Battlestar Galactica #70: Precipice

"Either we increase control, or we lose control."
SO SAY WE ALL: As Galactica sends Sharon to help the Resistance, the Cylons prepare to execute all suspected insurgents.

REVIEW: Essentially Occupation Part 2, Precipice is all about people doing the right thing when there's no ONE right thing to do, and thus working at cross-purposes, or against their own interests. The bulk of the episode takes place on New Caprica where, for example, Baltar tries to get a joint message out of Roslin to put an end to the violence, though the fact he is in denial does him no favors with the former president. She does approach Tigh with a similar (and less hypocritical) request, but the Colonel has crossed the Rubicon. To him, there is no limit to what he's willing to do for the cause, including bombings, civilian deaths, or... sending his wife to have sex with Cavil. Can't tell. Though if they're trying to get information from the Cylons this way, they're being out-manipulated. Cavil uses her fear for Saul to get her to betray the resistance, a betrayal that gets Galactica's advance team, and the resistance fighters meeting it, attacked by Centurions. No warm fuzzies for the ones collaborating with the Cylons, of course, even if they're doing so to try and mitigate the damage. Jammer, now a captain in the masked human police, is feeling doubt (that's his thing) because he personally knows the people being rounded up for detention, and so he talks to Boomer about letting Cally go free. It doesn't work, so he releases her himself, but leaves Roslin and, VP or not, Zarek to a mass grave and firing squad. And of course, there's Baltar who is in no way one of the angels, but signing execution orders isn't something he WANTS to do. It's all done under threat of being killed and replaced by another puppet. Gaeta isn't getting a warm reception from Tyrol either, even if he's doing his best to confront Baltar about what's happening. There's just nothing either of them can do.

And it's no better in the Cylon camp. Boomer tries to reconcile with Cally, but her one-time assassin is too angry to ever allow that. Caprica-6 defends Baltar, but gets shot in the head for her trouble (note how Head-6 comes back in that moment, which answers that, a cool moment where he shows resolve only to find he's signed the orders unconsciously). Even the bad Cylons are trying to do the right thing, which is to say keep the blood off their hands via Baltar, because murder is a sin. Total machine logic finding loopholes in God's Law. Like the humans, they're compromised. And then there's Leoben, desperate to make Starbuck love and accept him, introducing a child created from his sperm and Kara's stolen ova. Creepy. At first, Starbuck rejects little "Kasey", but finds she can't allow her to die after the little girl falls down the stairs. Keeping vigil at the hospital, Kara will find that she does have a motherly impulse, and will even warmly squeeze Leoben's hand, which is as cringy as it gets. I don't entirely believe the moment (I'm hoping Kara is play-acting), but if her heart's truly been melted, she's fallen for the Cylon's trap. I mean, what happened? Did half-Cylon Kasey throw herself down the stairs? Did Leoben push her? Just how manipulative are these guys? That's some real Prisoner Village shit.

The Galactica/Pegasus scenes follow the same theme. Apollo would rather escape with the fleet than fight a battle that's impossible to win. Adama will let him do it, but his guilt at having abandoned New Caprica won't let him make the same choice. He could not live with it. Both men are doing what they think is right, even if it's the opposite. They've been clashing since the beginning of the season, but Adama hugs his son goodbye, and that's that. Part of the controversial plan is to make Sharon Valeri a Colonial officer and send her down with the advance team. It makes sense, now Adama trusts her. Though they've grown close this past year, she asks him how he knows he can trust her. Wonderfully, he says he doesn't; that's what trust is. And we have to trust somehow everything will be alright, or mostly alright, or because this is BSG, just alright ENOUGH. At least everyone's TRYING to do the right thing. It just happens to be an impossible task.

CAPRICANADA: Breeder's Canyon, where Anders meets Sharon, is played by Upper Coquitlam River Park, north of Coquitlam, which itself is just east of Vancouver. The Cylon firing squad sequence was shot at Coquitlam rock quarry, same place Starbuck crashed in You Can't Go Home Again.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN:
At the time, these episodes were meant to echo Nazi Germany, possibly even American internment camps for Japanese-Americans during WWII, but in the spirit of things happening again, I couldn't help but see what's happening in the U.S. right now. In a completely different direction, Ellen perfects the "twist" and the "swirl", a parallel development of a Seinfeld joke.

HUMAN DEATH TOLL: The suicide bombing cost the lives of four humans, including the bomber's. The cliffhanger shows a couple of Resistance members mowed down by Centurions, but cuts to black before we can see how many detainees are actually executed.

VERSIONS: The DVD includes a deleted/alternate scene where Baltar makes a speech to Roslin in her cell about Cylon nature, which is observed by an upset Caprica-6. The initial broadcast started off with a warning indicating "Mature Subject Matter" as both "Occupation" and "Precipice" were edited as one 2-hour episode with only one introduction; they appear separately on the DVD releases (and syndicated airings). To make room for the intro, there a few trims, like part of the conversation between Sharon and Helo after her pledge.

REWATCHABILITY: High - Everyone is compromised, the tension is turned up to 11, and it all ends in a big, nasty cliffhanger. I can't wait for the cast to fly back to the stars, but they're certainly making the most of the Occupation storyline.

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