BSG thread: Ask and you shall receive

In the comments on this thread there was a request for more posts on BSG. I don’t really have a full post in my head, but I’ve got some bullet points from the last couple of episodes (here be spoilers for those who aren’t up to date):

  • I’ve become really interested in Balthar as he has built up his cult. The character who is consistently shown as only acting in his self interest is also the only person who seems to listen to civilians or care about them.
  • I’m wondering if I’ll still get my rebellion/revolution, although I’m worried about the leader of the cult while Balthar was away. I think the writers are going to treat her badly, they don’t like characters who don’t know their place.
  • Starbuck as a half Cylon with Daniel as her dad was a pretty obvious way for the plot to go. But I’m finding it quite interesting. The key to the world being a rock song is kind of weird, but fun.
  • I’m still mad at The Chief in his role in Callie’s death. I think I’d have had more sympathy for him if this episode hadn’t reminded me of that, and also kind of justified it (well he was a dick because he wasn’t in love with her).
  • Talking of The Chief – his decision to vote to head off with the cylons was strange and out of character and utterly unexplained. The writers are so obsessed with the characters with the most power than they couldn’t give any time to the motivations of this NCO.
  • While watching the Boomer/Athena fight – I thought a lot about Unapologetic Mexican’s analysis of racial identities in BSG. Athena is an archetype of the good Asian woman – she chooses her new culture consistently, whereas Boomer is the scary manipulative untrustworthy archetype of the bad Asian woman. I don’t think I’ve explained what I mean very well, but it’s like a virgin/whore dichotomy, but with assimilation/deceit – a racialised gendered version of assimilation/deceit (Unapologetic Mexican’s analysis as a whole is very good, although some of it has clearly been very dated, mostly notably the idea that faith trumps science, which was a recurring one in the first three seasons was undermined with a massive whomp in Season four).
  • I could have done with seeing a lot less of Boomer raping Helo with Athena tied up in the closet.
  • I’m hoping the president is actually dead, but it seems a little bit too soon to celebrate now. They’re always pretending that someone with power might die and they never do.
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    14 Responses to BSG thread: Ask and you shall receive

    1. I too was very creeped out by the Boomer/Helo scene… but as I’ve thought about it, I do kind of like that Helo couldn’t tell the difference. It complicates this cardboard hero persona of his, and I also think a reminder at this point in that game that humans can’t necessarily tell the difference between individuals of the same model might be important at this point in the series.

      I understand your wanting the president dead, politically, but oh, wow, no, I couldn’t do the last episode without Laura Roslin. As flawed and as compromised as she’s become, she was still my first favorite character, and is still such a rich character, and I would have a very hard time not having her on the canvas until the bitter end.

    2. 2
      grendelkhan says:

      I’m wondering if I’ll still get my rebellion/revolution, although I’m worried about the leader of the cult while Balthar was away. I think the writers are going to treat her badly, they don’t like characters who don’t know their place.

      Well, no. We’ve seen what happens when popular discontent boils over. Some power-mad opportunist (that’d be Zarek) manipulates any starry-eyed idealists (that’d be Gaeta) into replacing whatever they were rebelling against with something even worse.

      You may not like it, but that’s the way these things seem to turn out in the BSG ‘verse. It’s not like there’s no historical precedent for that sort of thing.

    3. 3
      nojojojo says:

      Did the Chief actually have a role in Cally’s death? I thought that was all on Tory. I think the Chief suspects, but does he actually know they killed his wife?

      Yeah, I was creeped out by Boomer/Helo too. Though I’m glad you phrased it as Boomer raping Helo, because you reminded me that he really wouldn’t’ve been willing if he’d realized it was her. I’m still pissed at him, though, for not being able to tell. Mothers can tell the difference between their identical children. A husband should be able to tell the difference between his wife and *her* identical twin(sssssssss–>infinity). I hope we’ll see something about that in the future, actually; if I were Athena, I’d be pretty pissed at Helo. (And at Hera, for that matter. Hera could tell the difference when she was a baby; why wouldn’t she be able to tell now? I wonder if this was just bad writing. I’m also wondering why Boomer thinks she’ll be able to keep Hera any more effectively this time than the last time, when Hera almost died in Cylon care.)

      I love the idea of Starbuck being Daniel’s daughter. And I’ve fallen in love with Bear McCreary’s version of “All Along the Watchtower”. Never liked that song before this usage.

    4. 4
      Maia says:

      nojojojo – No it was Tory that killed her. But she was only able to kill Callie because Callie was suicidal. The Chief’s role in her depression (was it PND? it seemed to be a little far out for that) was pretty clear. He was ignoring her as a person, he wasn’t taking any responsibility for childcare, he wasn’t acknowledging the childcare work she was doing, he was ignoring her depression and using the power he had as her boss in really gross ways. Most of this we saw from his point of view rather than hers (which annoyed me), but his responsibility is pretty clear.

    5. 5
      Julie says:

      It hadn’t occurred to me that she was raping him. And I call myself a feminist…

      I hope we’ll see something about that in the future, actually; if I were Athena, I’d be pretty pissed at Helo.

      In fact, I’d be so pissed that I’d pound him repeatedly on the arm while he was trying to comfort me! OMG I can’t wait for Friday.

      As for Hera – she’s enough of an enigma that I wouldn’t be surprised if she could tell the difference between Boomer and Athena. This is probably reading way too much into it, but I thought she looked happier than usual when Boomer came to take her away.

    6. 6
      Jeff Fecke says:


      As a person with major depression, who’s attempted suicide once, I feel I can say this flatly — the Chief didn’t drive Cally to attempt suicide, and he certainly didn’t drive her to attempt murder/suicide. I’m not saying his conduct was great — it wasn’t — but we are all ultimately responsible for our actions. Cally trying to kill her son is only less reprehensible than Tory killing Cally because Tory succeeded.

      As for the Chief, his actions merited divorce, I’ll grant that. But Cally’s decision to take it a step further, to physically assault him and then attempt to space both herself and her child, is in my mind far worse. Chief was self-destructive and lost and — yes — depressed. Cally was too. But Chief didn’t try to kill anyone, and I don’t think it’s fair to pin blame on him for that.

    7. 7
      tabatha atwood says:

      i agree with jeff- that reduces cally’s actions-

      she is reacting to the disclosure of the final five and making a choice for her future

    8. 8
      oliemoon says:

      I agree that Tyrol is not responsible for Callie’s death. Responsible in large part for her unhappiness and depression, definitely, but as Jeff pointed out the Chief was depressed and going through a lot of traumatic stuff as well. I don’t think Callie’s physical assault with the wrench should be held against her though, as she had plenty of reason to believe that her husband posed a serious threat.

      Count me in with everyone else who was disturbed by the Boomer/Helo rape. I think it was really unnecessary and I can’t understand what they were trying to accomplish with that scene. What purpose did it serve other than to further traumatize Athena/Helo? There was already enough in the episode to thoroughly condemn Boomer, IMO, I don’t think we really needed that extra twist in the gut to appreciate that Boomer hates Athena and is still working for Cavil’s team.

      I read somewhere that supposedly only Cylons can tell the difference between Cylons of the same model, so I suppose it sort of makes sense that Helo wouldn’t recognize that Boomer was not his wife based on appearances. But after spending four years with Athena you’d think he’d be able to pick up on other clues, like how she carried herself, intonation, how she kissed and how she engaged in sex.

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      Maia says:

      Jeff – you are completely ignoring the power dynamics in the situation.

      First: There is a huge connection between the behaviour of male partner’s and depression in mothers of small children. To pretend that father’s who act as Tyroll did have no role and no responsibility is absurd.

      Second: Feminist analysis of women who kill their children while depressed is massively more complicated than “it’s as reprehensible as killing someone for personal gain.”

      Third: I disagree with your general point. There are many factors that cause depression in different people. Some of those factors are other people. As a union organiser I saw heaps of depression caused/aggravated by workplace bullying. The connection between sexual abuse and depression is well documented. To say ‘everyone is responsible for their own actions’ is a very simplistic truth, and it should not be used to silence just as important truths that are more complex.

      To me that your propose divorce as an alternate solution demonstrates how little you have thought about the power dynamics involved. He is her boss, and he has made it clear that he will use that power to get what he wants within the relationship.

      Note – I said that I hadn’t forgiven him for his role in Callie’s death – not that he caused her death.

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      Marta says:

      Athena is an archetype of the good Asian woman – she chooses her new culture consistently, whereas Boomer is the scary manipulative untrustworthy archetype of the bad Asian woman.

      On the other hand, Boomer manipulates others in a very “feminine” way (always clinging to a man to get what she wants), whereas Athena tends to stand out for herself. So I don’t think that the two really fit in the virgin/whore stereotypes.

    11. 12
      Maia says:

      Sorry Marta that bit of my argument was confusing. I wasn’t trying to argue that it was a virgin/whore stereotype (not least because neither of them are either). Virgin/whore is at it’s heart a stereotype dichotomy about white women (which doesn’t mean other women can’t be hurt by it). What I was trying to say was that Boomer is the epitome of a what is constructed as dangerous about Asian women – “deceitful, using her femininity etc.” Whereas Athena is what is constructed as a good Asian woman – hard working and assimilated. Does that even make sense? I was trying to explore how the ideas of what makes a good and bad woman are racialised.

    12. 13
      Marta says:

      Ok, I think I understand what you mean: as there is a virgin/whore dichotomy in the representation of white women, there is a “integrated-hard-working”/”deceitful-temptress” dichotomy in the representation of Asian women. Is that right?

      I am not sure what to think about it – I am not a sociologist and I have spent most of my life in a country (Italy) in which even having a small representation of non-white citizens in the media could be considered an achievement from the point of view of integration (ok, don’t get me started on that). But I find it very interesting, as I find very interesting the fact that the virgin/whore dichotomy is mainly white: I always assumed that it was a cross-cultural problem, albeit with some differences from place to place.

    13. 14
      Maia says:

      I was simplifiying to say that it was only white women were effected by Virgin/whore dichotomies – but I definately think whiteness is part of the virgin part of the virgin whore complex (although the nature of that idea does vary, as does the idea of whiteness). I don’t mean to imply that this doesn’t effect non-white women, but that non-white women also have other ideals/anti-ideals that are playing out as well.