Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 2 - Episode 09

BSG - 2x09 - Flight of the Phoenix - Originally Aired: 2005-9-16

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 5.8

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Synopsis
Commander Adama is keenly aware that morale is at a low point after what he terms "months on the run with little to show for it but casualties and deteriorating conditions."

Chief Tyrol, still haunted by his memories of the first Cylon Sharon, is in a bleak mood. He verbally spars with Capt. Lee Adama and gets into a drunken punch-up with Helo, who remains romantically committed to the current avatar of Sharon.

After sending one more dilapidated Viper to the scrap heap, Tyrol vents his frustration by attempting to build a new plane from salvaged parts. His seemingly impossible mission generates cynicism at first, then growing respect and eventually a full team effort that pulls in even the skeptical Col. Tigh.

Meanwhile, a Cylon virus penetrates the Galactica's computers. It wreaks havoc by creating dangerous power surges, an unscheduled engine ignition and a near-fatal oxygen shut-down. Once the virus is identified by Gaius Baltar as a Cylon "logic bomb," Sharon, who remains imprisoned in the Galactica's brig, is enlisted to defuse a threat that she immediately recognizes as the prelude to a Cylon assault.

Adama orders the fleet to jump to new coordinates while the Galactica stays behind to wipe the virus from its computers and contend with a massive assault by more than 200 Cylon Raiders. Though Sharon's motivations are in doubt, do the Cylons really pose a danger to her unborn child, or is she working some deep Cylon agenda? She turns the computer virus against the attacking Cylon fleet and enables the Galactica and her vastly outnumbered Viper squadrons to win the battle without taking any casualties.

Flush with the thrill of victory, the crew's spirits soar higher still when Tyrol's lab project takes flight as a powerful new model of stealth ship that they name the Blackbird. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Galactica launched over 40 vipers in this episode which is way more than they could possibly have. Even if they have that many vipers, where did they get over 40 pilots?

Factoids
- The title of this episode is a reference to the 1964 novel of the same name in which the survivors of a plane crash attempt to rebuild the plane from the wreckage.
- Survivors, according to the main title: 47853.
- This episode establishes that the Cylons can directly interface with computer systems using fiber optic cables.
- This is the first episode to not feature Six. She did have one scene that was cut, however.

Remarkable Scenes
- Starbuck decking Racetrack.
- Helo and Tyrol fighting.
- Tyrol regarding viper 289 being unsalvageable: "If it was a horse, I'd shoot it."
- Cottle informing Roslin that she has weeks to live.
- Apollo and Starbuck barely escaping the shooting range as it slowly ran out of oxygen.
- Tigh: "Solvent my ass. I know a still when I smell it." I'll bet he does! ;)
- Boomer directly interfacing with Galactica's computers.
- Galactica's vipers slaughtering the Cylon fighters.
- Starbuck to the Blackbird: "Oh don't blow up on me, you bastard."
- Starbuck flying the Blackbird.
- Tyrol revealing that the Blackbird has been dedicated to Roslin; her name is written on it.

My Review
This episode would seem to contradict the idea that the Cylons want to keep the fleet around so that Sharon's baby can survive, unless, of course, the whole crisis of the episode was orchestrated by the Cylons to get the Galactica crew to trust Sharon more. Also, was it really wise to destroy all those Cylon fighters? Why not take them, blow the brains, and salvage them? Finally, they really fudged the viper count in this episode.

Those annoyances aside, one great thing about the episode was Roslin's scenes. First, she finds out she's got weeks to live. Then she returns Adama's gift (the book Dark Day) that he gave her way back in Water. This is true to the axiom that the dying (or the suicidal) always give away their possessions before they meet their end. Also, the dedication ceremony at the end was absolutely fantastic. Finally, there's some nice continuity with Scattered in this episode regarding the Cylon virus.

The best part of the episode though is of course the construction of a new type of viper, a stealth ship, and Kara test flying it. There was a short, but very awesome scene depicting Kara bouncing the Blackbird all over the place which I loved. Watching Tyrol build the thing was also very cool; I love the way the characters are all moody in this episode and kind of come together and find common ground, building the Blackbird.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From AuH2O on 2008-05-03 at 7:00pm:
    At first when I saw it, I had the some thought: why are the Cylons trying to destroy Athena's baby.

    But there is a logical explanation. They were not trying to destroy the entire fleet. Perhaps their plan was to try to take out the vipers and "liberate" Sharon.

    It's Sharon who tells Adama this is a prelude to an an assault. She didn't specify what they were planning to do. She could perhaps didn't want to alert the commander to the importance of her baby.

    So, although not addressed in the show, there is a simple theory that can explain this issue.
  • From John on 2011-12-27 at 8:12pm:
    "was it really wise to destroy all those Cylon fighters? Why not take them, blow the brains, and salvage them?"

    I wondered the exact same thing. Given the repeated references in this episode to a lack of fighters and raw materials, what was the point of destroying ALL the raiders. I guess you could argue that it would be safer to salvage them after they were blown to scrap, but we never see that or hear it mentioned.

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