Guy gets on a train with a box, airholes in the side. The man he sits down next to asks him about it, and he admits that he’s got a mongoose in there. Dude B is like, “Not something normal, like a bunny or a cat?” No, there’s more to the story. “It’s because of my older brother. He’s a drunk, among other things, and at this point he’s just completely out of his tree. He sees serpents, everywhere. Everywhere he looks, he’s seeing these snakes and they make him terrified.” And Dude B is like, “So they’re imaginary?” Yeah. “So then why the mongoose?” And the first guy smiles and looks very meaningfully at the box, which is empty. “Imaginary mongoose.”
Spoilers for “Razor” underneath the cut.
I spent the weekend re-watching Luc Besson’s Joan of Arc movie, The Messenger, which I love in spite of its absurdity (Dustin Hoffman, really?) for the moment when, forced by circumstances to take one single step back the young peasant girl in the soldier’s armor screams in rage, primal, insensible, screams from her gut that this is not going to happen. “I am not afraid. I was born to do this.” A girl on a white horse, facing the entire English army, and she drove them away. It only looks like you’re going crazy to those who don’t understand.
So here’s my problem with this, and let’s get it out of the way early: I disliked the narrative device, I mean main character. I felt like we could have done this one straight, without the underling’s-eye-view thing shows get so fond of. I’ll grant it was a way to show the aftermath, but I felt a little cheated. I wanted more of Cain and less of this girl whose name I had a hard time remembering, more of going all the way crazy, more of the razor and Gina and what happened to get her to the place where she was ready to lose it, get that dark.
The difference between Galactica and Pegasus, of course, was one of definition. Adama and Roslin, with their push and pull in the wake of the attacks, defined “our own” as all of humanity, and drew the line around the entire fleet. Cain drew it smaller, around her ship, her crew, her mission. Around the few people her desperate fear would let her admit to her circle, and everybody else was suspicious, everybody else was a Cylon, everybody else was on the outside looking in. It’s not so outlandish, it’s how most of us live. It’s only in extremity that you see how damaging that is; it’s only when your world has been blown all to hell by the Cylons or your own personal version of 9/11 or some other catastrophic shit that you realize how alone you are, in your tiny, barbed wire circle of fear, meting out death and judgement.
The interesting argument of Cain is this: What did you do because you had to do it, and what did you do because you wanted to, because it felt good, because it was easier, because it made sense at the time, because because because, and just told yourself afterward that it was “had to”? At what point does extremity stop being an explanation and start being an excuse? At what point do you begin using your own suffering as a substitute for something else, for character, or courage, or just being better than that? At what point, to steal from Jacob some more, again, as always, do you stop trying to keep your pain at bay and start fucking it, start falling in love with being the person nobody else can possibly understand, and then it stops being about necessity, and becomes something else, something sick and cold.
Somewhere along the line, probably when she shot her XO, probably when she discovered Gina wasn’t Gina after all, maybe years before, maybe she tortured small animals as a fourth grader, but somewhere along the line Cain stopped asking if this was “had to” had to, or if she just had to pick the most hardcore thing out of the box of possible things to do because that’s who she was and fuck you, anyway. It’s scary to watch somebody that involved in her own story, that invested in the suspension of the rules, that convinced she’s right. Screaming in rage at being forced to take one step back. I was born to do this. Because, what if you weren’t?
Quick hits: Damn, Lee was annoying at that point in the show, wasn’t he? I did love his line about tell me what you think “and don’t hold back just because I have a pulse.” Michelle Forbes is smoking, smoking, smoking fucking hot. With the hair and the crazy eyes and the Voice. I don’t think the bit about Starbuck was anything more than just enough misdirection; nothing will talk me into thinking she’s really evil, nothing. Not Enough Laura, but really, never enough Laura, and shut up, Adama, on your son’s bridge letting him make command decisions but only when you feel like it. I liked the idea of scrolling through radio channels because that’s what I do on long car rides at night, try to find other people who are still awake and listen to them talk.
And pretty please for Christmas will somebody out there make me a vid of Viper jock antics over that “Soulja Boy” song? Because that would rock it.