Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 3 - Episode 12

BSG - 3x12 - Rapture - Originally Aired: 2007-1-21

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.52

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Synopsis
The human-Cylon standoff over the mysterious Eye of Jupiter has reached a breaking point. On the algae planet, D'Anna, Baltar, Brother Cavil, and a team of Centurions prepare to assault the Temple of the Five, where the Eye supposedly lies hidden.

Blocking their way are Apollo and Anders, who must defend the Temple long enough for Tyrol to find the Eye and escape to the Galactica. Tyrol has no idea exactly what he's looking for; he knows only that it's hidden in this sacred building. At the same time, Apollo and Anders are preoccupied with Starbuck, whose Raptor has crashed among the distant hills.

Realizing that Dualla's observation post is fairly close to the crash site, Apollo orders his wife to risk her life to save the woman who may tear their marriage apart. Dualla, furious and sad but ever the good soldier, obeys. She sets out through Cylon sniper fire to reach the downed Raptor, where she finds Starbuck conscious but painfully burned. Dualla must administer first aid and then, with Starbuck's help, repair the Raptor and fly them to safety. Neither woman misses the irony of this forced collaboration.

Meanwhile, on the Galactica, Athena resolves to infiltrate the Cylon fleet and rescue her daughter Hera. She persuades Helo to shoot her, allowing her to die and then resurrect in a new body aboard the Cylon resurrection ship. Helo is left behind to hope not only that his wife returns safely with their child, but also that she remains loyal to the human race no matter what torture or temptations she faces from her own people.

On the planet, the Centurions strike the Temple defenders. In a pair of bloody skirmishes, Apollo and Anders buy all the time they can, but soon that time's up. Apollo orders Tyrol to retreat to the evacuation point and blow up the Temple. Tyrol, reluctant to commit sacrilege, hesitates to comply. His delay allows D'Anna, Cavil, and Baltar to enter the Temple and detach the explosives' detonators. Now the Cylons hold the Temple and the humans are shut out.

At that moment, the sun lets out a helium flash, the prelude to a supernova that will obliterate the planet in less than an hour. Tyrol is stunned to realize that the star looks exactly like an elaborately colored image that he studied inside the Temple. Somehow, the supernova and the Eye are connected — but now D'Anna and Baltar, not Tyrol and Apollo, are in a position to decipher that last, vital clue to Earth's location. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Why did the survivor count go down by one? A death off screen, or are they counting Sharon Agathon? Don't get me wrong, I like her too, but strictly speaking, she's not dead, nor is she human.

Factoids
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41401. (This is down by 1 from last episode.)
- According to Boomer, the Cavils were against the idea of the Cylons procreating with humans.
- It's worth noting that Athena will now no longer be immune to the Cylon plague, now that she's resurrected. Though I suspect that plague has long since been eradicated.

Remarkable Scenes
- D'Anna defying the other Cylons. I loved Cavil's remark after she leaves: "That is not a good sign, my friends."
- Helo killing his wife so that she'll resurrect and retrieve their child.
- Adama and Roslin confronting Helo about Sharon possibly compromising them.
- Baltar consoling D'Anna at the summit of a mountain on the planet.
- Caprica Six killing Boomer and escaping the basestar with Athena and Hera.
- Dee smacking Kara. I love the double meaning behind that action. ;)
- The supernova starting.
- D'Anna's vision.
- Tyrol, just before pistol whipping Baltar: "Welcome home Mr. President."
- Fireballs created from debris from the planet's rings raining down on the planet.
- Galactica's escape from the supernova.
- Athena returning with Hera and Caprica Six.
- Helo noticing that the mandala in the temple looks just like one of Starbuck's paintings from back in her apartment.
- The D'Anna models getting boxed.

My Review
Rapture manages to overcome the problems of its predecessor, but similarly fails to stand out as the thrilling climax to the Baltar on a basestar storyline that it was supposed to be, because it comes across as vague and as a result unsatisfying.

I was pleased to see that the silly cliffhanger got wrapped up very quickly and for all that it was a waste of time it did serve as a very useful setup to allow D'Anna to defy the Cylons once more. Indeed, it's with the Cylons that all the interesting stuff in this episode resides. Most so with regards to Athena, Hera, and Caprica Six. A particularly gripping moment was Athena suiciding to resurrect and retrieve her child.

I was less satisfied with the discontented Boomer, however. She seemed petty and one dimensional. I do, however, like the idea surrounding her demeanor, and I hope she shows up again on the show, though hopefully better executed. Also slightly annoying was the excessive guerrilla combat featured in this episode. The gun fights were well executed, and the eye candy surrounding the Cylon centurions was as spectacular as ever but I felt the episode could have stood a bit less of it.

Perhaps the most important issues to discuss about this episode are the larger implications for the Cylons. This episode raises numerous questions and doesn't bother to provide us with sufficient answers or even hints. Who did D'Anna recognize in her vision? Was she really seeing the final five Cylons? Why would technology left behind by the ancient 13th tribe be able to give a Cylon a vision tied heavily to their monotheistic religion, especially seeing as how the ancient 13th tribe had (presumably) no concept of who or what the Cylons would be or what their religion is all about? Why did D'Anna die after her vision? Why do the Cavil models attempt to suppress information concerning the final five Cylons? Do the Cavil models know something the others don't?

And that's not all! Then we've got the wonderful stuff concerning Starbuck's painting from Valley of Darkness and the mandala in the temple. I was very impressed by this tidbit of continuity, and I can see that they're probably going somewhere with this coincidence, but I think it's a bit overplayed. Partly due to the grossly out of place reused music from Resurrection Ship, Part 1's teaser, that whole scene when Helo makes the connection by looking at Starbuck's photograph just comes across as silly.

When all is said and done though, this episode has a lot going for it. Certainly the supernova was cool. I was most fond of the little special effects detail in which you can see the rings of the planet being engulfed by the supernova and inflamed. They are the fiery debris that rains down on the planet during the escape. I thought that was a very clever and awesome detail. Also fascinating is the fact that this episode effectively furnishes Galactica with Caprica Six as a prisoner and brings both Baltar and Hera back to the Galactica. All three new arrivals are sure to be the source of much drama in the future.

But also like the previous episode, aside from the supernova, all the interesting things in this episode are mere setup for future episodes. There's not necessarily anything wrong with that, but it makes this pair of episodes a little less interesting, and they stand a bit less well on their own. This time last season, Resurrection Ship, Part 2 provided a great deal of setup for the rest of the season by introducing the Pegasus and temporarily eliminating the Cylons' ability to resurrect after they die, setting up episodes like Scar and The Captain's Hand. As far as setup episodes go, this episode hardly measures up to Resurrection Ship, Part 2's example.

The point is, more could have been done with this. The Baltar on the basestar plot line comes off in the end as confusing and unsatisfying. Just like Lay Down Your Burdens, The Eye of Jupiter and Rapture both strike me similarly as the climaxes of relatively poorly executed plot arcs. While very climactic and fun to watch, there's much room for improvement.

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