Battlestar Galactica #69: Occupation

"Delusional machines! What's the universe gonna come up with next?"
SO SAY WE ALL: It's been four months since the Cylon Occupation of New Caprica began.

The second season's finale jumped a year ahead so it could go through the settlement of New Caprica (on a weekly basis, that would have broken the show). The third season's opener jumps a further 134 days (or about 60 from The Resistance webisodes) so that we're a good four months into the Cylon Occupation of that dreary planet, and nothing good's come of Baltar's monumental mistake. We have so much catching up to do here, I think the one character that IS underserved is actually Baltar. There's a funny bit where Cavil advocates culling the human population to a manageable 1000, or at least executing Baltar, right in his presence, but otherwise, the puppet king has little to do. What I really want to know is what his relationship to Caprica Six is like, whether they still see the Head versions, or what. It might also help understand what the Cylon objective is here, because it's not really made clear. Cavil talks about bringing the message of God to humanity, but there's no evidence that they've been trying to spread monotheism. Perhaps there's too much foreground work to do first, but despite the Cylon Heroes leading the charge and obviously going to bat for their "pet humans", their regime is tyrannical. Detentions, secret police, torture, and talk of ethnic cleansing. They don't seem to know what they're doing.

The main plot of the episode concerns the Resistance sending Duck, who as of webisodes has nothing to life for, into a collaborator police graduation to blow himself up, taking Baltar with him. According to a spy in Baltar's administration (no surprise, it's Gaeta, there aren't any other characters in his entourage, unless we were supposed to think it was Boomer), he'll be present. When security concerns keep him home, Gaeta isn't quick enough to abort the plan and Duck dies more or less in vain. Quick appearances by Jammer suggest he's been selling the Resistance out, as a secret police agent. Resistance leader Tigh has apparently been apprehended and tortured, had his eye put out some time in the last 2 months, and he's only released because Ellen's been rage-fraking his interrogator. It's pretty gross. Meanwhile, the character you'd think would be spearheading the insurgency, Starbuck, is missing. She's been held captive in a facsimile of her old apartment by Leoben, who in accordance with the vision he shared way back in Season 1, is acting all domestic because he's convinced she's meant to love him. The dark twist is that she's been killing him repeatedly since her capture, acting all sweet to get in close. We expect nothing less of her; can someone like Starbuck really be Stockholmed?

Anders seems to have given up hope on her and on Galactica, which had a plan in place all along to flee but send a raptor as listening post just our of range of sensors. Tyrol now has a working transmitter, and the episode ends on a message of hope. Galactica has heard the call, and it may be time to mount a rescue. But for Galactica and Pegasus, things haven't been going all that well either. Adama has apparently been running tactical exercises, trying to figure out how to reclaim New Caprica when there are five base stars around the planet. His ships are undermanned, his people are tired, his son grown fat (he does look terrible) and unfocused, and he's become increasingly frustrated. His only real confidant is Sharon, who councils him to forgive himself for abandoning New Caprica and move forward. Is guilt, and the fear of making things worse, holding him back? I do like that Helo and Dualla have acceded to XO positions (by interim, at least). But while New Caprica feels hope, it's not clear the Battlestars can make good on that promise. Well... I'm always up for my heroes being the underdogs!

CAPRICANADA: So long as we're in New Caprica City, we'll be in Richmond, BC. Kara's apartment/prison, however, is - you guessed it - the Waterfall Building in Vancouver.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: While we're on New Caprica, no headcount is given in the opening credits. Over the course of the episode, 33 police academy graduates are killed in Duck's suicide bombing, which may or may not include Duck. (Jammer survives this event.)

VERSIONS: A deleted scene features Starbuck contemplating suicide in her bathroom, but Leoben notices something's wrong and stops her. The initial broadcast started off with a warning indicating "Mature Subject Matter". Originally, "Occupation" and "Precipice" were edited as one 2-hour episode with only one introduction, but appear separately on the DVD releases.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - The new status quo is fascinating to explore, even if there isn't room for everything.


LondonKdS said...

At the time this arc was broadcast, it was hilarious to see the flailing among American right-wing columnists over the Iraq analogies - "I thought we were the Colonials, and the Cylons were the Evil Muslims!". I seem to remember Cavil even comes very close to quoting the notorious "flowers and chocolates" slogan.


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