‘Battlestar Galactica’ recap: Family reunion
Before we get into the events of this week’s episode, ”Deadlock,” I want to share some news that came over the wire last night. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Universal Studios, in their infinite wisdom, has decided that they want a Battlestar Galactica movie. Makes sense, right? The Peabody-award winning show has helped to redefine science fiction and, as it rides triumphantly off into the sunset, why not capitalize on the goodwill of a thankful geek nation? Sure, the ratings have never been through the roof, but this is the same Universal that made Serenity, so the Powers that Be over there have been known to trust their collective gut.
There’s only one problem: Universal’s gut wants Glen A. Larson — who created Battlestar Galactica back in the mid-’70s — to write and produce it. Not Ronald D. Moore. Not the guy who won that Peabody. Not the guy who took a low-rent Star Wars knock-off and spun it into an apocalyptic human drama of unprecedented depth.
Not the guy who thought that one of the penultimate episodes of his show should be about a man torn between three women, and the painful loss of a child.
And that man is Saul Tigh. The three women: Ellen Tigh, Caprica Six, and William Adama, er, Galactica. Let’s take each gal one at a time.
Free from John Cavil’s clutches, Ellen arrives back on Galactica in a manner that plays right into the show’s ”all of this has happened before, all of this will happen again” conceit. The hatch opens, we see nothing but legs, and hear a silken voice purr, ”Aren’t you gonna help a lady down off this thing?” And, once again, Adama realizes that her coming means trouble. Boy, is she ever. After the Boomer that escorted Ellen to Galactica is thrown into the brig, Ellen barely makes it through her cursory debriefing by Laura, Bill, and Lee before she gets to debriefing (or maybe deboxering) the man who killed her.
It felt like Ellen was waging a tiny war within herself, fighting between the lesser angels and greater demons of her nature. Between her ”duty” as the matriarch of the Final Five, and her unholy desire to wreak havoc on Tigh for falling in love — and impregnating — Caprica Six. (Though I don’t understand her disgust at Tigh sleeping with one of his ”children,” a model he helped create. After all the swirling around she did with Cavil, she should know better than to judge those unaware of their true nature.)
And so Ellen does what Ellen does: She stirs the pot. Double, double toil and trouble. She provides the deciding vote as to whether the Five permanently leave the fleet and get their Cylon Nation on, knowing full well where Tigh falls on the issue. She visits herself upon a fragile Caprica Six, astonished and angry that Tigh and Caprica were able to do that which Ellen herself could not — carry Saul’s child. And she forces Tigh into an impossible choice, between Ellen and Caprica; between duty and desire, between who he is and what he is.
As usual, Ellen rends the status quo asunder. Ellen is the poison apple.
After a brief attack while passing through the food lines in Dogsville, something seems to be wrong with the pregnancy. Now, all kinds of things can go wrong with pregnancies, even among perfectly healthy human beings, let alone organic machines who’ve spent time on an irradiated planet, been held in captivity and beaten, and are carrying the most unique child in the cosmos.
Given that the Sixes were designed to be the embodiment of seduction, of temptation, I wonder if maybe they’re not entirely capable of unconditional love?which is precisely the kind of love a child is nourished by. Even an unborn child.
Maybe Ellen’s meddling was just enough to plant the seed of doubt in Caprica’s mind. Because if Saul couldn’t love her, maybe she couldn’t love herself.
BILL AND GALACTICA
Damn, if I wasn’t bored watching Adama poking around the bowels of his ship, looking constipated. And I just don’t care enough about Baltar and his blinkered messiah complex to give a hoot about why he and his Hawt Love Cult are Adama’s ”the last human solution.” To what problem? The lack of mindless nymphs packing heat? (Though I was super-glad to see Head Six back. Maybe this brand of insanity will make him interesting again.)
But when Tigh bursts into Bill’s quarters after Caprica loses the baby, blubbering, looking for solace?yeah, I choked up a little bit. And when Tigh revealed that ”Liam” was short for ”William,” that little bit become a lot.
I’ve gotta say, after the last three weeks of awesome, I wanted more than this. I understand the need to have a lull in the action after the breakneck nature of the last three episodes. Failed mutinies and massive dropping of Cylon science can leave a viewer a little tired. But we are, at this point, like marathoners who’ve made it through the wall, and we’re in the sweet throes of the runner’s high. This is no time to slow down. We’re so close to the end. As heartbreaking as the last few minutes were, I didn’t really want an episode full of arguing. I wanted doing.
Before we go, I want to leave you with my theory of How It’s All Going to End. In the final battle, Cavil and his forces will be destroyed, but all of Tyrol’s patchwork won’t save Galactica from destruction. Yet before the Old Girl blows for good, she’ll have enough left for one last FTL jump?back to Kobol. After all, it’s the one planet they know can support life and isn’t radioactive. Without the spectre of the Cylon pursuit hovering them, the fleet — including the rebel Cylons — could settle there permanently, as one big blended society. Until, of course, thousands of years pass — over which time the line between human and machine has been forgotten — and the residents of Kobol create a new wave of artificial lifeforms, and that new tribe exiles themselves to Earth. Again.
What did you think? What’ll happen to the Saul-Ellen-Caprica love triangle? Will Caprica seek revenge on Ellen? Will she commit the equivalent of deicide? (And will the loss of Ellen at Caprica’s hands pull resurrection off the Cylon table permanently, forcing organic procreation?) Will Tyrol and Boomer get back together? When did Baltar become such an extremist, warning against the evils of a ”blended ship”? And when will Hera’s role in all of this be made clear?