SciFi Weekend: A Coup Ended; The Aries Project; A Pregnant Young French Girl; And Summer Glau Left Reeling

The rebellion arc on Battlestar Galactica concluded in Blood On The Scales and primarily seems to have been a diversion to stretch out the final episodes. It did provide closure for the story lines of two characters, Gaeta and Tom Zarek.  Seeing how blood thirsty Zarek was also answered any remaining doubts about whether Zarek should be considered a villain. There are a couple loose ends which may or may not be dealt with in the future. Zarek had the entire Quorum killed, leaving little of a civilian government. This could be resolved with either an end to this body or more likely having another group elected. The more serious question is how the men who carried out Gaeta and Zarek’s orders will be treated. While Gaeta and Zarek were executed, there are still the revolutionaries who killed members of the Quorum, attempted to execute Adama, and otherwise participated in the attempted coup.

While this coup storyline was a distraction from the real mysteries of the final season, the previews did reveal something major. Ellen will be returning from the dead. Her character in flashback seemed to know more than the others about their rebirth, and having Ellen return once again might reveal even more.

Maureen Ryan interviewed Michael Angeli, writer of the episode. Here is a portion of the interview:

Why did Gaeta insist on a “trial” of Adama? Was it because he wanted to hang on to the idea that this coup was a legitimate transfer of power? Was it because he needed to hear Adama to say that Adama was wrong? What was that about?

For whatever else he was (or might’ve been) Gaeta was an idealist and despite his near occasions of peevishness, he was a romantic. He believed in the idea of government, laws, leadership, service, etc. and if you look at his behavior away back on New Caprica, there was a certain nobleness to his intentions. He wanted to do things right, he was an advocate of justice, fairness.

So, it’s not surprising that even with a coup snowballing, he’d want some form of a trial.  But more importantly, Gaeta was conflicted.  He loved Adama and just couldn’t get around to killing him. Gaeta was the romantic; Zarek was the realist. For Gaeta, the “trial,” was a stall. And having Adama admit that he was wrong was really about Gaeta convincing his own intellect that Adama should die – because he, himself admits he’s wrong.

Why did Zarek let Gaeta have that “trial”? Was it the cost of Gaeta’s participation, which Zarek still needed?

Zarek knew Gaeta had the greater support of the mutineers. They were behind Gaeta, not so much Tom Zarek.  What Zarek underestimated was Gaeta’s lack of resolve.  Remember, it was Gaeta who freed Zarek and actually seduced Zarek with the offer of power in the previous episode. When Gaeta impulsively demanded a trial, Zarek knew he had to humor him for the moment.

Zarek had experience in these sorts of things.  He understood that time was of the essence. Coups succeed or fall apart in the first few hours (something Laura also understood, by the way, re: her rallying cry on the base ship), and going toe-to-toe with Gaeta at this early stage could queer the whole deal.

I’m a little unclear on what the Quorum knew and when they knew it. Had they heard Laura’s broadcast from Baltar’s headquarters? Did they know that Gaeta and Zarek had seized control — or were attempting to seize control — of the fleet? Did they know that Adama and Tigh and others were in the custody of the rebels? Did they assemble to hear out Zarek because they thought the coup was non-violent?

Yes, The Quorum was able to hear enough of Laura’s partial transmission as she was escaping and they also heard some of Gaeta’s orders.  Originally, there was a brief scene on Colonial One where Zarek and the Quorom are monitoring the transmissions but there was so much to cover in the episode that it just had to go.

Zarek brought the Quorum with him to Galactica where they would be “safe” and he could keep an eye on them, keep them close. He gives them one last chance to support his presidency by making this “from-the-heart” plea to them; he thinks he can flatter them with praise and, as we know, it doesn’t quite work,does it?

Even if the Quorum had gone along with Zarek, would he have killed them anyway?

Don’t know.  We could ask him, but he’s dead.

Why did the Quorum resist Zarek’s coup, given that their relations with Laura Roslin and William Adama had not been very smooth?

The Zarek/Quorum scene had to be edited for time. What got cut was Zarek informing the Quorom that President Roslin has defected, he’s assumed the presidency and appointed Gaeta to replace Admiral Adama, who is to be tried for treason.  The quorum vocally objects to Zarek making all of these decisions without including them.  But even with this material excised, I think the scene works well.  It’s a little more of a shock when they rebuff Zarek, gives them some cojones before they’re wiped out.

With Battlestar Galactica ending in the near future, there is an attempt to increase interest in its prequel show, Caprica. The pilot will be released on DVD on April 21, over a year before the show will begin on television.

Last week I complained that Life on Mars ran an episode out of order, running a more routine police story as opposed to one dealing with the mystery of why Sam is in the 1970’s. I felt that fans of Lost, which airs prior to Life on Mars, would be more interested in this type of story. Perhaps they have now made the show too much like Lost as they are varying even further from the original BBC series. Suddenly we have the Aries Project, which sounds a little too much like the Dharma Initiative. Having people in the 1970’s who seem to know why Sam has come back to the 70’s (assuming this really is taking place in the 1970’s) could lead the show in a totally different direction.

There’s also the question of whose voice is on the phone. All clues seemed to point to Skelton, but they might also be misleading us and perhaps future developments will suggest something different.

Meanwhile on Lost, the major development was to find that Jin is alive. Presumably the healing powers of the island saved him, perhaps as there is more for him to do. He has also been jumping around through time, even if unconscious. Jin awoke to meet a young and pregnant Rousseau. Perhaps we will see what really happened to drive Rousseau crazy and why she killed the others with her. Meanwhile, in the present, all of the Oceanic Six are again together. Perhaps the news that Jin is alive will get Sun to drop her plans to kill Ben and join them in attempting to return to the island.

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Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles will be returning on Friday nights. SciFi Wire reports on a conference call with Josh Friedman, creator and show runner of the show:

It looks like we’ve seen Kyle Reese in the teasers for the rest of the season. How will he reappear?

Friedman: Let’s all just wait and see what that one looks like. This is a whole larger thing. I wish no one could see anything. I wish everyone would just show up. I wish that 10 million people showed up every week and watched the show regardless of what was advertised during the week. That’s just not reality. The reality also is our show is a bit ratings-challenged, or has been, and people want to do things to cut through the noise. I appreciate that, but what that usually translates to for marketing people is spoilers. It’s hard to just tease things and not show anything. That’s a long way of saying it’s good that people know that Kyle Reese is in the episode, but I wish people were surprised that Kyle Reese is in the episode.

Will the season finale be closed-ended just in case you don’t get a pickup, or are you operating on the assumption there will be a third season?

Friedman: Well, I’m always optimistic. I wrote the finale the way that I was planning on writing the finale for a long time. I think there were things that we’ve been building to all season, and you owe the audience that’s been watching the show kind of a logical conclusion to the things that you’ve been building towards. Everyone says, “Well, fans get really upset if a show gets canceled and things are left hanging.” But fans get upset if a show gets canceled. I think fans also get upset when you write a crappy finale. So I think that you have to try to write the best finale you can, providing closure to the stories that you’re telling, but if I tried to kind of sum up every single thing in 43 minutes, it would be a disaster. I think you’d end up with like a clip show. Hopefully it’s going to be something that feels satisfying for people who’ve watched all year and also certainly lets you know where we would be going in a third season.

Summer Glau (Cameron) also held a conference call where she said the script for the show’s season finale “has left her reeling.”

“I just got a hold of our season-finale script, and I am shocked,” she said. “I am not going to give it away, but I’m excited and I’m a little bit sad, but more excited and just really proud of what [series creator] Josh [Friedman] has done.”

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