After a stellar episode of Battlestar Galactica last week, I think we were all waiting to see the follow up from all of the aftermath from last week. Sharon and Six had about 36 hours to perhaps change the course of Cylon events. Would their plan to make the Cylons less murderous actually work? Well, I was expecting that we would get some answers to such things, but it looks like the writers wanted to make us wait until the season finale next week. Our favorite defier of authority, Starbuck, wasn’t going to wait for any answers, largely because she didn’t know any of this was happening, but she was planning on returning to Caprica to rescue some of the people who were left behind.Some of you may think that Starbuck taking a whole shitload of Raptors back into the heart of occupied Caprica would warrant a little bit of attention, but there were bigger things to deal with among the fleet, like an election! Listen, I know that there is a lot of interest with the Baltar storyline, and the way he went against the President is sure going to make for some interesting times. Factor in the relationship he has with Gina, and the fact he gave them a nuclear warhead, and you have a situation that could cause some problems. That being said, why don’t they just get to the election? Does anybody really want to watch some stupid debates? Is it really that important for us to know that the President gets the giggles before she is about to debate?
To simplify things, I am going to go out and talk about one thing first and then backfill the rest. At the beginning of the episode, we see this random scruffy guy rolling around on the ground. Upon closer inspection, it is Tyrel, and Cally, who had been looking for him in the hangar bay, sees him, and checks to see if there is something wrong with him. When she gets close, Tyrel snaps and starts punching her in the face for some unknown reason. After a few moments, he sort of wakes up, sees what he has done, and cries out for help. You see, it’s been almost two weeks since we have seen the inner workings of a crew member and the demons that are tearing them up inside, so now we get to look in on the chief.
What was bothering Tyrel? Well, he thought he was a Cylon. Instead of seeing a psychotherapist, he visits the Galactica chaplain, played by Dean Stockwell. Yes, that Dean Stockwell. It was nice to see him, but it seems like this whole story was conceived in order to find a way for Dean Stockwell to have a guest role on Galactica. He’s not like most chaplains because he says prayer is worthless, but he does sort of knock some sense into Tyrel, and tells him that he is not a Cylon. It’s not really convincing, and you leave thinking that it is Dean Stockwell that is the Cylon. He says that the only way for Tyrel to get through this is to embrace his family. They love him and know he is not a Cylon, and if he embraces their love, he will be OK. Even Cally loves him, and if people ever ask what happens, she’ll just say she ran into a door.
I’m am sorry I plowed through that with such disinterest, but it really had nothing to do with the rest of the episode, and there was plenty of stuff to talk about, like Starbuck’s mission to Caprica. We know that she misses Anders, as was painfully made clear to us in a few episodes, and she wanted to keep her promise to go back to him. Originally, Admiral Adama didn’t want to go through with it because it would require too much manpower, but now with the Pegasus around, they can afford some bodies. Therefore, the mission is designated “2 Alpha”, which means that it is strictly voluntary. Of course, “strictly voluntary” usually means that if you don’t sign up for this death wish, everybody will call you a pussy the rest of your life.
This mission used to be impossible because our spacejump technology was inferior. We had access to Cylon technology, but were never able to interface with it until Caprica-Sharon came around. Now that she isn’t pregnant, they decide she is going to be a good resource, but some in the fleet aren’t happy. If only they knew she just lost a child, maybe they would be nicer to her. It’s not like she, you know, has their lives in her hands or anything. By the way, speaking of cruel treatment, don’t you think they could throw some support for her every now and then? I mean, her boobs aren’t that big, but maybe she doesn’t want them flopping around all over the place?
Wow, mission to Caprica, sounds interesting, don’t it? Maybe they’ll cut away to Galatica-Sharon and Caprica-Six trying to save Caprica from the Cylons? Or perhaps a presidential debate? Like I said before, we learned that Roslin gets the giggles before she speaks, but we also get a little bit of a hint of the relationship between Roslin and Admiral Adama. With Billy dead and Apollo as captive as ever, these two are like family, and they act like a couple that has been married twenty years. They laugh, they tease, they walk arm in arm to the debate. The only thing missing is the sex, which I guess means they’re acting like a married couple who have been together 40 years.
As for Gaius, he is a little bit worried. Maybe one of the reasons why he never liked politics was because he sucked at it. The only thing he has to offer is some talk that Roslin is not the right choice, although he never explains why he is the right choice. His worst criticism is that she listens too much too the religious viewpoint, but without any policy experience of his own, that complaint isn’t gaining much traction. Roslin pretty much wipes the floor with him, like she told him right to his face, and later the reviews say that he is nothing but an empty suit when it comes to actual policy. On the positive side, we did get to see Six in a nice little black dress that she hasn’t worn before, and she has been telling Gaius that God chose him to lead these people. When in doubt, always fall for the little black dress.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get on with the mission. Remember when I said that anybody who didn’t go would be called a pussy? Well, Apollo doesn’t go, but I guess you can say that “I am commander of a Battlestar” is a pretty good excuse. Still, when he talked about the mission with Kara, you could tell that he wanted to go. Or maybe he knew something that everybody else didn’t like Sharon, who was telling Helo that “something dark was coming”. She said it wasn’t about the mission they were on, but a dark time was coming. Did her pregnancy make her clairvoyant? Is she a medium or something?
Early in the mission, something bad did happen, as one of the twenty Raptors that were going to make the series of jumps was lost after the first jump. It wasn’t horrible, because they could still get back to Galactica, but it meant that there would be fewer people should they get in trouble on Caprica. Even though the missing raptor may not have been good for the rescue mission, their miscalculation could have been the best thing to happen to the fleet. There was a lot of interference in the sector that they had mistakenly entered, but after flying around a little bit, they were able to see a planet. This planet had a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere, and the early readings said that it is possible it could sustain human life.
I have said before that I think that finding a hospitable planet would be a good twist to the show. The original series had Galactica bumping into other humans not from the colonies as they flew around the Galaxy. Yes, you have to take care that it doesn’t become Star Trek with meeting alien races, prime directives, etc., etc., but it is a good source of conflict. Baltar sees this and decides to make it a central point in his next debate. Finally, he has a plan, something he can counter with that makes sense. Everybody is tired of running, so why not offer them a way to stop running. With the interference of the Nebula, maybe the Cylons will never find them. Even if it is just for a month, people want to feel the earth under their feet and see the sky above their heads. Six tells him that this will be their new home, and Zarek says that it will be a great issue to win an election. Permanent settlement on this planet.
In the next debate (yes, we had two!), Baltar brings this point up. By the way, don’t you love how these plans that will affect the lives of literally every person known to man are being debated upon not because they may affect all of those lives, but because a few people want some votes? Sounds like a real recipe for disaster if you ask me. Nevertheless, it works for him. Roslin says there is no assurances that the Cylons don’t know about the planet or won’t find it, or that life will be any easier on the planet, but Gaius says that she is trying to get the people to run from their lives, will he wants them to live their lives. Cheesy, but it seems to work, and Gaius really gains in the polls. The President doesn’t understand it, but our favorite policy wonk, Tori, says that Baltar’s message resonates with the voters. He is giving them a refuge. People vote hopes, not fears.
As for Starbuck’s mission, things were going pretty well. In order to have the element of surprise, the Raptors had to jump within Caprica’s atmosphere. The calculations were good, except that one raptor sort of jumped right into the middle of a mountain. Still, considering they were planning on losing 25% of the people that came, the numbers are pretty good. After landing on Caprica, they form a, uh, landing party, and make their way to the rebel base camp, where they run into Anders. Apparently, the Cylons just hit their base, and the few people he has with them are the only ones that are alive. Despite how I lamented hearing about him all the time, I was happy when Starbuck and Anders got back together. There is somebody out there for everyone, and if these two are meant for each other, I sincerely hope it works.
Unfortunately, things weren’t going to be that easy. Almost as soon as Anders and Starbuck embrace, the mortar shells start coming down. Their are explosions all around, and the Cylons have cut them off from their raptors. What are they going to do? Well, I’m pretty sure we will find out on Friday, which is the finale, but I can’t be so sure. They have left big story lines dangling before, and by the way things are going, maybe they’ll devote the final episode of the season to Dean Stockwell trying to cope with Gaeta and the problems he is having masturbating in the shower (the Galactica showers are co-ed, Starship Troopers style). It might make no sense, but it might be in line with the way the rest of this season has been turning out. Personally, there is a lot of stuff they have to explain. There is still a nuke out there, the election is days away, Galactica-Sharon and Caprica-Six are supposed to be starting a revolution, it seems like half the colonial fleet is pinned down with no hope of escape. I don’t like to whine all the time, but I hope that if we can show how pissed off we are about all of this, maybe they’ll come back to their senses in season 4. I guy can dream, can’t he?
What did you think of this episode? Is Tyrel really a Cylon? Will Roslin or Baltar win the election? Is this new planet a good thing? Will Starbuck and her crew make it off Caprica alive?