Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 2 - Episode 18

BSG - 2x18 - Downloaded - Originally Aired: 2006-2-24

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 6.22

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Synopsis
On Caprica, the reincarnated Number Six and Sharon Valerii are hailed as "Heroes of the Cylon" for the key roles they played in the near-destruction of the human race.

But these are tortured heroes. Six's thoughts are haunted by Baltar, just as she haunts his thoughts on the Galactica. Sharon, meanwhile, has so fervently embraced her love for Tyrol and the fake human memories the Cylons created for her undercover mission, that the Cylon leadership, D'Anna and Doral, are thinking of "boxing" her: putting her consciousness into permanent cold storage, a living death.

Elsewhere on Caprica, the human resistance, under the leadership of Kara Thrace's lover, Samuel Anders, is preparing to strike a savage blow, however futile it might ultimately be, against the Cylon occupation. As the fates of Caprica Sharon and Sam Anders converge, the future of two peoples hinges upon an arbitrary twist of fate.

On the Galactica, the captive Sharon gives premature birth to Hera, the child she conceived with Helo. As the infant fights for her life, she becomes the focus of intrigue. President Roslin and the Cylons hidden within the fleet scheme against each other for control of the newborn girl, and to determine whether she will become a symbol of hope ... or a harbinger of human extinction. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- In the opening scenes, Cally shooting Boomer is labeled as "ten weeks ago," which is wrong. It should read "ten weeks later." Update: this was fixed in the DVD release and presumably will be fixed in all subsequent television airings.
- How did Dr. Cottle come up with a baby corpse, especially one that looked convincingly like Hera?
- Apollo is in a photograph in Original Boomer's apartment. But Apollo did not serve with Boomer until the miniseries, so it is impossible for such a photograph to have been taken and placed in her apartment prior to the Cylon attack.

Factoids
- This episode was nominated for a Hugo Award, Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form.
- This episode was nominated for a VES Award, Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Broadcast Program, Commercial or Music Video.
- This episode takes place nine months after the miniseries.
- This episode establishes that Caprica Six died in Baltar's house, protecting him from the windstorm created by a nearby nuclear blast. She probably got struck in the head by debris or something, then Baltar probably fled the house.
- D'Anna claims that the Cylon attack on the colonies was successful even beyond their most optimistic projections.
- Survivors, according to the main title: 49579.
- This episode establishes that the D'Anna Cylon model is model number 3.
- This episode establishes that the Doral Cylon model is number 5.
- This episode establishes that the Boomer Cylon model is number 8.
- Anders refers to humanoid Cylons as "skin jobs" in this episode. This is a reference to the film Blade Runner.
- Boomer has named her child Hera.
- The musical theme played when Six hallucinates Baltar is actually the music that is played when Baltar hallucinates Six in reverse.

Remarkable Scenes
- Caprica Six being reborn.
- Caprica Six having an imaginary Baltar in her head.
- Original Boomer being reborn.
- The Cylon Centurions planting trees. Hilarious.
- Original Boomer freaking out to Caprica Six, angry about what she did and who she is.
- Caprica Six scratching her own face when Original Boomer broke the glass picture of her "parents" as a way to get Original Boomer to elicit sympathy among her own kind.
- Anders regarding the humanoid Cylons: "When they download, they remember everything. Right up until the end. These skin jobs are gonna remember being blown into tiny little pieces. [...] Sooner or later the message sinks in. There is no safe place, not even a cafe. So if you wanna quit living through hell and dying over and over again then get the frak off my planet."
- Caprica Six telling Original Boomer about her relationship with Baltar and Original Boomer informing her that Baltar is still alive aboard Galactica.
- Helo regarding the birth of his and Boomer's child: "Almost makes you want to believe in the Cylon god. Almost."
- Anders shooting at the Cylon Centurion that noticed his bomb shortly before the bomb exploded, taking out the centurion.
- I like how Anders thanked the Cylons for digging him out of the rubble.
- D'Anna, as she's about to kill Anders: "Humans don't respect life the way we do."
- Caprica Six: "Sharon and I. We're celebrities in a culture based on unity."
- Caprica Six killing D'Anna.
- Caprica Six and Original Boomer letting Anders go.

My Review
Continuity note: this episode takes place chronologically after the two part special Razor, Part 1 and Razor, Part 2. Razor was actually produced, shot, and aired at the beginning of season 4. However, Razor can and arguably should be watched directly after The Captain's Hand and before this episode (Downloaded) as it contains no real spoilers. If you are using my site as an episode guide and you're watching the episodes in sequence, I suggest you watch Razor just before you watch this episode.

This episode is most definitely an odd one and I have some mixed feelings about it. Ultimately, it comes off as a strong piece, telling us a lot about Cylon culture. But it also has some pretty sweeping and contradictory implications about what exactly Baltar's Six is which could possibly lead to a series of technical problems if we don't get some real answers soon.

In Home, Part 2 we learned for a fact that Baltar's Six is definitely not a chip in Baltar's head. At least not one that can be detected. But we're also given a very clear impression that she's not just a hallucination either. She's revealed things to Baltar over the course of the last two seasons that Baltar simply could not have deduced on his own. I fear the writers are letting the hallucination Six run away from them; that they're forgetting that she absolutely has to be something more and are simply writing her off as a hallucination because they don't want to go down that complicated road of explaining just what she is.

That said, I hope I'm just being paranoid. For all we know, nuclear radiation when the shockwave hit Baltar's house and killed Six forced Six's personality to bleed into Baltar's mind and Baltar's personality to bleed into Six's mind as she was transmitted away to be resurrected. Or maybe there's a chip in Baltar's head after all based on organic Cylon technology, rendering it undetectable, and Caprica Six in this episode was just plain crazy; that there is no real symmetry between the two hallucinatory characters.

The point is, it pisses me off that the writers keep making the issue of just what the Six hallucination is more and more complicated and are not giving us any answers. I feel this becoming a severe weakness for the show. Having gotten all that off my chest, let's talk about why I think this episode was otherwise fantastic.

It's very clear that there's no room in Cylon society for celebrities. D'Anna in this episode worked very hard to get a good reason to go ahead and have Caprica Six and Original Boomer boxed. But ultimately she failed, and these Cylon celebrities not only continued on, but united for a greater cause. What is their cause? What are they going to do to Cylon society? Are they going to convince the Cylons that the holocaust was wrong; that murdering humans was sin? Is there going to be some kind of Cylon civil war? The episode doesn't get into that, but it sets up some possible future Cylon dissension intrigue. Again, though, like my paranoia regarding Baltar's Six, this can only work if it is done right.

Boomer's baby is born in this episode, whom she's named Hera. Roslin had Hera's death faked, forcing Boomer and Helo to believe Hera had died, then gave up the baby to someone else. This is reminiscent of the story of Moses; indeed this sort of adoption story is pretty common throughout many works of literature and film. It's possible that Hera may parallel some of these similar characters in other works of fiction and history. Another interesting point is how Six reacted to Baltar after she believed Hera had died. She claimed that all of humanity will suffer god's vengeance for Hera's death.

Given the events of this episode, will there be a Cylon civil war? Some Cylons intent on wiping out the rest of humanity for apparently killing Hera while others are dedicated to changing their ways? I suppose we'll find out. But in the end, this episode stands very well on its own as an unusually unique and interesting piece.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Hugo on 2012-06-24 at 4:17pm:
    Decent episode - although not that much actually happened. Not so wild about how it presents Cylon culture - so they are sitting chatting in cafes?
  • From Rob on 2014-12-19 at 11:14pm:
    Kethinov! Why are you confused about who the Six is in Baltar's head? Yes, it was established in Home Part II that she is not a chip in his head, but it was also established in the final scene that she is an angel of god sent to protect Baltar. How could you have missed that?
  • From Kethinov on 2014-12-21 at 12:34pm:
    Because, as I mentioned in response to your previous comment on Home, Part 2, it was a ridiculous claim which flied in the face of the show's otherwise hyper-realistic overarching narrative aesthetic and we had no reason to believe it at face value at this stage of the show.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, which head Six was not providing. We didn't see hard evidence of supernatural bullshit until the show's final hours. Up until that moment, everything apparently supernatural still had the possibility of a rational explanation.

    Moreover, as I previously wrote here, the writing in the first half of the show makes it pretty clear that the writers had no intention of making Six a literal angel until they wrote themselves into a corner late in the series. If they had planned it this way, Six wouldn't have engaged in a whole host of nonsensical behaviors listed there that the ending now illustrates as clearly ridiculous.

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