We pick up where “Kobol’s Last Gleaming” left us; Bill Adama has taken two to the chest and is setting up camp on Death’s door. Starbuck, Helo and Athena are feeling some hostility and still stuck on Caprica, especially after Athena steals’ Starbuck’s raider. Tyrol, Baltar and company are stuck on Kobol, and sadly lose one of their companions to Cylon fighters. Finally, Roslin, Billy and Lee Adama are stuck in the brig after the coup.
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.
Normally, I don’t really like stories that follow characters in several different places, mainly because one story thread inevitably gets shortchanged and drags the other threads down, which is pretty much what happened with the Caprica plot during Season One.
That being said, they’re doing it right here. We’ve got four stories going on here, and each one of them is getting valuable (if not equal) time to convey what’s happening and where the characters are going. Each set of characters have their mission and their goals, and amazingly enough, they’re all linked, at least in this episode.
In every plot, we’ve got the second string running the show, with varying degrees of success.
With Adama out of commission, Colonel Tigh’s in charge of the fleet, and he is a better leader than he thinks, but his crippling doubts are going to get the best of him, sooner rather than later. The pilots have to fend off Cylon fighters without Starbuck, and they mostly get the job done, but we know that had she been there, that boarding party would not have made it through. Instead, she’s stranded and powerless in enemy territory.
On Kobol, Crashdown is beginning to crumple under the pressure, especially once his subordinates begin dying. If you watch the Season One deleted scenes, Crashdown is actually a pretty cool guy, but despite his officer training, he was not equipped to be in charge in this situation. Even he knows Chief, mini-Adama in my eyes, is the better man for the job, but it’s not like he can abdicate his responsibilities. He does his best and people die, and he can’t deal with it. Tough break, Crashdown.
The big thing here, are the flashbacks to the early days of Tigh and Adama’s friendship. We get to see why Tigh holds his undying loyalty to Adama above everything else in his life; he’s the man he is today because of William Adama. Tigh owes a lot to the Old Man, and it’s really a double-edged sword for Tigh. He fails his leadership test because he’s not Adama, and he can’t see any scenario where not having Adama in charge will work out. The saddest part is that he can do it, we will see it on New Caprica and in Season Four, but he doesn’t believe it now.
And well, Lady MacTigh (Ellen to you folks) isn’t helping things, but more on that down the road.
We have to talk about the flashbacks, especially in light of the revelations in “No Exit,” but I think the retconning mostly works; the Final Five arrived to warn the humans against creating robots, but too late, the First War’s already started. They manage to broker a truce, in exchange for helping the Centurions make human-looking Cylons. All is well, for a while, until Cavil gets pissed off, kills the Final Five, puts them in new bodies with fake memories, and sends them out into the ranks of humanity (likely staggered, to account for the age differences).
So Tigh meets Adama on some ship after the war, they bond, and the rest is history. It should be noted that I haven’t seen “The Plan,” so who knows if that’s what went down, but it’s the best I can do.
Next up: “Valley of Darkness”