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'Battlestar Galactica' recap: Shifting winds

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Battlestar Galactica
Carole Segal/SCI-FI Channel

Battlestar Galactica

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

”There is a languor of the life. More imminent than pain. Tis pain’s successor. when the soul has suffered all it can.”

Taken from one of the books that actually made it onto Adama’s shelves, that passage does a pretty good job of summing up what this episode of Battlestar Galactica was all about. If the Season 4.5 premiere was about staring into the abyss, then ”The Disquiet Follows My soul” is about seeing what’s on the other side. Now that Earth isn’t in the cards, where do we go from here? Do we pick up the pieces, or let them lay there, like so many volumes littering the floor of the Admiral’s quarters?

Hey, now…I forgot all about Tigh placing a bun in the Caprica-Six oven. The first fully Cylon child, and with it ”the Cylon Nation will survive.” With those five simple words, I think we see that there’s never going to be true unity between man and machine. When you start cohesively referring to yourself as a group separate from the whole, it betrays a mindset that, at its core, doesn’t believe in being a part of the whole. Try replacing ”Cylon” with ”Aryan” and you’ll get my drift.

(I can’t say how much I love that Cottle has no problem smoking in his sick bay. Seriously, I want a Doc Cottle show. I’d take him cranking his way through patients over House any day. If Sci Fi is looking for a BSG spin-off, that’s the one. Imagine Doc Cottle as the resident physician in the Colonial version of a Vegas casino. You’re welcome, Sci Fi. You can send me the check at the office.)

Speaking of Cylon babies, Nicky isn?t one! Tyrol’s not his father. Who is? Hot Dog, you horn-dog. I get the feeling that this is setting up a severing of all ties between Tyrol and Galactica. Ron Moore alluded to as much in his podcast commentary for ”Sometimes a Great Notion,” that the creative team had mulled a move for Tyrol to the Cylon baseship…this might be the first step in that direction. After all, without Nicky to be responsible for, why would he stay? The inviting atmosphere?

Something tells me this new nurse doesn’t have ”first do no harm” on her mind. But, then again, neither does Felix Gaeta. His experience while trapped in a raptor with a murderous Eight — go watch the ”Face of the Enemy” webisodes for more — was the icing on his particularly seditious cake. He can’t even keep from openly ridiculing Tigh in front of Adama. Felix is busier sowing discontent than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. (Insensitive, I know, but I couldn?t resist.)

NEXT PAGE: Laura’s descent

I mean, I guess he’s got nothing to lose, per se, but why did he attack Kara like that? What does he get out of it? If you backtrack it, Felix lost his leg because of Kara’s insistence that she could find the way to Earth…which everyone, including Felix, wanted. And Kara delivered. It’s not her fault that Earth was a radioactive husk. So he’s blaming her for the fact that she unwittingly married a Cylon — and came back from the dead under some strange circumstances. Felix is angry, so angry, that he’s just flailing wildly…tossing emotional haymakers at anyone within range. Or was it all a performance, a (don’t pardon the pun) stump speech to help him recruit for his insurrection?

No matter how things change, some things stay the same: Adama and Zarek will be on opposite sides of just about everything. With Laura on the sidelines, Vice President Tom Zarek is calling the shots in the government. And he doesn’t want to even entertain the thought of a permanent alliance with the Cylons. Even if, as Tyrol suggests, the Cylons are willing to exchange massive technological advancement — in the form of FTL drives that would triple their jump distance if installed on every ship in the fleet — for full citizenship in the Colonial fleet. They’re counting on Adama’s word, on his adherence to the oath he took to protect the Colonies, or what’s left of them. And right now, the fleet is what’s left.

It’s funny…Laura has replaced her faith in scripture with a faith in her cancer’s ability to end the pain caused by scripture’s failings. But along with this very adult realization comes a very childish shift in her behavior. Her halting satisfaction at throwing away her pills, her evasion of addressing-the-fleet responsibilities, her sheepishly lying to Adama about resuming her diloxyn treatments — all of that reminds me of the actions of a teenager not wanting to do what her parents tell her to do. Even her passionate plea for what amounts to autoeuthanasia — ”I’ve earned the right to live a little before I die, haven’t I?” — is self-centered in precisely the way children are. ”Why can’t I have what I want?”

It sort of pains me to see Baltar this way. The man was a titan; an evil titan, sure, but a titan nonetheless. Now he’s a street-corner preacher. He’s a color commentator. I get that he’s the public voice of dissent, the voice many civilians can’t speak aloud, and that this’ll probably come into play whenever Felix’s plan takes shape…but I hate seeing him in such a peripheral role. He’s not steering events, or even reacting to them, he’s just giving the play-by-play.

The old saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But Zarek asks, how can they become a family with the same people who extinguished everything they held dear? With that eminently logical speech — the thing is, he makes complete sense…perhaps the time for taking things on faith is past — Zarek takes control of the Quorum, calling a vote that would prohibit any Cylon from boarding a civilian ship without the permission of its captain and its people.

So, naturally, when a Cylon team boards the Tilium refinery ship, the captain bugs out and, in consultation with Zarek, jumps away from the fleet. ”There are days that I really hate this job,” says Adama. But it looks like he relished being in that cell with the in-custody Zarek, turning the screws. ”You know what the difference is between you and I, Admiral? You wear the uniform and I don’t.”

I wonder, will Felix and Baltar join forces once again, this time in service of bringing down Adama and Roslin? Will Baltar fall in line behind Felix and Zarek, the new leaders of the revolution.

The question is, will Adama even care about this mutiny? When he’s got the warm oblivion of Laura’s arms to disappear into, will he fight for his ship, or will he just let it slip from his grasp? And when Laura dies — because I don’t think she’s going to survive the series — will Galactica be all that he has left to live for?

Me, personally, I liked this episode more than the premiere. I liked Gaeta stepping up, even if I’m not sure why. I liked Tyrol’s shifting alliances. And, above all, I liked Zarek and Adama, locking horns. It reminded me of the first season, when there was genius friction between the government and the military. Friction is a byproduct of conflict and conflict equals drama. And, hey, I’m here for the drama.

What about you? Does Gaeta have a legitimate beef with anyone? What’s Lee’s role gonna be, once Roslin drops out of government life all-together? Is that shifty-eyed nurse up to no good? And when the hell are we gonna see Cavil again?