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Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: The Hand of God, Colonial Day

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.

Only two more eps to go until the two-part season finale, and stuff’s starting to get (more) interesting.

The Hand of God
a.k.a. “You thought we liked religious metaphors before? Buckle up, buttercup.”

The latest crisis facing the survivors of humanity is that they’re down to five percent of their fuel reserves. Boomer and Crashdown (hah, I finally caught his name!) find some tylium ore, which is needed to make fuel, on a nearby asteroid, but the Cylons have already called dibs on it by setting up a refinery there. (So the fleet just happened to jump to a point past known space where the Cylons already happen to be? Can’t tell if Cylon God intervention or writing issue.)

Adama decides that, instead of jumping to another random location and looking for fuel there (they only have enough fuel for two more jumps, after all, and the Cylons have probably set up camp on other tylium-rich spots), they’re going to use what’s left of their fuel to take the Cylons’ base for themselves. Planning the attack is Starbuck, who’s not able to participate because her knee’s still screwed up, which she’s more than a little upset about. She takes it out on Lee, which causes his inferiority complex to flare up. Starbuck is well-known as the best pilot in the fleet, and Lee’s not one for daring, eye-catching moves like her, but completing this mission is his job, he says to her, not the product of some ego trip, so he’ll get it done.

I like the friendly, competitive dynamic between these two, but I have to wonder why Starbuck’s not called Lee out for telling Adama her deepest, darkest secret in episode four. He helped save her life the next episode, and she must know it was an honest mistake, so I’m not saying she should hate him or anything. But shouldn’t there be some tension there? Six episodes later and it seems like she’s completely forgotten about it.

Anywhoodle. Another critical figure in planning this attack is Baltar, who is asked to identify the place to shoot that will destroy the base while preserving the tylium. He has absolutely no idea, but instead of admitting it he just… guesses, spurred along by Six, who says God will help Gaius pick the right spot if he surrenders himself to God’s will. There was a rather nice bit in this scene where Baltar says the fate of the entire human race depends on his wild guess, and you can really see the pain he feels. He seems at times to genuinely want to help humanity; he just goes about it in some freaking awful ways. Part of that is that his priorities are whacked-out; he’s the Cylon expert, dammit, and losing face by admitting he doesn’t know something about Cylon refineries isn’t even an option to him. But the whole “evil Cylon whispering in his ear” thing isn’t helping, either. Why would Six be OK with humans attacking the base, anyway? I know she’s not supposed to be living in Baltar’s head, so she can’t exactly give her fellow Cylons a heads-up. But she’s helping him, even in a mystical mumbo-jumbo spiritual talk way, and I don’t understand why. A mystery for later eps, I suppose.

The night before the attack Lee and Adama have some father-son bonding time; Adama gives Lee a good luck heirloom and says that everyone else may think Starbuck would do better than him, but he doesn’t. I thought Lee’s insecurity issues would get old, but they haven’t. Yet.

The attack starts, and everything goes to hell pretty quickly. Starbuck’s plan to distract the Cylon raiders with decoy ships doesn’t work too well, and the Vipers, led by Lee, can’t get close enough to their target. Lee, in a move worthy of Starbuck, flies through a tunnel that (he hopes) will get him to where he needs to be. Luckily, it does. Even more luckily, the spot Baltar randomly selected happens to be the right one. The base goes boom. Tylium saved. Mission accomplished.

While all this has been going on Laura’s been having something of a personal crisis. During a press conference she hallucinates a dozen snakes, likely a result of the herbal cancer remedy she’s been taking. She tells this to the purple-wearing priest lady, who thinks Roslin’s trolling her, because surprise! There’s a sacred text called the Pythian Prophecy, written thousands of years ago, about a leader, shown a vision of twelve snakes, who leads exiled humans to a new land but doesn’t live to see that new land themselves because of a wasting disease. “All this has happened before,” says the priest lady, “All this will happen again.” (Hey, I know that bit! That’s one of our site categories!) Add up the snakes, the wasting disease, and the prophetic dreams Laura’s been having, and she’s the reincarnated savior of humanity. Or something.

Also on the God train this episode is Six (when is she not?), who in the aftermath of the successful attack on the Cylon base asks Baltar if he knows about the Pythian Prophecy. She explains how the prophecy applies to him (the twelve snakes are the Vipers used in the battle, something about a “confrontation at the home of the gods,” etc. etc.) and says he is an instrument of God. He agrees and stands in a very unsubtle pose.

Also in this episode: Back on Caprica Boomer and Helo are still being chased, and Boomer’s started getting sick. *twiddles thumbs* There’s only one episode left before the two-part season finale, and this episode ended on a rather triumphant note. I can only assume stuff’s going to start going down real soon, and I predict that some of that will be this Helo and Caprica!Boomer plotline actually starting to go somewhere.

Colonial Day

Who’s back this episode but our good friend Tom Zarek, the freedom fighter/terrorist who led a prison riot and tried to get Roslin ousted from the presidency back in Bastille Day. Representatives from all twelve colonies are heading to the luxury liner Cloud 9 for the Quorum of 12, where government… stuff… happens. Anyway. On the quorum is Baltar, who was elected as Caprica’s representative without him even knowing about it. I can think of one person who voted for him.

Zarek also gets himself elected as one of the representatives, and when the quorum starts he brings up the fact that Roslin really should have a vice president, so if something were to happen to her there would be some sort of succession in place. It makes sense, and Roslin probably should’ve thought of it before, what with her dying of cancer and all. But Zarek’s motives are far from altruistic: He’s been buttering up his fellow delegates over the past few weeks and easily finds himself within reach of the vice presidency.

The quorum coincides with Colonial Day, which means it’s been turned into a big to-do of politicians and their delegations schmoozing with each other. Starbuck and Lee, who are in charge of security, worry that Zarek plans on being elected vice president and then, taking advantage of how busy things are, assassinating Roslin. They’re not exactly dissuaded from that viewpoint when find a guy who’s snuck onto Cloud 9 with a gun. They interrogate him, but he remains mum on his (possible) connection to Zarek. When they show up to interrogate him again, he’s dead—murdered by Zarek, they assume, but there’s no way to prove it, and at the end of the episode Zarek tells them he wasn’t responsible.

Meanwhile, it’s looking like Zarek’s going to be elected vice president. Roslin’s chosen Gary Wallace, her number one political adviser (who’s apparently really important even though this is the first episode he’s been mentioned in?), to run against him. But Gary’s not much of a politician, while if there’s one thing Zarek’s good at it’s making impressive-sounding yet meaningless speeches about revolution and bringing about a new era. In an effort to shut Zarek down Roslin replaces Gary with Baltar, who proves himself during this episode to be quite the amazing public speaker. (I did not see that coming.)

Baltar wins, and now the guy who has a Cylon living in his brain is one step away from the presidency, oh joy. I see no way this will end badly, especially after Six tells him at the victory party that “we’re going to do great things together.” Also at that victory party: Roslin and Adama dancing, Starbuck wearing a dress, Gaeta dancing like a dork (it was only in the background of one of the shots, but I must have Gaeta-acting-like-a-dork radar), and Ellen doing some plotting relating to her husband Tigh’s future. Earlier in the episode she was firmly in camp Zarek, schmoozing with him and saying he’s the future and Roslin is the past. What are you up to, Ellen? Tigh doesn’t need more things to be grumpy about.

In the last episode before the two-part season finale the Helo/Caprica!Boomer plotline finally, finally starts getting interesting. Helo, who’s seen two different copies of Six in previous episodes, guesses that Cylons can look like humans now. Attaboy. Boomer suggests that if their biology is human they might be able to love like humans do, but Helo shuts that down real quick, saying they’re just machines. It’s great setup for what happens when the pair of him get to Delphi to steal a ship. Helo sees two more Six clones, which confirms his theory about skinjobs. Then he sees a Boomer clone, whom his Boomer (arrrrgh, too many Boomers) shoots to save his life. But there’s no redemption here: Helo’s already figured out that she’s a Cylon, so he takes the appropriate course of action and runs the heck away.

BWAHAHA. Stuff’s getting good.

In an effort to avoid spoilers, comments on this post have been locked. However, Jill and Susana will be reading comments over at our Facebook page. So if there’s anything you’d like to say in response to this post, head on over this way. Former Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recaps can be found here.

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