That being said, and since there was some pretty major stuff that went on in episode 11 last night, if you haven't seen it yet I'll remind you now that this post in particular is in the major spoiler category ;)
What follows below is a listing of a few (very mixed!) reviews so far of last night's episode, then I'll give my own first impressions. I think a lot more reviews will be rolling in as so many of us are taken aback. I hope that everyone feels welcome to post their own impressions as well in the comments (or link to your blog posts in the comments)! We'll add more reviews to the Colonial Dispatch posts as they come up.
First things first, and with no delay - If you have seen episode 11, then you may proceed (mild spoiler warning - includes insinuations as to what will be covered in future episodes and some pretty direct answers to some things that may not have been so clear before) to the Ron Moore interview at The Watcher, which discusses 'Notion' and also includes commentaries on the making and writing of the episode by director Michael Nankin and co-writers Bradley Thompson and David Weddle.
Reviews and recaps from:
- The ever eloquent Alan Sepinwall
- io9 - A live blog from last night, and entertaining in itself!
- Carmen Andres writes an interesting review from a religious perspective.
- Tim "The Bastard" Goodman at San Francisco Chronicle
- Time Magazine's Tuned In
- LA Times
- TV Squad
- Buddy TV
- Sci Fi Crazy
- Television Without Pity
- Premium Hollywood
- Entertainment Weekly
- Cinema Blend
It was just really strange watching "Sometimes a Great Notion" last night. I kind of felt like someone who had survived a great and perilous journey (that of an avid BSG fan who has had to endure the anticipation of the "great hiatuses"), only to face a new and uncertain future. Hey! That's pretty much what is actually happening on the show right now. Ah - art imitates life, life imitates art.
What made it so strange? Well, I for one had exceedingly high expectations (for this episode as well as the rest of 4.5), yet had absolutely no idea what to expect. Upon reviewing season 4.0 on DVD, one of the things that rang louder than before (or maybe it had just been awhile since I watched it) was D'anna's assertation that only 4 of the final 5 were in the fleet. That made my mind run around in circles like a dog looking for that sweet spot before finally lying down, yet my mind never did lay down completely. I think it kind of surrendered to not lying down at all... until now. At the beginning of the episode, they flash the words across the screen about "only 4 are in the fleet", and that immediately made my dog (tired) mind get back up for a few laps. And holy frak - I totally didn't expect it to be revealed in this episode. I had only heard that the final cylon would be revealed by the middle of 4.5. At first I thought Tigh was delusional, and they would take it another way in the other episodes (still not out of the question I suppose), and quite frankly I was a little horrified at Ron's (and co) choice of the 5th. I can't wait for the commentaries and hope they tell us a little about exactly when and how that decision was made, as well as the editing process involved in the episode (still have to read the interview with Ron at The Watcher linked above). Throughout the course of the day so far, however, my feelings on the fifth have come to almost a complete 180. So many things have sunk in within the past 14 or so hours that have made it make such perfect sense and wonderfully intertwined with so many things from the entire series. I still have some residual feelings of it being a cheap and easy answer, but perhaps that's because I'm so perturbed at myself for not having immediately realized this way back when the final 4 came out.
Looking at the final 5 in retrospect, it seems they all have a key place in the leadership of human society. They aren't in top spots, but they are mostly number 2's; Tory as assistant to the President, Tigh as the XO and New Caprican resistance leader, Ellen as the wife of the XO and key player in the resistance, Sam Anders as a popular professional athlete and leader of the Caprican and New Caprican resistances... and then Galen Tyrol as a head New Caprican resistance leader, a union leader, and the chief in charge of maintaining the main resources of the fleet of survivors. Chief is the everyman's leader, and I hope we see his relevance get filled in even more - especially since he's sort of been on the sidelines lately with just that semi-catatonic maniacal grin.
And Dee. That really pissed me off at first. It still doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but apparently it doesn't for the rest of the characters either (art, life, life, art...). It immediately came across as a cheap shot at shock value, but sometimes I have to push back the hyper-critical film school stuff in me and let the geeky, leap of faith, high concept action/sci-fi fan step back in. But perhaps its true to an extent; maybe Ron (and co) are so immersed and attached to the show that the objectivity is a little fogged. When the beginning of the episode was getting so Dee-centric, I found myself starting to think she might really be the fifth, but then I remembered who created this show, and that it had to be a mind-frak (loving lol). Then, BAM! Like a smack in the face if you were still thinking she was the fifth, Dee's gone (yet that still didn't mean she wasn't the fifth). I guess they were talking about killing someone off for a couple of seasons now, but still... it seemed a little out of place. I think my reaction to Dee's suicide made me a little skeptical about the Ellen reveal.
And Kara. What the frak? Totally creepy scene with her finding the Viper and a charred pilot , presumably her, inside. This is obviously one of the bigger questions (where/when the frak did she go, and how/when did she get back?) not answered in this episode, and I like the way this theme is being carried out (although I have to wonder if they had this plotted out when they wrote this episode). Didn't care for the "Frak Earth" graffiti - it was just too literal. Also a little uneasy about the flashes of "other memory" by Galen, Tory, and Sam. Sam on broken air guitar made me particularly squeamish (and I am a huge Anders fan). They got a little too "pointerlicious" when it was straight-up explained to us (as the characters realized it) what the 13th colony was all about and how/why they got to Earth. I felt myself being a little overly sensitive about a lot of things, probably because my emotions are so on edge with this show. Sure I wanted answers, but I think they may have been piled up a bit too much for one single episode. I like the less heady stuff anyway, so I'm hoping Cavil will come back soon and stir up some crazy space (or Earth) fight action - but I still love this show warts n' all.
Some big questions answered, some big questions created, and a lot of questions still lingering. Eager for more.