Thursday, May 8, 2008

Galactica Log: The Road Less Traveled

Episode five done and we’re half way through. Sort of. I know, I know. There will be a total of twenty episodes to season four, but, to date, only ten of those have been scheduled to air. There is speculation that the second ten may not be aired until next year, which is nuts! So, again, we’re half way through and where are we?

Aboard the Demetrius we’re at day 58 of their 60 day assignment. The title credits here are our only calendar. It’s been two months since they were sent to find Earth and six weeks since we saw anything of life on board. ‘Two days to the rendezvous’ seems to be the crew’s mantra. They’ve pretty much had it with Kara. Her only supporters, aside from her husband, are arguing in support of the chain of command, not of her. I keep thinking of Starbuck as an Ahab like character, but that isn’t fair to the famous whaler. He never let his obsession get in the way of business or the orderly working of the Pequod. Kara is spending all her still painting her cabin walls and hoping to hear “that sound again.” (I don’t know anyone who really believed she meant All Along The Watchtower.) As the clock ticks down, it looks like there’ll be a confrontation in two days. She won’t want to turn back; the others think her clock has run out.

She insists on rechecking an area they’ve already checked twice, and there they discover a refugee from the Cylon Civil War, Leoben. Apparently a base ship has survived and he, and presumably the remaining 6s and 8s, want them to go it so Kara can talk to the Hybrid. The obvious suggestion is made, that they rendezvous first and then go with the Galactica behind them to verify the story, but this is the break Kara has been desperately searching for. And it says something of the writing and Sackhoff’s performance that we can accept that she’s ready to go with him. This is, after all, the man who held her captive on New Caprica. The crew rebels. Even Helo, who earlier beat down a revolt, literally, has had enough. She orders the jump and he refuses. She relieves him of command and orders Gaeta to make it. He refuses. Then Helo invokes the necessary article and relieves her of her command.

Meanwhile, aboard the Galactica, Baltar is spreading the word via pirate radio. He’s hosting a live question and answer session dressed in a robe-like smoking jacket. It’s interesting to listen to the first woman venting out all her anger and frustrations. She blames the Cylons, but she also blames the government and military that created them and then failed to defend the Colonies against them. She wants to know why the gods didn’t save us. That’s easy, Baltar assures her, the old gods couldn’t save us, because they don’t exist.

One of his listeners is Galen Tyrol, who isn’t doing very well. He’s shaved his head (film and TV shorthand for nuts). When he turns off the radio the baby starts fussing, so he turns it back on. He is convinced his wife didn’t commit suicide, but he doesn’t know how to prove it. Later he’s doing some routine maintenance in an area where Baltar is speaking and finds himself drawn in. Gaius tries to win him over, asking him to take his hand and manipulatively saying it’s what Cally would have wanted. Enraged, Galen attacks him, but is pulled off. He goes back to his room. He knocks over a lot of papers and gets his gun. He is about to shoot himself when he sees a photo of Cally and Nicholas that he’s knocked onto the floor and changes his mind. Later Baltar appreciates that he did cross a line when speaking to Galen and goes to his quarters to apologize. Being Baltar, he talks a lot about himself, about his acceptance of his fate and how it sees it as his last chance at redemption. Galen listens to him without speaking, but the scene ends with him extending his own hand to Baltar.

It’s a nice scene and it’s perhaps the best in what was otherwise an uneventful episode. Sure, Leoben showed up and someone died, but the confrontation on the Demetrius was the climax and we’d seen most of that already in the ads for the episode. The episode had no scenes with the Admiral, Roslin, Lee, or Caprica 6, but I don’t think that was the problem. The problem was that, apart from Galen accepting Baltar’s apology, there really wasn’t much of a conclusion at all. It finished, but it never really got anywhere. The scenes aboard the Demetrius were interesting, but amounted to little more than Leoben’s mental games. I’m surprised Leoben told them of the war at all – the threat that he might be resurrected and tell all he’s discovered about their mission would be a good reason for them to keep him alive – but how else was he to get Kara aboard a base star? It was interesting to watch the crew argue about Leoben’s proposal. They didn’t consult with Athena, who’s known him longer, and seemed to feel they shouldn’t trust him because you can’t trust a Cylon. And they didn’t seem to have any problem voicing that opinion in front of Athena. Why? I think it’s because they see her as ‘one of us’, as a human, in spite of her origins. Something to think about. Oh, and the EVA looked great.

Putting Baltar is a smoking jacket was a nice touch. He is the swinging bachelor messiah, after all. The small scene in which his followers wondered if they had enough food for all the people was a bit much. Apparently Roslin has decided, since he hasn’t attracted anyone of ‘consequence’, that his broadcasts can be tolerated. At least for now. She doesn’t know about Tory and it will be interesting to see what happens when she finds out. Tory also put in an appearance, trying to talk Galen out of his suspicions that Cally was killed. I suspect she’ll have a hard fall and Galen, and maybe Tigh, will be doing some of the pushing. It will be interesting to see where Galen goes from here. Even though he had a seriously religious upbringing, and he has already rejected the old gods, but I don’t think he’s ready to sign on to Baltar’s one true god. I do think he might be the one to make the connection between the new religion, the Temple of the Five (who worshiped the One), which he found, and the Cylons. And I think he will start putting his life back together.

From the previews we know that the mutiny didn’t go quite the way Helo and the others intended, but we will have to tune in tomorrow to figure what went wrong. Here’s hoping the second five push things up a notch.

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