Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 1

BSG - 1x01 - 33 - Originally Aired: 2004-10-18

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 6.41

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Synopsis
In the wake of the Cylon sneak attack, the ragtag fleet of human survivors is forced to play a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with their pursuers. Every 33 minutes, they make a jump to a new location. And every 33 minutes, the Cylons manage to find them. The pilots are on the brink of exhaustion, relying on artificial stimulants to keep fighting, and the civilians are beginning to doubt the leadership of Commander Adama and President Roslin.

When the Olympic Carrier, a commercial passenger ship, fails to make a jump and then later mysteriously turns up unharmed, Adama fears it has been infiltrated by the Cylons. His choice: destroy it and the 1,300 souls it might still be carrying, or risk the annihilation of the entire fleet. Adama is not alone in fearing the mystery ship. Baltar, who remains mentally connected with his beautiful and deadly Cylon companion Number Six, panics when he learns one of the ship's passengers has information about a traitor in the president's inner circle.

Meanwhile, down on the ruined, Cylon-occupied colony of Caprica, Helo is on the run from another group of Cylons. He's going to need help to make it back to the Galactica, but there's no help in sight... [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Right when Galactica jumps, the flight pods should be retracted, but are erroneously depicted as not retracted.
- Dee says, "Jump 237 underway. 53 ships have jumped. 10 still reporting trouble with their FTL drives, including Colonial One." But in the miniseries it was established that the fleet consists of about 40 FTL capable ships, not 60+. Could possibly some of the extra ships be accounted for by Galactica's raptors and other support ships?
- What happened to the group of survivors Helo was with during the miniseries?
- The shot used depicting the Galactica being nuked in the opening theme is a mirror image.

Factoids
- This episode won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.
- This episode received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Visual Effects For A Series.
- This episode received a Visual Effects Society nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Animated Character in a Live Action Broadcast Program. (Cylon Centurions).
- Dee reports at one point that that 53 ships have jumped and that 10 are still reporting trouble with their FTL drives. This implies that there are at least 64 FTL capable ships in the fleet.
- In season 1 as aired in the UK, the title sequence featured a Hindu mantra, the Gayatri Mantra, taken from the Rig Veda. The words from the mantra are: "OM bhūr bhuvah svah tat savitur varēnyam bhargō dēvasya dhīmahi dhiyō yō nah pracōdayāt" which roughly translates to: "May we attain that excellent glory of Savitri the Goddess / so May she stimulate our prayers." The US broadcast did not feature this until season 2.
- Dee is from Sagittaron.
- There are ~5251 survivors from Sagittaron.
- At the beginning of this episode the official number of survivors was 50298, but Billy's statements about how there were "some over counts" make this number's accuracy questionable.
- At the end of this episode the official number of survivors is 47273.
- According to RDM, Edward James Olmos (Commander Adama) stayed awake for an absurd number of hours so that when he played his part in this episode that he'd look sufficiently realistically worn out and tired and that he convinced others among the cast to do the same thing.
- Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck) fell asleep inside her Viper cockpit due to sleep deprivation while waiting to film a scene in this episode.
- According to RDM, Edward James Olmos (Commander Adama) during the scene where he decides the pilots need to start taking stims just blurted out along with the list of nervous exhaustion cases that there were ten suicides. The writers loved the adlib, but ultimately decided that it couldn't make it into the final cut because it would have made the already super-dark episode too dark.
- According to RDM, the scene in which Starbuck and Apollo are arguing over whether or not Starbuck should take stims wasn't scripted such that they suddenly started laughing about it, but it worked so well when the actors just started laughing at each other that they decided to run with that.
- RDM wanted to make it clear that there were people on board the Olympic Carrier just before Apollo and Starbuck shot it down, so that it would be an emotionally stronger scene, but again, it was decided that that would have been a far too dark thing to do on an already very dark episode. However, although people were not obviously depicted, the visual effects people went ahead and included small signs of movement inside the ship which are very difficult to notice, but are indeed there.

Remarkable Scenes
- Cally: "Why do the Cylons come every 33 minutes? Why isn't it 34 or 35?" Tyrol: "Cally." Cally: "What?" Tyrol: "Shut up."
- The hallway with seemingly endless amounts of photos of missing people.
- Six: "Procreation is one of god's commandments."
- Roslin to Billy regarding Baltar: "He's a strange one, isn't he?"
- Helo blowing up some Cylons.
- The Olympic Carrier charging toward the fleet.
- The Cylons appearing in the midst of the Olympic Carrier situation.
- Baltar's simultaneous repentance with Roslin's order to take out the Olympic Carrier.
- Apollo and Starbuck destroying the Olympic Carrier.
- Caprica Boomer shooting a Six model Cylon.
- Billy informing Roslin of the birth of a baby within the fleet.

My Review
The miniseries ends with something of a major cliffhanger revealing Boomer to be a Cylon and off the colonials go in a search for a fictitious Earth. Six said in the miniseries, "your escape is a temporary one at best," and this episode is true to her words. Immediately, right at the beginning of 33, we know some very bad things have been happening to the colonials. The Cylons had found them after only a short time and had been chasing them for nearly a week straight, jumping to their position every 33 minutes.

What results is a story about an exhausted fleet fighting for their survival, jumping to a new location every 33 minutes, hoping they'll at some point lose the Cylons. Woven into the story are two other plot threads. One of them deals with Helo, who was left on Caprica during the miniseries and what he's doing to survive. We don't get to see a lot of Helo, but it seems clear the Cylons are herding him, or setting him up for something. He's manipulated into finding another copy of Boomer, who he thinks has returned to Caprica to rescue him. But why the Cylons are manipulating Helo in this way is not clear.

The much more interesting and important story centers around Baltar, the Cylon god, Six, and the Olympic Carrier. The story leaves it wonderfully ambiguous as to whether or not these concepts are all connected or whether they are "coincidental, serendipitous events" as Baltar put it. But one thing is for sure, the Cylons are deeply religious in the monotheistic sense, and the Six in Baltar's head, whatever she is, wants to convert Baltar into believing in the Cylon god. Additionally, "procreation is one of god's commandments." Six wants to, somehow, have a baby with Baltar. Whether or not this is even possible and how it could be accomplished is unclear, but the Cylon religion and the Cylon desire for procreation appear to be major plot points to be developed in season 1.

Wrapped around these concepts is of course the very real story of sacrificing the few to save the many, something the miniseries did extremely well. It's done nicely here too, but I'm irked that there was a sort of desensitizing done to the destruction of the Olympic Carrier. "It's okay to destroy it, it's got nobody aboard!" Making the Olympic Carrier a direct threat to the fleet using nukes was a great idea, but there should have absolutely most definitely been people on board that ship. Not only would the danger still be high from the nukes in this case, but the heart wrenching feeling of murdering the few to save the many would have been even more apparent, and it would have given the episode much more of an emotional punch.

Overall, 33 is an incredibly strong start to the season.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Malcatraz on 2011-04-30 at 8:18pm:
    Just rewatching the series with my roommate (she's obsessed). They DEFINITELY needed people aboard the Olympic Carrier. Weak choice to totally show it as empty. At least put some mannequins or something in there so that you can't really tell.
  • From Jonathan explains it all on 2013-04-09 at 1:33pm:
    How many minutes can a Stargate stay open for?

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BSG - 1x02 - Water - Originally Aired: 2004-10-25

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 5.14

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 36 9 11 4 1 8 11 21 23 22 14

Synopsis
Lt. Sharon Valerii wakes up soaking wet in the tool room with an explosive charge in her duffel bag. Shortly afterward, a mysterious explosion destroys all the port-side water tanks on Galactica, creating a crisis for the entire fleet. Sharon can't remember a thing, but all the evidence points to her as a saboteur. She confesses her concern to Chief Tyrol, but he can't believe she's responsible.

As water riots erupt, Commander Adama and President Roslin struggle to contain the crisis, putting all the ships on limited rations and assigning Baltar the job of rooting out any Cylons who may have infiltrated the crew.

Meanwhile, on Cylon-occupied Caprica, another avatar of Sharon struggles to save Helo, her stranded Raptor crewmate. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- It's clear that battlestars are designed to be self-sufficient for possibly years-long journeys as evidenced by its immense water storage systems and water recycling systems. So does the Galactica have means of producing its own food? Possibly some sort of hydroponics bay? Does the fleet have any sort of farm ship, or a ship that has been converted into a farm ship? Are there any animals in the fleet which are being bred for meat? These are all questions we've not received sufficient answers to. This is not necessarily a technical problem, but some answers would have been nice, given Baltar's outlining of how much food the fleet will need.

Factoids
- According to Adama, Galactica's water recycling system is near 100% effective. For all intents and purposes there is not one drop of water that is wasted. The Galactica can go several years before actually needing to replenish water supplies.
- The Virgon Express was not made for long term voyages and depends on Galactica's water supplies.
- The current civilian population according to Baltar is 45265, but he claims that this figure is based on "information available to him at the time" which could explain why it is inaccurate.
- The fleet's population will require at minimum 82 tons of grain, 85 tons of meat, 119 tons of fruit, 304 tones of vegetables, and 2.5 million JPs (whatever that is) of water per week.
- Some time prior to this episode, President Adar sent the marines into Aerilon for some reason and as a result 15 people died tragically.
- Roslin's whiteboard reads at the end of this episode 47958.

Remarkable Scenes
- Tigh rationing what's left of his alcohol.
- Roslin: "The military, they do love their protocol." Billy: "Well I'm sure if they knew you didn't like it they'd be willing to--" Roslin: "No, let Adama sound the trumpets. I think it makes him feel more comfortable and if he feels more comfortable he'll be a little easier to deal with." Billy: "That's smart." Roslin: "No, it's not smart. It's politics."
- Roslin: "I think I'm going to get tired of this outfit, seeing as how I only have three, for the rest of my life." Billy: "It looks fine." Roslin: "Fine?" Billy: "It looks great." Roslin: "You don't know anything about women, do you?"
- Billy's "I don't know anything about women" faux pas with Dee.
- Tigh: "Most planets are just hunks of rock or balls of gas. The galaxy is a pretty barren and desolate place when you get right down to it."
- Baltar's technobabbly explanation for why he hasn't implemented wide scale Cylon detection.
- Baltar joining the card game to lose Gaeta.
- Baltar beating Starbuck at cards.
- Tigh regarding Galactica's inability to find more star systems with possible water sources: "I just checked with Astrometrics. They're coming up with big goose eggs."
- Roslin recruiting Apollo for advice about the military.

My Review
Water is an episode that is good, but not great, as it fails to deliver on a few levels. One of the first and most important questions in the audience's mind about how the fleet could possibly survive these circumstances and this extended voyage to who knows where is how will they maintain adequate food and water?

Unfortunately, the plot of this episode solves the water problem at the expense of the food problem. This episode is, as the title implied, all about water. But Dr. Baltar outlines some pretty hefty food requirements for the fleet in addition to his outline of the water requirements. The episode does nothing to address the food problem, even though Roslin hints that both food and water are a problem. It could be inferred that without water you can't grow food and that by solving the water problem you solve the food problem, or any number of other things could be inferred, but the fact of the matter is we receive no such information about the existence of farm ships, or anything else of relevance regarding food, and I feel that this episode suffers from this.

Moving on, let's talk about Boomer. This episode is Boomer's episode, as it kind of centers around what's going on with the Galactica version of her. After all, we know she's a Cylon, so what's her evil plan? Well, this episode makes it pretty clear that she's a sleeper agent. She probably knows she's a Cylon deep down, but just doesn't want to face it. In a kind of sad ironic parallel, Tyrol's so in love with her that he denies obvious signs that she's a Cylon as well. Thus the circle of self destruction is complete.

Speaking of self destruction, I thought it was cute that Tigh was rationing his alcohol. This is a very realistic thing for him to be doing, and I'm glad the writers decided to include that scene.

The Boomer on Caprica gets less to do, but the Caprica plot advances a bit. It appears as though the Cylons planted a Raptor then "found" it to make it look like Sharon came back for Helo, but her Raptor was discovered by the Cylons. We can infer from this that the Cylons must want to keep Helo and Sharon on the planet together. It's also possible the Cylons manufactured the military signal that Helo and Sharon hear as further encouragement to stay on Caprica, but as of yet that can't be known for sure.

Speaking of relationships, I found it amusing that Adama gives Roslin a book, which seems to be to be something of a peace offering. A kind of "let's not be tense around one another anymore; let's be friends" kind of move. It's also nice that Roslin and Apollo both feel guilt over their roles in the destruction of the Olympic Carrier. Sadly though, these guilt scenes suffer from 33's single weakness - the fact that there was apparently nobody in fact on board that ship. So one wonders what exactly they're feeling guilty about.

The final plot point worthy of discussion is why Boomer acts so strangely. You're either a sleeper agent or you're not, right? Well, Boomer may be a sleeper agent, but she's not a very good one. The only conclusion I can come to is that she's a potentially partially defective model. Evidence lending to this theory includes her aborted intent to go blow herself up and sabotage the water mission; she couldn't bring herself to do it. Or was she simply suicidal because she knew she was a Cylon and she wanted to kill herself before she did something terrible?

Boomer's apparent tortured mind is what makes this episode so interesting, but at the same time it seems a little over done. There are far too many scenes emphasizing this most of which go on for far too long. At some point the danger starts to feel manufactured. I feel as though these issues could have been examined more eloquently and while this episode is quite good, pales compared to the material in the miniseries and 33.

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BSG - 1x03 - Bastille Day - Originally Aired: 2004-11-1

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5.41

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 32 2 3 7 2 16 15 19 23 22 9

Synopsis
The fleet has found a source of water, but who will take on the difficult and dangerous job of mining it from the icy planet? Commander Adama and President Roslin send Lee to the Astral Queen, a prisoner transport ship, with an offer for its inmates: Volunteer for this mission and earn "freedom points."

The prisoners not only reject the offer but stage a uprising and hold Lee and his crew hostage. Their leader is Tom Zarek, a freedom fighter convicted of terrorism 20 years earlier. Zarek demands that Roslin step down as president and call for immediate elections to choose a new leader.

While Adama and Roslin organize an assault on the ship, Lee, who read Zarek's radical manifesto while at college, negotiates with his captor. Back on the Galactica, Adama pressures Baltar to develop a device that can distinguish Cylons from humans.

Many light-years away on Caprica, Sharon and Helo struggle to evade the Cylons, unaware that they are being observed by Doral and Number Six. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- In the miniseries the Astral Queen was said to have 500 prisoners, not 1500. There was some dubbing action in the recap to try and erase this inconsistency, but the true nitpickers are not fooled. ;)

Factoids
- The title of this episode, "Bastille Day" refers to the storming of a Paris prison which started the French Revolution in 1789.
- The Astral Queen is a direct reference to the Star Trek original series episode The Conscience of the King, which featured a ship of the same name. The ship even resembles a Federation starship quite a bit.
- The ship's doctor is named Major Cottle.
- Richard Hatch, who plays Tom Zarek, played Apollo in BSG 1978. Richard Hatch was a vocal opponent of a BSG remake, but ultimately decided to bury the hatchet and rose to the occasion to play this fascinating character. And indeed, Richard Hatch nearly steals the show with one of the best performances of the episode. He and Jamie Bamber were excellent together.
- Tom Zarek is from Sagittaron. According to Billy, Sagittaron was a colony that was exploited by the other 11 for centuries.
- President Adar offered Tom Zarek a full pardon if Zarek would apologize and promise to give up violence as a means of political change. Zarek refused Adar's offer.
- President Adar's term is over in seven months.
- Starbuck is an expert sharpshooter. "The best shot in or out of the cockpit."
- The Galactica has five nuclear warheads aboard, one of which is given to Baltar in this episode.
- This episode establishes that the Lords of Kobol are based on the Olympian gods of Greek mythology.
- Cally was originally supposed to be raped and killed in this episode, but the writers decided against it because they were impressed by the actress' performance.
- This episode features Boxey's final appearance in the show.
- According to the DVD commentary for this episode, RDM derived many of the names of the characters from an "ancient names internet site."
- According to the DVD commentary, they wasted a great deal of money on this episode due to the special effects necessary to flesh out the internal set of the Astral Queen.

Remarkable Scenes
- Colonel Tigh's odd behavior at the water extraction briefing.
- Roslin, regarding using the prisoners to mine the ice to procure water: "Slave labor?" Adama: "They are criminals and they've been sentenced to hard labor. And this is very hard labor."
- Tom Zarek's appearance.
- Helo and Boomer walking around an empty Caprican city while a Six and a Doral model observe.
- Six: "This all makes me so sad." Doral: "They would have destroyed themselves anyway. They deserve what they got." Six: "We're the children of humanity, that makes them our parents in a sense." Doral: "True, but parents have to die. It's the only way children come into their own."
- Zarek regarding the book he wrote: "Nice to hear I'm a big hit on campus." Apollo: "You weren't. The book was banned. I read it anyway."
- Zarek taking over the Astral Queen.
- Tigh to Boxey: "Where's your mommy?" Boxey: "Dead. Where's yours?"
- The scene in which Adama confronts Baltar about why there's no Cylon detector yet. I love the way Six coerces Baltar into procuring a nuclear warhead.
- Zarek discussing the legitimacy of Roslin's presidency and Apollo's callsign with him.
- Zarek regarding Apollo's callsign: "The son of Zeus, good with the bow, god of the hunt, and also a god of healing. Now a god can reconcile those two opposing forces, but a mortal has to pick one side or the other. Have you picked a side Apollo?" On the radio, Gaeta is heard: "Astral Queen, Astral Queen, this is the Battlestar Galactica. Commander Adama wishes to speak with Mr. Zarek. Please respond." Zarek: "Zeus is calling."
- Apollo getting a weapon, confronting Zarek, and offering him a compromise.
- Apollo informing Adama and Roslin of what he's committed them to.
- Starbuck to Tigh: "Umm, I have my flaws too." Tigh: "The differences is my flaws are personal, yours are professional."
- Cally regarding having almost been raped and biting off her assailant's ear: "He's lucky that's all I bit off."
- Apollo assuring Roslin that his loyalties lie with her, despite the fact that he's committed her to holding elections in seven months and Roslin divulging the existence of her cancer to Apollo.

My Review
This episode is all about Apollo and where his loyalties lie. The idea to introduce Richard Hatch as a recurring character on the new Galactica was a fantastic idea, and the idea to make his first episode have his character conflict directly with Apollo was absolutely perfect. It may seem like an obvious thing to do, but who cares? It's endlessly amusing. But besides trivial amusements, this is a very deep episode which develops Apollo's character extremely well and explores the very important issue regarding the remnants of the colonial government. Because after all, in the end, what Zarek's trying to do makes sense. Maybe he takes it too far, but it's important to preserve democracy. Roslin must not be president longer than what was left of Adar's term.

The story itself picks up wonderfully on Water's ending. Tigh was correct in Water when he said "the galaxy is a pretty barren and desolate place when you get right down to it." So they may have found water, but it's frozen. They're going to have to mine it, melt it, and then store it. This is hard work, so who's going to do it? Well, this episode also picks up on that little comment in the miniseries about the Astral Queen being part of the fleet. The Astral Queen was transporting prisoners. In this episode we learn a bit more about these prisoners. Adama says "they've been sentenced to hard labor. And this is very hard labor." Indeed. So what's wrong with forcing them to mine the water? I tend to agree with Adama.

But Roslin didn't agree with Adama, and that's all that matters. I don't agree with her decision to give the prisoners more rights and to make this work voluntary, but she's the president and that's that. She has the right to make these decisions. It's important to note that my disagreement with Roslin's decision doesn't degrade the story in any way. Presidents make decisions which are unpopular all the time. It's simply realistic.

Indeed, her decision led to the very conflict which this episode centers around. Her perhaps misplaced compassion for the prisoners gave Zarek his chance to take over the Astral Queen, which makes her "no deals, no negotiating with terrorists" stance rather ironic. However the centerpiece of this episode is the exploration of where Apollo's loyalties lie. I felt early on in the episode Adama was right. Apollo hadn't picked a side yet. What that means is sort of nebulous until Tom Zarek's conversation with Apollo about his callsign, which is the perfect metaphor for what Apollo's internal conflict is all about.

Zarek says that Apollo is one of the gods, a lord of Kobol who was god of the bow, god of the hunt, and also a god of healing. Zarek also says that a god can reconcile these two opposing forces but a mortal has to pick one side. Then he asks Apollo which side he's picked. This is a pivotal moment for Apollo's character, because in the events which take place after this scene, Apollo has clearly chosen neither side. At the end of the episode, everybody has compromised. Neither side gets exactly what it wants. Adama and Roslin are pissed off that Apollo has given Zarek the Astral Queen, and Zarek is not completely satisfied either because his original goal was to bring down the government and call for immediate elections.

But also in the end, this compromise works well enough for everybody. Zarek and his men do the water mining in exchange for their freedom, and the fleet gets water. While the situation is not resolved to everyone's ideal satisfaction, it is resolved the only way it could have been resolved. And in this resolution, Apollo proves that he doesn't need to "pick a side," for he can reconcile being "god of the hunt" and "god of healing" satisfactorily. Apollo, true to his callsign, can balance his opposing beliefs and internal conflicts, which is his most valuable skill of all.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From AuH2O on 2008-04-23 at 10:55pm:
    It seems that Lee makes this choice only really in Season 4 when he gives up flying for good and joins the Quorum. There is a high degree of continuity between this episode and what is happening in Season 4 right now.

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BSG - 1x04 - Act of Contrition - Originally Aired: 2004-11-8

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.87

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 24 2 2 1 0 6 5 13 19 13 17

Synopsis
After a flight deck accident kills 13 pilots and wounds many others, Kara is thrust into service as a flight instructor and ordered to turn a group of civilian pilots and academy washouts into full-fledged Viper pilots.

The assignment brings back painful memories for Kara. She can't forget how she let Zak (Commander Adama's son and her lover) pass Basic Flight when he wasn't ready, and how it ultimately cost him his life. Determined never to repeat the mistake, she flunks out the would-be pilots on their first day.

She is immediately confronted, first by Lee, then by Adama, and forced to admit to the Commander her role in Zak's death. Adama orders her to continue training the "nuggets." Meanwhile, Sgt. Hadrian continues her investigation into the detonators found in Sharon's spacecraft, and President Roslin consults the ship's doctor about her cancer.

Far away on Cylon-occupied Caprica, Sharon and Helo find a secret cache of food. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Zak Adama is played by a different actor than the one that portrayed him in the miniseries.

Factoids
- Commander Adama at one time served on board the Battlestar Atlantia and made his 1000'th landing on that ship.
- There are two civilian flight instructors in the fleet.
- Costanza (Hot Dog) is played by Bodie Olmos, Edward James Olmos' son.
- Hot Dog washed out of the Colonial Fleet Academy.
- According to Apollo, there are 40 vipers and 21 pilots aboard Galactica as of this episode. The pilots figure probably does not include the nuggets.
- According to Apollo, the fleet is still in the process of mining water.
- A great deal more pilots were to be killed than actually were in the episode, but the network complained, so they scaled it down.
- The actor who plays Dr. Cottle originally auditioned to play Colonel Tigh.

Remarkable Scenes
- The happy, ceremonious, playful atmosphere at the beginning of the episode.
- The accident.
- The funeral.
- Roslin's first meeting with Dr. Cottle. I love the obvious irony of a doctor coming in and lighting a cigarette in front of a cancer patient. She even asks him to put it out and he refuses and keeps on smoking!
- Kat blowing a landing.
- Apollo accidentally hinting to Adama that Starbuck felt guilty for something she did for Zak.
- Starbuck revealing to Adama that she passed Zak even though he should have failed his final flight test.
- Starbuck taking on all eight Cylon fighters and Hot Dog turning to help her.
- The battle resulting in Starbuck's ejection and crashing into the moon.

My Review
Here is an episode that works well but loses something in the style department. First and foremost, showing Starbuck ejecting from her viper so many times throughout the story was just completely unnecessary and should have been totally omitted. I can't stand flash forward storytelling, or episodes in which the ending is shown first then the events which led up that ending follow. It's needlessly distracting and doesn't really serve a purpose to begin with. Also, while by and large the flashbacks to the past were extremely well done and woven in nearly perfectly into the present scenes, some of the material was repetitive and redundant. That combined with Starbuck ejecting from her viper repeatedly tended to waste a lot of the episode's time.

Aside from that, the main plot of the senseless death of so many viper pilots was quite moving. As if the Galactica didn't already have a huge shortage of personnel, this is a severe kick in the face. The pragmatic approach of the plot is also quit sobering. "Okay, we just lost a dozen pilots. Time to train more!" However, I think it goes without saying that the scene in which Starbuck admits her sin to Adama is the centerpiece of the episode. I loved both actors' performance in this scene. Everything from Starbuck breaking down and crying to Adama being driven to the point of fury was magnificent. That scene was truly milked for all it was worth.

Another detail worth mentioning is how they're still busy mining the water from the ice moon and it's because they've been stationary so long at a place with natural resources that the Cylons have been able to find them. Without the water crisis, the fleet wouldn't be in this planetary system. Without being in this planetary system for so long the Cylons probably would not have found them and Starbuck would not have crashed onto that moon. The direct interconnectedness of all these events is quite well done. Finally, the space battles in this episode were their typical levels of gorgeously outstanding. Overall another solid episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Jonathan explains it all on 2013-04-12 at 12:41pm:
    I really hate the flash forwards in the title sequence.

    "On The Beach" (1959) has a similar storyline (and outcome) about a mysterious signal coming from a post nuclear radioactive city.

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BSG - 1x05 - You Can't Go Home Again - Originally Aired: 2004-11-15

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.43

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 20 3 18 7 4 7 13 18 21 17 13

Synopsis
When Lt. Kara Thrace goes missing in action after encountering a Cylon patrol while on a training mission, Commander Adama feels responsible, especially in light of her recent admission that she blames herself for his son Zak's death.

Both Adama and Lee devote the full resources of the fleet to search for their missing fighter ace, causing some to wonder if it's worth risking the lives of 45,000 people to save one downed pilot. When President Roslin questions their motives and points out that Kara's oxygen was exhausted hours ago, they reluctantly call off the search.

But they haven't counted on Kara's resourcefulness and courage. Stranded on a red moon, her knee a twisted wreck, she struggles to relaunch a damaged Cylon fighter and return to Galactica. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- If I were Helo, I'd seriously be wondering about why the Cylons captured Sharon but left him alive.

Factoids
- This episode establishes that Cylon raiders are cyborgs.
- The scene where Starbuck and Apollo waggle their ships deliberately resembles a similar scene in BSG 1978's The Hand of God.
- The director of this episode, Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, had never directed an episode of TV prior to this episode, only films.

Remarkable Scenes
- Colonial officer gives rank insignia to someone count 5. Apollo gives a viper badge to Hot Dog for his bravery in defending Starbuck.
- Starbuck being dragged around by her parachute resulting in her breaking her leg on a rock.
- Adama to Roslin regarding Starbuck: "Frak the odds, we're gonna find her."
- I love how the toaster tipped off the Cylons that Helo was hiding in that building.
- Starbuck stumbling on the Cylon raider she shot down.
- Adama screaming at Tigh.
- Starbuck: "So I guess the only thing flying you, is you!"
- Adama throwing Tigh out of the CIC.
- Roslin dressing down Adama and Apollo for their irresponsible behavior.
- Starbuck flying the Cylon raider off the planet.
- Starbuck and Apollo waggling their ships just like in BSG 1978's "The Hand of God."
- Tyrol to the Cylon raider: "Now your ass belongs to me!"

My Review
The sequel is another fairly mixed bag. What I really loved about this episode was everything that had to do with the Cylon raider. The whole idea of Starbuck fixing the thing, then stealing it and flying back to Galactica with it was just fascinating and played beautifully. Interestingly, one of the biggest complaints about this episode is just how plausible it was for Starbuck to do all these things with the raider and even survive being attacked by Lee.

To that, I respond Starbuck is special. Starbuck is the extreme, larger than life character that the writers are allowed to do these things with. It was something of a tradition in BSG TOS, and it's a tradition I respect that they're repeating in this show. Because after all, it's not that anything she does in this episode is impossible, it's just extremely unlikely. Not only did she have to be super-skilled to pull it off, but super lucky as well. And that's how it was.

The mixed bag comes into play when we start talking about character dynamics. This episode really shakes up various characters' relationships with one another, which is a good thing, but what really bothered me was how Adama and Lee were being complete assholes to everybody and making irrational decisions left and right over their personal feelings for Starbuck. I know what it means, I understand its realism. I get it. But it was overdone.

There was some good stuff in there. I really liked how Adama took out his frustrations on Tigh, and I loved the scene when Adama said to Roslin "frak the odds, we're gonna find her" in a most unprofessional way. But in addition to these gems were a number of smaller scenes that essentially are out to make the same point but do so less effectively. Perhaps the episode would have been better if more time were spent on Caprica, or given the similar drawn out feel of Act of Contrition, perhaps the episode would have been better if it were compressed into a single piece instead of two.

In any case, special mention goes to the apparent role reversals of Adama and Tigh. It's rather amusing to note that Tigh always walks around the Galactica like he owns the place, yelling at people, barking out orders, and so forth. Tigh rules with a firm hand. On the other hand, Adama has always been very calm and very collected. Now Adama goes berserk, and Tigh is forced to be the calm and serene one for a change.

A very special mention goes to the scene when Roslin confronts Adama and Apollo about their irresponsible behavior. She completely dresses them down and tells them how horrible they are, and they just kind of stand there and take it. Then she leaves the room, like there's nothing more to say. And the two men just kind of look at each other and silently acknowledge that she's right. What an amazing scene.

Finally, it seems clear that the Cylon plan for Helo is to force him to fall in love with Sharon and, most likely, to get them to produce a child. Think about it. The two themes the Cylons have made clear so far are their devotion to their monotheistic religion and their desire to procreate. Granted, they haven't come out and said "our mission is to procreate with humans," but given Six's line about how "procreation is one of god's commandments" and given how much she is devoted to the Cylon god, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that Helo and Sharon are a procreation experiment. It's the only explanation for why they're messing around with Helo rather than just killing him.

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BSG - 1x06 - Litmus - Originally Aired: 2004-11-22

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 4.92

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 22 3 2 8 4 5 14 15 15 9 3

Synopsis
When a new copy of Doral, a Cylon who had been previously exposed while serving as the Galactica's public-relations officer, sneaks aboard and blows himself up, killing three people, Commander Adama and President Roslin must finally make public the terrifying secret known only to a select few: Cylons now look like humans.

Adama also appoints an independent tribunal to investigate the recent security breaches and names Sgt. Hadrian as lead investigator. When Hadrian discovers a hatch was left open, even after Chief Tyrol had reported that all were closed, she focuses the investigation on him and his relationship with Sharon.

Tyrol's crew covers for their chief, taking the blame for his failure. When Hadrian tries to expand the inquiry, haranguing Adama about his decision not to reveal the truth about Cylons, the commander shuts down the tribunal.

Meanwhile, on Caprica, a trio of Cylons observe Helo as he tries to save himself and find the woman he thinks is Sharon. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- The Cylon Helo fought in this episode didn't put up much of a fight. Again, if I were Helo, I'd seriously be wondering what the hell is going on. Maybe he's just too blinded by his love for Sharon to care?

Factoids
- According to the Six in Baltar's head, the Cylons are completely unaware of her being in Baltar's head.
- Tricia Helfer had never done a fight scene prior to this episode.
- Chief Tyrol's been under Adama's command for 5 years.
- Adama's father was a civil liberties lawyer.

Remarkable Scenes
- A copy of Doral showing up and blowing himself up aboard Galactica.
- The scene when Tyrol discovers his deck crew manufacturing booze.
- Roslin revealing the existence of human model Cylons to the fleet.
- Six insisting that Baltar complete the Cylon detector project.
- The Cylons beating up Sharon.
- Helo taking out a Centurion and "rescuing" Sharon.
- Hadrian questioning Adama.
- Adama to Tyrol: "What I can't do is I can't let someone who wears this uniform get on the witness stand and lie under oath. And that's what your man did. He either lied the first time or he lied the second time. And it doesn't matter. He's guilty and he'll pay the price. You, you'll pay a different price. You'll have to walk out on that hangar deck every day knowing that one of your men is in the brig because you couldn't keep your fly zipped. You're the most experienced non-commissioned officer we have left. You keep my planes flying. I need my planes to fly. Dismissed."

My Review
This episode advances Galactica's plot, but does not manage to stand as well on its own as many other episodes in my opinion. There are some milestone events featured here, most importantly Roslin revealing to the people the existence of humanoid Cylons. Also, we're given confirmation that Helo is an experiment in love by the Cylons. Helo is being manipulated into falling in love with Sharon. But these details do little to redeem what I felt was a fairly weak A-plot.

First of all, Doral's motives are unclear. Where was he going? To Baltar's lab? If so, why doesn't Boomer blow up Baltar's lab? She already blew up the water tanks on Galactica, what's one more bomb? My best guess is Doral's motive was to spread fear. The Cylons wanted the fleet to know there are agents among them so they'd start turning on each other precisely the way Cally feared.

The motives of the Six in Baltar's head are, however, even less clear. On one had she claims the Cylons know nothing about her presence in Baltar's head, but on the other hand, that could very easily be another tactic of misdirection. However, she is helping Baltar build a Cylon detector, so what's going on with this?

The story's biggest weakness is Sgt. Hadrian's witch hunt. I absolutely despise overzealous lawyer and prosecutor stories in TV and film and Galactica's version is only barely tolerable. This BSG episode reminds me of all the things I hated about Star Trek TNG's episode The Drumhead. However, Adama's final scene with Tyrol almost makes up for all the rest. That wonderful lecture Adama gives Tyrol is great and just as emotionally powerful as when Roslin dressed down Adama and Apollo in the previous episode.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DJB on 2011-12-04 at 8:29pm:
    I thought the psychological drama in this episode was amazing. It had a physical effect on me. It's funny you should mention TNG's "The Drumhead" -- I was also reminded of that episode by this one. Unlike you, though, I thought that episode was brilliant, and I felt the same way about this one. The acting was amazing, and the script was excellent. I especially liked Tyrol's conversation with Adama at the end (which you also liked), where Adama places responsibility for the Specialist's taking the fall for him on Tyrol's shoulders. I came away from the episode thinking, "forget the Cylons -- these people have enough trouble dealing with each other!"
  • From Jonathan explains it all on 2013-04-14 at 11:13am:
    The (wordless) reactions of the investigators sitting at the back of the tribunal room were very funny. Especially the Asian woman. Hilarious.

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BSG - 1x07 - Six Degrees of Separation - Originally Aired: 2004-11-29

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 4.91

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 25 8 10 8 22 7 13 12 16 9 18

Synopsis
When Baltar and the Number Six who lives in his head have a falling out, she abandons him, only to surface a short while later aboard the Galactica. But now she's called Shelley Godfrey, everyone can see her, and she's telling them that she has evidence, passed on by the late Dr. Amarak, that will prove Baltar sold out the human race to the Cylons.

With Baltar in a panic and trying to save himself, Number Six focuses her charms on Commander Adama. But the Commander is wary of this stunning stranger and has her followed while her evidence is analyzed.

Kara struggles to recover from her injuries while Chief Tyrol and the crew try to reverse-engineer the Cylon raider she piloted home.

Meanwhile, dual Sharons face their own challenges. On Caprica, she and Helo are on the run from Cylon centurions; on the Galactica, she's terrified of being exposed as a Cylon herself. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- What was Shelly Godfrey? She couldn't be a Cylon agent, Cylon agents don't round corners and disappear. She also couldn't be a hallucination, because she interacted with the physical world.

Factoids
- Six Degrees of Separation is also the title of a 1993 feature film.
- Katie Sakhoff adlibbed the whole "treat it like a goat" line during the Cylon raider tests.
- This episode would seem to contradict assertion that the Six in Baltar's head made that she is not in contact with the Cylons. She must have been lying.
- During the bathroom scene Gaeta can be heard whistling the opening musical theme from BSG 1978.

Remarkable Scenes
- Six: "He's not my god, he is god."
- Baltar, regarding faith in god: "What you are doing, darling, is boring me to death with your superstitious drivel. Your metaphysical nonsense. Which to be fair actually appeals to the half educated dullards that make up most of human society but which I hasten to add no rational, intelligent, free thinking human being truly believes."
- Tyrol struggling with the Cylon raider.
- Cottle and Apollo taunting Starbuck regarding her recovery.
- Cottle's emergency house call with Roslin.
- Adama not at all falling for Shelly Godfrey's advances.
- The infamous bathroom scene, complete with the "no more Mr. Nice Gaius!" line.
- Boomer regarding the Cylon raider: "It's not really a thing, you know? It's probably a Cylon itself. More of an animal maybe than the human models. Maybe they genetically designed it to perform a task. To be a fighter. You can't treat it like a thing and expect it to respond. You have to treat it like a pet. Or... at least that's my guess."
- Tigh's reverse psychology on Starbuck.
- Roslin voicing to Baltar her gut instinct that he had something to do with the attack.

My Review
What an amazing episode ruined by such a terrible ending. Truly the low point of the season, this episode builds so well to a climax that isn't at all true the episode's premise.

The episode opens with Baltar finally setting Six over the edge with his blasphemous behavior that she summons a Six model Cylon agent to show Baltar the wrath that can be inflicted upon him for his blasphemy. With great comedy weaved into the fascinating drama, Baltar fights for his reputation.

Additionally the B plot having to do with all the dealings with the Cylon raider and the manipulation of Starbuck into getting off her ass and helping out Tyrol was great as well. I love the idea that nobody else can get the raider to work; that Starbuck's innate skill and instinct is what led to her ability to control it. That, and Boomer's scene with the raider talking about how it should be treated like a pet, not a thing, was just wonderful.

Speaking of Boomer, the Helo-Boomer storyline seems to climax somewhat in this episode, for their love has began to blossom. I really don't like the glowing spine during sex thing, but I understand that it's just a gimmick and that it isn't meant to be taken very seriously. So, the Cylons got them together. Now what? "Procreation is one of god's commandments." So, a baby as a result of the sex?

I strangely rooted for Baltar all throughout the episode because he wasn't directly responsible for the destruction of the colonies, and definitely not in the way Shelly Godfrey is indicating. One of the greatest scenes of the episode depicts Roslin declaring her gut feeling that Baltar was in some way involved with the attack. Things look grim for him when suddenly Gaeta discovers that the photo evidence was indeed faked; it's almost as if Shelly wanted to be discovered to be lying.

But it's also here that the episode completely collapses in on itself. Shelly rounds a corner and simply vanishes. Okay, I know the writers are purposely not placing an emphasis on technical things, but having Shelly vanish into thin air with no trace pushes the limits of suspension of disbelief. Because of this event, she couldn't realistically be a Cylon agent, because Cylon agents don't just round corners and disappear. But she also couldn't be a some sort of communal hallucination either, because she interacted with the physical world on Galactica. What we're looking at here is Galactica's first overt technical problem and it's a pretty big one. A showstopper, episode ruining technical problem.

There are a number of ways to rationalize this, along with other unanswered questions and potential technical problems on the show, but unlike those other issues, this one takes a lot of rationalization to explain away which we're unlikely to ever see on screen, leaving a gaping plot hole behind.

This episode exemplifies the danger behind taking a loose attitude toward technical details. RDM has stated that during his work on Trek they had write long explanations for why certain technologies (such as the transporter) couldn't be used in a given situation and that by loosely defining the capabilities of the various plot devices on Galactica (such as the Cylons, or Galactica's FTL drive) that they're avoiding writing themselves into such corners. But it's a double edged sword that had some kickback in this case. I hope they never do this to us again.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Jake on 2011-02-03 at 8:51pm:
    The technical problem with Shelly disappearing actually can be explained in the context of the 4th season (although this probably was not intentional). If head six is actually an Angel, then Shelly Godfrey might have been an angel or a mass illusion (God can pretty much do that if he wants to I suppose). The entire purpose is to punish Baltar and all of Galactica gets sucked into head six's little game.

    This explains how Shelly can disappear as well as why the entire flawed plan to discredit Baltar makes no sense as an actual cylon operation; it had almost no chance of actually working and only made Baltar more popular in the end.
  • From Kethinov on 2011-02-03 at 10:24pm:
    Yes. God is real. What a great rationalization for the technical problem! *sigh*
  • From Steven on 2011-09-24 at 4:40pm:
    It's remarkable to me how often you find 'technical impossibilities' to be show-stoppers. I don't quite get that. In this case there's not even a need to go into technical explanations. She was being followed, rounded a corner, and when the follower rounded that same corner, she was nowhere in sight. Do we know how closely she was being followed? No. Do we also know that the marines' testimony is fully reliable? No. So why is there the presumption that the only explanation is non-technical? Movies all of the time contain scenes in which someone being followed is able to lose their tail. Why presume that she did literally vanish?
  • From Kethinov on 2011-10-07 at 3:00am:
    Because the episode strongly implies that she vanished in precisely the same way that Baltar's hallucinations appear and then vanish suddenly.

    The post-season 4 BSG film The Plan actually rationalizes the technical problem introduced in this episode by depicting a convoluted trick involving two Six Cylons allowing her to appear to round a corner faster than the marines could tail her, thus creating the illusion that she simply vanished.

    However, that rationalizing was too little, too late. We shouldn't be left hanging for several seasons on such a silly thing and this episode makes a big point about how she "just vanished" in an implied quasi-supernatural sense. It's bad writing, and my rating stands.
  • From Dionysus on 2012-03-21 at 11:05am:
    Actually Jake is right..I understand people watch Sci-Fi for the science aspect, but you need to realize that BSG takes place in a universe in which a God exists. Now i'm an atheist too.. I understand that this show is not meant to promote a belief in God, it's just a part of a fictional storyline to create drama, and its not like BSG ended with divine intervention - obviously from this episode it was meant to be an overt theme all along...whats wrong with having religious themes in Sci-Fi?
  • From Kethinov on 2012-03-21 at 1:05pm:
    Religious themes are fine. What this episode did is not a religious theme, it's religious literalism. The story left no room absent of The Plan's convoluted rationalization for alternative explanations and heavily implied that the plot was the literal work of god, just like the series finale.

    The right way to do it is the way 33 did it. The religious themes in that episode were terrific because the plot makes it clear that coincidence is a perfectly valid explanation as well. The same can't be said here. The Plan had to do incredible amounts of work to de-god this plot.
  • From keiren on 2013-06-09 at 4:09am:
    And whatever happened to using your imagination?

    Besides, if the writers decide god exists in this universe, then he does. We have to accept that as part of this show & universe....
  • From Kethinov on 2013-06-09 at 1:48pm:
    That would have been fine if it were baked into the show's premise from the beginning, but it wasn't. Outside of the extremely rare oddball episode like this one (which later turned out NOT to be god's work after all), the use of god as a plot device didn't begin until the last third of the show.

    So basically it started as a gritty and realistic hard sci fi dark drama, then it flipped in the final third of the show into little more than fantasy. Again, there's nothing wrong with fantasy, but it's in poor taste to completely alter the premise of your story in the final third of the narrative.

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BSG - 1x08 - Flesh and Bone - Originally Aired: 2004-12-6

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 6.46

Rate episode?

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# Votes: 12 3 1 1 4 4 8 12 18 19 11

Synopsis
A Cylon, who calls himself Leoben, is discovered on one of the ships in the fleet. Commander Adama sends Kara to interrogate him, or rather, it. The Cylon tells Kara that he planted a nuclear device on one of the ships. Although she doesn't believe it, Kara passes on the warning.

As her colleagues search for the device, Kara engages Leoben in a battle of wills. Theological debates about souls and the humanity of Cylons lead to mind games, threats, and, ultimately, torture. Taking a personal interest in what Leoben has to say, President Roslin joins the interrogation.

On Galactica, Sharon asks Baltar to try out his new Cylon-detecting technology on her.

Meanwhile, on far-off Caprica, another Sharon conspires with her Cylon associates Doral and Number Six to convince Helo to remain on the planet and start a new life. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- How did Leoben know so much about Starbuck's past?

Factoids
- Leoben claims he is god in this episode. It is not clear if he is doing philosophical double talk, as Adama would call it, or if there is more significance to the line.
- Boomer claims to be from the city of Troy (which is presumably on Aerelon). But Six claims that's a lie.
- The current survivor count on Laura's whiteboard can be seen to read 47954 in this episode.

Remarkable Scenes
- Leoben: "To know the face is god is to know madness."
- Six: "Wonder why the call her Boomer?"
- Leoben: "Do you realize I could kill you before they came back in the room? I could get to my feet, rip your skull from your spinal column, crash through that door, and kill the guard in less time than it's taking me to describe it to you?"
- Leoben psychoanalyzing Starbuck and accurately predicting her family history.
- Baltar discovering Boomer to be a Cylon.
- Leoben: "Each of us plays a role; each time a different role. Maybe the last time I was the interrogator and you were the prisoner. The players change, the story remains the same. And this time, this time, your role is to deliver my soul unto god. Do it for me. It's your destiny. And mine. And I told you I had a surprise for you. Are you ready? You are going to find Kobol, birthplace of us all. Kobol will lead you to Earth. This is my gift to you, Kara."
- Leoben declaring to Roslin that Adama is a Cylon.
- Roslin ordering Leoben thrown out the airlock.
- Roslin: "President Adar once said that the interesting thing about being a president is that you don't have to explain yourself to anyone."

My Review
Like Litmus, this is another episode which does little more than simply advance the running plot arcs a bit, but this one does so in style. Leoben is one of my favorite Cylons because he's just so interesting to listen to and watch. It's kind of annoying that all his spiritual talk in this episode seemed to lack an overall purpose and significance, but at least some of it was interesting. His prophesying that Earth actually does exist and that the humans will find it has some interesting implications. Is it true, or is he just messing with them? His creepily detailed and accurate read of Starbuck's past and psychological profile was also of distinct interest.

Indeed, what makes this episode shine is the interplay between Leoben and Starbuck, as well as toward the end of the episode the interplay between Leoben and Roslin. Watching Leoben interact with people was utterly fascinating, for his character is shrouded in so many layers of mysterious intent. On one hand, he's most definitely trying to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt. On the other hand, he does tend to mix his lies with truth as Adama said. The Cylons are experts at misdirection and Leoben is a prime example of this.

On the Boomer-Helo front, I'm not sure what to make of the events of this episode. It seems quite clear that the Cylons want Boomer and Helo to stay on Caprica and start a life together. But it also seems pretty clear that Boomer has betrayed the Cylons' plans for them. Why? This much is not made clear.

In the end, as much as I liked this episode from a stylistic point of view, there is next to nothing concrete that can be retained plot-wise from the episode. So while one of the more entertaining and thought provoking episodes of the season, I can't grant it a high rating due to its ambiguous purpose. There's not necessarily anything wrong with that, for it may enhance a future, more pointed episode in the future. But I can't rate episodes based on what might be.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From -_Name_- on 2013-06-18 at 2:20pm:
    This was a great episode. The ambiguity is superb - how much of what he said was some kind of calculated disinformation algorithm, intended to confuse and paralyze, and how much was heart-felt? Interesting either way.

    The only real problem is how Adama agreed with the president's order to interrogate the Cylon... He could've made a very convincing case that this was a military decision and that it was too dangerous and futile to bother, especially after his own experience... So: weird that he didn't bother to argue, and come to think of it weird that he would send Starbuck (recently rescued and walking with a cane) instead of going himself.

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BSG - 1x09 - Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down - Originally Aired: 2004-12-13

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5.14

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 18 4 9 11 4 16 21 19 16 9 7

Synopsis
President Roslin's fears that Commander Adama is a Cylon are stoked when she learns he's making secret wireless calls to other ships. Then, to make things worse, a single Cylon raider appears near the Galactica and begins acting strangely after being damaged in battle.

When Adama returns to the ship with Tigh's wife, Ellen, an earthy temptress and irrepressible flirt who claims to have been in a coma since their civilization was destroyed, Roslin's suspicions increase. She orders Baltar to screen both Ellen and Adama with his newly completed Cylon-detector.

Meanwhile, Col. Tigh and the rest of the crew watch warily and gather data as the wounded Cylon raider jumps in and out of space.

On Caprica, the Cylon overseers fear that the Cylon Sharon is developing a strange feeling toward Helo: love. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- So if it takes 11 hours to determine whether or not somebody is a Cylon, did Sharon really stay in Baltar's lab for 11 hours in the prior episode? Or did she leave and come back? The episode seemed to indicate that it only took a matter of minutes for Baltar to determine her to be a Cylon.
- The woman depicting Tigh's wife in the photograph Tigh burns in the miniseries was actually originally executive producer David Eick's wife. They reshot the photo for this episode with the actress playing Ellen Tigh instead.

Factoids
- This episode is also known as Secrets and Lies.
- Edward James Olmos (Commander Adama) directed this episode.
- Baltar says there 47905 people in the fleet.
- The music playing in the background as Baltar laments over having to test so many people is called Battlestar Operatica and the lyrics are song in Italian. Translated into English, the song goes, "Woe upon your Cylon heart; There's a toaster in your head; And it wears high heels; Number Six calls to you; The Cylon Detector beckons; Your girlfriend is a toaster; Woe upon your Cylon heart; Alas, disgrace! Alas, sadness and misery!; The toaster has a pretty dress; Red like its glowing spine; Number Six whispers; By your command."
- According to Baltar, it takes 11 hours to test each blood sample for Cylon indicators.
- According to Adama, Ellen Tigh slept with "more than half the fleet" while Saul Tigh was in space.
- This episode was originally inspired by the film Crimson Tide.
- According to RDM, much of the dinner party scene was improvised.

Remarkable Scenes
- Roslin: "If you're a Cylon, I'd like to know." Adama: "If I'm a Cylon you're really screwed."
- Baltar lamenting over his endless Cylon detection work.
- Starbuck stumbling on Baltar (masturbating?).
- Tigh pouring the last of his booze into the trash: "Well at least I did that much."
- The Cylon raider showing up, Apollo damaging it, and it "flopping around" outside, as Tigh put it.
- Ellen Tigh's appearance.
- The dinner party.
- Ellen hitting on Apollo.
- Ellen: "Boo!"
- Roslin: "You actually think that woman is a Cylon?" Apollo: "Well, if she's not, then we're all in a lot of trouble."
- The argument in Baltar's lab is just precious. The best line is Baltar's: "Ladies and gentlemen, please, please! We're in a laboratory, there are hazardous chemical compounds everywhere. That, that's a thermonuclear bomb for frak's sake."
- Adama and Tigh reconciling their differences.

My Review
The funniest episode of Galactica's first season, perhaps the funniest episode ever done on Galactica. I was pleased that this episode opened with Roslin in full suspicion mode about whether or not Adama is a Cylon, an after effect from what Leoben told her in the previous episode, and that they provided added incentive for her to suspect this with Adama's odd behavior, and that Adama's odd behavior ended up having an ultimate purpose. All of these things were weaved together skillfully into a clever story with a hilarious climax.

Comedy is not something that is done, or even should be done on Galactica very often. BSG TOS proved to us that it is a mistake, but this episode was very, very carefully crafted to make it actually work. The reason it works so well is because of who Ellen Tigh actually is. She's a manipulative, calculating person out to serve herself in any way she can. She's not afraid of making an ass of herself, and she's possibly just as much an alcoholic as Tigh. It's very likely she is the reason that Tigh is an alcoholic, either by example, by her infidelity, or both.

The crutch of the comedy was how well Ellen Tigh contrasts with the other characters. Everybody else, even Baltar to a certain extent, is more serious and professional in their behavior than Ellen. So the episode climaxes in scenes like the dinner party and Baltar's lab where the characters are just in agony over the embarrassing situation. But at the end of the day, this episode speaks volumes about Saul Tigh, for it is really his episode. Not Ellen's.

Consider this, many people complain about the subplot involving the Cylon raider as contributing nothing to the plot, or that it's a plot device to make Adama's actions seem more suspicious. And it is. But the ultimate purpose for this subplot becomes evident at the end. Tigh orders based on a hunch the alert fighters to be launched which ultimately saves the ship. This is exactly why Adama likes Tigh so much and keeps him around. Tigh is a damn good officer. Maybe he's a deeply flawed man, maybe he goes around yelling at people, maybe everybody hates him. But Adama sees true value in him.

And after all, isn't that realistic? How many functional alcoholics have you known in your life? The disease can mess people up pretty hard, but in the end if the sufferer is of strong enough will, they manage to persevere in some way. The term "functional alcoholic" was coined in that way for a very specific reason. Alcoholism is not always a debilitating disease. Many people live with it and live normal lives. Many people live well despite the disease, and some people are even strengthened in some ways because of the disease.

Through and through, a fantastic episode exploring Tigh's character and the nature of alcoholism itself.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From AuH2O on 2008-04-25 at 12:26am:
    Why does it suddenly take 11 hours to test someone's blood when it took a few minutes when Boomer was "beta tested" a few episodes back?

    That's a clear technical Problem.

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BSG - 1x10 - The Hand of God - Originally Aired: 2005-1-3

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.85

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 33 6 7 4 3 6 19 8 9 17 45

Synopsis
As its fuel supply dwindles, the fleet must seek out a new supply of tylium ore or risk becoming sitting ducks to any Cylon attack. A recon patrol finds an asteroid full of the fuel, but there's a catch. The Cylons have found it first and established a heavily guarded refining plant.

Kara devises a plan: Jump three decoy ships near the asteroid; when the Cylons attack, destroy their bases, leaving them stranded in space. It's a bold tactic, but it will take luck, skill and daring to pull it off.

Meanwhile, President Roslin begins to hallucinate as a result of the Chamalla she's taking to combat her breast cancer. When she consults Elosha, a priestess who has used Chamalla to induce visions, she learns that her circumstances fulfill a 3,600-year-old prophecy.

On Cylon-occupied Caprica, Sharon and Helo's flight from the Cylon overseers suddenly becomes more complicated when Sharon discovers she's pregnant. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Visual Effects For A Series. (2004)
- This episode is an homage to the identically named BSG 1978 episode, which was the series finale for that series.
- Crashdown says that the Cylon base has the only Tylium source in 12 light years, which implies that Galactica has traveled 12 light years since they left the colonies 37 days ago.
- The scene in which the Six in Baltar's head breaks Baltar's neck in his fantasy is a reference to fundamentalist Christianity which contends that to be a true Christian, one must undergo death and rebirth, which is what baptism represents.
- Roslin indicates that there is an overcrowding problem within the fleet.
- William Adama's father was named Joseph Adama.
- According to Roslin, they've stolen enough fuel from the Cylons to last them a few years.

Remarkable Scenes
- Crashdown and Boomer finding Tylium ore on an asteroid only to discover the Cylons built a base there to mine it.
- Adama: "We take the Tylium from the Cylons."
- Elosha: "3600 years ago, Pythia wrote about the exile and the rebirth of the human race. 'And the lords anointed a leader, to guide the caravan of the heavens to their new homeland. And unto the leader they gave a vision of serpents numbering two and ten as a sign of things to come.'"
- Adama regarding Starbuck: "We're not gonna win this one by the book. I want Starbuck in here because she's not weighed down by conventional thinking. With all due respect, gentlemen, we're not as crazy as she is."
- Baltar: "Suppose god doesn't want me to destroy the base because he's the Cylon god. Right?" Six: "God doesn't take sides. He only wants your love."
- Baltar taking a wild guess about the location of the storage tanks.
- Adama testing Starbuck's knee.
- Apollo: "Dad, I'll bring it back." Adama: "You better. Or I'll kick your ass. It's a good lighter."
- The battle commencing.
- Apollo going through the conveyor tunnel.
- Apollo destroying the Cylon base.
- The celebrating, including Starbuck abruptly hugging Roslin, catching her off guard.
- Apollo returning the lighter to his father.
- Six, recalling a later verse of the scrolls of Pythia: "The outcome favored the few and led to a confrontation at the home of the gods."
- Baltar: "I am an instrument of god..."

My Review
Ronald D. Moore calls this episode season one's guilty pleasure. I agree. But the bottom line is most science fiction fans really enjoy kick ass space battles. I know it was one of the many things that made Star Trek DS9 so amazing for me, so it's no surprise that this episode appeals to me on those grounds as well.

But also as RDM says it's not enough to do the guilty pleasure episode, you have to do it well and deliver on other levels as well. And this episode does this extremely well. One of the things that would have very quickly become a complaint of mine is BSG's failure to address the limitations of the fleet's fuel. This episode spearheads that issue in the very first scene. Not only that, but instead of having a guilty pleasure episode where the Cylons attack the fleet, which was done extremely well in 33, we have an episode where the Galactica attacks the Cylons. I love every bit of that.

I thought it was wonderful to build off of Starbuck's knee injury in You Can't Go Home Again and force her to sit this mission out. But the writers did more than that. Not only was Starbuck forced to sit out, but it added a new layer of depth to the story, for Apollo now has to the be hotshot pilot pulling Starbuck-style "retina detaching" moves, as he put it. I loved the fact that this change of pace put the two characters at odds, instead of the usual "you can do it! I believe in you!" lameness that's prevalent in other kinds of storytelling.

So when it came time to do this thing, there's extreme pressure on Lee, both of the said and unsaid kind. In addition to the obviousness of failure resulting in the destruction of the entire fleet, Lee is also trying to prove to himself he can be just as impressive a pilot as Starbuck is, and that's what that whole "through the conveyor tunnel" move is all about. All of this depth, all of this drama, and all of this tension is set behind one of the most beautiful space battles I've ever seen as a backdrop. Indeed, The Hand of God is the most visually spectacular episode of the entire season.

Beyond this is the religious innuendo Baltar is facing. Six has been manipulating Baltar into believing; truly believing in the Cylon god for the whole season, but this episode is what really converts Baltar I think. For the entire mission is all on Baltar's shoulders. Can he accurately guess the location of the storage tanks or not? Baltar insists his guess was completely random and just a lie, but Six insists that its accuracy is directly proportional to Baltar's faith in the Cylon god. When Baltar's guess is proven to be "right on the money," Baltar's finally given in.

"All this has happened before and all of it will happen again." Leoben first said this to Kara in Flesh and Bone. Kara noted that it was part of the scriptures. Now Six is quoting the same line of scripture and more to Baltar. Indeed, Colonial religion and Cylon religion appear to be coming to a head. Something religious is going on with Roslin and something religious is going on with Baltar. It may all just be a coincidence of course, but the Cylons don't seem to think so; they seem to know what it is, or at least what it means and are confident it will happen soon.

Specifically, Leoben said the colonials will find Kobol, the birthplace of all mankind. Six said "the outcome favored the few and led to a confrontation at the home of the gods." This must mean that the outcome of the battle favored the Colonials, which is true, and will lead to a new confrontation between the Cylons and the colonials at Kobol, assuming the religious predictions pan out.

I also continue to be delighted by the ambiguous portrayal of religion in the show. All these coincidences lead the characters to believe there is a supernatural element to the story, yet as an objective viewer there's no reason to believe anything happening actually is supernatural which adds immensely to the realism of the show by showing how religious belief has a profound psychological effect on the characters while keeping the audience detached from that effect and grounded in the realistic portrayal.

The final plot point worth discussing is Helo and Sharon on Caprica. There was a fairly obvious hint dropped in this episode that Sharon is indeed pregnant, which confirms my suspicion that the whole Helo/Sharon thing has been an experiment by the Cylons in procreation. But where is this going? Their experiment appears to have been successful in the sense that Sharon appears to be pregnant, but at the same time, Sharon appears to have betrayed the Cylons. This episode leaves you wondering if Sharon's betrayal and the supposed upcoming confrontation at Kobol is connected.

In the grand scheme of things this is among Galactica's top episodes. It's far more than a guilty pleasure, for it is pivotal to the show's developing story arc. Both visually spectacular and thought provoking.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Jonathan explains it all on 2013-04-18 at 6:19pm:
    I don't understand what happened to all the cylon fighters.

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BSG - 1x11 - Colonial Day - Originally Aired: 2005-1-11

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 6.4

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 8 3 1 4 3 7 7 12 15 23 4

Synopsis
When President Roslin calls an Interim Quorum of the Twelve Colonies, she discovers that democracy brings its ugly stepsisters, politics and deadly intrigue, to the party. Tom Zarek, the charismatic convicted terrorist, is elected as the delegate from Sagittaron and immediately proposes elections for the vice-presidency.

Roslin encourages her trusted adviser, Wallace Gray, to run against Zarek, but when he proves less than popular, she turns to the suddenly popular Baltar as her candidate.

Meanwhile, two shady and heavily armed characters, Grimes and Vallance, have infiltrated the Quorum site. Lee and Kara foil the assassins' plot, but then Vallance mysteriously dies in custody.

Light-years away, on Cylon-occupied Caprica, Sharon must make an impossible choice. If she is to save Helo's life, she must finally reveal to him that she is a Cylon. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Safiya Sanne, one of the colonial delegates, is seen representing both Picon and Leonis in this episode.

Factoids
- This episode was aired on my 20th birthday.
- This episode was inspired by The West Wing.
- Cloud 9 was damaged during the Cylon attack and had to be evacuated, but has since been repaired. It is the most luxurious cruise ship in the fleet.
- The Cloud 9 sets are actually the University of British Columbia.
- The Colonial Day holiday in this episode is the 52nd anniversary of the signing of the articles of colonization.
- Roslin's whiteboard can be seen to read 47898 in this episode.
- The scene in which Zarek says to Roslin that he shaved very closely in anticipation of being smacked by her is a reference to the 1970 film Patton.
- The scene in which Starbuck got to wear a dress was at the actress' (Katee Sackhoff's) request.

Remarkable Scenes
- Starbuck informing Baltar that he has been selected as Caprica's delegate.
- Starbuck spraying Apollo with the hose.
- Six pointing out to Baltar that Playa's not wearing any underwear.
- Tom Zarek's move for the election of a vice president and his nomination for that position.
- Zarek's speech to the press.
- The bar fight.
- Helo speculating that the two Sixes he saw were in fact Cylons.
- Baltar praising Roslin and bashing Zarek on the Talk Wireless.
- The bathroom scene.
- The party, complete with Starbuck all dolled up.
- Adama: "Politics. As exciting as war. Definitely as dangerous." Roslin: "Though in war you only get killed once. In politics, it can happen over and over."
- Adama dancing with Roslin and Starbuck dancing with Baltar.
- Helo seeing another Sharon and Helo's Sharon shooting her counterpart.

My Review
While not as annoying to me as Six Degrees of Separation, this episode is perhaps the season's next weakest offering. The main problem is the hollowness and straightforwardness of the plot. Most episodes thus far have been delivered in layers, but this one's pretty plain.

In addition to that a number of weak plot points are introduced here. The most glaringly obvious ones are regarding how both Cloud 9 and Wallace Gray appear to have came out of nowhere; only cheap throw away lines justify their existence. There's not necessarily anything wrong with that, for other TV shows pull these shenanigans all the time. But on this show, that sort of writing style sticks out like a sore thumb compared to prior excellent preplanning.

Another valid point of criticism is why hasn't all the stuff in this episode happened earlier in the season? Wouldn't the establishment of a vice president and the quorum of twelve have been a top priority if these are indeed staples of Colonial government? The only answer is that the characters just didn't get around to it, which seems fairly weak.

Also, it is stated that it's the 52nd anniversary since the signing of the Articles of Colonization, but no other information about the nature of the founding of the Colonial government is dispensed at all, despite its apparently conspicuously recent founding. What exactly do the articles signify? Did their signing occur during the Cylon war? Or just after? What system of government did the Twelve Colonies operate under prior to the signing of the Articles of Colonization? Was each colony independently governed? I found this subject fascinating, but it wasn't explored at all.

The final note of criticism in this episode has to do with the fact that large portions of it are all setup for events that either don't happen or haven't happened yet. The whole assassination attempt thread was pretty close to becoming filler; the only interesting thing to come out of it was Tom Zarek forming an alliance with Ellen Tigh. Truly a match made in heaven. Or perhaps hell. Depends on how you look at it. ;) But the nature of their apparent alliance is vague, at best. There is a hint that Ellen had something to do with Valance's death, but the true implications of their alliance remain to be seen.

There are two things about this episode which redeem it. The first being Baltar's rise to the vice presidency. Well acted and well written all throughout, Baltar's role in this episode steals the show. Every facet of his character is used well in this episode and the larger implications of this event I'm sure also remain to be seen. I found it fascinating that just weeks after declaring to Baltar her suspicions of his involvement in the Cylon attack, Roslin is turning an about face and using his popularity to help her political career. "The devil you know" indeed.

The other thing that makes this episode great is the Helo storyline. Helo has finally put it all together. He probably doesn't know about Sharon's baby yet, but he's discovered that there are human Cylons and that she's a Cylon. Helo freaks out and runs away from her.

Overall though a fairly weak episode, but not the worst. There's some good stuff in here, but it drowns under the weight of an unusual tone of mediocrity.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Jonathan explains it all on 2013-04-19 at 7:14pm:
    "In war you can be killed only once. In politics, many times." This is a Winston Churchill quote.

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BSG - 1x12 - Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 1 - Originally Aired: 2005-1-17

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 5.59

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 30 23 4 4 7 6 7 8 15 33 34

Synopsis
While flying a supply patrol, Crashdown and Sharon Valerii discover a bountiful planet that can support human life. Indeed, it might be Kobol, the legendary "home of the gods." The discovery prompts Commander Adama to send a ground team to investigate; it also gives new life to President Roslin's belief that she is a tool of destiny and that this discovery, like her rapidly spreading cancer, is part of an ancient prophecy.

However, things are not well on the Galactica. Gaius Baltar, the new vice-president, has a one-night stand with Kara Thrace and finds himself at odds with both Lee Adama and a deeply jealous Number Six.

Meanwhile, both Cylon Sharons struggle with their dual natures. On Galactica, she contemplates suicide when she realizes her programming will lead her to betray her comrades; on Caprica, she tries to convince Helo that her love for him is stronger than her loyalty to the Cylons.

After a Raptor carrying Vice-President Baltar is shot down over Kobol, Commander Adama must find a way to destroy the Cylon basestar that guards the planet before he can send a rescue team. He orders Kara to fly a dangerous mission against the basestar, using the captured Cylon Raider, but Kara makes an unauthorized Jump home to Caprica instead, abandoning Adama and the stranded Raptor crew. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- The line in the teaser where Roslin says the Chamalla has other benefits is actually a deleted scene from this episode that they for some reason decided belonged in the recap even though it hasn't happened yet.

Factoids
- The music played in the teaser is called Passacaglia and is among my favorite pieces of music in the season.
- Roslin's whiteboard reads 47897 in this episode.
- The Six in Baltar's head claims to know everything Baltar knows.
- The 13 tribes left Kobol about 2000 years ago according to Elosha.
- According to Six, deep down Galactica Boomer knows she's a Cylon but her conscious mind won't accept it. Boomer's model is weak, and always has been. But in the end she'll carry out her mission.
- This episode establishes that Cylon jump drive technology is more advanced than colonial jump drive technology.
- Socinus is part of the ground survey team which implies that he has been released from the brig. (He was imprisoned after lying to the tribunal in Litmus.)
- The Tomb of Athena is possibly in reference to the character of Athena from the original BSG whom is not present in this show. A tomb named after her might represent her absence from this show.

Remarkable Scenes
- Helo shooting Boomer.
- Adama: "You don't lose control." Apollo: "Thanks." Adama: "No. You gotta lose control. Let your instincts take over." Apollo: "I thought we were just sparring." Adama: "That's why you don't win."
- Helo unable to finish Boomer off.
- Baltar multitasking talking to Roslin and Six.
- Six making Baltar slam his head into the mirror in Colonial One's bathroom.
- Boomer and Crashdown discovering a habitable planet.
- Apollo laying into Starbuck, resulting in the two punching each other.
- Elosha and Roslin coming to the conclusion that the planet they've found is Kobol.
- Baltar to Sharon: "Life can be a curse as well as a blessing."
- Baltar leaving the pilots' rack room to the sound of Sharon attempting to commit suicide by shooting herself.
- Baltar insisting that he be with the ground survey team on Kobol. I love how his demeanor and lines shift from "what would happen if I go?" to a very matter of fact "I must go down there. I will go down there."
- Roslin proposing to Adama that they take the Cylon raider back to Caprica to retrieve the Arrow of Apollo so that it can be used to open the Tomb of Athena on Kobol, which will supposedly guide them to Earth.
- The survey raptors being ambushed by the Cylons.
- Billy: "If you do this, it could threaten everything that we've accomplished. It will probably bring down the government and you don't have a right to risk that for a..." Roslin: "Go on." Billy: "For a drug induced vision of prophecy."
- Roslin making her case to Starbuck, informing her that she's dying and that Commander Adama made up the whole Earth thing to give people hope.
- Starbuck stealing the Cylon raider and taking it back to Caprica.

My Review
Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 1 is the most impressive story shown on BSG since 33. The idea that the Colonials would one day stumble upon the planet from which their lost history and religion is derived is fascinating and its implications are well played. I especially liked the fact that there are those within the fleet, like Adama, who are completely secular and see Kobol as merely lucky find; a planet that should be permanently settled and that conversely there are those within the fleet who take the scriptures more seriously and believe that Kobol will show them the way to Earth.

Special mention goes to the teaser of this episode which was a very impressive collage depicting a boxing sparring match between Adama and Apollo, Baltar and Starbuck sleeping together whilst Starbuck fantasizes about Lee calling out his name, Helo running away from Caprica Boomer, but ultimately being forced to confront her and shoot her, and Galactica Boomer becoming suicidal all played to a beautiful string piece called Passacaglia written by the show's composer, Bear McCreary.

I've not talked about the music on this show yet, so I'll take the opportunity to do it here. The miniseries OST was composed by Richard Gibbs with some assistance by Bear McCreary. The creators of the show were very much insistent that this show be given a very militaristic feel, so the soundtrack is very drum centric. A lot of people complain that the music of the show is "all drums" but in reality it's much more than that. Yes, there are a lot of drums, but if you actually take the time to listen to the full scores of the miniseries or the television run, you'll find some very powerful and very beautiful music inspired by a multitude of genres.

Getting back to the plot, this episode is the culmination of all the major plot arcs that have flowed through the first season. Again, the teaser is kind of a montage of this idea and it works well. I especially like how Helo shoots Sharon, but can't bring himself to finish her whilst at the same time Galactica's Sharon is feeling suicidal but unable to commit suicide. Baltar in an interesting twist for his character even manipulates her and encourages her to make the suicide attempt, which ultimately fails. For as Six has said, she may be a weak Cylon model, but she'll ultimately carry out her mission. Whatever that is.

But the intrigue of the story really lies with the religious conflict. Roslin has convinced Starbuck to go against orders and steal the Cylon raider and take it back to Caprica on what Billy calls "a drug induced vision of prophecy." It's hard for the audience to really take sides here because while there are a lot of intriguing coincidences lending a certain amount of credibility to Roslin's plan, there is just a certain level of craziness to the whole thing that makes Adama's resistant stance a lot more sympathetic.

It's worth noting that Leoben and Six have accurately predicted that the Colonials would find Kobol and that it would lead to a conflict. It's not clear whether or not the "conflict at the home of the gods" was supposed to represent a human-Cylon conflict or an internal human conflict, but in the end, we have both. There are those who support Roslin's and Starbuck's actions and there are those who don't. And of course there's also the military conflict involving the Cylon Basestar in orbit of Kobol.

This episode is such a beautiful flow of ideas and emotions and conflicts. It's a pleasure to watch and acts as a wonderful setup for the season finale.

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BSG - 1x13 - Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 2 - Originally Aired: 2005-1-24

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 6.1

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 26 3 16 7 6 5 3 6 16 13 53

Synopsis
When Commander Adama learns that Kara disobeyed orders and Jumped to Caprica on orders from President Roslin, he demands the president's resignation, with the implied threat of a military coup. Roslin refuses his demand and sparks a confrontation.

As civil war simmers in the fleet, the conflict on Caprica heats up. Kara completes her mission for Laura: She finds the Arrow of Apollo that, according to prophecy, will lead the fleet to Earth. No sooner does she pick it up, however, than she is thrust into a battle to the death with Number Six.

Meanwhile, Adama sends Sharon and Racetrack in a Raptor equipped with a Cylon transponder, to fire a nuclear warhead that will destroy the basestar. But when the missile release jams, Sharon lands the Raptor deep inside the basestar, to deliver the warhead manually.

Once outside her ship, however, Sharon is greeted by dozens of Sharon avatars, all Cylons like her, welcoming her home. She retreats, but is told that she and her fellow Cylons will meet again. She and Racetrack escape the basestar, which explodes.

Mission accomplished, Sharon returns home to the Galactica. She warmly accepts Commander Adama's thanks and praise for a job well done, then she coldly shoots him, point-blank, in the chest. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- When Kara shoots the glass to get the arrow, you can see one of the production crew in the background.

Factoids
- The cliffhanger of this episode was named one of TV Guide's and TV Land's "100 Most Unexpected TV Moments" in 2005.
- Roslin's whiteboard reads 47887 in this episode.
- Cylon Basestars are cyborgs as well.
- The orchestral piece played in the opera house scene (dubbed on the soundtrack The Shape of Things to Come) composed by Bear McCreary is my favorite musical piece of the whole season.
- Destroyed Cylon capital ships, running total: 1 confirmed.

Remarkable Scenes
- Caprica Boomer revealing to Helo that she's pregnant.
- Adama terminating Roslin's presidency.
- Boomer and Racetrack flying inside a Cylon Basestar.
- Kara fighting a Six model.
- Troops storming Colonial One.
- Galactica Boomer meeting her counterparts.
- Kara tackling Six and falling down a cliff just as Helo and Caprica Sharon notice them.
- Lee turning on the attack troops, pointing a gun at Tigh.
- Tigh: "This is mutiny, you know that." Lee: "Yes, I do. And you can tell my father that I'm listening to my instincts and my instincts tell me that we cannot sacrifice our democracy just because the president makes a bad decision."
- The Cylon Basestar exploding.
- An injured Starbuck meeting Helo, then noticing Boomer.
- The opera house scene. One of the best scenes the show has ever done.
- Six: "Life has a melody, Gaius. A rhythm of notes that become your existence once played in harmony with god's plan. It's time to do your part and realize your destiny." Baltar: "Which is what exactly?" Six: "You are the guardian and protector of the new generation of god's children. The first member of our family will be with us soon, Gaius. It's time to make your choice." Baltar: "But I don't understand what you're talking about, really I don't understand." Six: "Come, see the face of the shape of things to come."
- Galactica Boomer shooting Adama.

My Review
A potent story of betrayal. Roslin betrays Adama by breaking their agreement; she makes a military decision over his head. Not only that, but she does it through Kara; she gets Kara to betray him too which makes it so much worse. Then his son betrays him during the deposition of the president. And finally, Boomer betrays him. Shoots him in the chest. Twice. It's incredibly powerful and moving to watch Adama go through all of this emotional disappointment; just when you think it couldn't get worse for him, there's an assassination attempt made on him by someone he trusts in a moment that is supposed to represent his triumph despite recurring betrayal.

The last few minutes of this episode are extremely well done. You can see as Adama falls his son going raving mad with fury and sadness; the whole CIC flows with emotion, contrasted beautifully by the cut to Baltar reveling in his own little world with Six in the wake of the grand revelation about the Cylon plan she's delivered unto him. Indeed, one major facet of the Cylon grand plan is made abundantly clear here and it's that they believe that the future of life lies with human-Cylon hybrids. Caprica Boomer's baby is of extreme importance to the Cylons.

Similar to the teaser of part 1, much of the appeal of this episode is on a very basic level, such as the wonderful visuals and music during the unmistakably beautiful opera house scene, the interior of the Cylon Basestar which is as visually spectacular as it is fascinating, and of course its destruction. Another wonderful aspect to this episode which makes it so appealing is the shock value factor at the end of the episode. Which to be clear is not necessarily unexpected, but the punch of the scene is so strong that it's shocking an emotional level rather than an expectations level. As such, no matter how many times I see the scene, it's still shocking. Overall, a spectacular ending to a great season.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Lyle Van Sciver on 2011-08-21 at 6:10pm:
    I stumbled on your website thru Bing, and I'm glad I did. I have not had internet since 04, and never had cable TV or satellite, so never saw the new BSG. So when I found your reviews I have been reading them avidly to learn about the series. For economic reasons I'm sure I'll never see them, but reading your descriptions and reviews I feel like I've watched the show! Good job, and very very useful to someone like me. I especially think your intellectual musings about themes, ideas, etc. are especially interesting. I really cannot think of any criticisms, except perhaps put a complete cast/character name list at the beginning for complete newbies like me. I got kind of confused for a bit with your interchanging names like Sharon and Boomer within the same review, until I figured out they were the same person. So, thank you thank you thank you for these synopses and reviews, extremely well done. As a side note, I have the pleasure of having been the first person to think of inviting Andrew Probert, designer, to appear at a major science fiction convention. I was doing Publicity for Star Trekon 1980 in Kansas City, and loved Andrew's work on Galactica and Star Trek TMP, called him up in LA - and he was delighted to be one of our Guest Stars, his dad lived in KC and he was thrilled to return to his roots as a celebrity. He got a rousing reception and his talks were very popular success. He's sign his autographs "Here's Red In Your Eye!". OK, just interesting trip down memory lane.

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