BSG - Season 3 - Episode 11
BSG - 3x11 - The Eye of Jupiter - Originally Aired: 2006-12-15
As Colonial forces assist civilian teams gathering food on the algae planet, Starbuck and Apollo enjoy a liaison behind the backs of their spouses, Anders and Dualla. When Apollo suggests that they each get divorced, however, Starbuck refuses. She doesn't mind bending the rules of marriage, but she believes that divorce is sacrilegious. Because Apollo thinks that secretive cheating is equally wrong, they're at an impasse.
Tyrol, meanwhile, feels an inexplicable inspiration to leave the algae worksite and hike alone over the scrubby hills to a strange rock structure. Inside it, he discovers the lost, ancient Temple of Five, where the Eye of Jupiter — a mysterious object that points the way to Earth — is supposedly hidden.
Before the humans can find the Eye, however, four Cylon baseships arrive. Baltar and D'Anna, also inspired by potentially divine means, have guided their fleet here, and they want the Eye for themselves. After the rest of the human fleet Jumps to safety, the Galactica hosts D'Anna, Boomer, Cavil, and Baltar for negotiations. There, Boomer tells her counterpart, Athena, that Athena's daughter, Hera, is alive in the Cylon fleet — revealing that Roslin lied about her death. Adama shuts down the negotiations by declaring that if the Cylons make any aggressive moves, he'll launch nuclear strikes on the planet so that no one can have the Eye.
Secretly, however, D'Anna has already sneaked a Centurion raiding party onto the planet's surface, the moment her fleet arrived in the system. Speculating that just such an ambush is possible, Apollo mobilizes his people on the ground to defend the Temple — or destroy it, if they must. Even though he already guesses the truth about Apollo and Starbuck's affair, Anders grudgingly helps Apollo organize the civilians into a fighting force.
Then they receive an urgent message from Starbuck in her Raptor: she has spotted the raiding party of Centurions headed their way. Before she can say more, the Centurions shoot her down. Frantic to rescue her, Anders tries to leave the Temple, but Apollo can't spare the personnel and refuses to let him go.
Hemmed in by growing threats from all sides — and from above — the two men's furious standoff is only the prelude to a much bigger fight. Worse, aboard the Galactica, Gaeta discovers that the planet's sun is poised on the brink of a supernova. It could explode at any moment, with enough fury to vaporize humans, Cylons — and the entire planetary system. [Blu-ray] [DVD]
- The title of this episode used be The Eye of Zeus instead of The Eye of Jupiter.
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41402. (This is down by 18 from last episode, presumably due to deaths caused by crossing the passage.)
- What I could transcribe of the hybrid's speech: "The five lights of the apocalypse rising, struggling toward the light. Sins revealed only to those who enter the temple. Only to the chosen one. The chosen one, the chosen one, the chosen one..."
- Starbuck's reckless landing.
- Baltar comforting Hera.
- Tyrol wandering off and discovering an ancient temple.
- Four Cylon basestars approaching Galactica at high speed.
- Adama: "This is Admiral Adama." Baltar speaking from the Cylon basestar: "Admiral, I can't tell you what a genuine pleasure it is to hear your voice. This is Gaius Baltar."
- Six: "Feels like old times, doesn't it?" Baltar: "I can't believe how much I actually missed this place." Six: "You know you can't return. They'd toss you out the nearest airlock then throw a party." Baltar: "Yes, I know. Still, I can't help feeling I'm finally home."
- Athena confronting the visiting Cylons. I love Cavil's reaction: "Well look at this, should we salute?" I also like how Athena identified Boomer.
- Roslin regarding Baltar: "The less this man says, the better this will go."
- Adama: "What's your offer?" D'Anna: "You give us the Eye of Jupiter, we let you go." Cavil: "And we'll throw in Baltar." Baltar: "What are you talking about now?" Cavil: "I'm improvising. We'll throw in something to sweeten the pot. Besides, I suspect that the admiral and Madam President would enjoy some nice quiet private time with their former leader. Am I right?" Tigh: "Worth thinking about." Adama: "Definitely worth thinking about."
- Boomer revealing to Athena that Hera is still alive.
- Starbuck: "Can I make a suggestion you won't like?" Apollo: "Do you make any other kind?"
- Tyrol: "You know when I was growing up, I hated everything about the faith. The rules, the rituals, endless discussions at the dinner table. I used to sneak into my mom's prayer room, you know, holiest of the holies, and dance around naked with porn magazines just to defy the gods and tell'm to frak off."
- Tyrol: "Here I am setting charges in this special place. The holiest of holies. This is the Temple of Five. If my parents could see this... and I'm gonna blow it up."
- Gaeta discovering that the sun is going to go supernova soon.
- The hybrid indicating Baltar to be the "chosen one."
- The Cylons attacking Starbuck's raptor.
- Adama confronting Roslin about Hera.
- Adama speaking with Helo and Athena about their child still being alive.
- Apollo and Anders fighting over whether or not to go rescue Starbuck while Adama orders a nuclear strike on the planet.
The Eye of Jupiter is an episode densely packed with plot and cleverly scripted lines, but ultimately comes across as weak when compared to other episodes that were similarly supposed to be big and epic largely due to the insincere nature of the cliffhanger. Strictly speaking, I don't buy the cliffhanger. Roslin asked whether or not Adama is willing to sacrifice Lee and the obvious answer is no. More specifically, a huge fraction of the main cast of the show is on ground zero. They're not going to be killed so as I said before the cliffhanger is insincere. All the danger hinges on something the audience knows won't happen.
Other things that didn't work quite well were details like Starbuck's and Apollo's marital problems. While believable and realistic, this relationship quadrangle that was presented eloquently and artistically in Unfinished Business comes across as conventional and melodramatic here; almost like something out of a teen drama. Also jarring is this episode feels too much like setup for the next. One might be inclined to forgive part one of a two part story for being nothing but setup, but Pegasus proved to us that part one of a multipart story need not necessarily be all setup and no payoff. Not to mention the fact that the cliffhanger at the end of Pegasus was far more convincing. I actually believed the two ships would start shooting at each other. (It was almost disappointing that they didn't.)
The most annoying way that this episode is all setup is Gaeta's scene in which he exposes the fact that this planetary system's sun is on the verge of a supernova. Again, the scene feels insincere. I enjoy that detail and in fact feel that it's a fantastic plot device, but it serves absolutely no purpose in this episode. It should have either been revealed in the next episode as a complete surprise as it happens, or the sun should have gone supernova in this episode as part of or perhaps the entirety of the cliffhanger. Instead, what we got was an insincere cliffhanger riding on manufactured danger supported by scoring largely recycled from Resurrection Ship, Part 1. How disappointing.
What wasn't disappointing, however, was the handling of the Cylon characters and the mythology surrounding the Temple of Five. It seems in her quest to some sort of enlightenment, D'Anna has taken too much control over what goes on in Cylon society. You can tell the other Cylons are starting to get a little annoyed with her, but they're letting it go for now. I also like how Baltar has been maintaining this uneasy alliance with the Cylons to further his own goals. Additionally, Baltar's scenes aboard the Galactica were some good fun to watch.
What was most interesting with the Cylons in this episode was with regards to the Sharons and Hera. While Athena discovering for sure that Hera is alive was not played quite as dramatically as I'd hoped, being a mere subplot, it still offers quite a bit of intrigue. I liked quite a bit the miniature cliffhanger we were left on concerning this, with Athena declaring "I want to see my child." Perhaps not a very powerful line at first glance, but it's the logistics of such a request(?) that make it a little on the harrowing side. In order for Athena to see her child, she will likely have to visit the Cylon basestar, a scenario which doesn't seem very likely at the moment.
One detail that comes through quite well in this episode is the idea that the 13th tribe's journey to Earth was long and arduous, with this algae planet being one of many of their settlements along the way. It seems that the presumed original exodus from Earth to Kobol was done in a very nomadic way, and that the 13th tribe had to sort of trace those steps back to find Earth. Also kudos goes to Bear McCreary for the cool scoring that was done for the Temple of Five scenes, with Tyrol's wandering off then discovering the temple being my favorite. The details surrounding just what the Temple of Five and the Eye of Jupiter signify are a bit on the vague side however, which again is a result of this episode being all setup with very little payoff.
Overall though, for all that this episode is all setup and very little payoff it comes off as much stronger and more captivating than the similarly constructed Exodus, Part 1, despite the weak cliffhanger. A relatively strong episode with a weak cliffhanger is preferable to a weak episode with a good cliffhanger, so The Eye of Jupiter is not a bad episode by any stretch. It's in fact quite good if you forgive the trite ending, which I think counts for quite a bit in the episode's favor.
The following are comments submitted by my readers.
- From Bruno on 2006-12-23 at 1:49am:
I quite enjoyed this episode. The plot is all setup, as you said, but the character drama was spot on. But I hope the writers have a good rationale for the massive coincidences that occur throughout (as well as for Tyrol's sensing a disturbance in the Force). A Supernova only goes off once every few hundred years in the entire frakking galaxy!
I also noticed that in this season BSG is making more use of science fiction themes to move the plot along.
Last but not least, merry Christmas (or saturnalia, or whatever)!. Thank you for all the effort you've put on this site.