Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 3 - Episode 04

BSG - 3x04 - Exodus, Part 2 - Originally Aired: 2006-10-20

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.56

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Synopsis
Standing watch over the civilian fleet, Lee Adama confides to his wife that his father and the Galactica cannot hope to survive their rescue mission to New Caprica. Dualla comforts him with the knowledge that the civilian fleet will live on to preserve the memory of such great heroes.

On New Caprica, the insurgents count down the final minutes until the uprising begins. Ellen Tigh and her husband share a tender moment before he poisons her. The insurgents can't allow her to live after the betrayals she has committed. She dies in his arms, and he weeps, heartbroken, over her body.

At the sound of the first explosions, the Cylon leaders rush to the windows of Colonial One and look out on a city that is bursting into flame. Outside, human civilians race for their designated evacuation points as Anders, Tyrol and Tigh lead the insurgents into battle. Anders assaults the detention center while Tyrol and Tigh fight toward the shipyard. For her part, Laura Roslin guides a small group to reclaim her old home, Colonial One.

Amid the confusion, the Galactica Jumps into low atmosphere and launches Vipers to cover the insurgents on the ground. When the Galactica returns to space, however, four powerful Cylon base ships quickly surround it. Utterly outmatched, Adama and his crew prepare to go down with their ship. Then Lee and the Pegasus arrive, weapons blazing. That surprise buys the Galactica's crew just enough time to repair their faster-than-light drive and escape. But the Pegasus, overwhelmed by the base ships, is doomed. Lee puts the Pegasus on a ramming trajectory with a base ship and gives his crew the order to abandon ship.

On the planet, liberated prisoners join the evacuation as Anders storms through the detention center. He finds Starbuck lying unconscious from an assault by Leoben. Anders carries her to safety, but she awakens and insists on returning to her prison for baby Kacey. There, she finds Leoben and Kacey waiting for her. Leoben will give up the child only if Starbuck meets one unnerving condition: she must tell Leoben that she loves him.

The Cylons know that they've lost control of the colony. They evacuate, but leave D'Anna behind to detonate a nuclear bomb in their wake. Thus, despite the selfless courage of the insurgents and the crews of Galactica and the Pegasus, the lives of all humans on the planet might unexpectedly depend upon the only man who can stop D'Anna: Gaius Baltar. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- How did the oracle in Exodus, Part 1 know D'Anna was having dreams about the oracle, that Hera was still alive, that D'Anna would find her, that she would know true love for the first time in doing so, that the she would lose everything she's accomplished on New Caprica?

Factoids
- This episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series.
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series.
- The destruction of the Pegasus in this episode was motivated primarily by budgetary reasons. The sets aboard ship were too expensive to maintain because they were needed to build sets for future episodes.
- Prior to this episode's shooting, some people at the Universal lot from the visual effects department of BSG hung a giant banner outside the building facing RDM's office directly which read "Save the Pegasus!" Nobody on the lot understood what it meant, except for RDM, at whom it was directed as an inside joke.
- Destroyed Cylon capital ships, running total: 5 confirmed, 2 probable. (+2 confirmed, +1 probable)

Remarkable Scenes
- Lee having trouble with his orders. Lee: "He's taking on too much for one half strength battlestar to handle. That's not opinion, that's military fact. He's not coming back from this. None of them are." Dee: "All we can do is make plans for the future. We have to survive. We have to find Earth. If we don't, there'll be no one to remember a man named William Adama or a battlestar named Galactica."
- Tigh killing Ellen.
- D'Anna after listening to Baltar lecture the Cylons on the failure of the occupation: "What would you have us do, Gaius?" Baltar: "Leave. Pack up your centurions, and go. Please. Go." D'Anna: "And then what? What would you do if we really just left you here? You'd live out your lives in peace and never trouble yourselves with thoughts of us again? Or would you raise your children with stories of the Cylon, the mechanical slaves who once did your bidding, only to turn against you? Killers who committed genocide against your race, the occupiers of this city until we just ran away? Would you tell them to tell the story to their children, and to their childrens' children, and nurse a dream of vengeance down through the years so that one day they could just go out into the stars and hunt the Cylon once more?" Baltar: Blood for blood. Has to stop one day."
- Explosions going off all over the city.
- Anders leading his resistance fighters to liberate the detention center.
- Galactica launching its decoy.
- The Cylons on Colonial One scrambling to find out what's going on.
- The decoy squadron performing its mission.
- Zarek, regarding Roslin coming with him and his ship to escape: "You're coming, right?" Roslin, motioning toward Colonial One: "My ship's up there." Zarek: "You sure have a sense of the dramatic."
- Galactica jumping into the atmosphere in plain view of the resistance fighters of New Caprica and "falling like a rock."
- Galactica launching its vipers intra-atmosphere and jumping away.
- Hot Dog, just before being launched intra-atmosphere: "Well, this ought to be different."
- Vipers dogfighting with Cylon raiders above New Caprica, assisting the resistance.
- The resistance force charging the airstrip after receiving assistance from the vipers.
- Galactica attempting to hold off four Cylon Basestars as civilian ships flee New Caprica.
- Adama, as he realizes the end is near: "Then that's it." He looks around at his crew and says, "It's been an honor."
- The camera panning away facing Galactica giving the impression that Galactica is about to be destroyed when in reality the camera is panning toward the approaching Pegasus.
- The Pegasus pummeling the basestars.
- Adama regarding the Pegasus' arrival: "Damn you Lee." He turns to his crew and orders: "Keep working on those FTLs, get'em online! Cylons'll redeploy as soon as they recover!" Then says under his breath: "Thank you Lee."
- Kara going back for Kasey.
- D'Anna, while discussing the escape plans with the other Cylons looks to Baltar and says: "And you. I don't think you'll want to be here after we've gone. There's a place for you too." Baltar: "For me?" D'Anna: "Well, you were right and we were wrong. There should be some reward for that."
- Civilian ships attempting to free New Caprica amidst Cylon raiders and Colonial vipers dogfighting.
- The Galactica fleeing with her vipers leaving a devastated Pegasus behind.
- Caprica Six: "Gaius, we should go." Baltar: "I just wanna sit here and die." Gaeta confronts Baltar: "You're gonna get your wish Gaius. I believed in you. I believed in the dream of New Caprica." Caprica Six: "Gaeta, we all did." Gaeta: "No! No. Not him. He believed in the dream of Gaius Baltar. The good life. Booze, pills, hot and cold, running in turns. He led us to the apocalypse. And I... and I turned out to be..." Baltar: "An idealist. There's no sin in that."
- Lee ordering the evacuation of the Pegasus.
- Lee just before stepping off his CIC: "Thank you."
- 4 raptors fleeing a devastated Pegasus.
- The Pegasus ramming a basestar.
- Debris from the Pegasus destroying another basestar.
- Leoben confronting Starbuck. I love how she capitulates to Leoben's wishes for Kasey's sake.
- Starbuck murdering Leoben one last time right in front of Kasey.
- Baltar finding a baby among the bodies and the Six in his head returning to tell him that it's Hera, "the first of God's new generation." Then D'Anna finding them and realizing the same thing; asking to hold her.
- Roslin boarding Colonial One.
- The real mother of Kasey noticing her.
- Adama: "Guess you didn't understand my orders." Lee: "Never could read your handwriting." Tigh: "Permission to come aboard, sir?" Adama: "Permission granted." They salute. Adama: "You did it. You brought'em home, Saul." Tigh: "Not all of'em." Adama: "I'm sorry."
- The crowd cheering Adama's name, holding him high.
- Adama shaving the mustache.
- Adama walking the corridors of a repopulated Battlestar Galactica

My Review
This is a brilliant episode full of darkness so dark and sacrifices so great it's almost hard to watch at times. Gone is a great character and gone is a great battlestar. Exodus, Part 2 is the darkest, most disturbing, most gut wrenching, fastest paced, and most exciting episode of Battlestar Galactica ever done. My distaste for the weaknesses behind the premise of the New Caprica storyline is not so much that I fail to see the greatness behind its conclusion. In Exodus, Part 2 there are many scenes to love. Never before has a single episode been so densely packed with awesome glory.

The major events in this episode are filled with the stuff writers and directors alike mean when they speak of desiring a larger than life impact. Tigh killing Ellen is extremely powerful stuff. The man defended her to everyone right up until the end. He knew her flaws. He knew what she was. And he loved her anyway right up until the end. Right up until he killed her. Tigh is a man that's become more and more interesting to me as the show has progressed. It seems like each season he just gets loads and loads deeper a character.

Then there's the sheer sight of Galactica jumping into the atmosphere in plain view of the resistance fighters as a larger than life kind of motivator. The oppressed people see before their eyes the unlikely sight of their liberator pulling a move so crazy and so expertly right in front of them. That act tells them without words, "Go! We've got your backs. You will be free." The resistance movement charges into the airstrip as vipers cover them overhead and as ash and debris rains over their heads. The sight is truly awesome and unparalleled in prior art.

Then there's the little details. As Galactica is getting its ass kicked, even Adama is performing repair work in CIC manually. As Gaeta is preparing to kill Baltar, he regains control of his rage just long enough to think of saving as many lives as possible and orders Baltar to stop the nuke. I love Baltar's reaction. It's like "Huh? What? I'm gonna live? And now I have to do what?" As Lee stands over his burning CIC, he thanks his ship just before abandoning it.

And then there's the Pegasus. What happens to the Pegasus is almost going too far. It's a major event like none other depicted on Battlestar Galactica. After the end of season 2, we were led to believe the Pegasus was here to stay. RDM had even said that to get rid of it quickly after it was introduced would be conventional, predictable, and shameful. He wanted to do away with such conventions from the original BSG or Star Trek and pledged to keep Pegasus with the fleet. But Battlestar Galactica is on a budget; one which it pushes, bends, and sometimes breaks to get the job done. You push too far and eventually it bites you in the ass. Something had to give, and the Pegasus was it.

RDM stated that the destruction of the Pegasus was always one of the major things that was supposed to happen during the throes of writing this episode to satisfy the beast of budgetary burden. I respect his decision, although I greatly disagree with it. As spectacularly, honorably, and awesomely as the Pegasus went out, it's a hard thing to do to an audience and in my opinion detrimental to the show in the long term. Just when the audience is psyched up the most about the Pegasus being part of the fleet, it's ripped away from them.

After The Captian's Hand, I wanted nothing more than to see Commander Lee do some commanding. But instead, the poor Pegasus barely got any screen time at all. I can count on one hand how many scenes we get to see of Apollo in his commanding role after The Captain's Hand and before the jump ahead one year in time, and I almost cringe at watching him in his commanding role after the jump forward one year. Could the writers not see the enormous potential for drama with Lee commanding the Pegasus?

I wanted to see Commander Lee adjust to his new role as commander of a battlestar. I wanted to see how the crew of the Pegasus would react to being asked to follow such a young commander. I wanted to see objections in the Pegasus crew from longtime officers who would feel more deserving of the command. I wanted to see the long term implications of Apollo being in command of a bigger, better battlestar, but technically being inferior in rank to his father. I wanted to see father and son at polar opposite ends of an issue. I wanted to see the Pegasus and the Galactica fight it out, shots firing, over this important issue. Imagine that as a season finale. Adama and Apollo on their CICs ordering each other's destruction. Yes, Battlestar Galactica is a dark enough show to go there.

I wanted to see more eye candy like the battle of the Resurrection Ship. Oh how glorious was that battle. Finally did we get to see real battlestar vs. basestar combat, not just battlestsars and basestars sitting back while vipers and raiders dogfight. I've wanted to see such capital ship battles since the miniseries, and I didn't get it. Now I'm finally presented with the Pegasus and the possibility of more well choreographed capital ship battles to come, and they deliver me nothing more than a small taste of it before ripping Pegasus away from the fleet and pressing the magic reset button, resetting the show more or less to the state of affairs prior to the episode Pegasus. I fear episodes with major combat between basestars and battlestars will be a thing of the past now.

But blame the budget, right? No, I don't think so. This was the stated reason for doing it, but that strikes me as lack of imagination. The problem, as I understand it, is a lack of money to keep the Pegasus sets around. What sets? The ship had barely any to begin with. Any number of standing sets could have been scrapped to keep Pegasus around permanently, including the ever so loathed (by the production team for its inconvenience) Colonial One.

Imagine this scenario playing out instead: instead of sacrificing the Pegasus, Tigh's character gets even darker, even more sinister, and even more deep and interesting by his ordering civilian ships, including Colonial One to kamikaze the basestars, allowing the Galactica and the Pegasus to escape. To me, that would have not only been a great way to keep the Pegasus around in the context of the story's narrative, but also a far more interesting story on top of what was already easily the best episode they've ever done. Oh well.

As a side note, Lee Adama sure has a habit of breaking things. In the miniseries, two vipers. In Resurrection Ship, Part 2, the Blackbird. And here he destroys the Pegasus herself! Bad Lee Adama, I hate you! What next, he miscalculates a jump and sends the entire fleet into the center of a star thus ending the series? :)

Special mention once again goes to Bear McCreary's scoring of the show. Some of the music here seems recycled, such as large portions of season 2's Worthy of Survival which I could detect when the Pegasus arrived and a modified version of its melody was played during Ellen's death scene. Bear McCreary most immodestly noted, and I agree, that this episode featured the most "kick ass action cue" he'd ever written.

Of particular note was the music played during the Pegasus' final sacrifice. The scoring is its usual blurry mix of worldwide culture, throwing in a bit more east Asian stuff than before, while retaining its militaristic pull and its Celtic spirit. And I couldn't have said it better than Bear McCreary when he notes "[the piece played when the refugees return to Galactica] instead underscores the dark transformation of Col. Tigh and Starbuck. Their bodies have returned, but their souls may have been left behind on the planet. This scene is among the most powerful in the series and it was a thrill to have the live orchestra for this moving piece."

The ending of the episode was especially rewarding with the various reunions. The revelation that Kasey's not really Starbuck's daughter solved the problem of the actress playing her being clearly too old and made Leoben's twisted actions seem less straightforward. It brings up questions like what was he really trying to accomplish with Starbuck, and did he succeed? You're also left wondering at the end of this episode who will become the recognized President of the Colonies. As Vice President, the job falls to Zarek. Will Zarek be president? Now there's a delicious thought. Finally, who will be returning to their old jobs and who will be getting new ones? What ship will Commander Lee command? Will he be become the Galactica XO in the face of Tigh's disability? How will Tigh take that?

The final scene depicting Adama shaving his mustache and rejoining a now repopulated Battlestar Galactica restored from a skeleton crew is simple, yet profound. Despite sounding like such a cheap and obvious idea, I think the audience needs this after such a roller coaster ride of emotion.

I am definitely irritated that this episode acts as a giant reset button in every way to before Pegasus. But with the emotional impact of a year and four months gone by, the loss of a great ship in the fleet, the loss of many, many people within the fleet, the loss of crucial supplies, the separation of Baltar from the fleet, and Roslin no longer acting as president I think or at least hope that the dynamic of the show is significantly different and interesting that it will continue to spark vital new intrigue. I still think that there was a place for the Pegasus in this new world forged by settling of and exodus from New Caprica, but it went down in a realistic and noble way.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Ty Cohen on 2006-10-23 at 3:22am:
    The loss of the Pegasus was very sad to watch.
  • From kevinphiggins on 2015-09-04 at 1:11am:
    Just one quick correction, Gaeta's line is "hot and cold running interns."

    Also I'm kind of shocked you didn't make bigger deal of the Galactica's intra-atmosphere jump, literally one of the coolest things to ever be done by any spaceship in all of fiction.

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