BSG: 04×09 – “The Hub”

Did anyone see BSG last night? I ask because the show seems to be suddenly be taking on a lot of pre-sequel Matrix Gnosticism — not that I feel entirely capable of making that sort of judgment,it just seems that the show’s themes are departing the ‘canon’ of Western, Hegelian rationalism.

To summarize, this episode follows Roslin, Starbuck and Baltar aboard the ‘missing’ Cylon Base-Star as they scheme to destoy the Cylon Resurrection Hub, the device that guarantees the Cylons’ ‘eternal’ life.

*POSSIBLE SPOILERS TO FOLLOW*

Philosophy

At the moment, I can’t quite remember where to attribute it, but someone once said that it was the certainty of death was what makes us human. ‘Death’, parenthetical or not seems to be becoming a MAJOR theme on BSG. The Resurrection Hub went down in a hail of nuclear warheads last night, and alll of the sudden, Cylons are without access to both the ‘afterlife’ and ‘immortality’ that they’d come to accept as their norm — no angels, no pearly gates, no virgins and no white light. The end-of-the-line for Cylons is now as finite and discrete as it is for humans without religion.

The rescuscitated Deanna (Nº 3) also seems to be the sudden herald of this philosophy as she is, discriminately the last and only Nº 3 left anywhere, the end of her line, finito . Deanna expresses this new purpose to President Roslin in an extended monologue around the 40-minute mark.

Now that it’s been determined that humans and Cylons can reproduce, it would also seem as though humans and Cylons are suddenly on the same co-evolutionary path. (But is any of that either useful or desirable?)

Flasbacks like unrecovered Word Documents

You know when your computer crahes in the middle of some MS Word document that you’re trying to put together and when you finally get the PC back up and relaunch Word, it tries to do an automatic document recovery of the last item you were working on? Yeah, that.

Well, if you were also paying attention to your Microsoft cache, the application was also saving temp files — temporary backups — of your in-process document all over the place. Depending on your OS, sometimes these files are visible, but not always. You may discover filenames like ‘~$-06-06-08_The-Hub.doc’ or somesuch. If you’ve ever opened one of these temporary backup documents, you’ll find the entire contents of your originals document, but not necessarily in the order you intended. I bring this up as an issue because this is exactly the way that Ron Moore and company seem to be feeding us flashbacks these days.

While aboard one of the inferior Cylon base-stars, severely medicated President Roslin, starts having visions — she experiences time in tree entrely separate continuities One where she wanders an empty base-star with the Conjur-Woman Priestess from Season 1, another, possibly real-time experience, where she ends up playing nurse to an injured Baltar and a third where she visits herself in a Hospital-Ward sickbed, looking on as she is visited by Adama, Starbuck, Apollo and others. There is neither a roadmap or any indice of continuity framing these flashacks, flash-sideways or flashbacks-within-flashbacks, that’s why I want to refer to them as unrecovered Word Documents — they’re unrecovered plot elements, floating freely amid the narrative.

Commercials have always been problems for network television. Crafting a good spot for a commercial break is no small feat — either the writer or the editor has to know where to insert the break to maximum effect. However, this last-season Galactica — a virtual no-bid, no-interferance contract that’s been the first for Skiffy to honor in a long while — seems to have fostered a new Frankenstein’s creature — a prime-time network show that’s virtually unwatchable once the commercials are inserted.

Given that SciFi has never been good on insertions with their feature films, the awkward continuity of these non-chronological flashbacks on their tent-pole original programming tells me that Moore and Co. are either offering a ‘Hail Mary’ to SciFi brass or honestly trying to create some new, challenging and artful narrative thing on a pay-cable network.

Even though this thing approaches the unwatchable after 10:00 on a week-night, my hat’s off to them if they can manage to keep their audience numbers in check. The ideal place for Galactica would be a commercial-free premium network, a Starz,an Encore, a Showtime or a Universal HD satellite station. But it’s on the SciFi Channel, a network that lost it’s way on original programming when they mis-bid their renewal of Farscape back in 2003.

Though the show is getting muddy, it still deserves high marks.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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