Battlestar Galactica: S01E07: Six Degrees of Separation
I wish I never saw this episode… just so I could watch it again for the first time! Do not read this review until you’ve watched the episode, it’s that good. You have been warned! This episode was a humorous break from the rest of the series, which has until now, been very dark and serious. That’s not to say that this episode lacked the dark, gritty realistic traits that I love so much about the series. Instead it just featured a lot of wry dark humour that I would expect to find on Angel or Firefly.
Dr. Baltar is hard at work on his Cylon detector. And for a change I’m talking not about his card game with Starbuck. Instead he’s looking under a microscope and condescendingly telling #6 that he doesn’t see god’s work in any of the cell samples. This triggers an argument with her in his head. As usual she teases him, a lot, and tries to use her body to get him to see things her way. But all Baltar see’s is two large… erm. Baltar is too distracted to deal with her godfreak pillow talk, and sees it fit to insult her “religion”, by saying, ” No all you’re doing darling, is boring me to death with all your superstitious drivel, and metaphysical nonsense. Which to be fair actually appeals to the half-educated dullards that make up most of human society.
But which I hasten to add, no rational, intelligent, free thinking human being truly actually believes. Which leads me to the inescapable conclusion, that Cylons are in the final analysis, little more the toasters, with great looking legs”. Maybe he thought, in his own twisted universe, this would get her to put out faster, but all it does if causes her to walk out the bedroom door. When he hears a knock at the door he expects to see her there again and says “Maybe we can dispense of the foreplay and get right down…”.
And opens the door to find Duella standing there, on the Galactica. D’oh! After a quick WTF? from her, she tells him that Adama wants to see him on the bridge. Baltar walks there and find #6 standing by the command staff. She’s dressed rather conservatively in a nerdy blouse, and no makeup. So when he passes her he says “Ohh there you are. Your blouse could open up a button or two”. This causes her to exclaim “Excuse me!” which he ignores, and looks at the command staff.
Adama tells him that Ms. Shelly Godfrey has brought up some allegations against him, and wants Baltar there to defend himself. Baltar looks around for her, and doesn’t see her. Rather, he doesn’t realize that #6 is Godfrey. A minute is spent with the command team going back and fourth trying to convince him the Godfrey/#6 is actually there. (This was done beautifully by Callis and Hogan). When he finally does acknowledge Godfrey’s presence, she calls him a traitor to humanity and looks forward to seeing him executed. Its hard to describe this scene well. But believe me when I say that it was so funny I was still smiling when the credits were done.
Godfrey presents a cd to Adama, which contains security footage form the Colonial Defence Ministry, the day before the attack. She claims that Dr. Amorak gave it to her shortly before he died, and she smuggled it off the Olympic Carrier. None of this seems right. Besides knowing that Baltar was never at the Defence Ministry, it would have been incredibly unlikely that anything got on or off the Olympic Carrier during the perpetual 33 minute attacks that the Cylons threw at the fleet in the pilot episode. The video shows a man of similar height and build to Baltar placing some sort of device on the mainframe computers. It only show his back though, and the command officers are willing to listen to circumstantial evidence. But Godfrey puts on a pair of ugly clashing glasses, and shows them a reflection in the glass that will prove the Baltar planted the bomb. The reflection is little more than blur, and it will take Gaeta a day to clean up the image. Adama orders him to do it, and relieves Baltar of his duties and security clearance in the meantime.
Elsewhere on the ship, Chief Tyrol is trying to figure out how the Cylon Raider works. Cally reads out Starbuck’s notes, “The engine power up sequence began by squeezing something that looks like a red ligament with blue veins on the right side, coming out of a sack of gooey fluid shaped like a dog”. Tyrol who is already inside the goo filled Raider replies “Are you kidding me?! This whole thing is a bunch of veins and ligaments, and sacs of goo!”. She continues “Squeeze the ligament with your hands while you slide your weight on your left hip into the lymphatic sack”. Before this gets any more squishy-sexual like, Tigh interrupts them both, and asks how things are coming along. Tyrol lies and tells him that he’s “getting there”.
Starbuck isn’t having much better luck. Its time for her to start walking again. The Doctor and Apollo encourage her to start walking with the most demeaning and condescending clichés they can think of. After she takes a few steps, Starbuck uncharacteristically throws down the crutches, gets back into bed, and asks to be doped up. The doctor tells her that she won’t get better lying on her ass, and adds “We’re weaning you off the magic pills starting today. And besides, I need them for myself”. Starbuck tells him to “Frack off!”, which makes this the first off many times the pseudo curse is used this episode.
But back to the A plot, Baltar calls Roslin and pleads with her to let him back onto the Colonial 1. He needs to get away from Shelly Godfrey. She’d like to help him, but he’s on a no-fly list, and is stuck on the Galactica. He whispers to her over the phone, that he suspects that Godfrey is a biocylon. Roslin wasn’t listening to him though, she passed out from an overdose of cancer meds.
The phone call scene was interlaced with shots of Baltar searching his imaginary apartment looking for #6 (and her guidance). But she was nowhere to be found.
Godfrey is easier to be found. Like all other model 6 of 12, she’s in the bedroom trying to seduce a man. This time it’s Adama’s quarters. She gives some more backstory about her and Dr. Amorak, and claims that they were sort-of-lovers, and other completely unbelievable cons. She tries a lonely geek tactic with Adama, and claims that she just needs to be close to someone. So she leans over and places a soft kiss on his lips. Adama doesn’t reciprocate. The scene cuts to him telling Tigh that she is to be under surveillance at all times, and that she is not to leave the ship. Adama knows that something isn’t right with her.
Baltar needs to talk to Gaeta, and get him to run a more thorough security check on the CD. But he can’t do it out in public, so he stalks Gaeta until he’s in a private but public place: the bathroom. This will undoubtedly rank as one of the most awkward scenes in science fiction history for years to come! Baltar starts whispering to Gaeta through the stall. It’s weird to say the least. At first it sounds like Baltar is asking him about his bowels movements, but that confusion quickly goes away. To help relieve the tension, Gaeta starts to whistle the theme to the original Battlestar Galactica.
The poor attempt to alleviate the awkwardness is ended when Baltar tells Gaeta that he really valued his assistance in the lab the last few weeks. He then asks him to run tests on the disk, to confirm its authenticity. Gaeta insists that he did that already and that everything checked out. Baltar says that he can show him some more advanced screening methods if he’d let him into the lab. Lt Gaeta doesn’t think that its a good idea. They start arguing about it, but that quickly stops when Godfrey walks into the loo. Gaeta takes this opportunity to run away quickly, making a half-arsed attempt to tuck his shirt into his pants. Balter still needs to talk to him and shouts “But you forgot to wash your hands!”.
So Baltar does what any honourable man would do; he walks over to Godfrey’s stall and slams the door open! As you’d expect, Godfrey is a little mad about this, and tries to push the door closed. Baltar keeps the door open, and questions her about the recording. Godfrey insists that it’s real, and that Baltar is guilty. He changes strategy and now believes that she is not #6, but is not Godfrey either. He calls her out as a Cylon agent, a mere copy. She then slams the door in his face. Baltar yells at her, “Struck a nerve have I? Which I find rather impossible to believe, you think this is over? This is not over! You have not heard the last… NO MORE MR. NICE GIAUS!”. And that’s when a pilot walks in to to find him shouting at a locked bathroom stall.
The toilets of the future are weird. Firstly, nobody (Gaeta and Godfrey) lowers theirs pants/raises their skirt to do their business. It’s as if the waste matter is quantum teleported out of their bowels. However that doesn’t explain the need for toilet paper. Secondly, the stalls have got to be the thinnest ever produced by humans.
The action goes from awkward to just plain creepy. Boomer shows up in the ship bay and starts inspecting the Cylon raider. Tyrol is frustrated that he can’t get the damn thing to work. Boomer starts stroking it in a seductive manner, and tells the Chief that, “It’s not really a thing you know? Its probably a Cylon itself”. Queue scary background music. “Or an animal maybe to he human models. Maybe they genetically designed it for a task. To be a fighter, you can’t treat it like a thing and expect it to respond. You have to treat it like a pet”. Tyrol is a little creeped out too, and starts to really think that something is up with Boomer. When he questions he about it, she gets very defensive and walks away, leaving him to wallow in his inability to operate the ship.
Baltar is desperate now, and goes to see Adama in his office. He insists that he is innocent, and pleads with Adama. He then tells Adama that he suspects Godfrey is a biocylon, and needs a small sample of her tissue to prove it. Since his detector is almost complete, he can run the tests soon. But Adama won’t let him. He won’t even let Gaeta run the test in his place. He tells Baltar that if it is his picture in the video, that all of his equipment will be dismantled, and put into quarantine, and anybody he’s talked with will be put under suspicion.
Like the phone call with Roslin, this conversation also had bits of Baltar looking for #6 in his imaginary apartment. She still can’t be found. Out of desperation, the self-concerned scientist assumes that #6 just wants to himto tell her that he loves her, and loudly professes his love for her. It doesn’t work.
The image in almost done being cleaned up, and Baltar knows it. Without #6 to guide him, and all the looks the crew starts giving him he gets very desperate. Like thousands of high schoolers before him, Baltar pulls the fire alarm to get out of trouble. This forces Gaeata out of the lab and onto the bridge, and the guards to report elsewhere. Baltar slips into the lab, and finds his image on the screen. The winner of three Noble Prizes (BSG equivalent) in computer science, shows to the audience that he knows squat about computers. He tries to remove the image from the screen by typing in some commands, then typing randomly on the keyboard. Finally he tries to break the computer terminal with a small hammer. When that obviously fails, he reaches behind the computer and starts yanking wires. But the image is still there. Finally in a crazed frenzy he lifts a chair and gets ready to toss it at the computer. This is when Adama walk in to stop him. Adama orders that Baltar be arrested. Comically enough, Baltar starts scooting in front of the monitor in desperate attempt to hide his image. That too doesn’t work. Adama walks over to the terminal and inspects the image for himself.
Tigh visits Starbuck in medbay and rudely tells her that everyday she spends in medbay, is more confirmation of his negative opinion of her. Also that Tyrol needs her help in the hanger bay. Her hatred of Tigh is enough to motivate her to make the trip to the Raider, and help out the Chief. Her reintroduction to the raider is worthy of being repeated here:
Starbuck: What seems to be the problem?Tyrol: Well your new boyfriend is a bit of jerk sir.Starbuck: It’s a girl.Tyrol: Well if you don’t mind her goo on your face, she’s all yours sir. I really like the writer for this episode!
Starbuck climbs inside, and after moving some gooey tendrils out of her way, starts playing with the controls. After talking with the ship a little bit, she kicks the “ignition” and the ship lifts off. The Chief tells her “Don’t shoot anything”.
Roslin visits Baltar in the brig. At first he thinks that she is there to free him, but he soon realizes that is not true. Before she leaves him, she wants to know what drove him to commit treason against his species. Baltar professes his innocence and starts to tell her that he suspects that Godfrey is a Cylon. Roslin doesn’t care, and tells him “If anyone can be a Cylon, and it’s hard to tell us apart, then the only have one thing left that we can trust: our instincts, our feelings. And the moment they told me it was your face in the photo, I knew I believed it. I believe you were involved in the attack, somehow, I feel it”. Baltar spits at her, “You’ll forgive me Madam President, if I don’t wish to be executed based solely on your gut feeling!”.
On Caprica, Helo and Boomer are getting ready to go to sleep. Helo flips a coin and works it so that he’ll get first watch. Boomer won’t let him, but he tells her that if anything happened to her, he could never forgive himself. He tells her that he was jealous of the Chief back on the Galactica, and that he wanted to be in his place (read: boning Boomer). Boomer uses this opportunity to cement her control over him, and kisses him. The two of them start making wild crazy animal sex, during a thunder storm. At the same time on the Galactica, Boomer opens her locker and finds Cylon painted on her mirror.
Baltar has no hope left. No one can help him now. With nothing left to lose, Baltar prays to god. It was an awkward attempt at best. He clearly never did this before, and worded it awkwardly. He tried to suck up to god, like he would suck up to a human, and then he asked god for help. After several cumbersome attempts, he settles with, “to carry out your divine will”. He breaks up in tears, and that’s when #6 shows up to comfort him. She holds him and tells him that she’s there for him now and everything will be just fine.
Lt Gaeta walks in and starts approaching his cell. Baltar screams that he hasn’t had a trial yet, and that the picture is a fake. Gaeta agrees. He shows Baltar evidence that the video was faked, and that he is now a free man. Gaeata re-ran the security checks when it was done because he felt that Baltar was a good person who would never betray humanity. He is so wrong! Baltar hugs him, then after realizing that he was really free, or that Gaeta was really acting queer, he started walking away ignoring him. on his way out, Gaeta tells him “It was really nothing Doctor. once the photos were finally resolved it was almost too easy. It’s like she wanted to be found out”.
Cut to Adama yelling at Tigh! Godfrey has disappeared. Vanished. Two marines followed her around a corner and she was missing. No ships have left Galactica recently, and no one in the fleet reports her on their respective ships. Adama orders the entire fleet search their ships for her, including the Galactica. He picks up her pair of ugly glasses off a work station, and says “She just didn’t vanish!”.
Roslin holds a press conference exonerating Baltar of all guilt. She praised him for his continued work on the Cylon detector, and the reporters in the room erupted in applause. I’m curious if Roslin still thinks he had something to with the Holocaust and she just held this conference for the sake of fleets emotional health.
The episode ends with Baltar and #6 in their imaginary mansion. #6 says that now that he’s had his trial of fire. No one will ever doubt him again. He asks if that was the plan all along, to tear him down then build him up in the publics eyes. She doesn’t answer and instead entices him to come up to the bedroom with her. He says, “Who am I to question the plans of the almighty lord?”, then walks up the stairs after her. He then asks if there ever was a Shelly Godfrey. Again no answer, but this time she drops her dress, turns around, gives him a look, and then walks into the bedroom. Baltar states, “god’s will be done!”, and runs up the stairs.
This was a really cool episode. Fracken cool, to use similar vocabulary of the episode. I loved the script, and much of the direction and acting. While the humour was a pleasant relief, I hope that not all episodes will be as humorous as this one, because it will distract the audience from the overall dark situation too much. My only problem with the episode was Shelly Godfrey. I don’t feel that the part was acted well. This may be because of rookie actress, Tricia Helfer. Or it’s possible that Godfrey was supposed to be acted poorly, so to make everyone suspect of her. That implies bad direction, but I’m inclined to believe the former.
I’d rate this episode a wry 49,005 out of 10.
Dissecting the Episode:
What happened to Shelly Godfrey?That is the question of the week. She was corporeally there. She was not a hologram, or Boomer with a suit. Those don’t match the level of technology of the BSG universe. If I had to guess, I’d say she ducked into a vent, and will live in there, until she can find another way off the ship.
Who wrote “Cylon” on Boomer’s mirror?Another question I can’t answer. Assuming its paint, it would have to have been done with a medium sized brush, or someone with thin (woman) fingers. Boomer might have done it herself, or maybe someone on the flight/repair crew did it as a prank. We’ll find out later I suppose.
Is Gaeta a Cylon?No. That’d be too easy an out. The writers have yet to give him more of a personality than a computer. Now while that may make him an easy guess, I think that the powers that be, would make a someone a Cylon agent less obvious than Gaeta.
On a related note, I am not happy with Gaeta’s lack of character development. He’s had more screen time than all but two supporting actors, and has zero personality. At best, he seems to be in love with Baltar. If the 2004 election is any gauge, that sub-plot will not go over well in States.
Baltar prays to god at the end of the episode, is this legit?I doubt it. Baltar uses people, and perhaps mythological beings too. I think the larger issues here is that he claims to believe in a singular god. Not the plural gods of the Colonial pantheon. If this isn’t for #6’s benefit, this implies that he worships the same god as the Cylons, and may be more inclined to do their bidding in the future. Probably not, but #6 does have a lot of influence on him.
Was this a Cylon plan?It’s hard to tell. I think #6 pulled this one off on her own, to better elevate her beloved Baltar. But having #6 use Baltar may be part of the Cylon’s greater plan. At the moment, I believe #6 to be her own entity.
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Review is copyright 2005 Ryan Bechtel
Battlestar Galactica names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of Sci-Fi Channel, NBC Universal and R&D Television.