Battlestar Galactica – Black Market

President Roslin declares a crackdown on the black market, and Apollo is tasked with hunting down the ringleaders.

Cast

James Callis as Dr. Gaius Baltar
Edward James Olmos as Commander Adama
Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin
Katee Sackhoff as Kara “Starbuck” Thrace
Jamie Bamber as Lee “Apollo” Adama
Michael Hogan as Col. Tigh
Tricia Helfer as Number 6
Grace Park as Sharon “Boomer” Valerii

Tahmoh Penikett as Helo
Aaron Douglas as CPO Galen Tyrol
Richard Hatch as Tom Zarek

Synopsis

President Roslin declares a crackdown on the black market, and Apollo is tasked with hunting down the ringleaders.

High Points

  • Roslin’s offer to Baltar
  • ‘Did you really expect some… utopian fantasy to rise from the ashes?’
  • ‘It’s hard to find the moral high ground when we’re all standing in the mud.’

Low Points

  • Doing the 48 hours earlier thing again. That might get tired if they do too much of it.
  • Also, more of Apollo’s flashbacks. It worked this week, but it could get tired as well if it continues.

The Scores

This episode didn’t feel particularly original. New territory for Galactica, but not anything that’s not been done before. Three out of six.

Nothing special in terms of effects this week. Because they used hardly any, it’s difficult to know how to score it — but the ones they did use were perfect as usual. Five out of six.

The story is fairly straightforward on the top, but layered nicely with what we know has gone before and helped along by some flashbacks from Apollo. We also get to pick up a couple of threads from previous weeks and earlier, lending the usual feel of continuity to the episode. Four out of six.

Jamie Bamber was the only actor who really got a chance to shine in this episode; most of the others felt like side players. Not that they didn’t do a good job, but it didn’t feel like a strong ensemble group this week. Five out of six for acting.

The emotional response was pretty low. Apart from a few moments, this episode doesn’t grab, as it’s largely dealing with new situations and new people. Three out of six.

I cannot complain about production. I particularly feel that the production team did an excellent job with the interior of the Prometheus, which also has an interesting exterior design. It’s nice to see that nobody in the Twelve Colonies feels that deep-space-only ships need to look aerodynamic. Five out of six.

Overall, I give this episode five out of six. Some of the individual scores are low, and that’s going to give it a low total, but I don’t want anybody reading this to conclude that this isn’t a good episode. It is, but it’s not the kind of fast-paced, gripping drama that we’ve become accustomed to over the past five episodes or so. I feel, however, that this change of pace is a good thing, because it gives the writers a chance to explore other avenues and other aspects of life on the fleet. Which is exactly what they have done this week.

And that gives us a total of thirty out of forty-two, but please don’t think that means this episode wasn’t worth watching. It was, but the unusual structure (for a Galactica episode) manages to hit all the wrong parts of the Bureau’s scoring system.

21 replies on “Battlestar Galactica – Black Market”

  1. Babbster says:

    "Now…Earlier…Now"
    I’m already tired of this method, and not just because of BG. Too many shows have been using it lately and its overuse has turned it into a gimmick.

    The episode itself was solid, as usual, but IMO there was absolutely no need to show scenes out of order. The tension of "will he or won’t he" was going to be present anyway and the only real utility for the gimmick was to make us more interested in Apollo’s motives – something we would have been curious about regardless. In fact, it could be argued that we missed out on some potential tension in that we knew all along he was going to end hunting Phelan (Bill Duke is a great bad guy, somewhat underused in this ep) down and confronting him.

    I really feel like a whiner about this since I still loved the show, but discussions about the low points interest me more than those about the high points. :)

    • babasyzygy says:

      Re: "Now…Earlier…Now"

      I’m already tired of this method, and not just because of BG. Too many shows have been using it lately and its overuse has turned it into a gimmick.

      If you listen to the podcast of Ron Moore’s comments, he mentions that doing this was really an act of desperation – the pacing on the episode was way off as structured. Once he realized this it was too late to do anything other than the "earlier" trick, to try to introduce some tension early in the episode. I don’t think we’ll be seeing too much more of it.

      Moore was actually really unhappy with the way this episode turned out – I think he’s too hard on it, I found it fairly interesting.

      • Babbster says:

        Re: "Now…Earlier…Now"

        If you listen to the podcast of Ron Moore’s comments, he mentions that doing this was really an act of desperation – the pacing on the episode was way off as structured. Once he realized this it was too late to do anything other than the "earlier" trick, to try to introduce some tension early in the episode. I don’t think we’ll be seeing too much more of it.

        Moore was actually really unhappy with the way this episode turned out – I think he’s too hard on it, I found it fairly interesting.

        I keep meaning to start listening to the podcasts but, God, I’m so lazy! ;)

        I can understand his difficulty because the episode did seem a bit…"stilted." It might have been better handled as a subplot percolating for a few episodes, but they may have too much going on the rest of the season – especially assuming they whack out the Pegasus.

        In hindsight, it probably would have been better to leave out the gimmick and let the episode stand or fall as it was. I don’t know of any good TV show that doesn’t lay an egg now and again, except maybe Firefly but there are so few episodes that it hardly counts.

        • octa says:

          Re: "Now…Earlier…Now"
          Bit of a tangent but I thought the unaired episode(the one with the bounty hunter) of Firefly in the DvD collection was pretty crappy.

          But yeah, no show is perfect :)

          • dcheesi says:

            Re: "Now…Earlier…Now"

            Bit of a tangent but I thought the unaired episode(the one with the bounty hunter) of Firefly in the DvD collection was pretty crappy.

            But yeah, no show is perfect :)

            "Does that seem right to you?" :) actually I really liked that episode. There are a couple of episodes early on that I could do without, though. Not so much bad as just not as compelling and/or hilarious. But this seems to be a highly personal thing, with wildly differing opinions among Firefly fans.

  2. Cerberus7 says:

    Tom Zarek
    Probably should spoiler this out just in case…

    I liked that the whole thing was a plot by Zarek to get rid of Phelan. This should get interesting.

    • Damien says:

      Re: Tom Zarek

      I liked that the whole thing was a plot by Zarek to get rid of Phelan.

      Right when Zarek showed up I had a major Doh moment. What happened should have happened, but the ending was like a stab in the back. Like you said, it will get interesting and I see this little side story coming up again.

      Damien

  3. Dave says:

    Jinx!
    So, who’s next in line to command Pegasus? Seems like the job brings with it a short lifespan.

    • Cerberus7 says:

      Re: Jinx!
      Good question. I bet Col. Tigh’s wife tries to push him into the spot. It’s probably his last chance for a promotion, and we all know how she is when it comes to the Colonel’s career.

      • Eldhrin says:

        Re: Jinx!

        Good question. I bet Col. Tigh’s wife tries to push him into the spot. It’s probably his last chance for a promotion, and we all know how she is when it comes to the Colonel’s career.

        True, but on the other hand, she only does that because she wants more stuff for herself I think.

        And I doubt Adama’s unaware enough of Tigh’s faults to let him command the Pegasus. It’ll be someone else from the Pegasus‘ crew, because it preserves the chain of command on that ship. Eventually they’ll get to someone they like!

        Or the Pegasus will be blown up.

        • J_W_W says:

          Re: Jinx!

          Or the Pegasus will be blown up.

          Lets see.

          Pegasus still in fleet and not gone like in the original, check.

          Violent peace movement has a nuclear weapon, check.

          Violent peace movement is actaully run by a frakking cylon who hates the pegasus (and all humans save 1 generally), check.

          Yep, Pegasus is toast.

          From the podcasts it sounds like it will be the last episode when the nuke is used, and I’m certain it will take out the Pegasus. I just hope Baltar gets caught on this one. I really get frustrated with this show due to the fact when Baltar does tratorious things everyone doesn’t question him or the writers just make everyone look away. I really liked the scene with Roslyn and Baltar, and also liked the way she didn’t come right out with the "I saw you with a Cylon" card right away. I really want her to utterly destroy the man, eventually.

          I also would not mind seeing Baltar flee to the cylons like in the original either. It just that I can’t stand the necessity for them to have everyone be brain damaged when it comes to judging or investigating Baltars actions. But, Laura’s actually onto him now, so I can hope.

          As to the rest of this episode, it was just pretty flat, and the 48 hours earlier gag was pretty weak the first time. This second time it was just lame.

          Also, since the spacewalk Apollo’s character has become really weak. I know he’s supposed to have been seeing this girl for some time, but she only comes up now, after he gets all meloncholy(sp?)? I feel the writers are trying to take Apollo in new directions, but I don’t think they’re the right ones.

          • Babbster says:

            Re: Jinx!

            Also, since the spacewalk Apollo’s character has become really weak. I know he’s supposed to have been seeing this girl for some time, but she only comes up now, after he gets all meloncholy(sp?)? I feel the writers are trying to take Apollo in new directions, but I don’t think they’re the right ones.

            Actually, I thought this episode finally gave Apollo some needed depth. Prior to this it’s been all about his "daddy issues" and now he’s finally shown to have had something of a real life before everything got blowed up real good. The scenes with Dee, in particular, made him a more interesting character in my eyes.

            • J_W_W says:

              Re: Jinx!

              Actually, I thought this episode finally gave Apollo some needed depth. Prior to this it’s been all about his "daddy issues" and now he’s finally shown to have had something of a real life before everything got blowed up real good. The scenes with Dee, in particular, made him a more interesting character in my eyes.

              I did like the end when the Admiral said "You should have told me about the girl." I thought that line really felt right for the Admiral as a commanding officer and a father.

            • y42 says:

              Re: Jinx!

              I thought this episode finally gave Apollo some needed depth.

              I thought it finally gave him some much needed poontang, but that’s me : )
              I’m glad to see that Appollo isn’t letting his crush on Starbuck get in the way of his scorecard.

  4. lost says:

    Baltar, etc.
    After reading comments on b42 (and other places), I’ve come to a conclusion. I think a lot of folks either haven’t realized or forget that BSG doesn’t progress realtime. We may be 3/4 through the second season but we aren’t 3/4 through the second year of events. If I’ve got it pegged right, we’re still well within the first year of events.

    Given that events are not progressing realtime, our first impressions of how believable it is for character X to get away with Y for so long may well be skewed.

    Let’s take Baltar as an example. He hasn’t been wreaking havok for as long as it feels like he has (at least to those of use used to series progressing at approximately a year for every season). Given that the passage of time is less than it feels, it’s entirely reasonable that the administration may be suspcious of Baltar without knowing what he’s up to. Could be the "enough rope to hang yourself" thing. Also, the level of distraction from other events may also have prevented any real action against Baltar. Also, given his current position of Vice President and the fact that the general population doesn’t see his behaviour, they would have to move more carefully or face a revolt.

    All that said, you don’t have to jump all over this and say "but that is just explaining away weaknesses in the plot" or "but surely in the situation they would have acted" or what have you. I’m just throwing this out as a counterpoint to the other arguments.

    It will say that I also find the length of time the Baltar thing is going on a bit annoying. And, for that matter, some of the deus ex machina stuff that goes on is a bit obvious. But this is supposed to be entertaining. Sometimes, you have to dispense with total realism in the interest of making something entertaining rather than boring.

    • Eldhrin says:

      Re: Baltar, etc.
      It seems quite clear to me that it’s no more than six months since the attack at this point. I think the largest interval of time I’ve been aware of is after Resurrection Ship, Part Two – there was a reference to two weeks having passed between that episode and Epiphanies.

      But it’s fairly clear that things have to move slowly, as it were, because there’s so much going on. If we went away and left them for a month before coming back for another episode, we’d find the fleet much changed and very confusing, I’m sure!

      • TomSwiss says:

        Re: Baltar, etc.

        It seems quite clear to me that it’s no more than six months since the attack at this point.

        During the President’s flashbacks in "Epiphanies" there’s a subtitle that reads something like "Caprica: 183 days ago". Yep, about six months.

      • Dave says:

        Re: Baltar, etc.

        It seems quite clear to me that it’s no more than six months since the attack at this point.

        I thought that was kinda a given.

        Last week, we had Roslin’s flashback to the day she learns she’s got cancer, which (from the miniseries) we know was the day of the Cylon attack. There was a caption on that flashback, "189 Days Ago," which gives us a pretty clear timeline up to that point.

        • Dave says:

          Re: Baltar, etc.
          (edit: beaten)

          This is what I get for trying to write a comment and debug HTML at the same time. :(

    • sflory says:

      Re: Baltar, etc.
      Also remember that Baltar has already been acused of colaberating with the Cylons. The fact that the evidence was fake, and the accuser was a Cylon makes it very hard to accuse him again. Also you’ve got to admit that everything he’s done so far has been for the betterment of the fleet. (What ever his motives might have been.) He’s crazy yes, but appears to outsiders to be crazy like a fox.

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