Battlestar Galactica

Season 4 Episode 16

Deadlock

3
Aired Friday 10:00 PM Feb 20, 2009 on Syfy
AIRED:
8.1
out of 10
User Rating
385 votes
17

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Ellen returns to the Colonial Fleet with Boomer. Although Ellen is initially overcome with joy at seeing Saul Tigh again, she becomes troubled by the relationship between Tigh and Caprica Six. Ellen also learns that some of the Cylons want to leave the Colonial Fleet behind. Meanwhile, Baltar uncovers a dangerous situation among the civilians on the Galactica.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Deadlock

    10
    Deadlock was a really excellent episode of Battlestar Galactica and I enjoyed watching because of the intrigue, drama, and suspense. Ellen boards Galactica and eventually gets to see the other final four Cylons. It was great to watch the interactions with everyone. Baltar returns to his followers to perhaps rediscover himself and finds things have changed. I as a viewer can see how human the Cylons have become and find it interesting that more humans don't see it. It's strange to think of every thing that every one has been through, holding to their ideals, but that is no longer a luxury which can cause some tension. In the end Adama chooses progress and cooperation, which he and President Roslin discover in the end is the right way to go. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Ellen returns to the Galactica and doesn't take to kindly to Saul and Caprica's relationship, especially the fact that she is pregnant.

    9.0
    Ellen returns to the Galactica and doesn't take to kindly to Saul and Caprica's relationship, especially the fact that she is pregnant. Gaius returns to his flock and gets a mixed welcome. When he convinces them to share with those less fortunate someone comes in with bigger guns and takes their stuff. He convices Bill Adama to give them bigger guns to protect themselves



    Bill Adama is concerned abount the compound the Cylons are using to fix Galactica with. He is afraid that it may look like the Galactica on the outside, but on the inside it will be cylon.



    Re remaining five cylons vote on whether to return to the Base Ship. The votes to return outnumber the ones to stay, but it remains to be seen if that return.moreless
  • Revealing.... but clumsy.....

    7.5
    I seem to be out-of-step with many of the commentators here where it comes to BSG. The whole "reveal" of the Cylon heritage didn' quite work for me while others found it deeply satisfying; the "uprising" seemed overly drawn-out to me, with much of the action somewhat "forced", while others found it compelling....



    ...And now we have Deadlock. "Filler!" seems to be the rallying cry around this one. Well, while there is undoubtedly Not Much Going On in any physical sense, I would suggest that the story here is rather more than simply filling time as we draw closer to the finale. No, I'd actually classify it as rather revealing. Because when it comes down to it, the segment ultimately reveals just how close to humanity - with all its flaws, faults and hang-ups - the Original Five really are (and by extension, their entire race). People have commented that it is a "shame" Ellen reverted once she reached Galactica, or that it "didn't make sense" for her to do so after everything shown in "No Exit". But the fact of the matter is, it made perfect sense, underlining as it did that the Ellen we've come to know and loathe is one and the same person as the Ellen who showed such brilliant compassion in "No Exit": all we'ver seen are two different sides of the same potentially brilliant (given she did lead the Original Five in their endeavours) individual who is flawed by and almost crippling lack of self-worth and jealousy. The jealous / vindictive Ellen has nothing to do with Cavil/John's manipulation of her memories or personality - it is actually exactly who she is, and always has been. A small hint of this was given in "No Exit" in her question to Cavil regarding booze on his base ship. The bottom line is, she's a deeply passionate woman, and that passion can lead her as much into acts of destruction (her toying with Tigh and others on her first arrival on the Galactica, and now her vindictiveness towards Caprica Six and Tigh) as it can lead her to the heights of understanding and brilliance (her ability to bring a team together capable of resurrecting the resurrection technology). And if this is true of Ellen, then again, what you see with the others - Tyrol's moodiness, Tigh's alcoholism - aren't fabrications created by Cavil before he sent them to humanity - they are their natural temperaments. And it is the single aspect of the Five that reveals them as being all too human - and as such, very much a part of the fleet around them. No, the problem with this episode is not that people seem to be "out of character" - they're not. The problem with this episode is simply this: it is clumsily written and poorly executed. Others have mentioned the repeated shots of a worried Adama inspecting the Cylon repairs going on aboard his ship - and i have to agree; the message was loud and clear the first time we saw it, and while a further shot would be acceptable to cover in case people missed it the first time around, the 3rd and 4th, etc., shots were really belabouring the point to sledgehammer/nut proportions. This is the most obvious demonstration of the carelessness inherent in the story. Then there is a the whole "Dogsville" situation. Exceuse me, but when, exactly, did Galactica become the home of the disposed and unwanted, with sections of the ship now seemingly lifted directly out of Babylon 5's Brown Sector? Baltar's little nest of followers never really did sit well....but seeing these kinds of conditions apparently rampant across the ship just didn't work, and again smacked of one of those 3:00am "good ideas" writers will thrown into a script. And don't get me started on the sudden and apparently drastic food shortage in the fleet. Gee, maybe it's just as well Zarek DID have the Quorum shot - if he hadn't, we'd have had to have all those pesky politicos screaming and shouting about food shortages, rationing, etc. Now, with them well, dead, there's no need to get bogged down with all that reasonable extrapolation stuff and nuisance backstory plotting....



    Without a doubt the core message of this segment really could have been handled a lot better and in a more fitting manner than unfolded here. Certainly, the pacing was certainly off, and while the further revelations on the real nature of the Original Five (anyone for the slogan, "more human than humans"?) did largely work, one still has to ask was it really necessary - I think it fair to same most of us Get It when it comes to the nature of humans and the nature of the Original Five. One can only hope that - with the piano, Thrace's return to moodiness, Sam's brain kick-starting itself - we're now about to start the final rollercoaster to the finale. Even so, it's really hard to see just what, in the overall story arc, has warranted this season being extended by an additional episode (with "Daybreak 2" being a "double" episode in length) - other than a nagging fear that we have more clumsy / lazy writing to come.moreless
  • Adama's frustrated when using Cylon technology on Galactica. Ellen returns. Adama's frustrated when using Cylon technology on Galactica. The Cylons debate leaving the fleet. Adama's frustrated when using Cylon technology on Galactica. Tigh's baby dies.moreless

    7.0
    What is there to say? The episode covered the necesarry points to move the plot forward. The theme that Cylons and humans must integrate in order to survive is reinforced especially through the death of Liam. While the plot points are necessary, the episode developed in a way that was a bit emotionally uninvolving. Basically, I'm glad I saw it to prepare for what's next but I don't have a lot to say about it and doubt much of it will stay in memory for long. One good point was the re-introduction of some humor. Have to love Baltar loading a magazine into his weapon.moreless
  • This feels more like a bog standard filler hour; a competent concentration on character intrigue, yes, but certainly not one of the final five big episodes.

    8.0
    Last week, Battlestar Galactica upped the ante. Hell, it far more than upped the ante: it damn well ripped it apart, stamped all over the remains and Roadrunnered into the distance, leaving the rest of us to pick up the pieces, windswept and shell shocked. It was a thoroughly thrilling feeling, watching the show give us a huge chunk of the answers we've been craving for the better part of four years and it seemed to truly reinforce the notion that we are actually on the final stretch, the last, desperate gasp before the finish line. The final sprint, as it were. Unfortunately, you really wouldn't know from simply watching this episode. If you'd missed 'No Exit', sure, there'd be a few plot points you might have trouble following, particularly in the character interplay, but you certainly wouldn't immediately be aware that we are building towards the end. Jane Espenson's script feels more like a bog standard filler hour, a competent concentration on character intrigue, yes, but certainly not one of the big final five episodes.



    It is perhaps more a fault of scheduling than anything else. Arguably, any episode that followed such a heady fan-pleasing fest as 'No Exit' was bound to struggle to live up to its lofty heights... but it might've been nice if the production staff had actually tried. There is so much unresolved story still hanging in the balance, so many interesting places that Galactica's season-spanning narrative can still go, that it's almost a little insulting that they choose the throw the brakes on again and engage in a wee bit of navel-gazing. This seems to suggest that the final hours of the show, the four episodes that remain (series finale is two hours long, so we get five hours), are going to be bursting at the seams with plot and revelation, provided the writers follow through on their promise to tie up all the loose ends, and this, boys and girls, is a little worrying. The last thing we need is for Battlestar Galactica to sacrifice its cornerstone, the modus operandi that has caused it to be so successful over the years, and favour exposition at the cost of character development. The two need to be married: the show's best episodes see them working together in equal harmony. With so much story to get through (Roslin/Six's dreams, the Cylon/human child, the remaining Cylons who didn't rebel, STARBUCK, original Cavel, Final Five's roles etc. etc.), it's questionable whether the show can afford to produce episodes like 'Deadlock' that just seem to stall its overall progression.



    The essential story can be summarised thusly: Ellen returns to Galactica and is forced to confront the changes that occurred among her fellow Final Five members. Baltar returns to his flock. Adama wanders around the ship a bit, pulling distressed faces and worrying about the morality of what he's doing. There's nothing essentially wrong with this triad as a series of narrative tropes but it certainly feels underwhelming given where we've been taken to in the past few weeks. Ellen's return, to begin, is nicely handled and Kate Vernon does an excellent job throughout, but her essential conflict becomes very tired, very fast. She reverts to the manipulative, selfish woman she seemingly was in the first few seasons and abandons the wise demi-God-esque insights that elevated her character in last week's episode. Now, okay, so perhaps this a telling psychological point: when she's around Sol, this is what she becomes. It is perfectly plausible that this is a deliberate character decision on the part of the writing staff; however, it simply rankles somewhat because we are forced to play out the frustrating 'jealousy over new flame' motif. And boy, do they play it out. Ellen is given a number of scenes that essentially echo each other vis a vis her opinion on the matter. By the time we get around to Six's miscarriage, we've been so battered around the head with Ellen's self-obsession that it is difficult to muster any empathy for the woman as she begins to repent, seeing the wrong in how she has been acting. Problematically, the death of Liam is rather telegraphed too, particularly as Ellen essentially determines, in her dialogue no less, that his existence rather rubbishes the point of Hara. Oh well, we'd better get rid of the pesky critter then. Can't have two plot vehicles vying for the same level of attention, can we? And the continued syntagmatic juxtaposing of Ellen and Sol's romantic machinations with Caprica Six's 'baby pangs' is just too obvious for words.



    There are some very nice scenes in amongst all of this, of course: Ellen's interactions with her fellow Cylons tend to work rather well and Bill and Sol's two comparative sequences in which, first, Sol reassures his friend about the decision to amalgamate human and Cylon technology and then, conversely, Adama comforts his friend over the loss of his child, are both excellently played and considerably moving. The strength of the friendship between these two is always wonderfully illustrated by the sheer quality of the acting. Honestly, I challenge you to find a better, more achingly human relationship depicted on contemporary television. It's a shame that this is the only strength in Adama's function in the episode: elsewhere, he simply strokes his chin a bit while examining the changes that are occurring on his ship. Honestly, there are so many unnecessary ten to fifteen second silent scenes peppered throughout the hour, in which Bill simply looks at a Cylon worker or looks at some damaged part of Galactica, that I lost count. Now, perhaps Espenson included them simply to break up the Final Five's sequences and to remind us that, yes, Adama still exists. Frankly, I wish she hadn't. There's no way any one of us is going to forget Edward James Olmos in a hurry and while he is the central character, there's no reason why he can't take a brief breather and only appear in the one or two scenes in which he is actually relevant. We don't need to see him every six or seven minutes! If anything, it just makes the ship-as-metaphor-for-social-situation motif far too obvious. It's like we're being hit over the head with the point and I, for one, am not a fan of it.



    And then there's Baltar, back with his fans. The jury's out on this one, kids. While there are some considerably amusing lines of dialogue in these scenes that illustrate subtly just how in-over-his-head Gaius is, the essential drive of the story is a little questionable. Sure, it seems set to give Adama the counter argument for his human/Cylon interaction policy, but do we really need to reignite the whole 'Baltar as religious intercessor' notion? It was kooky enough back when it was first introduced in the early stages of season four and just seems to smack of a distinct loss of something constructive to do with the character. I mean really, does anyone buy that he would successfully fool all of these people into thinking he is some form of Heavenly messenger? Especially after he jumped ship the moment things looked bad for everyone? Do we really think there would be one objection alone to his returning once everything has calmed down and not helping them during their hour of need? Oh sure, he seems to be slightly repentant now, feeding the needy and that, but this is largely to assuage the doubts voiced by the ONE OBJECTOR and regain his place as 'head of the tribe'. It doesn't comes across as true, selfless vindication and that's obviously the point, but the religious mumbo-jumbo that it's tied up with still rankles with me. Again, it's a distraction from the business of resolving the main plot and I'm not convinced it's the best resolutory arc for Baltar's character. But, as I said, the jury's out. We'll wait and see.



    Something of a curious beast, this one. There is much to praise, particularly the stellar performances provided by the vast majority of the cast, and there are some superbly written scenes, but the whole feels rather lacking. Coming off the heels of last week's reveal-fest, the slow-burning character examinations that typify 'Deadlock' feel more than a little disappointing and out of place. It's as if they put their foot on the accelerator and then jerked to a sudden stop for no good reason. With such a wealth of unresolved plot points left to address and an ever-dwindling amount of time to do so, you'd think this kind of navel-gazing would've been a thing of the past. A season ago, hell, twelve episodes ago, this would've been a great, reflective instalment... now it's an unfortunate distraction.moreless
Edward James Olmos

Edward James Olmos

William Adama

Mary McDonnell

Mary McDonnell

Laura Roslin

Katee Sackhoff

Katee Sackhoff

Kara "Starbuck" Thrace

Jamie Bamber

Jamie Bamber

Lee "Apollo" Adama

James Callis

James Callis

Gaius Baltar

Tricia Helfer

Tricia Helfer

Caprica Six/Head Six

Rebecca Davis (II)

Rebecca Davis (II)

Naia

Guest Star

Bear McCreary

Bear McCreary

Bar Patron (uncredited)

Guest Star

Roark Critchlow

Roark Critchlow

 

Guest Star

Kate Vernon

Kate Vernon

Ellen Tigh

Recurring Role

Donnelly Rhodes

Donnelly Rhodes

Doc Cottle

Recurring Role

Aaron Douglas

Aaron Douglas

Galen Tyrol

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • (after Ellen Tigh boards Galactica)
      Hot Dog: How many dead chicks are out there?

    • Baltar: (to Adama and Roslin) Galactica is slipping away from you, drop by drop. You are pouring Cylon blood into her veins. I see the Cylon pylons -- we all see them! We all see the Cylon workforce. Where are they going, into the far recesses of the ship? When are you inviting the Centurions over, to join in all the fun we're having over here? Of course when you do that, that very moment, this becomes a blended ship, only half-human. And right now, I am here to tell you, your people, your people are not ready for that.

    • Gaius Baltar: (referring to the young boy) And who's this?
      Naia: (to her son) Stand up. Stand up. (to Baltar) This is Gaius.
      Baltar: (thinking that the boy was named after him) Oh. Really? I'm very flattered.
      Naia: It was his father's name.

    • Ellen: (to Tigh) Please, do not tell me I was your mental porn. That's just sad!

  • NOTES (5)

    • The scene of Ellen's arrival back on the Galactica closely mirrors her original appearance on the series in the Season One episode "Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down". In both episodes, the camera looks into the open door of the Raptor from a vantage off to the left. Ellen's legs are shown with the right leg crossed over the left leg. Then Ellen exits the Raptor to the surprise of her husband Saul Tigh.

    • Tricia Helfer read the "Previously on Battlestar Galactica" line at the beginning of this episode.

    • As of the main title sequence, there are 39,556 survivors in the Colonial Fleet, the same number as at the beginning of the previous episode.

    • Edward James Olmos was portrayed in the post-episode "R&D" segment (Ronald Moore and David Eick) for the first time. "Olmos" is upset about his check and attacks Moore and Eick before obtaining the check. He closes the segment by saying "Gracias", a reference to Olmos' Mexican heritage.

    • Series composer Bear McCreary made his series onscreen debut as a patron at Joe's Bar. His appearance was signaled by the presence of the piano and by Kara expressing her surprise that there was a piano in the bar.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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