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''Galactica'' recap: She's back!

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Katee Sackhoff, Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica

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

”Galactica” recap: She’s back!

Woo-hoo! New opening credits text! (I know…the silly little things that poke the giddy center in the brain.) “Twelve Cylon Models. Seven are known. Four live in secret. One will be revealed.”

Hot damn, we’re in for a hot time in the old town tonight.

In case you haven’t been reading our terrific episode guides to Battlestar Galactica, here’s a little recap precap: When last we saw the Colonial fleet, they were in position around a nebula-gone-nova, waiting for a sign of some kind that would point the way toward Earth. And then, a massive Cylon force jumped in and pressed the attack. Baltar was found not guilty of crimes against humanity. Bob Dylan told Tigh, Anders, Tyrol, and Tori that they were Cylons. And Starbuck was dead…until she wasn’t. Maybe.

We all on the same page? Good. Because the season 4 premiere didn’t waste any time throwing us right into the action — literally, as that opening space battle was, perhaps, the best the show has ever given us. (I guess maybe that’s one thing to thank the WGA strike for: giving effects guru Gary Hudzel and his crew time to finesse their pants off. Okay, yes, it gave the writers a bunch of other stuff, but I’m just psyched about all the Viper-raider whizbang.)

Because there was so damned much happening, so much to get straight, I’m gonna unravel the premiere into its recombinant threads.

FOUR OF A KIND

If there was any remaining doubt that Anders, Tigh, Tyrol, and Tory were Cylons, it was dispelled right up top, as Mr. Starbuck stared down the barrels of a raider’s guns and watched as the machine locked on and then chose not to fire. Oh, and Anders’ eye glowed all red-like. Just after that, the Cylon fleet turned tail and jumped away.

But what does that mean to each of the four? Despite Tigh’s directive to be as they were before they learned the truth, the colonel daydreamed about blowing Adama’s brains all over the CIC. Anders was a cockpit nutcase, unable to take the safety off his weapons. Only the Chief — and, to a much lesser extent, Tory — was able to stick to the task at hand and keep the birds in the air. Pretty much status quo — not that I expected any real development of this story line in the first episode back; I just wish that there had been, like, four fewer ominous shots of Tigh or Tyrol whenever someone said, ”There could be Cylons right here, and we wouldn’t know it until they put a bullet in our heads.” Speaking of bullets to the head, Tigh tacitly proposed to the others that if any of them started acting Cylon-y, they would take care of business themselves.

Oh, and Roslin found out from Caprica Six that the Five are close by. Definitely in the fleet. Spooky.

BALTAR THE MUNIFICENT

The Church of Baltar, Scientist. Now, is it just me, or is it ridiculous that there’s an entire bulkhead/compartment on Galactica that no one has noticed is being infested with a hawt love cult? Not that I mind hawt love cults — in fact, if I ever form a band, that just might be what I call it (that, or Pushy Galore) — but wouldn’t Galactica security have a slightly better handle on things like that? At least Baltar realizes that this form of salvation might not actually be salvation at all: trapped on Galactica, where everyone hates him, unwelcome on any other ship in the fleet, and surrounded by doe-eyed sycophants. It’s enough to make a fellow actually believe in and turn to the One True God. After all, if God didn’t exist, Lead Hawt Psycho Cultist’s kid might’ve fallen prey to his viral encephalitis, the two thugs who spied the entrance to Baltar’s Pleasure Dome might’ve succeeded in killing the Good Doctor, and Gaius wouldn’t have found himself amongst precisely the kind of population he needed to reinflate his damaged ego and get him back on his feet.

NEXT: Is Kara one of them?

STARBUCK RETURNS

She’s back. And not dead. (I guess I was wrong in my TV Watch on the season finale last March. Oops.) And she’s confused as to why everyone’s surprised to see her. Apparently, she thinks she was absent for only six hours or so, not the months that everyone else endured. She doesn’t remember her Viper getting all blowed up, nor how she got to Earth. It’d be easy to call her loco except for the fact that her shipboard cameras really do have pictures of the mythical planet in question. So nobody thinks she’s crazy; they just think she’s a Cylon. Anders and Lee don’t care all that much; they’re just glad to see her.

To be fair, Kara’s story of her absence holds about as much water as a tennis racquet: She followed a Cylon heavy raider into the mandala-storm (from ”Maelstrom”), took some hits, and woke up orbiting Earth. She snapped some photos, turned around, and somehow ended up right back where she belongs. (Fox Mulder might say that she’s missing a whole lot of time.) Roslin doesn’t buy it, and the physical evidence doesn’t help sell it: Starbuck’s Viper looks brand-new, and the navigation computer is a blank slate. The lady prez thinks that, even if Kara’s not a Cylon, her reappearance is a toaster trick, designed to knock them off the course toward Earth.

Complicating matters even further is Kara’s newfound ”Earth-dar,” which tells her when she’s getting closer to Earth or taking a perilous jump away from it. And that urgency, while not driving her crazy, drives her to do crazy things — like bust in on the sleeping Roslin (who’s shacking up with Adama!) holding a gun.

It feels to me like the producers are setting Kara up to be some kind of prophet — and all too often, prophets lose everything in the process of delivering their message.

A fine start to the final season, methinks. It didn’t belabor anything, didn’t wear out its welcome, and moved every story line along (even if that movement was more of a nudge with a gentle hand).

What do you think? Is Battlestar Galactica going to be the same without Apollo in the cockpit? And is that ”position in the government” gonna be as Roslin’s vice president? Why can the Cylons in the toaster fleet — like the raiders — recognize that Anders (along with, presumably, the rest of the four) is a Cylon, but Athena can’t? Have the Cylons sent out a ”system update” that Athena didn’t get? (Was it ”All Along the Watchtower”?) And when did Laura Roslin get to be such a hard-ass?

Need a refresher on who’s who in the Galactica universe? See the EW.com Battlestar Galactica Cheat Sheet: 15 Things You Gotta Know