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Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: 33

All this has happened before...

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 been five days since the miniseries ended, and things aren’t looking too good for the last survivors of humanity.

Turns out humanity’s escape was short-lived, as the pilot episode has them needing to make a faster-than-light (FTL) jump every 33 minutes to avoid those frakking Cylons, who keep popping up like deadly, unwhackable whack-a-moles. The upshot is that our heroes have no idea how long the Cylons will be on their tail for and no ability to pull something fancy and lose them, since after five days everybody’s sleep-deprived and spaced out. (Spaced out… because they’re in space… Oh, shut it.)

Adama handles this admirably (He is an admiral, after all… OK, OK, I’ll stop). He’s a good military leader and spends the whole episode being authoritative, basically. I’m going to get really bored with that if it keeps on, but hey, we’re only on the pilot. Surely there’s some character development incoming, right?

Gaius, meanwhile, is completely freaked out for the entire episode, twitching and sweating and generally being off his rocker, which I want to say is only 10% sleep deprivation at most. The rest is just Gaius being Gaius. Oh, and the fact that he has a possibly-a-hallucination Cylon in his head. The timing of this crazy-making Cylon chase is rather convenient for him, as he can slip up and talk to Six out loud and people will just assume he’s a bit weird and doesn’t handle stress well, as opposed to what they would think, which is that he needs all sharp instruments kept away from him.

I wonder what’s going to happen when things settle down on the Galactica. He’s going to have to get a handle on internalizing his interactions with Six, otherwise everyone’s going to think he’s a complete loony. President Roslin already suspects. Woman’s got a good head on her shoulders.

Speaking of Six, in this episode she played what seemed to be quite the mind-game with Gaius. It started when Billy (a little bit less cutesy and therefore more tolerable in this episode) told President Roslin that a Dr. Amarak wanted to talk with her abut how the Cylons managed to overcome colonial defenses. This turns Gaius’ paranoia up to 11, as Amarak worked with him at the Ministry of Defense and suspected him of some shadiness. But Dr. Amarak, it turns out, was on a civilian vessel called the Olympic Carrier, which was left behind on the second FTP jump of the episode and was presumably destroyed by the Cylons. (Dee didn’t notice that it hadn’t checked in. I wasn’t her hugest fan in the miniseries, but damn, I felt for her here. She’s growing on me.)

Six proceeds to go all religious robot on Baltar, explaining that God must have been looking out for him. Baltar says it’s just a coincidence and that there isn’t any God, after which the Olympic Carrier—with Dr. Amarak on it—miraculously rejoins the fleet. Oops. You done pissed off God, Baltar.

Gaius snaps big-time, explaining in a panic that the Olympic Carrier or one of its passengers is probably being tracked by Cylons and should therefore be destroyed. For all that Gaius’ motives here are selfish—he wants to stop the meeting between Amarak and Roslin—he’s not wrong. There’s something shady going on here. The captain of the Olympic Carrier explains that the Cylons just let them go, which makes no sense. The ship ignores orders not to approach the fleet. And then there’s the fact that Lee, doing a flyby, sees nothing but empty windows: No humans.

Roslin has to decide whether the ship should be destroyed, and Gaius is sure that she’ll say no. Six explains that this is God’s punishment, that if he repents and accepts God Roslin will decide to fire on the ship and Dr. Amarak will be killed. He does repent, and everything goes the way Six said it would.

The dynamic between Six and Gaius was the most interesting part of this episode for me. I wonder if Six somehow engineered the whole thing—if not the Cylons chasing humanity down, which they might have done anyway, then at least the part with Amarak and the Olympic Carrier—to get Baltar to accept the Cylon God and, therefore, her power over him. Maybe the whole thing was a coincidence, like Baltar thought at first. Or maybe there actually is a Cylon God that’s really hands-on when it comes to humanity. But I don’t think so. I think Six is playing a more active role than she seems. I predict she’s semi-Stockholming Gaius something fierce.

Some other stuff went on in this episode, too: It’s looking like Helo, stranded on Caprica in the miniseries, was indeed kidnapped by Cylons, just like I speculated he might be. (Huzzah!) He was chased by Cylons, including Six, and then “rescued” by Cylon!Boomer, whom he thinks is the real deal. I can’t imagine they’d let him get back to the fleet, seeing as he’d ask Boomer why she was still on Caprica and there’d be some Marx brothers-level misunderstandings. But what could they want him for? We just don’t know. (Well, you do, if you’ve watched BSG already.)

Actual!Boomer (or, well, she’s still a Cylon, so ThinksShe’sHuman!Boomer) reacts rather well to the whole sleep deprivation situation. She’s tired, she explains to Starbuck and Lee, but it just doesn’t affect her all that much. Starbuck jokes that she must be a Cylon. Oh, dramatic irony.

And what’s my favorite curmudgeonly ol’ bastard up to? Tigh almost makes Dee cry, yelling at her for her role in the Olympic Carrier debacle. Everything he said to her is true—we’re all tired, but everyone still has to do their jobs—he was just being a jerk about it. As he explains later in the episode, if the crew doesn’t hate the XO it means they’re not doing their job. Tigh must be the best XO ever, then. He looks out for Captain Adama, letting him take a ten-minute break that was technically Tigh’s. I was feeling a bit warm and fuzzy toward him until the scene came where he said the whole kerkluffle with the Cylons left him feeling alive—that, not in so many words, he enjoyed it. Thank the Lords of Kobol. He wouldn’t be Tigh if he weren’t a bit psycho and completely unapologetic about it. “Warm and fuzzy” just doesn’t fit.

The episode ends with a tiny bit of good news—though over 1,300 people died, one was born, the first since the Cylon attack. I think I have a good enough handle on the show at this point not to expect the optimism to last.

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