Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 4 - Episode 21

BSG - 4x21 - Daybreak, Part 1 - Originally Aired: 2009-3-13

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 4.86

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Synopsis
We're transported back to Caprica City, to get a glimpse of what the lives of fleet members were like, before the Cylon attack. Bill Adama is in his office discussing whether or not he's going to command the battlestar one last time before his retirement. We then see a newly acquainted Caprica Six and Gaius Baltar in his limousine before he gets a disturbing call about his father. A happy, healthy, Laura Roslin is in her apartment with her two little sisters, after a baby shower. And a giddy Kara Thrace is at her and Zak Adama's apartment, cooking dinner for his brother Lee, whom she is meeting for the first time.

Just as she was happily celebrating the pending birth of her sister's child, Laura gets an unexpected visit from the police, informing her that her father and two sisters were killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. Gaius Baltar arrives at his father's house to see an unnerved nurse who is quitting because Gaius' dad stabbed her with a steak knife. In a fit of rage and embarrassment Gaius insults his father, calling him an obnoxious gimp. When Caprica Six tries to reprimand Gaius he instructs her to leave, affirming that the matter is none of her business.

After learning about the death of her family, Laura leaves her apartment, in a state of shock, in her pajamas and goes to a public park. She walks into a fountain and stands under the sprinkler, letting the water wash over her as she sobs, while spectators at the park look on in wonder.

In present day, a cancer ravaged Roslin is in sickbay while Doc Cottle watches over her. Meanwhile a reluctant Lee Adama gives the orders for Galactica to be stripped for its parts. Bill Adama packs up his belongings in preparation for their transport to his new quarters aboard the Cylon baseship. In an attempt to take advantage of the ship's low morale, Paula tries to convince Gaius that the Galatica's current fall could lead to their group's political uprising. Yet when Gaius asks Lee about gaining political leverage, he is met with fierce resistance.

A bitter Galen Tyrol is visited by Helo in the brig. While Helo is optimistic about finding Hera and leading a life "happily ever after," Galen has become emotionless and states that the Eights and any of the other Cylons are nothing more than machines that cannot be trusted. Aboard the Cylon baseship, Cavil is insensitive to Hera's longing for her mother. He instructs Simon to prep Hera for the pending prodding that he will inflict upon her. He believes that she holds the key to their existence and he intends to find out what it is.

The Admiral joins Kara Thrace in the chamber where Sam Anders is being held. He asks her to plug him back in so that he can ask him a question. When she does, he mentally reverts back to his life in Caprica City where he's giving an interview in his team locker room and expresses that it isn't the game or the winning he cares about so much, but rather tapping into perfection as an athlete and perfection as a person that matter most of all to him. When his conscious shifts back to present day, he is still muttering seemingly random statements that are entangled with details about Kara Thrace and his words and memories of his life in Caprica City.

The Admiral and Kara Thrace make a call for volunteers to assist with the search mission for Hera. They mark a divisional line in the flight deck with red tape and instruct those who are willing to join this last fight to cross over it. Lee Adama is the first and others soon follow suit, including a withered Laura Roslin who has come down from sickbay to show her support.

Having received information from Sam Anders about the whereabouts of Hera, the dedicated crew of Galactica prepare for their final battle. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- Survivors, according to the main title: 39516. (Down 5.)
- This episode has no teaser, and the opening credits were cut in half for the first time since the beginning of the third season.
- This episode establishes that Cottle's first name is Sherman.

Remarkable Scenes
- Seeing the wide shot of Caprica before the fall.
- The incident with Baltar's father.
- Baltar's father: "Stupid bastard actually changed his accent, would you believe that?"
- Baltar lashing out at his father.
- Adama emptying his quarters, packing his things for transfer to the Cylon baseship.
- Caprica Six intruding into Baltar's home to tell him she's found his father a new place to live, a place that will make him happy.
- Lee's candid conversation with Baltar.
- Lee's flashback to drunkenly flushing a pigeon out of his house. "Stupid frakkin' bird."
- Adama asking for volunteers to rescue Hera.
- Racetrack's recon and the planning to attack the colony.

My Review
Continuing in the tradition of Crossroads, Part 1 and Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1, Daybreak, Part 1 is an annoyingly slow buildup to the season (and in this case series) finale. The core issue in this installment is the overly verbose, questionably relevant flashbacks which will probably make a coherent point by the end of the finale but serve as little more than mildly interesting trivia about the characters we've grown to love after all these years.

As a consequence of this, only half of the episode advances the plot and only does so at a crawling pace. We get an inkling closer to understanding Cavil's motive for kidnapping Hera in that we're told that Hera "holds the key" to the Cylons' continued existence somewhere in her genetic code, whatever that means. I'm still going with Cavil's motives not really making any sense. But hey, who cares? He's the bad guy and he's got the kid! And he's gonna do something bad to her! Who needs complex, nuanced motivations when you can have a stereotypically evil bad guy? (For anyone not paying attention, that was sarcasm.)

I was a great deal more pleased with how the fleet treated losing Hera in this episode. Adama's near indifference to the situation last episode was rectified quite well here. One nice touch is that Adama doesn't really seem to care whether or not Hera is some iconic representation of the future, but instead to him all that matters is a little girl was abducted from his ship and damn it, he's gonna get her back. Duty and honor.

The way he latches on to this is also likely in part due to his desire to see the Galactica go out "in style" for real, rather than the whimper of a way it was going out in last episode's closing and this episode's opening. I still have no idea what that line meant at the end of last episode, but it doesn't really matter now. There's that motivating Adama, and also something tells me that some part of him would rather go on a suicide mission than live on deck 74 of a Cylon baseship for the rest of his days.

Another highlight is despite how largely pointless the flashbacks seemed, Baltar's were an especially remarkably spectacular insight into his character. I think we learned more about Baltar in this one episode than we did in nearly all the others combined. I loved the actor that played his father and the creepy way Six gets to Baltar by providing for his father is just lovely.

All in all, this episode once again continues the unfortunate trend of minor plot advancement and no significant outstanding questions answered. For that matter, a new question is added to pile. How was Anders able to locate the colony? The last two thirds of the finale will have to be quite densely packed with exposition!

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