Battlestar Galactica #67: Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2

"Cylon and Man will not go their separate ways, no harm done."
SO SAY WE ALL: Election results are in and they'll decide if the Colonials settle on New Caprica permanently.

REVIEW: If Part 1 seemed to end rather suddenly, Part 2 lasts and lasts and lasts, using its bigger size to add a full act that takes place a year later! But first things first, although everything is interconnected so it's difficult to divide it up. I guess we can start with Starbuck's mission, which goes about how you think - massive casualties followed by Kara entering a suicide pact with Anders rather than go back to a "farm" - until they realize the Cylons aren't sweating them out, they've gone. And bam, they hit you with the resistance's chaplain, played by Dean Stockwell. Another Cavil, and it's supposed to hit you like a ton of bricks that we're meeting another Cylon model. I say supposed to because I don't quite remember what I originally thought, and there's less surprise on the second go. Furthermore, the other Cavil made a Cylon crack in Part 1 that was sort of damning, and as the 2nd, is a bit too arch to be believed (and shouldn't he have been glimpsed in the group before?). Sharon never says a thing, it's her small revenge for the death of her baby, but they at least let Tyrol spot him immediately. More fun stuff with Stockwell, taking his discovery with sardonic humor (twice). He's there to deliver a message: The heroes' movement has made waves and the Cylons have decided the genocide and subsequent pursuit of humanity was a mistake. They'll go off on their own now, and leave humanity be. I find it particularly interesting that Galactica Cavil was already of this opinion; it seems anyone embedded among humans for a good length of time seems to fall on this side of the question.

Rolsin has them thrown out an airlock, but isn't heard talking about it as the election rears its now-ugly head. Makes sense, as the sense of safety it would create would undoubtedly help Baltar's case for permanent settlement on New Caprica. And she's desperate. She tries to get a pledge out of him to have the case studied before a move is made. She threatens him with her knowledge of his treason (but can't prove it). She green-lights Tory's "plan B" to steal the election. And on Election Day, she's dragging by 4000 votes when the rather badly thought-out plan is put into motion. Conspirators include Tigh and Dualla, but they didn't get enough people on board. They get caught by straight-arrow Gaeta, and in the end, Adama advises Roslin to concede lest she lose her soul. We're spared a civil war, probably, though the point is never brought up. In the wake of his victory, the fleet is forced to settle for wet, cold, dreary, not-Earth. At first, Baltar thinks he can live there with Pegasus-Six, but she refuses, even under the protection of the new president. She gives himself to him, despite her obvious sexual trauma, perhaps doing what she was built to do one more time before committing suicide. It's shocking to see the much-used Cloud 9 model explode, taking many ships with it, just before those people could step off into some fresh air. On a plot level, it seems like a waste to resolve the stolen nuke subplot with a practically meaningless action. It just seems like we need to get rid of this Six and this terrorist plot because it now doesn't fit the story we're telling, so here we go. It's a bit smarter than that. Yes, this Six wants to die, permanently, but she does it in a way that will later act as a radioactive beacon for the Cylon fleet. Clever, clever girl.

Now, Baltar is president and he of course doesn't want this tragedy investigated. He puts the rest of the fleet on the fastest possible track to build a settlement. In one shot, we see him discouraged at his desk in the present, then with a lighting change, it's one year later, and Colonial One is on the planet, he's got sexy girls lurking in the background, and his life isn't any better. In a normal show, the order to settle would have ended the season, and One Year Later been the opening of the next. Here, the show takes the time to establish the new status quo BEFORE we get near the cliffhanger. Gaeta is Baltar's aide. The smaller ships are just about the only buildings. Starbuck and Anders are married. Tyrol is union leader. Roslin is teaching with Maya, keeping close to little Hera. The Battlestars orbit the planet with skeleton crews. Adama has a mustache and Lee has grown a bit fat (and is apparently estranged from Kara who really shouldn't have laughed at his girlfriend). Tigh won't leave, but even Adama is convinced the war is over, so his friend relents and moves (receiving a hug from Starbuck, it's funny what time can do). Huge changes and you hardly have a chance to take them all in before the Cylons show up. The fleet is forced to escape. More than 30,000 people are abandoned to the ministrations of the Cylon army. And should we feel any better that it's the Cylon heroes that are apparently in charge? Or not at all seeing as Leoben is already asking for Kara? Is this, as Head Six says, "judgment day"? After recognizing they shouldn't have tried to rebel against, or become, their parents, but instead tried to forge their own destiny, it seems they might have decided that destiny is to guide their parents! Now THERE'S a season ender!

CAPRICANADA: New Caprica City was built in the middle of nowhere, on Blundell Road, in Richmond, BC. The weather's about right.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: Tyrol quotes Mario Savio, and Dualla quotes the Bible, showing some of the parallel development between Colonial and Earth cultures.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: The headcount starts at 49,550, 29 down from the previous episode, which means a lot more people die in the Cylon barrage that would have seemed to. But it's possible. If 8 died jumping inside a mountain and 17 4-man crews survived, 21 (the equivalent of a little more than 5 raptor crews) represents more casualties than the mission analysis predicted, but it doesn't contradict onscreen evidence. A relatively small number of resistance fighters would then be added, but we'd never notice because several ships, including Cloud 9, are vaporized with Pegasus Six's suicide nuke. How many is hard to say, but a year later, the New Caprican colony numbers 39,192 people, which probably doesn't count the skeleton crews aboard the fleet's ships. The explosion more or less cut the population by a quarter.

VERSIONS: Deleted scenes include a discussion of the election between Lee and Dualla; Tyrol discussing Cavil's diagnosis with Cally after the Brothers are outed, and Cally kissing him to much awkwardness; Baltar going out to see Pegasus Six, first having a flashback that gives their history a fully context; and a different edit of Adama talking to Baltar about the nuking, showing that his thoughts are of Pegasus Six. There is apparently a shorter edit of this episode for international markets that wish to show it within 60 minutes rather than 90. Ron Moore himself has called it "almost incomprehensible".

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A lot happens, so much so that it feels like two different episodes. It's plotty, but with plenty of efficient character moments.

2 comments:

Ryan Blake said...

Fantastic

LiamKav said...

That One Year Later transition blew my mind when I first watched this episode. Beautifully done. And yeah, I love the bit where Cavill starts to defend himself, sees his copy, then shrugs.

 

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