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BSG - Season 3

BSG - 3x00 - The Resistance (Webisodes) - Originally Aired: 2006-9-5

My Rating - 1

Fan Rating Average - 3.56

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Synopsis
The webisodes are a series of short clips which chronicle the events of the New Caprica resistance movement. Although the webisodes take place almost directly after the season 2 finale and occur chronologically prior to the season 3 premiere, they are considered an optional extra episode of the third season, as watching them is not necessary to understand what's going on in the season 3 premiere. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- Tyrol's and Cally's baby was born within two months of the Cylon occupation.
- As a viper pilot, Duck has ~40 kills.
- According to Tigh, the 12 colonies had a population of approximately 20 billion.
- Tyrol's and Cally's baby is named Nicholas Steven Tyrol.

Remarkable Scenes
- The Cylons storming the Kobolian temple, killing Nora.
- Jammer: "Ten dead, twelve wounded. They shot the temple to shreds." Tigh: "Never dreamed we'd get this lucky." Jammer: "Lucky? The Cylons are cracking down. They're making random arrests!" Barolay: "1000 people protested outside Colonial One today. Temple massacre pushed people over the edge." Tigh: "Population's with us now." Barolay: "Solved our recruitment problem. More than 150 people joined up in the last 3 days." Tigh: "Hell of a bargain for a few confiscated weapons." Jammer: "What about the ten innocent people? Why don't you tell Duck what a bargain you got for Nora's life!" Tigh: "You got that ass backwards sonny. We didn't shoot those people. The chrome jobs did." Jammer: "Because we hid weapons there." Tigh: "Hey, we're not playing patty cake here. These bastards burned up 20 billion of us. You gonna say that's our fault too? Instead of bawling like a little girl you should focus on getting some payback." Jammer: "Is that all this is about to you? Blood for blood?" Tigh: "We're at war. War is messy. People get killed. Good people. Nice people. Get that through your head or get out. We don't need any crybabies in this outfit."
- Jammer meeting with Doral.

My Review
First, a few words about the concept of the webisodes. Using the internet to proliferate episodes is a good idea, but Sci Fi's implementation of the idea leaves much to be desired. We got a series of low quality short clips that follow an unusually straightforward plot. Why didn't they just give us a nice full quality episode in high definition available for download on their website instead of short little low quality clips in embedded Flash? This is supposed to be a professional production, not some half-assed YouTube upload.

A FAQ on Sci Fi's website answered the question: "Why can't I download the webisodes to watch on my computer offline?" with the response: "For legal reasons, SCIFI.COM can only offer the webisodes in a streaming (non-downloadable) format." But the reasoning behind that response is shoddy. Nothing transmitted over the internet is "non-downloadble." Just because the webisodes are not automatically cached due to the obfuscated method by which they're streamed does not mean that they are unrecordable.

Within hours of the first websisode being released, they were already being distributed en masse by third parties. Why did they even care to stop people from saving them anyway? They don't seem to care about people recording television broadcasts with DVRs or VCRs. What a silly policy, and as a result of the false sense of security they feel by distributing the webisodes this way, we the viewers had to suffer with watching them in abysmal video quality.

That said, let's discuss the plot. Even months into the Cylon occupation, the resistance movement against the Cylons is still in its infancy. I find this to be a somewhat extraordinary amount of time, personally. What have they been doing for two months? Playing cards? The webisodes are also partially disappointing in that they focus only on minor characters like Duck, his new wife Nora, and Jammer rather than giving us pertinent information about the nitty gritty details of the resistance movement's formation. While it seems obvious that leaving out some of the more important characters was done to keep costs low, you're left wondering where Starbuck and Ellen Tigh are, who are not mentioned at all. Their absence is quite jarring.

The webisodes develop slowly, giving us bits about how Duck refuses to join the resistance movement and Jammer doesn't like Tigh's idea to hide weapons in the temple. This leads to Nora's dramatic death, radicalizing Duck. But even that though left somewhat of a bad taste in my mouth, because you never actually see any Cylons come into the temple and shoot anybody. You just hear it in the background. Once again, this seems like a cost cutting move to me.

Duck finding out the root cause of Nora's death was a fun set of scenes. His moving from grieving and sadness to anger and rage was quite well done. This leads to a fascinating exchange between Jammer and Tigh concerning the morality of putting innocent lives at risk to further the resistance movement. Jammer is then taken prisoner briefly by an Aaron Doral model Cylon and a curious dialog is exchanged between them. After Duck's traumatic loss and Jammer's morality crisis, the webisodes end with both Duck and Jammer at risk of becoming collaborators.

The plot is, as I've said, straightforward. This is because the episode was supposed to have been considered optional. I'm not a fan of the concept of an optional episode in general; while I'm glad to be getting more material this season and there was value in this piece, the better side of my critical nature tells me that less is more. Brevity is often a valuable tool in writing and the webisodes truly are an optional piece. Watching them prior to the subsequent episode Occupation is really not necessary, unless you for some reason really like the characters of Duck and Jammer, as this really isn't much of a Tyrol, Tigh, or Cally piece.

The end of season 2 left us wondering not "what will happen next" but instead "why did this all happen this way?" The webisodes don't answer "why." They only answer "what." It was obvious what would happen next. At the end of Lay Down Your Burdens Part 1, I was sure the colonials would settle the planet and the Cylons would find them. At the end of Lay Down Your Burdens Part 2, I was sure a resistance movement would form and that they'd eventually escape Cylon oppression. The important question is not what will happen next, but why did this happen this way? What are the Cylons planning? A successful successor to Lay Down Your Burdens should answer that question and The Resistance does not.

So okay, big deal, right? It's an optional episode. I get that. But sometimes less really is more.

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BSG - 3x01 - Occupation - Originally Aired: 2006-10-6

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5.19

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 53 3 6 5 1 7 5 8 16 27 32

Synopsis
Four months into the Cylon occupation of New Caprica, the human settlement is a bleak and paranoid place. President Baltar and a newly created human police force are mere tools of the all-powerful Cylon Occupation Authority. But the planet's oppressed residents cling to two frail hopes: that their resistance movement will weaken the Cylons, and that Admiral Adama and his fleet will return to rescue them all.

Kara Thrace has been a prisoner of the Cylon named Leoben since the occupation began. He has confined her to an apartment and treated her with unusual civility. Although she resists him violently, he calmly downloads to a new body whenever she kills him. Her surreally domestic surroundings and his maddening immortality drive her to desperation. For his part, Leoben confidently believes that, with the help of his God, he can win over his prisoner's mind — and heart.

Col. Tigh, by contrast, languishes in a barren cell until his wife, Ellen, secures his release by sleeping with the Cylon leader Cavil. Now missing an eye because of Cylon torture, Tigh swiftly reunites with the insurgency's leaders, Tyrol and Anders. Tyrol has obtained security plans for a police graduation ceremony, and a disillusioned police trainee, Duck, volunteers to blow himself up at the event. Horrified, Tyrol argues that this act crosses a moral line. Tigh, however, insists that it's just a military tactic, like sending a soldier out to die on a traditional battlefield. He approves the plan, and Duck begins preparations for his suicide mission.

Far out in space, Admiral Adama presides over a diminished and dispirited fleet. His son, Lee, commander of the Pegasus and new husband of Lt. Dualla, resents his father's obsession with rigorous training for a rescue mission to New Caprica. Lee refuses to believe the mission can succeed; his father doesn't dare believe that it can't. At odds with his son, the Admiral's closest confidant has become the Cylon prisoner Sharon, who has slowly earned his respect and trust.

Then, in a major breakthrough for their cause, the insurgents successfully radio a hidden Raptor that Adama has ordered to observe New Caprica. Through this tenuous contact, Adama and Tigh reaffirm their determination to rescue the planet's human population. But this glimmer of hope is overshadowed as Tigh's grimly determined suicide bomber takes his place among the police graduates — and ignites a tragedy. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- The episode synopsis (which I copy/pasted from BSG's official website) mentions Starbuck's name as Kara Thrace. But having been married to Samuel T. Anders, wouldn't her name be Kara Anders now?

Factoids
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award, Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.
- This episode was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Television Award.
- A parental advisory was displayed prior to this episode airing on the Sci Fi channel.
- This episode features revised opening sequence visuals.
- This episode did not feature a teaser.
- The survivor count is notably absent from the opening theme.
- This episode and the next one were collectively awarded the IGN.com Editor's choice award and a quite favorable review in which they both scored a 10 out of 10 points.
- Kat is now Galactica's CAG.
- Helo is now Galactica's XO.
- Dee is now Pegasus' XO.
- Quoth Bear McCreary regarding the vocal piece at the beginning of Occupation: "After the Main Title, the first new piece of music is an original vocal piece. Ironically, this music is based on a song that I wrote for the Season 2 premiere that ultimately got thrown out. I later borrowed the lyrics from that first song and used them to create 'Lords of Kobol' for the episode 'Pegasus.' However, the original song remained unused, collecting dust on a shelf for 20 episodes, and now returns with a fresh orchestration, new lyrics and a haunting performance by Raya Yarbrough. The editors created this opening montage using the original version of this song, so this piece of music helped influence this scene from the very beginning."
- The lyrics to the vocal piece at the beginning of this episode are as follows, translated into English from Armenian:
A distant and familiar sadness calls to us
As if carried on the wind, like burning sand
Brothers and Sisters, away, you endure
Stranded on our own land
A memory etched into soul and skin
Leaves a scar that never heals
Our family is strong, but scattered
Across the stars and fields
We will not abandon you
We will not forget you
We will return for you

Remarkable Scenes
- The opening scene (which effectively begins after the credits) is quite moving. A soft lyrical song hums along in the foreground while fragments of events surrounding the lives of the New Capricans flash before us.
- Cavil coming to meet Tigh. I love the quirky way in which he greets him, especially the bit with the sunglasses. The little psychological games he plays with Tigh are also marvelous to watch. Especially Cavil's comment about how the "bureaucracy must be served." The whole set of scenes are all quite subtle and most effective.
- Tyrol and Anders blowing up a Cylon heavy raider.
- Starbuck murdering Leoben. Leoben: "I'll see you soon, Kara." Starbuck: "Take your time." She then creepily goes back to her meal, ignoring (perhaps celebrating?) the blood on her hands.
- Roslin: "It is simply not enough to kill Cylons because they don't die. They resurrect themselves and continue to walk among us. It is horrifying."
- The scene where the Cavils frustratingly lecture the other Cylons in the midst of Baltar's apathetic presence about the ineffectiveness of their occupation.
- Tigh describing how he lost his eye.
- Tigh expressing his contempt for Baltar. I like how he always using his full name.
- Leoben: "Hi, honey, I'm home... You kill me, I download, I come back, we start over. Five times now." I like how Kara tries to kill him again right after the speech he gives her.
- Leoben: "To know the face of god is know madness."
- Helo, regarding the repeated training missions: "Sixteen times now, sir." Adama: "The next one will be seventeen then won't it?" Helo: "Yes, sir."
- Adama and Apollo arguing about the training missions. I love how pissed off Adama is.
- Tyrol and Tigh debating whether or not to send Duck on a suicide mission.
- Adama meeting with Boomer.
- Dee to Lee: "You're a soldier who needs a war."
- The raptor making contact with the ground.
- Adama: "It's gonna be okay. It's really gonna be okay."
- Duck's suicide bombing.

My Review
While the resistance movement formed up pretty much as you'd expect it to, seeing just how far Tigh is willing to take it with the authorizing of suicide bombings is quite something to take in. More interesting however are the stranger plot points on New Caprica. An obvious choice to discuss is the curious fixation Leoben has with Starbuck. They live together in a prison cell made out to be a domestic home. Leoben treats her like a trophy wife, going so far as to say things like "honey, I'm home!" and preparing meals for her. Starbuck's clearly being mentally damaged by the experience, but it's quite true to her character that she takes every opportunity she can to kill him. Again and again. As Roslin said, what a horrifyingly endless cycle.

The Cylons and their plan get fleshed out quite a bit more in this episode. Cavil is fascinatingly immoral. Leoben is fascinatingly fundamentalist. Caprica Six and Galactica Boomer seem to be the other polar extreme, with their what seems to be hopeless idealism in thinking they can make things better with the humans. D'anna and Doral seem to be a bit more mellow with regards to where they stand. What does this all mean? It's not clear. But it's a lot more clear than the season 2 finale. What we can conclude is that the Cylons are deeply conflicted. Their unity is extremely important to them, but there are deep roots of division which have been apparently growing since the attack on the colonies.

This may lead to a way for the population of New Caprica to be rescued, which brings us to the fleet. We saw far too little of the fleet in this episode I thought. The episode was aptly named Occupation of course, and focused mostly on the episode's namesake. But I felt the changes in the dynamics of the fleet were only barely touched upon here. We get only a vague picture of who's doing what on Galactica and an even less clear picture of how Apollo's been running his ship. We've seen very little of Commander Lee commanding his ship which I think is quite a shame.

The relationship between Adama and Boomer is a bit harder to figure out. Their ever growing relationship has been hinted at since early in season 2, but understanding the psychology behind Adama's growing trust in her is difficult. I simply accept it at face value that he's a desperate man who resorts to desperate measures. Like Tigh and his resistance movement.

Also worth mentioning is the music in this episode. While containing mostly a new score, I detected hints of what was originally the piece titled Martial Law from the season 2 episode Fragged. The lyrical piece in the opening scene is of course also spectacular. Once again, I salute Bear McCreary's subtle but impressive scoring and I already look forward to the season 3 soundtrack.

As a final note, I must say while Occupation comes off as a particularly strong piece, the overwhelming number of plot threads is just that. Overwhelming. The episode I think knows its limited time constraints and keeps the overall picture fairly nonspecific for that reason, but all the stuff going on seems like a jumbled mess to me. Once again, the episode falls just short of answering the question of why the Cylons occupied New Caprica in the first place. We've got a pretty good idea, but most of the narrative is caught up in the events of the resistance, not examining the moral center of the Cylons. It was quite a fun jumble though and while the episode lacked a strong thematic center, it was emotionally captivating which set its enjoyment level a bit above the season 2 finale; nicely done.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From RichDOC on 2006-10-07 at 12:19pm:
    I enjoyed the both Occupation and Precipice. The only thing that somewhat bothers me is the obvious comparisons and parralels to Iraq. Yes, this occupation is similar just like any other occupation from an oppressing force, but other than that, it's apples and oranges. The US did not try to wipe out and committ mass genocide with the Iraqui people. The humans in this BSG are fighting for survival! I don't want to go on a political rant. I certainly don't agree wholeheartedly with US policy in Iraq now, but for the writers and producers to express their political views through their artistic medium seems audacious to me. As far as the show itself, it has brilliant writing and character developement. BSG is bold and ambitious. It's constantly challenging and changing it's characters. I applaud them for this. It's among the the top 5 shows going right now along with Lost, The Wire, Deadwood, 24, and Studio 60.
  • From eon on 2007-03-01 at 10:35am:
    One glaring problem with this otherwise perfect episode; in Lay Down Your Burdens pt. 2, Anders was sick from pneumonia, but in this episode he appears healthy. According to Cottle, he would've required medication to heal. So, how did he manage to recover without it?
  • From zok on 2011-09-20 at 1:26am:
    Well, I think what you list as a problem for this episode is not really one. Even in the present day and age, not all women take their husbands' names. It's a pretty antiquated and sexist notion, anyway. And given how progressive the show is, at least with respect to gender roles, I would have been surprised if Starbuck DID take Anders' name.
    (I know it's a minor point.) Btw, I really enjoy your site. Great job!

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BSG - 3x02 - Precipice - Originally Aired: 2006-10-6

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 4.82

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# Votes: 50 6 3 13 3 5 7 8 10 19 31

Synopsis
The Cylon leaders are frustrated by Duck's horrific suicide bombing, which they perceive as a setback to their noble experiment of living peacefully with humans. As a result, they order the human police to arrest hundreds of suspected insurgents in a major crackdown. Though the insurgency's leaders — Tyrol, Anders and Tigh — miss the round-up because they're radioing the Galactica from their hidden headquarters, Tyrol returns home to the agonizing sight of his baby, abandoned and crying. His wife, Cally, has disappeared into a Cylon prison.

Laura Roslin urges Tigh to stop the suicide bombings. He refuses, and soon another insurgent blows herself up at a power substation. In retaliation, the Cylon leaders force President Baltar to sign a death warrant for two hundred suspected insurgents, including Cally, Tom Zarek and Roslin. At this, both Gaeta and Jammer, former Galactica officers who have collaborated with the Cylons, develop serious second thoughts about their new allegiances. But second thoughts won't be enough to save their fellow humans from the firing squad.

Elsewhere on New Caprica, Leoben brings a special guest to visit Kara Thrace: a little girl named Kacey. He insists that Kacey is his and Kara's biological daughter, a product of Cylon fertility experiments. Kara resolutely ignores Kacey until the toddler is accidentally injured. Then, as Kacey hovers near death, Leoben is glad to see that Kara's maternal concern awaken.

Meanwhile, on the Galactica, Adama dispatches a small team to meet up with Tigh's resistance fighters on New Caprica. Lee objects to such a risky mission, especially because Sharon Agathon, a Cylon, is to lead it. Adama concedes that Lee and the Pegasus must lead the remainder of the civilian fleet deeper into space for their safety, while he and the Galactica will attempt to rescue those on New Caprica. Adama reinstates Sharon as a lieutenant in the Colonial Fleet, and she departs.

Back on New Caprica, Ellen Tigh has another tryst with Cavil. He threatens that Tigh will be arrested and tortured again unless Ellen provides the Cylons with significant information about the insurgency. Terrified, Ellen tells the Cylons about the planned rendezvous between Anders and the reinforcements arriving from the Galactica. With their Centurions about to execute two hundred prisoners and an ambush set to gun down Anders and Sharon, the Cylon leaders are poised to cut out the insurgency's heart. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award, Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.
- This episode was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Television Award.
- A parental advisory was displayed prior to this episode airing on the Sci Fi channel.
- As aired, this episode neither had a teaser nor an opening sequence.
- This episode and the previous one were collectively awarded the IGN.com Editor's choice award and a quite favorable review in which they both scored a 10 out of 10 points.
- This episode establishes that it each Cylon model is for the most part a different incarnation of the same person, in that one model can speak for the rest of the same model usually, except in the case of special models like Galactica Boomer and Caprica Six.
- Cavil's references to a "twist" and a "swirl" during sex were an homage to the sitcom Seinfeld, of which Ronald Moore is a fan.
- This episode establishes that Tom Zarek was President Baltar's Vice President.
- According to RDM, the cliffhanger at the end of this episode is deliberately reminiscent of the film The Great Escape.

Remarkable Scenes
- Baltar's meeting with Roslin.
- Tigh: "Which side are we on? We're on the side of the demons, Chief. We're evil men in the gardens of paradise, sent by the forces of death to spread devastation and destruction wherever we go. I'm surprised you didn't know that."
- Cavil: "You won't have to wear those much longer. Eventually your people will see you as heroes." Jammer: "Not tonight."
- Tyrol regarding Gaeta: "He's a frakkin' collaborator. You know what? One day, when it's all over, guys like Gaeta are gonna get strung up. Guys like you and me, we're gonna be there. Tyin' the knots. Makin'em tight."
- Leoben introducing Starbuck to Kasey.
- Adama regarding Sharon: "The Centurions can't distinguish her from the other humanoid models. Did you know that? They were deliberately programmed that way. The Cylons didn't want them becoming self aware and suddenly resisting orders. They didn't want their own robotic rebellion on their hands. You can appreciate the irony."
- Adama declaring to Lee that he's going to attempt to rescue the New Capricans despite his poor chances because he feels duty and honor bound to them.
- Tigh: "You see, little things like that, they don't matter anymore. In fact, not too frakkin' much really matters anymore. I got one job here lady and one job only. To disrupt the Cylons, make them worry about the ant hill they stirred up down here so they're distracted and out of position when the old man show up in orbit. The bombings, they got the Cylons' attention, they really got their attention. And I am not giving that up." Roslin: "We are talking about people blowing themselves up." Tigh: "You know, sometimes I think that you've got ice water in those veins. And other times, I just think you're just a naive little school teacher. I've sent men on suicide missions in two wars now, and let me tell you something. It don't make a gods damn bit of difference whether they're riding in a Viper or walking out onto a parade ground; in the end they're just as dead. So, take your piety, and your moralizing, and your high-minded principles, and stick 'em someplace safe until you're off the rock and you're sitting in your nice, cushy chair on Colonial One again. I've got a war to fight."
- Boomer: "Hi Cally, it's me, Boomer." Cally: "I wish I had a gun."
- The Cylons deliberating on what to do about the suicide bombings with Baltar watching helplessly just before being confronted with having to sign the order authorizing summary executions.
- Baltar refusing the sign the order.
- Doral shooting Caprica Six.
- Baltar struggling with his morals as he's visited by the Six in his head counseling him.
- Adama commissioning Sharon Agathon as an officer in the Colonial Fleet.
- Gaeta confronting Baltar about having signed the death warrants.
- Boomer's raptors arriving.
- Zarek: "Tell me something, Laura. Last year, you tried to steal an election, didn't you?" Roslin, smiling: "Yes, I did, Tom." Zarek: "I wish you'd gone through with it." Roslin: "Me too."

My Review
What the last episode lacked in plot advancement and sufficient answers to the audience's questions, it made up for in style. This episode loses the style, but manages to be quite fulfilling in the answers department. What we have here is a story of the ever more fragmenting Cylon unity which is embittering each to the others. While hinted at in the previous episode, this plot point is made nowhere as abundantly clear as in the scene when Baltar is ordered to sign the death warrants.

And oh boy, what a scene that is too. Baltar's reaction to having to sign those death warrants is the single greatest moment of the episode. Ever since he became the president, I've been even more utterly fascinated with his character, and in the new season, his level of apathy is just marvelous. But then he takes a stand. And much drama does thus ensue. The scene does bring up some lingering questions though of course about Caprica Six and the Six in Baltar's head. It's remarkable how as soon as she was killed, the Six in Baltar's head reappears. Coincidence or connection?

Speaking of odd relationships between humans and Cylons, we've got Leoben, Starbuck, and Kasey. That's going nowhere good I foresee, although in some ways it was quite predictable. Of course Leoben is going to do something extreme to break down Starbuck's barriers. There's a certain triteness to the predictability. Their whole set of scenes together, while wonderfully creepy seemed far too straightforward compared to what I'm used to seeing on BSG. Of particular annoyance also is Kasey is clearly too old for the timeline surrounding her birth to work. Though maybe the Cylons have some kind of growth acceleration technology or something.

Then there's Adama and Sharon, upon whom Adama has bestowed the ultimate trust. Again, I see this going nowhere good. Sharon seems trustworthy now, I'll give her that. But I think everyone can foresee the obvious scenario of her freaking out when she finds out what happened to her daughter.

Aside from some general predictability, I was disappointed with regards to the interactions between Gaeta and Tyrol. The two were not supposed to know each other's various roles as part of the resistance, but that subtle detail just doesn't quite ring true during their argument. It's only after Tyrol's conversation with Jammer that it really becomes clear who knows what, and while Tyrol's performance is excellent during both sets of scenes, he strikes me as a smarter guy than what he's portrayed as. He seems smart enough to know Jammer's a collaborator and Gaeta's a fundamentally decent guy.

Special mention has to go to Tigh, who's been delivering line after line of memorable quotes since the webisodes.

The scoring of the episode was more of the same from the previous. Once again I detected little hints of season 2's Martial Law floating about various scenes. I very much enjoyed the new material at the end of the episode during the raptor landings. All in all, another quality episode with a few problems, but still overall quite good.

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BSG - 3x03 - Exodus, Part 1 - Originally Aired: 2006-10-13

My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 5.27

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 35 6 2 2 6 15 8 18 19 17 17

Synopsis
To the Cylons' dismay, the humans have anticipated their latest deadly plans. At her rendezvous with Anders and his team of insurgents, Sharon Agathon predicts the Cylons' ambush and plants one of her own instead; her people kill the Cylons as soon as they attack.

Similarly, Tyrol gets wind of the Cylons' plan to execute hundreds of insurgents, including his wife, Cally. With a small team he attacks just as the firing squad is set to begin. His people kill the Cylons and free the prisoners, including Cally, Laura Roslin, and Tom Zarek. These successes, coupled with the news that the Galactica is standing by for a rescue mission, bring new hope to the beleaguered humans.

Still, uncertainty reigns among humans and Cylons alike. Gaius Baltar wrestles with personal and political impotence while his Cylon overlords, realizing that they might never be able to control the humans, debate whether they should destroy the troublesome colony with a nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, the insurgents discover Ellen Tigh's complicity with the Cylons; Kara Thrace comes to terms with her new role as mother of baby Kacey; and the usually self-possessed Cylon D'Anna succumbs to a series of bizarre dreams about the precious human-Cylon baby, Hera. These dreams inspire D'Anna to believe that the child, contrary to everything she has heard, is still alive, and she becomes determined to find her.

The Galactica resonates with personal and formal good-byes as the ship and Admiral Adama launch their dangerous rescue mission to New Caprica, leaving behind Lee Adama, the Pegasus, and the civilian fleet. Lee and his father hope to meet at a rendezvous point in eighteen hours to celebrate the mission's success. But they are also painfully aware that they might never see each other again.

As the insurgents plan a massive assault to coordinate with the Galactica's arrival, Roslin makes special preparations to ensure that Hera and her adoptive mother, Maya, will be escorted to safety when the evacuation begins. Meanwhile, Sharon steels herself for an essential mission: to go undercover among her fellow Cylons and retrieve all the launch keys to the Colonial ships that are grounded on New Caprica. Without the keys, the ships can't take off and carry evacuated humans to safety when the Galactica attacks. The Galactica's crew and the resistance fighters on New Caprica, poised to strike, can do nothing but wait and
hope for her success… [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- At the end of Precipice, Cally is seen running in the woods when the gunfire goes off. In the retconned scenes at the beginning of this episode, she never makes it to the woods before she's saved by Tyrol.

Factoids
- This episode won a VES Award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series, Commercial, or Music Video.
- This episode establishes that downloads have at least a profound psychological effect on the Cylons if not some sort of physical effect. Cavil complained that each time he downloaded, the experience was more painful.

Remarkable Scenes
- Tigh putting on his eye patch. Chilling to see the missing eye.
- A Cavil model being left to die slowly after the ambush.
- An apathetic, self-loathing Baltar lamenting to Caprica Six in bed.
- Oracle Selloi: "Zeus sees all. Sees you, Number Three. Sees your pain. Your destiny. All the gods weep for you." D'Anna: "There is no Zeus. No other god but God." Oracle Selloi: "Oh, you don't believe that anymore. You don't know what you believe and that is why you're here." D'Anna: "That's not true. I don't even know why I'm here. Stupidest thing I ever did." Oracle Selloi: "It's your dream that brings you to me." D'Anna: "How do you know about that?" Oracle Selloi: "I have a message for you from the one you worship. He speaks through me to you. Just as he speaks in your dreams. Message is the fruit born of two peoples is alive. A child named after the wife and sister of the all knowing Zeus. Hera lives." D'Anna: "That's not true. That child is dead." Oracle Selloi: "You will hold her in your arms and you'll know for the first time what it is to feel true love. But you'll lose everything you've done here."
- Adama: "Attention! Commander Pegasus departing!"
- D'Anna's conversation with Cottle.
- Cavil describing the suffering ordeal he went through before he finally was able to commit suicide and download.
- Anders regarding Maya and Hera/Isis: "What's so important about this kid?" Roslin: "She may very well be the shape of things to come. That's either a blessing or a curse."
- Anders confronting Tigh about Ellen's disloyalty.
- Sharon Agathon going undercover. I love the advanced Cylon computer.
- D'Anna confronting Sharon Agathon and informing her that Hera lives.
- Sharon Agathon regarding Hera: "Adama wouldn't lie to me."
- The Galactica and the New Capricans preparing for the rescue attempt.

My Review
Exodus, Part 1 suffers quite a bit from being sandwiched between Occupation/Precipice and Exodus, Part 2. Basically the purpose of this episode is to setup for all the major events that are presumably to occur in part 2. Kind of like how Resurrection Ship, Part 1 served as a pickup from Pegasus but a lead in to Resurrection Ship, Part 2.

An additional issue this episode suffered from was a sort of black hole in running time. Roughly 20% of the entire episode is replaying events from the last episode with retconned scenes to establish what Tyrol and Tigh are doing during the final parts of the previous episode to demonstrate how Cally, Roslin, and Zarek are all saved from death. Retconning scenes from a previous episode (even deliberately) to me is a sign of weak writing.

I have further mixed feelings about D'Anna's role in the story. While I'm glad her character's potential has been used well in this episode, I am slightly annoyed at the execution. Specifically, exactly how can the Kobolian oracle know Hera/Isis is still alive? Furthermore, why was D'Anna having dreams to that effect? This all seems like one big coincidence to me, and not in the good way. I guess there's always the off chance that Cottle did confession with Selloi, which then allowed Selloi divulge the information to D'Anna veiled religiously and that D'Anna's dreams were just a convenient coincidence, but this all is far beyond what disbelief I'm willing to suspend.

Beyond this the episode is quite straightforward and almost below average. There's more clear cut fragmentation among the Cylons. Baltar's apathy is nicely revisited again. The Cavil and Doral models remain pissed off and bloodthirsty. Starbuck is continuing to lose her stubborn defiance in the face of Kasey. The cliffhanger is simply that Galactica's about to jump to New Caprica, which also is slightly jarring in that the Pegasus is not going. This can only mean either 1. Adama's a moron for not bringing the most powerful battlestar he has into the fight, but will get lucky or 2. Apollo will go against orders and the Pegasus will join the fight.

So the episode could be characterized simply as "more of the same." There are quite a few worthwhile details though such as the drama surrounding D'Anna, Sharon Agathon, and Hera/Isis along with Roslin's fascinating line identifying Hera/Isis potentially being "the shape of things to come." Nice parallelism there. Six uttered that in Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 2, Adama uttered that a Six-induced dream Baltar experienced in Valley of Darkness, and now Roslin's said it. Finally, Tigh confronting his wife about her betrayal is quite awesome. Unfortunately we don't get to see what he does about it. But at this point I honestly wouldn't put it past Tigh to simply kill her. How marvelously twisted would that be?

So in the end, a decent episode with some nice details, but quite reminiscent in storytelling style of Colonial Day in that the plot is pretty straightforward and serves mostly as setup for a "bigger" episode to come.

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

My Rating - 10

Fan Rating Average - 5.58

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
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Synopsis
Standing watch over the civilian fleet, Lee Adama confides to his wife that his father and the Galactica cannot hope to survive their rescue mission to New Caprica. Dualla comforts him with the knowledge that the civilian fleet will live on to preserve the memory of such great heroes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RDM stated that the destruction of the Pegasus was always one of the major things that was supposed to happen during the throes of writing this episode to satisfy the beast of budgetary burden. I respect his decision, although I greatly disagree with it. As spectacularly, honorably, and awesomely as the Pegasus went out, it's a hard thing to do to an audience and in my opinion detrimental to the show in the long term. Just when the audience is psyched up the most about the Pegasus being part of the fleet, it's ripped away from them. We barely got to see Commander Lee doing any commanding at all and with poor Pegasus' final destruction, I fear episodes with major combat between basestars and battlestars will be a thing of the past. But blame the budget, right? No, I don't think so. They could have easily scrapped the Colonial One set instead to save money and the dramatic effect of seeing Tigh order Colonial One to kamikaze the Cylons would be just as effective. More on that here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

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

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

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BSG - 3x05 - Collaborators - Originally Aired: 2006-10-27

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 4.57

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 47 4 5 15 7 6 5 13 21 18 14

Synopsis
Three days after the rescue of the colonists from New Caprica, Tigh, Tyrol, Anders and three other former insurgency leaders convene in the bowels of the Galactica. With them is a bound prisoner, Jammer, whom they have convicted of treason for his membership in the colony's Cylon-controlled police force. Jammer pleads for mercy, but his judges remain implacable. They eject him into space, making him the latest in a series of enemy collaborators whom they have tried, convicted and executed without the knowledge of Admiral Adama or Laura Roslin.

Roslin is busy negotiating with Tom Zarek, who, as Gaius Baltar's vice president, has now become President in Baltar's absence. Lacking military support for his leadership, Zarek offers to cede the highest office to Roslin if she'll appoint him vice president once again. She agrees, and they schedule the power exchange for three days hence. Roslin has no idea that Zarek has authorized the secret tribunal aboard Galactica to execute all the worst collaborators before his brief presidency ends.

Tigh embraces Zarek's orders with a zealot's dedication, but the tribunal's atmosphere of revenge soon grows too stifling for Anders. When his fellow members urge him to convict Felix Gaeta of treason merely because Gaeta worked for Baltar, Anders quits. The tribunal easily finds a willing replacement for him: his wife, Starbuck, who votes to convict Gaeta. While she is eager for this deadly vengeance, Anders longs for an end to the bloodshed he's witnessed as a resistance fighter. The couple's resulting conflict, springing from the separate traumas they endured during the occupation, threatens to split them apart.

Far away, Gaius Baltar awakens to find himself confined aboard a Cylon baseship. Like the collaborators on the Galactica, his fate now hangs on the vote of an unsympathetic jury: the Cylon leaders. In the end, with the jury deadlocked, the decision comes to rest with Six, who must finally choose between her people and the human she loves.

Having convicted Gaeta of treason, the tribunal members aboard the Galactica swiftly and ruthlessly switch roles from jury to executioners. They seize Gaeta and drag him to an airlock. But they don't know — and might refuse to hear — a critical truth. Gaeta was the mysterious informant who passed classified information to Tyrol throughout the occupation, enabling not only the insurgency's survival, but also its triumph. The secret tribunal is about to execute a secret ally. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- As of this episode, the opening theme has been revised again to restore the stated primary objective of the survivors being the search for Earth. Images from the surface of New Caprica have been removed.
- The survivor count has also been added back to the main title. Survivors, according to the main title: 41435.
- According to Adama, despite the success of the exodus from New Caprica, thousands of people were left behind on the planet.
- Apollo made a comment about losing "half a stone" (7lbs) of weight in this episode. I find the use of the term "stone" to be rather interesting. Did he adlib it because he's a British actor and it was kept in as a joke, or was this intentional?
- Ryan Robbins, who plays Charlie Connor in this episode, also played the Armistice Officer (Boxey's father) in the pilot miniseries.

Remarkable Scenes
- Jammer being executed by the Circle.
- Tyrol speaking to Cally about how she was able to run away from her would be executioners.
- Baltar's dream, then waking up aboard a Cylon basestar.
- President Zarek declaring he will sign Roslin in as his Vice President, then voluntarily step down.
- Tigh's outburst when Gaeta entered the CIC.
- Adama confronting Tigh.
- Tigh's outburst within the Circle concerning its legitimacy during the case deliberations just prior Gaeta's case's introduction.
- Baltar's meeting with D'Anna.
- Apollo: "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date with a jump rope." Adama gives Apollo "the look." Apollo: "Hey I've dropped half a stone." Adama: "Keep jumping."
- Gaeta's meeting with Starbuck.
- Baltar's meeting with Caprica Six.
- Tigh regarding Tyrol's hesitation to vote on Gaeta's guilt: "He doesn't want to say he's guilty because Gaeta is such a good guy. Right Chief? Everyone likes Gaeta, so let's let'm off the hook. Let's just look the other way on this one. Well a lot of good people had to pay the price for what they did. Choices they made on New Caprica. Like my wife. That's right. Ellen collaborated. Gave the Cylons information on the resistance and she died for it. Because that's the price for collaborating with the enemy. And I liked her a lot more than I like Gaeta."
- Gaeta being brought before the Circle.
- Roslin and Adama confronting Zarek about his actions as president giving the Circle impunity.
- Tigh unpacking Ellen's clothes.
- Roslin issuing a general pardon for every human being in the fleet.
- Tyrol sitting with Gaeta in the mess.

My Review
Collaborators is the obvious, expected episode after the chaos of Exodus, Part 2. The Colonials are having their own version of the Nuremberg Trials, executing collaborators with little to no due process. This is presented in a genuinely moving way, but pacing left much to be desired. Right from the start, the episode throws at you Jammer's execution. That signifies to the audience that it's going to be a break-neck-paced bloodbath episode, or at the very least, little time will be wasted on plot development and that the episode will tackle moral issues directly.

Instead, much of the vigor of the episode is lost after the teaser as the Circle continues to conspire and act from morally ambiguous to almost genuinely evil. There's nothing particularly wrong with how the Circle was portrayed, but I did feel that since it lost much of its momentum, that less time should have been spent on depicting their various movements and deliberations.

Instead, I was utterly fascinated by Batlar on the basestar. RDM spoke about how the internal set of the Cylon basestar would probably be disappointing, but I don't really agree. I felt that it was a well thought out set, and the surreal feel of it was just perfect for the narrative. What bothered me was how little actual substance there was to the plot aboard the basestar. It mostly consists of a handful of symbolic, though not quite progressive scenes.

I felt that the parallel between Baltar's and Gaeta's survival hanging in the balance was ineffective because the plot was top heavy, swaying toward the Galactica. We got to see none of the Cylons deliberating, and too much of the Circle deliberating. With uneven portrayal, the attempted parallel is weak, or nonexistent depending on how you look at it. Instead, it's the little things in this episode that redeem it.

Much like this episode's counterpart in season 2, Epiphanies, this episode is packed with emotion and little details which make it captivating. For example, I absolutely loved the clearly observable damage within the fleet, especially to Galactica. It was nice to see the CIC still being repaired, and I like how need of Gaeta's expertise to perform repairs tied together the damage storyline with the Circle storyline.

Tigh's outburst in CIC was especially memorable, though it does bring up some lingering concerns. Just who is the XO of Galactica? Well, it was Helo, now it seems to be Tigh again. But technically Apollo outranks Tigh. Shouldn't Apollo take Tigh's place as XO? Furthermore, just what function is Apollo serving within the fleet? He still parades around in his commander's pips and Pegasus uniform, but he's got no Pegasus to command. All we got out of poor Apollo this episode was an acknowledgment that he's trying to lose weight. A funny scene, and I enjoyed it, but we needed more from Apollo, and the command structure aboard Galactica needs some serious cleanup.

Another nice detail was all the apparent civilians still aboard the Galactica since the exodus. With the loss of so many ships in the fleet since the settling and exodus of New Caprica, it makes sense that there would be some overcrowding and some civilians permanently settled aboard the Galactica. Though another lingering question the episode should have answered was what of New Caprica? This episode establishes that thousands of people were left behind and unable to be rescued. What happened to them? What will happen to them? Also, was nobody in the fleet able to notice bodies being expelled from the Galactica by the Circle?

Finally, the stuff with Roslin and Zarek is fantastic, but again, it left me questioning some of the construction. While I loved Zarek's pragmatic attitude about not being able to retain the presidency in the face of his unpopularity, I think I would have preferred him to try to hold onto that power. After all, it is legally his. The fleet elected him for gods sakes. A better plot would have had Zarek name Roslin his vice president in an attempt to please Adama and get him on his side.

I am also somewhat confused about Zarek authorizing the proceedings of the Circle. It seems in some ways out of character for Tom, a man who was the victim of (from his perspective) an unjust government, authorizing the arbitrary execution of suspected collaborators without due process. I suppose in some ways that is in keeping with his character's prominent dark side, but nevertheless it still felt a bit out of place.

Conversely, I absolutely adored Roslin's full pardon for all humans in the fleet. That of course raises the obvious question: will Roslin's full pardon extend to Baltar when he is at some point reunited with the fleet? All in all Collaborators is a fair successor episode exploring the fallout of the New Caprica arc, with only a few minor blemishes.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From SH on 2010-04-19 at 6:16am:
    I took the 'thousands left behind' to mean the casualties of the original nuke which hit cloud 9, of the invasion and occupation, and then those lost during the rescue.

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BSG - 3x06 - Torn - Originally Aired: 2006-11-3

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 4.81

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 42 0 13 8 7 0 5 1 26 25 12

Synopsis
Baltar remains a prisoner within the Cylon fleet, alive only because his captors believe that he can lead them to a new home: Earth. Indeed, hoping to find the mythical planet for himself, Baltar has pinpointed a nebula that might have been a navigation point for the thirteenth tribe on their ancient journey to Earth. The Cylons send a base ship to investigate. Meanwhile, aboard the Galactica, Gaeta deciphers Baltar's abandoned research notes and also locates the nebula. Eager to resume the quest for Earth, Roslin orders Adama to explore it.

As the humans and the Cylons unsuspectingly hurtle toward a rendezvous, the Galactica's crew struggles to resume everyday life after the harrowing events on New Caprica. Helo helps Sharon pick a new callsign: Athena. The Viper pilots, now commanded by Apollo, dogfight against each other for practice. After Starbuck carelessly risks her ship, Apollo grounds her.

Col. Tigh is also at loose ends because Helo has unofficially replaced him as Adama's right-hand man. Tigh and Starbuck — both angry, traumatized survivors of the occupation — soon join forces, deriding everyone who didn't suffer as they did and insinuating that their comrades are too weak-minded to resist the Cylons. They don't suspect how far Adama is willing to go to win them back to his side.

Far away, Caprica Six tells Baltar about her people's power of projection, which enables Cylons to see the universe as they wish. For example, where Baltar sees a bleak Cylon hallway, Caprica sees a beautiful forest. Disenchanted with her former lover, Caprica arrogantly assumes that Baltar can't understand the experience, but Baltar — who still has a vivid relationship with the Six in his mind — understands it all too well. He's struck by a secret, devastating suspicion: if his daydreams of Six are actually caused by projection, then he might be a Cylon.

Having reached the nebula, the Cylon scout ship transmits back a garbled distress call. It has been infected with a virus that kills all Cylon life. Horrified, the Cylons realize that they can't even resurrect their dying comrades, because the virus will then be transmitted to the rest of their fleet. They don't know what to do until Baltar volunteers to investigate. By hunting down the virus's source aboard the dying ship, he'll either prove his worth to the Cylons or die of the infection — proving that he's a Cylon himself. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Roslin says Pythia was supposed to have chronicled the 13th tribe's original journey to Earth. How? There was no contact between the 13th tribe and the Twelve Colonies, so how could such knowledge have reached the Twelve Colonies?

Factoids
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41422.
- As of this episode, Sharon Agathon's new callsign is Athena, suggested by Hot Dog. Athena is quoted as the "goddess of wisdom and war, usually accompanied by the goddess of victory." This is possibly in reference to the Tomb of Athena, which she helped the Colonials find, and possibly a reference to the character of Athena, whom was on the original BSG but not in this version.
- The scene depicting Starbuck cutting her hair does not involve a wig. That is actually the actress cutting her real hair.
- The vocalizations that the hybrid uttered (or at least of what I could understand) included: "Two protons expelled at each coupling site creates the mode of force, the embryo becomes a fish though we don't enter until A plate, we're here to experience, evolve the little toe, atrophy, don't ask me how, I'll be dead in a thousand light years, thank you, thank you, genesis turns its source, reduction occurs stepwise though the essence is all one, end of line. FTL system check. Diagnostic functions within parameters repeats the harlequin, the agony exclusive, the colors run the path of ashes [...] run on the network while 52% of heat exchanger [...] digital matrix [...] relay to 0000 [...] end of line. New paragraph." Later the hybrid said when she "disagreed" with the other Cylons: "The mists of dreams drip along the nascent echo and love no more. End of line."
- In the opening scene of this episode, Baltar's and Six's mouths are blurred out by the reflected ocean light so that you can't see that their lips are not in sync with their dialog. This is because they dubbed new lines over the old ones so they could use the scene for a different purpose.

Remarkable Scenes
- Six: "Take this period as a time to learn all you can about the Cylons. You'll need it in the days ahead." Baltar: "Something special on the horizon?" Six: "Cylon psychology is based on projection." Baltar: "Projection?" Six: "It's how they choose to see the world around them. The only difference is you choose to see me." Baltar: "What are you, really? You're either connected to the woman I knew on Caprica, or you're a damaged part of my subconscious struggling for self-expression, so which one is it?" Six: "I'm an angel of god sent here to help you. Just as I always have been."
- Baltar waking up on the basestar.
- Baltar: "What do you care about finding Earth?" Six: "Because we're looking for it." Baltar: "You are?" D'Anna: "Yes, we've decided that Earth's going to be our new home."
- The viper training exercise.
- Tigh mistaking a civilian on Galactica for Ellen.
- Apollo to Helo regarding his weight: "Remind me to never let that happen again."
- Gaeta briefing Adama and Roslin about Baltar's research on Earth.
- Baltar and Six walking through the corridors of the Cylon basestar speaking of Earth and Cylon projection.
- Baltar wondering if his ability to see Six in a vivid otherworldly reality is connected to Cylon projection and furthermore wondering if that makes him a Cylon.
- Helo calling out for a callsign for Sharon Agathon.
- Baltar speaking to Six about the remaining five Cylon models. Regarding the final five, Six says: "It's complicated, but we don't talk about them. Ever."
- The Cylons discussing the disease that's afflicted the other basestar in the control room aboard the basestar.
- Baltar encountering the hybrid.
- The hybrid jumping the ship.
- Baltar embarking on his mission.
- Baltar discussing the beacon with the dying Six.
- Baltar killing the frantic, dying Six.
- The Cylons debating whether or not to rescue the surviving Cylons and debating the origin of the disease, then jumping the ship despite the hybrid's objections.
- Adama busting Starbuck's and Tigh's ass for their behavior.
- Starbuck cutting her hair and going to see Kasey.
- Tigh mourning for Ellen.
- Athena and Racetrack stumbling across the dead basestar.
- Athena: "When god's anger awakens, even the mighty shall fall."

My Review
Torn reminds me quite a bit of Downloaded in that here we have an episode done quite a bit from the perspective of the Cylons. But this time it isn't from the perspective of the Cylons at some coffee shop on Caprica, it's from the perspective of the Cylons on one of their basestars with Baltar caught in the middle.

On some level, this is the episode that should have been in the place of Collaborators in that it gives us a proper introduction to Baltar on the basestar and also gives us valuable insight into the post New Caprica Cylon perspective. This episode is just absolutely loaded with interesting factoids about the Cylons, including the fascinating idea of Cylon projection which could go a long way toward explaining exactly what the Six in Baltar's head is.

I'm slightly annoyed at the idea that Baltar thinks he's a Cylon, perhaps one of the final five Cylon models that the seven we already know about just "don't talk about." There's something aesthetically bad about Baltar being revealed as a Cylon, if he is to be. It would devalue the idea that he's the tragic human character of the story with an inseparable connection to the enemy. If he is in fact a Cylon, it becomes easy for the audience to just write him off as a bad guy, instead of a morally and motivationally ambiguous good guy.

Then there's the plague infecting the Cylon basestar. This is interesting in that it appears to have been made by the 13th tribe. The age and location both appear to support this idea, though I doubt the dying Six was correct when she claimed the 13th tribe made it as a weapon to kill Cylons. It was probably just some sort of unlucky accident that the Cylons got sick from it.

In addition to grand Cylon revelations to the audience, this episode delivers a fantastically stylized narrative. The gritty, conventional, every day feel of the plot aboard the Galactica contrasts Baltar's surreal, life changing experience quite nicely while providing necessary plot advancement to the Colonial fleet story. The eerie piano music aboard the basestar (dubbed Battlestar Sonatica on the soundtrack) was an excellent choice, conveying both Baltar's bewilderment and fear as well as the casual, sophisticated atmosphere aboard Cylon basestars. The fading cuts along with the exposition of the idea of Cylon projection gave the basestar an organic feel, which seems exactly in character to me.

There's also of course little things in this episode which spice up the narrative, such as the Cylons declaring that they want to make Earth their new home, a curious move leading me to wonder what motivates it. Also I was pleased to see that most of the crew has accepted Sharon Agathon and even went as far as to enthusiastically participate in a callsign picking ceremony for her, finally settling on Athena. It was also amusing to see the running joke about Apollo's weight continued, albeit concluded. Though I have concerns about the apparent rampant misuse of Apollo's character, with him seemingly being demoted to major, reduced back to CAG and reset buttoned.

And still, again, what's going on with the chain of command? Helo still looks like the XO, Apollo is acting like the CAG; did Kat lose her job as CAG? But aside from a few wrinkles, overall Torn is an unexpected masterpiece with only a few flaws; right up there stylistically with episodes like 33 and Valley of Darkness. Well done.

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BSG - 3x07 - A Measure of Salvation - Originally Aired: 2006-11-10

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.21

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 25 9 4 5 3 6 12 12 13 24 8

Synopsis
The Galactica's scout ships find a Cylon baseship in the Lion's Head nebula, adrift and helpless. Apollo and Sharon (now flying under her new callsign, "Athena") lead a team onto the ship to explore. Among a multitude of dead Cylons, they find only five who are still, but only barely, alive.

Apollo and Athena hurry back to the Galactica with these prize prisoners. Doc Cottle quarantines them all for study and identifies the virus that has infected the Cylon ship. Humans are immune to this particular pathogen — and so is Athena, as the mother of a half-human child. All other Cylons, however, aren't so lucky. While Cottle can design a vaccine that will halt the virus's effects, special antibodies in the Cylons' blood will soon destroy the vaccine. In other words, if the prisoners don't receive frequent new injections, they'll die.

Tempted by hope of receiving this dubious cure, the Cylon prisoner Simon tells the humans everything he knows. He explains that the virus can be transmitted through the Cylon resurrection process, then mentions that Dr. Baltar is alive and assisting the Cylons in their quest to find Earth. Adama and Roslin are stunned by this revelation.

In fact, deep in the heart of the Cylon fleet, D'Anna and Caprica Six have turned against Baltar. They believe that he knew about the virus all along and led them to the nebula in order to kill them. To make him confess, they torture him. Wracked with pain, Baltar flees to the comfort of the Six in his mind, who might offer his only hope for salvation.

Back on the Galactica, Lee Adama has a chilling brainstorm: if they maneuver the Galactica within close range of a Cylon resurrection ship and kill their Cylon prisoners, the infected prisoners will then download to new bodies, spreading the virus to the Cylon fleet in the process. The disease will then rage freely throughout Cylon civilization, eventually wiping out the entire race.

Shocked, Helo argues that the act is morally wrong. Admiral Adama shares his doubts. Athena grieves at the thought of her people's demise but tells Helo that she must remain loyal to her human comrades. Roslin, her duty to safeguard the survival of humanity foremost in her mind, believes that the genocidal attack might be justified. But as she prepares to make her decision, it is humanity's collective soul rather than its survival that is at stake... [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Roslin: "The Cylons struck first in this war and not being content with the annihilation of billions of human beings, they pursued us relentlessly through the galaxies determined to wipe us out." Since when has the Galactica been traveling across multiple galaxies? Must be a bungled line.

Factoids
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41420.
- The virus (lymphocytic encephalitis) was an exact match to one reported over 3000 years ago, right around the time that the 13th tribe left Kobol. It also contains a bioelectric feedback component which corrupts Cylon brains as well as their immune system, which is why it can be downloaded to the resurrection ship.
- Tigh is notably absent from this episode.
- Destroyed Cylon capital ships, running total: 6 confirmed, 2 probable. (+1 confirmed)

Remarkable Scenes
- The boarding party approaching and boarding the basestar.
- The boarding party realizing that the Cylons were infected by a disease.
- The basestar exploding.
- Simon telling the story of the infected basestar to the Colonials.
- Simon telling the Colonials that Baltar is still alive.
- Apollo proposing to Roslin that they use the disease to wipe out the entire Cylon race.
- Helo arguing against genocide.
- Imaginary Six helping Baltar through the torture.
- Baltar lecturing D'Anna on the hypocrisy of Cylon fundamentalism.
- Athena revealing that Doc. Cottle discovered she's immune.
- Adama: "Posterity really doesn't look too kindly on genocide." Roslin: "You're making an assumption that posterity will define this as genocide. If they do, at least there'll be someone alive to hate us for it. The Cylons are our mistake, we created them... All right Admiral Adama, as President I have determined that the Cylons be made extinct. The use of biological weapons is authorized." Adama: "So say we all." Roslin: "So say we all."
- The battle.
- Adama revealing Cottle's findings regarding the origins of the disease.

My Review
Here's an episode that could have easily earned a perfect score, but falls short. And flat. Strictly speaking, they should have went through with the genocide. The story doesn't come across anywhere near as dark and as moving as it would have if it had delivered on what it promised. Furthermore, Helo's entire disruption of the mission was done so sloppily that the episode barely even resonates as well as Star Trek TNG's I, Borg, from which it seems inspired.

Let's imagine for a moment that this story is tweaked slightly and instead of diving into this mission like a bunch of amateurs, the prisoners are not left alone and an entire marine execution squad is with them at all times. They go through with their mission exactly as planned, then return to the fleet with a new sense of security. Unbeknownst to the fleet however, that sense of security is a false one.

Contrary to what Apollo believed, the disease could never wipe out the entire Cylon race. The disease would probably wipe out all or most resurrection ships in the Cylon fleet and surely a great many individual Cylons would be killed permanently by such an event, but ultimately the damage would be limited only to resurrection ships. A severe blow to the Cylons, but not fatal.

Baltar would then furnish them with a cure easily, using cells from Hera, allowing them to recover all of their infected resurrection ships. This would elevate Baltar (and Hera) to a Messiah-like status among the Cylons, delivering unto them their salvation. Hmm... salvation. What was the title of this episode again? ;)

Alas, that story and its potential is lost, just like the Pegasus. There is still much to redeem this episode though. What I found most fascinating were the throes of emotion observable in Athena. Aside from the emotional complexities that must have plagued her by seeing fellow Cylons dying of a debilitating disease, only then to have believed contracted it herself, what interests me most is the fact that all evidence points to her destroying the Cylon basestar.

To me, that signifies that part of her is still loyal to the Cylons, not wanting too much of their technology (such as a basestar) to fall into Colonial hands, but more importantly, knowing that no resurrection ship was in range, she felt that the basestar should be destroyed now to prevent whatever happened to the Cylons aboard from spreading to the others later. It also serves as interesting parallelism. Both of the significant Sharon characters are now responsible for the destruction of a Cylon basestar.

Another interesting quip of the narrative is Baltar's torture scene. I'm fairly annoyed with how one dimensional the Cylons are becoming with regards to how they're dealing with Baltar, but I'm forgiving it because the layers depicted in the torture scene made it come across as quite well executed. It also gave me curiously fond memories of Scorpius torturing John Crichton on Farscape, which is a high compliment.

The sloppy execution of the mission allowing Helo to do his dirty work wasn't the only wrinkle in the episode though. Another big one is the continued rank structure ambiguities. Helo is noted as having the rank of captain in this episode. But Apollo, with the rank of at least major, outranks him. Yet Apollo is not serving as the XO. Why? I suppose Adama is well within his rights to prefer Helo as an XO and Apollo certainly seems to have no problems with his new job or his apparent demotion, but come on writers! Throw us a bone here! Explain it all on screen! All it takes is one or two throw away lines to satisfy the fans' organizational concerns.

So this was a pretty strong episode for the most part, but it could have been a lot better. In the end, it skirted around the issue of genocide, trying to have it both ways with the good guys committed to it, all except one, who prevents the catastrophe. Weak.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pete Miller on 2006-11-15 at 10:35pm:
    I agree with you wholeheartedly about the rank thing. That's the exact kind of thing that irritates me, and as nitpicky as it may be, it's not that hard for the writers to throw in that one line of dialogue.
  • From SH on 2010-04-19 at 8:27am:
    Why didn't they take the infected prisoners around the fleet, to flush out/infect any remaining cylons hidden amongst the ranks of humans? (Not seen the rest of the series yet, so they might still do this. I just kept waiting for someone to suggest it.)
  • From festus on 2016-01-12 at 11:30pm:
    The Cylons have killed 20-50 Billion humans and are hellbent on destruction of it entirely. They have committed genocide. Finally the remnants of humanity of a means of removing the threat and possibly preventing the last colony of humans from the same fate visited up the other 12. But they sit around arguing about crimes against humanity and when the moment comes, they do the usual thing and fail. This episode was utterly idiotic.

    No soldier risking life and limb and charged to protect their people from an such a peril as the Cylons would balk at using whatever weapons were at their disposal. The treason of the act wasn't even investigated. To me it'd be like Sarah Connor in Terminator 1 not crushing the Terminator but rather choosing to just let it keep coming and hope she can keep running. It was weak and not unexpected.

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BSG - 3x08 - Hero - Originally Aired: 2006-11-17

My Rating - 2

Fan Rating Average - 4.4

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

Synopsis
When three Cylon Raiders Jump into the middle of the fleet, the Galactica braces for a fight. But two of the Raiders are actually chasing the third. Taking advantage of their enemies' preoccupation, Starbuck and Kat gun down the two pursuing ships. Then a man calling himself "Bulldog" sends a desperate radio signal from the third Raider. Hearing it, Adama orders the craft escorted onto the Galactica. A haggard man disembarks. DNA comparisons confirm that he is Lt. Daniel "Bulldog" Novacek, who once served under Adama.

Novacek and Adama tell Roslin that they conducted a mission together about a year before the Cylons attacked the Colonies. While investigating illegal mining near the Cylon armistice line, Novacek was shot down by the miners. Adama gave him up for dead, but Novacek ejected and was picked up by the Cylons. For three years, they held him in a cell aboard a baseship, but he finally escaped, stole a Raider, and fled to the human fleet.

Roslin suspects that this simple narrative is not the whole truth, but Adama just asks her to trust him. Later, he confides the true story to his son, Lee. The admiralty actually ordered Adama to spy on the Cylons, not on renegade miners. While he observed aboard the battlestar Valkyrie, Novacek, his best pilot, flew a small stealth ship over the armistice line to hunt for evidence of Cylon military preparations. There, an unknown vessel attacked Novacek. As more mystery spacecraft circled in for the kill, Adama ordered Novacek's ship destroyed by a missile to cover up the spy mission. Having endured guilt about that decision for years, now he must face the additional fact that, despite his actions, the Cylons discovered and captured Novacek. Indeed, Adama now believes that this failed spy mission provoked the Cylons' massive attack on the Colonies.

While Adama confesses this to Lee, Novacek hears the same story from Col. Tigh, who was also aboard the Valkyrie that day. Novacek never knew that the missile strike which sent him into enemy hands was ordered by his own commanding officer. He's appalled to learn the truth.

Meanwhile, as Starbuck reviews film of the Raiders' high-speed chase, she notices that the pursuing Cylon ships deliberately fired their weapons past Novacek's craft, missing him. She can only conclude that the Cylons wanted their prisoner to escape. Whatever the reason for that, it can't bode well for the human fleet. Then, without warning, Novacek violently ambushes Adama. Betrayed and furious, he'll be satisfied only when Adama is dead... [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Adama is in his dress uniform during the ceremony, then is shown in his regular uniform sending off Bulldog. He's then shown inexplicably back in his dress uniform when Tigh comes to his quarters.
- Bulldog's mission was said to have taken place 3 years prior to this episode. But Adama lost command of the Valkyrie in 21348, which is 8 years prior to this episode.

Factoids
- This episode establishes that the Battlestar Valkyrie was Adama's command before the Galactica.
- This episode marks Adama's 45th anniversary as an officer in the Colonial Fleet.
- The dossier Billy prepared for Roslin about Adama includes a short biography, but actually conveys a lot of information. Among the legible things in it included Adama's place of birth, Qualai, Caprica, a small coastal community. His mother's name is Evelyn Adama, an accountant. Most importantly, however, is Adama's military service, which reads:

D6/21311 First commission, Battlestar Galactica, fighter squadron
E4/21312 Commendation for shooting down Cylon fighter in first combat mission
D5/21314 Mustered out of service post-armistice
R6/21317 Served as Deck Hand in merchant fleet and as common [...] aboard inter-colony tramp freighters
D1/21331 Recommissioned to Fleet
D6/21337 Major: Battlestar Atlantia
R8/21341 Executive Officer: Battlestar Columbia
C2/21345 Commander: Battlestar Valkyrie
C2/21348 Commander: Battlestar Galactica


- That info connotes that the current year is 21356, if we add 45 years to 21311, the date of Adama's first commission. This also puts Adama at 66 years of age. The current year being such a high number is intriguing, as it connotes over 20,000 years of recorded history for the Colonials.
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41421. (This is up one from last episode, due to Bulldog's addition.)
- Adama had a line in this episode in which he said, "I thought maybe the Cylons had beaten the bullshit attitude out of you." However the word "bullshit" was censored on many major cable networks during the episode's first airing.
- This episode establishes that Adama was given command of the Galactica as punishment for bungling the black ops mission, as a sort of quiet retirement.

Remarkable Scenes
- Tory, holding Baltar's portrait: "Is there really any place left in the universe deserving of such a rare and distinguished item?" Roslin: "I was thinking put it in the bathroom right over the toilet." Tory: "Excellent choice."
- The raider chase.
- The raider being taken aboard Galactica and Bulldog emerging.
- Roslin after being told what supposedly happened to Bulldog: "So you gonna tell me what really happened?" Adama: "You're gonna have to trust me on this one, okay? It's my mess. I'll fix it." Roslin leaves, then Adama throws a chair across the room.
- Adama going to see Tigh about Bulldog.
- Tigh: "So, you here to talk to your friend or to your XO? Last time I checked, I was neither."
- Tigh revealing Adama's secret to Bulldog and Adama revealing his secret to Apollo.
- The flashback to the Battlestar Valkyrie.
- D'Anna ordering a Centurion to execute her, then revealing to the other Cylons that "there's something beautiful, miraculous between life and death."
- Starbuck watching the footage of the raider chase, wondering why the Cylons kept missing.
- Starbuck revealing to Tigh that the Cylons let Bulldog escape.
- Bulldog attacking Adama.
- Tigh saving Adama.
- Tigh: "You don't wanna believe it do you? No. The truth hurts, Bulldog. But it's better to know the truth than to live a lie. We're all soldiers Danny. We're all expendable. And we did what we had to do to protect the mission. It's ugly, but there it is. The Cylons let you go. The question is why. Ask yourself that, Danny. Because up until a minute ago, you were doing exactly what they wanted you to do. Come here and learn the truth and seek revenge. And that's exactly what you did. You almost gave them what they wanted. The dirty little secret is the toughest part of getting played is losing your dignity. Feeling like you are not worth the oxygen you are sucking down. You get used to it. You start to believe it. You start to love it. It's like a bottle that never runs dry. You can keep reaching for it over and over and over again." Adama: "So how do you put that bottle away, Saul?" Tigh: "I don't know. One day you just decide to get up and walk out of your room."
- Tigh going to see Adama to talk to him about what happened to Ellen.

My Review
A Measure of Salvation was an episode with a good idea poorly executed. Hero is an episode with a bad idea executed equally poorly. First and foremost, the entire main plot seemed entirely unnecessary to me. All the real meat of the story is in Adama's backstory and Tigh and Adama reconciling their friendship. The story was about them, and Bulldog just came across as a poorly thought out plot device.

The largest complaint to make about Bulldog is the deus ex machina way in which he was introduced. RDM once said you can only bring a character back from the dead a small number of times. What he did with Ellen Tigh was his sort of "get out of jail free" card. The audience only lets you get away with that once, or a few times at most. And you'd better have a very good reason to do it. Bringing Ellen Tigh into the story was done for a very good reason. Bringing the Pegasus into the story was done for a very good reason. Bringing in Bulldog wasn't.

Even if you throw aside the idea of the extreme convenience that he survived, the story still requires immense suspension of disbelief. The audience is forced to believe that the Cylons held him for 3 years, did nothing with him, then simply let him go, hoping that he'd find the fleet, learn the truth, and seek revenge against Adama. Perhaps there was no such conspiracy; Tigh and Starbuck were wrong, even though circumstantial evidence points to them being correct. But even if there was no conspiracy, how did Bulldog find the fleet at all in the first place? I just don't buy it.

Furthermore, the date of Bulldog's covert ops mission is completely contradicted by Adama's biography as shown in the dossier Billy prepared for Roslin. Granted, everything else about that wonderful dossier seems to add up perfectly with regards to the continuity of the rest of the show, it is yet another blatant technical problem where Bulldog is concerned.

Other issues challenging suspension of disbelief include Adama's sudden desire to resign his commission after the Bulldog incident. What? Why? In numerous prior episodes, Adama has been willing to forgive almost anything his officers did, because the ship needed every man. Now, Adama feels he's suddenly unqualified to command the Galactica because of something he might have done, maybe, to contribute to the Cylon attack on the Colonies?

Adama said in 33 "we make mistakes, people die" and ordered Dee to resume her duties after a mistake she made cost the lives of the people aboard the Olympic Carrier. Furthermore, Roslin issued a full pardon to all human beings in the fleet to mark a new beginning. The attitude of the show thus far is that everyone's sinned, but it must be overlooked so the fleet can move on. It seems out of character for Adama, one of the front runners of this attitude to forget this.

That said, there are some nuggets of gold in here. The most memorable scenes involve Tigh's internal struggle and how he and Adama reconcile their friendship. I absolutely adore the final scene, in which Tigh finally comes to Adama to talk about what happened to Ellen. (Even if it does feature a pretty obvious continuity error with regards to Adama's uniform.)

I further loved the sight of the Valkyrie and the information we got about Adama's past. It seems that the command of the Galactica was given to Adama as punishment for bungling the mission across the armistice line. This makes Adama's character much more interesting in that he must have commanded some nice influence by the time he made commander to have been given the Valkyrie, a very modern-looking battlestar, instead of what we were lead to believe before that he barely managed to grab command of Galactica, the oldest, least desirable ship in the fleet with what little influence he had. It also sheds new light on a line he uttered in Resurrection Ship, Part 2 about having never given up hope to be promoted to admiral, but had stopped trying years ago.

Another interesting plot point is D'Anna's apparent religious experience between life and death, which she believes means something profound. Of particular note, she appears to be in the same opera house as Baltar saw in Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 2, and she sees a number of whited out people. Are they the last remaining five Cylons? Or some other people?

Bear McCreary's score is of particular note once again, with a nice violin piece played throughout the episode, mostly during Bulldog's and Adama's scenes. I also much enjoyed the fast drum theme during the Valkyrie flashback. Overall this is an episode in which the ball is dropped pretty hard, but the numerous interesting minor details and the gripping dramatic way the episode comes to its conclusion saves the episode from being a total loss.

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BSG - 3x09 - Unfinished Business - Originally Aired: 2006-12-1

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5.92

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Synopsis
After walking out on her estranged husband Sam Anders, Starbuck attends a below-decks boxing tournament in which Tigh referees and rank is forgotten. She watches Apollo suffer a tough loss to Helo, then singles Apollo out, challenging him to fight her. Apollo accepts, and, with a strange tension simmering between them, the two wait their turn.

Laura Roslin, a closet boxing fan, joins Adama ringside. The Admiral explains that boxing is an old fleet tradition for blowing off steam and settling grudges. In fact, the fights tonight are haunted by memories of New Caprica — especially memories of dreams and relationships lost and found as the ill-fated settlement was just beginning.

On the 123rd day of New Caprican coloniziation, President Baltar hosted a groundbreaking ceremony in hopes of a bright future for the young colony. At the party that followed, Tigh and his wife Ellen enjoyed a rare bright spot in their difficult marriage; Adama and Roslin bonded over hopes and concerns; and Tyrol and Cally worried that their jobs aboard the Galactica would deprive their newly conceived son of a childhood spent in the colony's fresh air. As the evening's drinking and dancing wore on, Starbuck and Apollo caught each other's eyes over the shoulders of their new lovers, Anders and Dualla. Despite — or because of — their long, troubled history, the two old friends felt irresistibly drawn together.

By the next morning, Adama had decided to allow members of his crew, including Tyrol and Cally, to leave the Galactica and join the new colony. And Starbuck and Apollo had shared a secret experience that sent Starbuck rushing into marriage with Anders and provoked Apollo to propose to Dualla.

Now, at the boxing match, Adama himself challenges Tyrol to a bout, goading the man to pull no punches until Tyrol unleashes a flurry of blows, leaving his commander bloodied. Adama seizes the moment to warn his crew that he accepts the rigors of war and will never again put humanity's survival at risk by being too soft-hearted, as he did when he allowed so many of them to leave their posts and settle on New Caprica.

With that as a climax, Tigh declares the boxing over. But after Adama, Tigh and Roslin leave the room, the night's real main event begins. Starbuck and Apollo enter the ring to settle scores that only they understand — and their spouses, left out, can do nothing but watch. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41422. (This is up one from last episode, possibly due to a birth.)
- RDM amusingly declared that the Adama and Roslin getting stoned scene "is called 'getting away with shit on TV.'"
- Starbuck very clearly indicates Apollo as having the rank of major in this episode. The only rationalization at this point for Apollo having been demoted is that his rank of commander was simply brevetted to him insofar as he had the Pegasus to command. It seems implicitly understood in the fleet that Apollo was automatically demoted when he sacrificed the Pegasus, though a line explaining the rationale in a prior episode would have been much appreciated.

Remarkable Scenes
- The teaser is incredible. A roaring roller coaster ride of Starbuck's and Apollo's emotions with the boxing match and the beautiful violin music serving as a backdrop. Little details everywhere are fantastic, such as even Doc. Cottle getting excited about the fight.
- The first flashback depicting the colonization of New Caprica.
- Adama explaining "the dance" to Roslin.
- Starbuck taking out Hot Dog swiftly.
- The flashback back to Baltar's breaking ground ceremony and the party afterward, showing Tigh and Ellen celebrating as well as Adama and Roslin getting stoned.
- The flashback back to Tyrol and Adama discussing Cally's pregnancy.
- Adama challenging Tyrol and sucker punching him as soon as the round begins.
- The square dance flashback.
- Adama provoking Tyrol's anger, causing the fight to get intense.
- A drunk Apollo approaching a drunk Starbuck in a flashback: "Wow, look at that. You literally drank Anders under the table."
- Tyrol kicking Adama's ass then Roslin offering a defiant Adama boxing advice.
- The flashback to Adama granting Tyrol and Cally permission to leave Galactica.
- Tyrol winning the fight, then picking Adama back up.
- Adama's speech and Tyrol leaving to finish work on the busted viper, killing the mood of "the dance."
- Starbuck to Apollo: "So what? You have the guts to try and frak another man's woman but not to fight one?"
- The flashback back to Apollo and Starbuck finally openly expressing their love for each other both physically and verbally. I loved Starbuck's line, "that makes things more complicated."
- Starbuck resorting to dirty tactics while fighting Apollo.
- The flashback to Apollo waking up alone the next morning, then finding out about Starbuck marrying Anders.
- The fight between Starbuck and Apollo getting intense, to the backdrop of the beautiful violin music playing once again.
- The flashback scene depicting Apollo approaching Starbuck and Anders, cordially congratulating him, and leaving to embrace Dee.
- Starbuck and Apollo tiring of the fight and sort of hugging each other in the ring while everyone begins to leave. I like how Anders implicitly gets it and leaves, but Dee just can't bring herself to go.
- Starbuck and Apollo declaring to each other that they missed each other.

My Review
Unfinished Business is a fast paced, unusual, but charming episode with very little to tarnish the fun. I must admit that going into this episode I was fairly convinced it would suck, having read spoilers indicating that it would be about a boxing match between Apollo and Starbuck and identify what the long standing grudge between them was really all about. However, this episode trampled all over such expectations, delivering instead an intimate, enthralling, emotionally packed episode that doesn't disappoint.

One of the most charming aspects of the episode is the very idea of "the dance," which is symbolically supported by the beautifully scored violin music played most notably during the teaser and the final scenes of the episode. I detect pieces of season one's The Shapes of Things to Come in the scoring, but also entirely new themes mixed in variously seamlessly, such as some of the Irish bagpipe work.

I found it fascinating how Adama's idea to start "the dance" was motivated by an idea to release pent up frustrations that people harbor toward one another on a warship, only to ring truer than he thought with his own self, motivating him ultimately to fight Tyrol over his frustrations regarding Tyrol growing soft. "The dance" certainly does accomplish the goal of releasing the pent up issues of many of the other characters too and at a rapid pace. If there's one point the episode drove home harder than any other, it's that Starbuck and Apollo really do harbor unrequited love for each other.

It seems evident now that at some point, Starbuck realized she doesn't really love Anders; that it's merely a powerful sexual attraction. While it does invoke a close and intimate friendship between the two people, it isn't in fact true love. Likewise, Apollo jumped into a relationship with Dee emotionally unprepared because he must have been feeling exceptionally alone and deprived; needing someone to fill in the gap after Starbuck literally abandoned him the night of their love making and furthermore married another man. There's something marvelous about watching how small Apollo looks when he confronts the newlyweds. Apollo was a vastly respected man, a battlestar commander, in his commander's uniform even, so reduced by his anguish over his love for a woman.

Starbuck's guilt over her behavior manifests itself in the form of frustration motivated anger and aggression. It culminates in a beautifully crafted line in which she says, "So what? You have the guts to try and frak another man's woman but not to fight one?" The line is fascinating because it has an apparent double meaning. Is she referring to Apollo stealing Billy's girl, or Apollo stealing Anders' girl?

In the end, the largest complaints to lodge against this episode is that it is apparent filler and that it features no worthwhile plot advancement other than dealing with the long brewing unrequited love affair between Apollo and Starbuck that fans have been waiting for since the beginning of the show. They both appear to look at their relationship as a sort of almost taboo subject for reasons never really clearly communicated to the audience. Is it because of Zak? Is it because of their military affiliations and obligations? Is it because of how Adama looks upon Starbuck as a daughter? All of the above?

Certainly such a deep seeded issue is worthy of a whole episode, but part of me feels that there's something missing from the episode because it features no scenes depicting what's going on with the Cylons and Baltar; and for that matter there are no scenes whatsoever outside the hangar bay that aren't flashbacks. The Baltar and Cylon storylines seem neglected to me over the last few episodes. Something major is brewing over there, but it seems like the narrative take of the show is to regard their proceedings as uninteresting.

In fact, Unfinished Business from a narrative standpoint is structurally very simple. The episode really is nothing but a series of boxing matches which trigger a bunch of flashbacks. But despite this, the episode is unusually satisfying because it answers a lot of pent up unanswered questions about the show. Hence the title Unfinished Business. Though, from a stylistic standpoint, I think "The Dance" may have been a better episode title, to underscore the brilliant scoring and to reflect the quirky nickname for the boxing matches in the episode's dialog.

What's interesting is to compare Hero to Unfinished Business. Both episodes are essentially filler, but Hero comes off as an unsatisfying jumbled mess of an episode while this one feels emotionally dense and rewarding, which is ironic given that technically, Unfinished Business is a much smaller scale episode. But it's not what you say, it's how you say it. And Unfinished Business may be relative filler, but it's filler done properly.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pete Miller on 2006-12-02 at 11:49pm:
    Filler done properly, maybe, but filler nonetheless. A waste of an episode.
  • From adamt on 2011-01-13 at 5:28am:
    Continuity problem: Both Adama and the Chief have their tags on when they get in the ring. And then the tags disappear after the fight starts.
  • From Peremensoe on 2013-07-12 at 8:15am:
    I'm baffled by the idea that this is "filler." So it doesn't 'advance' the overall plot. So what? Plot is just one part of a story, and often, to their strength, not the primary element of BSG episodes. This is an essential character episode, and a remarkable visual and sound composition--more than enough to justify its place.

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BSG - 3x10 - The Passage - Originally Aired: 2006-12-8

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 5.87

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 9 9 11 9 17 11 6 7 14 22 24

Synopsis
When the fleet's food supply becomes contaminated, everyone is in danger of starving to death. In a daring exploratory mission, Sharon discovers a planet teeming with edible algae — but it's on the far side of a massive star cluster. Flying around the cluster will take too long, and flying through it will expose the unshielded civilian ships to intense, deadly radiation.

Admiral Adama decides that the radiation-shielded Galactica will shuttle groups of civilians through the cluster. Simultaneously, the shielded Raptors will each shepherd a civilian ship, empty except for a skeleton crew, along the same route. They'll have to make five trips of two Jumps each to transport the entire fleet to the far side. The journey's midpoint, when the ships emerge into real space in the center of the cluster, will be the most dangerous part. There, disoriented by blinding starlight, the Raptor pilots must each establish the exact location of their civilian ships and transmit Jump coordinates to them before they can move on.

As civilians board the Galactica, a man named Enzo confronts pilot Capt. Louanne "Kat" Katraine. She dismisses him, but he pursues her, warning her that she can't deny her former life forever. As Kat runs away from her old identity, Gaius Baltar, still far away with the Cylon fleet, searches for a new one. With D'Anna's help, he tries to discover if he's one of the five human-form Cylons whose faces have never been seen. The clues he finds, however, lead him instead toward another rendezvous with the humans he has betrayed.

Back at the star cluster, the first group of ships Jumps away. At the journey's midpoint, one civilian ship, the Adriatic, is lost forever amid the glaring starlight and deadly radiation.

Later, on the fourth trip, Kat also loses the ship she was assigned to guide. With only one trip left to make, she and her fellow pilots are heartsick and weakened by radiation exposure. Enzo resurfaces, and Kat argues with him. Then Starbuck corners Kat and demands an explanation for the fight. Kat finally confesses that she used to be a drug-runner; Enzo was her supplier. She lied about everything — even her real name — to become a pilot aboard the Galactica.

Now burdened by Starbuck's disgust as well as by radiation sickness, Kat embarks on her fifth passage through the cluster. To prove herself worthy of her honorable new identity, she'll risk everything to ensure that her final trip succeeds. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- Apollo notes that there are 8 ships taken through the star cluster per trip and that there are 5 trips. Are there really 45 civilian ships in the fleet?

Factoids
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41420. (This is down by two from last episode.)
- Among what I could discern of the hybrid's speech this episode: "[...] one degree. Angle nominal. Seascape portrait of the woman child, cavern of the soul. Under pressure, heat ratio. Miles of evolution have buried their fears. [...] Throughout history the nexus between man and machine has been some of the most dramatic, compelling, [...] and entertaining [...] " Then when Baltar reaches out to her: "Intelligence. A mind that burns like a fire. Find the hand that basks in the shadow of the light. In the eye of the husband of the eye of the cow."

Remarkable Scenes
- Baltar: "I'll never understand what you all do all day long. Living on this thing like fleas on a cat."
- Baltar confronting D'Anna about her repeated suicides.
- Tigh returning to CIC.
- The fleet taking immense damage in the star cluster.
- Hot Dog losing the Adriatic.
- Kat losing the Carina.
- Pilots returning, Hot Dog throwing up, and Apollo attempting to brief his pilots.
- The Adama and Tigh laughing scene.
- Starbuck confronting Kat about her past.
- Baltar and D'Anna visiting the hybrid.
- Kat realizing that she's losing her hair.
- Kat's noble sacrifice.
- Starbuck visiting Kat.
- Adama visiting Kat and promoting her to CAG again.
- Starbuck hanging a photo of Kat under the photo of Riley's girlfriend, which Kat obsessed over in Scar.

My Review
Much like Torn, this episode is all setup for a confrontation between humans and Cylons in the next episode. This aspect of the episode is done quite well, because it merges an important issue in the fleet with that overall plot goal. A food shortage is something I've been waiting to see in the fleet since Water, in which Baltar outlined what seemed to be very difficult to sustain food requirements for the fleet. They turned out to be not so difficult to sustain after all, for over a year went by and this is the first time a food shortage ever became a problem. There was so much food to go around even that Lee Adama could gorge himself on it!

I suppose better late than never is the best axiom to describe the food plot, as I appreciate that it's being addressed at all. I also am quite amused at the whole idea of the fleet harvesting and eating algae. How delightfully disgusting! Though as a whole, The Passage is an episode which does too much at once and therefore does none of it very well. Aside from the food crisis occurring way too late in the show, it spontaneously becomes a problem in the most contrived way. The food processing ship breaks down. This sounds like the premise from an original series episode. A better way to broach this topic would have been to have a gradual food shortage begin to take shape right after the exodus from New Caprica, until it culminates into food riots, then forcing the fleet into taking the drastic, risky measures taken in this episode.

This brings us to the idea of the passage through the star cluster itself. The plot frames the issue as there not being enough time to jump around the star cluster. Why? Jump travel is instantaneous. Was there not enough time to calculate the jumps or something? Unfortunately, the science fiction stuff in this episode's plot is only very loosely and quickly glossed over so that the show can get on with the drama. This is usually a good idea, but in this case instead of just painting a deliberately vague picture, it just comes across as confusing and requires the audience to fill in the blanks in order for it all to be plausible.

What I did like about the passage through the star cluster was the apparent immense losses suffered by the fleet. Extreme damages to all ships was suffered, including that nice detail depicting the Galactica's logo peeling. The raptors are all pockmarked, and at least two ships were destroyed. All very sobering stuff!

What didn't work for me so well aside from technical issues was Kat's story. While I agree with RDM who stated that a human price should have to be paid for such a perilous journey to be believable, and that it should be a character we already know fairly well, Kat's story felt somewhat insincere until the very end. Honestly, I don't think we needed any new details about Kat's life; Enzo was almost painful to watch and I don't think the revelations about Kat's past added anything worthwhile to the plot. It would have been more moving if the episode simply surprised us with Kat's defiant "I'm not losing another one!" attitude at the very end. That would also make her noble sacrifice seem more noble and less like a drama queen acting on her death wish.

Even the Baltar / D'Anna story, which I felt was the strongest and most interesting aspect of the plot had its weaknesses. Just like the technical details of the passage, the method by which Baltar discerns the Cylons' next move is glossed over rather quickly. In the scene with the hybrid, we're treated to a fast moving dialog between Baltar and D'Anna in which Baltar very loosely derived meaning from symbolism in the hybrid's speech almost like when Data spouted a bunch of meaningless technobabble on Star Trek TNG.

Here's a quick summary of the exposition. The eye of the cow refers to Hera because she's sometimes referred to as the cow-eyed hero. The husband of the eye of the cow is Jupiter, because Jupiter was Hera's husband. The hybrid says to find the hand in shadow of light which Baltar assumes is a star cluster. The hand he assumes must be some kind of artifact and the symbolism of five fingers on a hand must refer to the five missing Cylons. Now that's a lot to swallow at once! Moreover, that's a lot of leaps of logic for Baltar to make on what seems like fairly flimsy ground. A little more depth and explanation would have been appreciated. Instead, this felt more like a handful crazy coincidences.

I do, however, like the idea that D'Anna has become obsessed with discovering who the final five Cylon models are. I also much enjoy Baltar's complicity in this quest. The episode has numerous details large and small to sustain its value, in fact. Aside from the various nice elements in the main plots, little details like Tigh returning to CIC are worthwhile along with the Adama and Tigh paper shortage goofiness. Again, the Galactica's lettering peeling away was a nice touch, as was the inclusion of Riley's girlfriend's photo at the end, and depicting Lt. Hoshi, a former Pegasus officer, as having a key role on the Galactica CIC now.

Overall though, this is an episode that falls below average. For all the nice details there are equally as many goofs and annoying details. For an episode with this much plot advancement and long term consequences, it almost feels filler, and certainly feels under done. Key elements of the main plots should have been explored in more depth. So, a nice episode, but could have been a lot better.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Bruno Mota on 2006-12-12 at 1:58pm:
    I think this episode was a wasted opportunity. Kat is a character that started as a bit player, and grew with the series, so her death (like Helen's) is meaningful. But the various pieces never quite click together here, and even the events leading to her death seem a bit contrived. Also, the episode is way to much 'standalone', i.e., a problem appears and is resolved in the episode, with no ramifications before or after.

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BSG - 3x11 - The Eye of Jupiter - Originally Aired: 2006-12-15

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.43

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 25 1 2 3 13 9 2 12 21 11 14

Synopsis
As Colonial forces assist civilian teams gathering food on the algae planet, Starbuck and Apollo enjoy a liaison behind the backs of their spouses, Anders and Dualla. When Apollo suggests that they each get divorced, however, Starbuck refuses. She doesn't mind bending the rules of marriage, but she believes that divorce is sacrilegious. Because Apollo thinks that secretive cheating is equally wrong, they're at an impasse.

Tyrol, meanwhile, feels an inexplicable inspiration to leave the algae worksite and hike alone over the scrubby hills to a strange rock structure. Inside it, he discovers the lost, ancient Temple of Five, where the Eye of Jupiter — a mysterious object that points the way to Earth — is supposedly hidden.

Before the humans can find the Eye, however, four Cylon baseships arrive. Baltar and D'Anna, also inspired by potentially divine means, have guided their fleet here, and they want the Eye for themselves. After the rest of the human fleet Jumps to safety, the Galactica hosts D'Anna, Boomer, Cavil, and Baltar for negotiations. There, Boomer tells her counterpart, Athena, that Athena's daughter, Hera, is alive in the Cylon fleet — revealing that Roslin lied about her death. Adama shuts down the negotiations by declaring that if the Cylons make any aggressive moves, he'll launch nuclear strikes on the planet so that no one can have the Eye.

Secretly, however, D'Anna has already sneaked a Centurion raiding party onto the planet's surface, the moment her fleet arrived in the system. Speculating that just such an ambush is possible, Apollo mobilizes his people on the ground to defend the Temple — or destroy it, if they must. Even though he already guesses the truth about Apollo and Starbuck's affair, Anders grudgingly helps Apollo organize the civilians into a fighting force.

Then they receive an urgent message from Starbuck in her Raptor: she has spotted the raiding party of Centurions headed their way. Before she can say more, the Centurions shoot her down. Frantic to rescue her, Anders tries to leave the Temple, but Apollo can't spare the personnel and refuses to let him go.

Hemmed in by growing threats from all sides — and from above — the two men's furious standoff is only the prelude to a much bigger fight. Worse, aboard the Galactica, Gaeta discovers that the planet's sun is poised on the brink of a supernova. It could explode at any moment, with enough fury to vaporize humans, Cylons — and the entire planetary system. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- The title of this episode used be The Eye of Zeus instead of The Eye of Jupiter.
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41402. (This is down by 18 from last episode, presumably due to deaths caused by crossing the passage.)
- What I could transcribe of the hybrid's speech: "The five lights of the apocalypse rising, struggling toward the light. Sins revealed only to those who enter the temple. Only to the chosen one. The chosen one, the chosen one, the chosen one..."

Remarkable Scenes
- Starbuck's reckless landing.
- Baltar comforting Hera.
- Tyrol wandering off and discovering an ancient temple.
- Four Cylon basestars approaching Galactica at high speed.
- Adama: "This is Admiral Adama." Baltar speaking from the Cylon basestar: "Admiral, I can't tell you what a genuine pleasure it is to hear your voice. This is Gaius Baltar."
- Six: "Feels like old times, doesn't it?" Baltar: "I can't believe how much I actually missed this place." Six: "You know you can't return. They'd toss you out the nearest airlock then throw a party." Baltar: "Yes, I know. Still, I can't help feeling I'm finally home."
- Athena confronting the visiting Cylons. I love Cavil's reaction: "Well look at this, should we salute?" I also like how Athena identified Boomer.
- Roslin regarding Baltar: "The less this man says, the better this will go."
- Adama: "What's your offer?" D'Anna: "You give us the Eye of Jupiter, we let you go." Cavil: "And we'll throw in Baltar." Baltar: "What are you talking about now?" Cavil: "I'm improvising. We'll throw in something to sweeten the pot. Besides, I suspect that the admiral and Madam President would enjoy some nice quiet private time with their former leader. Am I right?" Tigh: "Worth thinking about." Adama: "Definitely worth thinking about."
- Boomer revealing to Athena that Hera is still alive.
- Starbuck: "Can I make a suggestion you won't like?" Apollo: "Do you make any other kind?"
- Tyrol: "You know when I was growing up, I hated everything about the faith. The rules, the rituals, endless discussions at the dinner table. I used to sneak into my mom's prayer room, you know, holiest of the holies, and dance around naked with porn magazines just to defy the gods and tell'm to frak off."
- Tyrol: "Here I am setting charges in this special place. The holiest of holies. This is the Temple of Five. If my parents could see this... and I'm gonna blow it up."
- Gaeta discovering that the sun is going to go supernova soon.
- The hybrid indicating Baltar to be the "chosen one."
- The Cylons attacking Starbuck's raptor.
- Adama confronting Roslin about Hera.
- Adama speaking with Helo and Athena about their child still being alive.
- Apollo and Anders fighting over whether or not to go rescue Starbuck while Adama orders a nuclear strike on the planet.

My Review
The Eye of Jupiter is an episode densely packed with plot and cleverly scripted lines, but ultimately comes across as weak when compared to other episodes that were similarly supposed to be big and epic largely due to the insincere nature of the cliffhanger. Strictly speaking, I don't buy the cliffhanger. Roslin asked whether or not Adama is willing to sacrifice Lee and the obvious answer is no. More specifically, a huge fraction of the main cast of the show is on ground zero. They're not going to be killed so as I said before the cliffhanger is insincere. All the danger hinges on something the audience knows won't happen.

Other things that didn't work quite well were details like Starbuck's and Apollo's marital problems. While believable and realistic, this relationship quadrangle that was presented eloquently and artistically in Unfinished Business comes across as conventional and melodramatic here; almost like something out of a teen drama. Also jarring is this episode feels too much like setup for the next. One might be inclined to forgive part one of a two part story for being nothing but setup, but Pegasus proved to us that part one of a multipart story need not necessarily be all setup and no payoff. Not to mention the fact that the cliffhanger at the end of Pegasus was far more convincing. I actually believed the two ships would start shooting at each other. (It was almost disappointing that they didn't.)

The most annoying way that this episode is all setup is Gaeta's scene in which he exposes the fact that this planetary system's sun is on the verge of a supernova. Again, the scene feels insincere. I enjoy that detail and in fact feel that it's a fantastic plot device, but it serves absolutely no purpose in this episode. It should have either been revealed in the next episode as a complete surprise as it happens, or the sun should have gone supernova in this episode as part of or perhaps the entirety of the cliffhanger. Instead, what we got was an insincere cliffhanger riding on manufactured danger supported by scoring largely recycled from Resurrection Ship, Part 1. How disappointing.

What wasn't disappointing, however, was the handling of the Cylon characters and the mythology surrounding the Temple of Five. It seems in her quest to some sort of enlightenment, D'Anna has taken too much control over what goes on in Cylon society. You can tell the other Cylons are starting to get a little annoyed with her, but they're letting it go for now. I also like how Baltar has been maintaining this uneasy alliance with the Cylons to further his own goals. Additionally, Baltar's scenes aboard the Galactica were some good fun to watch.

What was most interesting with the Cylons in this episode was with regards to the Sharons and Hera. While Athena discovering for sure that Hera is alive was not played quite as dramatically as I'd hoped, being a mere subplot, it still offers quite a bit of intrigue. I liked quite a bit the miniature cliffhanger we were left on concerning this, with Athena declaring "I want to see my child." Perhaps not a very powerful line at first glance, but it's the logistics of such a request(?) that make it a little on the harrowing side. In order for Athena to see her child, she will likely have to visit the Cylon basestar, a scenario which doesn't seem very likely at the moment.

One detail that comes through quite well in this episode is the idea that the 13th tribe's journey to Earth was long and arduous, with this algae planet being one of many of their settlements along the way. It seems that the presumed original exodus from Earth to Kobol was done in a very nomadic way, and that the 13th tribe had to sort of trace those steps back to find Earth. Also kudos goes to Bear McCreary for the cool scoring that was done for the Temple of Five scenes, with Tyrol's wandering off then discovering the temple being my favorite. The details surrounding just what the Temple of Five and the Eye of Jupiter signify are a bit on the vague side however, which again is a result of this episode being all setup with very little payoff.

Overall though, for all that this episode is all setup and very little payoff it comes off as much stronger and more captivating than the similarly constructed Exodus, Part 1, despite the weak cliffhanger. A relatively strong episode with a weak cliffhanger is preferable to a weak episode with a good cliffhanger, so The Eye of Jupiter is not a bad episode by any stretch. It's in fact quite good if you forgive the trite ending, which I think counts for quite a bit in the episode's favor.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Bruno on 2006-12-23 at 1:49am:
    I quite enjoyed this episode. The plot is all setup, as you said, but the character drama was spot on. But I hope the writers have a good rationale for the massive coincidences that occur throughout (as well as for Tyrol's sensing a disturbance in the Force). A Supernova only goes off once every few hundred years in the entire frakking galaxy!

    I also noticed that in this season BSG is making more use of science fiction themes to move the plot along.

    Last but not least, merry Christmas (or saturnalia, or whatever)!. Thank you for all the effort you've put on this site.

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

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 5.48

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 13 13 5 6 5 8 14 10 26 15 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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My Rating - 5

Fan Rating Average - 4.72

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# Votes: 23 4 1 10 4 17 11 7 9 13 5

Synopsis
Gaius Baltar, captured on the algae planet and now imprisoned aboard the Galactica, stealthily knots a makeshift noose as the fleet sleeps around him. Then, urged on by the Six in his mind, he hangs himself. Losing consciousness, he imagines awakening in a new body aboard a Cylon resurrection ship, proving that he was a Cylon all along. The Sixes who greet him there, however, declare that he is human after all — and then they try to kill him. He revives back aboard the Galactica to find that unexpected visit by Felix Gaeta exposed his suicide attempt and saved his life. He's back in his cell, facing interrogation about his knowledge of Cylon operations.

Hoping to make Baltar talk, Roslin pretends to lose her temper and orders him summarily executed for treason. Although Roslin's fury is uncomfortably sincere, Baltar only begs for a fair trial; he doesn't confess Cylon secrets. Adama and Roslin then order Doc Cottle to inject Baltar with a dangerous experimental cocktail of hallucinogenic drugs that the military once tested for use in interrogations.

Meanwhile, Apollo and Tyrol discuss their marriages over drinks at a makeshift bar aboard the Galactica, but later, when Apollo returns drunk to his quarters, he balks at having the same discussion with Dualla. Certain that Apollo loves Starbuck, Dualla believes that her marriage is over.

Starbuck and Anders also confront their similarly dysfunctional marriage. Anders still believes that they fought so hard to be together because they were meant to be together. Nonetheless, he gives Starbuck his permission to go to Apollo — if she truly loves Apollo.

Apollo and Starbuck try to discuss their plight and end up arguing. Though they remain drawn to each other, they aren't able to trust that their future together will be worth destroying two marriages. If they can't commit to a decision soon, however, their uncertainty will cost them both their spouses and each other.

Baltar, lost in a drug-induced hallucination, finds himself struggling to stay afloat in a dark, watery abyss. His only lifeline is Adama's voice. The Admiral stands over Baltar's hospital bed and promises to save him from drowning if he shares information about the Cylons. Terrified, helpless, and physically near death from his suicide attempt and the drugs, Baltar talks.

Freed from the drug-induced stupor, he is taken to a clean, well-lit room for a friendly conversation with Gaeta, his friend and former adviser. Unfortunately for Baltar, he still doesn't say exactly what Gaeta needs — or wants — to hear … and he might find out only too late that Gaeta is no longer his friend at all. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- This episode leads us to believe it doesn't take place too long after the previous one because of how Baltar is handled, but Starbuck's hands are completely healed. Either an unreasonable amount of time has passed with regards to Baltar's incarceration and interrogation, or Starbuck has had an impossible miracle healing done to her hands. Either way it's a technical problem.

Factoids
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41403. (The survivor count goes up by two in this episode. Possibly one can be attributed to Baltar's return, but the other? Hera perhaps?)
- The title of this episode is a reference to the theme song of Cheers.

Remarkable Scenes
- Baltar's suicide attempt in the teaser, complete with a disturbing lullaby.
- Apollo: "You and Cally had a fight?" Tyrol: "Didn't you hear us? We figured we could've sold tickets. Ah. To marriage. Why we build bars."
- Drunk Apollo coming home to Dee and fast crashing. Snoring even in the middle of her speaking to him about how a proper marriage involves interaction between the couple.
- Roslin deliberately paralleling Baltar's interrogation of her on New Caprica, down to the glasses gesture.
- Roslin: "Just wondered if you recognized even one of these faces. Did any image get through to you on the rare occasion when you ventured out from behind your sandbags and your razor wires to see what was happening to your people?! Your people! I need to know! Now!"
- The shouting match between Roslin and Baltar as she ordered Tigh to toss him out the airlock.
- Baltar: "Caprica... Caprica Six. She saved my life. Shielded me from the explosion." Roslin: "Doctor, did you conspire with her to subvert our defense system?" Baltar: "Conspiracy requires intent! I never intended."
- Baltar waving to the security camera.
- Gaeta attacking Baltar.
- Adama decking Gaeta.
- Adama: "It's not too late for him to just disappear." Roslin: "We can't do that. For all his crimes he's one of us." Adama: "So what happens next?" Roslin: "We give him his trial."

My Review
Taking a Break from All Your Worries mashes up the running love quadrangle story with Baltar's return and subsequent interrogation. Unfortunately, the love quadrangle story was its usual flop, so pairing it with Baltar's return to the Galactica only served to diminish that part of the story too. I won't say too much about the love quadrangle this time, as I've already said it better in previous reviews. Simply stated, it has become tedious and it's being drawn out far too long.

However, even Baltar's story alone is not without its own flaws. The scene depicting Baltar waking up in a Cylon resurrection chamber was sort of a cheap ploy. We all knew already he wasn't a Cylon. Playing up the drama of whether or not he is one for so long serves only to bore and possibly annoy the audience. Furthermore, Baltar's interrogation went on way too long. The episode essentially ran out of steam after Roslin's heated shouting match with Baltar, which is easily the most riveting aspect of the episode, for which I grant an extra point.

The drug induced interrogation was bizarre and served little purpose other than to confirm Baltar's unintentional collusion with the Cylons for Roslin. The same effect could have been achieved by simply prolonging the shouting match between Roslin and Baltar, keeping the tension high.

An additional weakness of the episode was that there was little to no Caprica Six, depending on how you look at it. A "bonus scene" was featured on BSG's official website (and included as a deleted scene on the DVD) depicting a scene where Roslin speaks with Caprica Six. In this scene, Roslin promises Caprica Six she won't be airlocked. Caprica Six equates that promise to the one she made to Leoben in Flesh and Bone, which she broke. Six then offers to be Roslin's chief witness if Roslin agrees to give Baltar a fair trial. This is a nice touch, but nowhere near enough.

Some details I did like was the clear implication that nobody knows Baltar is back so that the option to quietly execute him is always available. There are also a number of interesting juxtapositions between Baltar and Roslin. In addition to the obvious interrogation parallels, such as the glasses touch, Roslin says to Adama that a change in tactics for Baltar's interrogation is required stating that it necessitates the use of the "carrot" rather than the "stick" which parallels Baltar's similar line to Admiral Cain in Pegasus.

Another interesting detail is the way Adama and Roslin treat Baltar is diametrically opposed to their position on human life in Collaborators. Throughout the episode, they resort to as many dirty tactics as they have at their disposal to get what they want; and only after all of those tactics fail and Adama proposes Baltar's death does Roslin finally come to her senses and declare that he shall receive a fair trial.

But aside from advancing the plot somewhat and the opportunity to see a few decent character moments, this episode has little to offer. It's not unlike this season's Exodus, Part 1, season 2's Flight of the Phoenix, or perhaps most closely season 1's Litmus.

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BSG - 3x14 - The Woman King - Originally Aired: 2007-2-11

My Rating - 6

Fan Rating Average - 4.31

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 25 10 6 6 6 8 24 17 7 4 5

Synopsis
Assigned to supervise a burgeoning civilian refugee camp housed on the Galactica's starboard hangar deck, Capt. Karl Agathon faces a restive population, including many Sagittarons. Considered insular and backward by their fellow Colonial citizens, the Sagittarons are used to discrimination — and to fighting back. Worse, the civilian doctor overseeing the refugees, Dr. Mike Roberts, diagnoses a number of the Sagittarons with Mellorak sickness . The disease is curable if it's treated within 48 hours. Untreated, it's fatal — and the Sagittarons don't believe in medical care.

To Agathon's frustration, the sickness spreads and refugees start dying, all because the Sagittarons refuse treatment. Then a distraught Sagittaron mother, Mrs. King, tells Agathon that her grown son died even after she allowed Dr. Roberts to treat him. Mrs. King believes that Roberts murdered her son.

As Agathon ponders the woman's claim, he grows increasingly sympathetic to the Sagittarons' plight — and thus increasingly alienated from his own comrades. Soon, another sick Sagittaron dies after being treated — against his will — by Roberts. A riot erupts in the hangar bay as angry, frightened refugees insist that Roberts is murdering them out of ethnic hatred.

After breaking up the fight, Agathon takes the Sagittarons' case directly to Colonel Tigh and Admiral Adama. He denounces Roberts as a disruptive man and, possibly, a killer. Adama rejects those allegations. Tigh, who came to trust Roberts in the resistance movement on New Caprica, then pursues Agathon into the corridor and accuses him of always taking the wrong side in any fight. Agathon, disgusted, strikes his superior officer.

Soon afterward, his daughter Hera falls ill, and Roberts cures her successfully. At this, even Agathon's wife Sharon suspects that her husband is overreacting to the Sagittarons' paranoia.

Agathon, however, can't put Mrs. King out of his mind. He secretly inspects Roberts's medical files and discovers evidence that, on New Caprica, the doctor discriminated against certain groups: higher percentages of Picons and Sagittarons died under his care than did Capricans. Doc Cottle catches Agathon with the files and dismisses his concerns, even after Agathon begs him to perform an autopsy to see how Mrs. King's son really died.

Stonewalled, Agathon returns to his quarters. In the middle of the night, however, Mrs. King awakens him. She has come to tell him that Lt. Dualla, herself a Sagittaron by birth, is sick — after being treated by Dr. Roberts. With his friend's life now on the line, Agathon must take drastic action to stop the doctor — even if it means the end of his own career. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41401. (This is down by 2 from last episode.)

Remarkable Scenes
- Roslin meeting with Vice President Tom Zarek.
- The mother of the boy who died confronting Helo.
- Athena meeting with Caprica Six.
- The return of the Baltar in Caprica Six' head.
- Roslin covertly monitoring Athena's conversation with Six and Six' conversation with the Baltar in her head.
- Adama: "Captain, I have the former president of the colonies sitting in a prison cell, a Cylon woman is in custody, and a population that would love nothing more than to tear both of them apart. My ship is over crowded and I have an epidemic on my hands."
- Tigh's confrontation with Helo about Dr. Robert.
- Cottle confronting Helo about Helo sneaking into his office.
- Helo rescuing Dee.
- Tigh and Cottle realizing Dr. Robert was killing Sagittarons.
- Dr. Robert: "Remember what you used to say, Saul? Aside from a Cylon is there anything that you hate more than a Sagittaron?" Tigh: "I'll tell ya what I hate, Mike. Being wrong."

My Review
The Woman King is an unusual episode for Battlestar Galactica twofold. Firstly, it's most unusual in that it centers mostly around Helo and his sort of penal job of dealing with civilians living aboard Galactica, but also unusual in that the central moral issue of the episode's plot centers around a very overdone concept: racism.

Indeed, the episode gets off to a very weak start. The first scene that caught my attention was the marvelous stuff between Roslin and Zarek. But as Helo's story develops, it gets exponentially more interesting. I think the biggest reason The Woman King is a very enjoyable episode is due to its well executed, albeit conventional nature.

The Woman King is essentially the same story idea as Black Market. Both episodes dealt with a niche in civilian life in the fleet and both episodes centered around a major character doing a crime investigation. The difference is where Black Market slapped together two incompatible plots, The Woman King skillfully centered around a single plot.

The devil is in the details in this episode. It's fascinating to see what Helo's and Sharon's private life is like on board the Galactica in detail. It is as well rewarding to finally see Hera now a part of it. Overarching details that were included were enhancements to the episode, but not diminishing to the central plot. Again, Zarek's scene was great and Sharon's visit with Six was equally great. And I love the return of the Baltar in Six' head, for all that I still loathe the technical paradox behind its original introduction.

Tigh's performance was above average in this episode. If there's one thing his character excels at it, it's bitterness and hatred. His creepy confrontation with Helo over the sullying of Dr. Robert's good name was fantastic. Everything from the little groan Tigh made after being hit to the sadistic laugh he let out as he walked off was spot on acting and damn amusing.

And ultimately, again, while the plot was conventional, I was pleased to see how well executed it was. Part of me was wishing they would have taken this opportunity to kill Dee's character off as I liked how Dr. Robert justified his racism as a means to conserve resources, thereby making him a more complex character than such characters are usually portrayed. During his expository speech at the end of the episode, I'm right there with him agreeing with him, right up until I realize "oh crap, he almost killed Dee!" That's some good public speaking skills right there.

Finally, "The Woman King" herself was a nice touch. A subtle, minor character who has a profound effect on Helo provided an interesting way to motivate his actions.

There's little else to discuss regarding this episode, however. Its best feature is its simplicity, but its worst feature is its simplicity. A better episode would have scrapped the entire A plot in favor of focusing more on Baltar's trial. Moreover, Tom Zarek is Sagittaron and very invested in the plights of the people. Why wasn't he more a key player in this episode?

But I can't complain too much. The Woman King was an enjoyable episode, despite being largely stand alone filler.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Sam on 2007-02-12 at 10:14am:
    I disagree -- I am a big fan, but the last few episodes aren't good, and during this one I lost interest. I even switched channels! It was filler, when there are so many story lines unaddressed and ignored. This show is drifting away from its main issues.
  • From Sean Freeburn on 2010-01-15 at 4:30am:
    I disagree - this episode sucked! The idea that there's a group of humans who don't believe in medicine is just ludicrous, in my opinion. There's an episode of "House: MD" where House learns that a woman won't be vacinnating her infant child because she believes the pharmacy companies are "evil". After picking his jaw up off the floor, House lectures her on what an idiot she is, and rightly so. I simply cannot accept that BSG would have an entire group of people who refuse medicine.

    Also, the attitute, "We have to respect their beliefs" made me feel like I was watching Star Trek rather than BSG. This isn't a bad thing, it's just that BSG is a much darker show - remember when Roslin banned abortions in "The Captain's Hand"? She wasn't respecting the belief that a woman has a right to her body, she made the decision for the good of the human race in general, even if it wasn't popular. It would have been better if they injected the medicine by force - much more thrilling. And, better for the human race in general.

    Better yet, why not just ditch the idea of people who REFUSE MEDICINE?! That's akin to refusing water or food...
  • From Kethinov on 2010-01-15 at 8:56pm:
    Dear me, Sean. If you thought the Sagittarons beliefs in this episode were stupid you must hate the series finale. :)

    If you haven't seen it yet, please, brace yourself.

    That said, I completely agree with you that the Sagittarons' rejecting of modern medicine is a completely stupid thing for them to do. But you must understand that I don't rate episodes based on whether or not I agree with the characters, but only whether or not the drama is realistic and compelling.

    I found the drama in this episode to be both realistic and compelling. It's realistic for the Sagittarons to have the beliefs they have. In certain senses they are not unlike the Amish people. And the drama that creates is compelling because as much our heroes disagree with the Sagittarons views, any kind of racism isn't acceptable.
  • From Sean Freeburn on 2010-01-16 at 2:49am:
    No, I haven't seen the finale yet... but I peeked ahead and saw you only gave it a rating of 1 - yikes! I agree that there was some good drama in this episode, and it was - barring the medicine thing - quite realistic. It was still better than most stuff on TV, just not up to BSG's usual high standards. Normally, I agree with your ratings, but on this one we differ.

    Oh, and I'd like to congratulate you on your site - when I first found it I was in nerd heaven. Keep up the excellent work!

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

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 4.58

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# Votes: 5 7 16 13 18 7 9 23 0 5 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Problems
None

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

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

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

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

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

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BSG - 3x16 - Dirty Hands - Originally Aired: 2007-2-25

My Rating - 7

Fan Rating Average - 4.9

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Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 11 5 0 30 13 10 9 7 17 8 6

Synopsis
Mid-flight, a Raptor catches fire and crashes into Colonial One. No one is killed, but when impurities in the craft's tylium fuel are discovered, Roslin and Adama demand answers from Zeno Fenner, the foreman on the tylium refinery ship Hitei Kan. Fenner has shut down his ship's production, insisting that broken machinery, unsafe conditions, and sheer exhaustion make it impossible for his workers to do their jobs well.

Although the fleet's fuel supply is now dangerously low, Fenner threatens to disrupt production further if these problems aren't solved. Then he quotes from a subversive new manifesto about class conflict that Gaius Baltar has written and had smuggled out of his cell. In response, Roslin orders Fenner arrested. Adama sends Galen Tyrol to the Hitei Kan to replace Fenner and get the tylium flowing.

Tyrol can't help but empathize with the disgruntled refinery workers. One of his working-class deckhands, Seelix, was recently denied elite pilot training for suspiciously arbitrary reasons; his wife, Cally, even agrees with Baltar's declaration that a new aristocracy of privileged Capricans is systematically oppressing the fleet's working poor. But Tyrol also understands that someone has to do the dirty jobs for the fleet to survive at all.

Tyrol can't help but empathize with the disgruntled refinery workers. One of his working-class deckhands, Seelix, was recently denied elite pilot training for suspiciously arbitrary reasons; his wife, Cally, even agrees with Baltar's declaration that a new aristocracy of privileged Capricans is systematically oppressing the fleet's working poor. But Tyrol also understands that someone has to do the dirty jobs for the fleet to survive at all.

Seeking better answers, Tyrol reads Baltar's book and visits the imprisoned ex-President. Despite himself, he ends up considering Baltar's subversive ideas. Soon afterward, aboard the Hitei Kan, the rickety gears of a conveyor belt jam, nearly causing a deadly disaster. Danny saves the day, worming his body into the machine to fix the jam. But as the gears clank into motion, Danny is snagged and seriously injured.

Seeing this young man — who once dreamed of a college education — bleeding on the floor of the refinery jolts Tyrol into action. He shuts down the Hitei Kan and declares a strike. His workers cheer, but Adama immediately arrests Tyrol for mutiny — and declares that all mutineers will be shot. This time, Tyrol must negotiate not just for his workers' rights, but also for their lives. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41400. (This is up by 2 from last episode, inexplicably, presumably due to births.)
- Caprica, Virgon, and Tauron are noted as having been rich colonies along with Aerelon, Saggittaron, and Gemenon being poor colonies in this episode.

Remarkable Scenes
- Seelix' lamenting about the reasons she was rejected for promotion.
- Racetrack's raptor colliding with Colonial One.
- Adama to Roslin: "If your quarters become cramped, you're always welcome in one of my beds... in a manner of speaking."
- Roslin having Xeno Fenner arrested for quoting Baltar's book "My Triumphs My Mistakes."
- Roslin regarding Baltar's book: "I'm thinking of having a good old fashioned book burning."
- Tyrol regarding Xeno Fenner: "What'd he do?" Adama: "He pissed off the President."
- Roslin confronting Baltar about his book.
- Milo asking to throw the switch.
- Tyrol talking to Baltar.
- The conveyor belt crushing the new kid's arm.
- Tyrol striking.
- Adama confronting Tyrol about the strike.
- Roslin talking with Tyrol about union issues.
- Starbuck promoting Seelix to officer's rank in order to train her to fly vipers.

My Review
Dirty Hands is a very cleverly written episode in that it does a lot with very little. In many ways I am referring to the show's budget here. Numerous major characters were not present in this episode and also the entire set for the tylium ship wasn't in fact a set, but an actual factory that was borrowed to do this episode. I find these details to be so remarkable because in this recent string of stand alone episodes and in most of the season as a whole there has been an overall drop in episode quality and one of the reasons attributed to this was that the budget was blown quite a bit during the New Caprica arc at the beginning of the season.

This episode however is an example of just how good an episode which uses very little budget comparatively can be. It also demonstrates just how well a stand alone story can be constructed out of an issue that seems to come out of nowhere. One of the criticisms I had lined up when going into this episode is that in A Day in the Life, Tyrol and Cally's lives are saved by Adama but now a week later they're completely at odds and I just didn't buy it. But when you watch this episode, by the time the strike/mutiny actually happens, the characters have completely earned that moment.

The essential lure of this episode is how well it highlights class structure related social problems in colonial society and in the ragtag fleet, much like the way The Woman King dealt with racism, but in a much better way with a much larger scope. While RDM refers to Baltar's book as Baltar's version of Mein Kampf, I tend to look at it as Baltar's version of Das Kapital, as what Baltar is talking about seems more Marxist in origin than anything Hitler wrote about.

Indeed, the whole episode is very overtly about class struggles. Cally even goes so far as to say that she and the rest of the deck gang are not a part of the "ruling class" and that they are not afforded certain luxuries as a result. Great details were sprinkled throughout the episode to highlight differences in class structure. Some details were large, such as Roslin being completely aware of horrid working conditions and the use of child labor and not seeing too much of a problem with it nor speaking of any kind of running plan in place to make it better. Other details were small, like placing a scene depicting Adama and Roslin quietly sipping wine in front of Tyrol just after he returned from his first and rather traumatic experience on the tylium ship.

The greatness of the episode doesn't end there though. Right from the teaser, we're just loaded with goodies. I loved how they actually showed Roslin looking out the window of Colonial One just as the raptor was about to collide with her ship. While I wish they didn't cut over the actual collision, it was a very creepy detail to end the teaser on. Also creepy was getting to hear Baltar's original accent and his description of his origins on Aerelon. What a fantastic acting job there.

The ending was the only thing about the episode that I thought wasn't particularly remarkable, though it wasn't particularly weak either. Adama's threat to Tyrol during the strike was certainly compelling for all that it was reckless, however as the episode began to resolve itself, it began to lose steam quickly. This isn't much a problem though, because the ending was very short. And while the final scene wasn't great, it was a pretty good scene. It's nice to see progress is being made toward overcoming these class structure problems, but all this "let's be friends" stuff at the end felt rushed to me. A better ending wouldn't have resolved anything, but merely laid the first stones toward a resolution. A proper resolution would be crafted amidst a series of future episodes.

Suffice it to say, if this is the last episode dealing with class structure problems in the ragtag fleet, it would be a big mistake. Setting all that aside, however, this episode stands very well on its own, being one of the better offerings of the season.

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BSG - 3x17 - Maelstrom - Originally Aired: 2007-3-4

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5.91

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 12 11 5 7 5 6 5 8 37 9 16

Synopsis
Kara Thrace is unraveling. While asleep, she dreams that she's in her old Caprican apartment with Leoben, struggling to cover up the colorful mandala that she painted long ago. While awake, she hallucinates that a little girl — her younger self — is with her aboard the Galactica.

In desperation, Kara visits a religious oracle, but the woman frightens her by saying that Leoben and even Kara's abusive mother are all part of Kara's great destiny. Indeed, Socrata Thrace, a hard-edged former soldier, had always justified her abuse of her daughter by claiming that she was raising Kara to be a special warrior.

Haunted by these memories, Kara joins Hotdog on patrol. Over a planet swathed in clouds and radiation, she spots a Cylon Heavy Raider. The fleet mobilizes to back her up, but the Raider doesn't appear on dradis and Hotdog never sees it. Undaunted, Kara pursues it toward the planet, straight down into a dangerous swirling storm — which looks exactly like the mandala. Kara gives up the chase and turns back only seconds before her ship breaks up in the dense, turbulent atmosphere.

Later, although some of Kara's fellow pilots doubt that the Cylon ship existed at all, Lee Adama puts his faith in her and refuses to ground her for the incident. Kara struggles to pull herself together, but her hallucinations of her childhood and the mysterious mandala grow worse. Finally, she tells Lee that she doesn't trust herself to fly. Lee insists that she's capable and promises to fly as her backup until she regains her confidence.

On patrol with Lee, Kara again sees the Cylon Raider and again dives toward the mandala-shaped maelstrom. Lee follows, desperate to stop her, but Kara plunges straight into the turbulent heart of the storm.

As the crushing atmospheric pressure begins to rip apart her ship, Kara passes out. She returns as if in a dream to her old apartment, where Leoben greets her and leads her into a vision of her past.

Six years ago, on the day that Kara became a Fleet officer, she learned that her mother had terminal cancer. When Socrata answered her daughter's sympathy with harsh cruelty, Kara fled from her, never to return.

Kara believes that her true reason for running away then was her fear of facing death. Now, with her body trapped in a doomed Viper and her mind lost in visions, she must overcome that fear if she is to be whole. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- The oracle knowing so much about Starbuck's past stretches my suspension of disbelief. But who knows, maybe she could have hallucinated all of that too.

Factoids
- This episode was nominated for a VES Award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series.
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41400. (The count has not changed since the last episode.)
- The ship model Adama destroyed wasn't some cheap prop but in fact a museum quality piece which the props crew rented which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Adama's destroying of it was not in fact scripted, but something the actor did in the heat of the moment, without knowing the origin or true value of the prop, utterly surprising everyone on the set.

Remarkable Scenes
- Kara's visit to the oracle.
- Hot Dog and Kara turning their vipers upside down.
- Starbuck chasing the Cylon heavy raider.
- Starbuck seeing Leoben in the clouds.
- The viper alarm transitioning into Starbuck's alarm clock in her apartment.
- Leoben confronting Starbuck about her death wish.
- Starbuck flashbacking to her last days with her mother.
- Starbuck's death.
- Adama completing his ship model using Starbuck's Aurora figurine as the figurehead, then exploding on the ship model destroying it in anger over her death.

My Review
Maelstrom is a powerful episode veiled in subtext and hidden meanings that challenges the viewer's perceptive abilities. I'm quite fond of this episode's construction and deeper meanings, but I feel that quite a bit of the episode's potential was lost in its execution. The central issue is of course Starbuck's death and how she meets it. While I find this episode to be emotionally charged, I don't feel quite as captivated as I should be by the loss of such an influential character to the story. This lack of emotional impact is due to a number of smaller issues.

First and foremost, I continue to be annoyed with the ongoing vagueness of the overarching thematic mysticism of the show. Every episode dealing with Starbuck's "destiny" up until the Eye of Jupiter has very deliberately shown Starbuck's emotional issues to be all in her head. But in the Eye of Jupiter, Helo notices the mandala in the Temple of Five matches Starbuck's painting in her apartment. The scene is portrayed very dramatically, as if it has a deeper meaning when it in fact does not.

I'm willing to accept the coincidence and that the desire to assign meaning to the coincidence is what drove Starbuck to her madness, but that's not the theme the episode drives home. Instead, Maelstrom (as the Eye of Jupiter before it) tries to have it both ways. Maelstrom essentially contends with its sufficiently vague plot that either Starbuck was crazy or there really was a deeper meaning; we just don't really know. Furthermore, it attempts to artificially inflate the idea of "Starbuck's destiny" by inserting liberal amounts of material that could be liberally interpreted as foreshadowing for Starbuck's eventual revelation as a Cylon. And if that's not enough for you, there's sufficient evidence in the episode to conclude that the heavy raider really did exist, that Starbuck ejected from her viper, and that it snatched her up shortly after the viper exploded.

At best, this attempt at having it both ways is to satisfy fans who don't really want to believe she's dead. At worst, it's a way to bring the actress back some day at the writers' whims. The point is when you kill a character off you must make a statement about why that character died. By presenting it in such a way that no one really knows why she died it leaves the audience confused and unsatisfied. This process of misdirection keeps the episode from making a dramatic point. So for the purpose of this review, I'm going to make a choice. She's either dead because she's crazy, alive and captured by the Cylons, or she's realized she's a Cylon and sought resurrection. My choice? She's dead because she's crazy. I pick that option solely because it's the better dramatic theme of the three options.

Now before all you Starbuck fans stop reading, hear me out. A recurring theme in Starbuck's character since the very beginning is severe emotional issues. More than any character, Starbuck has been emotionally tortured again and again. It's no surprise that by now she has a death wish, be it conscious or subconscious. Her "destiny" is nothing more than a delusion of grandeur inherited from her mother, whom drilled into her head over and over that she was special and had a destiny. So when the coincidence of the mandala and her paintings presented itself, she retreated into her delusion of grandeur, believing it finally to be true.

This leads us to the subject of her delusion. I think Starbuck believed she was a Cylon and that by overcoming her fear of death, she could finally discover who she really was. Evidence supporting this psychology includes her line "they're waiting for me" and Leoben's line referencing "the space between life and death." The problem with these references, as I stated before, is that they muddle the thematic point of the episode. Assuming the intended conclusion of the audience is to assume she's dead, there should have been at least one scene in the episode offering proof as to why Starbuck cannot be in fact a Cylon, or at least assuring the audience that she truly is crazy. This is preferable because then the audience can emotionally connect with her situation and how she feels as well as how all her friends and loved ones feel as she slowly slips away, instead of simply being confused and wondering if she's been captured or if she's a Cylon.

Aside from these missteps there are other smaller gaffes. I was once again annoyed to find some of Admiral Cain's music from Resurrection Ship, Part 1 recycled to over exaggerate the drama in the gun camera footage scene. How many times has that musical theme been abused now this season? Furthermore, large portions of the fantastically composed original score for this episode were drowned out by background noise, most noticeably during the (exceptionally beautiful) viper flying scenes. That, along with overly loud teeth brushing (a similarly annoying trait of A Day in the Life as well) and panting early in the episode make it seem like the microphones were placed incorrectly and sound editing was done sloppily. In short, the signal to noise ratio was way off. I wanted to hear more of the characters' lines and more of the scoring.

Other deficiencies in the episode's execution include the over abundance of scenes foreshadowing Starbuck's death. They are so numerous, I could actually make a list of them. I found it wholly unnecessary to allow Starbuck's character to come full circle just prior to her death. It in fact reeks of cliche. I'd have found it far more moving to see her die in the midst of all her emotional issues with zero closure having been achieved. It would have made her journey as a character feel more meaningful to me. Instead, they push the reset button on her character development and then kill her. Felt like a cop out. What's ironic is that for all that the lead up to her death was overplayed, the emotional impact of her death was distinctly underplayed. We got to see Apollo's reaction as it happened, then Adama's reaction as it happened and directly after. At the very least, we should have gotten one more scene depicting Apollo placing a photo of Starbuck next to Kat and preferably a scene depicting Anders mourning as well.

But for all that I criticize this episode, it's meant as constructive. This episode has a lot going for it and easily could have been a perfect score if the storytelling had been tweaked and the episodes leading up to it weren't so weak. I absolutely adored the viper visual effects and of what I could hear of the scoring I was incredibly enthralled with. Adama destroying his ship model was one of the most moving things I've seen on the entire show and the writers' willingness to off major characters is something I certainly respect. Maelstrom is ultimately a step in the right direction for BSG, even if it could have been done better. So in the end, it is an episode I have a great deal of respect for.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Griffopolis on 2014-02-02 at 4:13pm:
    I really like the level of thinking you give these episodes. I'm using your site as a "second screen" experience while I watch these for the first time thanks to Netflix. I have to agree a lot on your observations and hope you'll keep this writing up. Why are you not writing for IGN or professionally. You've got an eye and knack for this stuff.

    Hope to see more shows covered in the future.

    Cheers!

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BSG - 3x18 - The Son Also Rises - Originally Aired: 2007-3-11

My Rating - 9

Fan Rating Average - 5.63

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 16 3 7 8 4 13 12 13 12 12 17

Synopsis
The aftermath of Kara Thrace's Viper crash is a time of mourning for her husband and friends, but the business of the fleet grinds on despite their grief. Most significantly, Gaius Baltar's trial is approaching. Admiral Adama is chosen by lottery to serve as one of five officers on the judges' tribunal, and, as Racetrack prepares to ferry Baltar's lawyer home from a meeting on the Galactica, a bomb explodes aboard her Raptor. She survives, but the lawyer doesn't.

The aftermath of Kara Thrace's Viper crash is a time of mourning for her husband and friends, but the business of the fleet grinds on despite their grief. Most significantly, Gaius Baltar's trial is approaching. Admiral Adama is chosen by lottery to serve as one of five officers on the judges' tribunal, and, as Racetrack prepares to ferry Baltar's lawyer home from a meeting on the Galactica, a bomb explodes aboard her Raptor. She survives, but the lawyer doesn't.

Lee is irritated by his new job until Lampkin mentions that Lee's grandfather Joseph, a prominent defense attorney, was his mentor. Intrigued, Lee supervises Lampkin's first meeting with Baltar, then agrees to accompany the lawyer to Colonial One to collect case files. When the landing signal officer, Aaron Kelly, reminds Lee that his father has forbidden him to fly, Lee rebelliously boards the Raptor anyway.

It's only because Lampkin's cat escapes that Tyrol, pursuing the animal beneath the Raptor, spots another bomb attached to the craft's underside. Lee and Lampkin have barely escaped another attack. Furious, Admiral Adama berates his son for taking irresponsible risks.

Clues indicate that the bomber is a member of the crew, which provokes tension and suspicion among the pilots and deckhands. The only person seemingly unconcerned about the attempt on Lampkin's life is Lampkin himself. He's absorbed in a devious plan to win supporters for Baltar.

First, he meets with Caprica Six and manipulates the Cylon prisoner into confessing her love for Baltar. Next, he confides in Lee, saying that his entire plan is rooted in lessons he learned from Joseph Adama. This conversation cements Lee's increasing desire to walk in his idolized grandfather's footsteps.

The bomber strikes again, and this time, Lampkin doesn't escape the blast. He survives, but he's temporarily confined to a hospital bed. Officially, Lee's job is to find the bomber hidden in his crew. Unofficially, and in defiance of his father, he now believes that he has another calling: to help the injured Lampkin defend the most hated man in the fleet. [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
- The survivor count only went down by one, but Baltar's lawyer died before the credits rolled. It should have gone down by two, counting him and Starbuck.
- The cat running around is sped up film. However, it's done very well. I didn't notice until Ronald Moore said so on the podcast!

Factoids
- Survivors, according to the main title: 41399. (Down by one since last episode for Starbuck's death.)
- Mark Sheppard, who plays Romo Lampkin in this episode, also played Badger in Firefly.

Remarkable Scenes
- Adama mourning Starbuck.
- Drunken Anders hanging out on a viper.
- Apollo going to put Starbuck's photo next to Kat's.
- Tigh informing Adama that he was selected to serve as a judge on Baltar's tribunal.
- Baltar's lawyer's entrance and quick death.
- Romo Lampkin's cat suddenly appearing out of (seemingly) nowhere during his chat with Adama and Roslin.
- Romo Lampkin letting Apollo know that he was a student of Joseph Adama, and that he hated him but taught him everything he knows now.
- Adama and Apollo feuding over Romo Lampkin's assassination attempt and then over Starbuck's loss.
- Romo Lampkin's response to Apollo's pep talk about staying alive: "If they want to kill me, they'll find a way. Now, who do I have to bribe to see the Cylon woman?"
- Romo Lampkin's conversation with Caprica Six.
- Apollo: "Why encourage a man to write and then take his pen?" Lampkin: "It'll curry more sympathy when we get the word out that he's been silenced. Tyranny, gag orders, very sexy."
- Apollo and Lampkin discussing Joseph Adama candidly. Complete with Lampkin concluding the discussion with "I've gotta take a crap."
- Apollo discovering Lampkin's a kleptomaniac.
- Apollo confronting Kelly about his crimes.
- Adama reinstating Apollo as CAG only to strike his name once more minutes later after their argument concerning Apollo's decision to join Romo Lampkin's legal team.
- Anders coming to visit Apollo as he admires Starbuck's photograph on the memorial wall next to Kat.
- Romo Lampkin's letter to Baltar: "There's no greater ally, no force more powerful, no enemy more resolved than a son who chooses to step from his father's shadow."

My Review
One of my criticisms of Maelstrom was that Kara's death was underplayed at the end of the episode, but this episode makes up for that completely and takes it to a new level using it to forge an interesting new direction for the two Adama characters. It makes sense that the often diametrically opposed political viewpoints of the father and son would be exasperated by a personal conflict brought on by mutual and irrational guilt. To have that play out in something as important to their civilization as the trial of Gaius Baltar is not only a good choice, it's downright captivating. And that's a word I've sadly not used to describe BSG for some time.

It's actually quite remarkable to compare just those two episodes, largely because of their similar construction. Both episodes did not have a subplot, both episodes were tightly character driven rather than plot driven despite straddling pivotal events, and both episodes utilized liberal amounts of subtext. So that's why they're so much the same. What makes them different? Maelstrom was pivotal to the overarching story of Battlestar Galactica because it featured the loss of a central character. The Son Also Rises was merely setup for a similar pivotal event. Maelstrom featured numerous fantastic visual effects shots. The Son Also Rises featured none remarkable and all were recycled.

Yet despite what seems like an obvious comparison in favor of Maelstrom, The Son Also Rises is a superior episode strictly because the drama is executed in a superior fashion. I've always purported that well executed drama in a bottle show beats out a special effects heavy episode with inferior drama any day of the week. DS9: In The Pale Moonlight is a prime example.

Right from the get go this episode is packed with drama and emotion. I like how the very first scene of the episode is Adama still mourning Starbuck. Also intercutting it with his selection as one of the judges is a nice way to counterpoint the idea of getting on with business as usual with Adama's inability to do just that. Adama's intense emotions throughout the episode are in fact one of its best selling points. We rarely get to see Adama so emotionally unstable.

Among other little details, I was glad Captain Kelly got some character development time. One of the best assets of this show is the slow buildup of minor characters into tangible, sympathetic, dramatically useful characters. Among the most successful of such characters is Kat. Among my favorite such characters so far is Hoshi originally from the Pegasus. He's just become a familiar face in CIC, and Captain Kelly is just like him.

However, it is not the little details which sustain this episode. The meat is in Romo Lampkin's character. Romo both figuratively and literally keeps the cat in the bag with regards to his manipulations. He knows exactly how to pull everyone's strings. He walks onto the ship with a swagger and a pair of shades using his immense charm and skillful articulation to get things done.

Specifically, it's his gradual manipulation of Apollo that has me so fascinated by him. Romo realized quickly that by getting Apollo on his side, he could gain an advantage during the trial once it began. When Romo was manipulating Six, there was a subtextual manipulation of Apollo going on simultaneously as he described to Six how he in retrospect realized his adoration for his lost love was not something he could simply get over and that by realizing it he was able to "be a man." This is also supported by Lampkin's very deliberate assertion that the story was true when Apollo so curiously inquired. Knowing of Apollo's recent loss of Starbuck, Lampkin on some level convinced Apollo to "be a man" too and accept the loss so he can move on with his life by helping Lampkin instead of resuming life as it was when Starbuck was still alive.

You might expect me to write more about an episode such as this, but there's not too much else to say. The episode has very little plot and nearly dragged. But the degree to which the drama was well executed sustained it excellently. Everything from drunken Anders, to Adama looking for his missing button, to Baltar looking for his missing pen, to Roslin looking for her missing glasses, to Lampkin's cat, to Lampkin's stylish manipulations of people was utterly captivating to watch. In fact, this is the first episode in a long time to make me say "Wow, it's over already?" when it finished. Well done.

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BSG - 3x19 - Crossroads, Part 1 - Originally Aired: 2007-3-18

My Rating - 3

Fan Rating Average - 5.97

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 4 11 11 4 6 5 17 10 29 12 11

Synopsis
As the fleet Jumps toward the Ionian Nebula, a mysterious landmark on the way to Earth, a strange mood settles over its citizens. Roslin dreams vivid dreams, Tigh and Anders inexplicably struggle to hear a static-laced song on the radio, and a few lost souls turn to Gaius Baltar with a devotion that borders on religious worship.

Amidst all this, Baltar's trial for treason begins. William Adama sits on the judges' tribunal, while his son, Lee, assists attorney Romo Lampkin on Baltar's defense team.

Then Racetrack returns from a scouting mission with the chilling news that a Cylon force is secretly pursuing the human fleet. As Adama, Tigh, and Roslin confer about this crisis, Lee notices an apparent triviality: there's something peculiar about the special tea that Roslin is drinking.

Tigh interrogates the prisoner Caprica Six about the pursuing Cylons. She confesses that the human fleet's fuel ship emits a quirky radiation signature that the Cylons can track. Oddly, she then torments Tigh with questions about his dead wife, Ellen.

Rattled, Tigh shows up drunk for his testimony at the trial. On the witness stand, his inebriation is obvious. Sensing easy prey, Lampkin pounces, his lawyer's intuition leading him to ask how Tigh's wife died. Tigh admits that he himself killed Ellen. His credibility is destroyed.

By contrast, Laura Roslin's testimony against Baltar is so damning that Lampkin calls a recess to consult with Lee and his client. They must discredit Roslin. Lee admits that he knows something useful, but he hesitates to enter the moral gray area of exposing a good woman's secret to defend an accused traitor.

Then Adama accuses Lee of tipping off Lampkin to the truth about Ellen Tigh's death. Adama is wrong — Lee never even knew Tigh's murderous secret. But when Adama refuses to believe that, father and son explode into anger and Lee resigns his commission.

Now a civilian, Lee chooses to conduct Laura Roslin's cross-examination himself. Mercilessly, he extracts her secret: as he noticed earlier, her tea is laced with the herb chamalla, which can cause hallucinations. This casts suspicion on her testimony, and Lee's first dirty job as a defense attorney is done. Roslin, however, adds that she's taking the drug because her cancer has returned.

As the effects of this devastating revelation ripple outwards, the mood of the fleet darkens. Relationships fracture, tension builds, and all the while the Ionian Nebula grows closer... [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode did not feature the opening "the Cylons were created by man" opening scene, or any opening credits.

Remarkable Scenes
- Romo Lampkin's opening statement.
- The Cylons ambushing Racetrack's raptor.
- Tigh's scene with Six.
- Tigh on the stand.
- Adama helping a drunken Tigh get back to his quarters.
- Apollo and Adama discussing the Cylon situation then spatting at each other concerning the trial leading to Apollo's resignation.
- Lee Adama cross examining Roslin.
- Roslin revealing that her cancer has returned.

My Review
Crossroads, Part 1 reminds me a lot of Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1 in that it's a very weak opening for a much bigger episode. In fact, the format of the final three episodes of season 3 is identical to that of season 2. Like Downloaded, The Son Also Rises was an unexpected pleasure, the following episode was an unexpected downer, and if the trend continues, Crossroads, Part 2 will be almost as good as The Son Also Rises, but not quite. The way Crossroads, Part 1 is setting it up, I wouldn't be surprised.

First and foremost, I'm almost sorry to see the Cylons return as the absurdly vague overarching thematic mysticism surrounding them is returning with them. The subplot with the music that only Tigh, Anders, and Tory seem to be able to hear was simply annoying and for all that I'm immensely glad they're finally getting on with the trial of Baltar, I found the proceedings to be mostly slow, tedious, overly drawn out, and distinctly not dramatic. The prosecutor's opening statements were horribly verbose and even Romo Lampkin bored me to tears.

What makes the trial so boring is that the characters are discussing at length events the audience is already intimately familiar with. It's almost as if this episode was constructed for an audience that hasn't seen the last three seasons as a way to get them to catch up. In fact, the only aspects of the trial that were interesting at all were in ways that it allowed character development to flourish, such as a drunken Tigh candidly talking about Ellen on the stand and Roslin revealing that her cancer has returned.

And even the detail about Roslin's cancer returning seems dubious. Her behavior in this episode has been distinctly out of character, which leads me to wonder if she simply lied about having cancer again. I certainly hope she isn't, because Roslin having cancer again would be an actual interesting arc to explore. But it's treated as a minor detail in this episode. More time was spent on entirely useless scenes, like when the crazy lady with the sick son visits Baltar, or the numerous characters-hearing-inexplicable-music scenes.

A better version of this episode would have taken Roslin's cancer and made it the front and center issue. Instead, Roslin walks around with a swagger as if having cancer again is not at all a concern to her. A better episode would have cliffhangered us with Roslin either revealing her cancer to the audience or Doc Cottle revealing to Roslin that she has cancer again, leaving us at the edge of our seats wondering if Roslin's going to live instead of leaving us with the sad excuse for a cliffhanger that was "it's in the frakkin' ship!"

In the end, this episode just feels out of focus. Much like Colonial Day, we've got some nice details here like Roslin's cancer (perhaps) returning, Adama continuing to be an angry emotional wreck, along with Tigh's scene with Six, but little details do not an episode make. Beyond those details, this episode much like Colonial Day is straightforward and much like Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1 presents plot threads in a most underwhelming way that really should have been extremely interesting.

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BSG - 3x20 - Crossroads, Part 2 - Originally Aired: 2007-3-25

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 6.04

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 34 11 4 11 4 7 7 8 10 26 56

Synopsis
Tigh, Anders, Tyrol and President Roslin's assistant Tory Foster are all now hearing — or hallucinating — a strange song aboard the Galactica.

Roslin, meanwhile, is recovering in the ship's infirmary after her first major cancer treatment. There, she experiences another vision of the opera house through which she, Athena and Six pursue the toddler Hera.

Waking with a start, Roslin is shocked to discover that Six, Athena and Hera have shared the identical vision. Like those hearing music, none of these women can find an answer for their perplexing experience.

At Baltar's trial, the defense is teetering on the edge of defeat. To save his client, Romo Lampkin moves for a mistrial because Lee Adama has heard his father — a judge — make biased statements against Baltar in private.

Lee reluctantly takes the witness chair. Instead of admitting his father's prejudice, however, he makes a compelling speech on behalf of his client, arguing that President Roslin has forgiven countless misdeeds since the fleet's long journey began, and Baltar should be treated no differently.

Lampkin rests his case after this eloquent statement, and soon, the judges determine by a vote of three to two that Baltar cannot be considered guilty. The courtroom erupts into chaos. The last duty that Lee and Lampkin perform for their client is to whisk him away from the mob to safety. After that, Baltar is a free man — but he's also on his own in a hostile fleet.

Roslin is disgusted with the verdict, and her relationship with Adama is shaken when she learns that he voted to release Baltar. They must set aside their conflict, however, when the fleet finally arrives at the Ionian Nebula.

As the Galactica scans this waystation on the route to Earth, the entire fleet abruptly loses power. In the darkness and confusion that follow, Tigh, Tyrol, Tory and Anders are nearly overcome by the insistent song, and they each follow it to an obscure workout room on the Galactica. When they lock eyes with each other, they guess the obvious but horrifying explanation for the mental summons that they've obeyed: they must all be Cylons.

At that moment, a massive Cylon armada bursts onto the scene. Lee Adama joins his old Viper crew and flies out in defense of the Galactica. In the light of the mysterious nebula, to his shock, Kara Thrace appears in a Viper next to him. Seemingly back from the dead, she has come bearing a message of cosmic importance... [Blu-ray] [DVD]

Problems
None

Factoids
- This episode did not feature the opening "the Cylons were created by man" opening scene, or any opening credits.
- The lyrical song prominently featured in this episode is Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower, originally written in 1967. The lyrics are as follows: "There must be some way out of here," said the joker to the thief / "There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief / Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth / None of them along the line know what any of it is worth" / "No reason to get excited," the thief, he kindly spoke / "There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke / But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate / So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late" / All along the watchtower, princes kept the view / While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too / Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl / Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl

Remarkable Scenes
- Lampkin, on agreeing with Lee about going for a mistrial: "Our tactical victories are pissing them off." Baltar: "Right. So now because we're winning, we're losing, actually." Lampkin: "Perverse, isn't it? One of the reasons why I love what I do."
- Roslin, Athena, and Caprica Six sharing a communal vision about Hera.
- Apollo's monologue while on the stand about the purpose of Baltar's trial.
- Baltar getting a not guilty.
- Romo Lampkin's exit, putting the sunglasses back on and abandoning the cane, subtly revealing that the cane must have never been necessary to begin with.
- The revelation that Admiral Adama was the swing vote that decided Baltar's freedom.
- Tigh, Anders, Tory, and Tyrol all converging on the same room, driven there by the madness the song they all hear has caused them.
- The Cylons showing up.
- Starbuck showing up and claiming she's been to Earth and will show the fleet the way there.

My Review
Crossroads, Part 2 is difficult episode to assign a rating to, because while parts of this episode are worth a great deal of praise, by and large the episode walks the suspension of disbelief line pretty hard. That said, this episode never did quite cross that line. As such its other merits make up the rating I gave it. The numerous fantastic smaller details of the episode not only keep the episode's rating out of the gutter, but also manage to raise the episode slightly above its predecessor in overall quality.

So what provokes me to rate this rather obvious milestone in the course of the show so low? Well, lots of reasons that all add up to a big stinker. First thing's first, like the episode's predecessor, the handling of Baltar's trial was particularly weak. Thankfully, this time around my overall feeling of boredom regarding the proceedings vanished, but instead it's been replaced by a feeling of incompetency and a distinct lack of realism.

Three things stand out as being wrong with the trial. 1. Caprica Six was never put on the stand despite hints in The Son Also Rises that at least one of the two sides had an interest in doing so, 2. the move for a mistrial was completely forgotten, and 3. the prosecution never got a chance to make their closing statements. Neither did the defense, but Lee's monologue definitely counts as a de facto closing statement. In addition to this, Baltar acted like a bumbling buffoon throughout the whole episode with his rampant disrespect for his allies, his inability to comprehend legal strategy, and his overwhelming arrogance (even for him) during and after the trial. It seemed out of character.

Moving beyond the trial, the dream sequence scene which we now know is communally shared by Roslin, Six, Athena, and presumably Hera still felt rather pointless. It serves more of a purpose this time around than it did in the last episode, but like much of the rest of the episode, it gave us more questions than answers. The vision seems to be a manifestation of Cylon projection, but why is Roslin affected? Is it because she has some of Hera's blood in her? What is the meaning behind the vision? Why wasn't more time in the episode spent on exploring the ramifications of this?

For that matter, frankly, I don't feel emotionally invested in Roslin's character at all anymore. When we first found out she had cancer again, it was done so casually I thought she was lying. It should have been the big cliffhanger during the last episode! In this episode, only a tiny amount of time is spent dealing with Roslin's cancer; once again it's on the back burner. And once again I feel emotionally detached from it. Just like my criticism of the last episode, Roslin's cancer should have been the front and center issue of this episode. For gods' sakes, the president is dying! And they're focusing half the episode's plot on four random characters going crazy hearing a Bob Dylan song?

And that of course brings us to our wonky cliffhanger. Regardless of whether or not Tigh, Anders, Tory, and Tyrol really are Cylons, the reason they're all communally hearing a mysterious song no one else can hear is not made clear. I suppose it's possible that it too is a manifestation of Cylon projection (like the opera house dreams), but frankly I'm having a hard time buying the idea that all these characters are all Cylons to begin with. With Tory and Anders I'm able to see it as a viable possibility. But with Tyrol and especially Tigh it's a tough pill to swallow. In Tyrol's case, Cavil told him directly that he's not a Cylon. Granted, there's no reason to take Cavil's word for it, but the aesthetic of the scene in its broader context leads me to believe Cavil knows this to be true. Especially seeing as how Cavil seems to know things about the final five none of the other Cylons know. As for Tigh, he fought in the original Cylon war against the Centurions! His existence in the Twelve Colonies predates the presumed invention of the humanoid Cylons!

Granted for all we know this episode is just misdirection; maybe none of these characters are Cylons and the point of the plot is to get the characters to believe that they are. But like all the overarching thematic mysticism this show has had to offer this season, the implications are left vague. Similarly, the return of Starbuck was equally confusing. How did she survive the explosion of her viper? Where did she get another one? How did she get all the way to the nebula? For that matter, how did she reach Earth? Is she a Cylon? Did Apollo just imagine the whole experience? What caused the fleet-wide power surge in the first place thus making time for the whole rendezvous with Starbuck thing? And why was power restored shortly afterward? The implications are, once again, left overly vague.

All of this scored to a cover of a 1960s psychedelic classic rock song by Bob Dylan for no apparent reason. Bear McCreary's rendition of it is absolutely fantastic, but I don't think that a classic rock song, even a well reinterpreted one quite belongs in the Battlestar Galactica universe. The whole ending just leaves me with bad flashbacks of Galactica 1980. If that's happening, there's obviously something aesthetically wrong with the episode.

The basic problem here is that a good story leaves its audience with most strongly an emotional impact rather than lingering questions. The best impression to leave your audience with after the emotional impact is "wow, that was incredible, I can't wait to see what happens next!" Kobol's Last Gleaming and Pegasus did this masterfully. I didn't quite get that feeling in Lay Down Your Burdens, and even less so during The Eye of Jupiter. Crossroads, Part 2 takes the issues that Lay Down Your Burdens and The Eye of Jupiter had and multiplies them. Even more so than those two episodes, the audience is primarily left emotionally detached from the story, confusedly wondering why things happened the way they did rather than enthusiastically wondering what happens next. Battlestar Galactica has been slipping into this inferior style of storytelling slowly and consistently over the last season and a half causing overall episode quality to diminish significantly.

In the end though while the storytelling and the aesthetic of this episode is irritating, nothing that happens in this episode can't ultimately be rationalized later even if making four or five main "good guy" characters Cylons is what the writers really intend on doing despite the issues it brings up and the overall lack of taste. Indeed, beyond that this episode features tidbits of masterful writing. In particular, Apollo's monologue in court about the purpose of Baltar's trial was brilliant, along with Romo Lampkin's final scene. The symbolism of abandoning the apparently unnecessary cane and restoring the sunglasses is a fantastic detail and the acting in this episode was its usual high quality, especially Tigh and Apollo.

This may be the worst executed of the major cliffhangers Battlestar Galactica has had to offer so far, but despite the radical departure and downgrade in storytelling style, this episode does manage to succeed in remaining true to what kind of show BSG is: an innovative science fiction drama willing to go in crazy, risky directions to keep things interesting. And while the stories may not be as finely crafted and as emotionally powerful as they used to be, they remain at the very least still quite interesting. At least we still have that.

(See also my analysis of this season as a whole.)

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Bruno on 2007-03-27 at 2:58am:
    Look at the fan rating. This is the most divisive episode ever. Frankly, we will only be able to judge it properly after we see how the 'hidden five' thread is resolved.
  • From Kethinov on 2007-03-27 at 5:41pm:
    I disagree. It's my personal policy, as I stated in Flesh and Bone, never to rate an episode based on what might come after it, but only to rate the episode based on its individual merits. This one comes off as so vague that I cannot really rate it as the awesome epic turning point of the series that I believe most people want to see it as. Instead, I can only *hope* the implications of this episode are great and rate the first episode of season 4 accordingly.
  • From Bruno on 2007-03-27 at 10:39pm:
    I see your point. And of course you can only rate what you saw, not what you expect to see. So perhaps I should say that I found this episode's story instigating, and that the revelations were sufficiently credible to maintains suspension of disbelief. Of course if the story is resolved in an awkward or silly manner in season 4 it could ruin the show.

    But I still think hindsight can ruin (or, more rarely) improve an episode in a tightly-woven story. My appreciation of the X-files was almost ruined by the last 2 seasons, for instance. Just imagine if 04x01 opens with a Cavill and a Tyrol lauguing maniacaly as an Enders proclaims 'Our plans are finally coming together! Bwahahaha!!'. I would want to do things to Ron Moore that would make the closing animations look mild!
  • From Brian on 2007-11-25 at 11:17pm:
    I believe that Crossroads, part 2 is actually a better cliffhanger than even Kobol's Last Gleaming. It's all about whether you buy into what's happening. You don't, and many fans don't, but I, and many others, do. BSG has moved past being the realistic show it was in season 1, and really amplified the attention on its mythos, which I, for one, consider one of the strengths of this show.

    In Crossroads, we have Roslin getting her cancer back. This a wonderful thing. As Ron Moore has said, she hasn't played as big a role this season, in part because she's been cured and they don't know what to have her do. This also reopens her role as The Leader. In many ways, Crossroads is getting the show back on track.

    We have the realization of the 4 Cylons. I think this is brilliant. I know you have problems with Tigh having fought in the original Cylon war, but Moore has said that before they even committed to it, the writers made sure they had a very good explanation. As he has said, the final five are fundamentally very different cylons.

    But the most important thing is the advancement of the mythos. We have Starbuck returning. BAM. She's been to Earth. She knows where it is. She's going to take us there. And she's been off ...somewhere... probably dead, but now she's returned. This is some pretty meaty stuff. (I also think that Starbucks final words here really make the best cliffhanger moment in the history of television. Well, at least that I have seen (which is admittedly more than I'd like to say I've watched)).

    We have the realization that there is a second hybrid child, Nicholas Tyrol, which means that even though Hera has been on the backburner this season, the hybrid child story will play a good role in season 4. If it weren't going to, why else would they bring in another hybrid child?

    We have the dreams, linking Laura and Six and Sharon, perhaps Hera as well.

    I thought the trial of Baltar was good stuff. Not amazing, but good (though Bamber's performance as he questions Roslin is his finest moment in BSG and Roslin's look as he makes her tell things she doesn't want to say is the most hear-wrenching scene in the series).

    But really, a lot of it is whether or not you can buy into it. Can you buy into them hearing this music? My answer: why not. Can you buy into Tigh and Tyrol being Cylons? My Answer: Hells yeah, because I have faith that the writers have not screwed the pooch and with that option eliminated, whatever explanation they ahve is bound to be...astounding. Did you think the Trial was handled well? My answer: yes. I know there were some issues, but really it was quite good.

    While I think that New Caprica (cept Exodus prt 1, which is structured nicely enough that u can just ignore it in re-watching) is the finest BSG arc plotwise, and that the Maelstrom-Crossroads arc is the finest character-based arc. Although there have been some dips this season, I think overall it is better than season 2, and at least as good as season 1. I believe that its overall cohesiveness (how the state of the characters in the finale and their evolution throughout the season has flowed inexorably from the premiere and how, unlike season 2, the finale really is a conclusion of the entire season) makes up for dips in quality like The Passage.

    If you take a step back from Crossroads, it's really a message of hope. The last shot is of Earth. And that's where we're headed.

    It ranks as my third favorite episode, after Occupation/Precipice (It aired as 1 episode, it flows as 1 episode, it IS 1 episode) and Pegasus.
  • From Kethinov on 2007-11-26 at 4:18am:
    If you consider the fact that the show has "moved past being the realistic show it was in season 1" to be a good thing, then you and I are truly of two different minds! :)

    Thus since I disagree with the entire premise of your analysis, I have very little to say about the specifics of your comment. However, one thing is worth clarifying: it's not whether or not I "buy into it" that's important. I have confidence that RDM will plug all of, or at least most of the continuity, logical, and technical holes that now ensue. He's a pretty thorough guy.

    The basis of my critique is that hinging the whole impact of your story on the mere possibility of cool stuff to come is weak writing. That's not what the miniseries, Kobol's Last Gleaming, or Pegasus did. Those stories were extremely compelling all by themselves.

    Consider this amusing scene from HBO's Rome. Deep in season two, in one scene, Antony is trying subtly to bully Cicero into granting political favors, a common theme on the show. The pattern is that Antony threatens Cicero's life, then Cicero caves and does whatever Antony wants. But this time, the dialog was somewhat different. Just as Cicero refused to cooperate, Antony says: "Well you leave me only one option then." Cicero replies: "It always comes to this." Antony agrees: "I know. I'm sorry. Such times we live in." Cicero then says: "Please, go on. Make your threats. I don't like to submit to mere implication."

    Like Cicero, I will not submit to mere implication. I'm as devoted a fan to BSG as Cicero was a devoted coward. But I will not gush all over the show over the mere implication of good stories to come. :)
  • From Sean Freeburn on 2010-03-29 at 8:48pm:
    Personally, I found this a rather good two-parter. I enjoyed all of the stuff in the courtroom - particuarly Lee's speech - but the music subplot and revelation of the four Cylons left a lot to be desired. The cliffhanger was cool (didn't expect Starbuck to show up!), but as much as I enjoyed it all, it was still not a good season finale. A good episode, yes, but not a good end to the season. Baltar should have gotten his trial weeks ago, not as the finale. Ah well.
  • From bibi on 2013-02-10 at 5:38pm:
    I was just re-watching the entire show and consider this one of the greatest episodes. I absolutely love season 3 and this was such a stunning cliffhanger. I think the mythology given here is fantastic. The use of lyrics and music is spectacular. The progress of the season from fighting the occupation on new caprica up to this point, this moment where the final five are reveal was outstanding in acting, writing and directing. Well, that, at least is my opinion :)

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