Battlestar Galactica: A Disquiet Follows My Soul

“A Disquiet Follows My Soul” may be the single most apropos episode title in Battlestar Galactica history. After watching this nasty, spiteful little episode filled with nasty, spiteful little people doing nasty, spiteful little things, a disquiet is certainly following my soul. Also, this episode has too many loving close-ups of Edward James Olmos brushing his teeth. If that’s not disquieting, I don’t know what is.

All the good stuff happens in sickbay this episode. While Cottle and Ishay perform an ultrasound on Caprica Six, Caprica rhapsodizes to Tigh about how their spawn, the result of the first-ever successful Cylon/Cylon union, will ensure the survival of the entire Cylon race. An eavesdropping Gaeta, who is nothing but sunshine and joy this episode, bitches ominously to Ishay about how the Cylons are getting all the attention. As if to prove his point, Tyrol rushes in at that moment, in a panic because his son Nicky is peeing blood. Nicky is suffering from acute renal failure and may lose a kidney. While discussing treatment options, Ishay and Cottle let it slip to Tyrol that he’s not Nicky’s father. See? Told you all the good stuff was happening here.

Adama gives an ill-received press conference about a possible permanent alliance with the Cylons. Apollo does a fair amount of grandstanding during this, which leads surly Zarek to quip, “Are you the president again? Sorry, I get confused what your job is from day to day.” I think it’s fair to say we all have that problem, Zarek. Before his morning coffee, Apollo himself probably has trouble remembering whether he’s presently a Viper pilot, or a battleship commander, or a lawyer, or a Quorum member, or the President of the Colonies.

Adama meets with his officers to consider upgrading the fleet with Cylon technology--he estimates this will triple their jump capacity, for starters. In return, the Cylons want to be recognized as a full and equal part of the fleet. Gaeta, still a ray of sunshine, lurks and glowers and makes passive-aggressive snipes about the Cylons; Gaeta, my love, I liked you so much better when you were a cheery optimist instead of a surly racist.

Oh, goodness gracious. Here’s a nasty, spiteful scene in the commissary, in which Starbuck is her usual nasty, spiteful self, while Gaeta is his newly-discovered nasty, spiteful self. They’re so bitchy and vicious and cruel towards each other that I’m a little surprised their conversation didn’t end with one shooting the other in the face. Frankly, I’m not sure we’d be worse off. Gaeta, who holds a grudge for the time Starbuck nearly chucked him out an airlock, and for the time her husband blasted his leg into pieces, and for the time her husband probably played a role in the deaths of billions in the attack on the colonies, drops a few not-terribly-veiled threats about an approaching day of reckoning. An unrepentant Starbuck mocks the loss of his leg and tells him, “In case you’re wondering, I will definitely hit a cripple.” To which Gaeta replies, “So I guess a pity frak’s out of the question, then?” Zing! They may both be utterly miserable excuses for human beings, but Gaeta’s funnier.

Zarek sows unrest in the Quorum, which votes not to allow any Cylon to board any ship without permission. Meanwhile, Roslin, who has pretty much given up both on living and on being President, tosses away all her pills and stalls Adama when he wants her to publicly support a Cylon alliance.

Baltar preaches to his flock. Because Baltar can always be counted on to add a fun random element to any tense and unpleasant situation, he goads his followers into blaming God for leading them into despair. He claims God should come down and beg their forgiveness for being such a loser of a deity. I’m not sure Baltar quite has the hang of being a religious icon, actually. In the middle of Baltar’s half-baked sermon, it dawns on Tyrol that Hot Dog is Nicky’s father (oh, Cally, Cally, Cally… Hot Dog? Really?). A fistfight ensues, after which Tyrol gives Hot Dog a crash course in fatherhood during a vigil at sick Nicky’s bedside.

The crew of a tylium ship mutinies at the idea of a Cylon partnership. Adama launches Vipers to bring them in line, but, at Zarek’s behest, the tylium ship jumps away, leaving the fleet stranded without fuel. Adama has Zarek thrown in the brig, where he extracts the location of the tylium ship from him by threatening to expose Zarek’s past misdeeds and ruin his shot at martyrdom. He’s bluffing, but Zarek falls for it and coughs up the location. After Adama leaves, Gaeta visits Zarek in the brig and forms a partnership with him. An evil, shifty, underhanded partnership. A partnership that will end in chaos and ruin. Damn, Gaeta. What happened to that sweet kid who used to swap gossip with Dualla and bat his lashes at Baltar?

The episode closes with Adama snuggling in bed with Roslin in his candlelit quarters while the Galactica goes to hell around them. And if I felt something other than exasperated contempt for these two--indeed, for the vast majority of the characters at this point--this might be a romantic and hopeful note on which to end. As it stands, it’s… disquieting.


Ingrid Richter said…
Hey, isn't Hot Dog played by Edward James Olmos' son? And he was boffing Callie all this time?
Morgan Richter said…
Yeah. Apparently Cally got around. Also, wasn't Hot Dog the one who complained about his crotch itching during a pre-flight briefing a couple seasons back? I remember making a mental note at that time that he wasn't good dating material. But I suppose pickings are slim on the Galactica.
Jason Gilman said…
After last night's episode I'm almost hoping that Cavil and company show up soon just so the fleet has someone to fight with other than themselves. I'm not optimistic though- as dark as things seem to be, it's probably more likely that the fleet severely weakens itself with internal rebellion/conflicts and then gets mopped up by Cavil's crew.

On the other hand, now that Laura Roslin is actively encouraging her cancer's progression maybe she will actually die before the end of the series and allow the Pythian prophecy to get back on track. Since the disappointment of finding Earth the supernatural/spiritual elements of the show have been fairly absent, but as integral as they've been to the series I would be shocked if they don't resurface
within a few more episodes.
Morgan Richter said…
I'm almost hoping that Cavil and company show up soon just so the fleet has someone to fight with other than themselves.

Yeah. I don't have much patience for the inter-fleet squabbling, especially when it looks like it's about to blow up all over the place. You've got plenty of problems as it is, guys -- no need to make more on your own. It'd be an excellent time for Cavil et al to resurface and start causing some chaos.

I assume they'll do some explaining about the prophecies being almost-but-not-quite right. I haven't been a fan of the spiritual elements (I've had a real problem with Roslin and Starbuck making sweeping, fleet-affecting decisions based on their gut feelings, because there's an offensive undercurrent of "men are factual and brainy, whereas women are intuitive and emotional and thus don't need science on their side," and BSG should know better than that). However, now that we've spent 3.5 seasons invested in following these prophecies, I can't imagine they'll leave so much unanswered.
Morgan Dodge said…
I watched this episode. Then I went and took two of my dog's Xanax pills. 'Cause what the hell?
Morgan Richter said…
It's terrible when television leads you to abuse doggie Xanax. If I'd had any pet meds in the apartment other than the salmon-flavored gel for Tashiro's hairballs, I might have followed suit. Because, agreed: what the hell, BSG?

Time to lighten up a little. You can pull off a feature-length film or a thumping good novel where the overriding theme is that good people will fall into ruin and become corrupted when pushed beyond their limits by external forces. It's harder to have a successful four-year series with that same theme. I don't like these characters much anymore (even though I can see and understand what has brought them to this point), I don't sympathize with them, and I don't like spending time with them.
Dan said…
But on the plus side, we got to see Baltar's sermon (key quote: "are you children? Of course not... well, except for you littl'uns in the front. Of course, you're children. But, the adults in the room. Are you children?" Baltar - master of rhetoric) deteriorate into a Maury Povich episode:

"Chief Tyrol, you are not the father."

Fist fight.

Also, you forgot one of Apollo's earlier jobs: Apprentice Hutt.
Morgan Richter said…
(Say, that's awesome how my avatar isn't displaying correctly. The blog has been buggy this evening. If you see things displaying incorrectly, please lemme know, okay?)

Also, you forgot one of Apollo's earlier jobs: Apprentice Hutt.

Followed by his stint as Galactica's official Fitness Guru, yes.

Did I miss something, or did Tyrol know just by meeting Hot Dog's eyes across a crowded room that Hot Dog was the father? Because if so, that's a cool Cylon power right there.

(Okay, my avatar is there on this comment in preview mode, but it's gone on all my other comments. Yeah, that's still awesome. Can I have my avatar back, Blogger? Would that be okay?)
Morgan Richter said…
(Changed my settings, FYI. I have childishly decided that if I don't get an avatar, no one gets an avatar. Makes me feel better. It's been that sort of day.)

For everyone (i.e. Boy-Morgan and me) who's kind of bummed by how un-fun BSG has been lately, let me point you in the direction of this ludicrously upbeat trailer for the new volume of Heroes. For better or for worse, Heroes is the anti-BSG.
Dan said…
Well, I was seeing your avatar fine. But now, no more. Ah well, as you say, at least you've taken everybody down with you. Seems very fitting for a BSG comments section.

Maybe Hot Dog isn't Little Nicky's real father. Maybe he just figured, given the beating he got from Tyrol, he must have been. I mean, why would Tyrol just snap and beat up somebody* for no reason?

* other than Cally
Morgan Richter said…
Blogger cheekily decided to delete/move all of my formatting graphics yesterday -- my banner, my logo, my avatar. I restored them, but the avatar situation remains mucked up, so for the time being, we're not going to be able to look at Dan's gorgeous visage or Ingrid's Hong Kong turtle. Apologies, all, but I'm sure we'll muddle through somehow.

* other than Cally

Ah, yes. I tried to make a mental list of characters I don't currently despise. I'd given some consideration to Tyrol. And then I remembered how he: a) beat the crap out of his wife, and b) after her death, ranted about how she smelled like cabbage and how much he settled by marrying her instead of Boomer. So all that's fairly loathesome.

Athena? Murdered the rebel leader Six for no real reason. Helo? Started out as a good egg, but has been unattractively self-righteous for the past couple of seasons. Seelix? Participated in the Circle's airlockpalooza. I guess right now I'm pinning all my hopes for the eventual redemption of humanity on, like, Racetrack and Hoshi.
Morgan Dodge said…
I'm really looking forward to Heroes coming back. Just reading the discussion here about if any of the characters are in any way likable makes me want to reach for the doggie Xananx. Such an unhappy group of characters.

Sorry to hear that the blog went wonky on you. Maybe the bad juju from the Battlestar characters bled into the blog itself? Baltar would tell you that the blog needs to come to your house and apologize.
Morgan Richter said…
Remember in the early days of BSG how there was that sweet little romance between Dualla and Billy, and the leitmotif of Baltar getting caught whacking off in public places, and the Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf-esque marriage of the Tighs? Remember how Gaeta used to (hilariously) think Baltar was totally awesome? Or how we'd root for Starbuck and Apollo to hook up, because that idea didn't seem totally repulsive back when they weren't both married to other people? Sure, the setting was grim, but the focus was on the action (i.e. getting the hell away from the Cylons), not on the psychological scarring of the characters, and there were genuinely cute, hopeful moments scattered throughout. Those days are gone forever.

But Heroes! Heroes looks kind of good! Here are a bunch of clips from the upcoming Feb. 2 episode. Pay special attention to the newly calm and introspective and self-aware Mohinder. Who is this imposter, and what has he done with our flighty, nitwitty geneticist?
Dan said…
Also, Adama was kinda awesome in the early days and seemed far less concerned with dental hygiene.

Roslin? Always been a pain in the ass.

I refuse to believe Mohinder can be competent. I can only assume this is his stolen identical triplet.
Morgan Richter said…
Yeah. The Adama who serves as the gruff yet soft-hearted leader of this ragtag fleet of misfits? Sure. The Adama who goes on crying jags in his bathrobe and brushes his teeth a lot? I could do without him.

I refuse to believe Mohinder can be competent. I can only assume this is his stolen identical triplet.

Entirely possible. However, cast your mind back to the start of Volume Two: remember those first two episodes, when Mohinder neatly infiltrated the Company and tromped around Haiti in an impeccable white outfit and spoke French and bamboozled Bob into thinking the Haitian wiped his brain? Remember how he was sort of, I dunno, competent and efficient and brainy for those two precious episodes? And then he started squabbling with Matt and throwing hissyfits and shooting people in the eye and reverting back to his usual whirlwind force of nitwittery. I figure this'll go along those lines: I'll spend a couple of episodes hyping this New, Improved, Competent Mohinder! and then he'll accidentally Krazy-Glue himself to the wall, and I'll curse myself for ever believing it would last.

By the way, our apocalyptic preppie friend Lou sent me this bit of news on the forthcoming Heroes Superbowl spot, which promises to reach dizzying levels of lunacy. Everyone who ever wanted to see Mohinder and the rest of the boys dressed improbably in football gear (that'd be me and Lou), click here. You know you want to...
Ingrid Richter said…
Alas, poor avatar!

Heh. Is anyone following the mock blog fight between Aaron Douglas (Tyrol) and Wil Wheaton? Fine stuff...
Morgan Richter said…
Ha! Okay, the Wheaton-Douglas mock bitchfight amuses me muchly. Odd boys, both of them, but I like them anyway. Sample bit of vitriol from Douglas: "I know that I would rather be an ass-kicking enlisted Chief than a wanker pre-pubescent pseudo engineering officer that had to run to his quarters for 3 minutes with a box of tissues every time counsellor Troi walked by."

Things I Love, Wholeheartedly and Without Irony:

1. Aaron Douglas uses "Chief Tyrol" as the name on his blog.

2. It's a LiveJournal.

Stars. They're just like us!

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