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Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap: Resistance, The Farm

Recap

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.

Can season two of Battlestar Galactica live up to its awesome first three episodes? Does Gaeta get more screentime? Can Tigh do anything that will make me hate him? The answers to these questions and more in this week’s Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recap.

Resistance

Chief Tyrol had a break last episode, what with being rescued from the surface of Kobol and all. But once he gets back to the Galactica things quickly go sour. Turns out while he was away his ex-girlfriend shot Admiral Adama and was revealed to be a Cylon. Awkwaaaard. He’s interrogated by Tigh, who accuses him of being a Cylon himself before locking him up with Boomer. He’s not too pleased about it. Threatens to kill her, in fact. Golly, I’m not sure whether these two lovebirds will be able to work it out!

Another person upset by the situation is Cally. She firmly believes in Tyrol’s innocence, so much so that she blackmails Baltar—who lied about shooting Crashdown, remember—into helping him. Baltar tries to get permission to use his Cylon detector on Tyrol, but he’s summarily dismissed by Tigh, who has turned into the personification of everyone’s mean, drunk uncle. Imagine a bald, alcoholic Grumpy Cat, and that’s him. Baltar even tries to play the “But I’m the Vice President!” card, only to be told “Martial law, remember? And anyway, your Cylon test gave Boomer a clean slate. It doesn’t work. Get out of my face.” Six, sensing an opportunity for psychological manipulation (I swear there’s an alarm that goes off in her head whenever someone’s mean to Batlar) swoops in and says it’s time to do something about him begin constantly disrespected.

Tigh, meanwhile, is finding that maintaining martial law is more difficult than declaring it. In addition to there being protests and civil disobedience on the other ships, the people in charge of refining Tylium ore say they won’t do so until a representative government comes back, plus several ships are refusing to refuel the Galactica. Ellen, who must share Six’s “manipulate my significant other” alarm, passive-aggressively accuses Tigh of being soft on the dissenters. In response, he gets on the horn to Gaeta and tells him to send a message that anyone who refuses to send fuel will face “stern measures.”

The threats don’t work, and in fact the disobedience gets worse, with ships refusing to send any supplies to the Galactica at all. Tigh orders that boarding parties be sent to the ships responsible to take supplies by force. But said boarding parties are led in many cases by pilots and bridge control officers who have no experience dealing with crowd control. On one of the ships a riot break out, and the whole thing culminates in unarmed civilians being shot and killed.

Man, Tigh can just not get his stuff together, can he? That said, though he’s done some awful things in this episode and the last, I don’t hate him. He’s mean, drunk, and closed-minded, but he’s in an awful situation. I wouldn’t like to hang out with the guy, but he’s one great character.

Plus a later scene with him and Ellen arguing turns into a makeout session, during which his response to his wife saying “I love you so much!” is “Shut up, Ellen.”

Tigh is the best character. Everyone else go home.

While Tigh crashes and burns, Roslin becomes determined to escape from the Galactica, rally her supporters, and head to Kobol so she can meet Starbuck, open the Tomb of Athena, and head to Earth. Since Tigh’s not exactly the most popular guy in the fleet nowadays she has plenty of co-conspirators, among them Dee, Doc Cottle, and Lee, the last of whom plans to leave his post and his still-unconscious father to go with her.

The plan is almost ruined several times, first when Gaeta notices Dee’s been making off-log calls, which is against the rules, and second when Lee and Roslin are caught by a random soldier on the way to their escape ship. Roslin convinces the soldier to let them go, because the only one who can say no to Roslin is Adama, and he’s in a coma. At the last minute Billy tells Roslin he’s not going with them because he doesn’t want to take part in a civil war. Did… did Billy just do something interesting?

Tigh is understandably pissed when he finds that Roslin and Lee have escaped. He threatens to shoot them down but Lee calls his bluff, and in the end he’s unable to kill his best friend’s only living son. You go, Tigh. This scene also reinforced my love for Gaeta, who gets asked if he noticed any off-log calls and says no, electing not to make Dee’s involvement in the plot known.

Roslin and Lee fly to the luxury liner Cloud 9, where they meet Zarek, the only person with shady enough connections to hide the two fugitives.

Shortly after this happens Adama wakes up and asks Tigh what the hell’s going on with his ship. Tigh confesses to royally frakking things up, but Adama doesn’t grill him on what he did or offer any sort of judgment. Instead, he just says that people who’ve never had the responsibility that Tigh’s now had a taste of don’t know the sort of pressure he was under, and that whatever happened they’ll pick up the pieces together.

Adama doesn’t hate him, and I can’t either. Tigh 4 lyfe.

While all this is going on Baltar’s managed to get permission to run his Cylon test on Tyrol. He goes a bit beyond that, though, injecting Tyrol with something that’ll kill him in seconds if he’s not given the antidote. I’ll save his life, Baltar explains to Boomer, if you tell me how many Cylons there are left in the fleet. She might not think she knows, but the information should be there on a subconscious level, and if she loves Tyrol she’ll spill. Panicking, she says there are eight. (Should I assume she’s correct about that? I’ve no problem with it, I’d just like to know if the show and I are on the same page.)

Baltar injects Tyrol with the antidote and later clears his name, which Tyrol thanks him for. So I guess he doesn’t remember Baltar poisoning him. Good job covering your steps, Baltar, you weaselly old so-and-so.

Back on Caprica Starbuck and Helo run into some members of the human resistance, led by Anders, a hot-headed, snarky guy who seems pretty much like a male Starbuck. Our heroes are led to the base of said resistance, which is composed of 53 people who happened to be out of major cities when the attack happened. They run raids on Cylon bases despite the fact that none of them have any combat experience. Anders was the head of the Caprica Buccaneers, a pyramid team. From what I can tell pyramid is a cross between soccer and Quidditch. He and Starbuck play a game, and there’s sexual tension and longing glances, etc. etc.. I don’t ship it, at least not now. They’re too much alike.

As one character is introduced, another one leaves: The episode ends with Boomer, marching to a cell where she’ll become a Cylon guinea pig, getting shot and killed by Cally. She dies in Tigh’s arms, and her last words are “I love you, Chief.” But whatever. There are spares.

Also in this episode:
Six angrily informs Baltar that the nickname “toaster” is racist. I don’t know why that’s as funny as it is.

The Farm

After taking a back seat last episode Starbuck is in the forefront again, getting shot, killing a Cylon, and escaping from Caprica. The episode starts with her and Helo at the resistance base camp, where she advises Anders to hole up in the mountains until she’s able to get back to the fleet and have a rescue team sent back for them. To get her back to the fleet in the first place the resistance plans a raid on a nearby Tylium station, but they’re attacked by Cylons on the way there, and Starbuck gets shot.

She wakes up in a hospital being cared for by a kind-yet-creepy (kreepy? That can be a thing, right?) doctor named Simon. He tells her Anders brought her in and then died from wounds received in the battle while she was recovering from surgery. I call BS on this hospital—the resistance as we’ve seen it so far only has 53 people in a falling-down school, and you expect me to believe there’s a full-fledged aid hospital that the Cylons haven’t found yet? One where the doctors wear pristine lab coats? Starbuck is suspicious too, asking if he’s a Cylon, to which he responds “No. But isn’t that what a Cylon would say?” Tricksy Hobbit.

In later scenes she continues to grill him, asking how many other patients there are, why she doesn’t hear any of them, and why she hasn’t seen any other doctors or nurses. He has an answer for every question: There are several hundred other patients; she doesn’t hear them because most of them are dying of radiation sickness, which is a pretty quiet way to go; and she’s quarantined to limit the spread of infection, so her contact with others has to be limited. All of that sounds like it could be legit. It’s when Simon starts talking about babies that things get (more) weird.

He notes that her X-ray revealed cysts in one of her ovaries, which is particularly bad because of how important it is to the resistance that women be able to have kids. There aren’t a lot of women left who are physically able to reproduce, he explains, and your value as someone who can pop out mini-Starbucks is higher than your value as a soldier. When Starbuck responds that she’d rather not have babies, kthx, he responds that that makes perfect sense, as people with her history often don’t want to have kids. Her “history” in this case is that she was abused as a child, which he inferred when he saw from her X-rays that her fingers had been broken when she was a child. This psychological torture is awful… Cylon-y.

Starbuck’s suspicions are aroused further when she wakes up one day and sees a new scar, which Simon says is a result of dealing with some internal bleeding. No big deal, he explains. We’re almost done with you. Now, I haven’t been a patient in a hospital since I was like three, but I’m pretty darn sure if a doctor’s going to cut into you they’ll tell you first. Especially since Starbuck, when she’s not on the pain meds they keep feeding her through the IV, is pretty with it, mentally speaking. They better not have implanted a kid in her.

Starbuck, well and truly ready to get the heck out of dodge, tricks Simon into thinking she’s been dosed with pain meds when she hasn’t. She takes a walk around the hospital corridors where she sees Simon talking with Six, telling her that they’re almost ready to remove Starbuck’s ovaries, after which she’ll be sent away for some mysterious purpose. Holy shiiiiii—.

Technically Starbuck could just try and escape right then, sneaking through the corridors and hoping she won’t be noticed, but this is Starbuck and that’s not nearly badass enough. The next time Simon comes to wake her up she stabs him in the neck with a shard of mirror, killing him (sort of—there are many copies and all that) and making a run for it. She finds herself in a room full of human women hooked up to machines, being used as incubators for Cylon-human babies. One of them is Sue-Shaun, who was part of the resistance. She begs Starbuck to kill all of them by cutting the power, which she does. On her way out of the hospital she hits Six with a fire extinguisher and is almost stopped by yet another Simon, who just in the nick of time gets shot by…

…the Resistance, including a not-dead Anders, which has been looking for her since she went missing. They got some help from Boomer, who pops up back up and says she only stole Starbuck’s raider so she could track them. But why did she need to track them? Couldn’t she have just gone with them? What was she doing during her little break? Is this even the same Boomer? Woah there, Rebecca, conspiracy theories are in overdrive.

There’s a firefight, and the resistance is victorious after Boomer arrives in a new sort of Cylon ship and shoots the centurions. Starbuck tells the resistance what she saw, and Boomer confirms it: The Cylons are obsessed with “procreation,” that being one of God’s commandments, and to that end they’ve taken hundreds or even thousands of human women and put them on “farms” like the one Starbuck was in, trying to impregnate them with hybrid children. She explains that the Cylons have so far been unsuccessful in using science to create their new race, which led them to hypothesize that they might be missing an ingredient: Love. That’s why they set Helo and Boomer up to fall for one another.

Seriously? The super-intelligent, scientifically advanced robots think the secret ingredient to conceiving what’s technically a genetically impossible baby is love? I understand that the Cylons are all super-religious and into God’s love. They aren’t exactly the “Beep boop what is emotion? My servers cannot process” type. But still. Love? Not sure if red herring or just stupid.

Starbuck, having seen the horrors of the farms firsthand, wants to stay behind and liberate them, but she’s convinced by Anders to complete her mission by taking the Arrow of Apollo back to the fleet. The resistance will deal with the farms, he says, but you have to promise to come back and get us. She promises, and she, Helo, and Boomer fly off to rejoin the fleet at Kobol.

Of course, she doesn’t know that the fleet is no longer at Kobol. While all the kidnapping-experimenting-awful baby weirdness has been happening on Caprica there’s another sort of trouble on the Galactica, where a newly awake Adama has to deal with finding the fugitives Roslin and Lee. The two of them are still holed up on Cloud 9 with Zarek and Elosha, where they’re trying to figure out a way to get more people to their side. Zarek comes up with the idea of Lee publicly denouncing his father, which he finds himself unable to do. I think Adama Family Feels are sneaking up on me. Instead Roslin decides to play the religion card, recording a message that says she’s a prophet and that ships that want to find Earth should jump with her back to Kobol when she gives the signal.

Adama doesn’t believe in all that religious stuff, and furthermore he can’t comprehend that anyone else would, either. He thinks going to Kobol is a suicide run, and that if any ships want to be so stupid as to join Roslin then that’s fine by him. It turns out almost a third of the fleet is that stupid: Tigh only thought two or three ships would jump at Roslin’s signal, but it’s actually 24 of them.

Whoops.

Also in this episode:

  • Adama has a chat with Chief Tyrol and asks him if he really loved Boomer. He says he thought he did, to which Adama responds: Then you did. Love is thoughts. Boomer was more than a machine to all of us. Later he goes to visit Boomer’s body in the brig and seems to be genuinely sad—though also angry, of course—about her betrayal. Lee, Starbuck, Boomer: All his little duckies have abandoned him. I love how the gruff, serious military commander has a less hardline, most sympathetic view of the Cylons than most of the other major players, particularly Roslin. He almost kinda-sorta seems to see them as people, not that it matters, because they’re the enemy and he’ll deal with them as such anyway.
  • Instead of getting locked up for life for killing Boomer, Cally gets 30 days in the brig for discharging a weapon without permission. Roslin would’ve given her a medal.

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 this way. Former Battlestar Galactica Newbie Recaps can be found here.

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