A figure from Adama’s past miraculously shows up after 3 years as a prisoner of war, and his return leads Adama to confess some startling revelations.
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.
An alternative title for this episode could have been “Bill Adama feels sorry for himself.” Once his buddy shows back up, he’s in an episode-long pity party that only his besties (Laura and Saul) can bring him back from (thankfully, his whiny period is not as long or as annoying as his father’s).
The story goes like this – about a year before the Cylon attack, Adama, Tigh and Bulldog (played by Carl Lumbly from “Alias”) were sent on a mission to check out the Cylon threat (find out what they’re doing, planning, etc.). President Adar wasn’t informed of the plan, and even the admirals told Adama it was an unofficial mission.
Bulldog is sent over the line, and when the Cylons discover him, Adama gives the order to shoot Bulldog and his stealth ship down. And when the timing works out, the Cylons, likely having already put the pieces together, let Bulldog escape in the hopes he’ll finish Boomer’s mission and cripple the fleet’s morale.
It’s brilliant, and it very nearly works – Adama lets his guilt (and self-absorption) blind him to the obvious flaws in Bulldog’s story to the point where he’s ready to let Bulldog kill him (maybe Baltar’s on to something with his guilt-free lifestyle). Even from afar, the Cylons are unbelievably good manipulators.
Even after a chat with Tigh, his best friend, and another one with his son, and then another one with Tigh and Bulldog, Adama would rather believe that he was the cause of the Cylon attacks then try to grasp the idea that the Cylon plan goes back a lot further than that mission (they don’t know this, but Six was seducing Baltar well before Bulldog’s mission went south). Fortunately, Laura and her ultra-pragmatic brain come through for him and convince him to keep his command (and kudos to her for calling bullshit on his and Bulldog’s cover story).
He finally decides to just get over himself and accepts his medal as a hero, because it’s what his people need from him. As Laura told him, the simple explanation (one bad act provoked the Cylons to genocide) is rarely true; however, people sometimes have simple needs, like the need for a white knight hero, untarnished and pure good (though you would think by now the people in the fleet would have gotten over that).
But even with Bill’s moping, “Hero” isn’t a total wash – Saul Tigh has come out of his room. He’s taking the first steps toward living again, even if it means living without his Ellen. Welcome back, we’ve missed you.
Next up: “Unfinished Business” (extended)