Thursday, June 19, 2008

Galactica Log: Revelations

This it folks! The episode with revelations galore, and the last episode for at least six months.

It starts off quietly enough. Lee is going through Roslin’s stuff, in his father’s office, and Kara drops by. They are looking at the illustrations in the book of Pythea. It’s the same illustration that was the Opera House on Kobol, but now it’s described as the Temple of Aurora on Earth. Lee is feeling the loss of his father and Kara tells him something Leoben once said to her, that for children to reach their full potential, their parents have to die. It’s strange to have her quoting the wisdom of her former captor, and I am sure there’s some obvious foreshadowing in the remark, but it is clear that everyone has written off both Roslin and Adama.

So, naturally, our next scene takes us to the two lovers and D’anna as she prepares to carry out the double cross the Cylons had been planning all along: the humans will only be allowed to return to the Galactica once the Five are handed over. Of course, Roslin hasn’t been playing fair either, so there’s no use anyone crying foul just yet. Roslin talks about the return of the final Five to the Cylons and D’anna makes the shows first big revelation: there are only four of the final Five in the fleet. Roslin tries to draw more out more about this, but D’anna is pushing ahead. She wants them and she is prepared to take everyone hostage if she doesn’t get them. D’anna takes Adama with her, as they go back to the Galactica to deliver her terms. Adama doesn’t want to leave Roslin, but she tells him to go: ‘If the Cylons get the four they get Earth; you can't let this happen. Even if you have to blow this ship to hell!’

When they land Lee and his father embrace, but our attention is on the Four, all of whom have made their way to the hanger in order to exchange some meaningful glances. Lee agrees to let the Four come forward unimpeded and D’anna agrees to let them decide whether the humans learn the location of Earth. Tory then demands to be taken to the base ship. Not because she is a Cylon, but because she has Roslin’s medication and needs to get it to her. Tigh says no. Not because he’s afraid of being uncovered, but because he doesn’t want to give them another hostage. But once Tory is aboard is aboard the bsae ship, she switches sides. She goes to be with her own people. We don’t actually get to see how she brings this up initially, but when she is brought in all the other Cylons crowd about her. They stare, but they don’t look happy. Perhaps she isn’t what they were expecting. Tory does take Roslin her meds and this time gets to reveal herself personally. Roslin is suitably shocked, but recovers herself in time to ask Tory to try and get D’anna to back down. ‘I’m done taking orders from you.’

Losing her patience, D’anna spaces one of the hostages. Adama had given them Roslin’s order about destroying the base ship and Lee agreed. To this point he’d been waiting for something to happen. Now he gives the order to attack. They will attempt to rescue their people, and, if that fails, destroy them along with the base ship. It is a desperate gamble and one most likely to result in everyone’s destruction. Their own game of Mutually Assured Destruction. The Colonials gear up. The civvie from Pegasus, Laird, has replaced Galen as Chief. Just then the music starts and the Four hear it. Even Tory. The three aboard Galactica are drawn to Kara’s magic Viper, though they don’t know why. Tigh tells the other two to get her; maybe she can get it to do whatever it is supposed to do. Meanwhile, he knows how to put an end to this suicidal madness. He goes to Adama and reveals himself as a Cylon. Adama doesn’t believe him. He has known Tigh for thirty years. He has seen him age, grow bald. Maybe something was done to him on New Caprica. A post-hypnotic suggestion. But Tigh will have none of it: ‘I am a Cylon!’ At this moment it all comes together for Saul Tigh. He knows how to redeem himself and stay loyal to his own do-or-die ethos. If they threaten to send him out of an airlock, D’anna will back down. But if it all comes together for Tigh, it all falls apart for Adama. He and Roslin had only just admitted their love to one another and now his oldest and closest friend tells him that he is one of the enemy and has been all along. He becomes incapacitated by grief and doubt and Lee steps up. He comes into his own now that his father is, metaphorically, dead. The first thing he does is punch Tigh in the mouth. Then he goes forward with Tigh’s plan and D’anna does back down. At first. In order to make his threat even more effective, he demands, and gets, the names of the others from Tigh. Galen and Anders are talking to Kara about the Viper when a unit of Marines arrive and arrest them as Cylons. Kara is stunned. They are brought to the same air lock as Tigh. Anders: ‘This is a wild guess, you told them.’

Then D’anna decides to up the ante. She gathers a large group of hostages and threatens to kill them all. Tory gives her a particularly bad piece of advice: ‘if you push Lee he will back down’. Maybe this is why his father had to die. Lee has repeatedly shown a willingness to do what he thinks is best, even when it puts him in opposition to his leaders, but, unlike Helo, people just interpret it as a father-son thing. A rebellious kid. He has also shown a willingness to use lethal force. The Olympic Carrier. He shot the mobster Phelan personally, execution style. And he ordered the destruction of the Cylon base ship in Razor, with Kara and others aboard. Tory doesn’t know Lee. Fortunately, Gaius knows D’anna. He rushes to her side. She is genuinely happy to see him. He asks her to back down. Violence didn’t work in the Colonies, on the algae planet. God didn’t bring her back for this.

As Lee prepares to space Tigh and D’anna turns nuclear weapons on the civilians, Kara runs frantically to Lee’s side. She has been fiddling with the Viper’s control and suddenly she gets a Colonial locator signal. From Earth. Those ‘frakking Cylons’ have given us Earth. Lee is sceptical, but he calls D’anna. She comes over. She’s sceptical, but she is also listening. When she tries to dismiss Lee’s argument with the usual fatalistic, ‘all this has happened before, he replies, ‘but it doesn’t have to happen again.’ Lee grants an amnesty to the Four, D’anna releases the hostages, and they shake hands. Everybody is going to Earth. There is just one thing more to take care of. The Admiral is still grief stricken. Lee and Roslin go to him. He is wearing a bathrobe, but it almost looks like a shawl. Lee apprises him of the situation and Roslin encourages him. This is a softer, more human Roslin than we’ve seen this season. Her heart is working again. She tells him that she wants to see him pick up the first handful of earth. Lee tells him that he is working on a recon, but the Admiral says forget it. We have to roll the hard six, act now, before the alliance falls apart. Its sound advice, given their history, and it leads to a scene of jubilation as everyone rushes giddily, blindly, to the final destination. There are celebrations throughout the fleet, with kisses and high fives, prayers and Lee jumping up on a console. Galen sits quietly with little Nicky and Tigh sits alone in his room. Kara goes and visits Kat’s picture in their hall of remembrance: ‘We made it kid.’ Sam is beside her, but I am not sure if he is with her. Soon ships are pouring into the atmosphere, setting a course for the Temple of Aurora. The one referenced at the beginning of the episode. Adama does pick up a handful of earth. It’s radioactive. The whole scene is a ruin. Three years of running and they arrive at the same devastation they have been fleeing for three years.

Fade to black. See you next year.

A great season, or mid-season, finale. It was both obvious and a complete surprise. The only luck these people have ever had was not being killed, and that only sometimes. What sort of end could their journey have taken them too? Like the previous episode, it told one story in a straight ahead fashion. It offered a lot of nice touches. I particularly like Baltar thanking Roslin for saving his life, because he loves being alive! That’s the sort of child-like honesty that can only come from such an unconscious narcissist, and its one of the reasons why people like the guy in spite of themselves. Michael Hogan was also in great form in the episode. He really stole the episode. When I saw the previews I was surprised to see three of the Cylons in the air lock already. It seemed to be rushing things. But the ways things unfolded could not have been better.

The episode also left us with some important questions. First off: Four!? D’anna tells them there are four Cylons in the fleet and not five, as we had been led to believe. What does this mean? Who is the fifth? Is she even telling the truth? There is reason to this she may be hiding something. When she arrived on the Galactica she told Lee that she was in contact with the Four. Not true. Unless you count the exchange of glances that occurred before she started speaking. Maybe she said four because the fifth was already aboard the base ship. That would give my choice, Adama, a last chance at being the correct one. But what if it were someone else? What if Gaius really is a Cylon? Until he brought the Five up last season, we’d never heard of them. He is certainly the only character struggling towards his redemption. (Well, Tigh is. But he’s already counted.) It would certainly throw all of his efforts at redemption for a loop. Or maybe it isn’t anyone there at all. Maybe we just haven’t seen the Fifth. It could be someone long dead, or someone who died in the attack on the colonies or at New Caprica. Or it could be someone on Earth.

And what about Earth? Why were the Four compelled to go to the Viper at just that moment? And why was it responding to a Colonial emergency locator signal from Earth? Just how old are these signals? Kara tells Lee that ‘like it or not, something is orchestrating this for a purpose.’ Once they get to Earth we can only wonder to what purpose. If the last episode referenced Star Wars and The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, this one seemed to reference The Planet Of The Apes. Olmos as Heston gaining his freedom across the Forbidden Zone, only to discover that he has been home all along and that his civilization lies as a ruin all around him. A lot of people even went so far as to see New York in the ruins, but I don’t think so. It has been destroyed and along with it the Temple of Aurora, but more we simply don’t know. Not yet. And we aren’t going to know until some time in the first quarter of next year. That’s as specific as the network has gotten. February is a sweeps month, so that’s probably when.

With this episode Galactica Log leaves its usual Thursday schedule. I may or may not post before the season resumes. I don’t know at this point. But if I do it will be whenever I have something to say and not at a regularly scheduled time. Until then.

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