Battlestar Galactica: Sometimes a Great Notion

Previously on Battlestar Galactica: Tigh, Tyrol, Tory, and Anders were outed as Cylons, Dualla put up with a lot of nonsense from her insufferable husband, and the fleet joined up with some of the Cylons and found Earth. Good thing everyone was already accustomed to disappointment.

Everyone glumly wanders around the scorched and radioactive surface of Earth, which, they estimate, was nuked about two thousand years ago. They find a number of skeletons and the broken parts of an unknown Centurion model. Everyone initially assumes this means the members of the Thirteenth Tribe who settled on Earth developed their own Cylons, who then rebelled and destroyed them, but Baltar determines the skeletons are Cylon in nature -- the Thirteenth Tribe consisted entirely of Cylons.

Starbuck and Leoben wander off together and find the charred remains of a Viper, the same one in which Starbuck made her miraculous return to the Galactica following her presumed death and her initial discovery of Earth. Weird! They also find the charred remains of Starbuck sitting in the pilot’s seat. Weirder! Even creepy Leoben thinks this is freaky and disturbing.

A weirded-out Starbuck builds a funeral pyre and burns her own corpse. The ghosts of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda smile beatifically in the background.

On Earth, Tyrol has a vision of himself wandering through a bustling marketplace and getting vaporized by the nuclear blast. Anders finds a burned guitar and starts singing “All Along the Watchtower.” Tory, Tyrol and Anders put their Cylon heads together and realize they all used to live on Earth, two thousand years ago.

Apollo wrings his hands and frets about what he’s going to tell the Quorum re: the craptastic nature of Earth. Dualla gives him a pep talk about how he’s totally awesome and buff and way cooler than anyone on the Quorum, which inspires him to ask her out on a date. Dualla (who, after half a season of hiding in the background, receives a whole lot of suspicious and ominous attention, including a totally pointless interlude in which she babysits Hera for Helo and Athena) gets gussied up in a fancy dress and has a great time.

Post-date, Dualla returns to the officers’ quarters humming happily to herself. She chats with Gaeta about what a great time she had with her ex-husband. As soon as Gaeta leaves, Dualla shoots herself in the head.

Gaeta rushes back and, with Seelix’s help, tries to revive her, but to no avail. Aw, Dualla. Poor girl. I didn’t think you’d make it to the end of the series, but I’d hoped you’d be given a better send-off, or at least a less inexplicable one. Gaeta, meanwhile, has the stricken look of a man who has just realized that, with Dualla’s death, the Galactica is now crewed entirely by people who keep trying to kill and/or maim him. Except for Hoshi, I guess. Hey, speaking of Gaeta’s ongoing spiral into insanity and despair (we weren’t, I know, but these days any mention of Gaeta contains an implicit reference to his ongoing spiral into insanity and despair), has everyone seen the new Gaetacentric webisodes? They’re pretty good, but damn, they’re bound and determined to strip every last vestige of dignity and sanity from Gaeta before his inevitable messy end, aren’t they?

Roslin deals with the discovery that she has led the entire fleet into despair as best she can, i.e. by burning all her guiding scriptures and skipping her cancer treatments. Adama arrives and tries to give her a pep talk (this episode is heavy on pep talks), but Roslin is inconsolable. The magic fairy of humility and self-awareness pays her a long-overdue visit, and she tearfully confesses she’s been wrong about everything. Yup. You sure have, lady. There is a valuable lesson here about not risking the lives of thousands based upon your own personal drug-induced religious visions. Should’ve been obvious.

Adama boozes it up, gnaws on the scenery, sobs over Dualla’s corpse, gnaws on the scenery some more, grabs a gun, and stalks manfully down the newly graffiti-bedazzled corridors of the Galactica, which, in the absence of competent leadership, are now teeming with distraught crew members and erupting fisticuffs. Adama confronts Tigh, whereupon he nastily insults Tigh’s skeezy dead wife Ellen and goads him into pulling a gun on him. Not cool, Adama. Nobody gets to insult (and/or murder) skeezy dead Ellen, except for Tigh. Some things are sacred. Tigh, who, weirdly, has become the more mature and stable party in their unhealthy codependent dynamic, is appropriately disgusted with this nonsense. He refuses to kill Adama just because Adama’s feeling crappy about Dualla. Adama sobs and emotes and tells a tiresome story about his childhood. This episode clocked in a couple minutes over standard running length, and while for the most part it zips along at a zesty pace, right here would have been a most excellent place to start cropping it down to size.

Adama eventually pulls himself together and gives a pep talk to the fleet about how they’re going to find some place even awesomer than Earth. The fleet is not impressed.

Back on Earth, Tigh tells D’anna the fleet is ready to jump away. D’anna refuses to leave, claiming she’d rather die on crappy old Earth than keep running from Cavil and the other hostile Cylons. Tigh spaces out and wanders hip-deep into the ocean, whereupon he has a vision of himself on Earth during the nuclear attack. He sees himself cradling an injured and dying Ellen, who tells him not to worry: “We’ll be reborn again, together.”

Tigh snaps back to his senses and realizes Ellen is the Final Cylon. Well, okay then. Sort of random, but I’ve liked Kate Vernon ever since her performance as James Spader’s vile rich girlfriend in Pretty in Pink, so I’ll accept it.

So Ellen’s a Cylon, the Cylons are Earthlings, Dualla is dead, Starbuck is not Starbuck, Adama is boozy, Roslin is weepy, and Apollo is… pretty much unaffected by it all. Good times. Nice to have you back, gang.


Jason Gilman said…
What a strange, dark episode. If the Cyclons are 2000 plus years old does this mean that the survivors of the destruction of the 13th Colony took over the machine Cylons the humans created and were fighting previously? Lots of explaining remains for that connection. It looks like the human created Cylons probably didn't develop the biological model Cylons after all. And the Starbuck thing- if Ellen is the 5th Cylon, I guess Ms. Sackhoff is something else entirely.
Morgan Richter said…
I have no clue what Starbuck is going to turn out to be. At this point, I'm just hoping Ron Moore knows what she's going to turn out to be, but I don't know if I'm 100% convinced on that.

Yeah -- I can't get my head around the Cylons on Earth two thousand years ago. Are they totally unrelated to the Cylons who were built/rebelled much more recently on the Twelve Colonies? Obviously the seven Cylons from the colonies knew about the five Cylons from Earth. Weird stuff.
Morgan Dodge said…
This episode is sitting safely on my TiVo waiting for me to watch it. But since I generally need a secret decoder ring to decipher what happened in any given post-season-one episode of Battlestar, I don't see any harm in spoiling myself on what happened. I'd need someone to explain it to me anyway.

In any case, I'm glad to see that they're keeping up with the usual level of this-makes-no-sense-ness and also finally revealed the final cylon model.

Maybe Starbuck's corpse was just a symbol for her battle with her anger issues? Or maybe they'll resurrect the plot line from the 80s version of Battlestar? You know they don't get enough use out of the old Fortress of Solitude set these days anyhow.
Dan said…
I, like Boy-Morgan, am yet to see the episode (I have a download limit that I may have managed poorly this month, given all the shows returning, and nothing must stop me from accessing Lost later this week - I like BSG plenty good, but Lost takes priority over all other shows). But, heck, I don't mind being spoiled here, either.

So, Ellen Tigh is the Final Cylon, huh? Yes. It makes sense. Just like Tigh, Anders, Tyrol and the chick we'd barely ever seen before being Cylons Eight Through Eleven.

As for the rest of it? I have no idea. Maybe it'll make more sense when I see the episode. Although somehow I doubt it. Still, as long as somebody suffered a bleak and miserable death from nowhere, I feel satisfied.
Morgan Richter said…
Yeah, Ellen's the Final Cylon. And still, the world keeps turning. Not a bad episode at all: plenty of weirdness (Living Starbuck finds Crispy Dead Starbuck) and unfathomable motivations (hi, Dualla!) to keep things lively.

Dan and Boy-Morgan, I hope you get around to watching it at some point, if only because my Obi-Wan/Anakin/Yoda comment becomes much funnier in context.
Dan said…
I'll definitely watch it at some point (for the Obi-Wan/Anakin/Yoda joke if nothing else). Probably later this week. After that, I should be able to get myself on a more sane schedule, so expect far more input from me on the subject next week.

Y'know, assuming your recaps become a regular feature.
Morgan Richter said…
The jury is still out whether I'm going to recap the rest of the season. For one thing, BSG isn't as much hooty good fun as Heroes. For another, I have difficulty tracking the episodes down to watch them (my low tech ways + my crappy cable package, you know).

Still, I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to shoehorn in belabored Return of the Jedi references, so I suppose I'll try to keep with it. Only nine more episodes left anyway, right?
Dan said…
BSG isn't as much hooty good fun as Heroes

Early days yet, but a fine contender for understatement of the year.

I have difficulty tracking the episodes down to watch them

Yes, I was impressed you'd seen it already. The Force must be strong in you.

Only nine more episodes left anyway, right?

Well, eight plus a Lord of the Rings-length finale, right?
Dan said…
In other news, Dirk 'The Starbuck With A Penis' Benedict is cranky:
Morgan Richter said…
In other news, Dirk 'The Starbuck With A Penis' Benedict is cranky

He sure is. Snakes alive. Give it a rest, Dirk! That ship has sailed!

Well, eight plus a Lord of the Rings-length finale, right?

Yes. But after this last episode and the one before that, I'm sort of worried about the rumored three-hour series finale. Because I have the feeling at least two of those hours will be devoted to watching Olmos emote up a storm. I much prefer gruff, frosty Olmos to teary, deranged Olmos.
Morgan Dodge said…
In other news, Dirk 'The Starbuck With A Penis' Benedict is cranky.

I think he just hasn't been the same since his work out video didn't do all that well.

I'm hopeful that the finale will over some variety of closure for those of us who like that sort of thing.
Morgan Richter said…
I think he just hasn't been the same since his work out video didn't do all that well.

Didn't do all that well? Nonsense! They were flying off the rack at my local 99 Cents story.

I'm hopeful that the finale will over some variety of closure for those of us who like that sort of thing.

That'd be swell. It seems like they've got a lot of ground to cover in this last batch of episodes, but maybe they'll be able to cram everything in. Maybe. Or not. Whichever.
Big Rich said…
Here's my take ;-)

1) Starbuck = Hybrid. The Harbinger of Death. Harbinger mean 'a sign of things to come'. She is an example of where Humans and Cylons are going (Tigh is probably her dad, too).

2) Ellen is a Cylon, but not necessarily the 5th (Try an aged model 6).

3)Dualla is a Cylon, she realised this on Earth, then killed herself out of desperation (knowing she'd probably only be resurrected again, i.e. never-ending).
Morgan Richter said…
Big Rich, I like the idea of Ellen being an aged version of Six (and that would certainly be in keeping with Tigh hallucinating Ellen when he was with Caprica Six). I'd be happy with Starbuck as a Hybrid, too -- not quite human, not quite Cylon. That'd be as good an explanation for her death/rebirth as any.

Sadly, I'm inclined to think Dualla isn't a Cylon and thus won't be resurrected. I'd like to be wrong about this; I've always liked her character, even though she very rarely had any kind of meaty plotline. She really seemed to fall through the cracks in season 4.0. I was hoping they'd find something interesting for her to do in the remaining episodes, but shooting herself in the head really wasn't what I'd had in mind.
Dan said…
Ooooh, Ellen as Older Six is way cool. I sure hope that's right.

Question Time: Didn't Baltar test Ellen for Cylon Germs when she first showed up? Was he still faking having a test then? Or did he have a real test and (gasp!) lie about it? Or are the last five Cylons immune to the test? Or something else?
Dan said…
Or are the last five Cylons immune to the test

Oh, wait. If she's an older Six then she's not one of the Final Five, is she?

Oh well. The remaining questions still stand.
Morgan Richter said…
Didn't Baltar test Ellen for Cylon Germs when she first showed up? Was he still faking having a test then? Or did he have a real test and (gasp!) lie about it?

He did. I'm thinking he lied about the result (I know -- Baltar lying? That just doesn't sound right!). Or perhaps he never got around to actually running Ellen's blood sample or urine sample or whatever through his Cylon detector. Because Baltar takes shortcuts and lacks follow-through. I've always admired that about him.

I think it'd be pretty cool if it turns out Baltar has known about Ellen's Cylonosity for the past few seasons and has kept his mouth shut due to various unfathomable Baltarish motivatations.
Dan said…
Can I just sidetrack to say that, while I was reading Girl-Morgan's last comment in my gmail account (thanks to the handy-dandy 'email follow-up comments' option), the following ad was displayed:

BBTS Exclusive Six Bust
Battlestar Galactica Caprica Six Bust
Limited to 750 Pieces $49.99

Am I the only one amused by the notion that you can purchase the bust of Caprica Six? And that it is split in 750 pieces?

I am? Fair enough. As you were.
Morgan Richter said…
Dan, I know what I'm getting you for your birthday.

I know I get too much mileage out of my Google Analytics, but a whole bunch of new BSG-themed keywords have come trickling in: the third most popular search used to find this site is now "Dualla is dead," while "Dualla dead" holds fourth place. "Dualla is not dead" comes in at #71.

(Favorite new keyword search term: "is anderson cooper max headroom." No, but it would explain so much, wouldn't it?)

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