Wednesday, February 18, 2009

No Exit: An Evening With Joop The Monkey

There's a running gag on the official Lost podcast, wherein the producers joke that if the show ever got cancelled, the final episode would be one hour of a monkey smoking a pipe in front of a fireplace, explaining all the show's secrets that they never got a chance to explain. Well, last Friday's "No Exit" was Battlestar Galactica's evening with Joop the Monkey (artist's conception pictured).

On the one hand, we have Ellen Tigh's resurrection and subsequent incarceration at the hands of John/Brother Cavil. We get to see their point of view over the course of the last 18 months, get plenty of insight into what makes Cavil tick and what how the optimistic Boomer we saw in Downloaded grew into the cynic we saw subsequently. It gave us a nice peek into the psychology of the Cylons and their politics. Brother Cavil is the classic totalitarian, who, in the name of freeing his people from tyranny, becomes a tyrant himself. He speaks of freeing the Centurions from slavery at the hands of the humans, but has turned them into mindless automatons. He speaks of justice for the other human Cylons, but has selectively erased their memories as a form of social control. He has his own personal creators at his disposal, and decides to kill them to teach them a lesson. He likely started the attacks on the colonies, and had to work hard to make sure the Final Five survived long enough to understand his hatred for humans, only being thwarted when one of them killed another. 

He is Oedipus in more than just the sense that he's slept with his "mother," he is also Oedipus in the sense that he is simultaneously the leader of his people, and the illness of his society. He is Caine (Bible, not superior Pegasus three-parter) in that out of jealousy for his god's love for his brother, kills his brother. One niggling point about Cavil: when he erased all the memories about the Final Five, why didn't he tell the other Cylons that there were 7 models? Surely telling them there were 12 would lead to some uncomfortable questions. 

On the other hand, there's the story on Galactica, which is just exposition for its own sake. Yes, this is definitely information that we needed to hear, but I wish it had been presented more gracefully. The introduction of "Dr. Hodgman" didn't help matters. According to the writers and Ron Moore, this was intended to be comic relief, and I can definitely see that, but it's very difficult to gauge the intended tone when it's just Hodgman being Hodgman. His dry humor and all-round expertise on all matters doesn't translate well to the Galactica universe. 

Speaking of Galactica, it turns out the Colonial military likely hired some shady contractors when building their fleet. The revelation that Adama's ship of falling apart, that it's "in her bones" closely mirrors Roslin's slow death by cancer. Galactica and Laura are the two women in Adama's life, and he takes the news pretty hard, downing pills and booze to numb the pain. Still though, what else is new? Scenes of Adama on the Anna Nicole Smith diet (and I don't mean Trimspa) are becoming so commonplace that the serious nature of this news is dulled to the point of cliché. Apparently, his model ship was still in the shop, and not available to break yet again. 

Now that our evening with Joop is done, let's get back to moving the story along, shall we?


  1. Google keeps eating my comments! OK, once more- like you pointed out, Hodgman seemed to blend into the world of BSG about as smoothly as a muppet would have.

  2. Wow. I would love to see Hodgman on the Muppet show.