Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: Taking a Break From All Your Worries, The Woman King


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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.

Helo and Gaeta are awesome. Lee is not. Baltar gets tortured again. And I’m missing Lucy Lawless already.

Taking a Break From All Your Worries

Gaeta stabbed Baltar in the neck with a pen!

But first some other, less awesome stuff happened. So I’ll recap that too. I guess. *sigh*

(I don’t know what it says about me that my initial reaction to Gaeta going all pen-stabby was “This is the best thing ever, oh my God.” I don’t care to look into it all that much, either.)

It’s a quiet, peaceful night aboard the Galactica, and Baltar is being subjected to sleep deprivation torture in the brig. So, y’know. Not so peaceful for him. At the urging of Head Six he fashions a noose out of his clothes and prepares to hang himself. He balks at the last minute, but Head Six tells him it’s time to find out if he’s really one of the Final Five and pushes his footing away.

He comes to in one of the Cylon’s goop-filled resurrection chambers surrounded by a trio of Sixes. You’d think that means he’s a Cylon, but you can’t fool me, show: Baltar’s brand new body wouldn’t have the same beard as his old one. But he thinks he’s a Cylon… that is, until the Sixes tell him he’s human and push his head under the surface.

While all this has been going on Gaeta, unable to sleep, has gone to see Baltar. The guard tells him only people with direct Presidential authorization are allowed contact with the prisoner. Gaeta says he has authorization, but it’s a lie. We’re not sure at this point why Gaeta wants to see his ex-boss, but we do know that, whatever his reason is, he wants to keep it a secret. He and the guard find Baltar, and the latter gives him CPR, reviving him.

Baltar’s not only been subjected to sleep deprivation, he’s also undergoing a hunger strike. Tigh is of the opinion that they should just let him die, but Roslin points out that they need his intel on whether the Cylons deciphered the Eye of Jupiter and are ahead of them on the way to Earth. Doc Cottle is ordered to make sure Baltar eats, and Tigh goes off to get security cameras installed in his cell. Roslin asks Gaeta what he was doing in the brig, and he says he just thought Baltar might be willing to talk to him. Liar.

Later Roslin goes to see Baltar, and hoboy, do things get heavy. Baltar’s not pleased that he’s being force-fed, and Roslin’s not pleased about the whole betraying humanity thing, even after Baltar defends himself by saying—for the twelve billionth time—he’s saved her life before. Baltar, I thought you were supposed to be smart! The tactic doesn’t work.

Baltar rejects all responsibility for the way humans were treated on New Caprica and says he doesn’t know anything about the Cylons’ journey to Earth. Furthermore, he claims that he had nothing to do with the Cylons getting into Caprica’s defense systems prior to the attack that wiped out most of humanity. Baltar, for frak’s sake. She already knows. Sure, she doesn’t have any proof, but she’s convinced of Baltar’s guilt. He gains nothing by continuing to lie about this. If she really wants to airlock him, which Baltar is convinced she does, she has enough of a reason already. What can she do, airlock him twice? She even thinks things are worse than they really are, as she believes he was actively helping the Cylons when in reality he was just tricked by them.

And that, of course, is the reason he doesn’t tell. Well, one of the reasons. He doesn’t want to work with his captors because he has a major persecution complex, and on top of that explaining how Caprica tricked him would be admitting that he’s not quite the infallible, better-than-everyone-else supergenius he sees himself as. It frustrates me that he doesn’t come clean, but it’s absolutely in fitting with his character.

Roslin then proceeds to absolutely wail Baltar him, screaming about whether he’d recognize even one of the people killed on New Caprica while he was under the protection of the Cylons. Baltar maintains his innocence, so Roslin orders the guards to drag him away and airlock him. They go down the memorial wall with all the pictures, and a panicked Baltar finds a picture of dead person he did know: His former lab assistant. I introduced him to his wife, he says. I’m the godfather of his first child. I’d never harm him.

Roslin doesn’t buy it and orders the guards to take him back to his cell. She was never really going to have him airlocked—it was all a ruse to get him to talk. Even when she loses her composure as epically as she did in this scene, it’s all done intentionally. I’m pretty sure if Roslin screamed at me like that I’d confess to things I hadn’t even done.

Everything else having failed, Adama suggests they interrogate Baltar with the help of an experimental drug that gives its victims a heightened state of anxiety. Baltar will feel like he has to answer honestly or his interrogators will let him die. It’s dangerous, and Doc Cottle for one is uneasy at the prospect, but it’s one of the few options they have left. Roslin’s for it as well. I wonder if she would have been two seasons ago.

The interrogation makes Baltar feel like he’s floating in a body of water in the dark, Adama’s voice his only company. Baltar starts talking about Caprica and how she saved his life when the Cylons attacked. It then comes out that he didn’t know he was helping a Cylon, so while he was involved in the genocide, he wasn’t some cackling, moustache-twirling villain. Adama threatens to let Baltar drown if he doesn’t cough up details on what the Cylons know about Earth. In response Baltar just blathers that he’s a flawed human being who’s made terrible mistakes, but he was just another pawn. He then lets slip that he was at the temple looking for the Final Five, and he thought he might by a Cylon, but now he knows he isn’t. At this point Baltar’s so far gone that Doc Cottle demands the interrogation be stopped.

Now it’s time for another tactic. Baltar’s convinced that he’ll be killed no matter what, so maybe if they make him think they  might let him live then he’ll talk. To do that, they’ll need someone he trusts.

Ohai, Gaeta!

He visits Baltar in his cell, the pair of them being watched by Roslin, Tigh, and Adama through the recently installed security cameras. Gaeta says that if Baltar tells them something, anything, they’ll let him live. He then pulls out the charts he’s been using to plot the course to Earth and says he’s worried some of his calculations might be wrong. Appealing to Baltar’s vanity is the way to go: “Yeah, you did make some mistakes, but I saw them right away because I’m awesome like that. Cylon algorithms are more advanced than ours, but I memorized a few because, hello, genius.” Gaeta overplays his hand when he says Baltar might even get moved into proper quarters if he cooperates. Aware that something’s wrong,  Baltar looks right at the security camera and gives a jaunty little wave. The jig is up!

And then. The pen scene. Baltar tells Gaeta he should’ve known Gaeta would betray him. You told your friends you kept working for me on New Caprica to feed information to the Resistance, he says, but who do you think let you do that? I literally had a gun to my head when I signed that death order, but no one forced you to play both sides. But you’re worse than a traitor. If only your friends knew the truth. Then he whispers something in Gaeta’s ear that causes him to pick up a pen and go for the jugular.

Baltar, what did you say to him? Gaeta, what did you do? What the hell?!

Breathe, Rebecca. Breathe. Adama and Roslin storm into the room, where Gaeta is still freaking the hell out. He has Baltar in a headlock, prepared to stab him again. Rosin tells Gaeta she knows that when he came to see Baltar the other night he was planning to kill him, not interrogate him. That’s when Adama takes Gaeta out with a mean right hook. Doc Cottle says Gaeta missed Baltar’s artery, so he’ll live.

Later, in sickbay, Head Six tells Baltar that it could’ve gone much worse. At least you didn’t tell them you were the Chosen One, she says, whatever that means. (I thought the Chosen One was supposed to see the faces of the Final Five… but Baltar didn’t. Oh, whatever. I can’t try and predict what’s going to happen with this show. It’ll just make the inevitable WTF? moment even worse.)

And now: I’ve put it off long enough. I have to talk about the Lee/Dee Starbuck/Anders stuff that went down this episode. Tyrol shows Lee a new bar that’s sprung up on the Galactica, and Lee starts spending a lot of time there, to the dismay of Dee, who… y’know, doesn’t like her husband coming home drunk all the time. She later calls him on his affair with Starbuck, and he says that there’s nothing going on, and that… oh Gods, it makes me see red just to type it… that “The only problem is that you don’t trust me.”

No. Lee. I’m pretty sure the problem is that you’re cheating on your wife. I get that you’re conflicted, and even that you genuinely do want to do the right thing, but don’t you dare lay your failings at her feet.

Dee sees through the BS, too, and says that she always knew this was coming, even before they got married. And she accepted his proposal anyway because she wanted to have as much with him as she could before the Starbuck thing popped up, which it now has. Then she cuts him loose, saying if he wants to be with Starbuck he can, but their relationship is over.

Anders, meanwhile, tells Starbuck she should go to Lee. With Starbuck and Lee both given a way out from their marriages it looks like this particular drama llama might be heading to a grassy field in the sky. But no. Starbuck asks Lee whether he’ll leave Dee if she leaves Anders, and Lee has the absolute balls to take the high road and say they can’t just back out of their marriages. You mean the marriages you already ruined? I absolutely get that marriages can be tough and you have to work at them, and five percent of me respects that Lee’s willing to put in the time to make his relationship with Dee work. But the other 95 percent is just “You’re doing this to make yourself feel better about yourself, she gave you an out, she understands you love someone else more than her, consider someone else’s feelings instead of your obsession with your own ‘morality’ for ONCE, you FRAKKER.”

OK, OK… I’m done.

Lee tries to commiserate with Tyrol about their respective relationship problems, but it turns out Tyrol just had a normal fight with Cally and isn’t in love with someone else, so that’s not much help. You’d think it’d make him realize that maybe the rift is his marriage is so big that it would be better for everyone involved to just let it go, but no. He tells Dee that he loved Starbuck, and maybe there’s a part of him that always will, but he married her. And what’s more, she’s good for him and he needs her.

But anyway. Lee and Dee decide to try and make it work. And Starbuck and Anders decide to make it work. And I’m about to decide to make it work between me and a punching bag, because I am done with this plotline.

The episode ends with Roslin and Adama talking about Baltar. Roslin says she didn’t even really want intel on the Cylons, she just wanted an admission of guilt, and she was willing to inflict pain to get it. But you won’t get that admission, says Adama, because Baltar sees himself as a victim. Two and a half seasons in and Baltar’s true personality—self-serving, cowardly, weaselly—is fully revealed. The only thing to do now is give him his trial.

The Woman King

Well whaddaya know. I just started liking Helo. I guess any affection I used to have for Lee has to go somewhere else, and Helo’s at least earned his sense of moral superiority.

Since Tigh came back as Galactica’s XO Helo’s been put in charge of Dogsville, the civilian refugee camp that takes up part of the hangar deck. It’s not a job that he enjoys doing: There are too many people and not enough resources, and 300 more civvies are about to come aboard. Of those, 50 are from Sagittaron, the colony where everyone’s super-religious and refuses to have any truck with new-fangled things like doctors and medicine. They’re the pariahs of the Battlestar Galactica world; nobody likes them, and they pretty much keep to themselves.

Assigned to help Helo out is Dr. Michael Robert (hi there, Senator Kelly!), a friend of Tigh’s who’s in charge of Dogville’s medical situation. He’s frustrated by the Sagittarons’ refusal to let him even examine them, especially given that they appear to have brought an epidemic of Mellorak sickness to the ship with them. It’s easily treatable, but only if the patient is given medicine within the first 48 hours. Needless to say, the Sagittarons aren’t lining up to get the shots. Mellorak sickness is transmittable through human contact, so while it’s confined to the Sagittarons now, with hundreds of civilians living in cramped quarters it won’t take long to spread.

Helo gets a visit from Portia King, a Sagittaron woman whose son Willie Dr. Robert tried to examine earlier in the episode. She tells him that Willie started getting sick, so against her better judgement she took him to see the Doctor, but he died anyway. She’s convinced that he killed him; he’d been sick for less than 12 hours, she says, which should be well within the timeframe for the medicine to have worked. Helo asks Dr. Robert about Willie, but he brushes off the mother’s suspicions, saying her son must’ve been sick for longer.

Later, in the shipboard bar, Helo and the rest are gossiping about the Sagittaron situation. Tyrol has no pity for them, calling them “backwards fools” and giving them crap for not having helped the resistance on New Caprica. Lee tells him to knock it off, since Dee comes from Sagittaron, and she’s standing right there. Oops. Dee’s not offended, though, and says she more reason than most to be mad at her fellow Sagittarons and their medicine-hating ways. Dee and Lee get their cute on, and Starbuck’s there giving some epic stinkeye in the background.

So how’s that whole “work on your marriages and stop being hung up on each other” thing going?

Back in Dogsville the Sagittarons are convinced that Dr. Robert’s killed another man, a person whom he sneakily immunized without consent. Helo objects to this clear breach of medical ethics, but Dr. Robert said he was doing his rounds and the guy was screaming in pain—what was he supposed to do? The Doctor’s being really defensive here. Also the man had been sick for more than 48 hours, which would mean he really shouldn’t have been curable, and therefore Dr. Robert shouldn’t have used any of the limited supply of medicine on him. Something doesn’t add up.

Helo takes his concerns to Adama, who brushes him off and grumpily tells him to stop making unfounded accusations and get back to work. Tigh corners Helo in the hall afterwards and goads him for always being on the minority side of any conflict. He has a point: Helo was the only one who didn’t approve of the plan to commit genocide agains the Cylons, and now he’s the only one who thinks the Sagittarons might be something other than paranoid crackpots. It’s an interesting character dynamic: Like everyone else, he’s concerned with fighting the good fight and doing the right thing, but he so often finds himself on a completely different wavelength from his friends and allies.

While Dr. Robert was on New Caprica fighting the resistance, Tigh says, you were snuggling up with your Cylon wife. Helo hauls off and punches him, but Tigh doesn’t seem to mind: I’m guessing he’s gotten people mad enough to punch him quite a few times.

Hera, meanwhile, has gotten sick, and therefore needs a vaccination shot from Dr. Robert. Helo’s uncertain about letting a possible murderer jab a needle into his daughter, but he’s not sure he’s right about Dr. Robert—at this point, neither are we—so he follows Athena’s advice and lets him give Hera the shot. Later Helo tells Athena that he thinks he was put in charge of Dogsville as punishment, that Tigh was right and everyone judges him for always being the voice of dissent. Athena basically tells him to suck it up and do his damn job. Even if they do hate him for who he is, it’s not like she doesn’t have to deal with that every day.

Helo goes to poke around in the Dr. Robert’s New Caprica medical records. Turns out the guy has a major hate-on for Sagittarons: Of the ones he treated ninety percent died, while Capricans, for example, had only a six percent mortality rate under his care. Doc Cottle finds Helo snooping and refuses to listen to his findings. Helo says that if Cottle will just do an autopsy on Willie King he’ll stop it with the accusations, but he gets the wind taken out of his sails when Doc Cottle says he already did an autopsy and there was nothing suspicious about it at all.

So it looks like that’s it… until Dee comes down with something and goes to Dr. Robert for treatment. Uh-oh. Ms. King warns Helo that his friend might be in danger, and Athena tries to talk him out of going to check on her—she’ll be fine, Dr. Robert’s not a murderer, it’s all over the ship how you’re listening to the Sagittarons, etc. Helo fires back that Athena only seems to care about injustice and prejudice when it affects their family. But Helo’s determination that Dr. Robert is a racist d-bag who’s killing his patients isn’t Helo projecting his own issues about Cylon discrimination: The doctor’s doing something wrong, and he’s going to stop it.

Dee’s conscious but in a bad place. Helo tries to take her to Doc Cottle, but Dr. Richard stops him. Helo outright accuses him of poisoning people, and there’s a fight between Helo and the guards that looks like it could turn nasty. That’s when Doc Cottle and Tigh show up. Turns out Doc Cottle lied about performing the autopsy on Willie King, but he’s done it now (how conveeeeeenient), and Helo was right all along. Dr. Robert defends himself, asking why he should waste time and medicine on people who don’t want his help. With the Sagittarons looking on he accuses them of being like “worms crawling on a hot rock” who are going to die anyway, so they don’t deserve treatment. He reminds Tigh that he hates Sagittarons, too, but Tigh says there’s something he hates more: Being wrong. He orders Helo to arrest Dr. Richard, who tells Helo that he didn’t kill Dee because she’s “one of the good ones.”

Adama summons Helo into his office and apologizes to him for completely dismissing his concerns before. You’re the “lone voice in the wilderness,” he says, the one person who’s never stopped trying to keep everyone else on the right path.

After this scene ends there’s a minute left in the episode, and it says something about how this show has warped my mind that I was half-convinced it would end with Hera suddenly dying or a Cylon fleet showing up or a killer clown popping out of a garbage hatch and stabbing people. I am not used to happy endings anymore, not even temporary ones.

For a recap of what went on the rest of the episode: Roslin tells Zarek about her plans to give Baltar a trial. He objects, saying a trial will cause civil unrest so bad that it will bring down the fleet. If she insists on doing it, fine, but he recommends instituting martial law. Roslin refuses and later expresses to Tory her concern at just how scared Zarek looked. Same, Roslin. Civil unrest is Zarek’s jam. He just be expecting something really bad for it to freak him out so much.

Athena goes to visit Caprica in her cell and tells her her best chance of survival is to help Roslin by providing evidence of Baltar’s treason. Athena isn’t Caprica’s only visitor, though: Head Baltar shows up to ask her why she gave herself up to the humans. He thinks it’s because, deep down, she wants to be one of them. But the trick to that is only thinking about yourself. It’s a pretty innocuous scene; what makes it great is that Roslin is watching and listening to everything in the room, including Caprica talking to Head Baltar. She tells Tory that she’s noticed Caprica talking to someone or something else before.

Is this just a red herring, or is Roslin going to so some investigation and find out about Head Baltar? And then maybe Head Six? Will Baltar find out about Head Baltar? Will Caprica find out about Head Six? Will we finally find out what’s up with these frakking head ghosts?

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.

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