Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: Someone to Watch Over Me, Islanded in a Stream of Stars

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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.

My last Battlestar Galactica newbie recap before the finale. God help me.

Someone to Watch Over Me

The hippie cult hasn’t started shooting anyone yet. In fact, there is no hippie cult in this episode. I am disappoint. Instead there’s Starbuck doing things that Starbuck wouldn’t ever do for the sake of an emotional reveal you can see from a mile away.

Since the discovery that she’s not a human, not yet a Cylon, Starbuck’s spiralled into a state of depression. (OK, OK, she doesn’t know for sure that she’s not a human. Nor, for that matter, do we. But there’s something up with her, and if I feel like paraphrasing Britney Spears there’s no power on this Earth that can stop me.) She and her pilots have been doing the same thing week after week: Going out on patrols and looking for a habitable planet. But the clock is ticking. Before the only real limit was running out of food and fuel, but now the Galactica’s about to snap in two. There’s nothing anybody can do but hope the repairs take, suffer through increasingly frequent power outages, and continue on their likely fruitless hunt for a new home.

On top of that, Anders is still in a coma. Last episode his brain waves came back, but no one knows why. Put all that together and Starbuck’s hit rock bottom. She even gets an angsty shower scene. Every show needs one.

In true Starbuck fashion she starts hanging out and being depressed at the Galactica’s bar, where she meets an unnamed piano player/composer with whom Starbuck bonds via snarky banter.

Also he’s her dad.

It’s obvious. From like the first two minutes.

He’s her dad.

To help cheer her up Helo has managed to find all of Starbuck’s possessions, which were auctioned off  after she died that one time. It’s a sweet gesture, because Helo’s a sweet dude. I’m glad they’ve managed to rebuild their friendship after he mutinied against her (though if memory serves this is the first one-on-one interaction they’ve had since then, so… seems a little abrupt). The only thing Starbuck wants is a tape of piano music, which was totally by her dad, who is totally also the guy in the bar, c’mon BSG, don’t act like we don’t know that.

Helo doesn’t say “Well what the frak am I supposed to do with all this other stuff that I went through the trouble of getting for you, then? We’re on a ship. My storage space is not exactly unlimited!” He’s probably not even thinking it, because he’s so nice. I wouldn’t be that nice.

On her way out Starbuck gets a gift from Hera: A drawing of stars that of course will turn out to be something else, because any time Hera’s in the spotlight it’s because she’s doing something creepy.

Speaking of creepy: Boomer! Her inner manipulative crazy person really comes out this episode. Tyrol goes to visit her in the brig, because after all that’s happened in their lives—her shooting Adama and turning out to be a Cylon, him going all robo-racist on her and later turning out to be a Cylon himself, him marrying Cally, her siding with Cavil—he never stopped loving her. That siding with Cavil thing means the Cylons (who now have a representative in the quorum, BTW) want Boomer to be extradited and tried for treason, which will doubtless end in her being executed. Tyrol tries to convince Roslin not to do it, but the President rightly refuses. She’s dangerous, she tells him, and you know how she loves emotional manipulation. Get your head together. Ellen, Tigh, and Tory also want Boomer to be spared, but to pull rank over their fellow Cylons would be to “set themselves up as Gods.”

Boomer and Tyrol get all lovey-dovey from opposite sides of the brig wall. She says she wanted to hate him but she still thinks about him every day. Tyrol says he’d have done things differently if he knew what he was earlier. Etc. etc. Boomer suggests that they make the most of the time they have together, which means pulling Tyrol into a projection of the house they’d planned on building together before the colonies got nuked. Except Tyrol assumed they’d make the most of their time by, like, talking or sitting together with some Vulcan kissing mixed in or something. So when he finds himself in a model of a house that Boomer created from memory, down to the last detail (wedding pictures on the mantel! That’s not weird), he’s understandably skeeved and runs away.

Eventually he comes around to the idea of gallivanting around their dream house. When she zaps him there a second time he sees the daughter she’s created for them, which is way, waaaay beyond the pale. He’s all happy and crying that they have a kid, but… it’s a fake kid, Tyrol. She was literally made up.  You know this. Stop buying into Boomer’s freaky as hell shenanigans.

Over in pianoland Starbuck’s started to help Spirit Papa Thrace with his composing, and in the process she opens up about her father, who taught her to play the piano before he abandoned the family. She also unloads her existential crises—how she doesn’t know who she is, doesn’t know what she should be doing. The atmosphere of the Starbuck scenes is almost… ghostly, in a way. Removed from reality. You get the sense that Starbuck figures out, or at least senses that this guy is her dad, fairly early on, even though she never outright says she knows. Later on Spirit Papa Thrace tells Starbuck that he left his wife and kid because the Missus wanted him to stop playing the piano and get a steady job. ‘Buck goes off on him, talking about how her dad abandoned her and she never played the piano again after he left.

I call BS. Starbuck’s been through some shit, but there’s no way she’d talk about her daddy issues with a random stranger in a bar, no matter what feeling he gave her, no matter what her mental state is. She’s built up way too many walls for that.

Spirit Papa Thrace convinces her to play this one special song that her dad taught her. And he’ll even help her play it! Be more obvious, show. It turns out the stars in the drawing Hera gave Starbuck are actually notes… for the song Starbuck was taught by her father… which is also All Along the Watchtower.

Tigh and Tory, hanging out in the bar, are all ???!??!??!! when they hear Starbuck playing the song that activated their Cylonitude. After their father/daughter duet Spirit Papa Thrace disappears. Later on Ellen tells Tigh that Hera must be “plugged into” the thing that’s been manipulating all the Cylons (and, unbeknownst to them, Baltar).

Are we finally going to find out what all the Head Six/Head Baltar/hallucination stuff is?! Only four eps left. We’d better.

Tyrol decides that he can’t let Boomer die, so he engineers a prison break that involves her posing as Athena and going out on her good twin’s hunting-for-a-planet excursion. She breaks out of the prison cell and knocks out her double with zero problems, but there’s a slight hitch when Helo shows up. Only Helo thinks Boomer is his wife, and seeing as his wife’s supposed to be heading out on a six-day mission he’s feeling a little frisky. So Helo and Boomer do the horizontal mambo mere feet away from Athena, who’s been beaten and tied up in a bathroom stall but is still completely conscious and aware of what’s going on.

Damn, BSG. That’s dark, even for you.

As if that’s not bad enough, Boomer kidnaps Hera by taking her out of daycare, stuffing her in a crate, and putting her on Athena’s Raptor. She asks Tyrol to come with her, though she leaves out the whole BTW I kidnapped a kid thing. He elects to stay behind, and they have one kiss in fantasy house land before she makes to jet.

Athena comes to and alerts Helo to the fact that, hey, Boomer knocked me out. Also, that wasn’t me you boinked. Right away they figure out that she’s trying to run away with Hera. Adama tries to stop her from taking off, but he’s not quite fast enough. Boomer jumps away, causing massive damage to the Galactica in the process. Roslin, who hasn’t had much of anything to do this episode, collapses at the exact moment Boomer escapes with Hera. When Tyrol finds out the kidnapping he’s like

with a side of

…though he doesn’t tell anyone about his part in the kidnapping. I wonder if he will. His character’s been all over the place lately.

Tigh and Ellen talk about how taking Hera back to Brother Cavil was Boomer’s plan all along. So she must’ve known she’d get arrested, but she assumed she’d be able to manipulate Helo into helping her escape with her weirdo dream house.

That’s… a leap. But it worked. As a plan, it’s more sensible than Silva’s in Skyfall/Loki’s in The Avengers/Khan’s in Star Trek Into Darkness. And hey, I like seeing more of the Eights’ tendency toward stereotypical psychological thriller crazy girlfriend-ness. It’s interesting. And she’s really good at it.

In the last few minutes of the episode we see Starbuck laying with a still-comatose Anders, listening to her father’s tape. So she’s finally gotten over some of hatred of her dad. And her relationship with Anders has finally improved. When he’s frakking comatose.

Islanded In a Stream of Stars

Everything’s awful for everyone.

Fusing Cylon tech to the Galactica, while a great idea in theory, isn’t actually working, so the military will probably have to say goodbye to its home and relocate to the Basestar. Cue sad Adama.

Roslin’s cancer is in its final stages, and Anders is still comatose. Cue sad Starbuck, Adama, Roslin, and me.

Hera’s been kidnapped by Boomer so Cavil can run experiments on her and create a whole new race of human-Cylon hybrids. Cue sad Helo and Athena.

But Ellen thinks she knows where Boomer’s taken Hera: A colony that’s basically the Cylons’ home base. It’s where they hung out in between the first and second Cylon/human wars. She even knows where it is. Lee, fulfilling the role of the jackass in this particular scene, argues against sending a rescue mission for one little girl. His decision is borne of practicality–they’d be attacking all the Cylons, not just a few ships—but it’s also grade-A stupid. Hera is obviously incredibly important to Cavil’s plan for the future of the Cylon race. He needs her for whatever nefarious BS he’s planning. So the humans need to get her back. Yeah, it’s a risk, but it’s not like the fleet has a heck of a lot of time left the way things are now.

Starbuck brings everyone up to date on the weirdness with Hera’s music from the last episode, but Adama extends a firm middle finger to the idea that the little Cybaby has something to do with the ~~destiny~~ of the human race. He’s lost faith, but he’s not being a total bonehead (Lee), so he agrees to send out a Heavy Raider to do recon on where Ellen says the colony is.

He orders that Helo and Athena not be told about it, because… because reasons. He doesn’t want to get their hopes up or something. The two of them are completely wrecked by the loss of their daughter, and it’s clear that Athena places some of the blame on Helo, if only subconsciously. He had sex with the kidnapper, after all, even if he didn’t realize it at the time, which is an extra kick in the metaphorical balls. Complicating Athena’s mental state is that she, along with Roslin and Caprica, have started having their shared opera house dream again, except this time it’s rearing its head even when they’re awake.

Meanwhile the Galactica starts to literally break apart. Earlier in the episode we saw a slice of bad human-Cylon relations when two members of the repair team—a random human and a Six—almost came to blows over which race was responsible for the alloy not working. Now that Six sacrifices herself to save Random Human Dude when there’s a breach in the hull.

Awwww. Humans and Cylons starting to work together.

But still, a bunch of humans and Cylons are dead because of the breach, and things don’t look to be improving any time soon. Pretty much the entire quorum wants the Galactica to be abandoned, including the Cylon rep Sonja, who recommends moving shop to the Basestar. But Adama, Tigh, and Lee are all like

except not quite so fabulously, a minus the Santa hats.

Moving in WTF territory, Baltar’s gone all Precious Moments and is obsessed with angels now.

OK, whatever.

If it seems a bit (read: incredibly) random, when Baltar waxes rhapsodic over pirate radio about how he’s seen an angel it’s clear that he means Head Six. So that makes sense. It was her ‘n’ him at the beginning, and it’ll be her ‘n’ him at the end. I smell a plot twist. Bring it.

Though the very first version of Six Baltar got to know was, of course, Caprica. The two of them have a tearful reunion in hippie cult headquarters. Baltar offers his condolences for Caprica’s lost child and lets her know he can offer her food and a place to stay. Caprica interprets that as “Hey, wanna join my harem?” and refuses, telling Baltar he hasn’t changed a bit.

Was he offering her a place in his cult? I think not, but I also think, if she’d accepted, that’s where she’d have ended up. He’s changed, but his behavior hasn’t, and he’s yet to transform his new, nobler intentions into less self-serving actions. Three episodes left, Baltar. You’re running out of time!

Tigh has a Character Moment when one of the Eights injured in the hull breach asks to see him before she dies because he’s her father (in the kinda-religious, kinda-literal sense). He’s skeptical at first, reminding her of all the time he spent trying to kill Cylons, but his inner conflict doesn’t stop him from comforting her as she’s dying.

Later on Ellen and Tigh have a conversation about Cylonitude, in which Tigh’s all like “My people are the ones on this ship, not Cylons!!!! Grarrrrgh, where’s the booze?” and Ellen’s all “Nooooooo, you’re a Cylon! You have millions of children, and they’re all going to die if you don’t so something to help Hera! PSYCHOLOGICAL MANIPULATION!” At least I hope there’s psychological manipulation. God, let Ellen be up to something. It would be such a letdown if Cavil were the Big Bad.

Also, I may have Photoshopped Eight and Tigh into Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. Hey, I have one recap left after this one. I have to get all the stupid photo manips out of my system.

Starbuck engages in a bit of psychological warfare of her own. Hers is using the bathroom in front of Baltar so he’ll be really uncomfortable. Ahhh, Starbuck. I’ll miss you when BSG is over. She asks him if he believes all that hokum about angels, and when he says he does, she tells him about how she came back from the dead and challenges him to do SCIENCE on her corpse’s dogtags to find out WTF is up with her.

He does that science, and a few scenes later, after the communal funeral service, he reveals his findings: Starbuck was dead. Now she’s alive. She is one of the angels who walks among us. I was right about there being life after death, suckaaaaas!

A few thoughts:

A) Dick move hijacking the funeral like that. It’s prime Baltar. Good to see, as always.

B) Starbuck never told anyone about finding her corpse on Earth, did she? Awkwaaaard?

and C) Starbuck coming back to life means she’s an angel? Ha ha, good one, show. Now what is she really? Nah, it’s OK, you can tell me the less stupid answer during the finale.

Starbuck slaps Baltar (WOOOOO!!!!!!) and stalks away. Later she’s confronted by Lee, who tells her that he’s there for her no matter what. It looks like they might kiss, but then they don’t. FINALLY. Bro stage: Achieved!

The ‘buck’s taken to visiting the Basestar, where Anders has been plugged into the mainframe in an attempt to reboot his brain. Except all it does is make him hybrid-y. That impression’s solidified when Starbuck pulls out a gun to mercy kill him (after telling him that it doesn’t matter whether he’s a Cylon or not, because he’s just her Sam, ow my heart), and he pulls the hybrid-esque move of grabbing her arm and babbling nonsense about how Kara Thrace is the harbinger of death. He also manages to frak with the Galactica’s electricity, a result of the Cylon alloy the ship is now covered in. Tigh realizes that, because the fleet’s FTL drives were upgraded with Cylon tech, Anders could theoretically jump the fleet to who knows where, so he orders that he be taken offline.

Starbuck doesn’t give much a frak, though. Later in the episode she plugs him back into the Basestar so the pair of them can somehow figure out what the deal is with her and Hera’s music.

Meanwhile the scout’s efforts to find the Cylon home base have been less than successful, because at some point Cavil moved it. The new one looks straight out of Rita Repulsa’s moon base from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Hey, it’s in space and it’s purple. That’s all I need. Hera and Boomer, on their way there, are not getting along, mainly because Boomer has never been one for the whole comfort-a-crying-child thing, even if said child is one she didn’t just kidnap. But they start to bond when Boomer finds out that Hera can project. They get a bit of quality time in in the house Boomer built for Tyrol and their made-up child. But then the pair of them get to the colony, and Hera gets handed over to Brother Cavil.

Boomer looks right on the edge of stepping up, disobeying Brother Cavil, and rescuing Hera from what’s sure to be a future of medical experimentation. Do it, Boomer! Be your inner Athena!

Back on the Galactica Helo begs Adama for a chance to go look for his daughter. But the Old Man refuses, telling him about the mysterious colony and asking him to accept the fact that his daughter’s dead. But Helo, a mensch through and through, refuses. The Galactica is dead, he says, but Hera might not be. Please give me a chance to do something. Adama, thoroughly defeated, just walks away.

Helo’s going to save the day. I can sense it. WWHD, WHAT WOULD HELO DO?

Following an emotional (and pot-assisted) conversation between Adama and Roslin, Adama decides to abandon the Galactica. There’s some ANGRY PAINTING

and some CRYING

And a toast with Tigh accompanied by EMOTIONAL BAGPIPE MUSIC

And it’s all very sad. Now bring on the finale!

Meet me back here on January 8, 2014 for the very last BSG Newbie Recap. Pray for me.

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 that way. Former Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recaps can be found here, and next week’s recap (the series finale) is here. Have a (non-spoilery, for the love of God) comment? Hit me up on Twitter.

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