TV Recap

'Battlestar Galactica' Recap: Ride the Tide

As despair overwhelms everyone in the fleet, including key players like Roslin and Adama, one beloved member succumbs to it, and we find out the identity of the final Cylon

Battlestar Galactica | SANDS OF TIME Tyrol and the rest of the final Cylons finally remembered their past lives on Earth
Image credit: Carole Segal/SCI FI Channel
SANDS OF TIME Tyrol and the rest of the final Cylons finally remembered their past lives on Earth

'Battlestar Galactica' Recap: Revelations and goodbyes

And here we are again, true believers. It has been a long time since we were together like this — good holidays? Excellent. Say hi to your mother for me — but I couldn't tell you how glad I am to see you. Why? Because this is Battlestar Galactica and, unlike some shows I'd been recapping (cough-Heroes-cough), I was looking forward to its return.

When we last saw the rag-tag fleet, they'd found Earth, and the joy of homecoming was almost immediately supplanted by despair as the Colonial Geiger counters revealed humanity's home was a radioactive wasteland. (Somewhere, Col. Taylor is nodding in silent sympathy.) And that's where we pick up: on desolation's shore with everyone — human and Cylon alike — aimlessly looking for pieces to pick up.

Hope in the fleet had been hanging by a thread for years — the only thing that kept them going was the vague idea of salvation on Earth. With that hope gone, nuked two millennia ago, what are people to do? Where do they turn? To each other? Not quite. Disappointment on so vast a scale is impossible to communicate — which is why Roslin can't even bear to address her people. How can you trust anything, even yourself when faith is so thoroughly betrayed?

There was an awful lot of information thrown at us this episode. Let's take each bit separately. And since this is the beginning of the end, let's begin at the end:

ELLEN TIGH? REALLY?!

Okay, so if you read our handy Cylon Odds gallery, you'll remember that I was almost convinced that Ronald D. Moore and his merry men wouldn't choose a dead person to be that all-important Fifth Cylon. I mean, sure, it sheds some light on Ellen throughout the years — catting around the fleet, schtupping her husband out of the Cylon holding cells on New Caprica — but it doesn't have any real impact on the here-and-now. The first Four were interesting choices in that they were all but an arm's reach away from being able to cripple the fleet. And the fact that they were all ''good guys'' — even if Tory sauntered over to the Dark Side when she killed Cally — made for some fascinating tweaks in their existing relationships. I was hoping that the Fifth would be someone not so good, not so interested in the preservation of anything.

But instead, it was Ellen Tigh. I hate to say it, but: lame.

SO, THEN, WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH STARBUCK?

Kara, with Leoben in tow, followed the Colonial transponder signal that led the fleet to Earth and found her own crashed Viper...with her own body inside. But what does that mean? Where'd the other Starbuck come from? Who's fabricating Vipers out there and, while they're at it, cloning people? Was that mandala-storm-thing that ''killed'' her at the end of Season 3 some kind of wormhole? Is time travel, for the first time, rearing its ugly head in Galactica? Gods, I hope not. Time travel is such a story crutch, especially with science fiction, and I was always so glad that Galactica never leaned on it...and we'd better not start now. If so, I wonder if a holodeck isn't gonna show up in the penultimate episode.

NEXT PAGE: Dee says goodbye

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