How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Cally Henderson Tyrol
Because it was asked of me, and I couldn’t just write like ONE SENTENCE or ONE NOVEL.
I love Cally and don’t care who frakking knows. :p Frankly I think it’s just my tendency to latch onto underdogs, so congratulations to BSG fandom for hating her so excessively that you made me a million times more understanding and protective of her. But it wasn’t always this way…
My feelings varied a lot over the course of the show. I liked her at first (bit. a. rapist’s. ear. off.), but then went through an overly long period of hating her for shooting Boomer, which made me particularly bitter at the time because I was already becoming a massive Cylon fan and thought she was let off the hook too easily. Plus some nonsense about her needing to be rescued one time too many.
Eventually the resentment I had over that was probably inflamed — frankly I think SO MUCH of fandom’s hatred was — by a certain recapper at TWOP who never shut up about how she was the Worst, and at some point she just became this weird acceptable target in fandom for being ~whiny~ and ~annoying~, for either being too fierce or too weak, for deserving to be a victim, for being a ~nagging wife~ about, like, workers’ rights. And secondary to all that, for being a strawman “racist” against the Cylons, even though that was completely understandable in her position. The fact is that I still had secret moments of liking her even though she wasn’t one of my favorites — I felt for her in Lay Down Your Burdens, I wanted to high-five her when she stood up to the Pegasus guys, she still cursed adorably and loved her adorable pudgy baby — and it just took one friend who was an unabashed Cally fan to make me start reconsidering fandom’s attitude toward her.
At a certain point it became clear to me that (a) girl was speeding toward a really tragic ending, and (b) a lot of characters on BSG had done worse things than she did, so there was nothing really tangible I was still mad at her for. I made a Cally-centric vid working out a lot of my feelings about her in S4 after “The Ties That Bind”, and in doing so became a LOT more sympathetic to her point of view and what an utterly human character she was. From then on I had a VERY short fuse for other fans hating on Cally and I’m sad I was ever part of that, even passively.
Cally is an unbelievably tragic character. She’s one of the youngest non-child characters in the fleet at the start of the series, someone who joined the military for money and never planned to spend the rest of her life at war. She’s easily stressed and terrified and all the more brave for channeling that into survival and, sometimes, hostility. She loves her crewmates like a family, she makes a family she loves with one of them, because they’re all that’s left against forces who want to destroy them. And she does not trust the Cylons, because - as a whole, as a massive Other that has never proven any different to her - they took everything from her and repeatedly crept back in to take more.
And can we talk about that strawman anger, because lol the last time I heard about how rude it was that she hated the Cylons it was from a *Lee* fan, i.e. the guy who actively tried to genocide them and blamed *Tigh* for the Gaeta/Zarek uprising. Here’s the thing: I feel terrible for Boomer on New Caprica, and I think it’s incredibly sad when Cally lashes out at her. My sympathy was with her first. And yet, it’s pretty frakked-up to complain that Cally should’ve been *nicer* to her. Like, IN HER PRISON CELL, ON HER PLANET THAT’S BEING OCCUPIED BY FORCE BY THE ROBOTS WHO NUKED HER PREVIOUS PLANET, you’re gonna tell me Cally was classless and rude to a person who’s partially responsible for the Cylons’ well-intentioned (except for all the oppression and torture) new plan, fandom? Really? I may be regularly annoyed at people in the audience not loving my darling Cylons enough, but I try to keep some perspective that the human characters *in* the show are not *watching* the show. Their non-love is legitimate. And more than that, Cally’s served an essential purpose in her story.
We later find out that she’s in a severe depression by the end of her life, just to push her that much more into a breakdown when she learns the person she most latched onto and loved and saw as her protector and protected is a Cylon himself, that he may have manipulated and used her, and she is so lost and sick and scared of the lie her entire life has been, and it’s so intensely conveyed that I totally buy her just shutting down and nearly ending her life and her own child’s (which btw is so believable to me, that she’d absolutely try to take her baby with her rather than leave him there, that it hurts).
That’s where I thought her story might end, another sacrifice of the people who wouldn’t be able to deal with the human/Cylon future. But while I have mixed feelings about how it actually did end — because I also love Tory and hate how she got hijacked into this plot and died there too — I also think it’s a further twist of awfulness how much Cally really wanted to be talked down, was actually willing to let Tory’s reassurances sink in. I feel people *miss* this with the whole Cally/Tory situation, especially when they spout crap about Cally never evolving or changing. After her entire arc of hating and distrusting the Cylons, whether rational or irrational, her last act alive was trusting one of them and it instantly backfired and made all her fears true. Like, oh my god. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SHOW. *cries*
So anyway, I love Cally a lot now, though I’m not unsatisfied with her ending (since it’s partly why I feel so much for her). The one thing I’m very unhappy about is how they retconned Nicky and the disrespect the writers showed for her *after* her death, which almost seemed like they were pandering to the haters. :-/ (Fuckin’ cabbage, don’t get me started.)
Tl;dr again: Cally is awesome and breaks my heart and I love her face and whatever, fandom.
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- mosymoseys said: ***CALLY WANTED TO BE A DENTIST AND SHE SPENT THE REST OF HER LIFE AS A MECHANIC.*** Her story makes me sadder than anyone’s on the show bar Boomer.
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- sherrilina said: I have pretty neutral feelings about Cally—I love her sometimes, and get irritated by her at others, but I felt for her so much in the end. I loved her recognizing the class BS in “Dirty Hands” (& reading GB’s book lol)
- inactivegrokeseverywhere said: Plus Cally has PTSD which def. hits home for me. (and cally/everyone-but-chief 5eva!!!)
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- thegovernmenthasmyurl said: Thank you for this! You are flawless, this is flawless. Fandom can go suck a fuck. :’) <3 (may I invade your ask with more Cally talk?)
- incomprehensiblelentils said: I came into BSG completely uninfluenced by anybody’s opinions and I love Cally. So whatever, fandom.
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- reginamillssituation said: While I don’t love Cally, I will never understand why people just hate her for no good reason.
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- llsmutant said: This makes me want to write more Cally fic now. ::hugs it tight::
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