Battlestar Galactica #119: Ghosts in the Machine

"Tell yourself it's not real."

SO SAY WE ALL: Graystone tries to make U-87 admit it is Zoe. Joseph tries to find Tamara in New Cap City.

REVIEW: Ghosts in the Machine ratchets up the intensity by several orders of magnitude, and it might have been even more intense had the production made an extended edition (like they did for several BSG episodes) and given us the whole burlesque act about the Titans (see Versions) as portentous carpentry around this story of fathers and daughters. We only get the gist of it in the final edit, where Joseph eventually follows clues to the Mysteries Club where he meets Cerberus, the burlesque MC, but it's more odd than insightful. After kind of screwing the pooch in earlier New Cap moments, unable to "kill" a gangster in the game and almost making Emmanuelle quit (I'm still not clear on who's paying her), he takes drug/hack to become a killing machine and goes back in. That's not really the intense part. The intense part is how Cerberus doesn't really bat an eye and keeps the act up even in the face of getting booted out of the game (they are not). Fearless. Those arch interactions have real sparkle. Joseph's about-face comes after talking to Sam about murder, and how his brother gets through it by telling himself it's not real. In this case, it's especially true. And he's rewarded by finding Tamara's sign on the walls, creeping (yes, creeping, why is she making it so hard?) ever closer to finding her.

And it's only still the bit with the action. Meanwhile, at the Graystone house, Daniel is pushing U-87 to give him a sign that Zoe is in there somewhere, and his methods are villainous at best. He shows empathy, apologizes, promises a more human body... so far, so good, right? But then he tries to trigger her emotionally by talking about the fire they escaped at their old house, trying to spark her phobia. She gives herself away with the smallest tell, so he goes further. He puts her in a circle of fire. She stands her ground. And finally, he tells the robot to shoot the family dog. She does. We wonder if she's that ruthless, that DESPERATE to keep herself hidden, but find out later that her robot senses could tell the gun was loaded with blanks. She might even have shot her father if they had been real bullets. Mental torture is bad enough that we shouldn't redeem Daniel for not really intending to have his Border Collie killed.

While that's going on downstairs, while WE at least believe it's going to happen, Vergis is upstairs visiting with Amanda and trying to destroy their marriage by telling Daniel is responsible for a theft and two murders. Once again, the Tauron businessman seems righteous and, aside from the protagonist/antagonist grammar at play, is really the HERO of the piece. He's right, does she really know her husband? The contrast is striking. And that's one more layer of intensity.

CAPRICANADA: Whytecliff Park (where Zoe and Philo had their plane crash date) is where Graystone tries Zoe by fire. The site of Amanda's accident is Pipeline Road Bridge in Stanley Park.

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN: Even without the context of the deleted burlesque scene, Cerberus's show not only tells our own story of the Olympian Gods' overthrow of the Titans, but places it in the context of BSG's big themes of the cycle of revolution, and the "sins of the father", which will carry through to the fate of the Colonies.

VERSIONS: More than 12 minutes of deleted scenes from this one. A burlesque act intercut with Amanda on a dreamy maglev ride and Adama using the holobands in repose. And four more burlesque scenes, as it would appear they planned to structure the episode using these pieces as narration or transitions. Lacy asking Keon about a big STO meeting organized by Barnabus, with the city's many cells, putting up posters that are a secret convocation (Olaf brings the poster to Clarice, they must put a stop to this rebellion). Graystone testing U-87 with a military guide book. Emmanuelle leading Joseph to his virtual apartment. And Zoe and Lacy discussing Daniel putting Zoe through a trial of fire.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High -
A suspenseful piece of television that could only have been made stronger by the inclusion of some of the deleted material.

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