Battlestar Galactica
A Day In The Life

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: B- | 2 USERS: B+
Looking Up At The Admiral

Now: Bill's a whole lot older, onboard Galactica, speeding away from the Algae Planet and the plague and MKUltra; next to him lies Carolanne, asleep. A private outside buzzes Colonel Tigh inside, and Saul's eyes dart from the empty bed, where Carolanne never was, to Bill's face, and he wishes him a happy anniversary. Bill looks at him through the mirror. Maybe he nods.

Chief breathes a long sigh and climbs up the ladder to the Tyrol quarters, where Nicky's crying eternally. He's carry a bottle he just made and asks Cally to check the temperature, just in case. Sometimes he hurts people without meaning to. Cally congratulates him on an excellently warmed bottle and he grunts, irritated by everything. "Daddy's tired of burning his wrists." He tells her to get ready and she's surprised and not too happy; they were supposed to spend the day with Nick. Two of the knuckledraggers called in sick and the Tyrols are filling in; Nicky keeps screaming; Chief's headache gets worse. "The fracking daycare workers see more of Nick than we do," she complains, and Chief notes that until they learn to strip a Viper, things have to go this way. He offers to take Nicky to daycare, and Cally snits when he leaves the diaper bag behind, barking after.

Saul exposits that Chief's up to checking the servos in Airlock 12, while Bill thinks of Carolanne; there's nothing else on today's duty roster. "The Fleet's quiet. You could use some time for yourself," Saul says, offering to take the first watch on CIC. "I'll be keeping my schedule. This is just another day," he grunts, and hears Carolanne's voice suddenly, petulant: "Just another day? Maybe I should have married him instead of you." (Except the inflection, for some reason, hits "should" and not "him," like she was torn between them at some point, which muddies the timelines even more. Adama silently snips at her, "I could have sold tickets to that." Saul never would have gone for it. I served with Ellen Tigh, I knew Ellen Tigh, Ellen Tigh was a friend of mine. And Carolanne? You're no Ellen Tigh.) Bill goes back to that gorgeous old house, for a second: looks at their wedding photo. (He looks so much like Hotdog! Heh.) "We had some good times," says Carolanne, over his shoulder. "But more bad." She's dead; this isn't her talking.

"But you keep bringing me back anyway. Just this one day, year after year." Which was where I started to hate the episode, frankly. I'm not at all against it; it's got more patterns and parallels than you can shake a stick at, and some amazing performances if you ignore Carolanne and Cally, but WTF with the voice-over. First of all, it creates a false and clumsy parallel with the Chips, which it shouldn't; secondly, the dialogue is unbelievably silly; thirdly: no voice-overs, please. This isn't a '70s soap opera; there are no giant ice machines (as of yet). In 2007 it's one thing to use it as a framing device, a true thread in the narrative, but it's quite another to use them like thought balloons in a comic book, which is what this is. Olmos is a magic-ass actor: he can carry it without the ridiculous VOs. There are better ways to do this. This show is a behavioralist's wet dream: all of them, but especially Olmos and the pilots, say more when they don't talk. If you don't use that, if in fact you use a device that specifically works against it, with embarrassing expository dialogue, you're one hand fighting the other, hamstringing the greatest strengths of the show while introducing Gaius-on-acid levels of shameful vocalizations. For what? "But you keep bringing me back anyway. Just this one day, year after year. Only thing I can't understand is...why?" Really? Really, Carolanne? Can't figure that one out? Congratulations, you're as emotionally tone-deaf as the script you're in.

"Neither do I," says Bill, and a young Private enters with Bill's coffee, disturbing him from his reverie; he remembers caressing her face even as the kid's telling him his name. He sends the boy out again. "It's going to be a long day," Carolanne thinks. "It always is," Bill says. Oh, and another thing? Bill's functionally an intuitive, he doesn't operate like this: hallucinations in this much detail, physicality, all that stuff doesn't fly given everything we know of his psychological makeup. Maybe the voice-overs, but they'd all be his voice, and he'd be imagining a million conversations that could have happened, not one conversation about what's going on around him. Whatever, you know what, it's a good story -- two good stories -- with good acting and pretty camera work. I refuse to create bitching this week of all weeks, when even Cally's cute and Seelix is actually likeable.

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Battlestar Galactica




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