Battlestar Galactica #51: Resistance

"You guys know you suck, right? You can't shoot, you can't pass, and you sure as hell can't take a point." "Everyone's a critic."
SO SAY WE ALL: The fleet reacts badly to martial law and Colonials conspire to get Roslin out of jail. On Caprica, Starbuck meets Anders and his resistance cell.

REVIEW: As the title implies, this is the one where Starbuck and Helo meet a resistance cell on Caprica, which introduces Samuel T. Anders, who will be an important continuing character. Already the sparks fly as they meet for some one-on-one on a makeshift pyramid court, and in that short sequence, I feel like I understand the rules of the game better than I ever did in the original series. But yeah! Pyramid! There hasn't been much time in the fleet to start a morale-boosting league, even on Cloud 9, which I would imagine already has the facilities. Took a while, but now it's back, and it'll be fun to see more of the sport when Anders and Starbuck inevitably get back to Galactica. There isn't a whole lot more to the Caprica story - a bit of a firefight, a Mexican standoff (or whatever they call that in the Colonies), some info on who might have survived the Cylon attack and how - before we return to the ship and what's happening there.

Because there's also a resistance brewing on Galactica. Some of what Tigh does is perhaps warranted, mind. Interrogating Tyrol upon his return from Kobol in light of Boomer's attempt to assassinate Adama, for example. The way he goes about it is pretty desperate though. Cylons may not have rights, but Tyrol hasn't been proven a Cylon yet. Putting him in a cage with Boomer may or may not be a good idea, but it's one Baltar capitalizes on. He dismisses the guards and instead of administering the test that he's now forced to say doesn't work but does, poisons Tyrol to get information from Boomer. She is essentially tortured into saying there are eight Cylons in the fleet, but can we trust this information? Even if it's prompted from her subconscious, it's her model number. Is THAT why she says 8? And how will Baltar use this information? Can he even explain it? Or is he just trying to see if a Cylon can truly love? Was this a test of SIX's feelings? By not explaining itself, the show profits from such ambiguities. It certainly doesn't help that Boomer is then killed by Cally, Jack Ruby style, actually saving her from vivisection. Answers become harder and harder to come by when messy humanity does things against its own interest. One question I still have is the blood drop motif used in this episode and the previous. Is it meant to indicate a (blood) link between Boomer and Tyrol? Felt like an odd directorial choice here as I don't think the writers yet knew a lot of this would prove ironic.

Meanwhile, Tigh is completely losing control of the situation he's instigated by declaring martial law. Other ships in the fleet are refusing to resupply Galactica, going on strike, which gets four civilians shot in wrongful police action, and people aboard Galactica itself are conspiring with Apollo and Roslin to get them away to safety. Much of this is done at Ellen Tigh's prompting, in a way, but the Colonel can't hide behind his wife entirely. When he says he never wanted command, it may be true, but that doesn't mean he didn't choose to abuse his power when he was. Bill Adama has woken up by the end of the episode, and he's got a lot to fix, some of which - deposing the president - was his fault to begin with. We're not laying everything at Tigh's feet. While he's the (regretful, I'll admit) villain of the piece, our heroes are the rebels, including Dualla who is a crucial part of the plan; Gaeta, who isn't, but chooses to hide Dee's involvement when asked; and MVP Dr. Cottle who has all the best lines - he gives no fraks. It seems that everybody knows what's happening is wrong - heck, even Tigh, he just can't see his way out of it - right down to the lowly private who, on the spot, can't arrest the fugitives when she has the chance (a small tension filler along the way). But BSG doesn't like to say anyone is right or wrong entirely, so Billy leaves the president's entourage over this, incapable of signing off on the potential civil war her government in exile could spark. It really isn't as simple as all that, and it gets even dodgier when she has to make an alliance with political rival Tom Zarek who is better equipped to hide her. So Adama may be back - "What's happening on my ship?!" - but it's really unclear how the things that have been shattered (to use an episode title) can be put back together. Those are a lot of mutineers to put to trial!

CAPRICANADA: The Resistance Base Camp was at 541A Street in Maple Ridge. I say was because it's since been demolished (looks well on its way in the episode). It was torn down after BSG Season 2 wrapped, in fact. It was the old Pacific Vocational Institute in Maple Ridge, a facility to teach young offenders a trade.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: Pyramid's back and yes, Starbuck was a contender for the majors, which resonates with her original series self's talent. There's also mention of the Pegasus, a battlestar from the original series; apparently Tyrol served aboard at some point. The episode also stages its fatal riot to evoke the Kent State Shootings, and Cally's assassination of Boomer to look and feel like Jack Ruby's murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. When even the visuals reference historical events, I believe it's part of a concerted directorial strategy to put into images the show's slogan, that all this has happened before and it will happen again.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: The count starts at 47,861, taking Crashdown's death into account. Boomer dies, but might already have been out of the count. Four civilians lose their lives in botched police action. The Caprican resistance numbers 53 previously unknown survivors, who were almost a hundred before the last Cylon raid.

VERSIONS: An extended scene on the DVD has Apollo discuss Dualla's role in the plan more fully. A deleted one shows the prison guard waking up and calling C.I.C.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - A good little thriller with far-reaching consequences, but as usual, the Caprica stuff is moving rather slowly.

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