Sunday, October 15, 2006

Battlestar Galactica—Exodus Part 1

The Upshot from SciFi: The Cylons have begun a brutal crackdown on New Caprica's nascent human Resistance movement. With time running out for the colonists, Admiral Adama must launch his rescue attempt earlier than he'd expected. Although he expected a fight from the Cylons, he is unprepared for the one he gets from his son, Lee, who refuses to let the Battlestar Pegasus join the Galactica's suicidal attack.

SPOILER WARNING!!!! –If you missed BSG on Friday and intend to catch the encore broadcast Monday night at 11 p.m….read no further.

Last week when we left things, we saw that the 200 “suspected” insurgents—including former President Laura Rosin (Mary McDonnell), Tom Zerek (Richard Hatch) and Callie, (Nikki Clyne) Chief Tyrol’s wife—had been driven out to the middle of nowhere under the direction of the Cylon Brother Cavil (Dean Stockwell).

As the Cylon Centurions lined up in a firing squad formation, they aimed their guns at the gathered masses and….fade to black.

Exodus part 1 did a credible job of resolving the cliffhanger in a believable way by starting the episode one hour earlier from last week’s cliffhanger.

A panicked Tyrol seeks out Col Tigh (Michael Hogan) to alert him that Callie is one of the 200 whose death warrant has been signed—by President Baltar (James Callis) with literally a gun to his head.

Tigh orders Tyrol to calm down and clear his head or his wife is a gonner—after a quick planning session, Tigh orders Tyrol to be careful and not get himself caught—“The last thing your son wants is Ellen and me for parents.”

It’s about the kindest thing the salty old bastard will ever be caught saying. It’s also making our stock of Galactica’s former drunk XO rise significantly.

With a group of men, Tyrol successfully ambushes the execution site and saves the group, including Roslin and Zerek who share a fun moment—political differences suddenly don’t mean so much when they are both about to be shot in a ditch.

Meanwhile, the reformed Cylon Boomer—Lt. Sharon Agathon—in command of the Galactica advance party—heads off an ambush of their own by the Cylons. When insurgent lieutenant Sam Anders (Michael Trucco) finds his own map on the body of one of the Cylon “skin-jobs” he knows it was Ellen Tigh who sold them out.

The Cylon Number Three, also known as D’anna Biers (Lucy Lawless with something more to do this episode) has nightmares that “make her question her faith in God.” Those dreams bring her to a New Caprican priest. Acting as an Oracle, the priest tells Number Three that the Cylon/Human child Hera—daughter of Boomer and Lt. Karl Agathon (Tahmoh Penikett), Galactica’s current XO—is still alive.

Later when Number Three walks in on Boomer during a brazen sneak into Cylon headquarters to retrieve confiscated ship ignition keys—a vital element of the rescue plan--Number Three tells Sharon that her baby is alive. It’s not enough to shake Boomer’s hard-won loyalty (nor keep her from double knee-capping Number Three) but the seeds of doubt have been planted.

Adama wouldn’t lie to me” she declares. Since we the viewer do know that Roslin (with Adama’s at least tacit knowledge and approval) faked the baby’s death and hid her within the fleet to be raised by another, you just know this is a plot bomb just waiting to go off.

On Galactica, the Adama men—Admiral William Adama (Edward James Olmos) and Commander Lee Adama/Apollo (Jamie Bamber) confer. Apollo tries in vein to talk the Admiral out of his rescue attempt and we can see Adama’s disappointment in his son for not wanting to join him as just as we can see his love for his son.

Apollo has fallen so far and it’s not just Jamie Bamber in a fat suit that’s sad to see. Last week, Adama the father chastised his son for being “soft” but more accurately Lee is a broken man. We could see the cracks forming last season during Resurrection Shop part 2 when Apollo’s ship was destroyed leaving him to float helplessly in space awaiting rescue.

He confessed to Starbuck he really didn’t want to come back—to be rescued. Further cracks appeared during the hostage crisis in Sacrifice when Apollo was wounded by Starbuck’s (Katie Sackhoff) friendly fire.

Apollo is the character with the toughest cross to bear in many cases. He can’t be his own man while living in his father’s shadow. He loves his father even as he resents him—at first over the death of his brother and later because Apollo realizes that he is more like his father than he ever knew—the recipe for a great big helping of self-loathing stew.

All is not well among the Cylon either: The occupation has allowed the viewer to get a much closer look at the enemy than ever before. Even they note they have a much more difficult time gaining consensus than before the occupation.

It’s been good to see the Cylon Number Six (Tricia Helfer) in a circumstance other than as the phantom inside Baltar’s head.

A couple things that caught our attention: Following his wounding (but not killing) by insurgents at the failed execution site, Cavil notes that “downloading” or the transferring of a Cylon’s consciousness from one model body to another (cybernetic immortality of a sort) has become progressively harder—hmmmmm a plot seed perhaps?

Also, we realized that we’ve seen the Cylon Leobon Conoy (Callum Keith Rennie) only in the context of his “experiment” with Starbuck and not during the Cylon strategy huddle. Is this significant?

It may not matter because the Galactica is coming to the rescue. Stay tuned.


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