Resurrection Ship, Part 2

You should check out the latest Bloggers Hotstove over at Greg Staples’ STI Media website. It was great to have Bob “Let it Bleed” Tarantino back in the slot, although that’s not to denigrate the fine work Jason Cherniak did while Bob was away.

I think the four-person setup is a perfect mix between mixing it up, and staying comprehensible, and I think it’s a good thing to mix up the regulars as well; it keeps things fresh. And maybe we should have kept the record button on while we talked about the latest Battlestar Galactica episode, Resurrection Ship, Part 2. Greg Staples, Greg Bester and I all had strong opinions on it.

Was the killing off of Admiral Cain by Cylon number 6 a cop-out? Greg Staples jokingly called Adama and Cain’s failure to go through with their planned assassination of each other an example of “liberal wussiness” (guys, he wasn’t serious), but I think it was an important step, dramatically. As desperate as things are, there are just some places human beings shouldn’t go, and ultimately Adama realized that his men couldn’t turn on the others like dogs. Even Admiral Cain realized this, although a trifle too late to help the civilians she left behind. The palpable relief on the part of Starbuck and the Pegasus XO made for a wonderfully tense scene.

Starbuck’s eulogy was heartfelt, but it’s clear that she didn’t know about Cain’s decision to leave her civilian fleet behind. Had she known, she could find herself in Captain Apollo’s head space.

I am tempted to agree that having the Cylon number six kill Cain was a cop-out, but only in the sense that it felt like they had this guest star (take a bow, Michelle Forbes) who was at the end of her contract, with no way of incorporating her into the season’s narrative, who had to be ousted from the writers’ point of view as quickly as possible. The fact that Adama and Cain didn’t kill each other is the heart beating at the centre of a very powerful trilogy.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mary McDonnell’s stellar acting in the final scene of the episode, where she promotes Adama to admiral. She didn’t have a big role in these three episodes, but she stole the show, here, as she shows us just how close to death President Roslin is. You just know that she isn’t long for this world, and there is a sense that the loss to the fleet could be considerable.

Of course, if we did talk about Battlestar Galactica on the Hotstove, Bob would have to sit in silence. The poor man hasn’t seen an episode, even though he knows of the show’s buzz. Tell you what, Bob: one of these days, Greg, Greg and I are going to barge into your home with some beer and popcorn and Battlestar Galactica DVDs. At the very least, watch the 2003 pilot miniseries. You’ll be hooked.

I wanted to comment on the three provincial by-elections this past Thursday. Conservative leader John Tory portrays them as a big loss for the Liberals. Newly elected NDP MPP Peter Tabuns calls it a referendum victory for his powerplant proposal.

But while it’s true the Liberals fought these by-elections surprisingly hard, the fact is, the party didn’t hold these ridings in the first place. Two ridings were Conservative and elected Conservatives. The remaining riding was an NDP stronghold and, of course, went NDP. Now, tell me: how many by-elections has a governing party stolen from the opposition in the past fifty years, provincial or federal? I’d be willing to be that the number is under a dozen. It’s far more likely that the governing party loses seats, since byelections are opportunities for voters to safely express their displeasure at the government.

So, you can’t really say that these byelections should be something for the Liberals to be concerned about. John Tory’s Conservatives won two races where their opponents were severely handicapped. Peter Tabuns can’t even liken his by-election victory as a referendum result. One: his election didn’t have the question “which powerplant proposal should we follow in the Toronto Port Lands: the Liberal one or the NDP one” on the ballot. And, even if it did: the question of what sort of powerplant to build in Toronto’s Port Lands rests with the whole city, if not the entire province. At most, he’s taken the pulse (sort of) of the voters of Toronto-Danforth. Nothing more.

On the other hand, despite knowing the uphill battle they were facing, the Liberals still mustered strong candidates to hoist the flag, turning three byelections where they were seriously handicapped into real races. The percentage of Liberal support increased in each riding from the 2003 election. Say what you will about the benign mediocrity of the McGuinty’s government: here they showed guts. And that’s something that may pay off in 2007.

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