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 Post subject: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:29 pm 
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Shortly after the series finale, some Athena fans quickly tried to excuse Athena's murder of Boomer as 'tactically sound.' Athena had, in an apparent careless slip of the tongue, informed Boomer that their line of retreat was not back to the Raptors they entered with. Only after Starbuck points out that they shouldn't be trusting Boomer with information on their plan does Athena shoot Boomer. As soon as people started to make this argument to defend the necessity of Athena's actions I saw that "careless slip of the tongue" for what it was. A fig leaf. An excuse. Once Athena had revealed too much to Boomer, then it became understandable (if still not honorable) for Athena to kill her. Tactical necessity, you see. The "careless slip" was not careless at all, it was deliberate to give some flimsy moral cover for what Athena was about to do.

Before Athena fans get in an uproar let me be clear. I don't think that Athena deliberately revealed the information with malice aforethought so that she could have an excuse to murder the original Sharon. Rather, I think that the writers put that slip in Athena's dialog because they wanted Athena to off Boomer but they also wanted Athena to remain one of the "white hat" good guys. And "white hat" good guys don't shoot unarmed opponents, especially those who have just handed them everything they were fighting for on a silver platter. I guess the writers needed an excuse so that if they were later confronted with an angry Athena fan at how they turned Mrs. Agathon into a bloodthirsty killer (and in front of Hera, no less) in the finale the writer could always point out that Athena only did what was militarily necessary once Boomer knew too much. (Boomer being too much of a match for the heavily armed Colonial strike squad to dare risk trying to capture her alive).

I was so quick to notice this little "moral fig leaf" in the script because I had seen the same thing just a couple of episodes earlier. You see, they did the same thing with Boomer when she frakked Helo. The writers wanted Boomer to have sex with Helo when she's impersonating Athena, but I think they also didn't want to completely soil Boomer's soul in the eyes of the audience (I expect they are saving that for The Plan). So the writers had Boomer first try to evade Helo's advances and she seems to only make the decision to go ahead and do her "wifely duties" with him after he expresses some confusion as to why she's not all over him like stink on a deck hand and she could reasonably be afraid that failure to do so would jeopardize her impersonation of Athena (requiring her to risk killing Helo or wind up back in the brig). That little bit of writing gave us Boomer fans something to point to and say "She had no choice!" when others accused Boomer of seducing Helo in front of Athena out of pure malice.

In both Athena's killing of Boomer and the Boomer/Helo frak scene I think the writers wanted the Sharons to do terrible things primarily because they were terrible and would shock the audience but at the same time they also wanted both Sharons to remain sympathetic characters with the audience. So in both cases, they concocted an excuse as to why the characters could do what they did out of necessity instead of cruelty. In both cases if the audience wishes to see Sharon as acting out of cruel vengeance, then there is enough evidence to support that interpretation. But, if the audience wishes to see Sharon as a basically good person who is a forced by difficult circumstances to do unpleasant things... there is that bit of moral cover written into each script just to give support for that belief. Given how the series finale ended for the Agathon family I think that the writers were hoping that, at least in her case, we would seize on the excuse they provided for the dark actions they wanted the character to perform and still view Sharon sympathetically at the end.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:16 pm 
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I can't really fathom what was going on in the writer's minds.

One of the problems with the show's final year or so ties into the end. As we've seen, the Colonials basically commit an act of cultural suicide. I think the run down in Season 4 attempted to show everyone being ground down into pulp to justify that--basically, they were finished. So the mere fact of being dark became the justification for any action. But at the same time, they didn't really have the courage of that conviction. Adama remained the "white hat" guy with Cavil the cartoon villain and everyone else having to conform to those two poles. That's a big part of why the characters skewed so badly and things just seem out of joint.

Some examples: In the mutiny, Gaeta has a legitimate point. His means may be wrong, but people driven to the edge will do what they have to. It's dark and it's tragic, and it should expose flaws in Adama and Roslin as well (think Anthony Hopkins in The Bounty). But instead we load Gaeta down with rapists and murderers while Adama and Roslin kiss and he plays Die Hard. It's dark and it's not, so it's discordant. It ultimately seems cruel and dismissive of Gaeta. And that actually hurts the ending. Because if the Battlestar God is simply sacrificing Gaeta to further this diffuse, badly planned delivery of Hera's genes to earth, then why are humans supposed to blindly accept its actions as valid?

Boomer is the same thing. It's obvious from the ending that Boomer still has a conscience, that she can be reached. But we want that dark act, so we simply have no one on Galactica other than Chief make the slightest attempt to do so. Does it make sense? No. But they've quit even worrying about that, because these people are supposed to be ground into powder so thay can fulfill the arbitrary and capricious plans of an arguably cruel God.

Athena: I don't know what they thought they were doing. I'll always love the character, so I just ignore it. For other people, maybe go with the TWOP explanation for why she shot Boomer; it's as charitable as you can get. Or read the Boomer fan fictions that "fix" it. :write:


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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:23 pm 
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That was interesting, Chris.
Of course, that's still very poor writing, because I don't buy for one second that the "line of retreat" information could have been a real issue, or could have been the real reason for the summary execution. :fume:

In another thread people said that S4.5 went too dark or shocking. I think "dark" or "shocking" isn't the problem. The story itself is. You can write dark/shocking and still produce something coherent, strong, with rays of hope and beauty. (uhm, no, the grotesque ending of Daybreak doesn't qualify for me, for these two last adjectives - it's just plain ridiculous)

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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:30 pm 
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Hey! I said that it was tactically sound, but I was in no way defending the (stupid) action the writers had Athena take! (For one thing, if anyone was going to shoot Boomer out of pure expediency, it would have been Starbuck.)

I think it would have been just as efficient (and a LOT more in "character", what the writers left of it) for Helo or Athena to knock her out and leave her, giving her a chance. *shrugs*

Ain't no defense there, although I do own to being on the "Boomer was trapped into frakking Helo" train- I really think she was trying to get out of it until she couldn't without blowing her cover.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:38 pm 
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Pierre wrote:
You can write dark/shocking and still produce something coherent, strong, with rays of hope and beauty.


You mean to tell me you weren't overcome with the moment when Katee Sackoff mumbled "Uh, I've got to go now," with that slightly embarrassed look on her face, and then went poof?

You didn't find hope and beauty in Adama's deeply felt upchuck?

You weren't transported to a state of intellectual rapture by the smarmy present-day musings of Head Carpica and Head Baltar? Or the sophmoric robot montage?

Well, if not, I can only say that I commend you on your discerning palate. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:03 pm 
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Pierre wrote:
You can write dark/shocking and still produce something coherent, strong, with rays of hope and beauty



I agree. I have read some really great fanfic that managed to be both dark and hopeful at the same time. Much better than S4. (speaking of which... NT, when are you going to repost Midnight Courage?) In fact, I’m not even against stories that explore the idea of how good people can do terrible things. Some of the shocking things I've had Sharon do in my stories required warning labels! Bob just asked why my Obstinate Tin Soldier characters keep doing evil things when they feel guilty about it. I’m planning on answering him in more detail than he probably expected, but the short answer is that as a writer one of the themes I wanted to explore is why real people can be good, decent human beings and yet commit evil acts. I think that is an interesting and complicated subject ripe for storytelling. I won’t say I’m great at it, but I at least have struggled with that question for my characters enough to know that the right answers aren’t: 1. Because she’s the villainess and that’s what she’s supposed to do so I don’t have to explain how she got to that decision, or 2. Because as the writer I can give her some easy excuse for why she has to make that choice and then just not show what the repercussions of that act are for her psyche. Yet, that seems to be the easy answers Season 4 reached for.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 10:40 pm 
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As well-thought out as your post was, Chris, I simply don’t think the writers gave any thought into it. It was a cold action by the writers, but it’s confounded by the fact that nothing makes sense by the entirety of the whole 4.5 arc. Does anyone here honestly know why Boomer kidnapped Hera in the first place? The characters only act to move the story forward, not because there’s any context for it to make sense. The whole plot of Boomer kidnapping Hera makes little to no sense: magic blood, the secret of Resurrection, or going into the car pool lane? Maybe it’s because I look at the scenes from the perspective of a writer, but I’ve always blamed the shortcomings of the Athena and Boomer arcs on the writers. Boomer’s transition to an ally of Cavil has never been adequately explained, and her “dark side” exposition in Rapture completely contradicts every single scene we’ve witnessed prior, giving us some alternate reality Boomer straight out of the original Star Trek. And while fan fic writers have dealt with it admirably (and I’ve given my own shot, admittedly) it’s still the fault of the writers that there’s really no reason Boomer to go dark or to kidnap Hera in the first place.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:12 pm 
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Lobsel Vith wrote:
As well-thought out as your post was, Chris, I simply don’t think the writers gave any thought into it.


You're right. By this time, neither Athena or Boomer had an independent story that the writers cared to explore. They were there to advance the plot regardless of whether or not their actions made any sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:21 pm 
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Well, let's see...

She kidnapped Hera because...(deep breath)...she had to take her so that Galactica would be sufficiently damaged in the escape attempt that they would make Anders a hybrid and determine where to attack Cavil, thereby putting them into position so that Baltar could pretend to be redeemed with his lame speech while Tory got strangled adjacent to a goo bath right before everyone is almost killed when the dead girl launches her missiles...(another deep breath)...causing Starbuck to decide Hera is an artiste savant and input her dots into jump coordinates that take them to Earth, where Lee can kill them all but leave genome infiltration that will ultimately yield a new civilization 150,000 years in the future with a 99% chance of of developing killer robots as opposed to the previous 99.75% chance.

Did I get that right? (A rather long-winded way of noting that you may have a point, Lobsel.) [After rereading this, it pretty much says it all. Remember when BSG had well-staged set-piece battles that were tense, riveting and actually made sense.]

Chris--I guess I wasn't sure about the propriety of previous Kindreds fan fics coming over, but I see now its been done. If you'd like, I can repost "Midnight Courage." It's more of a straight Valentine to Sharon Valerii than "Sometimes a Stupid Notion...", which is trying to salvage something for the Colonials as a whole.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:25 am 
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Pierre wrote:
In another thread people said that S4.5 went too dark or shocking. I think "dark" or "shocking" isn't the problem. The story itself is. You can write dark/shocking and still produce something coherent, strong, with rays of hope and beauty. (uhm, no, the grotesque ending of Daybreak doesn't qualify for me, for these two last adjectives - it's just plain ridiculous)
Agreed 100%. When I was saying they went to dark for the sake of dark, I also said
Quote:
He could have been dark, but needn't have gone the direction he did in doing so.
by which I meant to say exactly what Pierre just said very nicely. Heck, I could have taken dark without rays of hope and beauty that was still coherent and strong.

terribleted wrote:
Lobsel Vith wrote:
As well-thought out as your post was, Chris, I simply don’t think the writers gave any thought into it.


You're right. By this time, neither Athena or Boomer had an independent story that the writers cared to explore. They were there to advance the plot regardless of whether or not their actions made any sense.

I have to agree as well. I think Chris is being charitable and those fig leafs are the things that fans of the characters grasp onto to explain their action.

Me? I don't need either fig leaf. Boomer does try to brush Helo off at first. But it is also she who ultimately grabs him, kisses him, and gives the all go signs. Unfortunately the recently released deleted scenes remove all hope that this was the normal state of things for the Agathons. Boomer may have thought it was the easiest way to avoid blowing her cover, but it wasn't the only way. She went with the easy way because it gave her even more opportunity to turn the knife she had already stabbed into Athena. That's what the director and producer in this case want us to believe. Just listen to the podcast. They wanted Boomer to do this evil act, hurting Athena more, and making Helo out for the fool - giving him a stain as well.

Just so you don't think I'm picking on Boomer, what about Athena? Athena's murder of Boomer was purely and totally a vengeance killing. Nothing more to it than that. Unlike others, I personally do not see it to be out of character. I see it as the culmination of her arc. She has killed people before that need not have been killed (e.g. the guy on Kobol, Natalie). And her growing animosity toward her own people I've talked about elsewhere. The dark and despairing place we saw her in after Someone to Watch Over Me shows how strongly and bitterly she felt what had happened to her family, what had been perpetrated by Boomer for the Cylons at the extreme expense of her family. She was angry, she was bitter, she was filled with hatred. And she killed for those reasons and those reasons alone. Had it been up to Helo, I agree, he wouldn't have killed Boomer. But Athena is not Helo. She didn't ask his permission or his opinion. She acted on her own. And her arc especially in S4 shows someone very capable - likely even - of doing what she did.

I will admit that I was shocked for the split second I thought Athena was going to let Boomer live - I couldn't believe they would let Athena let Boomer walk away. I would have preferred Athena to let her live because it would have given Athena the redemption I hoped for, the redemption Boomer got by giving Hera back even if she ended up dead. Afterall, tragic heroes always realize their mistakes too late and end up dead. Instead, Athena will always have this mark against her while Boomer ends up the redeemed-if dead-one.

Yes I realize that none of this says I wanted Boomer to live because I liked Boomer and she should have lived. That's because I didn't like Boomer at this point - I loved her up through the New Caprica arc - then I didn't. Yet, I still believe her murder was immoral and wrong, even if I didn't mourn it.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:20 am 
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That's as valid an interpretation as any. But I guess I still think identifying the culmination of any arc vis-a-vis Boomer and Athena gives the writers too much credit. I think Athena was just "the good Sharon" (they said as much in interviews), so nothing she did counted against that in their minds the same way the more dictatorial and potentially corrupting aspects of Adama were invariably jettisoned for a white hat in the end.

I think they just thought it would be dark and shocking for Boomer to do what she did and cool for the internet buzz to have Athena do what she did. I honestly don't believe they gave it any more thought than that, which is why I blow it off and still like both characters.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:50 am 
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Pierre wrote:
You can write dark/shocking and still produce something coherent, strong, with rays of hope and beauty.

... as for example the whole Pegasus arc:

* dark & shocking? check (everyone will agree I guess)
* coherent & strong? check (high quality writing, directing and editing)
* rays of hope & beauty? check (the magnificent Gaius/Gina scenes, the [all-characters] end of RS2, and of course the Adama/Sharon scenes in RS1 and RS2, each telling us a strong message)

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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 11:47 am 
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My favorite moment of beauty in the Peggy arc (besides Adama's devotion to his people) was when Helo and Sharon were reunited and Chief bowed out- so graceful, and one of the best acting moments Aaron Douglas has ever done. And hopeful.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:48 am 
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rebelliousrose wrote:
My favorite moment of beauty in the Peggy arc (besides Adama's devotion to his people) was when Helo and Sharon were reunited and Chief bowed out- so graceful, and one of the best acting moments Aaron Douglas has ever done. And hopeful.


That was an excellent moment. And if you'll recall, Chief is the one who kept his head and got Helo off to rescue Athena earlier.

Overall, I was always a bit neutral about Chief, but who thinks the show's final treatment of him was rather distasteful? No redemption per se--he's just the mad strangler who goes off to die on some frozen island by himself.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheats for Sharons to do Dark acts w/o being Dark characters
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:19 am 
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From some point in the series the writers put Sharon (Athena) premenently in the good guy pile, actually in a few ways on top of it, conversly at some point they put Boomer in the bad guy pile (again regardless of what she did) and thats how they played it. Any thoughts in regards to what Chris so eloquently put forward. It didn't matter what teh characters did or why.
Again for me I just ignore from the point Ellen came back

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