Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: The Hub, Revelations
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.
What… what just happened? Oh my God. What?!
What was going on among the Cylons while Adama was freaking out over on the Galactica? Baltar was being a narcissistic tool (as always). Roslin stepped to the edge of the Cliff of Murder and looked down at the Gorge of Villainy. And Lucy Lawless came back!
Turns out the hybrid jumping the Basestar away and Athena shooting Six are connected—when the hybrid sensed that Six (this one’s name is Natalie, which we only find out after I have no reason to write about her anymore, thanks a lot, show) died she panicked and sent the ship off in search of the Resurrection hub. But the hybrid can only sense where the hub is after it’s already gotten there, meaning there’s a lot of bopping around for the Basestar to do.
Every time the ship makes another jump Roslin finds herself in this weird sort of dream space. It looks like the Galactica, only it’s empty. Filling the role of Roslin’s spirit guide is Elosha, the priest who died back in season two.
Elosha leads Roslin to sickbay, where she sees her future self (or a version thereof) about to die of cancer. Keeping vigil around her are Adama, Lee, and Starbuck. They’re the people she’s closest to, but all the same Elosha tells the real Roslin that she doesn’t love them, because “you don’t make room for people anymore.”
Who is this Elosha phantom and why has she stepped in to make Roslin realize how cold-hearted she’s become? Never mind. I don’t care. I’m just glad it’s happening. Your self-realization awaits, m’lady.
Back on the Basestar an Eight and Helo have an informal tactical meeting to figure out how they can take out the hub and rescue D’anna. Their fellow Cylons will detect the Vipers’ heat signatures, so they’ll have to be towed in by Raiders and only turned on at the last minute. While the battle’s going on Helo and Eight can slip onto the hub and unbox D’anna.
Nothing weird about this conversation so far. And then Eight explains that she got “curious” about Athena, Helo, and Hera, so she downloaded Athena’s memories into herself. She’s not Helo’s wife, but she remembers everything about their life together as if she were. “I know it must feel like a violation of trust,” Faux Athena says, “but I don’t want it to be strange, OK?”
Helo goes to have a chat Roslin that has substantially less by way of second-hand embarrassment. Roslin orders that D’anna be brought straight to her when she’s found, which goes against their agreement with the Cylons. Helo’s uncomfortable with it, but Roslin emphasizes that her decision is borne of practicality: The identity of the Final Five is an issue of security, and she “won’t let the Cylons sit on on that discussion.”
Roslin… that sounds an awful lot like you’re planning to kill D’anna—for good, since the Resurrection hub will be gone—after she tells you who the Final Five are. Not only is that blatantly lying to the Cylons, it’s also essentially tricking them into killing themselves. And, as Helo points out later, it’s taking Earth and slapping a humans-only sign on it. If she follows through it’ll be awful Admiral Cain-y of her.
Helo’s D’anna-rescuing mission gets easier when Brother Cavil and Boomer download D’anna’s consciousness into a body themselves. Brother Cavil says he woke her up so she’d convince the rebellious Cylons to rejoin their brethren, but that doesn’t seem right to me. There’s no way D’anna’s going to do it, first of all. She has no reason to. Plus Brother Cavil is the one who boxed her, and even when he brings her into a new body he makes no secret of the fact that he still thinks even mentioning the Final Five is blasphemous. Plus Brother Cavil’s just plain tricker than this scene would suggest. And something about Boomer allying with him is off, too. Maybe she’s a double agent? Something’s weird here. I just don’t know what it is.
The human and Cylon pilots are preparing for the joint attack on the hub, and the humans look ready to mutiny at the thought of putting their lives in Cylon hands until Faux Athena gives a stirring speech about how her fellow Cylons are laying their lives on the line, and if both sides don’t work together they’re all going to die. The speech works, and the Viper pilots stop grumbling. And yet… back down, Faux Athena. I get that you feel like you’re the real Athena, and you have my sympathy, because there’s no way things are going to end well for you. But stop. This is embarrassing.
Meanwhile Baltar and Roslin are trying to get the hybrid to tell them what the opera house vision means, but they’re not getting much of anywhere. Batlar is convinced that he can get the hybrid to stop being cryptic, because it grew to ~like him~ when he was on the Basestar and they have a ~spiritual connection~ now.
Luckily for both those bozos (and Baltar’s bozoness is very much rubbing off on Roslin in this scene) the hybrid coughs up some relevant information, albeit not the info they wanted: The D’anna is back in a body.
The ship jumps again and Roslin has another tête-à-tête with Elosha, who lectures her about how the leader of a people is responsible for its soul. Subtext: Stop being such a dictatorial jerk. But Roslin still sees her immortality as justified because other people—well, no, she’s pretty much only thinking of Baltar–have done so much worse. She sees Adama reading a passage from a book (their book, the Searider Falcon) to her cancer patient self. In it, the main character is left to survive on an empty island, and he tries to build a garden, but instead he leaves only a scar. “This island saved my life,” Adama reads, “and I had done it no service.”
The attack on the hub commences. While the pilots doing their thing and Helo and Faux Athena are charging around looking for D’anna, Baltar’s broing it out with a Centurion. Remember how last season he framed himself as some great egalitarian hero who would stand up to The Man and fight against the ruling elite? He’s doing the same thing here, or trying to, telling the Centurion that his toaster self is being crushed under the oppressive heel of the skinjobs and that the Cylon God doesn’t want any of his children to be slaves.
Oh, Baltar, you little skeez. I love you. To Baltar’s credit the Centurion does look intrigued (well, as intrigued as a robot without much of a face can look), but then the Basestar takes a hit and Baltar’s ministry is cut short by a sizable hole in his gut.
Helo and Faux Athena find D’anna, who killed Brother Cavil as soon as the attack started. And she did it with one hand, without even getting out of the
bath Resurrection tank.
Oh, and during the space battle Pike—the pilot who almost mutinied against Starbuck in “The Road Less Traveled” gets shot and tries to jump back to the fleet, becoming the dead pilot the Galactica came across last episode.
D’anna’s rescued and the Resurrection hub is destroyed, though you can tell Helo for one is conflicted about that second part. But to the Faux Athena it’s all good. Now there’s no difference between humans and Cylons, she says, which means we can start trusting each other.
Yeeeeeeah, I don’t think that’s gonna happen.
Things aren’t going so well for Baltar, who’s bleeding out and only has Roslin—who has no medical training and, possibly more importantly, hates him—there to help. At first she goes into combat medic mode, but when a morpha-addled Baltar starts talking about religion things take a dark turn. At first he’s all “I used to feel guilt, but now I don’t, because God made all of us perfect and I only did what He wanted me to do.” It’s enough to make Roslin look like she wants to punch him in his stomach wound, but this particular religious belief of his is presumably something she’s been made aware of before.
Baltar tells Roslin the thing he used to feel the most guilt for: Giving the defense mainframe access codes to the Cylons, unintentionally making their attack on Caprica possible. In the moment he realized the magnitude of what he’d done—enabling the genocide of the human race—God “saved” him. He’s just a “force of nature,” a tool used by God to give humanity a new beginning.
You got one thing right in that monologue, Baltar: You are a tool.
Roslin looks like she wants to kill him, but she doesn’t look like only that. She’s completely pole-axed. Baltar is her gold standard of awfulness, the person whose existence justifies her actions because no matter what she does there’s no way she could ever even begin to approach the magnitude of what he’s done. She suspected him for years of being the one who betrayed humanity to the Cylons, but she could never prove it, was never able to put him on the spot and make him confront his worst crime. And now, after all this time, he just comes out and says it. And the little bastard doesn’t even feel bad about it! Everything just… worked out for him.
…except now his life is in her hands. Her decision whether or not to kill him is ultimately more about her than it is about him. She’s always known he was responsible for the attack on Caprica, even if she didn’t have hard evidence. And him not feeling remorse… well, she knew about the hippie cult and his weirdo religious beliefs. They’re insulting, but they’re not new. What this all comes down to is whether Roslin has become the sort of person who will take a life.
At first it looks like the answer to that question is yes. She removes Baltar’s bandage, leaving him to bleed out. I was kind of digging it, to be honest. The justice-driven Secretary of Education from the miniseries transforming into an all-out villain by the end of the show would really be interesting.
But ultimately she backs off. It’s probably for the best. Elosha whisks her away to dreamland and tells her that it’s not up to her who lives and who dies, even—perhaps especially—if we’re talking a total scumbag like Baltar. Further, Roslin should “just love someone.” Then Roslin sees her cancer-ridden doppelgänger die, leaving a heartbroken Adama by her side.
Roslin comes to and immediately regrets what she’s done. Panicked, she rebandages Baltar’s wound and checks that he’s still alive, which he is. Having turned away from the Abyss of Villainy Roslin meets with D’anna, who refuses to give up the names of the Final Five because that knowledge is the only thing that makes her valuable enough to keep alive. Clever girl.
So Roslin’s firmly allied herself with the light side of the Force yet again. But Baltar knows she tried to kill him, and the Cylons (or at least Faux Athena) know that she betrayed them by taking D’anna for herself. Roslin might’ve gone White Hat too late to restore the human-Cylon trust that her Black Hat self torpedoed.
It’s worrying, but all the same we get a happy ending. A jump of the Cylon Basestar coincidentally (or not) lands Roslin & co. within spitting distance of Adama in his Raptor. Onboard the Basestar the pair of them have a touching reunion, and Roslin finally tells a teary-eyed Adama she loves him. His response? “About time.”
Revelations, the episode says. It ain’t kidding.
The episode starts before the Basestar gets back to the Galactica, so everyone assumes Roslin and probably Adama are dead. Lee, being sad in his dad’s office, pages through the Book of Pythia and casually mentions the Temple of Aurora that’s supposed to be on Earth. Hmm, it’s almost like it might be relevant in the future. Maybe we’ll finally find out what’s up with that Aurora statue Starbuck got from the oracle?
Starbuck, in an attempt to reassure her friend, shares with him a bit of wisdom that Leoben told her: We’re born to replace our parents, so for kids to reach their full potential their parents have to die.
Kara Thrace: The world’s worst grief counselor.
Back on the Basestar D’anna’s been unboxed for all of a few hours and she’s already running things. Her decision is that she and her fellow Cylons will take the humans on the Basestar captive until the four Cylons in the human fleet are turned over. Leoben tries to convince D’anna that cooperation with the humans is the best course of action, but D’anna’s having none of it.
Adama gets the unhappy job of going back to the Galactica and coordinating the hand-off; Roslin tells him that they can’t let the Cylons get the Final Four and scoot off to Earth by themselves, so if things get bad he has to blow the Basestar to smithereens, hostages included. Reluctantly, he agrees.
Nooooo. She just professed her love! Their relationship just started going well!
When the Basestar jumps back to the human fleet everyone’s all happy (except Gaeta, who’s missing one leg and doesn’t look like he’s doing well at all, poor guy)… until Adama and D’anna roll up in a Raptor and tell everyone about the hostage situation. “You don’t have to do anything but stay out of the way and let the Four come to us” says D’anna to the assembled crowd, which just so happens to include Tory, Tigh, Tyrol, and Anders. “They have nothing to fear. We only want to love and protect them.” Lee and Adama agree not to stop any Cylon who wishes to make their way to the Basestar, but it’s not like they have much of a choice: If the Cylons don’t make themselves known then Roslin and dozens of others, including a good chunk of the fleet’s military power, are going to be killed.
Mere seconds after D’anna’s grand pronouncement Tory asks if she can go to the Basestar to bring Roslin her medicine.
Tigh’s immediate response: “No!”
D’anna’s also been leveling some heavy-duty ~significant glances~ at her four hidden buds. How did you guys ever manage to spearhead evil conspiracies when you’re all but cackling and moustache twirling all the time?
There’s no indication that Adama and Lee figure out right away that Tory’s one of the Final Five, but they had to have pieced it together. The Final Five aren’t going to be some random civilians. The Cylons’ track record is placing their secret agents in places where they’re able to do some serious harm. The Final Five are their heavy hitters, so they’re going to be where the action is. Like, say, at the President’s right hand.
In Adama’s office Starbuck proposes that they cook up a plan to get the hostages back by force. Adama gives her the go-ahead but tells her that if it doesn’t work Roslin wants them to blow up the Basestar. Lee, as Mr. President, has the ultimate say, and he agrees to follow Roslin’s suggestion.
Tigh feels. Adama’s not only his best friend—he’s his only friend, the person who defends him and sees his value when everyone else dismisses him as an alcoholic drunkard. He saw what it did to Adama when Roslin was kidnapped. If she dies it’ll destroy him. And she will die if he and his fellow Cylons don’t step forward. But doing that would be risking not only his life, but something that in Tigh’s eyes (well, eye) is far more important: Adama’s trust and friendship.
Why did I ever start liking Tigh? It has brought me nothing but pain!
Over on the Galactica Baltar and Roslin are having a Moment that, surprisingly, doesn’t involve them slap fighting. Instead Baltar thanks Roslin for not murdering him, acknowledging that it can’t have been an easy decision for her to make, but all the same he appreciates not being dead.
Did… did Baltar just behave like a mature adult?
I’m not entirely convinced he won’t backslide and devote an entire episode of his pirate radio show to that time Roslin almost killed him, but hey, a few seconds of not being a weaselly little jerk is still progress.
And anyway, a minute later he’s back to his old self. A Six and Tory march in to let Roslin know, boom, your assistant was one of the Final Five the whole time! Roslin’s gobsmacked, and she couldn’t blow up at Tory even if she wanted to, because she’s a hostage and there’s still the slim chance of peace between the Cylons and the humans that’d probably disappear if she went for the throat of one of their precious Final Five.
The first thing Baltar says upon finding out is “I knew it! [Internal dialogue: Ohcrapohcrap not a good thing to say, Roslin already hates my guts]… I mean I knew on a subconscious level that something was wrong. See? Still a genius. Not a traitor.”
Roslin goes into diplomacy mode and tries to get Tory to talk her fellow Cylons into releasing the hostages. But Tory’s done taking Roslin’s orders, thank you very much. Mic drop!
With one of the Final Five back in their collective robot bosom, the Cylons have gotten a bit antsy and decide to execute one hostage every 15 minutes until other three are returned to them.
On the Galactica those three hear some funky static that leads them to the Viper Starbuck came back from Earth in. There’s clearly something significant about the ship, and Tigh respectfully recommends (OK, OK, orders) that Starbuck be summoned to figure out what it is. Then he storms out…
… to go tell Adama he’s a Cylon.
It’s the only thing he can really do, and kudos to him for doing it. But it still breaks my heart.
At first Adama refuses to believe what Tigh’s saying, insisting that the Cylons must’ve implanted a chip in his head when he was imprisoned on New Caprica. Even now, when Tigh’s straight up telling him he’s a Cylon, his response is “Oh no, my bro! What did they do to you?!” He just doesn’t understand how someone who’s been through so much at the hands of the Cylons could possibly be one of them. (Tigh: “Tell me about it.”) Tigh explains that he only found out recently and that D’anna will release the hostages if Adama threatens to airlock him.
He’s willing to sacrifice himself. Without question.
I can’t handle this.
As Tigh gets marched to the airlock by his friendly local marines, Adama has a Category 5 freakout in his office. Screaming. Throwing things. Drinking. Punching his mirror. Sobbing. His friend’s gonna die. And he’ll be the one who lets it happen. But his friend was a Cylon. But oh, all the awful things his Cylon friend has been through. And his friend’s gonna die. I feel like I’m gonna die.
Lee tries to comfort his dad and ultimately does the best thing he could possibly do: Offer to take care of the Tigh situation (read: Dealing with the Cylons, possibly airlocking him) so Pops doesn’t have to.
Over in airlockville Lee tells D’anna that if she doesn’t release the hostages in ten minutes Tigh’s gonna go on a spacewalk without a suit. His bargaining position would be a heck of a lot better if he had the other Cylons too, so Tigh gives up Tyrol and Anders’ names. The two of them are at the Viper with Starbuck when the marines march up and take them away. Starbuck doesn’t say anything when she founds out Anders is a Cylon; she’s just stunned. As Anders is dragged away she yells to Starbuck that she has to figure out what about the ship has changed.
Starbuck, to her eternal credit, gets right on that. She just found out her husband’s a Cylon, but a chance to find Earth has just popped up, and a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta go. She figures it out pretty quickly and legs it to the airlock…
…where Lee’s moments away from jettisoning Tigh. D’anna’s convinced that he’s bluffing, so she’s about to execute all the hostages and nuke the human fleet for good measure. Baltar steps up and offers to try and talk her out of it, since they had a Cylon religion-based rapport once. He argues that Lee isn’t bluffing and that he’ll kill Tigh, Anders, and Tyrol—and therefore their shot at finding Earth—without hesitation. When that doesn’t work he reminds her that every single time there’s been a brute force stand-off between humans and Cylons neither side has gotten what they wanted. Maybe God brought you back to end things peacefully, he suggests.
Which is some pretty clever thinking. And Baltar’s a pretty clever dude with a history of being able to pull something out of his ass whenever the pressure’s on, like it is now. But his argument here seems… genuine. Like he really is, for once, on Roslin’s side with zero reservations. And really, what’s the need for sneakiness anymore? All his secrets are out (…right?). Way to step up, dude.
We never find out whether his argument worked, because Starbuck stops Lee from airlocking Tigh in the nick of time.
Turns out the Viper detected an emergency colonial beacon that can only have come from Earth. Lee’s skeptical, but Starbuck points out all the crazy random happenstances that led to them finding the signal: Her going to Earth and coming back. Finding Leoben. Leoben introducing her to the hybrid, who told her about the Final Five, three of whom led them to this signal that could get them to Earth. Whatever it is orchestrating things, Starbuck says, it clearly wants humans and Cylons to find Earth together.
So, after everything, the two species get together to arrange an alliance. The hostages get returned. Roslin is President again. Nobody’s going to shoot anybody else. The Final Four have amnesty and can stay with the fleet if they so choose. (Tyrol, Tigh, and Anders are later shown on the Galactica, so it looks like they didn’t pull a Tory.) Humans and Cylons are going to Earth together.
And they do.
But… but it’s only episode ten! Out of 21 episodes this season! They can’t find Earth already, can they?
With just under two minutes left in the episode, after what is perhaps Adama’s most inspiring speech yet, the fleet lands on our very own home planet.
And it looks dead. There are no people in sight. And an abandoned city looms in the background.
Wait, what? Where’s the 13th colony? Oh of frakking course. They finally get what they’ve been searching for all this time, and the wonderful blue and green planet they’ve given up so much to reach is actually a blighted post-nuclear landscape. Why did I ever imagine it would be otherwise?
But even if the rest of humanity is gone, our heroes still got to Earth. That’s it. They should be done, barring some odds and ends like establishing a lasting piece with the Cylons, finding out what happened to the thirteenth colony, and answering left over mysterious questions. They’re all important things, but not meaty enough to hinge an entire half of a season on. Not gonna lie, I’m a little taken aback right now. But, on the plus side, if there’s one thing I’ve come to count on BSG for it’s having good season arcs. And the Big Papa/Mama Cylon is still out there somewhere, as are (presumably) a whole bunch of the bad Cylons.
Wow me, Battlestar Galactica. Do it.
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