Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 3 - Episode 15

BSG - 3x15 - A Day in the Life - Originally Aired: 2007-2-18

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 4.58

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Synopsis
On the forty-ninth day since the Cylons were last seen, the fleet awakens to a quiet morning. Tyrol volunteers himself and Cally to do maintenance on a damaged airlock, disregarding Cally's plan to spend the day with their infant son, Nicholas. As they work, Cally and Tyrol argue about how to balance the demands of their jobs and family. Then, suddenly, the airlock's systems sense a pressure change caused by a small leak into space. The doors automatically slam shut, locking Cally and Tyrol in. To escape, they must repair the leak — if they can.

Today is also the anniversary of Admiral Adama's wedding to Caroline, Lee and Zak's mother. Though he and his wife loved each other, their marriage failed long ago. Haunted by these memories, Adama struggles to focus on his duties for the day. Most important, President Roslin asks him to assign Lee to supervise a committee of lawyers devising an unprecedented trial for Gaius Baltar.

Adama finds Lee berating his pilots for careless flying — a lecture borrowed verbatim from Adama. Afterward, Lee tells his father that he's too busy to take on Roslin's assignment. He admits, however, that before the military took over his life, he once wanted to be a lawyer like his grandfather, Joseph. Surprised, Adama is forced to consider how little he knows about his son — and how easy it is for personal and familial dreams to die beneath the demands of duty.

Both men are called to their duties moments later when the leak threatening Tyrol and Cally defies repair and starts to expand. With the locked chamber now hemorrhaging atmosphere, the young parents have less than half an hour before suffocation, depressurization, and hypothermia combine to kill them.

Lee, Starbuck and Athena quickly fly a Raptor outside of the ship to the airlock doors. Inside, Adama watches gravely from an observation window as Tyrol and Cally, facing death, renew their commitment to their marriage and son. Then Adama orders the outer doors blasted open. Tyrol and Cally are vented into space, retrieved by the waiting Raptor, and rushed to sickbay.

As Tyrol and Cally cling to life, Lee is debriefed by his father. Adama, who has spent the day meditating on his broken family, is in an unusually open mood. As father and son talk, secrets buried by time and silence arise. This conversation will either widen the rift between the only surviving members of the Adama family — or help to heal it. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41398. (This is down by 3 from last episode.)
- Caroline is not played by the same actress that portrayed her in Act of Contrition, however this is not a technical problem because the original actress' face was covered in that episode, probably deliberately, just in case they ever did an episode like this one.
- It's worth noting that whoever the actor playing young Adama in his wedding photograph was the same actor who played him in the photograph depicting him in front of a viper with Lee and Zak in the miniseries.

Remarkable Scenes
- Tyrol regarding the airlock door closing automatically due to the slow depressurization: "It's just a safety precaution." Cally: "I feel safer already."
- Adama regarding Baltar: "Can't we just give him back to the Cylons?"
- Roslin asking to use the Galactica's gym.
- Hot Dog picking on Helo.
- Apollo lecturing the viper pilots.
- Adama ordering an EVA rescue of Tyrol and Cally despite the fact that they have no pressure suits.
- The rescue.
- Adama and Apollo talking about Caroline.
- Adama giving Apollo his father's old law books.
- Roslin giving Adama a book and discussing her evening with Adama during Baltar's groundbreaking ceremony on New Caprica.

My Review
A Day in the Life is a slow paced, almost boring episode which is an interesting and useful character piece for mostly Adama, but serves little other purpose. In fact, there's never been an episode which is more filler than this one because even their attempt at inserting at least one scene of worthwhile plot advancement ended up not being worthwhile at all. The whole idea of spending time establishing Apollo as Roslin's committee leader for Baltar's trial was as much a waste of time as dedicating a whole episode to characters introspectively exploring themselves.

However, for all that watching characters do introspective self exploration is a waste of time, it was well executed and provides a fascinating glimpse into some of the characters' psyche, especially Adama. What I find most interesting about Adama in this episode is that he seems to have married a woman very similar to Ellen Tigh. This makes Adama's running opinion of Ellen throughout the show and Adama's friendship with Tigh far more interesting.

Caroline's portrayal in the episode was also interestingly done. One could say that having characters live in delusional realities is an overdone concept on this show given Baltar and Six along with the concept of Cylon projection, but having Caroline in Adama's head speaking to him as if she were still alive gave us even more fascinating insight into Adama than simply seeing memories of her while she was alive would have given us.

Her rantings about "the admiral's facade" tell us that Adama is very concerned with his outward appearance. And her criticisms that Adama, a man who prides himself on being a leader of men and making all the tough calls, made the wrong call on the biggest decision of life (deciding who to marry) tell us that Adama is very insecure about his capabilities as a leader. This is reminiscent of the theme introduced at the end of Resistance when Tigh confided in Adama that he's a terrible leader, Adama responded with absolute forgiveness because he knows being a leader is an extremely hard job.

Another thing contributing to bringing this episode's rating up is the whole Tyrol and Cally airlock subplot. An action sequence like that was wholly necessary to spice up the lack of a plot in this episode. In fact, their actual rescue sequence was one of the coolest things I've seen on the show in a while. There's nothing like seeing a young couple being airlocked without pressure suits and rescued by a raptor to brighten up a day.

Also fascinating about this whole sequence was the idea that the Galactica, which was already established as an old piece of crap, now established as an old piece of crap that's falling apart due to battle damage is a dangerous place to live. I like Tigh's little comment about how it would take six weeks in drydock just to hammer out the dings let alone tackle the structural damage. The whole mood surrounding Galactica's damaged state is portrayed very well.

Overall though aside from details that make hardcore fans smile, this episode has very little to offer. A fun but non crucial action sequence, some interesting psychoanalysis of Adama, and some extremely minor plot advancement concerning Baltar's trial does not make for an A+ episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Jeremy on 2007-04-05 at 3:33am:
    One problem I had in this episode is that Cally is put into a pressure chamber at the end. When you go from high pressure to low pressure, you risk the release of nitrogen bubbles in your blood. They went from high pressure (1 atmosphere) to low (zero atmospheres) but then once inside the raptor they would be back at the high pressure (1 atm) again and would no longer have to risk the bends. I can see that maybe other things happened, but nobody should need to be pressurized.
  • From EKH on 2008-08-01 at 1:48am:
    No technical problems? Hoh, boy! Well, then let me do the honors:

    1) The freezing airlock stuff. Space is a vacuum. A vacuum doesn't absorb or transmit heat except as radiation. Space has no temperature. So, unless there was a coolant leak - which would have run a risk of poisoning our guys - or the air rush was enough to cool down the room to freezing, this shouldn't happen.

    2) The "hypothermia in space" thing. See above. Vacuum is the best insulation in the world. So much so, in fact, that thermos bottles are built around it. You're more likely to die from heat exhaustion in space than hypothermia, though, depending on where you are, you'd likely be irradiated to death long before that.

    3) Putting on their breathers before going into space. Having air in your lungs runs the risk of having them inflate and rupture. Of course, this might just have been the Chief being ignorant and/or incompetent - not impossible on BSG, as opposed to, e.g., Star Trek - and could even be the reason Cally had to be put in the 'iron lung' device, but somehow I doubt it. The correct comment would have been "Empty your lungs", "and open your mouth" being optional, since that would give any excess pressure an escape valve but might also put teeth and tongue in danger when they slammed into the raptor. Since the max. survival time in hardvac has already been stated as being one minute, the oxygen in their blood ought to suffice..

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