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Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: Flesh and Bone; Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down


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.

A new(old) Cylon! Tigh being drunk and grumpy! Lee getting his butt grabbed!

Flesh and Bone

This episode re-introduces us to Leoben Conoy (Callum Keith Rennie), the Cylon who was hanging out in the weapons depot in the miniseries and got killed by Commander Adama. Well, “killed.” Him being a Cylon and all he zaps into a new body, which in this episode is found hanging out in one of the fleet’s underground storage rooms.

Adama wants to kill Conoy outright, but Roslin demands an interrogation, because clearly Conoy’s been up to something, and they should probably try to find out what it is, doncha think? Between jumping on the Cylon suicide bomber in Litmus and not thinking to interrogate Conoy, Adama’s been a little stupid lately. In a noble way. But still.

Roslin gets her way (as she should), and Starbuck is sent to interrogate the skinjob after being warned by Adama to watch out for his lies and double-talk. I don’t remember how New Age-y Conoy was in the miniseries, but he’s seriously into that stuff now, telling Starbuck how existence is a stream and he sees where the stream is going and… stuff. Cylon God stuff. It would be corny, except Callum Keith Rennie a good actor and he’s playing such a creepy character that it gives me the chills instead.

More chilling for Starbuck, though, is that Conoy says he’s planted a nuclear bomb somewhere on the fleet. He won’t say where it is, though, so it’s up to her to torture the information out of him just in case A) he isn’t bluffing, and B) Adama and company don’t find the bomb in time. There’s some more mystical mumbo-jumbo from Conoy but Starbuck’s having none of it, telling him that he’s just a soulless machine, and if he turns on his pain sensors he’ll be admitting he’s “less” than human.

(I’m kind of confused as to why Cylons have pain sensors in the first place—what use is giving yourself the capacity for hunger and pain if you don’t need to, i.e. if you’re like Boomer, a secret agent who has to think they’re human? The Cylons’ tendency to religion-inspired masochism sort of reminds me of Adama’s tendency toward self-sacrifice, oddly enough. Moving on.)

Starbuck gets nothing out of torturing Conoy save a headache and a big, heaping spoonful of self-doubt, courtesy of a little psychoanalyzing he does about Starbuck’s mother. (How did he know about her mother? He knew who she was as soon as he saw her, too. What’s going on here?!) But Starbuck’s able to psychologically torment Conoy a bit as well, saying he doesn’t want to be killed because he fears he won’t transfer over to a new body, which would mean he doesn’t have a soul and is just a machine.

But it’s Conoy who has the trump card: Kobol is real, he says, and he’ll lead the humans to Earth. That’s when Roslin walks in, full of righteous redheaded fury, asking Starbuck if she’s really been torturing this Cylon for eight hours and has absolutely no information on the bomb to show for it. Taking things into her own hands, Roslin offers to make a deal with the Cylons: Our two races don’t have to fight, she says, so just tell me where the bomb is and you’ll live. Conoy then drops the bomb (AHAHAHAHA—I kill me sometimes) and says that there was no nuke to begin with. Roslin orders him to be airlocked, which Starbuck objects to because he cooperated with them. But, in true Roslinian fashion, the President cuts through the BS, asking why they’d keep a Cylon around, particularly one who likes to spread lies?

Before he dies (our first airlocking, yaaaaaay!), Conoy tells Roslin that Adama’s a Cylon. At first I didn’t think that Roslin believed he could be telling the truth, but apparently she does, because she spends the last few minutes of the episode gazing at Adama in a steely fashion. Meanwhile Starbuck is praying to the Lord of Kobol that Conoy’s soul, if it does exist, make it to his God. Why does everyone give so much credence to what this guy says? Adama’s a Cylon, you’ll find Kobol and Earth. Blah blah blah. It’s like he has Charles Xavier-esque superpowers or something. He does show up in two of Roslin’g dreams this episode, though. Something’s up with this dude. I don’t know what it is. But I think I like it.

And surely Adama’s not a Cylon, right? I am 85% certain that I would’ve heard about it at some point if that turns out to be the case.

Elsewhere in this episode Boomer’s feeling some major self-doubt as to whether she’s a real human, so she asks Baltar to test her. The test says that she’s a Cylon, but at Six’s instructions Baltar tells Boomer she’s 100% bona fide human. Is there ever going to come a time when Baltar doesn’t do exactly what Six tells him to? We have four seasons, it’s got to happen eventually.

Meanwhile, on Caprica, the knows-she’s-a-skinjob-Boomer runs away from the Cylons with Helo, because apparently she’s in love with him or something. Regardless, Six thinks that she’s become too human. I’m happy that this plotline is starting to move along, though I still have no frakking clue what the Cylons’ endgame was having Boomer roam around the countryside with Helo.

Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down

Aw yeah, a Tigh episode. In “Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down” our favorite Grumpy Cat Colonel is reunited with his presumed-dead wife, who may or may not be a Cylon but is definitely a fan of alcohol and bad touching Lee.

Roslin still suspects that Commander Adama might be a Cylon, so she keeps a close eye on him. That includes getting Billy to ask Dee—who actually has something to do this episode instead of standing around in the background and saying random lines, holy crap—if Adama’s been acting odd lately. Turns out he has: He’s been making unlogged calls and taking unannounced trips off the Galactica to who-knows-where.

It’s during one of those trips that a Cylon raider shows up. Vipers damage it, but then it hyperjumps away, presumably to tell the other Cylons where they are. Tigh has a tough call to make: Does he get the fleet to safety even though doing so could mean leaving Adama behind? He orders an emergency jump, but then the raider comes back… and jumps away again… and comes back… and jumps away again… Tigh tells Lee to run scans on the malfunctioning raider instead of destroying it, as gathering info might help them get the FTL drive on their captured raider working. Tigh didn’t make any wrong decisions in this scene, but I can’t help but feel he’s doing exactly what the Cylons want him to.

When Adama gets back to the ship it’s with Tigh’s wife Ellen, who passed out on some colony when the Cylons attacked and was carried aboard a ship by a random stranger. She only remembered who she was a few days ago. The whole thing’s rather suspicious, especially considering no one can find the good samaritan who supposedly saved her life, and Adama’s quite right to think that she could be a Cylon. He delivers a vial of her blood to Baltar for testing (so the Cylon test is done, then? No problems? That was quick.), which means Baltar has to stop testing Adama’s blood, which he was ordered to do ASAP by Roslin.

Gaius’ character is getting weird—he goes from super-intense scenes with Six about God and betrayal to weird comic relief scenes where (for example) Starbuck, who’s come to ask him to test her blood, sees him having sex with Six in his lab… except, since she can’t see Six, she thinks he’s whacking the mole in the middle of the day over vials of blood. That sounds creepier than it was in the show. Regardless. I like the juxtaposition of how others see Baltar—as a sexually depraved, possibly Tourettes-having mad scientist—with how he actually is, i.e. haunted by a Cylon. The two extremes of his character will just take some getting used to.

Back to Tigh, who’s happy to have his wife back even though every indication we’ve had so far is that he hates her. There was some drama between them before—apparently she cheated on him a lot, plus she brings out the worst in him, i.e. horrible drunken behavior—but that’s all in the past. The newly reunited couple dines with Lee, Adama, and Roslin, the three of whom are appalled by Ellen’s horrific table manners. She tries to play footsie with Lee, insults Roslin, and asks Adama about his dead son, whom she somehow didn’t know was dead despite the fact that it happened years ago and Adama’s her husband’s best friend. Roslin’s left believing that no one so ridiculous could ever be a Cylon. That’s just what they want you to think. Ahem.

After dinner Ellen and Tigh retire to their quarters, where Baltar shows up and participates in some outrageously brazen flirting. Baltar. Tigh is right there. Bad form, dude. Ellen responds to her husband’s anger by claiming Adama felt her up at dinner and visited her while she was on the other ship to watch her while she was sleeping.

The pair of them confront Adama, who’s in Baltar’s science lab with Lee, Roslin, and Baltar. There’s a Marx brothers-esque scene where they try to figure out whose blood Baltar should be testing to see if they’re a Cylon, at the conclusion of which Baltar reminds everyone to calm the frak down, because they are literally in a science lab full of volatile chemicals. The party’s broken up by an announcement that the raider from before—remember it?—has changed its flight pattern. Tigh makes a snap decision to deploy fighters and destroy the raider, which then sets course for the Galactica but is blown out of the sky before it can ram into the ship.

Then there’s a bit of a weird scene between Adama and Tigh. The former says he’s concerned for his XO/best friend because Ellen’s always brought out the worst in him, and it’s been nice to see him not drunk all the time for a change. But Adama also commended Tigh on his decision to scramble the fighters… which Tigh did while more than a little bit tipsy, which Adama had to have known, because he was three sheets to the wind at dinner not a few hours before. So… I care about you and I don’t want you to destroy your life with alcohol, but you do well on the job when you’re drunk?

The episode ends with Baltar revealing that Ellen is not, in fact, a Cylon. But, as he tells Six once everyone leaves, he’s rigged the test so that everyone passes it, so Ellen might not be human at all. He’s not telling.

This Cylon detector plotline really bugs me, by the way. No one seems to question that it works. I get that Baltar’s their resident science genius-Cylon expert and that they don’t really have another choice than to trust him, but the dude’s been given a task that’s hugely important to security with absolutely zero oversight. He already accused someone of being a Cylon using a test that he later admitted was completely fake! The lack of lasting skepticism everyone else has shown up to this point in all things Baltar-related is absolutely baffling.

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