Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Battlestar Galactica—Crossroads Part 1

The Upshot from the Sci-Fi Channel—Gaius Baltar’s (James Callis) trial begins aboard Galactica, but the secrets he reveals might rip the fleet apart.

Please excuse the delay in posting our review but we missed part of the episode on Sunday and we wanted to see it in full during the encore broadcast before we weighed in with our thoughts.

That said, we are developing a serious case of Battlestar fatigue. That’s not to say that we don’t like the show or even this particular episode but when the cast and crew proclaimed last fall that Season 3 would be dark and progressively darker, they weren’t kidding.

Crossroads Part 1 was the build up for next week’s big, big season finale and you just know big things are coming. This episode spent much of its time setting things up for the big reveals due next week.

The trial of Gaius Baltar is proving to be every bit as divisive and polarizing as Vice-President Tom Zerek (Richard Hatch) had warned President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) it would be.

As Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) sits as one of five judges on Baltar’s tribunal, his son Lee/Apollo (Jamie Bamber) assists Baltar’s attorney Romo Lampkin (guest-star Mark Sheppard) on the defense team.

As the fleet Jumps toward the Ionian Nebula, a mysterious landmark on the way to Earth, a strange mood settles over its citizens. Roslin dreams vivid dreams in an opera house very much reminiscent of the opera house in Baltar’s vision with Imaginary Six (Tricia Helfer) on Kobol at the end of Season 1. In her dream, Roslin is trying to catch up to baby Hera while Hera’s mother Athena (Grace Park) spirits the baby away.

Meanwhile, we see a brief sighting of Sam Anders (Michael Trucco) in a Colonial uniform, perhaps in pilot training. It’s good to see that the writers are going to keep him around now that his wife Starbuck (Katie Sackhoff) is presumed dead (at least by the crew).

Anders and Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) both inexplicably struggle to hear a static-laced song on the radio, but it has a much greater effect on Tigh. Might it have something to do with the group of Cylon basestars just discovered to be tracking the fleet at an extreme distance.

Then Racetrack (Leah Cairns) returns from a scouting mission with the chilling news that a Cylon force is secretly pursuing the human fleet.

Tigh interrogates the prisoner Caprica Six about the pursuing Cylons. She confesses that the human fleet's fuel ship emits a quirky radiation signature that the Cylons can track. Then, encouraged by her Imaginary Baltar, Six torments Tigh with questions about his dead wife, Ellen (Kate Vernon), a reluctant Cylon collaborator who died on New Caprica.

Tigh—never shy about holding back, especially with Cylons—smacks Six pretty good but Six gives just as good as she gets. Yet it’s her words that do the most damage as she cuts Tigh down to size—unraveling all of the fragile confidence and resolve he has struggled to regain these months since New Caprica.

Rattled, Tigh shows up drunk for his testimony at the trial for all to see. Lampkin eats Tigh's lunch during cross-examination, getting Tigh to admit that he himself killed Ellen, who was reluctant Cylon collaborator, thus destroying his credibility.

After Adama helplessly watches his best friend publicly humiliated, he later accuses Lee of tipping off Lampkin to the truth about Ellen Tigh's death. Adama is wrong— Lee never even knew about Ellen but Adama refuses to believe this, prompting Lee in anger to resign his commission and creating a Grand Canyon-sized rift between father and son.

Now a civilian, Lee opts to conduct President Roslin's cross-examination himself. He ruthlessly pounces on something he noticed earlier—something only a friend would notice—that her tea is laced with herb chamalla. The same herb she took when she was fighting her cancer and which also causes hallucinations.

On the stand, it’s heartbreaking to see Roslin quietly beg Lee “not to do this” and she even recalls “Captain Apollo has a nice ring to it”—her nickname for him during better times. He pushes ahead full steam, perhaps not even aware of the line he’s crossing …until it’s well behind him.

Mercilessly, Lee extracts her secret, as he noticed earlier, her tea is laced with the herb chamalla, which can cause hallucinations. He forces the admission from Roslin, thus casting suspicion on her testimony, yet Lee seems unprepared when Roslin adds that she’s taking the drug again because her cancer has returned.

As long-time viewers recall, Roslin was saved from the final stages of her cancer when Baltar injected blood from Hera, the then unborn human-Cylon baby into Roslin—wiping out all the cancer cells. This would seem to explain Roslin’s dream—the child could cure her again but the child’s parents have little love lost for the woman who abducted their baby in the name of public safety.

News of Roslin’s returned cancer has a devastating ripple effect throughout the fleet—which has already been pulled apart by Baltar’s trial.

With Tigh still shattered from his time on the witness stand and while he’s still plagued by the noise—he’s off duty with Capt. Karl Agathon/Helo (Tahmoh Penikett) back in C.I.C. filling in again as XO.

As he talks to Lt. Gaeta (Alessandro Julani), Helo recalls his time on Caprica running from the Cylons and he notes he can sense change in the air. “The weather’s changing Felix. We need to be ready for it. There’s a storm coming.”

Fraking-A right! Like a lot of two-part episodes, this set things up for a lot of bombs to be dropped next week during the season finale.

Even as we hungrily anticipate the finale, we are frantically working to ensure a way to see it as FanBoyWonder’s day job has mandated that we travel to Tampa the night of the season finale. So we are frantically searching for a way to record the episode or find some way to watch it. So we may or may not be able to blog a review of Crossroads p. 2. Stay tuned.


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