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April 3, 2009 04:03 PM

Photo by Sarah Cass

Is it ballsy or lazy to list your influences as "Life & Death" on MySpace? In the case of Gliss, a band I've somehow never heard of before, I'd guess it's a little of both — though I don't mean laziness in a bad way, necessarily. The trio have a sound that meanders between fuzzy, shoegazer-esque Britpop and something that sounds a little like, well, the Strokes on downers, too tired, too worn out from an all-nighter to pick up the tempo.

Pitchfork says Gliss' second album, Devotion Implosion (which comes out on Tuesday), "is firmly rooted in the Siamese Dream era, when Corgan's band struck a fine balance between shoegazer insularity and American arena rock bombast," but what I've heard on MySpace seems ... actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I totally get that. "Sleep" sounds like the Beatles crossbred with Gliss' sometime tourmates Black Rebel Motorcycle Club; "29 Acts of Love" suddenly gets almost chipper, though singer Martin Klingman manages to sound enjoyably listness and half-drunk even while wrapped in poppier tones and a restless bassline. I can't decide which song makes me think most of My Bloody Valentine, but the more I listen to this band, the more I like them. There's something dreamy and surly, enticing and familiar, languid and alluring about their hazy, swirling retro-pop.

".....when GLISS play live, they all play each other’s instruments....GLISS will turn you on with their fuzzed-out guitars and krautrock rhythms......GLISS will love you back..." — or at least that's what they say. Gliss plays with Takeover U.K. and The Dimes at 9:30 pm Saturday, April 4, at Sam Bond's Garage. 21+ short. $5.

* "First Impressions" is my just-chosen cutesy blog name for when I want to blog about a band the first time I listen to them — which is to say, it's exactly what it sounds like.

April 2, 2009 04:10 PM

Last month, I went to Portland to see And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, a band I love so much that their shows start to blur together in my memory (no, I'm not exactly sure how that works, either). The ones that best stand out tend to be the ones with the most destruction (New York, early 2000s, band members taunting audience members, beer cups flying); most contact with band members (Dante's, a few years back, trying to keep singer/guitarist Conrad Keely from inadvertently falling on me); or the greatest degree of deafness afterwards (Melbourne, 2002). This particular show was definitely good, but not memorable in any of these categories. It left me wanting to see them again the next night — not least because of the second opening band, Funeral Party. We only caught a few FP songs; we wanted more. I ventured into the depths of the iTunes store today to snag their three-song EP, and I still want more.

Do you want to know more? Then keep reading.

The members of Funeral Party appear to be very young and possibly more energetic than any humans have any right to be. According to their bio, they "formed late one night in a park." If you listen to "Carwars," above, you may find yourself reminded somewhat of the Rapture, though with more cowbell. Live, I kept thinking of At the Drive-In with a serious love for the indie rock disco beat. I'm also reminded of a summer spent obsessed with Q + Not U, and just the tiniest bit of a really aggro Franz Ferdinand. Or a punkier Hot Hot Heat, back in the Make Up the Breakdown era. "Where Did It Go Wrong" on the other hand, begins with singer Chad Elliot drawing out his words Interpolishly.

Of course, the band's listed influences all pre-date every point of reference I've mentioned here, but that's OK; I'm thinking of all these relatively current bands because for me, Funeral Party pushes all the same buttons these bands do. (And frankly, I don't spend a ton of time listening to Brian Eno. Sorry.) The band's bio cites a "post-punk dance-craze revival" in the East L.A. neighborhoods the band hails from, and I must agree: post-punk guitars, yelping vocals and a relentless rhythmic sense that makes me want to dance. In my desk chair, even.

It's time to make this band the next big thing, folks. Get to it. And don't forget to listen to the frenzied cheer of "NYC Moves to the Sound of LA" too. That'll put a smile on your face. There are handclaps and a singalong, for chrissakes. I just wish I was listening to it live, instead of in a small room with an even smaller window. Drat.

April 1, 2009 04:04 PM

Apparently, the easiest way to guarantee you can't think of a damn thing to blog about is to tell yourself you're going to participate in Blog Every Day April, which is exactly what it sounds like. It's Wednesday, see, which means this week's paper is done, which means my brain is fried. So it must be time for that old favorite, Internet Miscellany! Get your clickin' fingers ready!

• Apparently, the thing to joke about for this April Fool's Day (Fools' Day? Are we all fools together, or singularly?) is Twitter. At least two papers pretended they were going to Twitter-only. LiveJournal pretended it would automatically cut off each post at 140 characters. The jokes aren't the most original, but put together, they make for an interesting illustration of Twitter's current place in the cultural hivemind. (On a different topic, NPR's amused report about The Economist opening Econoland made me laugh, but I hadn't had coffee yet, so everything was funny.)

My personal favorite annual April Fool's event is the addition of something goofy to the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab lineup. Black Phoenix, for the uninitiated, is the creator of many, many, many addictive scents (I refuse to call them perfumes, for they do not contain the ingredients that make me cough and wrinkle my nose, like most commercial perfumes do). (Also, stop me if I've told you this before.) BPAL scents are particularly intriguing to me because many of them are based on stories, on Shakespeare or myths or legends — or on books by Neil Gaiman (the Gaiman scents are extra super awesome because they benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund). Or they're based on places, both real and imagined. Or paintings. Or, in the case of today's humorous holiday, velvet paintings. Last year's April Fool's scents were tiki-themed; the year before, they were based on various dogs playing poker paintings. Don't you want to smell like a Velvet Cthulu? Or a Velvet Unicorn? And if not, why not?

• This guy built Minas Tirith out of matchsticks. I can't even focus on a single game of Scrabble, some days. His attention span is clearly worthy of study.

• Writing about Monsters vs. Aliens this week reminded me of this smart blog post about Pixar's gender problem. The post is from last June, when WALL-E was released, but it's still getting new comments. Like the post's author, I love a good Pixar flick, but sometimes their gender weirdness is truly strange. I will never understand, for example, why every rat in Ratatouille was male. Yes, I'm complaining about the absence of female rats. It's a wacky world we live in.

• "Obama Depressed, Distant Since 'Battlestar Galactica' Series Finale." In classic Onion fashion, this piece manages to be a pretty sharp critique of said finale while also being worthy of a hearty LOL. Honest to the gods of Kobol, I'm still stewing over the finale — and amassing a hearty pile of links I want to talk about when I finally post about it. Just one more viewing of "Daybreak, Part 1" and I'll probably be able to form a post more eloquent than, "OK, so I cried. But I also ranted."

• Over at Pitchfork, the unstoppable, exceptional Amanda Fucking Palmer talks about why she wants her record label to drop her. It's a fascinating and specific look at an industry in at least at much turmoil as, oh, say, the newspaper industry? I think I've heard something about that...

March 31, 2009 09:44 AM

Though his MySpace page lists his home as "nowhere," when last we wrote about Richard Swift he was, as writer Jeremy Ohmes put it, a mustachioed Cottage Grover. Now, he's the latest artist to premiere his new album on MySpace — The Atlantic Ocean (which guest-stars the likes of Ryan Adams) is streaming on his page a week ahead of its April 7 release. (You can also download "Lady Luck" at his record label's site.)

Swift's tour dates currently only have him stopping in Portland, but perhaps he'll drop in at the ol' Axe & Fiddle before long.

March 26, 2009 04:13 PM

Update, August 2009: Sadly, Bar 201 is now for sale.

The corner of Charnelton and West Broadway just got an upgrade. Bar 201, which fills the space most recently left empty by the closing of the Moxie, is quite a charmer: a clean, urban space with quirky touches like feathery lamps and a wall tiled with green and gray squares that look, somewhat playfully, like they belong on a climbing wall. As bar manager Richard Geil said, it's reminiscent of a Pearl District spot.

Keep reading for more details and pictures.

We arrived early, while it was still light out, but this is a space that really comes together once it gets dark. Small hanging lamps spotlight the bar, and the feathery light fixtures that hang throughout (with one angular oddball in a corner) soften the feel of the dark, simple flooring and furniture. Behind the bar, glass shelves hold the liquor; the ubiquitous mirrors behind the bottles make the room a little bigger, though it’s plenty comfortable to begin with — especially once you wander into the east side of the bar, where a low countertop against the wall of windows offers peoplewatching on Charnelton Street.

Two glass tubs sit midway through the liquor lineup: one holds the pineapple-habanero infusion that was popular at Bel Ami — where Geil and bartender Aidan Keuter previously worked — the other a strawberry infusion that Geil says they haven’t decided what to do yet. Geil’s also got a bottle of grapefruit bitters brewing, and the dark and stormy is made with house-made ginger beer. More house-made ingredients slip into other drinks, including the cranberry gastrique in the flor de baya.

My companion chose the #201, made with gin, Clear Creek pear brandy and lime, while I went for the jade gimlet, with vanilla, vodka and lemon (or was it lime?). We tried the house-made tonic (in the glass above), which currently has a fruity kick thanks to the addition of kumquats, and eventually opted for a small array of favorite cocktails, including a lovely French 75, a gorgeous Manhattan and a bright negroni. We didn’t get food, but my nose twitched when the table next to us ordered from the small menu of burgers, sandwiches and salads — it smelled delicious. The bar’s happy hour, which is more of a happy evening, is worth noting; it runs from 4 pm to 7 pm daily.

Our evening started fairly quietly — and nicely so, with one bartender’s iPod playing Yo La Tengo in the background — but picked up as it grew dark out. A few other Eugene bartenders came through, along with Oakshire's Jeff Althouse and BoozeWeek's Elliot Martinez, notepad in hand. Two tables, the bartenders noted, were filled with people who’d just passed by and opted to come in. And with good reason: Bar 201 is doing pretty much everything right (though a few more bottled beer options wouldn't hurt). It's a superbly put together, appealing space; the drinks taste great; the bartenders are friendly, talented and excited about what they’re doing; and the bar's character is something a little different for Eugene. The emphasis is on cocktails, but it’s not a restaurant bar; it’s located downtown, at the edge of the Barmuda Triangle, but it’s mellow and intimate and a little bit spare (the closest comparions that come to mind in terms of the space are Uva Wine Bar, with its slightly cozy-industrial feel, and tiny but superb bar at Marché). Bar 201 doesn’t so much replace another stop in your libation rotation as give you a welcome new option — one I think I'll be taking fairly regularly.

... and while I'm speaking of new options, Albee’s N.Y. Gyros, on 11th between Lincoln and Lawrence, is a welcome addition to the list of near-to-downtown lunch options. I could do without the non-recyclable styrofoam take-out containers, but these suckers are so big they don’t fit tidily into a piece of foil. Five-dollar gyros in no time at all? Yes, please. (Dear vegetarians: falafel and spanakopita are also on the menu. I plan to try them all, and soon.)

March 26, 2009 05:01 PM

The Indigo District is (almost) dead; long live the District!

After one last dance party on April 11 (10:30 pm; black clothing preferred), the Indigo as we know it will close its doors for good — for a few weeks. On April 24, the remodeled District will arrive, in all its daytime-coffeeshop-having, weekend-dance-club-retaining glory. As the press release explains,

The District will cater to college students, locals enjoying Downtown Eugene and the office crowd. It will be a place to study or work, grab a cup of coffee, enjoy a meal, see a great live show, or have a few drinks. Customers will also be able to enjoy The District’s free WiFi along with the relaxed atmosphere.

The District's coffeehouse side will be a nonprofit, with proceeds from coffee sales going to help dog owners pay for lifesaving surgery for their pups. And hey, they'll have both vegan and traditional Philly cheesesteaks. I think I see a lunch date in my future.

March 25, 2009 10:15 AM

Interim Police Auditor Dawn Reynolds’ attorney issued a statement denying an allegation that Reynolds improperly disclosed confidential information.

Reynolds’ attorney Margaret Wilson said the interim auditor’s “conduct was professional and entirely consistent with her public duties.”

Wilson compared the complaint to a previous unfounded complaint against Beamud. “These controversies are spawned by those opposed to civilian oversight and those who do not understand that transparency cannot be achieved if absolute and unreasoned secrecy is required.”

“The essence of this complaint goes to the heart of the public policy behind transparency and government,” Wilson wrote. “Now the community must ask itself, does the oversight system represent and serve the entire community or is it a branch of the Eugene Police Department?”

Munir Katul, a physician who resigned three months ago after serving on the Civilian Review Board with Reynolds, also defended the interim police auditor. Katul said in an interview that the council should not have put the auditor on administrative leave before hearing from Reynolds, who is recovering this week from eye surgery. “It’s not like a cop shooting and killing somebody,” Katul said of the council action. “I think this is ridiculous. This is implying far greater guilt for the auditor.”

Here’s the full statement from interim Police Auditor Dawn Reynolds’ attorney:

Reynolds Press Release 032409

Publish at Scribd or explore others: Business elizabeth southworth margaret wilson

March 25, 2009 03:10 PM

After decades of complaints about spiraling legal costs and potential conflicts of interest, Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz has decided to hire an in-house attorney rather than having all the city’s legal work done by a private law firm.

Ruiz announced in a press release today that Eugene will have at least one in house lawyer starting July 1 and could expand to three attorneys working as city employees. City managers have given the private law firm of Harrang Long Gary Rudnick, P.C. exclusive contracts for almost all the city’s legal work for the past three decades.

“Ruiz made the determination that having in-house legal staff would be beneficial to the City primarily for operational reasons,” the press release states without explanation. “The change is also expected to help accomplish budget efficiencies,” says the press release, which does not mention conflicts of interest.

The city spends more than $3 million a year on legal bills, according to its budget document. Harrang Long has worked for the city while also working for tobacco companies and local big businesses. City Councilors have expressed concerns that the city attorney serves the unelected city manager’s interests rather than the elected city council or city as a whole.

Ruiz announced that he has selected Glenn Klein, who currently does the same job for Harrang Long, as the new city employee city attorney for his “essential institutional knowledge.”

At the same time, Ruiz announced that he had extended Harrang Long’s exclusive contract for all the city legal work not done in house for up to four more years.

March 25, 2009 03:28 PM

Let's take a look at the image above, shall we?

What you see there is one burned CD, a single word written on it in fine-point Sharpie.

This is what came in a plain brown envelope earlier this week.

Just this.

No bio. No track list. Not even a flimsy little slip of a cover for the poor naked CD.

Here's the thing: We get a lot of mail. While it'd be nice to be able to thoroughly research every piece of mail that arrives, there is this thing called time — limited amounts of it. Things that take extra time are the first things to get shoved aside until a later that often takes its own sweet time getting here.

I'm not saying you need to do a lot of work to get our attention, mind you. I'm saying that a tiny bit of information goes a long way. For example, had this plain silver CD come in a paper sleeve with a sticker with the name of the band and the album, the band's website and any relevant tour dates, it would have been a whole different item. Not an example of what not to do.

While I'm talking about the difference between useful and frustrating items, let me offer up a quick reminder about calendar and music deadlines:

Calendar submissions are due by noon on the Thursday prior to the issue in which your listing should appear. Calendar submissions should be emailed to cal at eugeneweekly dot com; the receipt of these messages cannot be confirmed due to the sheer volume of email in the calendar editor's box. If you send interesting, high-resolution photos along with your listings, they are more likely to get in the paper. Tiny, poorly Photoshopped images of you on a mountain or four dudes leaning against a wall are regarded with heavy sighs, and your SonicBids link isn't helpful if the photos there are the size of postage stamps.

The deadline for consideration for a music story is the Thursday two weeks prior to the issue in which a story would appear. This does not mean two weeks before the show, but two weeks before the relevant issue. Please be sure to include (in your email to music at eugeneweekly dot com) all the pertinent information about your show: who, where, when, price, etc. Local CD releases are a priority, but nothing is guaranteed; the space we have available for music previews is limited, unfortunately. I wish it were otherwise. (Another aspect of the limited space is that we don't run CD reviews that are not associated with an upcoming show.)

When you're sending stuff to the calendar or music editor — or anyone at EW, really — please be sure to include the basic information in the body of the email; a too-brief message with an attachment is often greeted with mild expletives.

Any questions? I would very much like to answer them.

(The amusing postscript to this story is that, against my better judgement — who's to say it wasn't going to contain some weird virus that, oh, eats all my email? — I popped the mysterious Europeans CD into the computer. It wasn't too bad.)

March 24, 2009 11:39 AM

The allegations that resulted in the Eugene City Council putting interim Police Auditor Dawn Reynolds on leave are “disturbing and disruptive” and lack merit, Eugene’s previous auditor Cris Beamud said in a written statement.

“I have had an opportunity to speak with Dawn Reynolds, and I do not believe that the allegations against her are meritorious,” wrote Beamud, who left Eugene last summer to head the police oversight system in Atlanta.

Interim deputy auditor Elizabeth Southworth accused Reynolds of disclosing confidential information and the city council met in a session closed to the public on Saturday and put Reynolds on administrative leave while investigating the complaint.

“It doesn’t sit well that the auditor would be exposed to such scrutiny for so little,” said Beamud in an interview.

“The information that she [Reynolds] disclosed to the lawyer representing a complainant was not privileged or private or even investigatory in nature,” Beamud wrote in her statement. “You cannot take otherwise public information and transform it into privileged information by putting it in a file. That is exactly what some members of the police department would like to do.”

Beamud continued, “No human being can withstand the twisted scrutiny that the police would like to impose on the auditor. This is a very difficult position, and I do not believe that any person can do this type of work without the support of the city council. The city council needs to examine the nature of the allegation, including the Auditor’s perspective before doing anything that undermines her authority and ability to do her work.”

Munir Katul a physician who resigned three months ago after serving on the Civilian Review Board said he agreed with Beamud. He said the council should not have put the auditor on administrative leave before hearing from Reynolds, who he said is recovering from surgery. “It’s not like a cop shooting and killing somebody,” Katul said of the leave. “I think this is ridiculous. This is implying far greater guilt for the auditor.”

March 24, 2009 04:18 PM

Sometimes, you just need a dose of cute animals and insanely catchy (if intensely weird) little songs:

With thanks to Cute Overload for that late-afternoon picker-upper.

(The Battlestar Galactica finale post? Still coming. For reals.)

March 20, 2009 01:24 PM

The first time through, I hated "Deadlock" — especially coming on the heels of the dense, if awkward, "No Exit," which offered a ton of information in an awkward plot device.

Now, I don't hate "Deadlock" — except for one particular moment — but I think it's the season's weak link.

Here, let me tell you why...

Things that don't make sense: Caprica walking around Dogsville alone. Starbuck out flying patrols after sitting at Sam's bedside for who knows how long, seeming not the least bit shaken or distracted. And, most of all, the thing about Caprica's pregnancy proving Saul loves her. But I'll get to that.

There's actually something elegant about Starbuck greeting the raptor from Cavill's baseship and being the one to bring in Ellen and Boomer. The scene when the raptor lands is the highlight of the episode, from the Chief smoldering as he stares intently at the Eight, saying "Nice to see you" to her before telling Roslin and Adama "This is Boomer."

And Hot Dog, asking, "How many dead chicks are out there?" — voicing something a skeptical viewer might ask. Though I immediately want to ask why it's always dead chicks: As plenty of us have noticed before, the show does have a habit of killing off far more women than men, in terms of recognizable characters.

It's telling, though I'm not sure what it tells, that Ellen's demeanor with Adama is instantly different that it's been with Cavill. It's sort of sly, a little bossy, not that patient parent with an unruly child she was on the baseship. And she shifts from this weird, sultry Ellen behavior to the straightforwardness with which she asks Adama and Roslin to imagine that instead of 50,000 survivors, there are only five. It's another level to the everything happening before, and everything happening again — demonstrating that it's not always the same losers, the same deaths, the exact same battle.

Caprica starts to have trouble with the baby the instant Saul and Ellen start having sex. How could you really program a Cylon to depend on love to carry a child? All Ellen hears, when the Six and Eight and Tory start talking about reasons to go back to the baseship and jump away, is the news that Caprica is pregnant, and that news is what this entire episode pivots on — somewhat annoyingly.

(For one last time: I'm still having impossible problems with the idea that the Chief - who's otherwise putting so much effort into saving Galactica - would instantly vote to go. I just don't buy it. When has he ever demonstrated that he'd rather be with Cylons than with humanity? Is it related to Boomer's appearance?)

The Gaius plot, with Paula taking over in his absence, is problematic, but the demonstration that humanity is still self-serving, still only looking out for itself (and Gaius looking out for himself, with the pretty mother), is an interesting counterpoint, I suppose, to the Cylons doing the same thing, trying to take care of themselves - even as Cylon tech is fixing the ship. What does humanity currently have to offer the Cylons? Gaius isn't thinking about that, as we see later; everything he does is to get his people bigger guns, even as he explains to Adama that "this," whatever it is, is the last "human" solution he's going to get. I'm still wary of Baltar's self-serving nature, and wary of where this situation – what he describes as not a mutiny, but a rebellion — is going to take this part of humanity. And, of course, what the Six in his head — the one exec producer Ron D. Moore has said is from a higher power — has to do with it all. Why's she wearing white this time?

It's a nice bit of foreshadowing when Starbuck asks the barkeep when he got a piano, and the bartender just looks at her. And Slick in the background, his cheerful music at odds with the bitterness coming off both Starbuck and the Chief.

But everything is about love, and Caprica's unborn baby. It proves Saul loves her, somehow, in some weird Cylon logic that links reproduction to the nebulous, undefinable, intangible idea of love. But it's also about brotherly love, about Ellen proving to Saul, to herself and to Caprica that Saul loves Adama, the ship and the uniform more than any of them, including the baby. She says she just wanted to hurt Saul by pointing this out, but it appears to have immediate consequences for the fetus — and Ellen, with her certainty that the fetus proved loved, had to know that. Is her fatal flaw, her most human quality, always going to be a thoughtless selfishness that hurts those around her more than she can fix? Is that what it was on New Caprica, too?

As the Cylons vote to leave, to strand humanity — with Anders and Saul the dissenting votes (and, in my mind, the Chief a third; show, I cannot forgive you for this) — the Galactica becomes more and more blended. I'm not sure whether the point here is that humanity needs the Cylons more than the Cylons need humanity, or simply that even the blending isn't enough to save everyone, since the ship obviously has a limited lifespan (as I type this, Adama is yelling in previews about Galactica's last mission). If the Cylon goo saves the ship, Adama says, she'll be Galactica on the outside, but won't know what she is anymore. Is the ship mirroring Starbuck?

The best part of this episode could very well be the simple grace of the perfectly human display that is Cylon part of the memory wall. "It's already happened, hasn't it," Adama says. And yes. It has to. Now it's just left to see who fights it, and who adapts.

Ending on a random note, I'm still thinking about how it's Saul - formerly the strongest Cylon-hater, now the most human Cylon - who points out that purity on either side doesn't work. And it's Ellen who claims that the Cylons didn't invent their compassionate god. Both of these things are clearly going to play out in the finale - I hope.

On to "Someone to Watch Over Me."

March 20, 2009 03:57 PM

Previously on Battlestar Galactica: "Someone to Watch Over Me".

What follows, after the break down there, are a few thoughts on "Islanded in a Sea of Stars," the penultimate episode, if you count both parts of "Daybreak" as the finale — which, for the purpose of live(ish)blogging, I intend to. Comments on those will go up tomorrow, or possibly tonight, once it's all over.

This has been fun. Slightly frantic, but fun. When it's all over, I intend to get a little more reflective, a little more analytic, and a little less recappy than today, which has been "Watch and post! Watch and post!" just about as fast as I can. Reaction — now! Go! Go! Go! But even in that semi-frantic timeline, it's been fascinating seeing how this season fits together all at once – so I can't wait to see how the whole series fits together when it ends in a few hours.

Thoughts on "Islanded" are a little briefer than previous posts.

This episode begins with one of those moments that doesn't exactly change the show as we know it, but does introduce something we've never heard of, or had reason to believe exists, before: the colony (see also: the resurrection hub). "I guess you could call it home," Ellen says of the place where Cavill has hidden out, and the place where whatever remains of resurrection technology is stashed. Adama's sick and tired of destiny — even from Kara, who explains about the song that her father taught her, that switched on the final five, that led them to Earth — but even he can't argue with the simple fact that they're still alive, and that everyone agrees that Hera's fate is important.

But his mind is only on his ship, which the new Quorum is already trying to claim, piece by piece. Other things happen in this episode — like Baltar trying to claim that Kara is an angel, a scene which leads to a lovely moment between Kara and Lee where he tells her he doesn't care what she thinks she is; like Boomer finding, to her surprise, that she's connection with Hera (and not just because of Cylon projection) on their way to the colony — but what it's all about is everyone preparing for the end. For them, it's not the end of the show; it's the end of Galactica, their home, refuge and protector. It's home, as Roslin says later when she tells Adama that she's not sure she's ever felt as home as she has on the ship — even though now, if he doesn't let the ship go, they might both die on it. But who will Admiral Adama be if he's not the captain of Galactica?

• Gaius talks about angels, a voiceover on the wireless, while we're looking at Kara. I keep wondering if she was somehow one of the people who appeared to warn the five of the impending attack on Earth.

• Gaius and Caprica, having what I imagine is one last moment to show how far they've come — or not come — since their first moments together.

• A dying Eight muttering "Too much confusion," to Tigh as she fades.

• Ellen telling Saul that while the child he almost had died, he already had children. Millions of them. And once again highlighting that the central friendship in this show is Tigh and Adama, the human and the Cylon, one of the two pairs around whom the entire show turns.

• Starbuck in a toilet stall, goading Gaius, who goads her back until they're in a strange position where she almost has to ask him something, but being Starbuck, phrases it as a challenge instead.

• Starbuck, period. The show's playing with us, backlighting her as she says, "There's one thing I know for sure. I am not an angel." Her scenes in this episode are mostly fairly quiet, but when she goes in to sit with Sam, determined again, on a quest that may have no ending, acknowledging that it didn't matter after all that he was a Cylon, it's only one of the moments here in which she starts accepting things as they are. Slick told her that sometimes it's OK to be lost, and she's taken that to heart.

• Gaius, still untrustworthy, still using someone else's moment of vulnerability to his own ends. But I'm not sure what his point is here: to tell his flock not to fear death?

• Kara, putting her own picture on the memorial wall, like she's letting go of herself.

• And at the end, the admiral and his executive officer, letting go of something that makes them who they are. But it's not over yet. There's one last mission.

I seriously can't wait.

March 20, 2009 12:39 PM

And we continue (from the mutiny-centric "The Oath" and "Blood on the Scales") with the info-heavy "No Exit," which found me mostly just typing, somewhat frantically, in an attempt to keep up with everything Sam Anders says. It's important, it's relevant, "It's the miracle, right here," as he says to Saul Tigh.

So let's see what the Cylon says...

"No Exit" changes the opening sequence, giving more history — a nice warning for how much history we're about to get dumped on us in rapid succession.

• Ellen waking up is a fantastic place to start, but what I love about this scene is the way the tone is set for her to be something so much more than we've seen her be before — through her politeness to the Centurion. Beautiful.

• Oh, Sam Anders. Sam Anders and the Bullet of Exposition, and his wife Kara Thrace and Her Special Destiny. I can hardly believe how much info gets piled on in this episode, and while it's not exactly graceful, it's still fairly satisfying.

• The power play with Ellen and Cavill instantly makes both of their characters are far more interesting: his petulance, resentment, endless anger at the imperfections she gave him, and her welcoming of uncertainty, of change, of nuance (how do you define machine? It's one of the first things she suggests. What does it mean?). And there's a lot to ponder in the suggestion, later confirmed by Sam, that Cavill always knew who the final five were. When Ellen, her memories blocked, was sleeping with him on New Caprica, trying to keep Saul alive, Cavill knew. The entire time. It makes that entire sequence so much darker, and shows that the reason he boxed D'Anna wasn't because she learned forbidden knowledge, but because she might tell the Five who they were, and they might find him out, I think.

• "I need a Chief, and all I have is a Galen," is such a lovely line, and an acceptance of how important Tyrol is no matter what his title.

• Ellen says something about Centurion values like belief in a Cylon god. Still fascinated by this. And the way Cavill says he's deleted a subroutine about sleeping; how, where? How does it work?

• Cavill's endless bitterness about his resemblance to humanity is so telling, so huge, for the whole story. It's not just about hating humanity for building and using the Centurions; it's about actually hating the flaws of humanity, the imperfections. He wants to make Cylons better, and by better meaning more like machines. Which is what Boomer says, that Cavill is teaching her to be a better machine.

• I cannot type fast enough to keep up with Sam's infodump. But the first key thing he says is that the five reinvented resurrection tech, organic memory transfer, that it came from Kobol with the 13th tribe. But they aren't the 13th tribe? Who IS the 13th tribe? The original Cylons? Previous Cylons, since it keeps happening again?

• "These old planets, that's not who we are anymore. We're a fleet now, and our daily lives are defined by the ship we're from." Lee's a smartypants. But so is Roslin, when she points out, "You're so hellbent on doing the right thing that you sometimes don't do the smart thing."

• The Galactica needing, absolutely requiring, Cylon help — it's a fantastic illustration (a word I keep using) of the reality of the universe in which these people live. Joining forces isn't optional anymore.

• "We needed to find the other tribes and warn them," Anders says. They knew the tribes would create artificial life and they wanted to warn them to keep the Centurions close, not war with them - is the implication that the nuclear holocaust on Earth was a war between these skinjobs and their Centurions?

• When they got to the colonies, the survivors of Earth made a deal with the Centurions that if they stopped the war with humanity, they'd help them develop humanoid bodies - hence, the eight models. And Kara jumps right on that number. Eight. Which is also interesting in that it implies the Eight was the last skinjob series created - the impulsive, emotional one.

• Interesting that the temple they found comes back up again. The 13th tribe left Kobol, stopped at that temple, and it showed them the way to Earth. Thus, their ancestors had already taken that path? Ellen tells Cavill that the five didn't plant anything there, no signs, no symbols: "We backtracked the path of our ancestors, found their temple. The one true god must have orchestrated these events." So she actually believes in this god that I thought she said was a Centurion value. I'm still a little confused by this. And Cavill argues that the five created their children in this flawed, human-like way because "they thought that God wanted it that way." Hmm.

• "We didn't limit you," Ellen says. "We gave you something wonderful. Free will. The ability to think creatively, to reach out to others with compassion." And the ability to love. Boomer asks, love who? Humans? Who would she want to love? This becomes way more interesting in light of Ellen's obsession with Caprica's pregnancy proving Tigh loves her.

"But the humans on Kobol made us," Tory says. Let me see if I can get this straight:

1. Humanity, on Kobol, makes Cylons.
2. Thirteen tribes leave Kobol for the colonies and Earth.
3. The tribe that leaves Kobol for Earth is made up of Cylons.
4. On Earth, the Cylons began to reproduce, so stopped using resurrection tech.
5. But then the final five reinvented resurrection tech - why? And how old are the final five? Did they already resurrect? When were they born/created?
6. Then there was a nuclear holocaust and they wanted to warn the other colonies, knowing they would try to create artificial life and that that life would rise up and rebel.
7. Thus, the nuclear holocaust on Earth was caused by the Centurions, which the skinjobs had as servants, destroying them?

• Ellen says, and seriously seems to believe, it would take all five of them to rebuild resurrection. Cavill says she's no better than the humans that enslaved them. But when did the humans enslave the skinjobs? Or is that leftover from Centurion brains? And how can Cavill complain so much about this when he dumbed down the raiders and the Centurions? He's the one whose arrogance leads to things like Centurions destroying their creators - assuming that's what happened on Earth.

• Cavill was first and helped them build the others.

• The Centurions had a single loving God; Ellen said it changed everything. If Cylons learned love and mercy, the cycle would change. Cavill turned on the five of them, trapped them, suffocated them, killed them, downloaded and blocked their memories, implanted them with false ones and sent to the colonies after boxing them for a while. Back on Earth, Sam says, they saw different warning signs — a woman, a man — that no one else could see. I still didn't hear him use the word "angels," which everyone else has quoted. Maybe it was in one of those moments when someone else is talking over him.

• Sam says, "Seven was the Daniel. Daniel died. He was Seven. I'm sure." At first I thought Kara's fixation on the name meant it rang a bell for her, but later, she says, "I thought maybe I was the Seven. I need to be something," and it's almost heartbreaking: Certainty, for her, that she's nothing anyone knows. (I keep wondering, What did Leoben think he knew, when he locked her up in a house with him as her fake partner, Kara and a Cylon? I don't think the show knew who the Cylons were yet, which makes Leoben's actions even stranger, more fascinating - and so sadly forgotten.)

• Sam insists the Cylons stay with the fleet. "It's all starting." On the baseship, Cavill tells Ellen, "I gave you all grandstand seats to a holocaust." And Ellen argues about everything Cavill's done — taking Galen's confession, torturing Saul — all being so that they'd come back and tell him he was right, give him approval: "You are driven by the most petty of human emotions: Jealousy, and rage."

The Daniel conversation between Ellen and Cavill, with Boomer in the room:
"I know what you did to Daniel."
"That Seven didn't thrive. Sad. It's too bad we're not made out of something more sturdy."
"Daniel was an artist. So sensitive to the world. I was very close to him. But John decided I was playing favorites. Maybe I was. Someone contaminated the amniotic fluid in which we were maturing all the Daniel copies, and corrupted the genetic formula."

• Is it telling that she says all the Daniel copies? Can we take that to mean there was an original Daniel?

• Cavill says that if he's flawed it's his maker's fault, not his. And Ellen wants him to accept himself as he is, despite his mistakes. There's a weird forgiveness thing going on here, like Baltar's God from whom he wants forgiveness, or to forgive. And later, when Boomer takes Ellen to the fleet, she claims she's forgiving her. Knowing, now, that it's all a plot to get Hera, makes this more interesting: Cavill clearly believed Ellen when she said she couldn't recreate resurrection alone, so he turns to the reproduction option, wanting Hera. Or else it's a trap to bring the fleet, and with them the final five, to the mentioned-for-the-first-time Colony (rather like the Hub, that), where he can lure them all intro recreating resurrection. However, given that the Galactica is getting the shit kicked out of her in the previews for the finale, I don't think any fear for the five's lives is stopping Cavill from firing on the ship.

• "We should've brought a tumbril. ... Nevermind." What's a tumbril?

On to "Deadlock," which isn't a favorite of mine.