A lot has already been said about “Deadlock.” Indeed at this point I’m already a week late. It seems like the general consenus has been that it was terrible. Absolutely awful. And I’m sad to say that I will have to agree. So many things failed to make sense. The plot was contrived and soapy (which doesn’t necessarily have to be bad, but in this case, it totally was). When I saw the previews for “Deadlock” I thought, “I really hope it’s not too much Cylon soapyness” but when Tigh, Caprica 6 and Ellen were all yelling and carrying on like infants I realized that my fear had become a reality.
I’ve never enjoyed Ellen’s character, and not for the reasons I so often see. Not because she was manipulative, or that she enjoyed sex and liquor, or that she was fiercely jealous and power hungry. No, those things in a woman tend not to bother me at all. What bothered me is that the writers chose not to do anything interesting with her. Battlestar has always been a series that generally played with stereotypical characters, (not always successfully, but they at least try). But Ellen was always a stereotype. Her actions were always painfully within realm of the spider woman. She never went against type or did anything remotely surprising. Her final redeeming aspect was her willingness to use her body to free the man she loved. But even that was tarnished as her “selfish” love for Tigh lead her to betray the rest of humanity and so she had to go. Her death was one of the most touching and heartbreaking scenes in the entire series even though it was problematically about Tigh and not about her. And I guess that’s why she was always so bothersome to me, Ellen’s purpose was the make Tigh a more complicated and interesting character.
So, when I heard Ellen was the final Cylon, I was not pleased. But then she came back and she came back interesting. Thoughtful, wise, and not to mention a snappier dresser. She was calm and completely secure with who she was. That moment in the resurrection pod goo bath thingy, when she realizes where and who she is as she slicked back her hair calmly, cooly, and knowingly was reassuring. Okay- they’re finally doing something interesting with Ellen. She was eloquent in response to Cavil’s childish ramblings, and then in “Deadlock” it all fell apart again. She was the castrating woman. Jealous to a crazy fault, manipulative, and as the fate of the Cylons and their relationship with the human fleet hung in the balance, all she could think about was that Tigh and Caprica six were having a baby.
Which brings me to the whole “all Cylons need to make babies is true love” routine. It’s a load of crap. Ellen’s jealousy of Caprica made little sense, epsiecally since Tigh began his creepy relationship with Caprica imagining that she was Ellen. All the blame fell onto Tigh; the didn’t love Ellen enough to make happy Cylon babies, but maybe it’s Ellen who didn’t love enough. Anyway, the mystical quality that Battlestar has invested in procreation is something worth exploring in more detail at a later point. I understand that when humanity is at its end that birth becomes more important, I’m just not sure that it needs to become reactionary as it appears to be doing right now.
A few other issues with the episode:
- Chief’s random decision to leave the human fleet. He’s been mister thoughtful, brooding, grumpy man since he found out he’s a Cylon, and for him to just – without any thought at all – “so, yeah okay let’s blow this joint,” did not make sense.
- Where the hell are the Leobens and the last Three? Wouldn’t their votes count? Where on earth have they been? Three/D’Anna particularly. She kept killing herself to learn the secrets of the final five, was boxed, and is now completely alone. There’s an interesting story there that they are completely ignoring in favor of the introduction of a new love triangle of doom. I completely forgot that D’Anna decided to stay behind on Earth. Woops.
- With only a handful of episodes left, a soaptastic filler episode is not a good use of their or the audience’s time (especially since “Someone to Watch Over Me” was so awesome, but felt rushed – they could have had some of that buildup for that episode in “Deadlock” – but more on that in the next post).