”Battlestar Galactica” recap: Civil wars
This episode was titled ”The Ties That Bind,” and I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking that maybe the writers meant that ironically. As we take one step closer to our Earth-bound end — 3 down, 17 to go — Battlestar Galactica continues to unravel so many of the relationships we’ve come to know (and, in many cases, love) over the previous three seasons. What began as Six’s wee insurrection has grown into an all-out Cylon civil war. Lee Adama’s debut as a politician further drove a wedge between him and his once beloved Madam President. Kara Thrace continued to try everyone’s patience (including the audience’s) with her loopy I don’t know what or who I am, but I’m pretty frakking sure I know the way to Earth plunge down the rabbit hole. And speaking of free-falling into dark places, it looks like poor Chief Tyrol has kicked off his long-promised downward spiral after the demise of his wife, Cally. Even Adama and Roslin continued their tango of two steps forward (Adama reads a poignant pulp noir novel to Roslin as she’s treated for cancer), two steps back (Adama tells Roslin he wanted to give himself a chance to believe Starbuck, and Roslin responds with a cutting ”Apparently”).
Fortunately, your bond with your regular Battlestar Galactica TV Watcher, the illustrious Marc Bernardin, has only been temporarily cut; Marc’s currently on a hardcore geek-out at New York Comic Con, including moderating a panel with Tigh, Anders, and Tory — i.e., Michael Hogan, Michael Trucco, and Rekha Sharma. He’ll be back next week, but in the meantime, I’m going to continue his recent pattern of breaking out the episode into its individual narratives, if only because its theme of lacerated relationships has started to seep into the storytelling itself. ”The Ties That Bind” had the feel of a long windup, shifting several characters onto far-flung Start Story Arc Here spots on the endgame board, and as such, even though it was all thematically connected, it felt at times like one of the most disjointed BSG episodes since season 3’s ”Taking a Break From All Your Worries.” It certainly left us with lots to talk about, though, so let’s do it to it.
THE CAVILS STRIKE BACK
After Brother Cavil awoke on the resurrection ship all ookified after being blown away by Six’s newly sentient Centurions, Boomer explained that the whole Cylon fleet is split down the middle. (Then she gave him a ”welcome back” smooch that had me feeling a little ooky — looks like Cavil wasn’t just idly watching Boomer dance last week.) Backed into a corner, the Cavils gave in to the Sharons and Sixes and resolved their original dispute, ceasing to lobotomize the raiders. Of course, now that they were holding a winning hand, the Cylon rebels weren’t satisfied: As Marc predicted, they demanded that D’Anna — whose entire line was ”boxed” after she discovered the identities of the final five Cylons — be freed so that all 12 Cylons can finally be brought together.
Cavil still believes that boxing D’Anna was the right decision, but his side just wanted unity — or so he said — so he suggested they should all jump to some specified spot so that D’Anna’s reboot could commence. Now, we already know Lucy Lawless is returning to the show to play D’Anna (yay!), but did you buy Cavil’s line of bull? I sure didn’t. The whole plan screamed, ”Um, dude, it’s a trap,” and yet the Sixes and Sharons leaped in head first. The Sharons have always been quicker to trust than the other models, but those Sixes are a wily bunch — it felt wildly out of character for them to take Cavil at his word so blindly. Indeed, they paid for that mistake dearly; the resurrection ship didn’t jump with the rest of the basestars, and so when Cavil’s ships launched their attack on the ships holding the Sharons and Sixes (and, one presumes, the absent Leobens), they all really, truly died.
Here’s the thing: Should we care? This whole event unfolded so briskly, with so little real buildup or tension, I’m not exactly sure what it means. Are all the Leobens, Sixes, and Sharons (sans Boomer) gone? Or just a rabble-rousing faction of them? Won’t the Centurions retaliate, or were only the ones on the now obliterated ships made sentient? Obviously, I’m dying to know more, but the Cylons’ descent into civil war seems like such a massive development within the BSG universe that it’s a little weird for the show to treat it so casually.
NEXT: Lee ambushes the president