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'Battlestar Galactica' recap: Semifinal destination

As the half season ends, both D’Anna and the Adamas seem willing to risk all to get to the home planet, but a last-minute truce leads to a tragic revelation

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Lucy Lawless, Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
09/06/06

‘Battlestar Galactica’ recap: Semifinal destination

Holy s—.

I’m not even gonna use fake profanity. Not for this. I knew going into this midseason finale that we’d get the answer to either who the fifth Cylon is or where Earth might be. After all, one out of two ain’t bad.

Unfortunately, I’ve found it a little too easy to be down on this show as of late. Some of that is the producers’ fault — too little happened, too many detours, too many episodes that felt like filler when what we needed was killer. And some of that is my fault — I have, perhaps unfairly, held Battlestar Galactica to a standard that maybe no show could meet, week after week. I’ve wanted every episode to be ”33,” and that may have been just too much to ask.

But every now and again, you get exactly what you wanted for Christmas. Every now and again, you get ”Revelations.”

Speaking of revelations, they did come pretty fast and furious in this one, didn’t they? First, we learned from D’Anna that only four of the Final Five are in the fleet. So where’s the Fifth? (I guess that blows my Doc Cottle theory out of the water, huh? I wonder if the last concealed Cylon is already dead; he or she could’ve been killed any number of times: back on New Caprica, in the original Cylon assault, at any point during the exodus.)

Then it became clear that D’Anna has filled the Cylon power vacuum left by the death of Natalie Six. She’s the one who decided to hold all the Colonials on the basestar hostage until the Four are safe in her hands. And she was the one who flew back with the admiral to present her terms to President Adama and the rest of Galactica.

And that led to, maybe, my favorite moment of the episode. With nothing but a series of looks, D’Anna exerted her control over the Final Four. They knew that she knew, and that with but a word, she could irrevocably alter their existence. Tory, schemer that she is, immediately conjured a way to get to the basestar; under the guise of bringing President Roslin her medication, she hitched a ride back with D’Anna.

And while President Adama and Admiral Adama decided that if this whole situation went south, they should follow Roslin’s recommendation — blow up the basestar and, if necessary, kill the Four to keep the Cylons from going to Earth alone — Tigh could only stand by, knowing the whole time that he held the key to everyone’s life or death.

”I wanted to thank you…essentially for not murdering me.” Ah, the continuing awesomeness that is Gaius Baltar. If Laura and Gaius can bridge the gap of hate that’s separated them lo these many years, can’t the chasm between human and Cylon be overcome? Not if you ask Tory, who delivered the medication, as well as a whole new attititude: When she brazenly chastised Roslin for being wrong about her, she added one last dig: ”Might be worth pondering what else you’ve been wrong about.”

When D’Anna started killing Colonials to speed up the process, Lee gave the risky, destined-to-fail rescue mission the green light. As Starbuck prepped her pilots, the Four began to tune back into the classic-rock message system: the freaky BSG version of ”All Along the Watchtower.” And the three left on Galactica found themselves drawn someplace again: into the hangar bay with Starbuck’s mysterious immaculate Viper.

NEXT: Tigh steps up

And then, the inevitable revelation we’d been waiting for: Tigh coming clean to Adama. ”I am one of the Five.” You could see the stages of grief racing across Adama’s face; he was grasping at any straw that would allow him to refute the truth. But ol’ One Eye wouldn’t be deterred. He’d remained silent for long enough. And Tigh, ever the soldier, wanted to use his Cylonness as a weapon, as a lever to get D’Anna to back down. Threaten to flush the good colonel out an airlock, and she’ll have no choice.

A good plan. Too bad that ultimate betrayal brought Adama to his knees. Literally. Howling at the gods, drinking, destroying his office, punching inanimate objects: I’d never seen the admiral so bereft, not even when his son was lost in space. That speech that Starbuck had given Lee in the teaser — about how parents need to die so their children can come into their own — came full circle. There’s nothing sadder than having to console your own father, nothing upends the natural order like holding your sire like a baby, cradling him as he cries his anguish out. Nothing makes you want to punch someone quite like seeing your father reduced to a pile of shattered faith.

Finally, Lee Adama found his big-boy pants, got Tyrol’s and Anders’ names from Tigh, and stared down the barrel of D’Anna’s nuclear arsenal.

And suddenly, with a nudge from her now-revealed-to-be-a-Cylon ex, Starbuck popped into her pristine Viper, flipped on the DRADIS (or something), and found a signal coming from Earth — just in time to stop Lee from flushing Tigh out an airlock.

After Kara convinced Lee that the fritzy little readout in her fighter did, indeed, point to Earth, Lee in turn invited the Cylons over to see for themselves. President Adama’s gesture of goodwill sealed the deal: ”We go to Earth together.”

I wonder: Even though Lee gave the Final Four amnesty, will it do them any good? Everyone knows who and what they are, and everyone feels betrayed by them. What kind of life will they be able to lead? Will their loved ones ever forgive them? (Finally, Baltar will have people who outscore him on the hated-by-the-fleet scale.)

That was a nice moment between Lee and Laura. Two people who love the same man but who’ve had a rocky relationship, coming together to try and shake Bill Adama from his hollow-grandpa funk. And it worked: The admiral took off his Mr. Rogers robe, picked himself up, and put his war suit back on — for what he clearly hoped would be the last time. (And if anyone out there wants to buy me a birthday present, you find me a T-shirt that says, ”We gotta roll the hard six.”)

Earth. Finally. Tears. Joy. Lee going all Chippendales in the CIC. A beautiful moment — followed by heartbreak. Ruined cities. Radioactive soil. Salvation, scorched.

How does that old proverb go? Be careful what you wish for — you just might get it.

This episode might as well have been called ”Redemption,” because, for me, it wiped clean the missteps of a wishy-washy season like a strong rain.

What about you? Did this hit it out of the park for you, as well? If the Fifth Cylon isn’t in the fleet, then where is he/she? (My gut tells me that someone had to set the Colonial signal that drew the fleet to Earth.) How long will the combined Colonial-Cylon rebel fleet have before the other Cylons come a-knocking? And when the frak are we gonna get more Battlestar Galactica?

Until then, however, you cats have a good summer…and fall…and probably winter. Thanks for tuning in.