wannabetvwriter

I be a good righter.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Downloaded"

Instead of murdering eleven pages of my most precious darlings, here is installment two of the long-winded unnamed series about, uh, episodes that changed my writing life.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA "Downloaded"
Written by David Weddle and Bradley Thompson

I was very late to the BSG fandomery. Hungover in Ireland (a national pastime, I believe), I had little left to watch. But we had downloaded the entire series. It'd been designated as "To Be Watched Some Day." And that day had come. And we devoured it. I think it was currently airing season three. There were many great episodes. But, I was completely in love with it. Not nearly as much as my husband was, but close.

But, night after night, when surfing our four channels (we couldn't hook up Sky TV or whatever it was called -- or so we thought. We found out right before we moved that we could have gotten it... ain't that always the way), it always became a choice of live Snooker, Cash in the Attic or BSG. BSG quickly won out.

Now here's the thing. If you don't watch BSG, I can't really explain Seasons One and Two to you well enough to convey how much of an impact this episode had on me. With MIRACLES it was easy. It was a standalone episode that didn't need too much set up. Let's just put it this way, we've spent seasons one and two hating, I MEAN HATING Cylons. Cylons are machines. And they blew the planets on which all humans were living to high fucking hell. The only people who remain are the thousands who were aboard ships in outer space.

Not only do these humans HATE the Cylons. They fear the hell out of them. And what's worse? The Cylon's look like you and me. They look human. The bleed human. They aren't Terminators. They're way more complex than that. They are monotheists. They appear to have feelings. You get the idea.

So, there's this weasly little genius guy who's hotter than hell. He's a human. His name is Gaius Baltar. And he's just a bit crazy. For the entirety of Seasons One and Two, he's been having long talks with his girlfriend. Who's dead. She died when the Cylons obliterated the fuck out of his planet. Except, it turns out, she was a Cylon. If you haven't seen BSG, this is a really piss-poor retelling of it. And please, if I've turned you off of ever seeing it, PLEASE give it a chance. Because it's awesome.

Anyhoo. The hubby and I were getting near the end of the second season, and I was really liking the show. But then, I saw Downloaded and became a die-hard fan that will defend BSG until the Cylons blow us up.

It's told pretty much entirely from the point of view of the Cylons. On one of the planets, Caprica, where they'd killed almost all of the humans. And it turns out that 6, Gaius' girlfriend, is there. She's been "Downloaded" into a new body -- the exact same actress, mind you; she looks the same, talks the same, etc. I don't remember if this was the first time we found out that Cylons didn't die.

In any event, all of the things that 6 felt for Gaius, all of 6's memories are downloaded into this new 6. Now called Caprica 6. And, like Gaius up on Galactica who sees and speaks to her, she sees and speaks to Gaius. But they're not linked. It seems to be an imaginary thing. Maybe. I'm not sure.

But these things. These Cylons. We hate them. We revile them. They've tried to kill off the human race!

But spend an hour with them. Spend an hour with Caprica 6. Feel what she's going through. What she's remembering. See what she has to do to survive. See how she stands out among the rest of them.

Seeing this episode took my breath away. Took away my will to write. At least for that moment. Because I knew, then and there, that there was no way I was ever going to top that episode. On any show. No matter how hard I tried.

I literally (figuratively; for all you HIMYM fans out there) had to sit myself down and be okay with not being able to write as well as that. I'm still not over it, I don't think. I try. But there's always that voice inside my head (perhaps it's Gaius, perhaps it's Caprica 6) who reminds me of this episode. It makes me push myself to be better. I hope I never lose that.

ANYWAY

That night, as I watched this episode, with the ensuing depression and humility and awe, I realized that there ARE two sides to every story. That the villain IS the hero of his own story. And that I couldn't -- SHOULDN'T -- take that for granted.

Lesson learned.

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