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Woohoo! This past weekend we had an episode of Battlestar Galactica that was completely sans flashbacks! Not surprisingly, I thought it was probably one of the better episodes since the Colonial Fleet finished blowing up the resurrection ship. We still haven’t quite made it back to the quality we had for most of season two, and it was definitely more SoapNet than SciFi, but at least there was some suspense regarding the outcome. If the writers ever remember that the fleet is A) being chased by a bunch of cylons wanting to kill them and B) supposed to be looking for the legendary home of their ancestors, we might be getting somehwere.Since Battlestar Galactica deals primarily with the military portion of the fleet, it is sometimes easy to forget that there is an entire civilization floating out there around them. Fifty thousand people have needs, whether it be food, drink, medicine, hookers, and everything else you can imagine. I am sure there are plenty of normal folk in the fleet, but whenever we deal with civilians, they are usually trying to undermine the government or military in some way. And who am I kidding? There are plenty of people within the government and the military that are trying to undermine the government and military.
Earlier this season, we got some insight into a Cylon sympathizers group that was upset that the military and the government were not, well, sympathetic enough to the Cylon cause. We created them, we oppressed them, so let’s get to the root causes of why they were after us. It might have been easy to dismiss this group as crazy, but they were focused and determined, and thanks to Gaius Baltar, they now have a nuclear weapon. But like any diverse society, there was a group with the opposite opinion that was just as focused, and just as determined, and we discovered just what they were capable of this week.
The Fleet News Service has been broadcasting a disturbing report. Apparently, Admiral Adama is hiding a Cylon on Galactica, and considering how the Cylons had killed approximately 99.999% of the human population; you could understand why some people would be upset. We know that the Cylon in question, Sharon Valeri, is being held for military purposes, but others do not, and while we are seeing all of this unfold, we see how one woman in particular is gathering as much information as she can on the Cylon problem, and just how far they have infiltrated the Colonial fleet. It’s a typical strategy discussion with Roslin, Adama, and Tigh, and out of nowhere, Billy speaks up. Billy has always been on the side, and it’s sort of nice that he was able to get the guts to say something. He may not have any sort of power, but at least he was giving himself a voice. Or maybe I simply missed all of these episodes where he was acting as the president’s policy advisor.
Whatever it was, Billy seemed to really get into the mood when it came to asserting himself. As he and the President left the meeting, he said that he doesn’t believe that secrecy is the best policy, and that if she told the people what was going on, they would understand. I am all about the government being upfront, but I do think it would cause mass panic if they were completely honest. If the people knew that Cylons not only look like humans, but that they have been living among us, and there can be multiple copies of each, any whacko with two hands would try and kill there neighbor for looking at them funny.
Billy wasn’t there to debate how authoritarian and/or fascist the government/military was going to be. No, Billy had other things on his mind, like one Anastasia Dualla, Dee to the rest of us. He and Dee have had a good relationship, and I am sure that as he went through his list of options, he realized that she was likely the hottest person in the fleet who would bother letting him see her naked. With this on his mind, he decides to propose to her, and while they are close, it still seemed out of the blue. I don’t know if it was the fact he asked for her hand by using his debate team ring, or the fact that Dualla and Apollo are pretty close as well, but she decided that she couldn’t marry Billy. It’s always hard to get rejected when you put yourself out there, but considering they see each other all of the time, this has to really suck.
Well, the debate team really didn’t help, but the real reason why Dee doesn’t want to marry Billy is that she also has some feelings Apollo. He’s more important that Billy, better looking, likely makes more money, could actually defend her if there was any danger, and likely much better in bed. What Dualla doesn’t know is that she might be third on Lee’s list after Starbuck and whoever the hooker of the week is. Dee and Lee are in one of the bars on Cloud 9, and they are discussing what is going on between them. Lee doesn’t seem like he really wants to answer that question, and after the last few weeks, I am not sure if he really wants any more than to find out if Dee is a screamer.
While Apollo goes to the bar to grab a few drinks (where he bumps into the famous lush Ellen Tigh), who should happen by their table but one Billy Keikeya. He is happy to see Dualla, but as soon as Apollo returns to the table, he figures out what is going on. Yes Billy, that is why she wouldn’t marry you, but it’s not the only reason. You feel bad for Billy because he is totally clueless, but Dualla really should have been more honest with him. Billy shouldn’t have thought that just because Dualla was comfortable enough to let him hold her feet during some crunches that the next step was “death do us part”, but at least he found out before she could string him along any further.
Apollo leaves to give them some space, and at the he starts to get a little suspicious. He notices that there are some people in the bar that seem a little strange, and as he takes a closer look, one of them has a gun. He decides to take Ellen into the bathroom, much to Ellen’s surprise and enjoyment, but he is not looking for play; he just wants to keep her out of trouble. Lee’s instincts were correct, and only moments after he gets into the bathroom, the gunmen and gunwoman take the bar hostage. So why did these people want hostages? The woman who was leading the group lost her husband in a Cylon attack and was responsible for a lot of the Anti-Cylon literature going around. She and her followers wanted Admiral Adama to hand over Sharon, presumably so they could kill her.
Ellen Tigh made the terrorists’ jobs easier, but running out of the bathroom where she was hiding with Lee. I knew she was a heavy drinker, but I still thought Ellen was fairly smart. If I had the choice of being alone with Apollo, and surrendering myself to people with a gun, I would choose Apollo, and I don’t even want to have sex with him! What the hell was Ellen thinking? I guess she was trying to save the hostages, because she ran out, announced that her husband was second in command on Galactica, and that they all just made the biggest mistake of their lives. Not surprisingly, the terrorists were actually happy to see they had an important hostage on their hands, because while it may seem easy to say “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” it’s much harder to say that when a loved one was in danger.
While Ellen was getting herself in trouble, Apollo had been trying to figure out a way that he could gain an advantage. He took Ellen Tigh’s drink, which was smoking from the dry ice cubes used in it, and snuck behind a panel in the bathroom to find an oxygen sensor. Having forgotten most of my 8th grade chemistry, I didn’t know what this was supposed to do. Luckily, Lee muttered to himself “have a nice drink of carbon dioxide”, saving me from having to embarrass myself by asking a 12 year-old what it was supposed to do. Since people can’t breathe carbon dioxide (well, they can, they just can’t survive on it), the oxygen sensors would give a warning and they would have to open the blast doors that they first sealed after taking hostages.
So Lee’s doing pretty well now, right? Might as well take that service tunnel and see how far it takes him, right? That would have been my plan, but Apollo was luckier. After Ellen came out, one of the terrorists was sent in to check the bathroom and Apollo was able to sneak up on him and take his gun. Now he had a hostage! I probably would have beat the shit out of the guy and waited until one of his lackies followed him in, but Lee decided that he was going to leave the bathroom. He talks a tough game, but after the leader of the hostage takes threatens to kill Dualla, he backs down. If only she had stuck with the boring civil servant, we could have all been out of here already.
We found out the leader of the terrorists is named Sasha Ebanel and lost her husband to a Cylon attack. Although they now had Lee, who is even more important than Ellen Tigh because they know Adama won’t want to see him die and therefore gives them more leverage, the oxygen sensor says that the air is getting toxic to breathe. Sasha calls up Galactica and tells them to send somebody in to check on the sensor. And don’t try any funny business or we’ll shoot them all!
By this time, Galactica already had a team of off-duty marines on Cloud 9, not to mention Starbuck. Until they got a full assault team prepared, they were coordinating through her. When Starbuck sees the repairman coming to fix the sensor, she gets an idea. Why not dress up as the repairman and go in? That’s a good idea. She can assess the situation, and then leave and form a plan, right? Not exactly. Starbuck has always been “lock and load, and figure out the rest later”, so she gets in, they check her equipment box and pat her down, find nothing, and she can move on.
Unfortunately, Starbuck didn’t think that being the most famous pilot in the fleet would get her recognized. They terrorists figured out who it was, but luckily Starbuck did manage to hide some guns in the toolbox inside a hidden compartment. She came out guns blazing, but it was nowhere near organized. Some of the off-duty marines came in, but they were sprayed, and eventually everybody had to make a retreat. They got one terrorists, but two marines were killed and one was shot in the leg. Oh yes, and Starbuck shot Apollo as well. It was an accident, of course, but almost immediately, it changed the nature of the negotiations.
Dualla tries to save Lee, and although the terrorists don’t want to give him any help at first, Billy reminds him that if Adama’s son dies, Adama is never going to give them what they want. I feel really bad for this guy. The girl you thought loved you enough for you to get the courage and proposed to is seeing another guy, and you have to save his sorry ass. And really, this other guy’s death would make things a lot easier for getting your girl. He is also starting to get a little bit upset at the terrorists. Her husband died, so why does she feel so special? At least she got to be with her husband after the attacks. Most people lost their entire families.
On the Galactica, the official word is still not to negotiate with terrorists. The top three people making the decision have family down there, Billy being as close to family as President Roslin has right now. They don’t want to give up Sharon, but what if the terrorists are right? What if they are being played? Adama talked with Sharon and she reminded them how many times she had saved the fleet, but when pressed, she said that she wouldn’t tell them what the other Cylons looked like, or where they were. Tigh can’t stand that Adama still thinks of Sharon as Sharon, and not the machine that she is.
Sick of waiting, Sasha and her pals decide to try a new tactic. They put a gun to Ellen’s head, and it looks like Adama is willing to strike a deal. He is going to hand over Sharon’s body, but it will already be dead. If she must be killed, he doesn’t want to take the chance of letting somebody else do it. I was wondering how they were going to pull this off, but then remembered that they already had a dead Sharon, although I wasn’t sure if they had kept the body. Adama goes to Cloud 9 himself to deliver the body, and indeed, it is the old dead Sharon. We can tell because she has that gunshot wound to her face that was healed over. Oh, and her lips are blue. My physical anthropology classes never involved anybody who hadn’t been dead for more than 100 years, but I do know that bodies don’t go blue in that short amount of time, right? Even in space?
Personally, I had hoped that they had wheeled the body in, and when they opened the body bag, Starbuck popped out and started shooting again, but I guess using the first dead Sharon is a better idea. Besides, Sasha didn’t let too much time pass before shooting the Sharon in the face a couple more times, and although it was point blank range, her brains didn’t splatter anywhere. The plan was working great, but the terrorists weren’t fooled. It probably had to do something with the huge autopsy scars running down her chest, but they soon knew Sharon was a fake, and somebody had to pay.
For some reason, they decided that Apollo and Ellen should be spared, and that they should just kill off Dee. I would think they would have just tried to kill Adama instead of running across the room to kill Dee, but that’s just me. With Dee in trouble, Billy has to do something. He steals the gun away from one of the terrorists, but manages to get shot himself. By this time, the marines have stormed in and all the terrorists are dead. Apollo, who had been lying on the floor bleeding forever somehow survived, but Billy, whose only crime was that he loved a girl who didn’t love him back, managed to die. God, I think Dualla is a hottie, but when she offsets all of that fun time in the gym and the solarium with gunshots and hostage situations, it really makes you think.
Whom did Dualla finally choose? Well, the woman mourning over Billy in the morgue was President Roslin. Dualla decided that she was going to take her chances with a guy who was still living. I don’t think Apollo loves her, but at this point, the bitch kind deserves whatever she gets, no? And that includes a little jealousy from Starbuck, who only recently was waiting for Lee to do her body good, and now she can’t even apologize for shooting him. When Apollo wakes up, I hope he seeks some help finding the woman of his dreams. After he nearly got strangled the death for protecting one, and took a bullet for another, he needs BSGmatch.com or something.
Perhaps this episode wasn’t the greatest, but I was so happy that it wasn’t another flashback episode. I do like how there is some tension with Sharon and the fleet, but I still think the thing we are all waiting for is what the Gina and her Cylon Sympathizing friends are going to do with that atomic warhead. And yes, I do want to find out if they still care at all about getting to Earth. Overall, I liked this episode because it was still tense, but I am not sure what killing Billy did for the show. If anything, they could have had Starbuck have sex with him to spite Lee, which would have been very interesting. Next week we get to deal the question of Pegasus, and exactly how happy those folks are to be taking orders from old man Adama.
What did you think of this episode? Sad to see Billy die? Is Dualla making the right choice in guys? Will Apollo forgive Starbuck for shooting him?