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Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: Lay Down Your Burdens: Parts 1 and 2

Recap

I’m a sci-fi geek who has never seen Battlestar Galactica. Yes, I know, I know. 2013 is the year I change that, and I’m blogging as I go.

It’s here. The long-awaited season two finale. To summarize my feels:

Part 1: General creeping horror.

Part 2: Wow, this is really serio—[last 20 minutes]—OH MY FRAKKING GOD!

But first: Keeping track of a bajillion different Sixes and Boomers is hard, guys. So I asked Susana to let me know how people who’ve actually, y’know, seen all of BSG refer to characters. To that end, from now on I’ll be referring to the Six in Baltar’s head as Head Six and the Six on Caprica as Caprica Six. As for the Boomers: The Boomer currently on Caprica who shot Adama I’ll be calling just plain Boomer, and the Boomer currently on the Galactica who had the baby I’ll call Athena. Don’t worry, I’ve been given no spoilers on why the heck I’m calling a Boomer Athena. Whatever happens, I assume it’ll shock me. And whenever the Lucy Lawless Cylon shows up again to lighten up my life, I’ll call her D’anna, not Three.

Lay Down Your Burdens: Part 1

Hey, what’s Chief Tyrol been up to lately? Surely with his involvement in Boom—Athena’s storyline having come to a close (for now…?) he’s been able to settle back into his nice, normal life.

No? The episode begins with him lying on the floor of the flight deck, shivering and pantsless?

Well OK then.

It only gets worse when Cally finds him, because he proceeds to wake up, go all crazyface, and beat her bloody. After he’s pummeled her into unconsciousness he comes to and looks completely horrified at what he’s done.

Battlestar Galactica sure knows how to intrigue its viewers from the get-go, doesn’t it? Also kicking off the episode: Roslin prepares for her first Presidential debate against Baltar. She’s nervous, but not as nervous as her opponent, who’s convinced that he’s going to get his ass handed to him. Head Six says not to worry, as God has chosen you to lead us, so God will take care of everything. What, like God wanted our baby to live? How’d that work out?

I really don’t want this episode to turn into another case of:

Baltar: Oh no! Something bad!
Head Six: Believe in the Cylon God!
Baltar: No! Science! Skepticism!
Bad Thing: *gets worse*
Baltar: *half-assed conversion*
Bad Thing: Later, homies!
Head Six: Told you!

Isn’t Head Six supposed to be really angry at Baltar, by the way? She practically choked him to death last episode and said he’d committed an unforgivable sin for not protecting their child. My first thought was that she’s planning something against him… but if she’s not really Six at all, just a means to someone else’s ends, maybe the “Aggggh, you couldn’t protect our baby, die!!!!” moment was just another bout of psychological manipulation.

Roslin makes her way to the debate, where Baltar’s already there awkwardly cooling his heels. Good going, Laura! Making your political inferior wait. Four for you. They share a nice, cordial, greeting—nahnnnn, the following exchange happens:

Roslin: I’m going to wipe the floor with you, Gaius.
Baltar: You must be losing your mind again!
Roslin: If that’s the best you can come up with you’re going to be in trouble. Good luck.

Roslin: 2
Baltar: 0

While Roslin and Baltar are politic-ing, Starbuck, now Galactica’s CAG, is briefing her pilots on a new mission: Going back to Caprica to rescue Anders’ human resistance. We’re finally getting back to that, eh? Cool. It’s an insanely dangerous mission, which means it’s volunteer-only and anyone who wants to bail should speak up. No one actually gets the chance, though, since Lee marches in to close the meeting with an Inspiring Speech about how they’ll all be a part of history by even attempting this rescue mission, and if they’re successful they’ll be building the future.

Realistically speaking, I know that if there’s some Viper pilot who’d rather stay at home than go on the suicide mission they did at some point have a chance to go up to Starbuck and sheepishly admit they’d really rather sit this one out, thanks. But I have fun imagining someone trudging through the Caprican forest muttering “I wasn’t even supposed to be here today!”

Also in this scene: Gaeta! He doesn’t get to do anything particularly exciting, just explain how the Cylons’ FTL drives are better than theirs but now that they have a Cylon helper they can make the Cylon FTL drives they’ve captured compatible with their computers blah blah blah science science science. I’ve just missed me some Gaeta.

This scene also marks the (re-)introduction of Athena to the rest of the pilots, who aren’t too happy with the whole “Surprise! We have a Cylon! And she’s going to be helping us with this super-dangerous mission during which a lot of you will probably die!” thing. Starbuck tells them to stow their crap: She’s here to help, and if you have a problem with that you can GTFO.

Athena’s scared and uncomfortable and soon after asks to go back to her cell. She’s followed there by Helo, who asks her how she’s doing. She doesn’t respond, but the answer is clearly “not well.” But it’s not just because her baby “died” last episode. A dark time is coming, she explains. She can feel it lurking on the horizon.

Back to Chief Tyrol, who’s asked for counseling with one Brother Cavil. He doesn’t believe in psychotherapy, he explains, and his dad was a priest, so he’d rather turn to religion than science to determine what’s up with him. Umm, Tyrol, not to belittle your faith or anything, but if you’ve beaten your friend to a pulp and you don’t know why you probably need some treatment that’s at least vaguely medical in nature.

Surprisingly, the priest is on my side on this one. Prayer is useless because the gods created humanity and then vamoosed; it’s up to us to find our own path. Tyrol won’t be able to do that until he realizes his own problem, which is, in a nutshell, that he’s screwed up in the heart and in the head.

Tyrol: ?????
Me: ?????

Weird though his priestly manner is, he makes some headway and gets Tyrol to open up about a nightmare he’s been having every day for a few weeks: He climbs up some stairs to a platform above the flight deck and jumps off, killing himself. He was having the nightmare when Cally woke him up, which to Cavil means “You have a secret desire to kill yourself, and she stopped you, which is why you reflexively beat her.”

“But I don’t have a secret desire to kill myself,” Tyrol counters. “Yes you do,” says Cavil, “only it’s not really secret, you bonehead. It’s obvious why you want to kill yourself: You think you’re a Cylon.”

OK, what is up with this priest?! Tyrol buys into the whole Cylon anxiety thing after the priest brings it up, talking about Athena and and asking how the priest knows he’s human. His answer: I’m a Cylon, and I haven’t seen you at any of the meetings. Is the shady frakker using sarcasm to misdirect because he really is a Cylon? I’m going to say no, if only because that seems too obvious. But I absolutely think he has something to do with planting the idea that he may not be human in Tyrol’s brain. Maybe he was involved with planting Tyrol’s dream in the first place. You know who else plants ideas in people’s heads? Whoever’s behind Head Baltar and Head Six.

Then again, Admiral Cain also seemed evil at first, and she turned out all right. Maybe Cavil’s involved in a good capacity. Or maybe he’s just a *Tim Curry voice* red herring. */Tim Curry voice*

From there Cavil actually starts getting helpful, instructing Tyrol to go back to his daily life and rely on his friends’ love when he starts to doubt his humanity. That’s all well and good, but you should still see Doc Cottle, Tyrol. You don’t even have to bring up the Cylon suspicions. He can just give you a prescription for sleeping pills or something. Hell, get it on record that you tried to fix this for when something goes wrong later (which it will). Tyrol… Tyrol? Listen to me, Tyrol!

Ugh. There are times when I do not like him.

Starbuck and Lee have one last conversation before the former ships off to Caprica, during which they’re both uncomfortable that Starbuck’s going off to rescue her boy toy. (Hey, “boy toy” is the closest male equivalent I can think of to “lady love.” And I love the stereotype inversion that is Starbuck going to save Anders, by the way.) Lee takes the high road and says he hopes she finds him. My shi-hi-hiiippppppp. *sobs on her laptop keyboard*

The rescue team gets ready for their first jump, which involves Athena plugging the repurposed Cylon Raider part into her arm to make it compatible with the human ships. Starbuck, I know she’s a prisoner and is technically lucky just to be alive, but you need to give her a fruit basket after all this is said and done, k?

When they make the jump one Raptor, piloted by Racetrack, ends up at completely different coordinates than the rest. According to the rules all she and her three shipmates can do is slink back to the Galactica and stew in their shame. But wait! What’s that showing up on their radar? It’s a planet! One with a breathable atmosphere? Golly gee! They take their scans back to the Galactica, where it’s determined that the planet is habitable, if mostly barren, and is surrounded by a cloud of dradis interference that should make it nigh undetectable by the Cylons.

And a navigational glitch just happened to drop Racetrack here? Hmm, let me see:

This new planet is really good news for Baltar. See, Roslin did indeed take him to school during the first Presidential debate, and he’s trailing in the polls in a big way. The only real thing he has on her is that she sees herself as a prophet, but that’s not a big enough issue to build an entire campaign on. And anyway, attacking someone for their religion is kind of a douchey thing to do—so it’s fitting for Baltar but not likely to make anyone vote for him.

But then this new planet shows up. It’s awful and drab, so Baltar makes some snarky remark to Zarek, who’s his campaign manager, that he couldn’t imagine if they had to live on it. “Baltar, you’re a genuis,” Zarek says.

Baltar’s response: “And? *mental hair flip*”

The idea that Zarek comes up with—he thinks Baltar has come up with it, and Baltar doesn’t bother to correct him—is that they can make settling on this new planet their big campaign issue. Vote for us and you’ll have a permanent home, an end to the fear and stress of your everyday life. Vote for Roslin and you’ll have a long, hard slog to a possibly nonexistent Earth. Baltar thinks the idea of settling on the planet is dumb, but he’s willing to latch onto it to get what he wants.

Roslin also thinks it’s a stupid idea: The living conditions on the planet are so harsh that humanity would be lucky to survive for a few years, plus if humans managed to stumble upon it the Cylons, with their better tech, will probably be able to find it eventually. Also, not that she says this, but I think it bears repeating:

Still, the populace likes the idea of settlement, because it tells them what they want to hear—we can live a happy, normal life again, and without too much effort on our part—when all Roslin’s campaign does is hit home how truly awful their situation is.

By the time the next debate rolls around the tables have turned. Baltar’s on fire, tying the religion issue to the resettlement issue to make it look like Roslin’s a zealot who’s running humanity into the ground by doing what the scriptures tell her. BOOM! Roslin’s response is a floundering “But… the scriptures have relevance to real life…?” Get it together, woman! The panel moderator asks Baltar to address the accusation that he’s opportunistically seized onto the issue of the new planet to get votes, and I was all ready to cheer that finally, someone has managed to call this gigantic d-bag on his selfishness! until Baltar gives a non-answer (“Well I’ve always believed in the search for Earth, but the Cylons are still following us, so if we have a chance to escape from them I think we should—” SDFGHJKJHGFDFGUIUYT YOU ARE NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTION!) and the press eats it up with a spoon.

The debate ends with Baltar interrupting Roslin’s time to call her a fearmonger and spout some empty rhetoric about how people should stop running from their lives and start living them. Voters! You live in a l i t e r a l post-apocalypse situation. Fear is the correct response. Baltar knows that, too; he’s just playing the role of the lying, sugarcoating political particularly well.

I have never wanted to punch a character more.

Meanwhile the rest of the Raptors  make their final jump to Caprica—except one of them accidentally jumps into the middle of a mountain. Ouch. The surviving members of the rescue team slog through the forest and happen across the human resistance. Their base camp was hit by Cylons that morning, so more than half of them are dead, but Anders isn’t one of the deceased, yay! He and Starbuck embrace, and she gives him some guff about ever doubting she’d come back for him.

Because it’s been a happy scene so far, Cylons show up. Well, technically, Cylon missles show up, blocking the path between the humans and the Raptors.

Gotta say, I’d been told the finale was “OMG HORRIBLE WILL BREAK YOUR BRAIN,” so I was kind of surprised that nothing really bad happened this episode? Aside from the attack in the last minute and Baltar setting Roslin up for a failed re-election, but that’s like a papercut on the BSG scale of awfulness.

And then I just got scared about what WTFery will go down in the next episode. Hold me, readers. I’m scared.

Also in this episode:
Before Starbuck jets off to Caprica she has a convo with Adama where she thanks him for letting her launch the mission. There’s a random shot of grumpy Tigh in the background that I thought at first might be significant—because he has nothing to do with the rescue mission, so why focus on him?—until I realized it was probably his general I Hate Starbuck expression. Anyway, because I’m in the business of loving Tigh, I just wanted to share his face with you. Someone needs to pair caps of His Grumpiness with nihilistic quotes à la Henri the Existentialist Cat.

Lay Down Your Burdens: Part 2

We start right where we left off: With the humans on Caprica being fired at by Centurions. Comms have been jammed, meaning they can’t call the Raptors to come get them and have no other choice but to retreat to a fallback position, effectively leaving themselves trapped. The Cylons ease off, too; Athena says they’re going to get a non-lethal gas to knock the humans out so they can either be interrogated or taken back to one of the baby farms. Starbuck is absolutely not going back to one of those, so she and Anders agree that they’ll shoot one another in the head before being taken. But until it comes to that they’ll do what they always do, says Starbuck, and “fight until we can’t fight any more.”

But they don’t need to, because 18 hours later the Centurions haven’t advanced. What’s more, a scouting team discovers that they’ve just… gone away. Completely.

Then we get the first “holy crap” moment of the episode: Brother Cavil walks up behind Starbuck, says the Centurions having left is a miracle, and invites the humans to pray. My thought process went something like this: “Why would they bring a priest who has presumably no military training on a rescue misOH MY GOD HE’S A CYLON.”

See, while all this is going on, Roslin’s been facing some of her own trouble back with the fleet. Baltar’s idea to colonize the junky little planet Racetrack found is really catching on with civilians, the result of which is that Roslin’s started losing in the polls. The only way she could win is with some super-secret backup plan. “Super-secret backup plan?,” asks not-Billy Tory, giving Roslin a significant look. “I could do that.” It’s at that point that Brother Cavil walks in to pray with Roslin… even though he’s leading a prayer circle on Caprica at the exact same time.

So my idea that “Brother Cavil can’t possibly be a Cylon because that’s way too obvious” was wrong. Oh well. Isn’t the first time.

We also catch up with Chief Tyrol and Cally, the latter of whom has been cleared for work after Tyrol (accidentally? unconsciously?) beat her. He says what he did was unforgivable and inexcusable, but she forgives him anyway, because she knows it wasn’t really him and, anyway, she cares about him. Do I… do I ship it? I might ship it.

Roslin tricks Baltar into attending a private meeting, where she says the issue of permanent settlement is bigger than this one election and should be “carefully studied” before any final decisions are made. So how ’bout we put out a joint statement saying we’ll postpone the issue until after the election, when whoever the President is then has the time to give it the attention it deserves?

She appeals to his patriotism, which it turns out was the wrong move, because he starts on about how he is patriotic, thankyouverymuch, and establishing a society on New Caprica, as he calls the planet, is the patriotic thing to do.

Not that there was ever much chance Baltar would OK the agreement. I mean, what’s his incentive? He’s winning. Roslin has one more card to play, though, and it’s a biggun: She knows he’s been working with the Cylons.

She doesn’t come out and say that, instead asking if he met with a blonde woman right before the attack. (Roslin remembered seeing him and Six while she was on her deathbed, if you’ll recall.) But she’s looking miiiiiighty pissed, like she’s about to go berserker and stab him through the throat with her shoe, and Baltar and Six both know the jig is up. Six urges him to get out, but he just has to get the last word in: It’s none of your beeswax who I hang out with, and I may have saved your life once before, but I won’t save your career.

Meanwhile Ellen and Tigh are chatting about New Caprica: Ellen wants to settle there with the rest of humanity, but Tigh refuses, not that he thinks there’ll even be a settlement, because there’s no way Baltar will win. At first I thought this was a little sweet—Awwww, Tigh’s come around to Team Roslin (hey, that’s sweet for Tigh)—but, as later events in this episode show, it was something a little more, ahem, practical than a mere statement of loyalty.

Then, surprise! Starbuck, her rescue team, Anders, and the human resistance are back on the Galactica with good news. Except this is Battlestar Galactica, so I’m sure it’s somehow bad news. Following a semi-awkward Anders-Adama meet and greet Starbuck tells Adama that the Cylons have left Caprica. Not just the Centurions keeping the rescue team pinned down. All of them. Caprica is still an uninhabitable nuclear wasteland, but at least it’s empty now.

The impact of that particular statement is somewhat lessened by Brother Cavil (I’ll call this one Brother Cavil #2) walking off the ship and immediately being tackled by Chief Tyrol, who recognizes that he’s a Cylon. Cavil admits his robotic origins and says he has a message; he’s taken to the brig, as is Athena for good measure, since Adama says she had to have known their resident priest was really an enemy agent.

Talking to Athena through her cell wall, Helo asks why she didn’t tell anyone about Cavil. Her response is that she just didn’t feel like it, or maybe she wanted him to blow up the ship. I might be reading too much into things here, but she never actually says she’d seen Cavil and knew there was a Cylon agent onboard. She’s just generally pissed at the world now as a result of having lost her baby. She doesn’t care about anything else: Not gaining Adama’s trust, not even Helo.

Starbuck and Anders are re-getting to know one another in the locker room, being all drunk and flirty. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: These two are way too similar to one another, and their parallel personality flaws are going to bounce off one another to create a feedback loop of drunkenness and bad decision-making. Lee comes in to awkwardly introduce himself, but he’s suffers from a major bout of third wheel syndrome, since Starbuck keeps ignoring him to drunkenly make out with her boyfriend. Starbuck asks Lee whether he’s ever going to get a girl, and I kept chanting to myself “Don’t mention the escort, don’t mention the escort, don’t mention the escort” until Starbuck asks about Dee, which, oh yeah, that relationship just slipped right through my brain. I won’t judge you for getting into the pants of some pretty young thing, says Starbuck, since I have one of my own, simultaneously rubbing her relationship with Anders in Lee’s face and belittling his relationship with Dee. Offended, Lee leaves, but Starbuck doesn’t even notice until after he’s gone.

Meanwhile, it’s time for Brother Cavil #2′s message. It’s preceded by Brother Cavil #1 being marched into the brig, all the while insisting “I’m not a Cylon! No, really, I’m not a Cylon!… Oh, hey bro. Yeah, I’m totally a Cylon.” What #2 has come to say is that the Cylons have realized the error of their genocidal ways and have decided to leave Caprica and not chase the human fleet anymore.

I smell a rat. Brother Cavil #2 says their new modus operandi is a result of some convincing by Caprica Six and Boomer, and while we know the two of them were going to try and convince their brethren to give humanity a break, that was like… three weeks ago. There’s no way they managed to mount a resistance and completely reform Cylon politics in such a short period of time. And when Roslin asks whether the Cylons are going back to their homeworld Brother Cavil #2 gets all cagey, saying they have “other plans.” And something about the Cylons’ stated explanation for their “mistaken” nuking of Caprica—they were trying to be more like humans when they should’ve accepted themselves as machines—doesn’t ring true to what we’ve seen of Cylons in the past.

Next scene: Election day is here! Ballots are being counted on the Galactica, with marines and civilians on hand to provide security and prevent tomfoolery. Or try to prevent tomfoolery. Since Roslin is on the verge of losing and all, not Billy Tory puts in a call to Tigh to enact their super-secret ballot-fixing plan.

So that’s why Tigh was so sure Baltar wasn’t going to win: He was in on the plan to help Roslin cheat. Well, that’ll do it.

Also involved is Dee, who I swear to God is involved in every single conspiracy on this ship. She helps sneak in enough fake ballots in favor of Roslin to give the Pres a very improbable victory at the last minute. Zarek is convinced that the election was fixed, but Baltar disagrees, saying that there’s no way Roslin would ever cheat. Oh, irony.

So Roslin’s won, but she’s not pleased: She puts on a happy face among her supporters, but you can tell the fact that she stole the election is weighing heavily on her. But it gets worse when Gaeta figures out the deception. Someone on the ship with the fake ballots called him earlier to tell him they accidentally misspelled Baltar’s name, but the fake ballots spell his name correctly, and Gaeta’s spent too long doodling “Gaius Baltar” in the margins of his diary to not spot the difference right away. Tigh is evasive and shifty when Gaeta tells him about it, which only serves to convince Gaeta that Tigh was involved. So Gaeta moves up the chain and tells Adama what he knows.

Adama confronts Roslin, who says she didn’t know exactly what Tory was planning but was aware that something illegal was going to happen. But I had to do it, Roslin tells him, because we both know Baltar’s presidency would be a disaster. Plus, he’s working with the Cylons, even if I can’t prove it. Be that as it may, Adama responds, if I let you go through with this we’re both criminals. The peoples’ choice should be respected, even if the people are being idiots. They might have to give up the election, but they won’t stop fighting.

Wow. So not only did Roslin decide to cheat, she also got caught? Granted, the official story is that there was an “error” with the ballot-counting, so Roslin’s not going to jail, even though Adama had to say some strong words to Baltar to get him to let the whole thing go. But still. This episode is intense.

And it only gets worse.

Before getting sworn in as President Baltar goes to the Cloud 9 to see Gina!Six, who says she won’t be joining him on New Caprica. He’s upset—this is their chance to be together!—but she stays firm. He gets ready to storm out, but she asks him to stay, then convinces him by removing her clothes. She’s offering him sex even though you can tell by her face that she’s clearly not ready after all the sexual abuse she suffered on the Pegasus. Baltar accepts, because he’s kind of a self-involved horndog jerk.

From there it’s to his inauguration, where he says his first priority is immediate resettlement on New Caprica, so screw you and your “careful study,” Roslin. The happy (for Baltar) moment is interrupted by a massive explosion: Gina!Six has taken the nuclear warhead Baltar gave her and used it to commit suicide, though since it’s a nuclear warhead it takes out Cloud 9 and damages several surrounding ships as well.

Baltar’s presidency literally begins with a Cylon bombing. How’s that for symbolism?

In the aftermath of the explosion Baltar is visited by Adama, who says he suspects the warhead was stolen from Baltar’s lab and cautions the new President that the bombing could be the first step in a coordinated Cylon attack. Baltar’s in way over his head. He quite pathetically offers Adama tea and biscuits, which almost makes me feel sorry for him… until he ignores Adama’s suggestion to delay the settling of New Caprica while they deal with “internal security.” It makes sense from Baltar’s perspective, I guess, since he knows who detonated the bomb and why (Or does he? Do I? Which way is up? Where am I? Who am I?). But him snapping at Adama and saying he doesn’t have to listen to him because he’s the President, darnit, moved him back onto my naughty list.

After Adama leaves Baltar breaks down, albeit in a stoic, British sort of way, and lays his head down on the table. After a quick transition we hear Gaeta trying to wake him up. Oh, it is the next morning? Did he sleep at his desk? But… why is Gaeta talking about union leaders? Why is Gaeta on wake-up-Baltar duty in the first place? Why is there a half-naked lady getting dressed at the back of the room?

“One Year Later” flashes across the screen.

Ohhhhhhh.

No, that’s too understated a way to express my reaction to the way Battlestar Galactica just did a year-long time jump with only about 20 minutes left in the episode. Here, have a gif.

Also, have a picture of Baltar’s office. I’d link to it like I normally do when Tigh makes a grumpy face (oh, I do love Tigh’s grumpy faces), but everyone’s going to look at the tacky, awful, wonderful self-portrait Baltar’s had done whether they want to or not:

You’re welcome.

Judging by his interaction with Gaeta in this scene Baltar’s clearly not been taking the Presidency too seriously. He doesn’t care about responding to the people’s complaints or dealing with their problems. Cylons haven’t attacked since he took over, so what’s everyone complaining about? Jeez, get off my back!

And approximately one year and ten months after their first meeting, you can hear Gaeta’s mancrush on Baltar wither and die.

(Speaking of Gaeta: At first I was all “Noooo, why would you become Baltar’s Billy? Even if most people don’t realize he’s working with the Cylons he’s pretty obviously an awful human being.” But… I don’t know. It’s obvious to us that Baltar’s an awful person, because we see how he reacts to a variety of situations in selfish, cowardly ways. But Gaeta, who wears rose-colored glasses when it comes to Baltar anyway, hasn’t been in the inner circle when most of those situations happened. He pops up every few episodes to get some piece of business done and then leaves again. Granted, it was still a bad call on Gaeta’s part, but… OK, darnit, I’m a Gaeta apologist. I’ll accept that.)

We then get our first look out the window at New Caprica: A crowded, desolate, impoverished new home for humanity. Pretty much everyone lives there now, leaving the Galactica and the Pegasus staffed by skeleton crews. The next scene shows Adama stalking the halls of the Galactica, which would be a boring establishing shot not worth mentioning, except look! The stache. Is. Back.

After I watched Scattered, with its flashback to Adama and his ’70s lip caterpillar, Susana promised me the facial hair would return, and lo, here ’tis. I may be emotionally traumatized from the time jump, but right now, life is good.

Of course, then life gets bad again, because there’s a TIGH FEELS scene. Adama orders his XO to move down to New Caprica, where Ellen already is. He doesn’t want to, saying it would feel like he’s abandoning his post and his only friend *sob*, but Adama insists. Tigh points out that Adama’s staying, to which StacheMan responds that someone has to “take care of the lighthouse.” “I’ll stay and take care of it with you!,” says Tigh.

Stop it. Tigh feels. No. I don’t want this. No.

Tigh reminds Adama that the Cylons could show up at any moment, but Adama says he doesn’t think they will (but Adama! Remember that the planet is a trap! It’s a trap!). After a hug and a laugh (a laugh. Tigh laughed), Tigh leaves to go be with Ellen.

Down on New Caprica we see Starbuck and Anders, now married, the former rocking a longer hairdo and the latter suffering from a nasty bout of pneumonia that he might eventually die from because there are no antibiotics left. Starbuck sees Ellen and Tigh walking in the market and follows them into a tent, where we see that Chief Tyrol’s reinvented himself as a union leader. Also, Cally is his wife now, or at least his babymama, because she’s standing next to him him all big as a house as he shouts about going on strike because Baltar is a giant failwhale.

Starbuck and Tigh greet each other, and they hug. They hug?! Did New Caprica make Tigh and Starbuck forget that they hate each other? This right here is the final straw: I do not like New Caprica, Sam I am.

Starbuck asks Tigh if he knows a way she can get some antibiotics for Anders, and it turns out he does: Lee, still the Pegasus Captain, has backup meds he holds for his pilots. Starbuck is convinced he won’t give her any and clearly doesn’t want to even call him and ask, though Tigh reassures her that whatever happened “was a long time ago. People change.”

OK, one? Tigh being reassuring. Tigh reassuring Starbuck. This is the bizarro world.

And two: What happened over the time jump with Lee and Starbuck?!

There’s a quick scene of Roslin, now a teacher again, being assisted by Maya, the woman who adopted Athena’s Cylon-human baby. The baby’s now called Isis, by the way, and boy is Roslin keeping a close eye on her.

Starbuck braces herself and calls Lee. He picks up, and we get our first look at him, all schlubby, in the fabled fatsuit. Hey, I’ve heard of “Fatsuit Lee!” Starbuck explains the situation, and there’s some definite antagonism between them. We never find out whether Lee was intending to help his former friend because Dee (who’s stayed on the Pegasus as well and can at least still button her coat properly, Lee) sees on the DRADIS that a Cylon fleet has just shown up.

Lee hangs up on Starbuck and calls his dad, whose first thought is to try and get people off the surface. But there’s no time, Lee explains: Each of their ships barely has enough people to complete normal operations, nevermind defending themselves during a rescue op. They can always come back, but unless they want the Galactica and the Pegasus to go kablooey they have to leave stat.

So they do. The entire fleet jumps away, leaving the humans on the surface of New Caprica and Tigh kicking himself for letting Adama convince him to leave. (You know it’s true.)

Baltar’s canoodling on the Colonial One, which has been moved to the surface of the planet, when Gaeta comes in to tell him the planet’s been invaded and the fleet’s jumped away. Head Six tells Baltar judgement day has come. Several skinjobs, including Caprica Six and Boomer (at least I assume it’s Boomer and not some other random Eight), come to see Baltar, who asks how they found New Caprica. Turns out it was the nuke Gina!Six set off; the Cylons detected its radiation signature completely by accident. So Adama was right, and they should have moved on after the blast. A crying Baltar shares a significant glance with Caprica Six and promptly surrenders.

Also on the planet is über-freaky Cylon Leoben Conoy (remember him? I’ve missed you, Leoben!), who’s looking for Starbuck.

The last shot is of Starbuck standing alongside Tyrol as the Centurions come marching in. “What do you want to do now, Captain?,” he asks. “Same thing we always do,” she responds. “Fight ‘em until we can’t.”

The best thing is that she could’ve said “Try to take over the world” and it would be technically accurate.

Questions posed by this frakked up (in a good way) season finale:

  • Wasn’t the planet a trap? It doesn’t seem like the Cylons would’ve known where it was if Gina!Six hadn’t detonated the nuke, but… there’s no way it’s not a trap anyway, right?
  • Did Gina!Six intend the nuclear blast to lead the Cylons to the fleet? Did Head Six sell Baltar out somehow? How are the Cylons we know working with the Cylon leadership? Who even is the Cylon leadership?
  • Where is Athena after the time jump happens? The last we see of her before that she’s been locked up in the brig and has admitted to holding things from Adama, if only tacitly.
  • What the frak happened between Starbuck and Lee?
  • And many, many more that I’d probably be able to think of if my brain weren’t buzzing.
  • Let me finish up my recaps of season two like I started them: Loving my favorite character.

     

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