Battlestar Galactica #115: Gravedancing

"You think you only get things from friends? You get the best things from enemies, because they're scared of you."

SO SAY WE ALL: The Graystones go on Sarno's show. Amanda is stalked by Sam. And the GDD conducts its searches.

REVIEW: At the center of Gravedancing is Daniel Graystone's appearance on the Sarno show, where a very snarky Patton Oswalt with Jon Stewart's college-age audience is set to demolish him with the wrong-headed theory that Zoe committed a terrorist act because she was influenced by the holobands. You know how it is. Video games, movies, social media, dungeons and dragons, rock and roll... anything youth culture adopts becomes the root cause of them dropping out and falling prey to cults, drugs, whatever. It's all hogwash, but it's especially damning to Graystone because not only did he raise a daughter who might have blown up a train, but he also invented the holobands the kids are hacking into for virtual sex and violence. It all reflects very poorly on Graystone Industries. If Daniel does a good job of it, he might bring his company back from the brink. Amanda, for her part, feels that throwing Zoe under the bus, describing her as "troubled", and using her for corporate redemption is akin to dancing on her grave. Therefore the title.

But Daniel does NOT do well because his message is false, so Amanda steps in - impulsively, like she did at the memorial - and sets the record straight. She's no-nonsense, and Daniel falls in line, gets his bearings, starts riffing in a way that is more truthful - these two really make an impressive team - describing Zoe as someone who hated the societal decay manifest in VR, and who found direction in an absolutist moral religion, as presented by the Soldiers of the One. And realizing, right there on air, that so long as there's profit to be made on VR, there will be a black market that cannot be regulated, he promises to essentially make the internet free to license. As 60% of the company's profit margin comes from holoband licensing, Cyrus is more than a little put out, but the company was going down in flames anyway. Is it possible ETHICS are good for business? He's gonna have a lot of explaining to do when he meets with shareholders who worship at the altar of greed.

And really, everything else revolves around the program. While the house is empty, robot Zoe dances with Philomon who she might just be crushing on (though I personally find him pretty creepy, the way he fetishizes the machine), the literal dance evoked by the title. While Daniel is scheduled to be away, Duram's GDD conducts a search of the Graystone house (the warrant just doesn't cover the top secret lab). The search also covers her school's lockers, making Clarice quickly send out covert emails to bomb-making students like Ben's friend Keon to get their stuff out of there (It's not clear if the bombing of an empty cafe at the start of the episode is his cell's doing or even related to the STO), so the GDD doesn't find anything. Lacy and Keon share a moment - she always seems flustered when a pretty boy pays her attention - as she confronts him about looking suspicious and asks again to be taken to Gemenon to deliver her package.

And then there's the whole Adama plot. Sam is tracking Amanda to carry out his brother's vengeful wishes and eventually gains access to the TV studio thanks to a Tauron page (that whole society is pretty scary judging by this) and poses as a driver, offering Amanda a ride home. She's quite approachable and open to him until he admits he lost people on that train. Meanwhile, apparently moved by the Graystones' television appearance, Joseph keeps calling his brother to call off the hit, something Sam knew he would do all along. But we cut to Sam washing his hands of blood, and though we know he couldn't possibly have killed Amanda off-screen, his story is at least believable to Joseph, a harsh lesson about what it means to be Tauron and invoke "blood for blood". A couple of tense moments, but somewhat deflated by the false stakes. It's early days and BSG was very dark, but it seems doubtful they would 1) kill a character from the opening sequence and 2) compromise one of their protagonists so completely. Not this soon.

CAPRICANADA: The bombed café is on Keefer street. Clarice steals an e-sheet outside the Vancouver Library. Keon's motorcycle store in really Buy Rite Business Furnishings on East Hastings street. And we see Joseph duck into International News on Robson street. Are Vancouver residents running off to see these spots are I write them down?

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: The song Philomon and Zoe dance to exists in our world as Was Love by Captain Ahab. While looking for a good music station, Philo hits upon a classical one that plays the Colonial anthem, i.e. the original Battlestar Galactica theme. The song playing in Sam's car is I Am a Man, by Young Beautiful in a Hurry, which happens to be the band of Bear McCreary's brother.

VERSIONS: Deleted scenes include more of Sarno's opening monologue and Zoe asking Serge whether her parents miss her.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium -
Though we have to follow several stories as usual, the strong focus on one central event makes this a tighter episode than most. It does mean a few of those stories don't advance significantly.

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