Sunday, May 18, 2008

Death and Cylons

It is the second Battlestar Galactica season which I am watching real-time. I watched the first two from DVD's, which I did in the matter of two or three days. From the first 7 episodes so far, and the eagerness with which I wait the next episode, I can say season 4 has been much better than season 3, and keeping in mind how much I liked season 3, I am very excited about the next 3 episodes before the series goes on its mid-season break.

In my previous posts about the show, I attributed the quality of the show mainly to its content -the issues that they deal in the freedom of a sci-fi setting, which belong to the very human experience such as faith, trust, torture, law, reconciliation, mistakes, morals, lies, beliefs, disappointments, xenophobia, patriotism, workers rights, democracy, tyrants, press freedom, policing, crime.

The seventh episode of the 4th season reminded me how good most of the episodes are, from a film making and drama perspective also. Named after a 60s movie dealing with the relations between African-Americans and White-Americans "Look Who's Coming to Dinner" deals with the alliance forming between the breakaway Cylons, who after finding the immortal life want mortality, and humans who are still trying to recover from the injuries left on their souls from the mortality of their loved ones and themselves. The leader of the Cylons holds this memorable speech in front of the Human Quorum why she is willing to let go of her immortality:

"In our civil war, we've seen death. We watched our people die. Gone forever. As terrible as it was, beyond the reach of the Resurrection Ships, something began to change. We could feel a sense of time. As if each moment held its own significance. We began to realize that for our existence to hold any value it must end. To live meaningful lives we must die, and not return. The one human flaw, that you spend your lifetimes distressing over - mortality - is the one thing...well, it's the one thing that makes you whole."

This speech took place during a time when Gaius Balatar, the very scientist who unintentionally allowed Cylons to slip their Trojans to the defense systems of the human planets which lead to the annhiliation of all but 40 000 souls of humanity, has been using mortality and the eternal life afterwards as a way of gathering support of one single God -the humans believe in the Greek gods in the show. The Cylons believe in a single Loving God.

This is great to watch in a TV series. The first one is a secular approach to dealing with death, whereas the second one is the one we hear all the time from the monotheistic religions. The series takes no sides, it is up to the audience to decide for themselves. This is why Battlestar Galactica has fans on both sides of the -classical- political spectrum in the US.

I am getting carried away by the philosophical discussions in the show again. I wanted to tell how good the film making is. Here is the song that Gaeta sings literally during the whole episode, which adds to the dramatic tone very well.

Again watch and make people you like watch Battlestar Galactica!

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