Battlestar Galactica: S01E02: Water
After and incredible four hour miniseries, and a more amazing series pilot, it hard not to be disappointed by this week’s episode. Not because that episode was bad, or that it failed to live up to the quality of the previous 5 hours. “Water” was still an excellent piece of work, but it was mostly an exposition for the series, and there little “action” in this episode. I believe that this episode could have been broken apart and spread throughout the series opener without disturbing the series arc.
“Water” starts out with a cataonic and very wet Boomer, dripping onto the maintenance room floor. No not like that you pervs… And after a few seconds of nothing happening, she comes back to reality and is in total shock. She doesn’t know where she is, nor how she got there. She searches a nearby duffle bag and finds her dry uniform. Boomer starts to take off her clothes, but before we guy sadgeezers can get a good look, she spots something. And no it isn’t some droolers on the other side of the TV. It’s a bomb. She finds an active G4 (BSG’s version of C4) explosive in her duffle. She freaks, as most people would, and wastes no time disarming it.
After changing into dry clothes, Boomer exits the room and learns that its now the early morning (she thought it was still the evening) and heads to the munitions room to put the explosive back in its proper location. Except when she puts it back she realizes that another 6 explosives are missing! D’oh.
Meanwhile, the crew is preparing for President Roslin’s arrival. Everyone is getting ready trying to dress in their finest dress uniforms. Col. Tigh can’t find his sash, but he does find his liquor. He doesn’t drink any of it, but instead marks off how much is left in the bottle, 5 fingers. Remember that number, their will be a test at the end. Elsewhere, Apollo is preparing himself but has trouble looking in the mirror. Why? You guessed it; he feels guilty about destroying the Olympic Carrier. As I mentioned in the 33 review, there is no reason to get upset about this. It was an unmanned ship, that was leading the Cylons to the fleet, AND TRYING TO NUKE THE GALACTICA AND COLONIAL 1. WTF does he not understand about that. Will the pilots feel guilty every time they destroy and incoming missile too?
They crew isn’t excited about playing dress up. Adama wants to do it to make Roslin feel more like the president. And unknowingly Roslin agrees to it, just because she thinks it’ll make Adama feel comfortable. There’s some pretty wry humour in this scene. And I’d personally recommend watching it for yourself, since a transcript just won’t do it justice. Well anyway, the ceremony goes off with out any serious problems. And now it’s back to business. A third of the fleet is dependent on the Galactica for their water supply. Galactica has a 100% efficient water recycling system, and can go years without refreshing its aquifers. The Virgon express pulls along side the Galactica and stands ready to receive her share of the water.
At the same time a distraught Boomer, speaks with Tyrol in private about her incident the night before. Tyrol consoles her, well not exactly. He’s screaming at her, asking her why she didn’t approach the proper people. Then after she explains herself, and the rumours about human flavoured Cylons, Tyrol begins to support her, and that he’ll take care of everything. He insists that she’s being framed, and that they’ll find out who’s doing this to her. Now at this point, any idiot will know what’s gonna happen next, the soaking wet Boomer clearly sabotaged the water transfer system. In a brilliant CGI job, several explosions rock the ship, and the hull breaches where the water is stored. Almost all of the Galactica’s water is lost to outer space.
Now this bothers me a little lot. The Galactica was nuked a few metres from these water tanks in the mini, and there wasn’t that big a crater in the hull. A few sissy blocks of C4 exploded, and suddenly all the water comes blasting out of the thick hull. I don’t think so!
An investigation is launched into the explosion, as you would expect. Including a very quickly organized but official council meeting. The scene investigation was done by Boomer’s beau: Chief Tyrol and his team. They discover 5 G4 blast zones in the former water tank. But the real fun is in the council meeting though. Roslin asserts her dominance here, asking some tough questions to the officers. This meeting served to answer a lot of looming logistical questions that the fans have been asking on the boards. For instance:
BSG 75 means: Battlestar Group #75
The fleet will require an awesome amount of foodstuff per week just to survive (82 tonnes of grain, 85 tonnes of meat, 119 tonnes of fruit, 304 tonnes of vegetables and 2.5 million JP’s (?) of water)
The biggest spoiler was that Baltar, never had a Cylon detector test. He faked it, and serendipitously took out a Cylon agent in the process of saving his own ass! Adama confronts him about doing a more widespread test, and Baltar is forced to lie about it.
Cue #6. She’s naked and in a hot tub. Anyone else notice a lot of water imagery since the Galactica lost all its water? She asks him, when was the first time he lied to a woman. He replies: “Sheery Bennet. Fourth grade, on the playground, behind the band room. ‘If you show me yours I’ll show you mine’. She did, I did… not” He slept with her a few years later too, lucky guy! Luckily #6 doesn’t bring up god in this episode (one of the positive things about this ep) But she does focus a lot on teasing Baltar. Not that I have a problem with sexual innuendo at all! It was great to see Baltar’s reaction to #6’s playing, and how those reactions carry over to the real world in the conference room. Great acting on James Callas’ part. Baltar starts desperately making excuses for why he hasn’t made any progress yet. And the “military genius” Adama believes it. He mistakes his nervousness for just his usual mannerisms. Adama believe that Baltar needs some assistants and assigns Lt Gaeta to work with him on the Cylon detection method.
Back on Caprica, we learn a little more about Caprica-Boomer and Helo. She “came back to rescue him” but unfortunately her raptor was captured by Cylons when they returned to it. Now they’re living off the very rainy land, and searching for a way off the planet. Toward the end of the episode, their sexual tension is interrupted by a Colonial military signal. More on this later.
The ragtag fleet needs to find some more water, and fast. So they send out a few raptors to nearby planets to look for water. Of course one of those raptors is manned by Boomer and Crashdown. The early searches for water turn up negative, and things start to look bad for the fleet, who will run out of water in a few days.
With the tight water rationing, riots have started to break out on some of the ships. Roslin considers sending in a policing force, to control the revolts, but after talking with Adama, decides not to deploy the military to control the situation. This series is becoming a lot like the Dune Chronicles. With a lot of action happening in the background, and a lot of politics amongst the principle players in the foreground. It’s nice to have a heady show on the air.
Lt Gaeta wastes no time getting to work with Baltar. The same can’t be said for Baltar though. In what may be the highlight of the episode for me, we see an overeager Gaeta follow around Baltar, showering him with compliments, and his life story. #6 shows up, and says like a condescending schoolgirl to Baltar “Somebody has a friend”. Baltar looks for the first excuse to bail on him, and finds it in a poker game with the pilots.
Starbuck says he can join the game if he has the cubits (cash). He doesn’t, and in the background we spot Gaeta reaching for his wallet. It looks like the eager lieutenant is going to spot his mentor a few bucks, but before he can offer, Baltar offers his jacket as collateral. Gaeta tries to point out that they should get started but Baltar tells him to start without him.
Several suckerbets, and lots of winning later, Baltar cleans up the poker game. After defeating the mighty Starbuck, he gives her one of his very fine and expensive cigarettes. Both as a consolation prize, and to flirt with her. She promptly lights up and blows the smoke directly in his face. I can already see these two arrogant hotdogs doing the vertical dance in a few episodes.
Out in space somewhere, Boomer and Crashdown are still searching for water. Crashdown finds nothing, but Boomer doesn’t. Although she claims to have also turned up no water, her console is blinking like a Floridian left turn signal, that multiple water sources have been discovered. She’s seems to be in some inner conflict with herself. She wants to see the affirmations, but her brain just won’t register it. As she struggles, her hand reaches down toward another G4 detonator. She runs the test again, and after doing some major thinking, she screams in joy about finding water and pulls away from the explosive. The two return to the Galactica with the great news.
Boomer alerts Tyrol to the presence of the explosive, and he handles it, by turning it in and claming he found it during maintenance. The two meet again at the end of the episode, and a very emotional Boomer questions him. Pleading with him to believe her that she’s not a Cylon agent. The obviously love-struck chief, promises to support her. They break their embrace, and she leaves. As she walks away, she has a very cold, calculating and efficient step. And moves that we haven’t seen before from the previously needy pilot.
It might’ve been a little slow, but it did answer a lot of standing questions. I’d rate this episode a disappointing 38,186 out of 10.
Dissecting the Episode:
Can Biocylons overcome their programming?
It certainly looks that way. #6 has pseudo-defected and is now living inside Baltar’s brain, ocassionally feeding him information. She is in love with him. And despite her cylon programming, Boomer was able to consciously overcome it, and recognize that water was found.
Was Boomer getting orders from the Cylons, or was she working on her own?
This seems unclear. If the Cylons are sending her orders, they should be able to get her to transmit the position of the fleet back to the Cylons. This way the Cylons can keep attacking the fleet. Giving an oder to starve out humanity (by dumping the water) won’t necessarily guarantee their doom. So my guess is that Boomer thought up the water plan herself, and all the backup plans should her conscious self try to rectify the situation for the humans.
Does Gaeta know about the Biocylons?
If he doesn’t know now, he soon will. Since he told Baltar that he studied genetics, I believe that he was briefed about the special project. As an aside, Gaeta’s perfectionist personality resonates of computers and Cylons with me. He would seem a good choice as a Biocylon agent, but I doubt it. It’s too easy an out for this show.
What about the Colonial signal Helo received at the end of the episode?
This could be an actual resistance movement on the planet. Since Helo is more of a combat officer, he could inadvertently lead the cylons to the underground resistance. Or perhaps the Cylons sent the signal and are using him for a grander scheme.
The Cylons have no real need to occupy Caprica, unless they need the resources, or they’re looking for something in particular. Maybe Helo will unwittingly help them find it.
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Review is Copyright Ryan Bechtel 2005
Battlsestar Galactica names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of Sci-Fi Channel, NBC Universal and R&D Television.