Battlestar Galactica: Tigh Me Up Tigh Me Down

Commander Adama has been acting suspicious, which only serves to deepen the President’s doubts about his humanity. However, when he brings Ellen Tigh to the Galactica, all suspicious eyes shift toward her. On Caprica, Helo and Athena run from the baddies.

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.

I had forgotten how all over the place this episode is, which really does the show no favors.

In the back half of Season Four, I noted that moving from “No Exit” to “Deadlock” (both strong Ellen episodes too) was tonal whiplash from the cerebral infodump to the highly emotional. That was a little weird in back-to-back episodes, but ultimately it was okay. However, that’s not good when the tone shifts like that in one episode, like it does here.

On one side of the story, the writers are trying to have some fun with this boozy new character (BSG’s Cordelia, tactless but honest and always funny), which works for the most part. Kate Vernon had kind of rough job here, as she comes off so unlikeable, but she fits into the cast by emphasizing her outsider status (for all the episode’s faults, the dinner party scene is one of my all-time favorites).

Rubbing people the wrong way is her default mode, and give credit where it’s due, the writers do know all their characters weak spots that need rubbing.

But on the other side of the episode is the Cylon-hunting drama that really doesn’t work in this farcical environment. Paranoia about Adama makes sense coming from Roslin, but the writers try to take a light tone with this thread and it’s not light material. It’s this kind of mistrust and doubt that will lead to our leaders’ rift in the finale, and it deserves a better setup.

Since, I guess, I have to talk about the Cylon thing, I must congratulate the show runners on playing most of us for a bunch of fools. Right here is all the setup we need to smoke out the Final Cylon herself, but I certainly deemed it too obvious to be true. I do wonder if “The Plan” will show the real result of Ellen’s test.

Like Zarek in “Bastille Day,” the episode wasn’t that great, but getting to meet Lady MacTigh is worth the trip. Ellen is a fascinating character from the get go – she’s fun, but in a dangerous way; she’s sexy, but you shouldn’t touch; she’s honest, but brutally, like the truth is a weapon. She loves her husband, but it’s a selfish love, like Spike with Buffy; she wants Saul all to herself.

His devotion was always evident (Michael Hogan is practically glowing in this episode), but it will be a long, long time before we get to see how much she loves him back. I’ve loved her from this episode, but only because I have this perverse soft spot for mean girls; it’ll be fun to spend more time with her in mortal mode.

One last thought; at the beginning of the episode, we get a snapshot of off-hours life for the Galactica crew. Billy and Dualla go on a date to the observatory room, and the pilots show off some moves because they know she’s watching. While Billy and Dee have to be the cutest dead couple ever, even here we can see Roslin’s scariness poking out; she shamelessly asks Billy to use his girlfriend to get info on Adama, not unlike how she pimps Tory out to Baltar in Season Four. Now, we’ll probably never know what happened in that pitch meeting with Billy, but it’s like watching a horror film. I want to warn her of the dangers, but she’s not listening.

Next up: “The Hand of God”