Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: Sometimes a Great Notion, The Face of the Enemy
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.
Everything hurts except being a Tigh fan. I feel like I’m in the bizarro world.
Sometimes a Great Notion
Ellen! Ellen! Ellen is the final Cylon!
Pulling myself together…
Last week we found out that Earth, that golden solution to everybody’s problems, is actually (to quote Robin Hood: Men in Tights) D-E-D DEAD. This week, as our heroes do some investigating on the planet’s surface (and man, it’s weird to see them on land again), we find out more: The plant was nuked about 2,000 years ago. Everyone’s dead. Due to radiation, the planet is uninhabitable.
Oh, and the thirteenth colony was Cylons.
But… but the humans created Cylons. How could they have created Cylons if the whole lot of them—not just Centurions, but the relatively recent skinjobs, too—existed thousands of years ago when the Book of Pythia was written? What’s going on?
Adding to the WTFery is what happens when Starbuck and Leoben go hunting for the colonial transponder that sent the signal her Viper picked up. Turns out it comes from Starbuck’s original Viper, the one she was in when she Earth after that Eye of Jupiter weirdness.
Leoben tries to get Starbuck to back off, saying he has a feeling she won’t like what she finds. But backing off just isn’t Starbuck’s style. Eventually they come across the Viper’s cockpit, with the remains of the pilot still in it. The corpse is awfully rotted, but it does have blonde hair and, well, it’s Starbuck’s ship. It’s also wearing her dogtags. Survey says: It’s Starbuck, and Starbuck’s a Cylon.
At least that’s what she thinks. But we find out at the end of this episode that the final Cylon is someone else (Ellennnnnnn!!!!), plus there’s so much about Starbuck’s trip to Earth that just can’t be explained by “Welp, I’m a Cylon!” When she saw it it was blue and green and teeming with life, not desolate and gray. And there has to be someone else in the mix who switched her ship out, right?
Starbuck might be something, but it ain’t a Cylon. This show has a habit of teasing us with plot twists before they actually happen in such a way that it makes them seem like they’re not true. To wit: Tyrol and Ellen both had episodes about how they might be Cylons. The heavy hinting made it seem, to me anyway, that it would be far too obvious for it to be true. Then, of course, it was. A few episodes back Starbuck speculated that the Cylons took something from her body when she was in their creepy hospital and somehow grew a copy of her. Maybe something like that actually did happen.
Anyway, when Leoben sees the body he goes all
and he full on nopes out of there, Grumpy Cat style, when Starbuck tells him about the hybrid saying she would be humanity’s harbinger of death.
I thought you had all the answers, Leoben, you frakking jackass! And now you, who said you were all ~in touch with the stream of the universe~ or whatever, was completely wrong about Starbuck and Earth. Get outta here, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
(Side note: Starbuck and Leoben have gotten awful chummy considering that time Leoben kidnapped Starbuck and kept her locked up for several months. Starbuck, I know you needed him for his ~spiritual knowledge~, but now you don’t, because that knowledge was all BS. He’s still the same dude who imprisoned you. Now is the time to break away.)
Roslin, meanwhile, is inconsolable. And no wonder: Resettling humanity on Earth wasn’t just a quest for her. It was a religious imperative. And now, through no fault of her own, it all goes up in smoke. As does the Book of Pythia, which Roslin burns when she gets up to the Galactica. She also refuses to take her cancer treatments or talk to the Quorum, because nothing matters and everything sucks. She goes super maudlin and insists that Adama never should have listened to her about finding Earth, because all the search has brought is death. That isn’t exactly accurate: Trying to find Earth hasn’t killed people so much as being hunted down by evil robots has. And when Earth was introduced it was as this pie and the sky dream that Adama didn’t even believe in; he just lied about it to boost morale. Basically, without Earth to spur them on everyone probably would’ve died a long time ago.
Roslin, I feel you. You have every reason to be angsty. Just… snap out of it soon. We’ve had enough of that from you so far this season.
Also in a bad place mentally: Dee, who’s brought back for one episode just so she can kill herself and provide Lee and Adama with manpain.
Dee was completely wrecked by the discovery that Earth ain’t nothin’ but some nuked rubble. After getting back to the Galactica she seems to be happy: She babysits Athena, gives Lee an inspirational pep talk, and goes on a date with him that ends with some smooching. She even tells him it’s the best time she’s had in a long while. Then she goes back to her quarters, has a friendly moment with Gaeta, and shoots herself in the head. A devastated Lee can’t understand why she killed herself when she seemed to be so happy, and Adama just gets drunk and angry. Dee is his Billy.
Oh come on. In season one Dee had her own thing going on—sure, she was dating Billy, but she wasn’t defined as being his girlfriend. If anything both her and Billy, though their relationship, served as a metaphor for the relationship between the military and civilian portions of the population. And maybe it was a little boring and cutesy, but whatever.
But ever since season two Dee’s been Lee’s Love Interest. When their marriage was over, she pretty much disappeared. Compare that with Anders. All through season three he was Starbuck’s Love Interest, and though there’s been some lip service paid to the idea that they’re still married, it seems like the show’s pretty much abandoned that particular romantic relationship. But li’l Anders grew up to be a Cylon and get a plot of his own. Not so for Dee, who through all of season four up to this point has had the occasional line of expositionary dialogue. Until it’s time for her to die.
That said, I’m satisfied with the way she went out. Lee might not see what went on, but we, with the benefit of distance, do: She was broken by the discovery of Earth, and she wanted to have one last good evening before she died. She wanted to go out happy. And we know that Dee’s religious, and as such it makes sense that the great prophecy being a lie would hit her harder than it would, say, Lee or Adama. I just wish her death didn’t have such a eau de fridging.
Don’t mind me, I’m just being grumpy.
Back on Earth (it’s so weird to type that) Starbuck builds a pyre and burns her body… the body that was in the Viper crash… the body that Starbuck assumes is hers. Starbuck, do not keep this a secret, for the love of God. What good has keeping secrets ever done anyone on this show? Lots of people already think you’re a Cylon. If you just go up to Adama and say “Yo, I found this body, mind if I get Doc Cottle to do a DNA test on it?” I’m guessing you’ll spare yourself some pain in the long run.
I get why she doesn’t do that. There’s more to the decision than plain ol’ logic. But I hate how this show gives me so many feels by having their characters make stupid decisions that you know are going to come back and bite them in the ass. *coughGaetacough*
She does try to tell Lee, because “Hey, I think I’m a Cylon” is a heavy burden to bear by oneself. But Dee’s suicide puts the breaks on that particular emotional unburdening.
Dee’s death messes Adama up big-time, so he grabs a gun and goes to see Tigh. Tigh’s been wanting to have a chat with him, but Adama brushed him off because “emotionally available” isn’t exactly in his repertoire for people who aren’t Roslin or, occasionally, Lee. But a nice, friendly talk isn’t on Adama’s mind. Nope. He wants to goad Tigh into killing him.
He pulls out the big guns, too. “You’re a frakking machine.” “Were you programmed to be my friend?” “Ellen must’ve frakked all those guys because she knew, on some level, what you were. She wanted a real man. Oh, BTW, she came onto me once.”
At first Tigh’s just resigned—his friend is drunk and hurting, and Tigh knows how that goes. But bringing his wife into it causes Tigh to snap, as Adama knew it would. When Tigh points a gun at him Adama orders him to shoot, or else he’ll kill himself. Tigh, realizing the purpose of Adama’s visit, refuses to play along and even tries to get his friend to stop drinking. Adama then goes into one of his metaphor modes, talking about foxes and hounds, but basically what it boils down to is that he’s tempted to give up. Tigh tells him that neither of them can, because they’re leaders and people are depressed enough already.
The tables, how they have turned. Adama’s in a dark place, and Tigh’s there for him. There should be a kid’s book about these two: My Best Friend the Cylon.
Adama, with a renewed sense of purpose, announces to the fleet that they and the Cylons are going to go off in search of a new home. Not being able to stay on Earth is a bummer, he says (not that he’d ever use the word “bummer”), but the thirteen tribes of Kobol found home when they went off on a similar mission, and we will too.
Now it is time
Tyrol, shooting the breeze down on Earth, flashes back to the pre-nuke planet. He sees himself, in civvie clothes, doing some fruit shopping at a market right before the bombs hit. Anders has a similar flashback of him playing “All Along the Watchtower.” And Tory remembers herself living on Earth too, but we don’t find out more details, because as far as the writers are concerned she’s the red-headed stepchild of the Final Five family.
The Final Five are originally from Earth. They don’t know how they survived the destruction of the planet, how they came to live on Caprica, or why they forgot their former lives and came to believe themselves to be human.
D’anna tells Tigh that she’s staying on Earth to die among “the bones of my ancestors,” which saddens me because no more Lucy Lawless. But then I get happy again, because Tigh flashback. He was in the rubble of a building before the nukes hit, trying to get some lady out. She says not to worry, that everything’s in place and they’ll be reborn again together.
And yep. It’s Ellen. Tigh realizes that she’s the last Cylon.
It feels good to be a fan of the Tighs!
And she’ll be a bad guy, yessssss lady villains!
And I’m sure there’s nothing but angst and pain in my future, because Tigh’s going to have to choose between Adama and Ellen or something.
But I don’t care! Let me have this for now!
The Face of the Enemy
This isn’t a screencap like I usually use. But it’s accurate. And I suspect that it will continue to be so. Buckle up, buttercups. It’s time for the Gaetasode.
It’s six days after the discovery of Earth, and the fleet has set out in search of a less nuked planet on which to settle. Gaeta’s been overworking himself, so Tigh orders him to get his butt over to the Zephyr and take a week of R&R. And he does have to order him. Last episode we saw Gaeta’s distaste at needing other people to help him post-amputation, and he still bristles at any implication that he can’t do his job correctly.
But he has no other choice, so it’s off to a shuttle he goes. On the way he’s stopped by Hoshi, who’s *ahem*
stolen borrowed acquired some morpha for him to use during his vacation. Turns out Gaeta and Hoshi are an item. Yay for multiple canon LGBT characters! Also yay for someone else liking Gaeta. Dee seemed to be his only friend, and now she’s dead.
Joining Gaeta on the shuttle are a mechanic named Brooks, two pilots, and two Eights, who for simplicity’s sake I will refer to as Eight and Goth Eight (because she’s wearing a black jacket, let me have my fun). What’s supposed to be a 15-minute trip gets decidedly more complicated when Cylons show up and the whole fleet has to make an emergency jump. Only there’s a problem with the Raptor’s coordinates, and Gaeta and the rest end up out in the middle of nowhere with no idea where everyone else is.
You know what they need now? They need math. And Gaeta’s on the job, swooping into work mode to do non-linear calculations like a boss while everyone else (well, the humans) freaks out and yells at each other. Eight asks Gaeta if he recognizes her, and I would guess no, because there are a lot of you, Eight. But judging by his face, he does.
Back on the Galactica we find out that the Cylons didn’t actually show up. It was a false alarm, so the fleet just went back to its original location. But it’s been two days and Gaeta’s not back yet, so Hoshi knows something’s wrong. He asks Tigh for permission to take a Raptor and a pilot and go after him, and at first Tigh’s having none of it. What are they gonna do, jump around randomly and hope they’ll run into a single ship somewhere in the vastness of space? But Hoshi appeals to Tigh’s humanity (kinda), saying that he and Gaeta are nudge nudge wink wink, and he knows there’s some force in the universe that will lead them together.
And it works. Tigh may be a grumpy drunk, but he’s not just that. He retains some of his crusty old man exterior by saying “Well you have to run it by the old man,” but there wasn’t even a moment’s hesitation. Gaeta’s boyfriend asks if he can go after him, and he says yes.
Back on the Raptor Gaeta & co. have only 20 hours of air left before they all die. And that’s if they don’t take in as much oxygen as usual, meaning that they’ll start getting way mentally discombobulated. Brooks decides to take a look at the innards of the ship and see if he can pull a MacGyver. Goth Eight offers to help, but when she does she’s electrocuted to death because someone stripped off the insulating cover of Brooks’ pliers. Everyone gets all shifty-eyed when Gaeta tries to get to the bottom of it; no one’s particularly sad that a skinjob is dead, and with one less person on the ship all the survivors have longer to live. Eventually Gaeta says that it must’ve been an accident. At Eight’s suggestion, they jettison the body into space.
Through a series of flashbacks we find out where Gaeta knows Eight from: She was his contact on New Caprica. He’d give her a list of imprisoned humans, and she’d get them out of detention. More than that, they were bros. More than that, they were lovers. And now she’s his Cylon ex and they’re trapped on a ship together with limited air while Gaeta’s current significant other is out looking for him.
Back in the present day Eight wakes Gaeta up to tell him that by plugging herself into the Raptor’s computer she can get them home. But he has to stand guard while she does it, because if the others see they’ll think she’s a dirty Cylon saboteur. Before Eight can cut her hand and jam the appropriate cable in (eugh, never wanted to see that again) Gaeta notices that Brooks is dead, having been injected with two of Gaeta’s morpha syringes.
There’s no way to know whether he killed himself or someone else did it, but the pilots are convinced that Eight’s responsible. She gets tied up, but as soon as everyone else falls asleep she uses the knife she’s been hiding to cut herself loose. Gaeta catches her in the act, and the two of them plug her into the Raptor. It’s a tense situation all-around; plugging a cable into one’s arm can’t be fun, and between the oxygen deprivation and the ew factor and the pain in his leg Gaeta looks like he’s about to pass out. Eight says that she’s trying to “project” to a good memory (like Cylons do), aka one of them getting funky on New Caprica. She kisses him and he pulls back, telling her that she’s with someone else now. And I’m all ready to slap Gaeta on the back for being a stand-up guy until they go and kiss anyway.
Well now I just want to slap him. Gaeta, I’m trying to give you the benefit of the doubt and blame this on you being mentally loopy. But you are not making it easy for me to like you right now.
After only a bit of mackage Eight finds the fleet’s position. Everything is wonderful! They can go home! Except there are 13 minutes left so I’m guessing that’s not gonna happen.
Meanwhile Hoshi and Racetrack are having no luck in their (let’s be real) completely hopeless search for Hoshi’s BF. She tells him she’s happy he and Gaeta got together, because people had been betting on it forever. Oh, those frakking cute bastards. Hoshi waxes poetic about Gaeta’s “moral code,” and Racetrack puts her foot in her mouth when she remarks that having a moral code is a surefire way to get oneself killed. Later on, after more searching, Racetrack is the one to convince Hoshi to give Gaeta up for dead. After a certain amount of time it doesn’t make sense to look anymore, she says. And he’d know that. He’d understand what you have to do.
Practical and a little bit (unintentionally) callous. Oh, Racetrack.
Gaeta’s Raptor makes the jump to the coordinates Eight found, but the rest of the fleet isn’t there. There’s not enough power for another jump, but as a last ditch effort they can send out a pulse and hope that if anyone’s in range they’ll pick it up and come rescue them. Except there’ll only be two of them to rescue, since the pilots’ throats have been cut. It’s gotta be Eight, since she’s the only one left.
And it’s time for a villain monologue!
Eight is the one who killed the pilots, Brooks, and (accidentally) Goth Eight, because she and Gaeta needed the air. She appears to be unhealthily fixated on him, which appears to be a trend with her model (looking at you, Faux Athena). As if that’s not bad enough, it turns out that back on New Caprica she would take the names on the lists Gaeta gave her and kill them. She wasn’t working for the Resistance. He was working for the Cylons, albeit without knowing.
And Gaeta just cannot handle it. He tries everything he can to convince himself that what she’s saying isn’t true, but in the end he has to accept that it is. He already hated himself for siding with Baltar, but what got him through the aftermath is that he figured out how wrong his choice was and started working for the good guys before it was too late. And now he finds out that even when he was doing the right thing he was still frakking up and getting people killed. It’s the same old refrain: He let his emotions (in this case, hope that he was doing something to save people) get in the way of rational decision-making. It was obvious that Eight was seducing him to get names, and she argues that even he must’ve known on some subconscious level what was going on. But since he didn’t want to believe it, he shut it out.
That’s what Baltar was talking about in the legendary (well, legendary to me) pen scene. Baltar knew that Gaeta was being played, and he taunted him with the knowledge of what “your Eight” did.
And Gaeta’s default mode is apparently “stab things,” because just as he stabbed Baltar in the neck so now he stabs Eight to death. Everyone on the ship is dead but him. There’s blood on his hands both literally and figuratively. With only 21 minutes of air left he’s almost certainly going to die. And he’s not in a good place mentally or emotionally, to put it lightly. And oh look, there are two morpha left: Enough for a lethal dose.
Don’t do it, Gaeta! Don’t do it!
And he doesn’t, which is a damn good thing, because mere seconds later Hoshi’s Raptor shows up.
So it’s not all suckitude for Gaeta; he’s alive and he has Hoshi, who holds his hands as he’s wheeled to the Galactica’s infirmary. And Hoshi has to think everything’s great. He boyfriend had only 21 minutes left to live, but he found him! Yay!
Except things are shaping up to be decidedly not yay in the future. The episode ends with Gaeta, through with self-imposed ignorance, confronting Tigh about how he’s a Cylon. Tigh just brushes it off and says he can bring it up with Adama at the next meeting, but something tells me Geata’s not going to go through normal channels for this one. Adama knows Tigh’s a Cylon, and he’s fine with it (or fine-ish), but Gaeta doesn’t know that. He tells Hoshi that he’s planning something, but he won’t say what it is. “I’ll protect you,” he says, “but if this doesn’t work out and I’m wrong… you have a bright future, Louis.”
That… that sounds bad. He’s probably planning something that, he hopes, will torpedo the human-Cylon alliance. Or if it’s not that, it’s surely something equally misguided.
Stop doing stupid sh*t, oh my Gods.
I want to hug you.
But I also want to throw a bus at your head.
I want to drown you…
… in puppies.
This will not end well you stupid frakker, it never does, I hate you I love you what are you doing
(FYI, there will be no Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap next week, as I’m spending some time with family for the holidays and therefore want to avoid the utter pain that BSG brings me. Have a happy Thanksgiving, American readers!)
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 is here. Have a (non-spoilery, for the love of God) comment? Hit me up on Twitter.
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com