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Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: Kobol’s Last Gleaming 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.

One season of Battlestar Galactica down, three (plus assorted web series/TV movies/Caprica) to go. Man, what a good season finale this was.

Kobol’s Last Gleaming: Part 1

Remember how a few episodes ago Leoben Conoy said humans would find Kobol and it would lead them to Earth? Well his creepy New Age talk had some truth to it. Boomer and Crashdown, out on a supply run, find a planet with oceans, continents, plant life, even the ruins of an ancient city. Turns out it might very well be Kobol, the planet where humanity was born before the exodus that sent most of them off to the 12 Colonies and the others to the mythical Earth.

Not everyone is convinced that the planet is Kobol—Adama, for one, remains craggily skeptical—but President Roslin’s well and truly sold. Not only does she believe it’s the planet, she buys into herself as the savior of humanity and also believes the myth that the Arrow of Apollo (a relic left back on Caprica) can open Kobol’s Tomb of Athena, which will show the humans the way to Earth. Part of Roslin’s newfound religious faith springs from her visions; when she looks at a picture of the ruins she hallucinates and sees the city as it appears in BSG‘s version of the Bible. Part of it, though, seems to be wishful thinking on her part—her cancer’s spread, giving her only six months to live, and she wants to save humanity before she dies.

Something about this whole Roslin-as-savior thing is off. All the evidence is presented too neatly, too conveniently. Plus Six thinks Gaius is the savior, and there are several things in the prophecy that are presented as meaning one thing but could mean another. (If “Arrow of Apollo” isn’t related to Lee somehow I’ll eat my hat.) Something tells me this whole “religious epiphany” thing is going to blow up in Roslin’s face eventually. We have three more seasons of pain, after all.

Roslin wants Starbuck to take the Cylon Raider she captured back to Caprica and pick up the Arrow of Apollo. That proves a pretty big problem, though. See, Adama might not buy into the religious significance of the newfound planet, but he still wants to check it out to see if it’s habitable. So he sends three away teams, one of which includes Crashdown, Baltar, Chief Tyrol, and Cally, to run tests. But when the ships jump into orbit they discover a ton of Cylons there. One ship is destroyed, one manages to jump back to Galactica, and the third—the one with the characters we know on it—crash lands on the planet. To rescue them the Cylon Basestar will have to be destroyed, and the plan to do that involves Starbuck flying the Raider onto the Basestar, dropping a nuke, and flying away. So Adama, understandably, refuses to let Roslin use the raider for a fool’s errand to Caprica, because he needs it to save his own people.

Starbuck’s not in a great place emotionally this episode. She starts it off saying Lee’s name during sex with Baltar, which makes things really awkward when Starbuck walks in on a drunk Baltar playing poker with Lee, Gaeta, Crashdown, and Dee later on. Baltar demands that Starbuck call him “Vice President” and asks if she wants to sit by Lee. In a later scene Lee criticizes her for sleeping with Baltar, not like it’s A) any of his business, or B) a bad thing for her to have casual sex.

Lee’s treatment of Starbuck in this scene is pretty awful, but it seems that he’s lashing out in part not because he thinks sleeping with people is bad but because he’s jealous. (Or maybe my shipper goggles are on too tight. Whatever. Still a jerkbag move, Lee.) I can’t decipher Baltar being a jerk to Starbuck, though; I didn’t think he even liked her that much. Then again, throughout this entire episode Baltar’s mental state can be described as “losing it.” He’d probably snap at poor Gaeta if he stepped on his shoe. Roslin tries to give him a crash course in government at the same time Six grills him about whether he loves Starbuck (uh… no?), and he flips out on both of them, saying that he’s no one’s plaything, that he’s been given too many responsibilities all at once, and that he needs a break. Later on Six convinces him to get put on one of the away teams sent to Kobol, since the Cylons have a surprise in store for the Galactica and he won’t want to be on board when it happens.

Another character on the verge of mental breakdown is Boomer, who’s been trying to work up the nerve to shoot herself in the head. She knows something is wrong with her, she explains to Baltar, and she wakes up every day wondering whether she’s going to hurt someone. Six tells Baltar Boomer knows she’ s a Cylon, but that her conscious mind won’t accept it. No matter; she’s a weak model, but she’ll complete her mission anyway. Baltar says some stuff about how she should follow her heart, since sometimes life throws unexpected stuff at you and you just have to embrace it. As he walks out the door, Boomer shoots herself.

Man, Baltar. You’re really bad at pep talks, are you? Though I guess you can’t blame him. It’s the “filled with angst by Cylons” leading the “filled with angst by Cylons.”

Boomer didn’t die, though—the bullet only went through her cheek, with the “official” explanation being that she forgot to check the chamber. Chief Tyrol visits her in the hospital and says he knows that isn’t true, but she rejects his offer of help. What could he do to help her, anyway?

Meanwhile, back on Caprica, Caprica!Boomer’s been shot as well, by Helo, who only caught her in the shoulder and couldn’t bring himself to finish the job. She tells him that she’s still the same person he knew, but he doesn’t believe her—he’s only keeping her alive so she can help him get off the planet, he says.

The episode ends with Starbuck, who’s had a chat with Roslin about maaaaybe disobeying orders and stealing the Raider to get the Arrow from Caprica. The pilot doesn’t want to do it, but that changes when Roslin explains that Adama was lying about knowing where Earth is. Using the Arrow to open the Tomb to get to Earth (anyone else reminded of Legends of the Hidden Temple? No? Just me) might sound crazy, and it might not work, but it’s humanity’s only shot. Before going on an autopilot test run Starbuck asks Adama to ballpark when the fleet might get to Earth. He waffles enough that Starbuck knows Roslin was telling the truth. Her decision made, Starbuck jumps the Raider to Caprica, abandoning the rest of the fleet.

And in Part Two…

The episode starts on Kobol, with the surviving members of the away team rushing to get out of the ship before it explodes. Baltar panics and only escapes death because Six appears and leads him out. Later, while the others argue about what to do—Crashdown is technically in charge but his ideas all suck, so Chief Tyrol takes control—Baltar, still shell-shocked, goes and has a nice lie-down in the grass.

Back on the Galactica Adama and Tigh are talking about the MIA Starbuck, whom Adama says only would have stolen the Raptor if “coerced.” Tigh’s response—that she’s uncoercable, “believe me, I’ve tried”—is pretty funny. Tigh. Dude. She hates you. And coercion requires subtlety, which your grumpy self (god, I love ya) does not have. But Adama knows who could coerce Starbuck: Roslin. He calls the President, who admits to everything, which in turn causes Adama to demand her resignation. He can’t just do that, right? Roslin doesn’t think so, anyway—sure, she says, you can remove me from office, but I’ll still be over here in the Colonial One president-ing unless you want to send some people over to arrest me. Come at me, bro. Fine, says Adama, I will. PBBBBHHHHTTTT.

So now Adama has two operations on his plate—Lee and Tigh, along with a crew, have been sent to board the Colonial One and arrest Roslin, and of course the Cylon Basestar still needs to be destroyed. For the latter mission Adama chooses Boomer, who’ll be doing the same thing Starbuck was going to—fly a ship right up to the Basestar loading dock, drop a nuke, fly away—only not in a Raptor, not a Raider. In theory the Cylons should think it’s being piloted by one of their agents (which it is, but, y’know, semantics), since Gaeta’s used some tech-fu and identified the device planted by the Cylons on the Galactica during the miniseries as some sort of transponder. If it’s put on the Raptor Boomer’s flying she should be able to sneak through.

Caprica!Boomer, meanwhile, has taken Helo not to a ship but to wait outside the museum where the Arrow of Apollo is kept, which would indicate that she knows Starbuck—or someone—is going to show up there. I mean, unless she’s taking him on an extremely fortuitously located afternoon date or something. Boomer tries to talk to Helo, saying she has genuine feelings for him even though she’s a Cylon. He shuts that right down… until Boomer says she’s pregnant. Insert Maury gif here.

Back on the Colonial One Roslin tells her political retinue—bodyguards, aides, etc.—that she’s the one Adama wants, so if they want to hide in the cargo they’re more than welcome. Billy steps forward and said “We stand with our president,” which is sweet but kind of presumptuous. Maybe the low-level aide who’s been on the job for a week and has young kids on another ship would rather hide, Billy, gawd. Lee, Tigh, and other military folk board the ship and get ready to shoot through Roslin’s wall o’ bodyguards, but at the last minute Lee backs out, putting a gun to Tigh’s head and saying that democracy shouldn’t be sacrificed because the President made a stupid decision. Right?! Adama can’t just up and decide to depose the president whenever a disagreement, even a major one, takes place. Lee wasn’t the only one who thought his pops was out of line—shots of the Galactica bridge while all this is taking place show Dee and Gaeta looking extremely uncomfortable about the whole thing. Roslin accepts being arrested, as does Lee, who after all just committed mutiny.

So that’s one of Adama’s crises resolved. What about Boomer and the Basestar (heeeey, band name)? There’s a slight hitch when the bomb release jams, so Boomer and the other Raptor pilot have to land on the ship and release the nuke manually. Surprisingly, it works. But while Boomer’s arming the bomb she’s approached by a whole bunch of copies of herself, who tell her they love her and they’ll see her again. That’s made all the more foreboding after Boomer flies away and the Basestar explodes, presumably destroying the creepy nude Boomers as well. Just how many copies are there?

Welp. Boomer definitely knows she’s a Cylon now. I wonder whether she’s going to rip Baltar a new one for lying about her Cylon tests results.

Back on Caprica Starbuck has successfully gotten to the museum and taken the Arrow, only to be confronted by Six, who proceeds to beat the crap out of her. Starbuck eventually wins but is wounded in the process. That’s when Helo and Caprica!Boomer show up; Starbuck immediately realizes the latter must be a Cylon, but Helo says not to shoot her because she’s pregnant. Not that I think Boomer’s lying, but damn, Helo, you went from thinking Cylons are manipulative creatures bent on the destruction of humanity to believing one when she says she’s carrying your child awful quickly.

Speaking of Boomer’s Cylon/human (Cyman?) fetus, Baltar’s come back form his mental walkabout on Kobol and heads with Six to the ruins on Kobol, where he sees the opera house therein as it once was (is this a religious hallucination like when Roslin saw the snakes, or a Six-induced hallucination like when she mentally zaps him back to his home on Caprica so they can have sex and talk about God?). Now is the time, she says, for you to know why you were chosen to serve God. Baltar’s mission is apparently to protect and guard a new generation of His children, the first of which will be along shortly. This is Boomer’s baby, presumably, because a glowing cradle shows up and Baltar looks awed by what he sees in it. Just as Roslin accepted her role as the savior of humanity, Baltar accepts his role as the savior of this new race.

But the episode’s not over yet! Back on the Galactica Adama congratulates Boomer on a job well done, saying he’s happy she carried out her mission despite any personal misgivings she might have had, all while Lee is standing right there. Adama, for Christ’s sake, drop it with the passive-aggression, it doesn’t suit you. Boomer apparently agrees, because she up and shoots him twice in the chest. OK, so that probably had more to do with her being a Cylon agent. Whatever.

Thus ends season one. There’s so much I’m hoping season two will shed some light on, mostly involving what the heck are the Cylons up to? Seriously, the text that appears before every episode says they have a plan, but I still have no clue what that is. There are tons of little things in this two-parter that they clearly engineered: The bomb release on Boomer’s ship jamming, so she’d have to land; Starbuck, Helo, and Caprica!Boomer meeting on the museum; Baltar finding himself on Kobol. Some of that was Six’s doing, but how much? How much is she working with the other Cylons, and how much is she doing things they don’t know about? Ditto Boomer: Is she aware of having shot Adama? Clearly her getting preggers is part of the Greater Cylon Plan (or maybe just Six’s plan?), but she doesn’t appear to have been on in it. But she has to have some communication with the other Cylons, or else how would she have known someone would be coming for the Arrow? What is Six being untruthful to Baltar about? It’s clearly something, or many somethings—she seems uncapable of not being cryptic and withholding. If Baltar’s the savior foretold in the Pythian Prophecy, what’s up with Roslin’s hallucinations making her think she is? Is is the Chamalla? Are the Cylons messing with that?

What’s going on?!

I’ll be taking a break from these BSG recaps next week, as I have family in town. So you can expect my first recap of season two on Wednesday, May 29th.

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