Battlestar Galactica: Litmus

After a Doral sneaks aboard the Galactica and blows some people up, Adama gives a sergeant unlimited powers in her investigation, where she makes some shocking and uncomfortable conclusions for the commander. Chief and Boomer break up; Helo rescues not-Boomer from her fake captivity.

A note to first time BSG watchers; these aren’t the reviews for you. I plan to write about the show with the ending in mind. If you haven’t seen the show, you will be spoiled on stuff that happens at the end. You’ve been warned.

Here we have a much-maligned early episode, and while I see the faults, I think it holds up a bit better than I had expected.

The biggest problem here is one of timing; apparently, the entire episode takes place within a 24-hour period, and that seems way too quick to investigate the explosion, bring people before a tribunal and go completely mad with power and paranoia like Sgt. Hadrian does.

Come on guys, you can do better…

They will, but in retrospect, “Litmus” does have some surprising gems.

In a cute little scene, the deck gang (Callie, Jammer and Socinus) attempt to make a distillery, but when Tyrol finds them, he mocks their work, then later shows them how to do it right. The happy times are few, and this scene shows how Tyrol is like a mini-Adama. He runs his deck with discipline, but also with a lot of heart. He’s the guy who got into a screaming match with Tigh, the ships’ XO, over the loss of his crewmembers. Tyrol loves his crew like family, and he also inspires the absurd loyalty that Adama does (hence Socinus’s boneheaded move to lie to the tribunal).

For that reason, it’s always hard to watch the two of them fight. They are both so similar and when they butt heads, they leave bruises. While the episode was largely flawed, the last two scenes, Adama and Chief’s fight followed by Chief and Boomer’s break up, are devastating for all parties.

Another interesting tidbit to take from “Litmus” is how comfortable Adama is in being the lone wolf. Hadiran may have been power-mad, but she was on the right track with her “witchhunt.” Maybe given a bit more time, she could have sussed out Boomer’s true nature and saved everyone a lot of grief.

When Admiral Cain shows up, Adama’s decision will come back to bite him in a big way. When Adama tries to intervene in Baltar’s trial on Roslin’s behalf, we’ll see the shadow of this moment, when he had complete control of the situation and did what he thought was right, with disastrous consequences.

 Next up: “Six Degrees of Separation”