Battlestar Galactica #46: Kobol's Last Gleaming: Part 1

"You've got to lose control. Let your instincts take over." "I thought we were just sparring." "That's why you don't win."
SO SAY WE ALL: Galactica discovers Kobol.

REVIEW: The episode starts on a montage that introduces Lee's interest in boxing, as he spars with his father; Kara and Baltar in bed together, though she screams Lee's name; Boomer contemplating suicide but not going through with it; and Helo running from Sharon and taking a shot at her. All scored by a church choir (in a story that will later refer to the Temple of Athena and Kobol's Opera House). It's a brilliant opener, but the one thing that should stick with us is the outcome of the boxing sequence. Adama tells Lee he should let himself lose control, let his instincts take over. And that's the theme of the episode. Characters either don't follow their hearts and suffer, or do and it turns out to be the right decision. Consider also two very important musical themes introduced by composer Bear McCreary. "Destiny" and "The Shape of Things to Come" both tell us Fate plays a hand, and the two pieces are weaved into the rest of the series in various other themes. When we go with our instincts (as Baltar did, randomly pointing out the correct target in The Hand of God), we let Fate take over. We play the part we are meant to play.

Look at Lee, frustrated that he left the Colonial Day party while Kara was dancing with Baltar, and that she ended up in bed with the loony scientist. Now he's dressing her down (pun intended) professionally, angry without cause and miserable. He didn't follow his instincts. Look at Boomer (who keeps jumping right on top of the right planets, surely Fate's puppet), despondent and suicidal, knowing, even though Baltar dishonestly "cleared" her of being a Cylon, that she will hurt someone. In her heart, she knows this, and wants to sacrifice herself to prevent it. She can't go through with it, and despairs. Until Baltar, like the Anti-Christ he is, gives her permission, somehow finding the right words to say, despite Six's assertion that the model has always been weak (read: too human). She does the right thing and pulls the trigger, but her programming doesn't allow her to succeed. That cheek wound is still pretty scary. So it's back to misery for her.

Look at Roslin, having visions of Kobol from 2000 years ago, knowing they've found the world that will point them to Earth, even if the quest has been bogus to date. Trusting in that feeling enough to tell Kara she's the dying leader of prophecy, a secret she's shared with less than a handful of people. And look at Kara, tasked with smuggling her Cylon raider into a base star with a nuke aboard, but instead following her heart and jumping back to Caprica on Roslin's hunch, to get the Arrow of Apollo required to point the way. The episode has trained us to think this will work, because Starbuck is following her instincts, relinquishing control to Fate.

CAPRICANADA: Simon Fraser University in Vancouver plays the Delphi Museum seen in the Caprica sequences.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: In the original series, Galactica found Kobol pretty early as well.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: 47,897 on the white board, one down from the last episode, which means that number didn't take Valance's death into account. We lose 10 people when Raptor 3 is destroyed in this episode, possibly more if the crashing raptor's crew don't all make it. We are down to 47,887, maybe less.

VERSIONS: A scene was filmed and not used where Socinus was released from the brig. Tyrol did the honors. Other deleted scenes include Boomer training with her gun and accidentally scaring Boxey; Cottle giving Roslin a talking to about alternative medicine (and later still taking kamala); Lee taking a hungover Kara on a morning run (before their relationship falls apart); Ellen Tigh finding out her husband volunteered for night watch (played for laughs); Billy talking about his dog from home; Ellen plying Tigh with drink, sex and ambition, and claiming it's their 7-year anniversary; a longer version of Lee's visit to Boomer's bedside, saying he'd like to have a whole squadron of Sharons (be careful what you wish for); Six repulsed at stories of how Kobol's civilization ended when one god asked to be elevated to a higher position than the others; Baltar and Kara agreeing that last night never happened; and Baltar doing the "it's not you, it's me" routine with Six and asking for this one trip to be Six-free. The last scene, with Kara Thrace leaving in a Raider to return to Caprica, is apparently scored differently on US and UK DVDs (the UK uses the broadcast version). The initial broadcast used the drum sequence from the opening titles. The Region 1 DVD set, however, uses a drum cue from the Miniseries.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - I really couldn't care less about the Lee-Kara-Baltar triangle, but you can feel the season finale coming, and it might have been enough to let the plot carry the episode. Instead, they give it strong thematic underpinnings, taking it to even greater heights.

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