If there's one single compliment I can give 'A Disquiet Follows My Soul' it would be the following (paraphrased) quote by J.G. Ballard: '[the episode] rub[s] the human face in its own vomit... and forces it to look in the mirror.'
Curiously, there seems to be rather a substantial amount of negative feeling towards this episode in the immediate aftermath of its initial airing. The general consensus of these criticisms is that 'A Disquiet Follows My Soul' is a 'filler' episode, barely moving the narrative forward in any 'satisfying' way and sidestepping the myriad questions that are still dangling, as well as the new developments that occurred in 'Sometimes A Great Notion'. To be fair, the absence of any reference to Ellen being the final Cylon (aside from Lee Adama's slip up when he addresses the Quorum) does rankle a little, given the gravitas of the repercussions of this discovery. However, this bitter, cynical, twisted critic loved this episode. Yes, the big action sequences are put to bed. Yes, the show's mythology is fairly unaffected by its events... but give it time. In order for the big dramatic developments to be satisfying and believable, we need build, establishment, background. Major events always have a context and, in case you hadn't noticed, Battlestar Galactica is giving you exactly that, right now, right before your eyes. Emotionally, the mood hasn't improved much since the cast collectively banged their knuckles off the airlock doors in last week's episode; everyone's still very much on edge, although Roslin's had a disturbing 360 and is now ludicrously chipper, doing her exercises and running the length of the ship. Not healthy. Adama's battle-torn and war-weary, tired of the knocks his people continue to receive and, really, just wants to get down to the dirty with the President. And then there's the Quorum. The fleet. This is an absolutely crucial piece of plot development as it begins to sow the seeds of anarchic discontent... and you just know it's going to get a lot worse before it gets any better. The resentment against the Cylons and, through this, against the Adama/Roslin administration is superbly handled as, really, it's all down to the subtle nuances in the dialogue. Ronald D. Moore does an absolutely stellar job of depicting exactly how that horrible worm in human nature begins to twist and turn when it is filled with fear... and that's exactly how the fleet is, and it's what Tom Zarek and, later, Gaeta are feeding off. As the lines between good and evil, friend and enemy begin to blur, so the 'understanding, compassionate' human race abandons its moral code and listens to its most base instincts: resentment, bigotry, hatred. It is these ugly creatures that we see being born in 'A Disquiet Follows My Soul' and, like last week's instalment, it's hard to watch as a result of how damn believable it is. This is largely a result of Moore's superlative writing and direction but credit must also go to Alessandro Juliani for a thoroughly believable portrayal of the embittered Felix; he almost outshines Katee Sackhoff in his confrontation scene with Starbuck. Almost. (By the way, in case you didn't realise, the events of 'The Face of the Enemy' take place between 'Sometimes A Great Notion' and this episode). Personally, I see absolutely nothing wrong with the current trajectory of Battlestar Galactica's narrative; in fact, I'm savouring every deliciously complex, harrowing moment of it. If there's one single compliment I can give 'A Disquiet Follows My Soul' it would be the following (paraphrased) quote by J.G. Ballard: '[the episode] rub[s] the human face in its own vomit... and forces it to look in the mirror.'
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