In response to the use of suicide bombers, the Cylon leadership begins a crackdown, first by rounding up suspected insurgents, including Cally Tyrol, and then making plans to execute 200 civilians, including some high-profile faces. Up in the sky, Admiral Adama launches phase one of his rescue plan, over the objections of his more pragmatic son.
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.
It’s always a love story, and even in a dark and dreary hour like “Precipice,” filled with death, betrayal and *doomed* rescue plans, it always comes back to that troublesome, but transformative, emotion.
The Cylons are pushing back on the humans, matching blood for blood (missing the point that while Cylons don’t die, the human do), and ordering the detentions (torture) of suspected insurgents, and the execution of 200 people, including Laura Roslin, Tom Zarek and Callie Tyrol. They came to New Caprica to force the humans to love them, and now everything is in chaos. They’re responding the only way they know how, and they’re beginning to see the horrors of what they’ve done and what they’re doing.
They won’t just kill the people, because God will blame them, so they get the godless puppet Baltar to give the order, putting a gun to the head of a weak man, knowing that he will cooperate. Gaius loves his life so much that he signs the order, damning them to save his life; even he knows he doesn’t deserve life, but he can’t give it up. He makes a choice, even though he wusses out and said he didn’t have one. It’s the primal, rawest, most despicable love there is, but he loves something.
Ellen Tigh is another doomed lover; she betrays the resistance, the very organization her husband heads, she jeopardizes their rescue plan, and continues her affair with Cavil (again, ew!) all because she loves her husband. She wants him alive, above all else, even over her own well-being. First time through, I didn’t think she had it in her, but damn…nothing in this whole show is stronger than her love for that man.
Admiral Adama is another one feeling the burden of his love; he knows that cutting and running is the wiser choice, because he’s already done it once, and Admiral Cain showed us how his path worked out better than hers. But he can’t do it again; all that pain and guilt has sprung up in him and he will not abandon his *children* (and his love) again, even at the behest of his more pragmatic son.
He even goes so far as to recruit his captive daughter, a Cylon, a turncoat against her own people, to join the resistance and help them out. If she betrays them (she doesn’t), all is lost. He loves her enough to trust her with his most precious desire. She’s earned that love, and she will not let him down.
(Don’t worry folks, we’re almost done here. Promise.)
Our last love story is Starbuck’s, our imprisoned warrior who has become so battered down by being caged that she falls for Leoben’s ruse about *their* daughter. Starbuck turns her back on this little girl she doesn’t want, tells herself that this girl doesn’t matter, and fails this little girl who needed her (just as she never wanted to fail her own child, because Socrata Thrace always failed her).
Starbuck, at the moment of fear and panic over Casey’s possible death suddenly gets parenthood. It doesn’t really matter if Leoben lied to her and maniuplated her to love this child (and there’s some strong evidence that Casey’s accident was no accident). Casey needs Starbuck to love her, so Starbuck loves her. It’s just that simple, but once that wall breaks down, all the rest come crashing in, and she finds herself reaching out to her fake husband and loving him a bit for giving her this gift of love, which only makes it hurt more in the end.
OK, maybe I went too far with the theme this week, but grant me this one last missive. “Precipice” is more of a setup episode, although it’s got some startling developments and a killer cliffhanger all by itself, but it has my favorite Tom Zarek scene ever, and one of my all-time favorite scenes of the series.
Laura and Tom stand in a quarry, enjoying a breath of air and their newfound comraderie, when the Centurions approach. They know what’s coming; they’ve known from the start. It’s over.
And Tom Zarek pulls her toward the back of the line, to protect her, to try to save her. They will not be saved, but that doesn’t matter. “If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.”
I’ve never loved him more (and I never will again).
Next up: “Exodus, Part 1″