Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 1 - Episode 09

BSG - 1x09 - Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down - Originally Aired: 2004-12-13

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5.22

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Synopsis
President Roslin's fears that Commander Adama is a Cylon are stoked when she learns he's making secret wireless calls to other ships. Then, to make things worse, a single Cylon raider appears near the Galactica and begins acting strangely after being damaged in battle.

When Adama returns to the ship with Tigh's wife, Ellen, an earthy temptress and irrepressible flirt who claims to have been in a coma since their civilization was destroyed, Roslin's suspicions increase. She orders Baltar to screen both Ellen and Adama with his newly completed Cylon-detector.

Meanwhile, Col. Tigh and the rest of the crew watch warily and gather data as the wounded Cylon raider jumps in and out of space.

On Caprica, the Cylon overseers fear that the Cylon Sharon is developing a strange feeling toward Helo: love. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- So if it takes 11 hours to determine whether or not somebody is a Cylon, did Sharon really stay in Baltar's lab for 11 hours in the prior episode? Or did she leave and come back? The episode seemed to indicate that it only took a matter of minutes for Baltar to determine her to be a Cylon.
- The woman depicting Tigh's wife in the photograph Tigh burns in the miniseries was actually originally executive producer David Eick's wife. They reshot the photo for this episode with the actress playing Ellen Tigh instead.

Factoids
- This episode is also known as Secrets and Lies.
- Edward James Olmos (Commander Adama) directed this episode.
- Baltar says there 47905 people in the fleet.
- The music playing in the background as Baltar laments over having to test so many people is called Battlestar Operatica and the lyrics are song in Italian. Translated into English, the song goes, "Woe upon your Cylon heart; There's a toaster in your head; And it wears high heels; Number Six calls to you; The Cylon Detector beckons; Your girlfriend is a toaster; Woe upon your Cylon heart; Alas, disgrace! Alas, sadness and misery!; The toaster has a pretty dress; Red like its glowing spine; Number Six whispers; By your command."
- According to Baltar, it takes 11 hours to test each blood sample for Cylon indicators.
- According to Adama, Ellen Tigh slept with "more than half the fleet" while Saul Tigh was in space.
- This episode was originally inspired by the film Crimson Tide.
- According to RDM, much of the dinner party scene was improvised.

Remarkable Scenes
- Roslin: "If you're a Cylon, I'd like to know." Adama: "If I'm a Cylon you're really screwed."
- Baltar lamenting over his endless Cylon detection work.
- Starbuck stumbling on Baltar (masturbating?).
- Tigh pouring the last of his booze into the trash: "Well at least I did that much."
- The Cylon raider showing up, Apollo damaging it, and it "flopping around" outside, as Tigh put it.
- Ellen Tigh's appearance.
- The dinner party.
- Ellen hitting on Apollo.
- Ellen: "Boo!"
- Roslin: "You actually think that woman is a Cylon?" Apollo: "Well, if she's not, then we're all in a lot of trouble."
- The argument in Baltar's lab is just precious. The best line is Baltar's: "Ladies and gentlemen, please, please! We're in a laboratory, there are hazardous chemical compounds everywhere. That, that's a thermonuclear bomb for frak's sake."
- Adama and Tigh reconciling their differences.

My Review
The funniest episode of Galactica's first season, perhaps the funniest episode ever done on Galactica. I was pleased that this episode opened with Roslin in full suspicion mode about whether or not Adama is a Cylon, an after effect from what Leoben told her in the previous episode, and that they provided added incentive for her to suspect this with Adama's odd behavior, and that Adama's odd behavior ended up having an ultimate purpose. All of these things were weaved together skillfully into a clever story with a hilarious climax.

Comedy is not something that is done, or even should be done on Galactica very often. BSG TOS proved to us that it is a mistake, but this episode was very, very carefully crafted to make it actually work. The reason it works so well is because of who Ellen Tigh actually is. She's a manipulative, calculating person out to serve herself in any way she can. She's not afraid of making an ass of herself, and she's possibly just as much an alcoholic as Tigh. It's very likely she is the reason that Tigh is an alcoholic, either by example, by her infidelity, or both.

The crutch of the comedy was how well Ellen Tigh contrasts with the other characters. Everybody else, even Baltar to a certain extent, is more serious and professional in their behavior than Ellen. So the episode climaxes in scenes like the dinner party and Baltar's lab where the characters are just in agony over the embarrassing situation. But at the end of the day, this episode speaks volumes about Saul Tigh, for it is really his episode. Not Ellen's.

Consider this, many people complain about the subplot involving the Cylon raider as contributing nothing to the plot, or that it's a plot device to make Adama's actions seem more suspicious. And it is. But the ultimate purpose for this subplot becomes evident at the end. Tigh orders based on a hunch the alert fighters to be launched which ultimately saves the ship. This is exactly why Adama likes Tigh so much and keeps him around. Tigh is a damn good officer. Maybe he's a deeply flawed man, maybe he goes around yelling at people, maybe everybody hates him. But Adama sees true value in him.

And after all, isn't that realistic? How many functional alcoholics have you known in your life? The disease can mess people up pretty hard, but in the end if the sufferer is of strong enough will, they manage to persevere in some way. The term "functional alcoholic" was coined in that way for a very specific reason. Alcoholism is not always a debilitating disease. Many people live with it and live normal lives. Many people live well despite the disease, and some people are even strengthened in some ways because of the disease.

Through and through, a fantastic episode exploring Tigh's character and the nature of alcoholism itself.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From AuH2O on 2008-04-25 at 12:26am:
    Why does it suddenly take 11 hours to test someone's blood when it took a few minutes when Boomer was "beta tested" a few episodes back?

    That's a clear technical Problem.

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