Tuned In

BSG Watch: The Piano Has Been Drinking

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Sci Fi

Sci Fi

Spoilers for Friday’s Battlestar Galactica coming up after the jump: 

Two weeks ago, we had an episode of BSG, aboard the Cylon baseship, devoted almost entirely to exposition. Last week, one aboard Galactica, devoted almost entirely to relationships among the characters, especially the Cylons among the fleet. This week, we saw an episode that delved into the characters of Starbuck and the Chief as well—but in a way that served both the endgame and the heart of BSG. A hybrid, if you will, and a very satisfying one at that. 

As I wrote last week, my problem with the Ellen-Tigh-Six triangle episode was that it seem almost detached from the arc of the series, and that Ellen in particular, seemed to be acting, if not out of character, in a way that suggested we don’t entirely know who her character is anymore. Friday’s episode worked not just because we saw the two characters working through old issues and reliving old patterns, but because each of their crises reinforced the plot and the theme of the episode—how human-Cylon merging, in particular the hybrids, will be crucial to the end of the series and the future of both species. 

I said “hybrid,” plural, because while we didn’t get confirmation, it’s looking awfully likely that Starbuck is a hybrid, quite likely the daughter of boxed Cylon Daniel (the artistic one). This would explain her specialness, how she would be able to find Earth, and how she, like Hera, is somehow able to tap into some kind of universal mind.

That’s the mythology part, but was impressive here was how Katee Sackhoff carried the story through an episode that—up to the last ten minutes or so—was mainly talking. (Talking to herself, at that.) The opening sequence was brilliant, showing Starbuck’s familiar dark humor as she gave instructions to her dwindling crew, many of whom were forced to fly solo. (“Savor this alone time, but do not whack too much. We need you to conserve your O2.”) But it was intercut with scenes of her alone, mouthing the speech to herself, showing us her disorientation; what seems outwardly like control is actually the verge of madness. Through her babbling at Joe’s Bar, she takes herself back to the childhood roots of her hurt, and, through it—hitting on the chords of The Song—may be about the find the fleet a way forward. 

And Tyrol! Trusting, foolish, had-us-yelling-at-the-TV Tyrol. I’ll leave you to discuss what it means that Hera’s been spirited away, but this was excellent work by Aaron Douglas, his soulful, pained eyes bleeding Tyrol’s willingness to believe. I actually wonder, up until Boomer’s escape, whether he was actually in on the plan to take Hera as well as to free Boomer, but the horror that broke over his face discovering that she had taken Athena’s child told it all.

All in all, a welcome, and wrenching, episode. As Kara said, “It made me feel happy and sad all at the same time.” As Slick replied, “The best ones do.” 

On to the hail of bullets: 

* I’m guessing that Kara’s dad (whose recording was made at, hint hint, an Opera House) can’t have composed All Along the Watchtower, because if I’m not mistaken, when Anders picked up the guitar on Earth, he remembered having played the song—correct? 

* If, as seems pretty clear, Boomer is still working for Cavil, and had no problem jumping to Galactica immediately with Ellen, does this mean that Cavil has know how to get to the fleet all along? If so, why is he being a stranger? Does he want Hera more than a battle, and if so, for what? 

* It has, of course, always been hard to figure out what Boomer really thinks and where her real loyalties are—that’s the whole point to a double-crossing character like her. But her centrality in this episode shows one weakness of introducing the idea of Cavil jimmying with other Cylons’ minds: we now have to wonder if the “real” Boomer—whoever that is—betrayed the Chief and stole Hera, or if somewhere along the line she’s had duplicity programmed into her. 

* Have we ever heard before that an FTL jump is dangerous to nearby ships?

* Finally, not to be indelicate, but someone tell me: why is it that the Chief was able to identify the 8 with Ellen as Boomer just be getting a close look at her, but Helo does not recognize that the woman he is with is not his wife under, er, ah, more intimate circumstances?