Battlestar Galactica: Lay Down Your Burdens (1 and 2)

Starbuck finally gets the go-ahead to rescue people still left on Caprica, including one Samuel Anders, but when Racetrack’s Raptor takes a wrong turn and discovers a habitable, virtually hidden (but crappy) planet, the presidential election takes a dramatic (and costly) turn.


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.

So here we are, the second season finale, also known as the episode that broke my brain. Yes, it was my fault, and I’ll own up to it. In my rush to get to the end of the season, I foolishly decided to watch “The Captain’s Hand,” “Downloaded” and “Lay Down Your Burdens (1 and 2)” in one sitting.


By the last half hour, I was praying for the episode to end because I just couldn’t take any more badness happening to my beloved characters. But it didn’t end; and when I went to sleep at 5:45 a.m. and woke up 2 hours later (and had to work that night), I paid dearly for my impatience.


Yes, the episode is that shocking, and brain-busting, and heartbreaking.


One Year Later

       Starbuck has long hair, is friends with Tigh and is Lee’s new enemy.

       Laura Roslin is back to teaching children, with Maya and little Hera (temporarily named Isis) by her side.

       Lee Adama has gained a bunch of weight and a surly attitude.

       William Adama commands a ghost ship and sports an awesome porn ‘stache.

       Tyrol is the union leader, a master of machine and men all over again.

       And Baltar is president, a drunk, drugged-out mess of a man, a “sad little king of a sad little hill”


What a world, what a world, and what a frak-tastic move. Skip all the boring parts of settlement, and get down to what matters. I’ve never seen a time jump like that, and I probably never will again, but wow. Just wow.


Laura Roslin

Oh, this has been quite a season for her; she leads a rebellion; she finds a purpose (and a path); she’s dead; she’s alive; she loses her “son;” she bans abortion; she kidnaps a baby; and then nearly steals an election she couldn’t win with the truth, and out of all of them, nothing hurt me more than that last one.


Ok, because we’re all friends here, I can admit this; had I been able to vote in that election, I would have voted for Baltar.


It feels horrible to write that, but it’s the truth; he sells himself better than she does, and his message of hope and a future the people can have right now is more powerful than her truth and pragmatism. And I get why the Fleet hated him so much afterward; they picked him, and he was thoroughly uninterested in anything but winning and getting his way.


Roslin nearly loses her soul to do what is best for her people. That’s what was getting me here, and I’m reasonably sure it was the writers’ intentions. She’s right about Baltar, we know she’s right, and if they knew all the facts, the Fleet would have unanimously voted for her. But that’s not how real life works, and she lost, and she needed to accept that for better or worse, the people (her people) made their choice.


Eventually, she made the right one too, all because her best friend would not let her get away with it. Sure, he was willing to go along with her, and he would have covered it up for her, but he would not tell her it was ok for her to do it, and so she backs down.


Yes folks, it’s love, and one of the richest storylines of the show just got a bit more depth to it.


Kara Thrace

Starbuck is at her best and her worst here; she finally finds the missing pieces to her rescue plan, gets the tools and personnel from the Fleet and she brings home her man and a bunch of resistance fighters who will prove invaluable on New Caprica.


I love her, and I love Anders, but she is one obnoxious twit when she’s with him. She has who she was pining for, and all she can think to do is rub Lee’s nose in her new relationship. (Lee, what are you thinking in chasing after this woman???).


But I can let it go; she really does love Anders, even if her love is not the best thing for him. She cares about him so much that she is willing to ask her new enemy for medicine to fix her broken husband. As it does with everybody, New Caprica changes her, but not every change was a bad one.


Chief Galen Tyrol

Sometimes I think there was a writer on staff whose job it was to find ways to frak up the Chief. Bad enough that he was/is in love with an enemy agent, but here he dreams of killing himself to stop his *imagined* Cylon programming from kicking in. How cruel was it to make him a Cylon all along?


I pity Chief, even when he’s a jerk, I pity him, but Cally is a much harder person to feel for. She has unrequited feelings for him, and when his girlfriend turns out to be the enemy, Cally guns her down (getting rid of a threat and her competition with one bullet). Here, the object of her affection beats her broken, and she “practically proposes” (“The Ties That Bind”) to him.


Cally annoys me because she’s a damsel in distress, someone who cannot act by herself and who is always at the mercy of other people’s choices. She loves, she forgives him, which I would understand, but to immediately offer herself to him screams of a lack of identity and self-reliance that is infuriating in anyone, fictional or not. Plus, she’s annoying (although Nicki Clyne is just damn adorable).


Her need to be with him sets up this horrible relationship dynamic, where he’s with her out of guilt and to make her happy, even when he has feelings for someone else (something she picked up on in “The Ties That Bind”). But don’t worry; I pity her too, but it won’t come up for a while.


Gaius Baltar

At the beginning of this half season, I loved Gaius Baltar. Sure, he’s still slimy, but he saw an abused woman, not the Cylon agent, and helped her escape. He had his own reasons, but he did what others in the Fleet might not have done. It’s his finest moment until “Daybreak.”


Here, I hate him.


I can forgive his surrender (he didn’t have a better option), and I can forgive him for signing the death warrant (he wanted to live, and it’s too hard to not empathize with that), but his actions here are reprehensible.


He doesn’t want to be president, he doesn’t want the responsibility, and he doesn’t even want the ego rush from being the man in charge. He just wants to win. He wants to beat the woman who thinks little of him, and he wants Roslin and Adama to love him, to approve of him and look up to him. The frakker.


But, I made a promise to myself when I started this rewatch; I would reconsider all the characters and their actions and look for things I missed the first time through.


I still hate him, but I’ll give him more depth this time around. So here goes: New Caprica was not all about the election.


New Caprica is a promise, from him to the people, to go back to the way things were before the attacks. He will bring them to a planet where they can thrive, he can have his Cylon girlfriend again, they’ll be safe from harm, and they will forget the attacks happened. If they forget, then his guilt will vanish, and he never has to feel bad about his actions ever again.


And he fulfills his promise, to a point. For one year, they live and thrive and make babies and have fun and look up in the sky with hope and not fear. He gives them a taste of what they had lost nine months ago, the good parts and the bad parts.


But (there’s always a but with Baltar), he can give them what they want but he cannot lead them. He doesn’t care to lead them, so he writes them off as unimportant; he gave them what they wanted, he’s done now, right?


Wrong. New Caprica is all his fault, even if the Colonials never knew the full story. You can’t really say what might have happened, but New Caprica likely wouldn’t have been found by the Cylons if he hadn’t given Gina his nuke.


It’s all his fault, and dammit, I’m not letting it go.


The Cylons

Robots can change; who knew?


The promises of “Downloaded” have come true; Boomer and Caprica Six have begun a quiet revolution among the Cylons, and our robot progeny have decided to let the humans go. The Cylons leave the wastelands of the 12 Colonies, stop chasing the Fleet and try to find their own path to redemption through God’s love and not genocide.


A radical plan, and it *could* have worked, except…


You can’t force people to love you (or God), and the Cylons are too young a race to know that. They leave the humans be, until they decide the humans need God and his love, and the humans on New Caprica will accept it. Or else.


Thousands die for the Cylon’s faulty thinking, on top of the billions who died when they tried to eradicate their sinful parents. Boomer and Caprica Six didn’t intend their plan to cost lives; they didn’t want more death, but they didn’t know better. It’s hard to hate them knowing that.


Season Two overview

What would a finale opus be without a season wrap-up?


When I think of season two, I really do think of it in two pieces, whereas Season Three is one long stretch of story. Part one is about the broken family of the fleet finding their way back together. Adama and Roslin, for all their differences, realize they have the same goal, they are the same side and they need to be together (in more ways than one, haha).


They need to be strong because “something dark is coming” for them, to take their spirits and wrench them apart.


Part two is all about the darkness and the wrenching; Admiral Cain shows up with her demons and ghosts chasing them all around the galaxy. Once she joins our heroes, the Fleet is never the same.


As they’ll learn on New Caprica, you can never go back; once Cain’s darkness reaches them and shows everyone the other path, there’s no un-showing them. Suddenly, it’s ok to abort a woman’s baby because she’s a Cylon; it’s ok to assassinate bad guys, especially when they’re really, really bad; it’s ok to kidnap a child and tell her parents she’s dead, because her mother is just a Cylon.


They know it’s not ok, but they do it anyway. The righteous heroes have left us; all that remains are the frail humans who have their toughest tests ahead of them.


See you there.


Next up: “The Resistance Webisodes”