Sometimes a Great Notion

Episode Reviews (21)

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9.1
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  • 6.5

    What has happened to this once excellent show?

    By mermayd, Oct 23, 2011

    I'm not sure what happened in this episode. It seems like lots of things took place, a couple of them rather shocking but all in all, a nothing episode.



    The writers have only one ace left up their sleeves: who is the fifth cylon? But this cannot form the basis of an entire show. The characters are now walking zombies, with no purpose, and although they seem to walk as quickly as they ever did, they're never going anywhere, nor do they do anything when they get there.



    It's horrible to watch a show I used to love but which is now less than ordinary. They should have found a way to wind up the series ages ago. Endless wandering is dull narrative, no matter how many spaceships you are blowing up.



    Not sure if I can even bother myself to watch until the end.moreless

    4 25

  • 9.0

    FINALLY¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡ THE TWO MOST WAITED THINGS OF TV HAPPEN.

    Battlestar is back in tv and we know who the final cylon is

    By Timbcn, Oct 23, 2011

    After waiting months......finally its here, Battlestar galactica, the best mother fracking tv show. Every time i watch this show i understand why tv exist. I mean even so its not the best episode (is hard to say only one) the suicide of D and the revelation of the fianl cylon in one same episode its impressive. The kill one of the more lovable (not great one even so..) characters and bring one of the character we all love and hate at the same time.

    I dont now whow to say thank god for these show, i was tired with the disapointment of heroes and lost. The one and only great show on Tv is this one.moreless

    8 4

  • 8.0

    All hope is lost when the fleet discovers Earth is nothing more than a charred nuclear wasteland. Frustration turns to nihilistic despair, and the harried survivors find their faith put to the test in this beautiful yet bleak storyline.

    By huntlsoffun, Oct 23, 2011

    The makers of Battlestar Galactica have always been experts at mind-blowing plot twists which alter the very fragile and limited moments of normal order in the fleet, but the revelation of the charred & nuked remains of scorched Earth may turn out to be the greatest test of faith the human survivors have ever faced. If anything has been a constant within the show, it has been the undying faith and hope in the existence of Earth, the home of the mythical Thirteenth Tribe of Kobol, as the one shining light piercing through the dark & hostile atmosphere of endless trials & tribulations. Now, the remaining 39,000 survivors of a once prosperous society have found their travails were all for naught, and a thick fog of despair hangs in the air over the disturbing revelations. Even more frustrating is the perplexing mystery of Earth itself. The discovery of some unusual Cylon remains on the planet raise more questions than answers over who, or what, the 13th Tribe really was.



    It proves to be too much. Upon their return to Galactica, Roslin and Adama face a hanger deck full of hopeful crewmates, anxious to hear the news of their mythical refuge. Normally, the steely-eyed Roslin never shies from a moment to step up to a challenge, but here she can only shake her head subtly, frozen with the prospect of destroying the last bastion of hope for the weary travelers. "Get me out of here," she mutters to Adama, and the place is in uproar with anxious questions, only to find their beloved leaders retreat into a dark depression.



    The visuals of lost hope are powerful and stunning, anchored by the consistently solid score of Bear McCreary. Ponderous & discordant variations on the once soaring themes of the show echo the fear of the unknown displayed through the tense interactions of the characters. All of the answers they seek reveal more frustrating questions. The mood is emotionally provocative and wears very heavily. The crisis of faith, the loss of social order, the gray bleakness of Earth's nuked skies all paint a vivid and beautiful portrait of the collapse of the human spirit, but it takes its toll through watching it unfold. Perhaps this is more to the show's credit that it evokes so powerfully the very emotions it portrays onscreen, but for viewers it amounts to being stabbed in the heart a thousand times, or as Ronald D. Moore puts it, an emotional sucker punch.



    Some of the storyline feels clumsy and forced. Bill Adama's confrontation of his friend and ex-o, newly discovered Cylon Saul Tigh, falls for all of the usual clichés associated with depression in Battlestar Galactica. The Admiral snags a sidearm from a guard and drops in uninvited with a bottle of booze. Pouring enough to kill a small horse, Adama tosses the weapon on the table and barks, "Sit down, Cylon!" at the somewhat bewildered Tigh. The scene stands well enough on the outstanding acting talents of Edward James Olmos (Adama) and Michael Hogan, but the dialogue sounds crude and forced, a bit clumsy considering the show's typically high standards. Those standards certainly were not applied to revealing the identity of the final Cylon, tacked on to the last five minutes like an extra edition of the news. It comes in so unexpectedly, it feels as though the writers did it by accident. Nothing frustrates more with this show than the flubbing of key plot points, especially considering the hype many of these revelations get through the constant repetition throughout the show. In going for the surprise, the scene skipped creating the appropriate tension to buildup to the revelation, which is why it comes off as flat and uninspired.



    Despite its flaws, Sometimes a Great Notion gracefully probes the ends of the human spirit, seeking an answer to the greatest tests of faith. Highs: Provocative & powerful imagery reflected through McCreary's musical variations; post-apocalypse is where Battlestar lives; emotionally gripping



    Lows: Emotionally exhausting; frustrating revelations only raise more questions; clumsy & forced in places; one-dimensional character presentation.



    The Verdict: Powerful, relentlessly dark probe of the human spiritmoreless

    3 5

  • 9.5

    And so finally, the Sci-Fi Channel quits playing ceaseless, self-obsessed ratings games with their most ardent viewers and delivers the second half of Battlestar Galactica's final season.

    By screenagedkicks, Sep 07, 2011

    And so finally, the Sci-Fi Channel quits playing ceaseless, self-obsessed ratings games with their most ardent viewers and delivers the second half of Battlestar Galactica's final season, a year since it was actually made. The wait has been absolutely perilous: between the end of the third season and the start of part one of the fourth, there was an agonising ten month gap and then, ten episodes in, the bastards cut our viewing enjoyment short for another ten months. The wait has been so great that, arguably, the weight of expectation on these final instalments is too much to bear. Can the production staff deliver the goods? Will they answer all the outstanding questions they've left dangling for the past four years? Will we get a regrettable happy ever after or a more satisfying, and realistic, emotional and physical bloodbath? From the trajectory that the narrative begins to take in 'Sometimes A Great Notion', it looks like the latter is far likelier. No question about it folks, this is damn tough viewing. If you like your characters to be one dimensional black and white ciphers, turn away now. If you want to see everyone picking up the pieces, holding hands and 'getting on', I really don't think the remainder of this season is going to be for you. You see, things have gone completely and utterly **** up. The Universe is fracked. There's no hope. We're all going to Hell in a hand basket and the best we can do to blot out the pain is give in to the illnesses already ravaging us (Roslin), drink ourselves into oblivion (Adama) or shoot ourselves in the head and have done with it (Dee). Jesus Christ, this is depressing stuff. The rock that the Galactica crew's hopes have been pinned on since she first uttered the word 'Earth' in the pilot is now burning the prophecies that formed the backbone of her beliefs and ain't taking anyone's calls. When your President's given up the ghost, you know you're in trouble. Kudos to Mary McDonnell for giving a superb performance throughout: she's particularly excellent when she confronts the Galactica crew (and the fleet) immediately upon her return from the nuked Earth. All it takes is a stuttered sigh and a whispered 'get me out of here' and the emotional effect is magnified twentyfold. Then there's the other major authority figure, the Old Man, who goes completely off the rails after one of his crew tops herself and has an alcohol-fuelled 'heart to heart' with Sol, which ends with him getting the XO to point a gun to his head, goading him on to pulling the trigger. Not easy stuff to watch but it's effortlessly brilliant all the same. You feel every nuance of these characters' pain and that's no small feat. The successful combination of superb dialogue and out-of-this-world performance really cannot be understated: someone give Bradley Thompson, David Weddle, Edward James Almos and Michael Hogan all the awards the world can muster. Now. And spare a thought for Kandyse McClure who manages to pull the wool over the eyes of every single one of us in depicting Dee's final moments. Granted, this is as much to do with the scripting as anything else but she's magnificent anyway. The fateful moment where she pulls the trigger is among the best, and most shocking, in the show's history. I'm still not sure I've quite recovered.



    Some have accused 'Sometimes A Great Notion' of being slow to start; I couldn't disagree more. The narrative movement certainly isn't fast paced but that's hardly the point. This episode is about the repercussions of having all of your hopes and beliefs completely and utterly obliterated in an instant. Time is therefore needed to take stock of the situation (the opening ten minutes), work through the pain (the next thirty) and come to some form of conclusion (last five). The considered narratalogical structure, to this writer, is exactly what is needed. And in any case, amongst all of the emotional trauma, we discover that the 13th tribe were all Cylons (didn't see that one coming), that the final five lived on Earth in its last days, that Starbuck's Viper is on Earth with Starbuck's body in it (how is THAT one possible?) and, possibly, the identity of the final Cylon. If it is Tigh's ex-wife, I'm happy. It could be a red herring, of course, but time will tell. So yeah, a pretty darn packed hour, all things considered. And when you combine these revelations with the unquestionable strength of the character-led material, you have an absolute corker of an episode. As if any further evidence were needed that Battlestar Galactica is the best science fiction show on TV, here it is in one bitter, twisted, difficult package. Watch and weep.moreless

    7 1

  • 7.5

    Characters deal with the reality of Earth. Starbuck begins to question what she is. We find out something about the final cylon.

    By Kgirlh, Sep 07, 2011

    This episode was okay, I guess. First and foremost, I was really disappointed in learning about the final cylon. I mean, how many episodes had we spent prior to this wondering if it was Starbuck or one of the major characters. Instead, it turns out we've already killed her. I thought that was just a low blow by the writers, and very anticlimactic. I did like the Starbuck plot twist, but then again, I love anything that Kara Thrace is. Right now, I think this show is going through a lull, and I hope it picks up before the season ends.moreless

    3 1

  • 9.5

    This was a truly beautiful episode. This is why I watch BSG

    By ann_e, Jan 20, 2009

    This was a truly beautiful episode. It was sentimental without being pathetic. It`s weird how a sci fi show can reflect the human spirit so accurate, how only in extraordinary instances we return to our humanity. It was truly a beautiful episode. It was dark, but not hopeless, it was sad, but not excrutiating. The story just flowed. There was nothing forced about it. And remember this is a show about people and robots in big spaceships that fly around galaxies, but yet it is so spiritual. It`s nice to see that people who can plot out and make true a great fight or battle scene can also create an episode like this without overdoing it. In this episode every single character came alive.moreless

    5 1

  • 10

    A triumphant return

    By entil2001, Jan 20, 2009

    The previous episode ended with the Colonials and renegade Cylons standing amidst the ruins of a world called Earth, just moments after the remnants of Humanity celebrated their potential deliverance. The better part of this episode is devoted to the psychological fallout of that crushing blow, and the results are stunning, to say the least.



    This is not a happy episode. In fact, this could be one of the most depressing hours of television in years. Not one person is happy, not one person is remotely satisfied, and not one person is left unscathed. What makes this such a powerful and perfect episode is that the audience can understand the characters' reactions. In a sense, we're all reeling from the realization that Earth is not what it was supposed to be, and that there is no obvious direction for the future. Worse, they all know that Father Cavil's faction of the Cylons will be showing up sooner or later, and there will be no magical resolution to that problem.



    Dee's suicide is shocking in the moment it happens, but after re-watching the episode, the writers did a very good job of leading up to it. Dee's loss of hope is palpable from the very beginning, and her "date" with Lee seems as much about saying goodbye as it is about pushing Lee in the right direction before checking out. If it doesn't seem to quite make sense, I think that's intentional; Dee is not in her right mind, so it's hard to grasp her rationale in detail. It's simply obvious that the discovery of a formerly Cylon-populated, ruined husk of Earth annihilated her mental stability.



    Dee is essentially our window into the psychological torture experienced by the entire Colonial fleet. Her death is the break between the façade of civility and the unbearable truth. Adama completes the picture; those who look at Dee's decision and wonder if that's what they should do as well. Frankly, I'm shocked that there weren't more suicides. If Adama had pushed Tigh into killing him, I imagine it would have all been over.



    As it is, there's now a massive power vacuum. Roslin has all but checked out and the primary religion is under serious question. Lee could make a case that he should stand in Roslin's place, but I expect Zarek to make a move sooner or later. After all, he was the one who pushed Lee into the limelight in the first place; he has definite ambitions. I also expect Baltar's new religion to become a lot more prominent in the days to come, as the Colonials cast about for something to believe in.



    Amidst the crushing despair, there were amazing revelations. Nearly everyone is taking Earth for granted, but it may not be what it seems. Baltar and the others conclude that the thirteenth tribe consisted of Cylons, both Centurions and "skinjobs", and that they arrived on this particular world and called it "Earth". Does that mean that it is, in fact, Earth?



    It's quite possible, given the cyclic nature of the story, that thousands of years ago, they were also searching for Earth, hunted down by their own Cylons. Who's to say they didn't end up finding a burned-out Earth themselves? They could have simply found a new world, called that Earth in memory of the "original". And then, like now, they could have gone about the business of merging Humans and Cylons into a race of beings like Hera and Nicholas.



    After all, the bones were Cylon, but why does that necessarily mean that they were Cylons as we know them? They, too, appear to have lost the ability to resurrect, or the survival of the Final Five wouldn't have been so extraordinary. And because Tigh and the others were known since they were younger, and they aged like normal human beings, it stands to reason that their own resurrection was not in the usual Cylon style.



    This harkens back to one of my original theories, one I've mentioned several times: that the Final Five are Human/Cylon hybrids from the previous cycle who managed to persist until the next cycle. How that happened is still to be determined, but it must have involved some kind of regenerative program. Perhaps it was something that the Five sent into space before the end came. One might suspect that the nuclear destruction of Earth came from the previous cycle's analogue to Father Cavil and his Cylon faction.



    Something tells me that the restoration of the Final Five is directly connected to Kara's restoration. Kara was dead, her Viper destroyed. That being the case, how was she reborn? Everyone assumes that Earth is completely dead, but someone (or something) had to resurrect Kara and her Viper. Perhaps something that didn't see or know the difference between man and machine? Something that was programmed or designed to recreate members of a Human/Cylon hybrid species?



    If so, the whole question of the fifth Cylon's identity becomes moot. That individual is no longer a factor; how they came to be in this time is a lot more important. Kara's very existence is more important than Ellen Tigh's true nature. Piecing together the puzzle of what the Final Five really are, how they survived, and how and when they came to intersect with the current Cylon population is the major mystery to be resolved.



    Not that the question of the final Cylon wasn't front and center. This is another aspect of Dee's suicide; they were clearly using Dee as a red herring for the revelation of the fifth. The same applies to Kara (though, admittedly, I believe she's connected to the Final Five in some way). Just the fact that the writers were able to keep the central mysteries front and center, while dealing with the despair of the fleet was such depth, is a testimony to the excellence of the episode.



    From the script to the performances to the direction to the score, everything came together to make this one of the best episodes of the series in a very long time. This is easily the best episode of the season, even topping the powerful "Revelations". What makes this truly astounding is the realization that there are nine more episodes to go until the end.moreless

    18 2

  • 9.5

    Galactica is back and wonderfully depressing as ever. Best show on television.

    By guyroy1971, Jan 19, 2009

    After such a long wait, Galactica is finally back for its swan song and it really is pulling no punches. This show is so dark it is actually perfect for a small network like sci-fi (also reminds me of Mad Men on AMC) Although they may not get the exposure or ratings as a big network, a show like this could never be done on a network. Its too bleak and shocking.



    The episode is among the best of the series, but that praise is becoming almost reduntant as there are so many great episodes. I do not know if this is the best show "ever", but it is clearly the best sci-fi show ever (sorry trek fans)



    Dee killing herself was shocking in the execution, she was happy when she did it, which was the most shocking thing of all. There was no downward spiral or story arc to prepare you for it. She just had no hope anymore and wanted to hold on to the happiness she felt forever.



    If you read the internet, Ellen being the final cylon was not a great surprise, but the flashbacks of the final five back on the planet were really well done and had a "Lost" feel to them. I am looking forward to finding out what they really are.



    That is also true of Kara as she found her body and her ship, which was the source of the transmission the followed. Leoben truly looked dumbfounded by what he saw. It has been implied he knew what Kara was, but even he now has no clue. It may be that she is now like the final five in that she is immortal. It certainly seems the final five just get reborn after they "die" and they do not need a body to download into like the other cylon models.



    The theme of the whole episode was hope being smashed, as Dee, Adama, Rosalyn, Leoben, the crew and the other cylons clearly have nowhere to go and no hope of a future.moreless

    9 2

  • 10

    The shocking part had nothing to do with Starbuck or the Cylons.

    By Rosebunse, Jan 19, 2009

    Ok, so we were all naive enough to think that Starbuck finding her own body or finding that the cylons were the 13th tribe were the really big parts. But no: Dee, after having a great day with her friends and family, shoots herself because she feels no hope for herself or humanity. This episode just may have been the worst-and best-part of my night. I mean, it was so surprising to see her just pull out that gun from out of nowhere and put it to her head. I've rarely seen a show be so gusty as to show a character kill themselves off just like that. The suicide is so realistic; she had probably had this planned out for the entire day. Some people may think this was way too graphic even for BSG; those people must realize that for this show to work, it must be real. Why shouldn't someone who's lived with such loss and despair want to kill themselves to spare themselves even more of it?moreless

    3 2

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