Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica took a couple of episodes to tie things up from the first season, and so while it has been good, there were a lot of people who said that it could be better, that something was missing. In general, I was not part of the faction that was out to complain about everything that was going on with the show. Big Brother, Galactica and The 4400 are what I care about this summer, so it would have to really suck for me to complain. Well, it turns out that I was wrong, Battlestar Galactica could get a whole lot better, and we saw an example in this latest episode.When I said they had finished clearing up a lot of what happened in season one, that did not mean there wasn’t any stuff left from this episode. After all, we still don’t know what the hell Helo and Starbuck are doing on Caprica, and the Cylons were still doing a little search and destroy for the human survivors on Kobol. It’s Kobol where we start the episode. There are now five survivors left – Chief, Cally (these two will surely hook up at some point this season), Gaius, Lt. Crashdown, and some other random medical trainee.
Their main goal is to evade the Cylons for as long as possible, but while on some routine surveillance, they see something that is going to make them alter their plans. It looks like the Cylons are deploying a missile battery from their ship. Why hunt down the humans when you can nuke everything within fifty miles and get the same result? Obviously, they are going to need a plan of action, because it really is no use to hope for a rescue when the only thing left over is going to be your shadow on some rock after you were vaporized.
We do have to take a little step back, of course; this whole hope of rescue thing depends on people from Galactica taking a chance at a rescue. There was no guarantee of that happening, because since the command of what is effectively the remainder of the human race has fallen into the hands of Colonel Tigh, he hasn’t exactly been lights out with the whole leadership thing. He is basically trying to hold down the fort until Commander Adam can get healthy, which is still a long shot, and he is facing hours of surgery. It just so happens that the only person qualified to do this smokes more than a nineteen-year-old starlet after a couple of Vicodin and some tequila shots.
Luckily, there are a bunch of people out there that still haven’t completely freaked out since Commander Adama was shot, and that includes his son Lee Adama, or Apollo as we like to call him. Lee is technically supposed to be locked up for supporting President Roslin and her apparently insane idea that she is going to bring salvation on the people because it was written in a prophecy. She did compromise the safety of the entire fleet, but she saw it as a necessary action to save the human race. Although Apollo was supposed to be in jail, Tigh realized that he is going to need him for his skill as a pilot and a military leader. Apollo is working on a rescue plan for the survivors on Kobol (if there are any, because they don’t know), and although Tigh yells at Apollo to assert some authority, he wisely lets him continue with his plan.
It’s better that Tigh wasn’t bothered with the search and rescue, because he does have a lot of other things to worry about. For one, he has locked up most of the press, and they are starting to wonder what is going on. Secondly, the Quorum of 12, the body that is acting as a legislative branch in the current colonial government, wants to know what their president is doing, and who exactly is in charge.
I can tell you who is not in charge, and that is President Roslin. She is dying of breast cancer, and the only thing that was able to keep her functioning was a special drug that many considered quack medicine, called chamalla. I don’t know if her herbal approach to cancer is some sort of shout out to Suzanne Sommers, but the chamalla does work for Roslin. The bad part is that when she doesn’t have it, she turns into a blathering idiot, as the pain or whatever else appears to have an effect on her. The side effect of chamalla is supposed to be hallucinations, and Roslin seems to have them, although they are fairly clairvoyant. She can stop taking it about as easily as somebody get themselves off of heroin or meth. The fact that she is basically going cold turkey in a jail cell is not helping things at all.
Hallucinations are problems for a lot of important people of the colonial government. Roslin is consumed by them, as is Gaius Baltar, chief scientist and vice president of the colonies. While the President dreams that the prophecies of the gods might come true, Baltar dreams of the Cylon Six, and she is constantly trying to convince him that there is only one true God and he shouldn’t believe everything about the history of man. She tells him that man has only brought greed and murder to the universe and they are pretty much not worthy of God’s love. But for all of that, God has decided that Baltar and Six’s child would bring salvation for the Cylons and humans, but that he must become a man and accept his role as a father.
While Gaius is daydreaming, the Cylons are still at work, and it looks like the missile launcher they are setting up is not intended to incinerate the planet, which is good. It is actually intended to shoot down any aircraft that might come down for a rescue, which is obviously very bad. The Cylons have a missile launcher and a tracking device, and Crashdown forms a plan in order to take them out, because losing two more Raptors would be an absolute disaster, not to mention it might make him feel better to save some lives since his poor leadership essentially cost two lives already.
The problem with Crashdown’s plan is that they are a little short on able bodies to carry out the mission. Sure the Lieutenant knows his way around a gun, and the Chief also knows how to use a gun since he has been in service so long, but the others don’t. His plan calls for Cally, also known as the youngest and smallest person among them, to create a diversion, while the others take out some freakin’ toasters, as the military likes to call the Cylons. If the plan didn’t give you some hesitation about how much of his shit Crashdown actually has together, he made a little mockup of his battle plan using some twigs and wires. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it did have all the professionalism that George Costanza used to make a mockup of the boardroom when he thought people were talking about him. The only thing missing on Kobol was Mr. Potatohead.
Now Chief Tyrol knows that the plan is crazy, but his military training says that you have to go by rank, and Crashdown is the ranking office. Baltar is not so bound by this military training, and he voices his objections, and thinks that they should take a vote because of how crazy the plan is. Unfortunately, it is not a democracy, and the assault on the Cylon missile station is about to forward. Considering that a few Cylons were able to nearly destroy Galactica, you really have to wonder if any of these people were going to make it back home.
Back on the Galactica, the Quorum of 12 decided that they weren’t going to wait any longer for news of the president and landed onboard the galactica and demanded to see Roslin. Colonel Tigh doesn’t think it is such a good idea, and explain she was jailed for trying to incite treason among the military, but he assures them that martial law was not what Adama wanted, and it’s not what he is planning. Other than that, he is kind of mum. In reality, Tigh is just trying to get through the day without completely going crazy, and he doesn’t have much rum left to last him a lot longer.
As for the president, she is not doing very well. When Evelyn Tigh goes to visit her in the brig to see if she was OK, the President can barely pronounce her name. She realizes that the President might have lost her mind, and when her husband tells her of the problem he was having with the Quorum and the press, she says that she should let them see the president. In her current state, they’ll realize she is not fit to lead. Colonel Tigh things this is a good idea, and makes the arrangements for a visit.
This is all looking very bad for President Roslin, but her assistant Billy has been working very hard to get her the medicine. Luckily for them, the guard assigned to Roslin comes from the planet where they believe in the literal translation of the scriptures. He has come to believe in Roslin, and helps get the medicine from the doctor. They get her the medicine just in time for her to become lucid enough to speak to her visitors. She tells them that she was wrongly imprisoned and she will fight against the military coup. She tells them that she is sick, and knowing that the scriptures say a dying leader will save mankind, the Quorum of 12 now have even more allegiance to the President. Smooth move Colonel Tigh, whenever the Commander wakes up, he is going to have a lot of work to do cleaning up your mess.
On Kobol, it is almost time for the battle plan to be put into action. Just when you thought things could get no worse, closer observation reveals that there are two more Cylons than previously suspected at the missile site. Surprise, surprise, it looks like Baltar wasn’t so stellar with his recon mission earlier and messed up with his counting. Although the plan was already sketchy to begin with, Crashdown decides that things must go forward, even though Tyrol believes that they could simply double back and take out the communications tower much more easily.
Crashdown is an idiot, and quite out of his league, and believes things are still in their favor. After all, they have the high ground and element of surprise. Why let a little thing like lack of firepower and a highly skilled and trained enemy get in your way? Not everybody is as gung-ho as their leader. Cally is absolutely petrified. Just moments earlier, she was trying to get familiar with a rifle, and now she is supposed to distract and evade a bunch of killers. She is not up to it, and is frozen with fear. Instead of realizing that maybe his plan was a tad risky for the people involved, Crashdown decides that all he needs to do is motivate his troops properly, and proper motivation for Crashdown involves a gun to the head, counting to three, and shooting if Cally doesn’t move.
Up until this time, Tyrol had been the model of order and discipline, but when he sees that Crashdown is obviously crazy, he points a gun at Crashdown’s head. The chief says that he will shoot if Crashdown doesn’t put his weapon down. Gaius doesn’t wait for anybody to call each other’s bluff and shoots Crashdown in the back, killing him. Their crazy leader is dead, which makes them a little safer, but the shot also alerted the Cylons, who are now bearing down on them at full speed.
Without the element of surprise, our landing party is pretty much toast. Well, we know they would have lasted maybe five minutes in their raid, but without surprise, they are going to last about two. The only thing that our folks can do now is run for their lives, and maybe take down the tracking satellite in the meantime. It looks like they are going to do neither, because the Cylons shoot the female medic, and Cally goes back to help her. Just as the chief is about to use a rocket to take down the communication tower, he is shot in the arm. Luckily, Gaius gets there in time to help the chief destroy the tracking system, but it looks like they only good it will do is allow the rescue party to pick up their remains. The Cylons have them pinned and outnumbered. Just as they are about to get shot up like a hooker in Long Beach, the rescue party appears. The cylons are tough, but not even they can survive the guns of a spaceship.
Their mission finished, everybody is sort of stunned. When asked about Crashdown, Gaius said he died a hero trying to save lives. The Chief doesn’t say anything, and neither does Cally. Baltar did show some sack that day though, and it didn’t go unnoticed. Six says that he finally is a man, and I guess that means they can start making that baby. Imaginary sex with a robot, that’s something to look forward to. As everybody is returning to Galactica, they are really going to be in for a shock. Colonel Tigh decided that before his rum was gone, he might as well dissolve the government and declare martial law. This guy is really building up quite the resumé.
This episode had a lot of tense moments. They completely ignored anything that was happening on Caprica, and that simply made for a tighter story with much better suspense and continuity. Next week it looks like the people are going to have something to say about martial law, and you wonder if Tigh is going to have the guts to keep his rule, or if the colonial fleet will be in complete disarray by the time Adama recovers from surgery.