”Battlestar Galactica” recap: The hybrid speaks
When we left the crew of the good ship Lollyfrak, Helo had forcibly relieved Kara of command of the Demetrius — after she thought it was a brilliant idea to follow a plan laid out by Leoben, the same Cylon who made her play psycho-house with him on New Caprica.
I guess, sometimes, people who are delusional can’t see the delusion from within. And I guess it takes blood to snap some folks out of it. Otherwise, how does one explain Kara’s sudden burst of logic? Of course, it makes more sense to take a raptor to investigate the Cylon baseship and send the Demetrius back to the fleet to resupply. That would’ve been a sane person’s first thought — but Starbuck only got there after Helo’s mutiny, and after poor Gaeta lost any prayer of a career in track and field. (Man, that kneecapping was pulpy, wasn’t it? Kara rooting around inside Felix’s leg is one of the grosser things I’ve seen on Battlestar Galactica — which, you’ll recall, already gave us a creepy Cylon maternity ward and the goopy interior of a Cylon raider.)
The twin stories of this week’s episode worked together far better than last week’s pair. Perhaps that’s because one of them advanced the plot while the other dove deep into character. And because they were both about women who learned that nothing is certain, and that faith can be shattered — or restored — in the blink of an eye.
GETTING THE BEST MILEAGE OUT OF YOUR HYBRID
As a painkiller-happy Gaeta begged Helo not to let Doc Cottle cut off his badly wounded leg — hey, isn’t amputation a sad, grand tradition of naval warfare? Suck it up, Felix — Kara led her team on a hunt for the crippled Cylon baseship, and to confront the Cylon hybrid. The raptor containing Kara, Athena, Anders, Leoben, and Barolay jumped into the remnants of the Cylon fleet — jagged shards of flesh and metal, spinning through space. As Kara piloted the raptor through the toaster graveyard, she spotted what looked like a comet near a gas giant — the same planet she’d been painting on the walls of her room on the Demetrius. But the comet turned out to be the baseship they were looking for.
It’s a hell of a thing to have one’s dreams come true, to find what you’ve been ridiculed for validated. Alas, Starbuck’s prophetic reverie was interrupted by flaming debris. Somehow, after Kara blacked out, Athena landed the raptor on the baseship, and then found herself surrounded by dozens of her fellow Eights, who looked on her with amazement. ”You were the first to say no,” one of them told Athena. ”You showed us that we don’t have to be slaves to our programming.” And the Eights were no longer content to be slaves to the Sixes. I wonder if part of the Eights’ programming was to swap allegiances, to naturally sense where the power rests and sidle up next to it. That’s certainly what they’ve been doing during this Cylon civil war — making nice with, and occasionally dancing sexy for, the model pulling the strings. Now they sense a new power base: the Colonials. And Athena wanted none of it. ”You pick your side, and you stick,” she told them. ”You don’t cut and run when things get ugly.”
NEXT: Remembering your own death
Six seemed to have learned a little something about ruthlessness from her confrontation with the Cavils; she’s quite the hard-nosed negotiator, even when she’s got everything to lose. Rather than continue as the seduction machine, she is holding fast to protecting as much as she can, as hard as she can.
As always, Battlestar Galactica found a way to plumb surprising new depths from what seems so familiar. What must it be like to remember your own death, in perfect clarity, as did the platinum-blond Six? Could you walk past your murderer and not act? Could you have swallowed the rising tide of hate that Six felt toward Barolay? We’ve known about downloading since the early days of this show, but I’d never thought about this. By the end of this series, there won’t be any villains — no heroes, either. Just people. (And the red-headed Six, Natalie, didn’t kill her sister to appease Starbuck and the humans; it was a mercy killing. It wasn’t justice; it was deliverance.)
Ah, the Hybrid’s babbling. In between seemingly random spurts of technobabble, we got some tantalizing nuggets and some hard truths: ”The obstinate toy soldier becomes pliant….But you are a spark of God’s fire….The children of the one reborn shall find their own country….The dying leader will know the truth of the opera house….The missing three will give you the five who have come from the home of the thirteenth. You will be the harbinger of death, Kara Thrace. You will lead them all to their end.”
In less than a day, Kara saw her visions come to pass and heard that she will deliver humanity to its demise. Karma’s a bitch.
Even when one of her own models begged for forgiveness, asked for death-bed absolution, Athena couldn’t give it. But Anders can. He’s beginning to see the truth of things, in a way that none of the other Final Four do. He’s the only one who’s seeing beyond Cylon and human. If he doesn’t do something stupid first, he could be the conduit to peace between the two races.
THE BALD AND THE BEAUTIFUL
Wow. Bald Laura. I can’t say that I expected to see that — which is probably the reason I should’ve. It almost is at the point where the slightest crack in Roslin’s usually calm demeanor feels like a chasm of emotion. When her voice faltered as she told Tory to keep an eye on everything that crosses the presidential desk, it spoke volumes.
As Baltar rambled on about the undiscovered country being a better place where you bask in the radiance of God’s love (where did he stumble upon a copy of Hamlet?), Laura met a kindred soul — a fellow cancer patient in Galactica‘s sick bay named Emily. (Nice to see Deep Space Nine‘s Nana Visitor again.) And as they bonded, we saw Laura go through the emotional crucible and begin to ready herself for the coming trials, to get her mind right for the losing battle on the horizon.
NEXT: Visions of the afterlife
How does one prepare oneself for inevitable death twice? This isn’t Laura’s first rodeo with cancer. Even as I began to grow weary of the hospital scenes — the finding of wisdom from the mouth of a terminal mentor is a wee bit cliché — I thought about how death must be different when one is facing it the second time around. (And, given that Laura did the impossible, how horrible it must be to know that salvation won’t come a second time)
I found it quaint that Laura and Emily both shared the same vision of the afterlife as The Lord of the Rings‘ Gandalf: ”Death is just another path. One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass….And then you see it. White shores…and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.” Though I do wish we’d never seen that realized. Some things work better in the mind’s eye.
I will say it this once, and let it go. The fact that Mary McDonnell has never been nominated for her work on Battlestar Galactica is enough to invalidate the Emmys.
There was a line in Joss Whedon’s Serenity: Shepard Book tells Mal, ”I don’t care what you believe. Just believe in it.” I couldn’t help thinking of that in that final scene, between Adama and Roslin. There is so much love there. I’d hate to see what happens when one of them loses the other.
A better episode than last week, mostly because it balanced the necessity to advance the plot, to get us further down the path to the finale, and the producers’ desire to get us further inside the lives of these people.
What did you think? Is Anders getting too close to revealing himself? What might’ve happened if he did put his hand in the Cylon data stream? Did anyone really believe that Starbuck and the baseship weren’t gonna make it back before the Demetrius jumped away? (Someone should call a moratorium on using a countdown clock to create tension, because it just doesn’t work anymore.) And when the hell are we gonna see Bill and Laura kiss? For realz?