Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: Exodus, Parts 1 and 2
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.
If you’ve been reading these recaps, you know I’m a Tigh fan. So yeah. I did not much like a certain thing that went down during these episodes. And I’m not talking about Adama shaving his ‘stache off. (That too.)
Exodus, Part 1
We start right where the last episode left off: Centurions show up ready to shoot the human prisoners, minus Cally, who’s been cut loose by Jammer and is running for the hills. I knew something wouldn’t go according to plan with the execution, since Roslin’s in the group of dead men walking and I know she doesn’t die, at least not yet. We skip back one hour to find out how the Cylons screwed this one up.
Tigh’s doing a bit of wound care on his eye socket, and Ellen, all appreciative and loving, comes in to help. “I want you to know that I would do anything for you,” she says. Poor lady. I may have screamed to the high heavens a bit when she betrayed in the insurgency last episode, but she was in a tight spot, and there wasn’t much else she could do.
Chief Tyrol comes in, panicking because he’s found out Cally’s on the list of people to be killed. Tigh immediately takes charge, snapping at Tyrol to stop freaking out, find out where the execution site is, and get a team of people down there before things get bloody. Tigh bounced back from having his eye plucked out, so Tyrol can darn well cope with having his wife abducted, the baby. Tigh’s pretty harsh in this scene, but it’s exactly what Tyrol needs: He consults materials provided by his secret source and sets off to the Pergamus Flats with Joan and a few other people to rescue Cally, Roslin, Zarek, and the rest.
Happily, they’re successful. There’s a bit of a snag when Cally’s escape route places her right between the Centurions and the insurgents, but Tyrol pulls a quasi-Romeo and Juliet love theme and tackles her to the ground, letting the good guys shoot some toasters without any human casualties.
Well, without many human casualties. The NPCs are getting shot along with the Centurions and the skinjobs, so Jammer ditches his mask and runs like hell. Brother Cavil isn’t so lucky: He gets shot in the gut, and instead of putting him out of his misery Joan leaves him to die there, in agony and baking in the hot sun. Karmic retribution for messing with the Tighs, you SOB.
Not that things are all sunshine and roses for them, Ellen in particular. Intercut with the scene of Tyrol’s daring rescue are shots of another group of Cylons crashing the meeting between Anders and Athena. Smart thinking by one of Athena’s marines saves the day, but a few redshirts unnamed soldiers die in the gunfight. One of the insurgents finds the map Ellen stole in one of the skinjob’s pockets, and Anders realizes right away she must have sold them out.
One of the reasons I really like this pair of episodes, despite the emotional trauma they caused me, is that D’anna gets a subplot. I already like her because she’s Lucy Lawless, but if her character actually does things and gives me even more reasons to like her, as she did in Downloaded, then that’s just gravy. Cylon: Warrior Princess is having a craaaazy dream in which she’s walking through a wasteland filled with dead bodies and sees a (live) infant among them. Later, while walking New Caprica, she recognizes a tent from her dream, and goes in to meet Dodona Selloi, a nutty oracle lady who’s hopped on Chamalla and says she sees the future, namely that Athena’s baby, Hera, is still alive and D’anna will hold her and know true love. D’anna puts up a good front of not believing her, but the single perfect tear gives her away.
Later on D’anna has a chat with Doc Cottle, whom she asks about Hera. Why would he cremate the body; if it’s the first Cylon-human hybrid, surely he wanted to examine it? He responds that it wasn’t his call—he was just doing what the President told him to. She knows. And he knows that she knows And she probably know that he knows that she… OK, stopping now.
Back on the Colonial One Baltar’s been suffering from a bout of erectile dysfunction. That’s how Battlestar Galactica starts this scene, I’m not even kidding. Four for you, James Callis, for going all Viagra commercial. That must’ve been fun. Because they can’t get down with the sexing, Baltar and Caprica turn to arguing. Or, rather, he goes off on a lunatic rant about of the Dorals’ plans to distribute more toilet paper to the humans while Caprica resolutely ignores him. Eventually she snaps at him for going down a spiral of “hatred and self-loathing.” Doesn’t she appreciate what she’s given up to be with him?
Jeez, Caprica, of course he hates himself. He literally surrendered his entire race to their enemy. Even if you assume he’s OK with the Cylon occupation, which he clearly isn’t, he’s going to have some issues. Baltar echoes my sentiments, snapping at Caprica that her problems are pretty low on his totem pole right now. She gets up to leave but comes back when he asks her to, albeit with a look of pure hatred in her eyes.
For all that Caprica’s so “human,” in this scene you can see that she clearly isn’t quite so in tune with messier human emotions/mental patterns as she might think she is. Furthermore, she’s starting to see past Baltar’s veneer of charisma and intelligence to the wimpy, selfish jerk lurking not so far underneath. Lest I seem too much like I’m bashing Baltar, it also seems that he’s tiring of being that wimpy, selfish jerk. Now the question just remains as to whether he’ll do anything about it.
Later Baltar gets it together enough to attend a meeting with Caprica and the rest of the Cylons. The Brother Cavil who was left to die earlier in the episode has managed to download into a new body, though he gripes about how doing so is getting more painful every time, humans are barbarians who don’t value life, blah de blah blah. They value life just fine, Brother Cavil. They just don’t see you as living. We have some serious communication issues here; maybe some couples counseling between the two races is in order?
Baltar pipes up and says that if everything’s so awful they should just leave. Gaius Baltar, you don’t even go here! Unsurprisingly, the Cylons reject his advice. Doral suggests they crack down harder, but resources are already stretched thin because of the insurgency. Fine, he concedes: If it comes down to it they can can just give the genocide thing another go and nuke the whole planet. I love how this season is giving us a look inside the minds of the Cylons.
Meanwhile the crew of the Galactica is saying goodbye to their Pegasus counterparts, with whom they’ll meet back up at a rendezvous point in 18 hours time… assuming everyone on the Galactica doesn’t die trying to save the rest of humanity, which is statistically a far likelier outcome. There’s an emotional farewell between Adama and Lee that would’ve been a lot more effective if Lee weren’t wearing that ridiculous fat suit. I’m sorry, but it was all sad with the bagpipe music and both of them almost crying… and then the camera pulls back on Lee saluting his father and I just lost it. Can we lose the suit soon, please? It’s really distracting.
Back on New Caprica Anders and Athena put the final touches on Athena’s plan to waltz into a highly secure Cylon bunker and take the launch keys to the civilian ships. Other insurgents come in with Ellen, who says she can explain and demands to see her husband. Later in the episode she gets that chance and tells him that she did what she did to prevent him from being killed by Brother Cavil. News of Ellen’s betrayal causes Tigh to go full-on Crazy Eye. Please don’t do anything stupid, Tigh. I beg of you.
There’s one final meeting of the insurgency left before things start to go down. The plan is as follows: When the time comes the insurgents will attack the air base, the detention center, the power station—as many places as they can to produce maximum chaos. While that’s going on, “block captains” will coordinate the citizen evacuation. Zarek asks if they’ve had any chance to practice that last part, and Roslin explains that they’ve already run two full dress rehearsals under the guise of fire and natural disaster drills. Never doubt Roslin’s ability to have her stuff together, Tom Zarek.
One of Athena’s marines points out that it’ll be different when the real evacuation comes around—there’ll be explosions, gunfire, chaos in the streets. Roslin responds that everything will be fine; people know that at a certain point they’ll have to step up and save themselves. Methinks I just spotted a theme for the whole show!
It’s incredibly important that Maya and Hera—or Isis… screw it, I’m calling her Hera—not fall into the hands of the Cylons, so Anders has assigned two of his best guards to personally escort them to one of the ships. I have to wonder what Maya’s thinking right now, living in an underground bunker with her kid until she can be smuggled to safety by armed guards.
Speaking of Hera: Athena’s managed to retrieve the launch codes, but she’s interrupted by D’anna, who tells her Adama and Roslin faked Hera’s death. The oracle told me I would hold her in my arms one day, she says, and if you stop helping the humans I’ll do a little baby timeshare with you. Athena refuses to believe that Adama would lie to her and shoots D’anna in the kneecaps. On the one hand, I’m really happy that the rescue effort is moving ahead. On the other… Athena, please follow up with Adama when you get back to the Galactica, k?
All the pieces are now on the board: The insurgents have the launch keys, Maya and Hera are safe, and the insurgency is ready to blow some buildings to kingdom come. The episode ends back on the Galactica with Adama giving an inspiring speech so good that even Tigh wouldn’t stinkface at it.
Also in this episode:
- Tigh made a joke. When Tyrol was freaking out about Cally Tigh told him he’d better pull it together, because the last thing their kid wants is Tigh and Ellen for parents. Oh, you!
- Roslin and Zarek seem to be getting along now, and there was a bit of banter between the two that actually made me laugh. If I like Zarek now, does that mean he’s going to die? I don’t think so, because he’s not really important to the narrative… yet.
- Starbuck apologizes to Kacey for leaving her alone and letting her get hurt. It’s an emotional bit of mother-daughter bonding, and Leoben’s watching the whole time. This little kid/cherubic angel is way too cute to be legit.
Exodus, Part 2
Before I start recapping this episode, I would just like to say!
Now I’m ready.
(No I’m not. I will never be ready.)
The episode starts, not with Adama spearheading the rescue op, but with Lee and Dee in the Pegasus, where the former’s trying to come to terms with leaving his father to tackle his suicide mission alone. Lee says he thinks Adama might survive, but Dee calls him on his lie, saying “I saw the look on your face when you came back from the Galactica. Like you were never going to see him again.” Lee asks if he’s that easy to read, to which Dee replies: “Just to me.” The Pegasus has to soldier on and find Earth, she says, so there will be future generations of humans to remember Adama.
This scene is cheesy, and I don’t like it. Granted, I have a low cheese tolerance, at least when it comes to sappy, romantic cheese. (Cheddar, on the other hand…mmmmmm.) Pretty much all Dee’s done so far this season is give Lee pep talks. I mean, c’mon! She used to be involved in conspiracies! Back when she was with Billy she had things of her own to do, but now that she’s with Lee it’s all the loving wife routine. I’ve never been the hugest fan of her character, but she deserves better than this!
Also, Lee’s totally going to go back to save his dad’s bacon, isn’t he?
Luckily, we got the worst scene of the episode out of the way early. Next up we get a different sort of “worst”: A pair of scenes that, while amazing in terms of quality, manage to rip out my heart, squeeze it, and collect the dripping blood in a flask for Tigh to drink.
Anders explains to Tigh that Ellen’s betrayal could’ve toppled the insurgency and that Tigh “knows what has to be done.” If Tigh doesn’t want to be the one to do “it,” Anders will understand, but it’d be better for Ellen if it’s him. Hold up, show: You’re not going to kill Ellen, are you? Girl was backed into a corner!
Alas, the next scene shows Tigh doing exactly that. Ellen tearfully confesses to her husband that, not only did she have to give the Cylons the map, she also had to have sex with Brother Cavil so he’d set Tigh free. “I smiled and I faked it to save you,” she says. She didn’t want anyone to be killed, but she’d do it, all of it, again. He looks horrified. She looks absolutely broken. She says she needs a drink and takes the cup in Tigh’s hand; after drinking, she hugs him and says he was right, she never should’ve left the Galactica. And then she dies. Because the cup was poisoned. To give you the full impact of how this scene ruined me, here are the notes I took while watching it:
OMG OMG OMG NO DID HE POISON HER DID HE KILL ELLEN HE’S CRYING OVER HER ALL LIKE I LOVE YOU NO TIGH NO NO NO NONONO NONONONONONONNONONONONONO HE LAYS HER BODY DOWN OHNONONONOONONONONONONONONSHE’S DEAD HE’S CRYING NO NO NONO NO
CRYING OVER HER BODY HE’S LIKE SOBBING AND S*** NO NO NO NONONONONONONONNO
What pains me more: That Tigh’s going to have to live with the knowledge of the other horrible things Ellen was forced to do for him? That she was sweet to him right before she died? That he knew her so well that he didn’t even have to offer her the poison drink because he knew she’d take it? I cannot decide. This scene turned me into a big ball o’ pain.
Strictly speaking Ellen didn’t have to die: The insurgency could’ve waited until everyone got back to the Galactica and put her through the Colonial justice system there. And if they don’t make it back to the Galactica… well, she’d be dead anyway. On the other hand, putting her under armed guard when everything’s going down just isn’t feasible. Tigh didn’t have to kill her the same way Ellen didn’t have to give the map to the Cylons. Technically they both had other options, but they were in a really bad situation, during a really chaotic time, and they had to make really awful decisions.
Back on the Colonial One Baltar is reading the Cylons the riot act about how Roslin and Zarek have escaped, though the effect is somewhat lessened because he appears to be roaringly drunk. He tells the Cylons they should just throw in the towel and leave, but D’anna shoots that suggestion down right quick, saying if they did that future generations of humans would just hunt the Cylons down. “Blood for blood,” says Baltar. “It has to stop one day.”
Well whaddaya know, he just said something right!
Seconds later the insurgents begin their campaign explodeitude. Tory sends Maya and Hera off to the ship with their pair of sharpshooter guards, while Anders and some of his pals empty a weapons cache under the Pyramid goal and head to the detention center to bust people out. Meanwhile, above the planet, Raptors from the Galactica have launched drones that’ll make it appear to the Cylons as if two Battlestars are here to save the day, when in fact the Pegasus won’t be showing up and the Galactica is waiting in the wings for their cue.
Down on the ground the evacuation is in full swing. Zarek asks Roslin if she’s coming with him to the shipyard, but Roslin responds that nah, her ship is the Colonial One, thank you very much. You know, the ones with all the Cylons still on it. God, I love ‘er. Zarek hails down Jammer and puts him on “guard the President” duty.
At this point I really thought that Jammer’s conflict of him being a “traitor” NPC officer would come to a head in him being outed and then redeeming himself by dying to save Roslin. That doesn’t happen, and I couldn’t be gladder. This show keeps setting up situations where they could do the expected, they even make you think they are going to… and then they don’t. Because reality is much more complicated than clichés, even if said reality takes place in the whateverth century out in the blackness of space.
The Cylons are all freaking out, frantically making phone calls and trying to coordinate who-knows-what. D’anna soon realizes that the two approaching Battlestars are actually drones, but all the baddies are still on high alert. The only one who’s not actually doing anything is Baltar, who gets all maudlin about how everything he did was for nothing. He spends almost the entire episode with an expression on his face that’s pure, condensed “Oh, sh**.”
Tigh and Helo are trying to take over the shipyards, but they don’t do all that well until the Galactica shows up right above the surface and drops ’em some Vipers. It’s a ballsy move, and one that leaves the Galactica badly damaged, but with the Vipers’ help the insurgents manage to clear a path to the ships they can use to get offworld.
The only Cylon we haven’t seen be part of all the planning sessions is Leoben. (Actually, if memory serves we’ve never seen him interact with the other Cylons. Do they find him as creepy as I do?) When the attack kicks off he starts to leave Starbuck behind in her jail cell, claiming it’s the safest place for her and Kacey to be while he goes and does… whatever he does when he’s not being a weirdo at Starbuck. She attacks him, but he gets the last punch in, leaving her unconscious on the floor.
And that’s how Anders finds her when he liberates the detention center. He picks her up and carries her out, and she wakes up shortly thereafter. There’s no time for a happy reunion, though, since Anders didn’t know about Kacey and, therefore, left her behind. Starbuck runs back into the fray to get her daughter (or notter, because I don’t think she’s really… ah, forget it ), but when she gets back to her cell Leoben’s there, too. He only agrees to let Starbuck take Kacey if she tells him she loves him, which she does, because… of course she does. C’mon, Leoben. Is this your plan? “I won’t let you have your daughter unless you tell me you love me?” Of course she’s going to lie and say she loves you! Geez! It’s no skin off her back! Leoben really is out of touch with reality, huh?
Starbuck even goes the extra mile and engages in a bit of makeout session, which gets her close enough knife him in his frakking gut.
Ahem. Called it.
Anders comes in and escorts Starbuck and Kacey out of there, not that she really needs him to, but he can provide moral support, I guess.
Things aren’t looking well for the Galactica. On top of the damage it took hurtling through New Caprica’s atmosphere like a rock, the Cylons have called in two more Basestars in addition to the pair they already had above the planet. Two of them Adama and company can hold off, but not four. The Galactica’s FTL drive quickly goes the way of the dodo, meaning they can’t even retreat. (Man, ships’ FTL drives are always getting temporarily destroyed in this show. You’d think they’d put ’em somewhere not so shootable.)
Right when it looks like the Galactica’s going to be pummeled to space dust the Pegasus shows up to lend a hand, drawing the Basestars’ fire while the Galactica repairs its jump capability. The problem is that Lee’s left the Pegasus’ fighters behind to defend the civilian fleet, so they’re basically just out there getting shot at with minimal defenses. Adama, confident that Lee has an evacuation plan in place, jumps away from New Caprica, trailing ships full of human refugees behind him.
Adama’s intuition was right: Once everyone else is away Lee orders the crew of the Pegasus to evacuate into space lifeboats. He takes one last look at his ship, the one he earned and has to sacrifice for the good of humanity, before leaving as well. I love that Adama trusted that Lee would do the smart thing, even with all the flak he’s been giving his son the last few episodes. Hopefully Lee’s leaving behind some of his issues with the Pegasus. And the fat suit. One can only hope.
While all this is going on the Cylons have decided to evacuate, too, and they’re even going to let Baltar come with them. He lingers a bit, which proves to be an unfortunate move, because Gaeta has a gun and has decided he’s going to kill that frakking jerk. He explains that he believed in Baltar, in the dream of New Caprica, but Baltar only was only interested in procuring booze, drugs, and sex for himself. He hates Baltar and is disgusted with himself for having followed him for so long. (Can something good happen to Gaeta, please? Can someone at least hug him?)
Baltar agrees with him, but says that D’anna’s about to set off a nuke—which is true—and that the only way anyone will get off the planet is if he stops her. He walks right up to the gun and puts it at his chin, begging Gaeta to shoot him, which he doesn’t do. He’s giving Baltar one last chance to redeem himself, to do something good for humanity.
What does it say about me that I actually thought he might take it?
Granted, he does find D’anna, and she doesn’t set off the nuke. But not because he expended any effort or anything. Nope. On the way to stop her Caprica and Baltar find Hera, who’s been left on the planet after Maya and both their guards were killed. Head Six pops in to helpfully let Baltar know, by way, this is the Cybaby. D’anna walks out of the tent, where she’d been looking for the oracle, and sees Caprica and Baltar with the kid. She asks to hold her, and Baltar initially resists before handing Hera over. Now you don’t have to kill her, Caprica explains, because there’s no way she’s going to nuke the planet if doing so would kill Hera.
I just. Arrrrrgh! BALTAR! What the hell is wrong with you?! You were there in the room when Roslin said the last thing that can be allowed to happen is for the Cylons—whom you should have no allegiance to at this point, because they completely ruined your life—to get their hands on that baby. And then you let D’anna take the baby.
Though, thinking about it more, this is an echo of the Ellen-Tigh situation from before. At this point Baltar has to throw his lot in with the Cylons whether he wants to or not. He can’t exactly go back with the humans, so it’s not like he can give the baby back to Roslin. He could shoot Hera just to stop the Cylons from getting her, but… I can’t really expect him to do that. He actually has some morals, first off—you see that in the scene where he’s talking to Roslin about the suicide bombings. Second, he’s not going to shoot a baby, for Chrissakes, especially not one that he and Head Six at one point regarded as their own. And third, he’s a lazy dude who’s going to take the easy way out. He found himself in an awful situation, and there’s really no good option, but he has to do something.
I’m noticing this show does that a lot to its characters. I hate you, Battlestar Galactica. Why do you make me feel things?!
With the Colonial One once again vacant, Roslin and her team move in, and the former (and now current, if not in name) President retakes her position at the desk and says she’s ready to go.
Back on the Galactica it’s a good time for everyone, with two exceptions: Starbuck and Tigh. The former was happy until Kacey’s real mom shows up, all happy to see her (Kidnapped by Leoben! Surprise!) little girl. After that it’s all about emotional turmoil for the ‘buck.
And then there’s Tigh, whose limping, one-eyed, hobo-looking self is decidedly out of place among the celebrating masses. Adama congratulates his XO for bringing everyone home. Tigh says “not all of them,” and Adama instantly knows what he means. Even when Adama’s being hoisted on people’s shoulders and cheered for being humanity’s savior, he looks back to see Tigh walking around all sad and alone. The pain in my heart was alleviated by a quick shot of Gaeta, whom I feared might’ve been left behind on New Caprica. My second-favorite character is moving up on you, Tigh. Step it up a notch.
The scene ends with two hugely important details: Roslin finding out that Maya and Hera didn’t make it off New Caprica, and Adama shaving off his ‘stache. One of those is a bigger deal to me than the other. Hint: It’s the second one.
Here’s to you, ‘stache. Here’s to you:
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