Battlestar Galactica: S01E08: Flesh and Bone
But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part shall be done away….
-I CORINTHIANS 13:10
We begin with Joseph having a dream. Sorry, I mean Madame President of course. Beware, the subtle biblical references throughout this review, even if they are far more obvious than the ones in the episode.
As I was saying, we begin with a dream, or rather a premonition. President Roslin is running through the Forest (Paging Dr. Freud) and all around her is immenent danger. Feeling this, she begins to run from her cancer, erm, I mean the soldiers. She see’s a face in the distance which bears no hostility, and begins to run for it, hoping to find an ally.
As the Soldiers bear down on her (Yes, human soldiers) the man grabs her, silencing her with a hand over her mouth, he gestures to her as if he has something to show her. Then you hear what appears to be a door opening in the distance and the man goes flying backwards. But just before the dream ends she finally hears a voice, -his- voice, saying “Laura”.
After awaking with a shudder, she is notified that the Geminon Traveller has captured a Cylon named “Leoben Conroy”. Adama informs her the man is a mystic, who fills the heads of humans with half-baked philosophies, and confusion. Hey sounds like someone I know! Self-abuse aside, Adama is adamant they should immediately eliminate him, but the President wants him interrogated.
Adama recruits Starbuck to do the interview. You remember Starbuck, right? She’s the sharpshooter in 1G, a sharpshooter in 0G, and apparently the only person in the Fleet with a psycology degree, and I’m fairly sure she is some species of 4-dimension alien, but that will come in season 3.
Our next visage is the lovely but absolutely pyscho Boomer. The Chief informs her that her suggestion to treat Cylons like animals rather than machines is more productive. She then reveals out of the blue: I am a Cylon.
Folks, I think she honestly meant it. The resignation in her voice was clear, and she almost seems to believe it herself. More on this later!
Meanwhile Starbuck having no familiarity with the Cylons as we viewers do, finds it interesting that Leoben can sweat. I would sweat too if I found out I would be spending that much time with Thrace. Leoben is one cool customer, and is clearly playing a game from the very beginning. Playing against her female side, he sniffs the air and tells her she stinks. Just a guess, but I think the Cylons are hooked into a central Database, because part way through the interview he seems to finally get the download and suddenly changes his whole story.
You’re Kara Thrace! I have a nuke! This was all out of the blue, and only occurred after Starbuck clearly had ended the interview. She gets spooked by this revelation. And more than that Leoben is clearly playing the “probability” card by informing her it’s her duty to take the information to her Masters (which is why he used it). Now to reinforce the “Mysticism” in this episode both Adama and Starbuck offer possibilities:
He must of guessed it! No, he could’ve heard of it on a headset!
Do these guys even understand computers, networks, etc..? I have to wonder why they explain the conciousness of Cylons can leave their bodies and go elsewhere, but it never occurred to them the information could be all networked through a central database? But, back to the fun!
Leoben explains some basic precepts of religion and faith in God while Starbuck gobbles down what appears to be some tasty string-beans, man I love me some string-beans, but I digress. He then talks about Transcendence and all that jazz, I half expected him to break out the old Zohar and speak some Nietzche too.
Leoben asks her: So you pray to Artemis and Aphrodite? Ruh-roh, looks like he hit the mark too. She gets very uncomfortable at his Hannibal Lector quid pro quo. She seems to realize she’s treating him too much like a human, and goes into her “contempt” phase, totally ignoring everything he says. Then she informs him of the difference between Human and Machine. She starts with a nod to the soldier, who whacks him upside the head with the butt of his weapon.
“Machines should not feel pain, should not bleed, should not sweat.”
Then she tempts him by explaining a machine would shut off his pain software. But by doing so he would be a machine and not a human. Believe it or not this was a much more potent attack than the physical one. Leoben is even impressed by it and quite a bit angry, but regains his resolve by claiming more to himself than to Starbuck that he knew this about her, and knows everything about her. Very subtly Starbuck issues a challenge, and not so subtly Leo responds by claiming “Let the games begin” Another reference to Greco-Roman culture too btw.
First off, #6 is in a quiet fury, not only because Baltar is paying attention to Boomer, but because Boomer is clearly doing something unexpected. When Boomer requests to join the first batch of Cylon-detection, #6’s response is interesting:
“What’s her rush?” And she says it with a verrrrry quiet anger and concern.
The very next scene is on Caprica. And #6 is claiming that Boomer is a human not a Cylon because “We are what we Do”. Boomer walks up and tells Doral and #6 that she had sex with Helo. #6 and Boomer get into an argument over Helo’s commitment to Boomer. The Cylons inform Boomer that they’re setting up a cabin so that Helo and Boomer can settle down. Adam and Eve, anyone? Or are the Cylons trying to produce Hybrid children? What’s going on??? #6 informs her that if he flees rather than settle down, he will die. Boomer says she understands, then runs back to Helo. On the way she is flooded by their memories together, memories of their time together on Caprica. She seems to betray the Cylons and tells Helo they must flee together, now. This is all we see of Helo and Boomer this week.
Meanwhile Kara “Starbuck” Thrace and Leo meet again, and Leoben calls himself “God”. Hmm, this would be heresy according to #6. Could Cylons have different beliefs? Or was he simply being philosophical, or did God temporarily download himself into Leoben? Many interesting questions in this ep. Starbuck tries to define Sin by using her perspective rather than an impartial perspective, but hey, that’s partly why the Cylons hate us. And then my favorite scene of the ep occurs.
Kara orders water torture, and as the guards leave to fetch her some Leoben explains he could easily kill everyone and cause some mayhem but “It’s not time yet”. Then to prove this he rips his bonds clean off, throws the table and in an instant has Starbuck against the wall with his hand closing around her throat. He tells her he has a surprise for her, and what a surprise it will be…
Adama meanwhile is looking at the corpse of the old Leoben. He confers with Tigh about the nuclear weapon, then orders the Fleet to spread out, giving into his fear and confusion that Leo wanted to spread. Adama is so enraged by giving into this he almost beats the dead Leoben with the phone in his hand, then silently whispers “No.” The “No” was that he would not give into his hate and rage. What a good Jedi he would make!
Back to Kara… Leo has his head dumped into freezing water over and over, and lemme tell you, it’s no fun. The cold water produces an effect in humans that causes our blood pressure to drop. And while your trying to gasp for air in between dumps, your blood pressure rises. It’s not fun, but very effective against humans as we’ve learned this past century. As the torture continues Leoben realizes that Starbuck’s anger might kill him prematurely, so once again he receives a nice little packet of information and uses it against Starbuck. Namely, he knows all about Starbucks family. It’s also entirely possible that the Cylons recognize the various archetypes of humanity and was just applying that. But personally I think it’s a network, in any event…
Baltar has finished testing Boomer and is pathetically trying to be charming. I gotta say Baltar is one hilarious character. More of Boomer’s background is revealed. She thinks she is from Troy, and her family was killed in an infamous mining accident. Baltar offers some false condolences, and #6 shows up at the moment of revelation as Boomer’s results show she is 100% Cylon. #6 gets very funny here and once again appeals to Baltars fears.
#6: This is an interesting moment in the life of Gaius Baltar, what will he do? Question is what will she do if you expose her…It will be interesting to see how she responds when you tell her the truth. I’m guessing her Cylon side will take over and break your neck before you can reveal your secret. Let’s find out.
Baltar: Congratulations it’s Green!!
Funny stuff folks. Keep in mind that Baltar VERY quickly stuck the results in his briefcase. Not surprising since Baltar likes card-games so much. That’s called “An Ace in the Hole”.
The President has another premonition as she realizes time on the nuclear device is winding down. She orders a shuttle prepared, she will talk to Leo herself.
Starbuck is still torturing Leoben and he invokes the Time Prophets legacy “Time begins and then time ends, then time begins again” Well not really, but close enough. He tells her that her role is to deliver his soul unto God. But this is the one thing he is wrong about. But even bigger than this, is the revelation that Humanity will find Kobol and then Earth.*Whoa! Is this the Cylon’s grand plan? To use Humanity to lead them to Earth??? Get away from us Battlestar Galactica, we dont want you here!
As the Prez shows up she witnesses some of the torture and takes the side of the prisoner. The ol’Good Cop/Bad Cop routine. She orders him cleaned up, she wants to speak with him personally. This is another brilliant scene that develops the characters so well, I can’t overstate how well this scene was done. The President kisses some babies and whispers promises into his ear in order to find out where the nuke is. She even offers a peace treaty between Human and Cylon, begging him to trust her and start a new age. He seems to believe her, or it could be more of an act and reveals there was no nuke at all. He tells her two very important pieces of propaganda as he grabs her…
“The military seeks to dehumanize people”
“Adama is a Cylon”
These two lines have such an effect on her, that will clearly ripple into the rest of the season. Part of my conspiricy mind tells me these were codewords that triggered a “sleeper” program in Roslin because she completely changes when she hears these words and gains a resolve we haven’t seen in other eps. But ignore this, because it’s got a .00000001% probability of being right. Just something I thought was a bit odd. The next line is the coldest line delivered so far in the entire series:
“Put him out the airlock”
Roslin justifies it by, saying that he’s already caused enough damage with his lies and faux-philosophy, and he needs to be destroyed immediately.
As he is “Spaced” Kara raises her hand to touch his through the glass. She explains he is not afraid of death, just afraid his soul will not find God. Mission Accomplished by Leoben. But his victory is short lived, because the bay doors open, and he is sucked out into space, just like in Roslin’s dream.
The final scenes are Starbuck pulling two idols out of a bag (Artemis and Aphrodite, again Leo was right) and prays that if Leoben had a soul, it will find God. The final most chilling scene is between Adama and the President.
WHAT A WHOPPER OF AN EP!
I personally give it 42,398 out of 10.
Dissecting the Episode:
Why facilitate Leoben’s upload by killing him? Why not stick him in a box so he cant report all this new information?Well some argue that Leoben had already caused enough problems, and leaving him around when he is clearly so potent (remember tearing off his binds?) isn’t a great idea. But still I’m not so sure why they couldn’t encase him in lead or something that a transmission cannot escape while tossing him into a star.
Where does all the “Religious speak” come from?From a variety of “creationist” beliefs, but mainly Judaic-Christianity and Hinduism, there’s even some Nietchze and Augustine thrown in the mix. Though I could’ve missed something, feel free to shoot me an email if you have further info. Why did 6 save Boomer on the Galactica?Good question since the Cylon detector was her idea in the first place. My guess is she hasn’t finished her mission, whatever that may be.
Is Adama REALLY a Cylon?Someone is.
There are far more models than there are characters at the moment. My guess is it’s someone on the main cast, but not as deep as Adama.
Where was Gaeta in this ep, we love Gaeta!!Gaeta is too busy to be in every ep. Someone has to run the fleet and it sure aint gonna be Adama and Tigh!
This Battlestar Galactica review is © 2004 Greg Frantz.
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