Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 1 - Episode 12

BSG - 1x12 - Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 1 - Originally Aired: 2005-1-17

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 5.48

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Synopsis
While flying a supply patrol, Crashdown and Sharon Valerii discover a bountiful planet that can support human life. Indeed, it might be Kobol, the legendary "home of the gods." The discovery prompts Commander Adama to send a ground team to investigate; it also gives new life to President Roslin's belief that she is a tool of destiny and that this discovery, like her rapidly spreading cancer, is part of an ancient prophecy.

However, things are not well on the Galactica. Gaius Baltar, the new vice-president, has a one-night stand with Kara Thrace and finds himself at odds with both Lee Adama and a deeply jealous Number Six.

Meanwhile, both Cylon Sharons struggle with their dual natures. On Galactica, she contemplates suicide when she realizes her programming will lead her to betray her comrades; on Caprica, she tries to convince Helo that her love for him is stronger than her loyalty to the Cylons.

After a Raptor carrying Vice-President Baltar is shot down over Kobol, Commander Adama must find a way to destroy the Cylon basestar that guards the planet before he can send a rescue team. He orders Kara to fly a dangerous mission against the basestar, using the captured Cylon Raider, but Kara makes an unauthorized Jump home to Caprica instead, abandoning Adama and the stranded Raptor crew. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- The line in the teaser where Roslin says the Chamalla has other benefits is actually a deleted scene from this episode that they for some reason decided belonged in the recap even though it hasn't happened yet.

Factoids
- The music played in the teaser is called Passacaglia and is among my favorite pieces of music in the season.
- Roslin's whiteboard reads 47897 in this episode.
- The Six in Baltar's head claims to know everything Baltar knows.
- The 13 tribes left Kobol about 2000 years ago according to Elosha.
- According to Six, deep down Galactica Boomer knows she's a Cylon but her conscious mind won't accept it. Boomer's model is weak, and always has been. But in the end she'll carry out her mission.
- This episode establishes that Cylon jump drive technology is more advanced than colonial jump drive technology.
- Socinus is part of the ground survey team which implies that he has been released from the brig. (He was imprisoned after lying to the tribunal in Litmus.)
- The Tomb of Athena is possibly in reference to the character of Athena from the original BSG whom is not present in this show. A tomb named after her might represent her absence from this show.

Remarkable Scenes
- Helo shooting Boomer.
- Adama: "You don't lose control." Apollo: "Thanks." Adama: "No. You gotta lose control. Let your instincts take over." Apollo: "I thought we were just sparring." Adama: "That's why you don't win."
- Helo unable to finish Boomer off.
- Baltar multitasking talking to Roslin and Six.
- Six making Baltar slam his head into the mirror in Colonial One's bathroom.
- Boomer and Crashdown discovering a habitable planet.
- Apollo laying into Starbuck, resulting in the two punching each other.
- Elosha and Roslin coming to the conclusion that the planet they've found is Kobol.
- Baltar to Sharon: "Life can be a curse as well as a blessing."
- Baltar leaving the pilots' rack room to the sound of Sharon attempting to commit suicide by shooting herself.
- Baltar insisting that he be with the ground survey team on Kobol. I love how his demeanor and lines shift from "what would happen if I go?" to a very matter of fact "I must go down there. I will go down there."
- Roslin proposing to Adama that they take the Cylon raider back to Caprica to retrieve the Arrow of Apollo so that it can be used to open the Tomb of Athena on Kobol, which will supposedly guide them to Earth.
- The survey raptors being ambushed by the Cylons.
- Billy: "If you do this, it could threaten everything that we've accomplished. It will probably bring down the government and you don't have a right to risk that for a..." Roslin: "Go on." Billy: "For a drug induced vision of prophecy."
- Roslin making her case to Starbuck, informing her that she's dying and that Commander Adama made up the whole Earth thing to give people hope.
- Starbuck stealing the Cylon raider and taking it back to Caprica.

My Review
Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 1 is the most impressive story shown on BSG since 33. The idea that the Colonials would one day stumble upon the planet from which their lost history and religion is derived is fascinating and its implications are well played. I especially liked the fact that there are those within the fleet, like Adama, who are completely secular and see Kobol as merely lucky find; a planet that should be permanently settled and that conversely there are those within the fleet who take the scriptures more seriously and believe that Kobol will show them the way to Earth.

Special mention goes to the teaser of this episode which was a very impressive collage depicting a boxing sparring match between Adama and Apollo, Baltar and Starbuck sleeping together whilst Starbuck fantasizes about Lee calling out his name, Helo running away from Caprica Boomer, but ultimately being forced to confront her and shoot her, and Galactica Boomer becoming suicidal all played to a beautiful string piece called Passacaglia written by the show's composer, Bear McCreary.

I've not talked about the music on this show yet, so I'll take the opportunity to do it here. The miniseries OST was composed by Richard Gibbs with some assistance by Bear McCreary. The creators of the show were very much insistent that this show be given a very militaristic feel, so the soundtrack is very drum centric. A lot of people complain that the music of the show is "all drums" but in reality it's much more than that. Yes, there are a lot of drums, but if you actually take the time to listen to the full scores of the miniseries or the television run, you'll find some very powerful and very beautiful music inspired by a multitude of genres.

Getting back to the plot, this episode is the culmination of all the major plot arcs that have flowed through the first season. Again, the teaser is kind of a montage of this idea and it works well. I especially like how Helo shoots Sharon, but can't bring himself to finish her whilst at the same time Galactica's Sharon is feeling suicidal but unable to commit suicide. Baltar in an interesting twist for his character even manipulates her and encourages her to make the suicide attempt, which ultimately fails. For as Six has said, she may be a weak Cylon model, but she'll ultimately carry out her mission. Whatever that is.

But the intrigue of the story really lies with the religious conflict. Roslin has convinced Starbuck to go against orders and steal the Cylon raider and take it back to Caprica on what Billy calls "a drug induced vision of prophecy." It's hard for the audience to really take sides here because while there are a lot of intriguing coincidences lending a certain amount of credibility to Roslin's plan, there is just a certain level of craziness to the whole thing that makes Adama's resistant stance a lot more sympathetic.

It's worth noting that Leoben and Six have accurately predicted that the Colonials would find Kobol and that it would lead to a conflict. It's not clear whether or not the "conflict at the home of the gods" was supposed to represent a human-Cylon conflict or an internal human conflict, but in the end, we have both. There are those who support Roslin's and Starbuck's actions and there are those who don't. And of course there's also the military conflict involving the Cylon Basestar in orbit of Kobol.

This episode is such a beautiful flow of ideas and emotions and conflicts. It's a pleasure to watch and acts as a wonderful setup for the season finale.

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