grey_sw: Cavil from BSG (Default)
[personal profile] grey_sw
Now that I've seen it twice and had a couple of days to think about it: I hated this episode. Deeply. If I had made a list of the sort of thing I never wanted to see on this show, half of this episode would have been on it. And the list would still have been better than No Exit, because I'd never even have imagined some of this crap.

Case in point: The basis for Cavil's character is Mommy issues? Seriously? He goes from a self-assured, snarky, and somewhat bemused sense of rational atheism ("the Gods can't help you, you're on your own", "it can't be proven either way", etc) to being pissed off at God because he's unloved? And the one Cylon who spent the entire series joking about the others' holy war is secretly the one who created it... because all of a sudden the writers love monotheism?

Wow. This is definitely a Retcon Too Far for me. They just re-wrote the entire series six episodes before the end... into what looks suspiciously like a Judeo-Christian morality play. Surprise, it turns out the Cylons aren't violent monotheists, after all: their religion is peaceful and kind, and they've just been fooled by a mean ol' atheist!

I can't say I didn't see this coming -- the writers have been leaning in a less-morally-ambiguous direction since the beginning of season 4.0 -- but the extent to which they went for it is really disappointing. "Want an apple, Boomer?" The Centurions are nicey-nice because they believe in a "loving God", and Cavil is meany-mean because he "rejected mercy and had a twisted morality"? The skinjob backstory is Cain and goddamn Abel? Are you shitting me, show? What happened to the ambiguity? What happened to the shades of gray?

Two days ago, I was really happy that Ellen and Cavil were coming back before the end, because both characters were so proud and snarky and joyous and funny. Then the episode started with their Sturm Und Drang Retcon Reunion, and it just got worse and worse for an hour. Frak it, I'm not sure this show remembers what "pride", "humor", and "joy" even are.

On top of that, Starbuck is back to being weepy again (and is given a lovely setup for more YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAAAAAAAAAY Special Destiny bullshit with the Final Five); they're leaning on the Boomer/Chief ship (which I loved in Season One... but it's not Season One anymore, and without enough time left to develop a new relationship between them, it's just gonna seem like a backwards-looking rebound for both characters); Adama randomly flip-flopped on the Cylon technology idea, and then randomly flip-flopped back again; the writers entirely forgot about every single minor character involved in the mutiny, except for Mr. Sideburns from the Quorum; and #7 is probably Starbuck's Dad. Or maybe the guy from Caprica.

I love BSG, but the writers on this show have never been willing to allow the plot to grow organically from the characters... and now it looks like the ending will probably be a Grand Sweeping Gesture that deals with the backstory they just made up this week, rather than a natural resolution to the deep and complex conflicts they've been building since the miniseries.

That said, I'm more than willing to see where they go with this -- who knows, maybe the next six episodes will be amazing and morally ambiguous and beautiful, and I'll eat my words with algae sauce -- but boy, was I frakkin' disappointed this week.

Date: 2009-02-16 02:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] danniisupernova.livejournal.com
I don't think it was that he was 'unloved' more that he felt he could have more power. I personally thought that it was just a thirst for power and that the beliefs held by Ellen and the others prevented him from attaining it. I didn't get that it was because he felt unloved, more that he could have been more and he is bitter about that and vengeful.

And I hope that it's not like Chief/Boomer all lovey dovey BS, that it's more natural. Personally, I never trust the writers at all. I don't expect jack from them because that is exactly what they've given me.

Date: 2009-02-16 03:43 am (UTC)
ext_72247: Cavil from BSG (Default)
From: [identity profile] grey-sw.livejournal.com
I personally thought that it was just a thirst for power and that the beliefs held by Ellen and the others prevented him from attaining it. I didn't get that it was because he felt unloved, more that he could have been more and he is bitter about that and vengeful.

Yeah, that part of his story I totally understood and agreed with. The "I wanna see gamma rays and eat stardust rar!" stuff is quite in-character for Cavil. :3

I think they're also doing some mommy-issues stuff with him, though ("if I'm such a mistake, if I'm so broken, etc"). It's not just that he could have been more, it's that Ellen and the other Final Five never bothered to try to understand or approve of that desire, which is where the "unloved" comes in. The part where Ellen claims that he killed Daniel out of jealousy (supposedly because she was "playing favorites") also ties into this.

I was pretty disappointed in Boomer's part in this episode. She never gets to talk -- we still don't even know exactly why she decided to hook up with Cavil in the first place, and now we don't really know why she dumped him in this episode, either. I wish they'd have given her a scene in which she explains her motivations and feelings a bit. Maybe next episode...

Date: 2009-02-17 02:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] exploding-candy.livejournal.com
Surprise, it turns out the Cylons aren't violent monotheists, after all: their religion is peaceful and kind, and they've just been fooled by a mean ol' atheist!

What irked me about this is that Cavil didn't really strike me as an atheist. He was angry at God, and you don't get angry at something you don't even think exists. He reminded me of some "atheists" who equate one specific organized religion they dislike with the entire concept of God across all belief systems, and call themselves "atheists" because they reject one specific set of beliefs, but not really the entire concept of God. Cavil didn't like the centurions' peace-and-love religion for whatever reasons (writers? Explain please?). I'm not irritated at the writers' treatment of religion yet; I want to see what they do with the humans' polytheism first. Overall, I don't think it felt retconny so much as incredibly rushed. Like the writers spent so much time focusing on other stuff, and then were suddenly like "oh crap, the cylons... guess we better come up with some stuff for them, readysetgo." And I agree with danniisupernova that megalomania was probably a huge driving force for Cavil. He does have mommy issues for sure, but I'm reserving judgment on that to see if it's justified or not. Maybe Ellen really did treat him badly-- which would make her a pretty stupendous hypocrite at this point, after offering him forgiveness, wanting to hug it out, being all lovey at the centurion, etc.

I actually liked some of the Cavil/Ellen scenes earlier in the episode, where they snarked at each other :p "Did he show you the twirl?" The Cavil/Boomer scenes in this ep were, frankly, creepy to me. I just mentioned in a post I'm writing that I prefer your fic-version of that relationship to what actually happened with it!

Date: 2009-02-17 06:03 pm (UTC)
ext_72247: Cavil from BSG (Default)
From: [identity profile] grey-sw.livejournal.com
What irked me about this is that Cavil didn't really strike me as an atheist.

Yeah, exactly. He struck me as an atheist before, when he was all about "snark snark, wtf", but this angry-at-God thing is just a bad cliche. And "the meany-mean unbeliever versus the nicey-nice religious people" seems lame to me whether it's "atheism" or not. I didn't want a morality play, and this sure looks like a setup for one.

About the atheism vs. anti-Christianity thing: I think it can be consistent to be both an atheist in general and anti-Christianity in particular. You're right that they're not the same thing (and are often conflated), and they don't have to come together, but they're not necessarily mutually exclusive, either. This entirely depends on one's personal reasons for atheism and/or anti-Christianity, which is probably why it varies so much between individuals.

Cavil didn't like the centurions' peace-and-love religion for whatever reasons (writers? Explain please?).

This makes perfect sense to me. His personality and personal moral system are totally at odds with that, and those things tend to start developing pretty young. On top of that, the Centurions' peace-and-love religion is the explicit reason why he looks like a 70-year-old and not like an awesome metal Centurion. :P

Also, if they'd gone with the peace-and-love thing, the poor Centurions might have ended up as doormats, again. Building 120 Battlestars and then poking around the armistice line does not suggest that the humans had "peace and love" in mind, unfortunately. :(

megalomania was probably a huge driving force for Cavil.

Oh, totally. They established his deep desire to improve himself in Season 2, even, so I think this is completely IC for him. :3 The supernova speech was beyond brilliant.

Maybe Ellen really did treat him badly

Personally, I didn't think her love or forgiveness was very honest. I wrote a huge screed about this over here (http://forum.galacticwatercooler.com/showpost.php?p=142750&postcount=96) and then here (http://forum.galacticwatercooler.com/showpost.php?p=142912&postcount=117), but in short, if the best she can do is "you can be the boy I made! You can be anything -- except what you want to be, which is wrong! Now give me a hug!", I can see why he rejects that. Despite her obvious love for her idealized "John", it's equally obvious to me that she has very little love for Cavil himself. And I don't think Cavil has any interest in (or even ability to tolerate!) being her nice, peaceful grandpa doll.

Judging from her words and behavior, Ellen doesn't respect Cavil's religious beliefs, his morality, his personality, or even his dreams. I don't think she necessarily meant to hurt him, but I can see where she probably did. "Everything you feel and do is wrong" is a really, really hurtful thing to be told at a young age, whether Mom thinks it's honestly true or not.

As a matter of fact, I have a feeling that Starbuck would have nodded her way through a lot of Cavil's lines in this episode...

"Did he show you the twirl?"

Yeah, that was great. "Are you BLUSHING, John?" "I AM NOT! ...um, I gotta go!"

The Cavil/Boomer scenes in this ep were, frankly, creepy to me. I just mentioned in a post I'm writing that I prefer your fic-version of that relationship to what actually happened with it!

Oh, thank you! I appreciate it.

They never let poor Boomer talk! We never get a reason for why she hooked up with Cavil, and now we don't have one for why she dumped him. I mean, yes, she's an Eight, so she's random in her loyalties... but she was apparently with Cavil for about two years, and then ffft, no explanation? Huh? The least they could do is give her a scene where she's thinking it over or leaving him a Dear John (ha!) letter or something. Her entire perfect-machine/humanity conflict takes place over maybe ten lines of dialog, ever. Why'd they bother, if this is all they were going to do with this plotline?

And poor Cavil! Ellen even points out that "it's not easy winning his trust"... ouch. Double ouch. I hope Aaron and Simon look after him -- they oughtta take him out and get him rip-roaring drunk or something.

Date: 2009-02-18 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] exploding-candy.livejournal.com
You're right that they're not the same thing (and are often conflated), and they don't have to come together, but they're not necessarily mutually exclusive, either. This entirely depends on one's personal reasons for atheism and/or anti-Christianity, which is probably why it varies so much between individuals.

Totally. Sometimes they go hand-in-hand, sometimes not. The writers just seem to be conflating them in a way that's not really accurate, making Cavil more of a "theist with a serious bone to pick".

On top of that, the Centurions' peace-and-love religion is the explicit reason why he looks like a 70-year-old and not like an awesome metal Centurion. :P

I was thinking about this more and commenting in another journal, and am starting to find the whole "grass-is-always-greener" deal with the Cavil and the centurions to be really fascinating. The centurions want human bodies, they finally get that, and then one of them at least is suddenly desperate for a metal body again. Seems like some self-acceptance issues are at hand on both sides; each being constantly envious of the other only breeds jealousy and resentment that probably contributes to the cycle of violence.

I think Ellen's forgiveness was sincere-- I just don't think it was what Cavil wanted or needed. He didn't want forgiveness because that comes with the implication that he's done something wrong. He wants acceptance, which is sort of a different animal in this case. He and Ellen were totally talking past each other for pretty much the entire episode.

I hope Aaron and Simon look after him -- they oughtta take him out and get him rip-roaring drunk or something.

This would be spectacular on so many levels. Can we get some more Simon and Aaron?! Please, writers? Please?

Date: 2009-02-19 01:13 am (UTC)
ext_72247: Cavil from BSG (Default)
From: [identity profile] grey-sw.livejournal.com
Seems like some self-acceptance issues are at hand on both sides; each being constantly envious of the other only breeds jealousy and resentment that probably contributes to the cycle of violence.

Yeah. But with Cavil, it seems like there's more to it than "jealousy and resentment", though that's clearly part of it. His "gelatinous orbs" speech makes it seem like he's truly suffering over this, all the time, like it's a full-on "I was born in the wrong body, I am not this thing I appear to be, I cannot stand my own flesh" psychological issue for him. Almost like somebody who longs for a sex change, or someone with a bad case of body dysmorphic disorder or BIID (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_Integrity_Identity_Disorder).

The 2/6/8s are like this in the other direction -- they want to be human so much that they're willing to go to almost any lengths to accomplish it. I mean, they destroyed the Hub! Athena lived in a cell for years! And what's Leoben's dollhouse, if not a bizarre attempt to emulate what he thinks humanity is? It was as if by arranging "a human life" perfectly around him, he hoped to transform.

And the Centurions, too, wanted human bodies so much they carved people up in a desperate attempt to cobble something together. Then they ended the war as soon as the Five offered this to them, even though they were winning. Perhaps because the Cylons are sort of halfway between machines and humans, it's hard for any of them to strike a balance, and they end up desperately seeking to become one or the other.

This would be spectacular on so many levels. Can we get some more Simon and Aaron?! Please, writers? Please?

Oh, I bet their body doubles will be in the background of one -- or possibly two -- episodes before the end. :P

Seriously, when they weren't in No Exit (which seems likely to end up being The Cylon Episode for 4.5, though I hope I'm wrong), I took that as a real bad sign. Which sucks, because I love them both, and wanted them to get a bit of actual characterization before the end. I hope they'll be in The Plan.

edit: And one more thing I just thought of: Simon is now the only one who doesn't have (at least) two names. I hope we'll get to at least learn his full name before the end.

Date: 2009-02-19 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] exploding-candy.livejournal.com
Body dysmorphic disorder is a good analogy for Cavil. He definitely doesn't feel his body reflects his true identity or is best suited to meeting his goals. Looking at it from that perspective it's an issue completely removed from self-worth.
For the centurions, though, their interest in having flesh bodies is probably a by-product of being forced into subservience to humans for so long, as opposed to an independently formed desire. Even though they resent the humans' self-imposed "superiority", that idea is deeply ingrained in them and hurts their collective self-image. They are, of course, perfectly lovable in their machine bodies!

Cylons are sort of halfway between machines and humans, it's hard for any of them to strike a balance, and they end up desperately seeking to become one or the other.

I completely agree. With the exception of the F5, they're so young as a species they haven't yet established an identity that they're comfortable with, or allowed for any sort of "grey areas". The cylons on the show have, for the most part, taken a very either/or black/white mentality about things. "You want to be more human OR more machine-like", "you want to unconditionally ally with the humans OR annihilate them completely", "you can perform the functions I intended for you and be loved OR you can follow a different path and be scorned", etc. They're not very good at finding middle ground.

Poor Aaron and especially poor Simon-- they get zero love :( I looked up The Plan on IMDB and the guy who plays Aaron is listed in the "rumored" cast, but no Simon. That settles it; this weekend I'm going to assemble a gigantic cylon picspam! Cylon love all around.

Date: 2009-02-20 04:30 am (UTC)
ext_72247: Cavil from BSG (Default)
From: [identity profile] grey-sw.livejournal.com
I completely agree. With the exception of the F5, they're so young as a species they haven't yet established an identity that they're comfortable with, or allowed for any sort of "grey areas".

Yes. They're very binary (heh, I said it!) in their thinking. Which makes sense, because young humans are, too. But in a lot of ways, that's the saddest part: what's happened on the show has wrecked their society before it even got started.

That settles it; this weekend I'm going to assemble a gigantic cylon picspam! Cylon love all around.

Cylon picspam, hurrah! <3

Date: 2009-02-18 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daybreak777.livejournal.com
And now it looks like the ending will probably be a Grand Sweeping Gesture that deals with the backstory they just made up this week, rather than a natural resolution to the deep and complex conflicts they've been building since the miniseries.
Dude, I know. The next eps have to be gold to make up for this. Absolute gold.

Profile

grey_sw: Cavil from BSG (Default)
grey_sw

April 2009

S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
1213 14 15161718
1920 2122232425
2627282930  

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 26th, 2017 05:26 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios