Battlestar Galactica #124: False Labor

"It's like every decision I've made since the explosion has been a wrong turn."

SO SAY WE ALL: Sam runs guns to Tauron. Amanda spies on Clarice's family. Daniel works on his avatar program.

REVIEW: Finally, we get back to the Tauron side of the story, but it's more about Sam than it is about Joseph. The latter still gets scenes as Graystone's unwilling and edgy adviser, or showing that Evelyn is now running the household if not yet romantically tied to him. The inciting incident is a civil war on Tauron. The last one sent the Adamas running to Caprica, so Sam has been sending money and guns home to the rebels to take down the dictatorship that displaced his family. Except his branch of the Ha'la'tha controls judges and drugs, but not guns. So his gun running, though not for profit, attracts the attention of Atreus, a young ambitious boss who DOES control the gun trade. He kills Sam's right hand man, humiliates him, and takes his stuff, which now puts him in a world of trouble because he needs to avenge his friend (blood for blood) without any resources from the Ha'la'tha (because he was off-book). It's a real downward spiral with these guys, because any act against another triggers a revenge or destitution scenario that then triggers another and another. Sam has his showdown with the help of a stolen Cylon who, by his command, mows down Atreus' entire gang. (To be fair, Atreus was going to come after the Guatrau.) How will black market Cylons change the game, whether the civil war or the crime war? One thing seems sure, Sam won't take the Guatrau's advice to stay out of politics. If he and he alone has access to contraband Cylons, will he stay muzzled, or make his own ambitious move?

On the Graystone side of things, Daniel struggles to create an avatar that is alive like Zoe's and Tamara's. The show tricks us into thinking that Amanda is back in the house, but there's something odd about the forgiveness she shows and, frankly, her lust for him. She's a fake, able to parrot his journal back at him, but essentially a sex doll who only wants to please. Over the course of the episode, we see her get better at faking, but it's still faking, though the fact that she destabilizes after Daniel almost kills her trying to make her project his own self-loathing back at him speaks to him being close to an answer. The show doesn't stress the point, but this shows how the technology could be abused. Never mind the "loved ones" returned from the dead; what if you used it to duplicate living people? Alter them to have your little incel relationships? Use them to steal their identities? Meanwhile, the Ha'la'tha are actually controlling his company and have escalated the schedule on what is being called Grace (a clever Graystone pun), and used an avatar of HIM in an ad he never approved. He's outraged that someone would use his image without permission, which is pretty hypocritical of him, wouldn't you say?

Hypocrisy is also on show at the Willow household, where everyone invokes God to make their points, even points that are completely incompatible with one another. Amanda can't initially fit in, as Mar-Beth runs the house and doesn't like doctors - as it turns out, it's a family of anti-vaxxers who see science and medicine as incompatible with their beliefs - and doesn't trust in what Clarice calls "God's plan" (especially given that Clarice says she would be willing to sacrifice the family for it). She only ingratiates herself with the pregnant woman by telling a story of her post-partum experience that may have led Zoe to drift away from her, a story she later tells Duram was a lie, but I somehow don't think it was. False Labor has a lot of people lying to each other and to themselves, but that story had the ring of truth.

CAPRICANADA: Sam is ambushed in the same alley where he roughed up Graystone back in Reins of a Waterfall;  Vancouver's Downtown Community Court can be seen in the background. Atreus is played by Ben Cotton out of Edmonton, Alberta - a fairly recognizable face from Canadian productions (notably Stargate: Atlantis, but for our purposes, Razor and Blood and Chrome). On a broadcasting note, this was the week SyFy announced the show would not be renewed and pushed back the last five episodes to air consecutively on 4 January 2011; they premiered in Canada on their expected dates however (November 2010).

ALL THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN:
Civil war has broken out on Tauron, just as it had 20 years before, forcing the Adamas to emigrate to Caprica. The Guatrau makes the point that regimes come and go, but one's roots remain the same.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High -
Strong thematic underpinnings and who doesn't love a badass Cylon sequence?

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