Battlestar Galactica & Caprica Reviews

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BSG - Season 3 - Episode 02

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

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 5.02

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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]


- 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 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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