Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: Scattered, Valley of Darkness, Fragged
by Rebecca Pahle | 12:30 pm, May 29th, 2013
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.
I have to admit, I wasn’t 100% onboard with Battlestar Galactica during season one. Don’t get me wrong; I really liked it. But I kept hearing people say things like “OMG it’s addicting you won’t be able to stop it’ll take over your life!” And I didn’t really feel that part of it.
But sweet Jesus Baltar, I might now. Season two is going to kill me. I can tell.
Season two starts right where season one left off, with Adama having been shot twice in the chest by Boomer. Everyone immediately realizes she’s a Cylon and she’s dragged off to the brig, which is pretty confusing for her because she doesn’t remember what she did. Also sent to the brig is Lee, who was going to end up there anyway because of his season one mutiny, but God, Tigh, don’t you think dragging him away from his dying father is a little extreme? Can you maybe hold off for an hour or so?
Oh, who’m I kidding? Tigh wants Lee to go to the brig, so he’s going to the brig, sentiment be damned. God, I love ‘im.
The entire command center is in a state of chaos. Racetrack mentions that Boomer took a quick walk on the Cylon Basestar when they were dropping off the bomb, so she easily could have told the Cylons where to find them. I didn’t think Boomer did tell the other-Boomers anything like that, but a Cylon Basestar show up anyway. Tigh makes the decision for the fleet to jump, even though doing so means A) abandoning the team stranded on Kobol for the time being and B) risking Adama’s life, since Doc Cottle’s not on the ship yet.
But when the Galactica jumps to the emergency rendezvous point the rest of the fleet isn’t there. Turns out that in the midst of all the craziness Gaeta forgot to send the updated coordinates to the rest of the fleet. Whoops. Ellen urges Tigh to rake Gaeta across the coals for what is, admittedly, a rather big screw-up. Tigh defends him, saying that he himself should’ve double-checked and shutting Ellen down when she starts to talk about how if Adama dies the ship is his. “This is Bill’s ship 5ever,” Tigh growls (paraphrasing here). Tigh uses Power of Friendship! It’s somewhat effective! Speaking of the Power of Friendship, during this whole episode Tigh has flashbacks to a time some decades when back Adama pulled some strings with his in-laws to get he and Tigh, both of whom had been kicked out of the fleet for some reason, reinstated. I’m sure there was some other stuff going on there, but I was too distracted by Tigh-with-hair and Adama’s rocking ’70s ‘stache to notice.
Gaeta, understandably, feels like crap, but he figures out a way to find the rest of the fleet: They can jump back to Kobol and use some scientific wizardry to calculate where the fleet is. If they link all the ships’ networks it’ll only take ten minutes, during which time the Vipers will have to hold the probably-still-there Basestar off. I love how Gaeta’s big plan is essentially “Internet!.” It speaks to me on a spiritual level. But remember, Cylons in the past have used the Internet to infect Colonial ships with viruses. To buy them a little more time Gaeta installs a series of firewalls.
Is Gaeta going to have more to do from now on? Because I kind of love him. Not as much as I love Tigh, but I’m getting there.
An imprisoned Lee and Roslin are freaking out, albeit in a stoic, dignified manner. Tigh puts Lee on parole, which means that he’ll do his job like he did before and spend any time he’s not on-duty back in the brig.
Meanwhile, Adama’s not doing so well. With Doc Cottle on one of the ships separated from the Galactica a random combat medic has to perform surgery to stop his internal bleeding despite having like zero training. (I like this medic.) She’s successful, as is Gaeta’s plan: It’s a close call, but the firewalls he set up hold in time for the Galactica to find the rest of the fleet.
Let’s pause and have a bit of a cheer for Gaeta. You go, Gaeta.
Things still suck, though, because BSG: During the battle the good guys got Trojan horse’d, with the Cylons ramming a ship filled with Centurions into the ship. OK, it’s not an exact Trojan horse metaphor, because one side wasn’t tricked into accepting it. But this show is filled with Greek mythology references, darnit. I can make one, too.
Things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows for the crew stranded on Kobol, either. They’ve decided to make for the treeline to avoid Cylons, but when they hear toasters nearby Crashdown makes them skedaddle rather quicker than they should’ve, resulting in the second medkit being left behind even though Chief Tyrol said “Hey, we should probably make sure we have everything before we leave.” Crashdown. Listen to the Chief. (I want that on a t-shirt.) Turns out the injured crewman, Socinus, really needs what’s in that medkit, so Crashdown sends a guy named Tarn *coughredshirtcough* to get the medkit even though everybody knows it being left wasn’t Tarn’s fault. Tyrol and Cally go with him, but on the way back it’s Tarn who gets killed.
Also in this episode:
- Gaius being completely useless to the other Kobol survivors; he spends his
time having a religious experience, hallucinating baby cribs, and trying to get Six to tell him how the human-Cylon baby she showed him can be their baby when, y’know, she’s just inside his head. “Sex ed is useless to me here!”
- Back on Caprica Starbuck tries to shoot Boomer, but Helo won’t let her because Boomer is pregnant and (so he says) different from the other Cylons. Starbuck’s response (paraphrasing): “God, men are so frakking stupid. She’s lying. Duh, you moron.” Attagirl. I don’t think Boomer is lying, because the show’s got an interesting thing going with the hybrid baby and I can’t imagine that’s a red herring, but I absolutely love how Starbuck calls people on their BS. Looks like she was right to suspect Boomer, too, as the Cylon steals Starbuck’s raider and flies away to who-knows-where.
- Hicks from Alphas and Benny from Supernatural both play small roles in this episode, and Aidan from the US Being Human and Gerard Argent from Teen Wolf (“Mountain aaaash!“) are regulars. Please tell me Mark Sheppard shows up at some point. Please.
Valley of Darkness
The episode starts with a little bit of Billy and Dee awkwardness; apparently their parents Roslin and Adama fighting has put a strain on their not-quite-real-because-Billy-won’t-make-a-move relationship. Am I supposed to care about these two crazy kids working it out? ‘Cause I just don’t.
Then things take a turn for the scary; not only are there Centurions making their way around the ship, but the Cylon viruses that Gaeta so ably stopped with his firewalls last episode managed to get into some of the subsystems, resulting in communications being jammed and electricity being cut. Ooh, extra creepy.
What the Cylons are trying to do is fiddle with the decompression controls to suck everyone on the Galactica out into space; once that happens they can use the Galactica’s guns to shoot down every other ship in the fleet. The Centurions make easy work of anyone who tries to stop them until the only people standing between them and the destruction of humanity are Lee, a few of his pilots, and some random guy named Jammer.
Meanwhile Roslin, Billy, and a few guards are out of the brig and on their way to sickbay, because that’s the safest spot to be. On the way there they find Dee, who’s bleeding and in shock. Everyone—including Venner, Roslin’s guard!—is freaking out… everyone except Roslin, who keeps her cool and gets everyone back on track. For all that she’s not a soldier she sure has the whole survivalism thing on lockdown.
To get to sickbay they have to go past aft damage control… which is where the Cylons and Lee’s group is headed, too. Lee gets there first and prepares to hold down the fort against the Cylons with only six bullets and the fate of humanity on their shoulders. I was sure it was being set up that one of Lee’s people would accidentally fire on and kill one of Roslin’s people, probably Billy. The episode certainly seemed to be headed in that direction, with the emphasis paid in this scene to how nervous Jammer is at firing a gun. Turns out that doesn’t happen. Billy goofs up and fires when he shouldn’t, drawing the Cylon’s attention toward them, after which Lee and co. are able to take them down in the nick of time.
I love the bait and switch, personally; it added to the suspense of the episode, which was already the BSG version of a horror movie. Good for you, show. I’ll even forgive you for the cheesy Billy/Dee scene where they make up (and out) in sickbay, even though you can’t stop me from muttering “bor-ing” under my breath.
Meanwhile, down on Kobol, Cally and Chief Tyrol get the medkit back to the group, but it’s too late to save Socinus. Tyrol isn’t pleased that Redshirt Tarn died for nothing, to say the least. I wonder if he and Crashdown will fight.
Baltar’s still speeding along on the road to insanity; he has a dream that they’re rescued by Adama, who drowns Baltar’s baby. Upon waking Six tells him that humanity will always resort to their murderous instincts but that Adama will only be able to kill their baby if Baltar lets him. I’ve got to say, if that dream was planted by Six—and it had to have been, right?—that is some A+ psychological manipulation right there. Half of me wants to see Baltar at least try to break from her grip because their relationship’s gone a little static and could use some mixing up, but the other half of me just enjoys seeing the evil robot lady work.
Also in this episode:
- The closing scene was an intense bit of acting between Lee and Tigh, wherein Lee says that neither of them were ever fit to wear the uniform and that Adama will decide what to do with both of them when he wakes up. Lee leaves, srs bsns music swells, and Tigh just can’t hold back one last crabby one-liner: “Thank the gods I didn’t have kids.” Never stop, Tigh. Never stop.
- Back on Caprica Helo and Starbuck take a side-trip to Starbuck’s old apartment, where they chill for a while discussing character develop-y sorts of things before Starbuck finds the keys to her old truck and they go riding off into the sunset to find a Cylon ship to steal.
This episode wasn’t quite so good as the previous two, I thought, but hey, they can’t all be that great. The major theme of this 43 minutes: S***. Goes. Down. Boy, does it ever.
First up: The Galactica. Roslin’s going through Chamalla withdrawl, resulting in her acting completely crazy: Not recognizing Ellen Tigh when she comes to visit, screaming in her sleep, mumbling about the Pythian Prophecy, etc. Billy tries to get more Chamalla from Doc Cottle, who’s on the ship to deal with a still-unconscious Adama, but he has to be sneaky about it because he can’t exactly let Tigh know that the President is both dying and insane. Tigh finds out anyway courtesy of Ellen, who tells him he should let the Quorum of 12—who’s been demanding to see their locked up Pres.—see exactly how incapable of leadership Roslin currently is. And he would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for
you darned kids Roslin’s guard Corporal Venner, who smuggles her some Chamalla. Tigh expected her to be a gibbering mess when the Quorum visits, but instead she gives a stirring speech denouncing Adama’s military coup and admitting that she’s the dying prophet who will lead the human race to salvation. Enjoy that egg on your face, Tigh.
Speaking of Tigh, he’s an absolute failboat this episode. He’s told Ellen before that he doesn’t want to be a Commander, and that’s a good thing because he’s as bad under high-pressure situations as Roslin is good. He’s drunk all the time, forgets about the people on Kobol, and, oh yeah, declares martial law. Tigh, Tigh, Tigh. Adama’s out of it for a few days and you (probably) start a civil war? I kind of feel bad for him, though. He’s not some evil power-hungry monster, for all Ellen wants him to rule the fleet with and iron fist. He’s just a mean, alcoholic screw-up.
Back on Kobol some Cylons are building a surface-to-air missile rig to shoot down anyone who might show up to rescue the stranded survey team. Crashdown, reeling from the deaths of Tarn and Socinus, decides to take advantage of the element of surprise to kill the Cylons and destroy the rig despite the fact that he’s the only one among them who’s been trained for any kind of assault mission. Chief calls him on that, but when Baltar starts in on Crashdown, calling his plan crazy and saying they’re all going to die, Chief defends his brother-in-arms, intimidating Baltar into sitting down and shutting up like he’s a disobedient puppy and Tyrol’s wielding the Rolled-Up Newspaper of Death.
When it’s time to attack the Cylons a screw-up on Baltar’s part (one that he doesn’t admit to, because he’s Baltar) means that one of two things are be true: Either there are more Cylons than they thought they were, which means the good guys are outnumbered and will probably all die, or the radar dish they need to take out is undefended, which means they don’t need to attack the Cylons at all and will probably all live. Crash, displaying a Tigh-like mixture of fear and bad judgment, orders them to attack, and when Cally refuses he threatens to shoot her. The poor guy’s panicking, and we never find out whether he actually would’ve shot Cally… because Baltar shoots him first. Six, who was giving him guff earlier for saying he wasn’t ready to be a father, congratulates him on being a man now. Later on she tells him that killing is his heritage as a human but don’t worry, she’ll be his conscience. That’s a lovely way of saying “You’ll kill a bunch of people and I’ll tell you who.” Oh, Six, you can be do delightfully evil sometimes.
Then the Cylons start shooting, so everyone runs to the radar dish which is—you guessed it—undefended. Baltar actually proves quite capable in the battle, and Tyrol manages to take out the radar dish. Right in the nick of time, too, as the rescue team, led by Lee, has just made it through the atmosphere. After the rest of the Cylons are taken care of Lee asks what happens to Crashdown, and instead of telling the truth (“I shot him in the back” might not go down so well) Baltar says he died heroically in battle.
Also in this episode:
There is just one thing I want to mention, and it is the following exchange:
Tigh: Why aren’t you in the brig?!
Billy: Um… because… no one put me in there?
I want that to be a thing: Tigh giving anyone who annoys him the stinkeye and asking why the hell they aren’t in jail yet. GRARRRRGH.
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