This week, we get to take a field trip to the Cylon fleet, courtesy of one Gaius Baltar and his turncoat ways (sounds like a band name, no?). On the run from the ghosts of New Caprica, the Cylons decide on a new plan, but they need Baltar to help them succeed. Their loss.
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.
I’ve always felt a little bad for this episode. It tries very hard to be exceptional, and while it’s pretty good, it’s (unfortunately?) squeezed between two of the season’s finest hours. Sure, it’s not as flashy or as smooth as the greatness ahead and behind it, but it’s still got a few surprises.
Back on Galactica, the crew reintegration isn’t going so well. Most are adapting: pilot are back to training again (with some disastrous results); Racetrack has chosen to team up with Athena as co-Raptor pilots (and the flyboys officially give Athena her callsign); Gaeta has taken over Baltar’s lab and the search for Earth.
One big happy family right? Well, some civilians have moved into Galactica, including Casey and her mother Juliet, and while Casey has been missing her fake mother, Starbuck is still screwed up from her time with Leoben. Likewise, Tigh is still reeling over Ellen’s death and trying to find his salvation at the bottom of a bottle.
The two of them have been officially forgiven, but they can’t forgive themselves. She gave in, he betrayed his love, and their sins won’t go away, no matter how fast they run (or how much they drink). They are so broken they even try to poison others around them, trying to get some comfort from their fellow victims.
Like last week, they are wrapping their need for vengeance around their lives and that road never leads to anything good (see Admiral Cain if you don’t believe me), and at least Starbuck sees the need to let go of New Caprica and embrace her fake daughter as a valued friend.
Don’t worry, Tigh will pull himself out of that room eventually…exactly when his BFF needs him.
So, that’s the home front for you, but over in enemy territory, the story isn’t too much different.
For the first time since season one’s “Kobol’s Last Gleaming,” we get to go inside a basestar, and we get the first inside look at Cylon noncombat life.
To a mere human, it sounds pretty damn alien, but they’re happy. The ships are alive, and the heartbeat (so to speak) can be seen everywhere. The dcor is stark and bland, perfect for not distracting any Cylons using projection (and the perfect landscape for a projected forest or church or beach). The ships even come with a god in residence, otherwise known as the Hybrid – half ship, half organic, all knowing. Trust me folks, Leoben is on to something when he listens to everything she says.
But the Cylons picked up more than bad memories and guilt on their New Caprican adventure; here and now, there are disagreements between former allies and fights about whether to leave behind their diseased siblings (or bring down the whole race in an awesome move of solidarity).
But young Cylons, that’s the perils of the road to Earth (and the road to humanity). With their new plan and their new traitor aboard, they decide that Earth is their new beginning. They don’t even have their own home to return to, and they have co-opted their parents’ mission without even thinking through the risks.
They pick up a nasty virus left behind by the 13th Tribe (as fate would have it, all Cylons and all doomed) and they can only think it was a trap for the fleet (seriously guys, you’ve been with the humans; they’re good, but they’re not that good). They believed Baltar’s protestations of innocence for a while, but even when he did nothing wrong, he’s about to find out they don’t like being suckered.
Gaius will do anything to stay alive, even betray his own people’s a dream, but he’s going to have his work cut out for him on this one, even if he’s starting to think he’s a Cylon.
Next up: “A Measure of Salvation”