Battlestar Galactica: Flight of the Phoenix

Everything’s falling apart in this week’s episode. With a Cylon fleet closing in, the Galactica is falling under the influence of a sleeper virus that’s causing havoc on various systems (and crewmembers). Tyrol, looking to improve morale (and heal his Cylon-loving broken heart), starts rebuilding a viper plane from scratch. Finally, Roslin gets an updated (and grim) cancer diagnosis.

 

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.

Watching this one again, I can see its flaws more clearly. It’s rushed, the message is obvious at times, and the resolutions are bit easy.

 

But you know what – I don’t care. “Flight of the Phoenix” is one of my favorite episodes, and I love it more now than I did before. It just makes my heart happy.

 

I’ve got a soft spot for broken characters and everyone is feeling it this time. They’re all a little bit raw and easy to piss off; as Adama puts it, they finally realize they will be stuck in this *temporary* life for a while now, and once that reality sets in, out goes the hope (the happiness left the room during the miniseries).

 

Enter Tyrol, and his glorious plan to restore some of what’s been lost. Sure, he’s as hopeless and pissed off as the rest of them (beating on Helo is not going to help you, Chief), but he needs some escape from the Boomer fallout, and repairing things is just what he does. In the process, he even gets a little (very little) healing for himself; he accepts that he loved Boomer and that it’s okay that he loved her (which explains a lot about his behavior in “Pegasus” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”). Eveyone else may hate her (and her twin Athena), but like Commander Adama, he’s not about hating.

 

Speaking of Athena, she gets to do some healing of her own with some computer virus trick that saves the ship and the fleet and probably doesn’t make sense (again, not caring!). Looking back, it’s easy to say that she never betrayed her human family, but during the first watch of the show, I was always waiting for that moment when she had taken enough of their crap and gone back “home” to her real family. To her (and her writers’ credit), she had more character than I gave her (or them) credit for. We’ll talk about her more next week, but for now, she rocks and keeps on rocking. This is her first step to acceptance; she’ll “roll the hard six,” and she’ll win this family in the end.

 

Of course, all this stuff is pretty cool (and moving too), but the reason to stick around this episode (and why I’m willing to forgive a lot here) is because of the final scene. Tyrol has built his ship, Starbuck has successfully flown it, and the crew has something to show for all their time together. Something positive came out of all their misery, and in their joy, they dedicate their *baby* to their mother, their dying leader.

 

They fight, they survive, they fight some more, but right now, they know she’s not going to be around for too many more fights (“a month at the outside – Doc Cottle), so they gift her the best of themselves.

 

Yes, there’s some trite lesson in there about the enduring strength of the human spirit, and blah blah blah, but it’s a moment that always sticks with me.

 

Say what you will about it, I love this episode.

 

Next up: “Pegasus” (the extended cut)