As I mentioned in a previous recap, the third season of Battlestar Galactica is really just the second half of the second season. BSG has been a hit with the critics, and has good ratings with loyal fans. Thankfully we had the first two seasons to prove that this was a quality show, because the latest few installments have left a little bit to be desired. Maybe I am just noticing some things because we are more familiar with the characters, but it seems like both the story lines and the characters are a little more predictable this time around. Like many of the people writing about one hour dramas on this site, it looks like we are in the middle of a lull period, and we’ll have to trust that the writers are holding back the good stuff until Sharon’s baby makes it into the world. Speaking of Sharon’s baby, I hope they name it “Sil.”This week, we got the answer to a question that I believe almost nobody cared about: “Why did Lee Adama want to die?” Hey, we’re not denying that it is tough having to deal with the responsibility of having to protect nearly 50,000 people from a possible death from the Cylons every day, but if you wanted to die that badly, there are ways to do it. Maybe with a little initiative Apollo could finish the job and save us his entire “I’m not like my father” attitude that all of us have to suffer through each week.
Anyway, as the episode opens, lee is pointing his gun at some random black guy. Now, not to get off on a rant, but I caught some episodes of the original Battlestar Galactica series this morning, and about half way through my grapefruit, I realized that this Battlestar Galactica has fewer regular black characters than the original. In the original, Boomer was a black guy, and now Boomer is a hot Asian Cylon (as an aside, while driving Sunset this past weekend, I saw Grace Park eating at a restaurant. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to pull over and stalk, but you know I wanted to). I’m not really complaining about that change, but in the first series, Colonel Tigh was black. Now he’s white, and while I don’t think it matters that much, couldn’t they have found a black guy to do everything this current guy is? You can’t tell me that Danny Glover or Yaphet Kotto would have turned it down. I guess we have added Dualla, who is also hot, and that one religious lady that got blowed up, but you think they could have fit another one in there somewhere.
Where was I? Oh yes. Apollo. He had a gun to some black guy, and looked like he wanted to shoot him, but before we get to see what happens, we get to go back…ANOTHER 48 HOURS. What the hell is up with that? I did not sign up for this. What is so important about the Apollo story lines that we have to pull this stunt every time? What happened 48 hours ago that was so important? Well, apparently Apollo has a girlfriend, Shavon that we don’t know about and she really enjoys his company, at least in the bedroom. Lee seems happy to play the part of horny boyfriend, but the part he is having trouble with is being a father figure to the woman’s daughter, Paya. He admits that he is not good with kids, and the gift he brings for Paya makes her cry. I don’t have kids of my own (or have even been accused of slipping one by the goalie), but I did spend time volunteering in the nursery at my church, and I know that if you give kids dolls, you usually try to make sure that they have both eyes intact. That would be the dolls, not the kids.
Other than Apollo’s cockistry and parenting skills, the other big story we are following is the President’s recovery. Word hasn’t yet made it to the masses that she was fixed by Cylon-human blood, so people are really amazed at her recovery. She has called a meeting between Admiral Adama, Commander Fisk (leader of the Pegasus in Cain’s absence), and her Vice President, and starts talking about the black market. The colonial fleet is self-sustaining, but with no industry, commerce and supplies are handled by the fleet. This leaves a wide-open black market for the trade of goods. The problem is that some of the items in the black market, such as antibiotics, are in such a short supply that it is putting a strain on the fleet. The President wants to regulate trade so the government can decide who is more deserving for some things than others.
Being a big capitalist myself, of course I am going to have a problem with this restriction on trade. Sure there are some things like medicines that might need to be regulated to make sure the parent of a sick child doesn’t have to turn tricks to get medicine, but how does the government decide who is more deserving of cigarettes and booze? Fisk and Dr. Baltar, who we learn are good friends, scoff at the Presidents plan, and decide to meet later for a little bit of a black market trade of their own. But only a few minutes from when Fisk walked into his quarters on the Pegasus, but somebody choked him to death, and that somebody was working for random black guy that we saw Apollo pointing his gun at with the beginning of the episode.
Man, it just doesn’t pay to be commanding officer on the Pegasus. Don’t you think that after Cain was killed in her own quarters that Fisk might have been a little more careful entering a room? I mean, if all you have to do to kill one of these fools is sneak into their bedroom, I am surprised anybody gets any work done. Knowing the seriousness of the crime, Adama appoints his son to head the special investigation.
During the initial autopsy, we found that Fisk had a gold coin in his mouth. The way people reacted to it; it was like they had just pulled a Bentley out of there instead. When he got to the Pegasus, Lee found out that what started out, as a tragedy may have been a blessing in disguise. Although Fisk had volunteered to Roslin to oversee the comings and goings of all the commerce, it was clear that Fisk was deep inside the black market, and the reason he wanted to watch the ships was so that he could continue to skim off the top. Indeed, after looking at Fisk’s personal logs, Apollo found that Fisk was already very busy with rerouting supply runs and raiding other ships for supplies. Unfortunately, there was no indication who he was working for, or who might have had a problem with him.
There was one piece of evidence that caught Lee’s attention – a gold bracelet with the initials ET. When Apollo brought this into Colonel Tigh’s quarters, we knew that ET meant Evelyn Tigh, but with as much facial surgery as it looks she had, it could also mean Extra Terrestrial. Apollo wants to know what Tigh traded with Fisk, but it was obvious from the fresh fruit and real liquor that was lying around what it was that Colonel Tight had traded for. And then we begin to see the hypocrisy surrounding Apollo leading this investigation; he was also taking part in the black market.
I forgot to tell you one other thing that we all know about Shavon, and that is her profession. She is a hooker, and even though she seems to like Lee, and likes that Lee likes her kid, she still charges him extra for spending the night. Lee did a lot for Sharon, and when Tigh mentions that he knows what Lee has been trading for, he flashes back to the time when Paya was sick and the ship had rationed out the antibiotics already. For some reason, Apollo thought that he owed Shavon something, and promised to help her.
Shavon wasn’t the only thing bothering Apollo, however. He keeps on having flashbacks to an argument that he had with a woman on Caprica. Just like every other time somebody flashes back to their time on Caprica, they left something there unfinished, and weren’t able to reconcile before shit started going boom. To get his mind off things, Lee gets a little work in on the speed bag, and Dualla walks in. They have been working out a little bit some, and have been sparring partners. Their loins even brushed against each other several times, and this is enough for Dualla to wonder where there relationship is going. The growth of this relationship is interesting, but I think bringing it up here was kind of strange. Coming in, I never had the feeling that these two had some crazy chemistry. Sure there was a glance here or a glance there, but if anything, it made it look to me like Dualla had a little bit of wishful thinking. Apollo says that he doesn’t know what he is supposed to say, but the fact that he can’t come up with anything to describe this relationship she saw, not to mention his body language when he said it, tells Dualla that she should forget it, and she does.
Before he can think too much about it, Apollo gets a call from Shavon. When he gets to her room on Cloud 9, her face is beaten up. Lee tells them to get their stuff, pack up, and leave with him to Galactica, where he can keep Shavon and Paya safe, but he is interrupted when a man comes barging into the door. Lee is about to take him out, but the piano wire choke artist who took down Fisk gets Apollo by the next. Apollo was reaching for a shard of glass that had broken in his original scuffle, and I thought it would be sweet if he stabbed him in the neck or something (can you tell I miss my 24 violence?). Instead, random black guy comes in, tells Lee that he should forget about the investigation, and then lets him go.
I think we can agree that the President’s plan to kill the black market in the fleet was a little bit of a failure. She doesn’t have much support among the populace, who would rather pay high prices for some goods than not have them at all, or even in her administration. Dr. Baltar was a clear opponent of her plan, and he was on his way to see Fisk before he was killed. Roslin called a meeting with him to clear the air. Gaius may have left her, but Six is not going to go away that easily, and you have to admit, she really is there whenever he needs her. No matter how weak and helpless he may feel, Six is still there to give him support.
We all know from last week that Gaius was having reservations about being President. He could have let Roslin die, assumed power, and guided the fleet to a truce with the Cylons like his beloved Gina wanted. All of that was before he learned what Roslin thought of him, and he handed over a nuclear warhead to her cause to show his displeasure. In this meeting, Roslin basically says that Gaius is not ready to leave, and offers him a chance to resign. Backed by Six, who is telling Baltar that the President is afraid of him, he says that he never liked politics and never really wanted to be Vice President until that very moment. It was kind of a stupid line to use, and his actions will speak louder than words, but it won’t be politics as usual aboard the Colonial fleet from this point on.
After his encounter from the piano wire, Lee passed out. When he woke up, Shavon and Paya were gone, and the guy who killed Fisk had been shot twice and left in the room. Apollo is trying to figure out what to do when Tom Zarek walks in. You remember Zarek. He was a terrorist who started an uprising on a prison ship, became a member of the government, and has been trying to usurp Roslin’s power since forever. Thanks to his former dealings on the shadier side of the law, Zarek knows a lot about the way things work behind the scenes. His little date with the choke artist didn’t seem to affect his voice, so Apollo begins to ask Zarek some questions about the black market, and what he knew about Fisk.
It turns out that Fisk had done business with Zarek, and even wanted Zarek to take over some of the shipments. Zarek turned him down, and Fisk started cutting Zarek and the ship he represents out of deals. Zarek took this as a clue not to ask too many questions, and he tells Lee that by leaving the body of Fisk’s killer in the room, with the murder weapon still attached to his wrist, they were giving him a way out of the investigation with no questions asked.
This might have been fine for some people, but not for Apollo. It’s not that he really wanted the investigation to go on, but he needed to find Shavon and Paya. I am not sure why he cares so much, but after pressing Zarek for some more information, he learns that the heart of the black market is the ship Prometheus, and an ex-mercenary named Phelan runs it. As you might have guessed, random black guy is Phelan, and it’s funny that they called him an ex-mercenary, because the actor Bill Duke, actually has played a mercenary several times in movies, perhaps most famously in Predator. I thought the writers of the show were smart; the leader of the black market doesn’t actually have to be black.
All kidding aside, that doesn’t really bother me as much as the heavy-handed way they make the black market look as sinister as possible. Just imagine the horrors Lee had to face as he boarded Prometheus. Oh no! People are buying cigarettes and liquor without paying taxes to the government! Of course no black market would be complete if there weren’t drugs, so there was plenty of those around. And in case you didn’t think it was scary enough, these people are selling children. Think of the children! And yes, one of those children was Paya, who might not have liked Lee when he was banging her mom, but now that she might be sold, she has a change of heart.
If Paya is around, Shavon can’t be far off, and so Lee goes to find Phelan, who is in the middle of a bar, enjoying his money like only gangsters know how. This whole time, Lee had been working to protect Shavon, but Shavon worked for Phelan. It comes as a big surprise to Apollo that the head of the black market might be running prostitutes, and he is even more surprised to find that his prostitute not only worked for Phelan, but also was the one who told Phelan that Lee was going to visit her on Cloud Nine. Phelan laughs at Lee’s revelation, and begins to preach the reasons why the black market is necessary.
At first, Apollo tries to play nice. He says that the Galactica has tracked him there, and he says that Phelan can save everybody a lot of trouble if he just handed over Shavon and the girl, and shut down his operation. Phelan laughs and says that Paya is already bought and paid for, and he doesn’t give refunds. Finding out that Phelan is selling children sends Lee over the edge. He steals a gun from one of the guards, and then shoots Phelan. With their boss dead, all of Phelan’s lackies sort of shrug and lay down their weapons; so much for solidarity among thieves. Lee says that as long as they don’t touch any children, he won’t have to find them and kill them.
The only thing left to do is for Apollo to take Shavon and Paya away from this place and build a new family together. People might think that it is strange that he is living with a hooker, but hey, at least she’s not a Cylon, and that does count for something these days. The only problem is that Shavon doesn’t want a life with Lee. Throughout the episode, we have had these constant flashbacks to Apollo and this blonde on Caprica, and now Shavon fills us in. The woman in Apollo’s dreams wanted to have a child with Apollo, but he was scared, and he ran away from her. Then the Cylons attacked, and he was never able to make it up to her. After the crash made him question his mortality, he looked for a substitute, but Shavon didn’t want to be that woman, and Paya was never going to be his daughter. You would like to feel bad for Apollo because he seemed like he cared for this woman, and I am not saying you can’t have a happy relationship with a prostitute, but if she is still charging you extra to spend the night, you probably don’t have a chance.
His job now done, Apollo reports to the President. He found Fisk’s killer, but he isn’t willing to shut down the black market. They will watch the Prometheus (where Tom Zarek now walks like he owns the place), but this underground economy has a place, and it shouldn’t be stopped, especially if they can keep it under control. For as adamant as Roslin was about stopping it earlier, she doesn’t put up much of a fight against Apollo’s new decision. It’s sort of an empty victory for Lee, and his life isn’t getting any better. He wasn’t even able to salvage his relationship with Dualla, who decides that Billy is just as good of a workout partner. He might not be the stud that Apollo is, but Billy does seem to know what he wants in the relationship, and that is spending as much time with her as possible. She might think about Apollo again, but for now, she’ll take Billy.
Overall, I thought this was only an OK episode. I guess we need to explore a lot of what happens with these characters and their pasts in order to understand their decisions now. I think my main disappointment is that I am missing my Cylon intrigue, which is really what is driving the show. I don’t think I care as much about what motivates Apollo as what motivates Gina. Apollo wanting a baby doesn’t mean as much as Sharon’s actual baby. I love how you don’t have to love science fiction to enjoy this show, but when they complete leave it out, I guess I am sort of indifferent.
What did you think of this episode?