Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Battlestar Galactica--Rapture

The Upshot from the Sci-Fi Channel--With the Galactica outgunned by four Cylon base ships, and the Colonial forces on the ground being flanked by a platoon of Cylon Centurions, how far will Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) go to keep the Cylons from capturing the artifact that shows the way to Earth? And will Apollo (Jamie Bamber) put the mission at risk to save the downed Starbuck (Katie Sackhoff) — or let the woman he loves die?

Of course we knew going in that Adama wasn’t going to nuke the planet--heck all of the episode’s preview footage belayed that notion.

Still it was somewhat weirdly nostalgic to watch Galactica’s nuclear launch preparation--complete with nuclear code launch authorization and double key turning. We know that history always looks rosier in hindsight but we REALLY miss the Cold War. Sure Ivan and Sergei were Godless commie bastards bent on dominating the world--but at least they let us keep our shoes on at the airport. Okay--we digress.

Elsewhere aboard Galactica, Sharon/Athena (Grace Park) and her husband Helo (Tahmoh Penikett) engage in a desperate gamble to rescue their baby girl Hera from the Cylons. Helo shoots Sharon dead so she can download into a new body in one of the nearby Cylon basestars where Hera is being held.

Confronted by Adama and President Roslin (Mary McDonnell), Helo declares that Athena won’t betray the fleet, while Adama--not unsympathetically--noted that she may not have a choice.

As we’ve noted, we had been long awaiting a confrontation between Sharon and Roslin-- who ordered the child’s death faked--deeming it too dangerous to the fleet for the Cylons (or the parents) to believe that Hera was alive. Yet, the best scene of the episode came when Helo confronted Roslin for stealing his daughter.

Tahmoh Penikett brilliantly pulls off the balancing act of portraying Helo as a Colonial officer showing deference to his president and a father directing his barely controlled rage and contempt at the individual who wronged his entire family.

For her part, Mary McDonnell plays Roslin perfectly in this moment--she is rocked and on the defensive but she stands her ground--knowing she did a wrong thing for the right reason. Yet whatever Roslin’s ultimate culpability, she notes that the fate of the entire fleet rides on Helo and Adama’s unconditional faith in Athena’s loyalty.

Aboard the Cylon basestar, Athena awakens from downloading to be greeted by Caprica Six (Tricia Helfer). Having been dumped by the Cylon D’Anna (Lucy Lawless) and the human traitor/perhaps Cylon-to-be-named-later Gaius Baltar (James Callis) to find “God” on the planet below, Six has nothing else left but to protect baby Hera in accordance to God’s will.

The Sharon model once known as Boomer has been caring for the child but it’s clear that Boomer has lost all of her human connection and empathy--even before she declares that humans and Cylons should just go their separate ways.

Yet it’s still striking to see Boomer suddenly poised to snap the baby’s neck and more of a surprise to see Caprica Six kill Boomer (well for a while anyway) to save the baby--ironic considering one of Six’s first scenes in the mini-series was to snap the neck of a baby she encountered on Caprica just before the attacks.

Boomer’s total rejection of her human understanding and compassion is important to note as it proves her entire model line is not “fundamentally flawed”--only Athena.

On the planet below, Apollo, Anders (Michael Trucco) and company attempt to hold off a Cylon centurion brigade while Chief Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) attempts to find the Eye of Jupiter and the roadmap to Earth. In the midst of this, Apollo orders his wife Dualla (Kandyse McClure) to attempt a rescue of a crash-downed Starbuck--his not so secret lover.

While we are fast becoming wary of this soap-opera love rectangle between Apollo, Starbuck, Dualla and Anders, we can’t help but admire the spunk Dee shows by not hiding her contempt for Starbuck even as they need each other to fix their Raptor to fly off the planet.

In the Temple of Five, D’Anna experiences her vision as the planet’s sun goes supernova--she sees the face of God and knows madness. She dies and is resurrected only to be told by the Cylon Cavil (Dean Stockwell) that she’s gone too far off the Cylon reservation. She’s been “boxed” where all her models are put in cold storage as “fundamentally flawed.”

Poor Baltar is left out of the loop--his question as to whether he’s a Cylon left unanswered just before he’s greeted by Tyrol-- “Welcome home Mr. President” and promptly cold cocked.

The rescue of the crew members from the planet just as Galactica jumps away in just the nick of time was a little too neat for us and it felt rushed. The reunion of Athena and Helo with their baby Hera also suffered due to the episode’s ticking clock.

Athena keeps the ship’s marines from shooting Caprica Six on sight. Her reward for helping to rescue the baby will be Sharon’s old holding cell but do remember that she DID play a pivotal role in the Cylon sneak attack and holocaust.

Yet with the real Six on board Galactica now, we look forward to her (finally) interacting with other characters--especially Roslin. So Say We All!


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