Battlestar Galactica: Downloaded

In a departure for the show, we follow Boomer and Caprica Six, who are now living on nuked-out Caprica and trying to adjust to being war heroes for the Cylons when they still feel more human than machine. Back in the fleet, Athena gives birth to Hera, which leads to some troubling decisions from Roslin.

 

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.

First time through, I really didn’t pay too much attention to this episode, mainly because I was anxious to get the season finale (more on that later), but it’s one episode that gets better every time I see it.

 

One of the amazing things about this episode is that we are forced to start looking at the Cylons as people, not monsters. Yes, they did monstrous things but nine months after the fact, Boomer and Caprica Six are beginning to feel the weight of their crimes on their shoulders. They look around at a rebuilt courtyard, and they don’t see a new beginning; they see only the ashes of the people who once walked there.

 

All around them in this dead world rest the ghosts of the people, 20 billion in all, who died because of them.

 

They’re different, and while the reason why is a bit easy (every story is a story about love), for such a young species, they’ve never known love, and Caprica Six and Boomer are not prepared for its transformative effects.

 

Take Boomer; if there is one character in BSG that got a raw deal, it was her. Even until Callie killed her, she wanted to believe the lie, that she wasn’t a machine, that she was real, that she could love (and that he would love her). He did, and she did, but she couldn’t not be herself, and she tried to kill a man she loved.

 

Her Galactica family never forgave her for that, and it wasn’t even her fault. They even knew that and they never asked her to return, and instead they adopted another Eight and loved her. Boomer can’t be a human, she can’t be with her family, and it kills her. She burns up all her love, she becomes a machine and betrays them all again.

 

Caprica Six, who picked her path with eyes wide open, fell in love with her mark, and used her guilt to push her to be a better person. She rescues Hera, gives herself over to her enemy, helps them survive, and ends up with her love at the end.

 

Different women, different paths, but right here, they make the better choice. They push their brothers and sisters toward a path of renewal, based on love, rather than their genocidal actions, based on fear. It didn’t work, it couldn’t have worked, but their intentions were pure, even if their actions weren’t.

And a final thought on Roslin’s actions this episode; man, my favorite character has been doing some downright dastardly deeds in the last few episodes, but this is the worst. She kidnaps Sharon and Helo’s baby, gets Cottle to tell them the baby died, then hides the kid with another woman so Roslin can keep an eye on our littlest Cylon threat. It’s inexcusable but…

 

It was better than her other options. Yeah, I know, I wouldn’t be willing to justify actions done by Baltar this way, but Roslin is not only thinking of herself here. Before Hera (and Baltar) saved her life, she wanted to kill the fetus. Once Hera was born, Roslin briefly considered killing the baby, but even she backed down; how could you kill someone who saved you life?

 

Roslin’s smart enough to know that if the Cylons figure out Hera’s alive, they will hunt and destroy until they can kidnap her for themselves (I don’t know how canonical the deleted scenes are, but one D’Anna Biers was planning on doing exactly that). Kind of like last week, it wasn’t an easy choice, and she knew it was wrong (which is why she didn’t inform Adama of her decision) but…she kept that little girl safe, even under Cylon occupation.  That’s something, if still unforgivable.

 

Next up: “Lay Down Your Burdens” (Parts 1 and 2)