April 7, 2008
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Till his great Chief return

For reasons fathomless to me, I'm finally reading Paradise Lost. It's quite a story. Here, the fallen angels leave the Council and try to find some ways to pass the time until Satan returns from Eden.

  ... and wandering, each his several way
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice
Leads him perplexed, where he may likeliest find
Truce to his restless thoughts and entertain
The irksome hours, till his great Chief return.

How can you not like a guy who devotes several pages to describing how the fallen angels set out to amuse themselves while they wait for something — anything — to turn up?

This is the sort of question that Battlestar Galactica engages. The season opener was a slight thing, but Battlestar, uniquely, seems intent to grapple with real theological questions. Starbuck has had a Revelation: can she trust it? Can anyone else? Gaius Baltar is a bad man who is praying in a good cause; if prayers are heard, can his be answered? Can artifacts have free will? The Cylons know that they have one Creator and that the Creator loves them: are they the visible elect? Or are they (with Milton) of Satan's party, revolting against an authority they did not authorize?

Meanwhile, I do wish I could figure out what painting(s) are being quoted in this season's promotional picture (here, or in the front of the New Yorker). It's not just Da Vinci's Last Supper. Look at the figures on the right; I know I've seen them before, and Sharon's hand gesture (and Chief's) are not, I think, casual accidents.

Till his great Chief return