Battlestar Galactica #66: Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1

"People vote their hopes, not their fears."
SO SAY WE ALL: In the middle of an election campaign, Starbuck leads a group of raptors to Caprica to save Anders, one of them finds a hospitable planet, and Chief Tyrol meets with a priest.

REVIEW: This is all set-up, and so seems to end rather quickly, perhaps because each of three threads can only be developed so far before we run out of time. The least of these, from a story-telling point of view, may still be the most memorable. Tyrol has been having bad dreams about committing suicide, and when Cally tries to wake him up, he reacts violently and beats her within an inch of her life. Cut to an enforced therapy session with Brother Cavil - Tyrol chose a priest rather than a psychologist - played by the delightful Dean Stockwell. Awesome. Cavil is a pragmatist who, though a man of faith, doesn't believe in prayer, but rather in personal responsibility. An unusual man, but one who doesn't take Tyrol's evasions lightly, and has a dark sense of humor that plays well to Stockwell's strengths. The diagnosis - that Tyrol is afraid he's a Cylon and so believes he deserves to die - seems like a bit of a leap, until you remember that Boomer also had suicidal feelings, which he might be associating with her particular issues. Of course, this is all very ironic, but we're not there yet.

The main crux of the episode is the electoral campaign as Roslin and Baltar battle it out in debates. She's nervous, but practiced. He gets his ass handed to him because he doesn't really know what he's talking about. The fact is, although he's set himself up as the Science candidate, it's really not much of an issue, at least until a computer error leaves Racetrack at the wrong jump coordinates and she finds an Earth-like - sorry, a Caprica-like - planet. Zarek advises Baltar to make permanent settlement there THE late-campaign issue. It makes sense, even if Baltar has no interest in personally moving house to a harsh environment. As the religious choice, Roslin pushes for the Earth of the Scriptures. As the science candidate, he should instead promise a more practical an immediate solution. "New Caprica" is even hidden from sensors by a nebula. Well. In their last debate, Baltar manages to make Roslin sound like a superstitious fearmonger, and the story line cliffhangers with him up in the polls.

The B-plot is Starbuck's long-awaited mission to rescue Anders and his resistance group. Sharon's been roped into calculating the path of least jumps, and there's evidently a Cylon Heavy Raider organ involved. She looks defeated after the loss of her baby, and one wonders what she may do. Still, the rescue team makes it to Caprica where Anders is almost immediately found in the woods, but he's running from a Cylon force, and soon there's a heavy barrage of fire raining down on them. It's all quite perfunctory, the action beat needed to reaffirm the cliffhanger.

CAPRICANADA: The nuked forrest is played by Capilano Park in North Vancouver, the usual spot when one needs lots of trees.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: Quite literally. A lot of these plot points echo those of Kobol's Last Gleaming - a habitable planet is found, raptors jump into a planet's atmosphere, a crew member is suicidal because they think they are a Cylon...

Headcount has not moved since the previous episode and stays at 49,579 (in other words, the infants were a life for a life). In this episode, however, two raptor crews jump into mountain, presumably killing 8 people. The Cylon attack then probably kills more, though it's impossible to tell how many. Not included in the headcount, Anders' resistance group was cut in half by an attack on their base that very morning.

VERSIONS: A deleted scene shows a different edit of Cavil's speech, intercutting it with the dream and the Chief observing Cally. The broadcast premiere showed a Viewer Discretion card before the segment where Tyrol brutally beats Cally.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Leaves you hungry for more, which is both a minus and a plus, but Dean Stockwell guest stars! Baltar makes some moves! It's set-up, but it's good set-up.



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