'Battlestar Galactica': Sometimes A Great Notion
Admittedly, this must be the latest posted TV show recap ever. What a way to start off, huh? Unfortunately, the premiere of the last ten episodes of "Battlestar Galactica" coincided with the beginning of the Sundance Film Festival and trying to locate a room with both a TV and a good internet connection to watch it was like trying to figure out whose really been in Baltar’s head all these years. Of course, as a longtime BSG fan, this pained me, but when you've been waiting so long between seasons anyway, what's the rush, right? Alright, enough with the lame excuses…
[Note: if you're already on to "A Disquiet Follows My Soul," look for that recap later this evening.]
When we last left the fleet, oh, a year or so ago. Show runners Ronald Moore and David Eick had left fans with yet another jaw-dropping cliffhanger. Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) and President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) agreed to an alliance with a band of rebel Cylons including Six and D’Anna in order to find Earth. What they found was a shocker: the planet that was destined to be their new home is desolate and abandoned. Seemingly the victim of some nuclear catastrophe.
That brings us to “BSG's” return, “Sometimes A Great Notion.”
[And obviously, it goes without saying, spoilers after the jump.]
In my view, here are the three moments of the episode that have the biggest ramifications on the rest of the series:
Frak, this planet is full of dead…Cylons
The show opens where it left off, the humans and Cylons are walking the devastated planet and they aren't happy with what they’ve found. Baltar confirms: this world was nuked 2,000 years ago. A despondent Roslin remarks, “It’s perfect. We traded one nuked civilization for another.” Later, Six and D’Anna are sifting through bones in an excavation site and find a Cylon robot's head. It’s similar to their own Centurion’s but not the same. It gets worse. They have examined over 250 skeletons from four different parts of the planet. These are not human beings they are Cylon. As Colonel Tigh quickly deduces “The 13th tribe, a tribe of Cylons, came to this planet and called it Earth.” What does this mean for you and me loyal reader? Are we Cylons too?
Who is this woman calling herself Starbuck?
Starbuck and her past Cylon tormentor Leoben find the source of the Colonial signal that drew them to Earth. It’s the cockpit of a Colonial fighter. They flip it over to discover a burned up body with blonde hair in the cockpit. She pulls the dog tags off the body.
Leoben backs away from Starbuck (we think) in fear. She asks him, “If you have an explanation?” Freaked, Leoben says, “I don't have one. I was wrong. About Earth.” Doubly freaked, Starbuck asks, “Your hybrid told us I was the harbinger of death. That I would lead us to our end. Is it true? If that's me lying there. What am I? What am I?” Good question, anyone taking bets we find out before the fifth episode? I thought not.
And the Fifth Cylon is…
The biggest shocker (or was it?) was the surprise revelation of the fifth Cylon no one assumed would occur this early in the show’s final season. At the end of the episode, Tigh walks into the ocean of the planet they all hoped would be their salvation. He pulls up some sort of artifact. Flashback! The nukes have gone off and Tigh is sifting through the wreckage. Who does he find? His ex-wife of this time, who he killed on New Caprica, Ellen. Near death, she holds his hand and reassures him, "Everything is in place. We will be reborn again. Together." Back in the present and seemingly almost drowning, Tigh tells us what we’ve all been waiting for: “Ellen. Ellen you're the fifth.”
Really? Ellen? Talk about anti-climatic. Unless a resurrected Ellen is going to show up out of the blue in a upcoming episode and explain half of the show’s unresolved plotlines this doesn’t seem that interesting a reveal. Then again, besides Colonel Tigh and maybe Chief, was last season’s reveal of the other four “remaining” Cylons that surprising? Are fans that invested in those characters?
This episode also left us with:
- Anastasia Dualla tragically committing suicide, no doubt sparked by the disappointment of an inhabitable Earth.
- D’Anna refusing to come back to the fleet, wanting to die on the planet over being killed by Cavil and the “evil” Cylons (is that what were are calling them now?) in space.
- A despondent Roslin shutting herself off from the outside world, her beloved Adama and her much-needed cancer treatments.
- Chief, Tory Foster and Anders all realizing they knew each other on Earth thousands of years ago, but unsettled by how they could have escaped the holocaust and been resurrected on the other 12 colonies.
As a longtime fan, I find that these plot surprises can be great and emotionally effecting, but this episode wavered on the line between believable drama and silly soap opera. Nothing would be worse for “Galactica” to slip into a Sci-Fi version of “Desperate Housewives” in its final season. Fingers crossed.