answer or an explanation for this, and I tend to watch and read things and enjoy the magic that comes along with it. I wouldn’t mind some sort of hint or clue towards what these visions are, but at the same time, I would still be satisfied with the mechanics of it being unexplained.
so hey how’s all that awkwardness going. Oh, so the Cylons want to vote on leaving the fleet entirely and use the hope of Tigh and Caprica’s child to rebuild the Cylon race as a pure thing? Oh, Tigh forgot to tell Ellen about Liam? Oh, the disaster that is this episode. What’s fascinating to me as an outside viewer to what unfolds between the Cylons is the obvious, unspoken hypocrisy of it all. The ironic references to “No Exit” are what make this story so strong, at least to me, because Ellen insisted that it was a good thing that the eight humanoid models created by the Final Five were so human in design, that they all possessed traits and tendencies that would bring them closer to God and perfection.
What we see throughout “Deadlock” is how human traits and behaviors backfire against us, and it’s through the Cylons we witness some of the worst of the worst: jealousy, petty revenge, rage, and massively horrific superiority complexes. It takes the ending for Ellen to self-reflect upon what’s happen, but I was enamored that it was finally Tigh as the one who resisted this all. The process of becoming a Cylon has strangles been the most humanizing thing that’s happened to him; he’s never been more sympathetic or likable. Which is not to say I’ve disliked him at all! He’s a wonderful character and the writers have consistently given him spectacular storylines. After all the tragedy that he’s gone through, it seems he genuinely loves Caprica, and that he’s excited for his new son. And perhaps Anders’s warning to Tigh to stay on the ship for the “miracle” that is about to happen carried a lot of wait, but either way, the man refuses to abandon Galactica. It’s all he’s ever known in this version of his life.
It’s all anyone has ever known. Baltar has only known being manipulative, controlling, shifty, and more Slytherin than anyone ever. Roslin has only known Caprica Six through the visions she shared with her. Tyrol has only really known his life being taken away from him, one piece at a time. (Side note: Wow, how much was the theme of “No Exit” so applicable to Tyrol? If anyone truly believed that hell is other people, it’s him.) And Adama has only known his ship as one thing. How do they cope with this? Their worlds and their perspective is being forced into a new paradigm, and it’s not something they can ignore anymore.
So Adama accepts it. God, how great is that scene between him and Tigh as they get progressively more drunk? He so lovingly accepts his friend, regardless of being a Cylon, and it’s just beautiful to me, okay? More so than anyone else, Adama is willing to adapt. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t begrudgingly got there; he hasn’t done this with a giant smile on his face, skipping through the corridors of the Galactica while hugging all the new Cylon members of the ship. It’s been a tough road for him, but he’s willing to turn over a new leaf. I think he’s just done fighting, done resisting change and instead just wants to see where things go.
Baltar? Not so much, though. I groaned every single time he tried to utilize the sympathy of the people in Dogsville to oppose Paula. GOD I CAN SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOU, BALTAR. However, I think that is what Baltar uses to his credit; I think he realizes that he can’t beat Paula at her game, especially after their food was stolen by the Sons of Ares. So, instead, he chooses to engage her. Why fight the militarization ? Why fight what she’s demanding? It’s so brilliant, as much as it is devious, but Head Six helps Baltar to convince the group that they should have hope (and guns). He does it in a way to completely deflate Paula’s rage and make it seem like it was his idea in the first place. Yet I have to admit…when Baltar does get the weapons, Paula has a very smug, satisfied look on her face. And it made me think that this is what she wanted all along. oh god SHE PLAYED HIM, DIDN’T SHE? this is my canon.
Well, you know…I skipped over something. And I’m just quoting it here and now because the writing on this show is so ridiculous.
“Galactica is slipping away from you, drop by drop. You are pouring Cylon blood into her veins. I see the Cylon pilots. We all see them! We all see the Cylon work force. Where they’re going into the far recesses of the ship? When are you inviting the Centurions over, to join in all the fun we’re having over here? Of course when you do that, that very moment, this becomes a blended ship. Only half human. And right now, I an here to tell you your people…your people are not ready for that. I am offering you the last human solution you will ever be presented with.”
SWEET SUMMER CHILD. I mean…THE GODDAMN SUBTEXT. The irony that it’s Baltar saying this, that he’s preying on the exact conflict that Adama is dealing with internally, the fact that it’s actually completely true. I love this show. I LOVE IT.
But “Deadlock” really does put a lot of narrative weight on the tragedy that strikes Caprica Six. I still don’t know if Ellen Tigh did this on purpose, if she did it inadvertently by upsetting Caprica so resolutely, or if it’s just a coincidence. Either way, it doesn’t make this any easier to deal with or categorize. Unsurprisingly, Michael Hogan and Tricia Helfer give performances worthy of any number awards that they didn’t get because apparently only tasteless bigots give out awards. I will admit to a full showing of waterworks turning themselves on when Liam’s heart rate stopped. It’s awful, horrifying, and something that feels like a rug was pulled out from underneath you. While this is a gigantic blow to the Cylon’s plan to secede from the human force, it’s played much more intimately: Caprica Six just lost her child, and Tigh won’t be a father.
I can only hope that in the remainder of this series, I never have to see Tigh breakdown and cry to Adama like that. After everything that has happened to him, it’s just….the man has experienced too much tragedy. I hope that Caprica Six finds some sort of solace from this, though I cannot imagine the devastation that she’s going through. But that’s where these characters are, and I think that final scene in the Memorial Hallway is indicative of the massive change in everything since this show started. Now Cylons and humans are both suffering loss. It’s all mixed up. It’s all repeating.
jesus christ what is this show going to do to me next
One hilarious line in this one that goes by so fast you may not catch it, plus you're not exactly in the mood after Caprica's miscarriage: "I'm going to the head to do something worthwhile. A little project I've been working on." Yes, BSG did a poop joke, and actually made it work!
jesus christ what is this show going to do to me next
Muah. Muah-ha. MUAH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!
*cackles* Not even close to being prepared Mark.
Never possible to even remotely be prepared.
something akin to spontaneous combustion most likely.
"he hasn’t done this with a giant smile on his face, skipping through the corridors of the Galactica while hugging all the new Cylon members of the ship. "
I'm just going off into a little corner to laugh hysterically at this image for a while.
Not my favorite episode, thought the implication that Caprica had a miscarriage because Saul loved Ellen more was pretty icky, but some good moments!
Was it ever explained how Ellen and Boomer found the fleet?
Yeah, while there’s some good stuff and some amazing performances I just can’t get over that aspect of the episode.
Trial and error, I guess. They left 2 days before the "present" events of "No Exit" according to the timestamp for their last scenes in that episode.
I don't think that Ellen really considered what the result would be of getting Caprica Six so upset. Ellen just wanted to make everyone around her feel the same pain that she was feeling. It was more a situation of 'why should you be happy when I'm not' mixed in with some (okay, a lot of) resentment about the fact that she and Tigh had tried to have children (and even decided on the name Liam), but ultimately couldn't. One of my favorite parts of the episode is when Ellen was apologizing and saying that she hadn't meant to cause pain to Caprica (only to Tigh), and Caprica just called her out on her BS, because 'proving' to Caprica that Tigh loved someone more than even his child was clearly meant to hurt her.
Another favorite: 'Great grandpa was a power sander!' — Saul Tigh
IMO I think this is exactly what she wanted. For a woman who's been around for thousands of years she had to have some inkling of what she was doing. She's always manipulated to get what she wants.
Sometimes I think 'yes, this was entirely planned and she wanted Caprica to miscarry', and other times I'm of the opinion that she wanted to inflict hurt on everyone around her, but that she was not thinking clearly enough to have planned for that end result. Naq gura bgure gvzrf V guvax 'cyrnfr ubyq zr orpnhfr V xabj jung'f tbvat gb unccra arkg rcvfbqr naq V qba'g guvax zl cbbe urneg pna gnxr vg'.
Word to the rot13
I love the callback during Ellen's introduction to the way we first met her in Tigh Me Up Tigh Me Down. The matching shots moving around the Raptor and her legs visible through the open door. Despite what we saw last episode she really hasn't changed all that much since that episode. In comparison Tigh is so different now. The fact that he seems to be the more sober one when sharing a drink with Bill, who keeps adding more to his glass, is one of the things that shows just how much they've changed.
Oh Caprica. As awful as the attack in Dogsville is at least she's still able to kick some ass even while pregnant. Her offering Ellen tea when she visits is oddly charming. Her begging Cottle to save the baby and the "Cylon babies must be strong right?" are just heartbreaking. Tricia continues to be amazing.
when Baltar does get the weapons, Paula has a very smug, satisfied look on her face. oh god SHE PLAYED HIM, DIDN’T SHE? this is my canon.
I hadn't thought of it that way before but the way she seems to know exactly how to handle the rifle, while Gaius is accidentally removing the magazine and just generally failing with it, does seem awfully convenient.
Interesting thought that I don't have much else to say about: With Boomer now being held on Galactica, the special Cylon cell finally has its original intended occupant.
Oh hi there Bear McCreary making a cameo. Kara I think the important questions is where the piano came from. I guess they brought it over from another ship?
Ellen really is the same. She's got this extra layer of … maturity's the wrong word, wisdom maybe? but underneath that she still knows how to manipulate and work people to get what she wants. I do love that the way she reassures everyone she's still the same Ellen is to ask for a drink.
Sometimes, I really hate you
Compared to the last few episodes I guess this one was lighter overall- there was laughter! and drunk bffs! and silly Baltar getting all excited because he thought at 8 or 9 year old was named after him!- but that ending just KILLED me. The first 30 minutes could have been puppies and kittens frolicking for all I know; all I remember is the miscarriage.
"Great Grandpa was a power sander."
Deceased. Someone bury me.
Adama should really sit down for a chat with Cersei about arming religious fanatics. It guess it could possibly not end in total disaster and civil war. Maybe.
Unsurprisingly, Michael Hogan and Tricia Helfer give performances worthy of any number awards that they didn’t get because apparently only tasteless bigots give out awards.
You've seen the Oscars, haven't you?
Maybe Adama just misses the excitement of the mutiny and needs something to keep him busy now Earth's a nuclear wasteland.
Hmm, good point. He longs for more ass-kicking brotimes with Tigh.
He's just sad he doesn't have a big gun or get to smack talk some marines with Tigh. Plus he needs something to do when Roslin's busy being presidential.
Yeah, and if he's left alone in his quarters for too long, he'll probably just resort to breaking his ship to rebuild it again.
I never really liked this episode. I always thought it was meh. But that's because I don't like Ellen. Never have. She's shifty and untrustworthy and annoyed the crap out of me always. I did love Baltar but then I always do 🙂
Mark is still massively, hopelessly unprepared.
"The process of becoming a Cylon has strangles been the most humanizing thing that’s happened to him…"
"Strangles?" WHAT DOES THIS MEAN. And why do I find it so funny?
I think he meant "has strangely been". But funnier in original 🙂
Oh, I thought it was "strangled" too, but that makes more sense!
Apparently my response to this episode was a lot of rambling about:
1) How much I like Ellen and am thoroughly enjoying her return. But I have to admit that was a bit mean, because some of that enjoyment came from the knowledge that fandom at large didn't like her, and I very rarely get to see a woman character that I liked but fandom didn't return from being apparently killed off.
2) A lot of my issues with Caprica-Six (at this point in time, for entirely unrelated reasons that have nothing to do with this show, I'd grown very wary of getting too attached to my favorite women characters in media, so as bad as it is, this was a bit of an at least temporary relief for me, as I had speculated that Caprica wouldn't give birth to her child, but worried considerably about how that would play out).
3) Some discussion of the Cylons coming to into the fleet and notions of "sin" vs "pollution" in Greek Mythology, which I actually will quote a bit of:
This was the end of their separation. "It's already happened." Pure Cylon doesn't work and pure human doesn't either. This was Six giving us our beginning, in putting her Eight friend up on the wall, in painting Galactica walls with Cylon blood and flying next to Kara, and in losing her child. It was interesting, that in the beginning of this season, Caprica talked about the baby as, well, "important" the way Roslin meant – the future of the Cylon race, the product of God and the threat to humanity. And then he kicked, and she stopped, because it didn't fucking matter whether he was a prophet or a sign or a child and that was all. She didn't see him like that anymore.
I don't really think we can blame [Ellen] or Tigh for what happened to Liam, though, because ultimately, that's how the story had to go. There was not going to be a pure Cylon race again. Hera (and apparently Hera alone, right now) is the next generation. Liam dies and Baltar is again having visions and Anders appears to be recovering again.
He dies because in the story, he's wrong. That's really fucked up to say. He's done nothing wrong, Caprica (in this context) has done nothing wrong, Saul has done nothing wrong. Maybe it's 'not right.' But he's the product of a couple that probably should not have happened, he's what taints the Cylons' discussion of their future. Anders is screaming about a miracle with the Fleet and they see their future in this couple that shouldn't have happened. I don't mean as how it was written, but that this is a story and it's a tragedy. Greek mythology often doesn't incorporate an idea of sin so much as an idea of pollution – it doesn't matter what a person's intentions were, if it's wrong with the system then it's wrong and that's it. That's what often leads to tragedy.
And I just want to take a point to clarify what I meant there – I don't mean to say that I think Certain People Are Wrong or that There Is A System. I don't think that. But I also don't think the narrative was to imply that Liam died because Saul didn't love Caprica as much as Ellen or something. What I thought they were doing was playing off this mythological conception of there being some kind of divine system or notion in place, and that acting against it, even innocently, caused tragedy. It's like the Oedipus myth – when Oedipus unknowingly kills his father and marries his mother, a plague falls on Thebes. No one in this story knew or meant what they were doing, but the actions themselves were still considered "polluting" to the system or divine order or whatever, and tragedy befell them, anyway. Again, I do not believe things like this, but I did feel like that was the sort of narrative they were engaging in.
And apropos of nothing, I approve of your canon for Paula. I very much enjoyed that last shot of her with one of the guns.
Good thoughts. Similar to some of my own musings.
“All we need is strength, and strength comes from within…and guns. More guns. Bigger guns. Better guns.”
Bwahaha. Brilliant callback to that other time Gaius repeated what Head!Six told him and ended up asking for (and getting!) a nuclear warhead.
Come to think of it, Adama, considering how that nuclear warhead thing worked out, are you sure granting this request is such a great plan?
Although, did they know that that was Baltar's nuclear warhead at the time? I thought he might have wanted to cover that one up.
They knew it was his, but thought it was stolen.
I love that there's a show where a self-proclaimed angel says that line. Fast. With a straight face. This is a thing!
What's the episode that follows this one? I could look it up myself, but that's like a lot of work and I figure someone around here knows…
Fbzrbar Gb Jngpu Bire Zr
BSG wiki link if you'd like a summary of what happens. Warning to others, link is full of spoilers for the entire series.
Gung bar'f n tbbq bar– n snibevgr bs zvar.
I absolutely love that that final scene in the Memorial Hallway… and yet I always forget which episode it's in! I often misremember it being in No Exit or the episode after this one. I think because this episode is always eclipsed in my mind by the pain of my poor Caprica Six. I have such massive, unabashed love for her. AND I JUST WANT HER TO BE HAPPY, CYLON-GOD DAMN IT. DDDD:
to be honest, I never pictured things ending well for Caprica/Tigh because I've always wanted Caprica/Baltar to make it work (yes, even though she betrayed him & he's a weasel & they tried on New Caprica and it was miserable) (but then they were failures & everyone was miserable, all their dreams were dead) (DON'T JUDGE ME), but I never expected her to be put through the ringer like this and FOREVER TEARS. I can't even. Rewatching was torture.
The Ellen/Caprica Six moments are like watching a train wreck, because Ellen envisioned coming back and being reunited with Tigh and the rest of her friends & children and how it would be so awesome, and Caprica Six has idolized the Five and would have been so excited to meet the last member…. and then everything went AWFUL. It hurt me to see them fighting!
Baltar, you continue to be wacky and entertaining to me — with your new-found intention to do good constantly competing with your self interest. Just keep being you in the midst of epic tragedy. <3
Starbuck… it continues to suck being you. I wish you'd go to Adama for hugs.
This is, by far, my least episode in the entire series, and that includes Black Market. "Tigh's cheating heart killed a fetus" is the most… UGH. I could handle the "love makes babies!" thing with Athena and Helo because it wasn't confirmed. But here, it was strongly implied (thank you, Jane Espenson, because I hear she fought to make it less explicit), and I HATE it. Offensive, and there was a much better explanation available. Why couldn't Cylons just have babies after they accepted mortality? Athena pretty much did when she chose Helo over the Cylons, and she got pregnant. The Cylons on Earth could have kids, but couldn't resurrect. Caprica Six gets pregnant after the Resurrection Hub is blown up. See? Makes much more sense.
And right now, I an here to tell you your people…your people are not ready for that. I am offering you the last human solution you will ever be presented with
YA THINK????????? Thank you, Baltar, because even after a violent mutiny, Adama still doesn't seem to be getting the point. Sorry. My other pet peeve is that we never once saw Adama show any sort of grief over Gaeta- or that the show couldn't be bothered to so much as hang his picture on the wall. (Same with Zarek, but I don't expect Adama to do that.) We get an episode dealing with Cally's death, a line and a picture acknowledging Dee's, and absolutely nothing for Gaeta. Yes, he mutinied, but before that, he did a heck of a lot for humanity.
Sorry. I adore the series, but this was one of those things that just really -hurt- in a way that the deaths and the in-context stuff didn't.
But she got pregnant before the Hub was blown up. In "Sine Qua Non" she was already pregnant.
The emotional stress, and the difficulty of Cylons having babies anyway can't have helped. Even Hera wouldn't have been born without medical intervention. Twice.
I feel weird for saying this, but the Galactica's slow "death" is in someways more disturbing to me than any character death. Through all the shit the fleet has gone through, the Galactica's always been there. Always! What will happen if the Galactica goes?
Now I wish the Galactica had a spirit or something and it was forced into a flesh body like the Tardis and Idris. What would Galactica say to Adama? What would he say to her? CAN SOMEONE WRITE THIS FAN FIC????
OH OH OH!!! Maybe the Galactica's "spirit" can be it's computer system, and it's downloaded into one of the cylon models. And that cylon model would be an Eight, because I wouldn't mind seeing Grace Park play that. Yeah? Yeahhhhhh.
p.s. I would ship Galactica/Tardis harder than I ever shipped anyone before.
I like the deleted scene where Lee and Roslin are watching the Five re-unite in Sickbay and Ellen says "Personally, I don't feel the need for this audience", and Lee says it's a significant meeting and they should be there, and Ellen says, "What, in case we all hold hands and shoot magic fireworks out of our asses?"
This episode had some of the funniest lines in the seriesâ€”Hot Dog’s “How many dead chicks are out there?”, Starbuck seeing Ellen and Tigh kiss: “It’s like watching my parents make out”, Adama’s poop jokeâ€”and the most heartbreaking*, when Adama is comforting Tigh about Liam, and Tigh barely chokes out: “It’s not like Zak…”
Oh, balls, I’m choked up just remembering it.
(* The second most heartbreaking line for me is still to come: Onygne’f ynfg yvar, “Lbh xabj… V xabj nobhg snezvat.”)
I don’t know why I didn’t really like this episode. Normally I enjoy the slower, character- centric episodes that come between the Mind Blowing Shit Getting Real episodes, but I just couldn’t get involved in this one. *shrug*
I wasn’t loving the rivalry between Ellen and Caprica, especially since it was just about who Tigh loved more. I know they both have very real and personal reasons to want him for themselves only: he’s the father of Caprica’s
child, and Ellen has been married to him for literally thousands of years. I get that. But it was made to seem like their entire identities revolved around whether or not Tigh loved them, and in Caprica’s case, it was enough to have a negative physical effect on her and a fatal one on Liam. I felt awful for Tigh and Caprica, but between the complete lack of any scientific basis for the miscarriage and the weirdness of it, I was kind of side-eyeing it.
I’m confused by Tyrol’s character progression. He accepted his old job as Chief back, and he’s clearly still on good terms with Adama, at least, and convincing Adama to repair Galactica with the cylon goo makes it seem like he still cares about the well-being of the ship, and probably by extension everyone on it… but he votes for the cylons to leave the fleet? What?
Weirdly, the part I liked most was the Baltar/Paula power struggle. But bet that someone is going to regret giving them loads of big-ass guns in the very near future.