Battlestar Galactica
The Woman King

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: D | 4 USERS: C+
The Helo Suit

But Jacob, you're saying: why create bitching? I mean, it's just a TV show. Surely not every episode can be a home run, right? And my response would be: Why the fuck not? When did we get to the point where excellence gets graded on a curve? Why give yourself, the show, anything that pass? I am so violently opposed to this concept of "everybody screws up now and then," it's not even funny. What a nasty, masturbatory, self-aggrandizing, lazy, stupid sentiment. I'd rather not have the conversation at all, if that's the only option, because at that point you're defending the indefensible: I like the show enough to lie and say this wasn't that bad. Who does that help? How does that induce transformation? How can you rise, when you give yourself the option of taking a nap? You fuck up, you learn, you try harder, you get better, you get stronger. You don't lay down and go to sleep and close your eyes and shut down the conversation: you evolve. This episode couldn't be worse, but it could be a great fucking deal better: Why isn't it?

Here's a reason: Helo tosses and turns, in bed, unable to sleep, full of strange sensations. The main one is that his skin is being hollowed out from the inside by a mysterious party -- let's just call him Michael Angeli -- for the purposes of putting on his gigantic awesome body like a skin suit, and walking around inside a world not unlike the world of Battlestar we've come to know. This Helo Suit looks like Helo, wants to hug you like Helo, is silently grim and put upon like Helo, and takes off its clothes a good deal more than Helo normally does, which is nice of the Helo Suit; but the most interesting thing about the Helo Suit is its curious power of turning everybody around it into a total asshole, acting entirely out of character and speaking in stilted language, in order to bring the Helo Suit closer and closer to sainthood. That's a weird power for a skin suit to have, don't you think? I guess it all depends on who's wearing it. I guess that's what we've gotta figure out. Now, I don't know anything about Michael Angeli, if by "know" you mean "base my perceptions and opinions on verifiable fact and personal experience." But if you think for one hot second that you can't learn a lot about a person from the stories they tell, you need to go back to People School.

We've talked about him before: he wrote "Six Degrees Of Separation" and "A Measure Of Salvation". The first one's important because of the weird S&M shit with Shelly Godfrey, and the second one because of how the Helo Suit made its first appearance in it. Same basic premise: a primary-colors ethical dilemma in which only the Helo Suit makes any sense and everybody else is a bloodthirsty werewolf version of their usual self, and the ethical dilemma is solved by a primary-colors ethically dubious action by the Helo Suit, and then Daddy Adama pats Helo on the head. I admit I wasn't this offended by "Salvation," mostly because I agreed with the slant of the story itself, because I am a biased toasterfracking freak. He ghostwrote Chyna's biography. The lady wrestler. Lady. Wrestler. The title of this episode is "The Woman King." The title of his next episode is "The Son Also Rises," which is stupid in its own right, but in context of this paragraph is really sad and a little creepy. The stories we tell are pieces of our hearts you can look at: put on the Helo Suit and walk around in it, feel what it's like to be unjustly blocked at every turn, a "lone voice" in the wilderness, the only person that can see the truth, the only person who's good inside in a world gone bad, whose Korean laundry-folding wife sits at home waiting for him with a baby in her arms, and whose selfishness is just one more thing the Helo Suit has to deal with, the women constantly pushing and pulling and occasionally spanking him but lacking basic humanity, the women who disappear when you're not around, the women who when they do appear are so hopelessly unevolved they're climbing down your throat, in your day-to-day life of being perfect, in a secret way that nobody really understands.

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Battlestar Galactica




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