Battlestar Galactica: S01E09: Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down

This is yet another strong and funny episode added to a series that is quickly becoming my favourite sci-fi series of all time. This episode was directed by show star, Edward James Olmos, and he did a damn fine job! Unlike other episodes, Callis didn’t not steal the show with his antics. Instead the humour and story-lines were pretty well spread out amongst the cast.

The episode starts with a drill like device exiting a lighted white tube, and the first thing that comes to this sadgeezer’s mind is “finally some cool sci-fi tech!”, and I was soon disappointed to see that it was just the combat monitors being dropped from the ceiling of the bridge. And that’s the last time I was disappointed in this episode.

Lt. Gaeta pops up out of nowhere and hands Adama a report. He glances at it, then looks to the upper deck and sees President Roslin observing him. Adama goes up there to tell her that Baltar has completed the Cylon detector. Unfortunately, he can only do one blood sample at a time, and each sample will take 11 hours. Ouch! Roslin asks, who will be tested first. He replies that people in sensitive areas should be done immediatly.

Roslin slyly suggests that he goes first, to prove to the fleet that he and the leadership can be trusted. Adama is taken aback, and says maybe she should be tested first instead, but quickly relents and agrees to be the first tested. The next scene features Billy and Duella on their first date. They’re sitting by a large window on the observation deck (aka make-out deck) and are joined by several other young horny couples admiring the vastness of space. Billy uses this time to get closer to the petty officer by wooing, caressing and hitting her up for information on Adama. He really doesn’t understand women. Doesn’t he know that they want a date to be all about them? Duella tells him that Adama has been making some secret phone calls lately and having her erase any records of the calls. After about a minute of talking about “the old man”, she accuses him of hitting her up for information about Adama. Billy vehemently denies the charge.

And in the very next scene Billy is telling Roslin everything he learned from Duella. Bloody liar! But Billy refuses to acknowledge that Adama is a Cylon, and says it’s insane to even talk about. Roslin tearfully tells him “Oh my gods Billy, I hope you’re right”.

The next scene seems very familiar. It features a over stressed, under sexed, sleep deprived man in a lab, surrounded in work he has to finish very soon. I dub this scene: finals week. Now that his Cylon detector is complete, Baltar has to live with the consequences; he must test every human in the fleet. All 47,905 people (presumably including himself). If you noticed that there is one more person in the fleet from last weeks episode, give yourself a gold star. At 11 hours a test, it will take him almost 61 years. Baltar would rather kill himself then have to do all those tests. But #6 points out that there has to be some perks to being a genius, and demonstrates by having sex with him. Before anything really juicy happens, Starbuck walks in on Baltar and catches him with his pants down. Other people found this part funny, I personally didn’t, oddly enough. He tries to pass it off like he was doing stretches. Starbuck just gives him her blood sample and walks away a little creeped out.

Colonel Tigh isn’t doing much better. He’s down to one finger of whisky. And just when I think he’s going to down that last shot, he pours it in his waste bucket. What a waste of booze, he could have sold that! His wife’s picture (who’s face he burned out in the mini) is crumpled up and joins the liquor soon thereafter. Tigh’s brooding is interrupted when a Cylon Raider comes up on the radar.

The Raider jumped right in front of Apollo and some other unknown pilot. Apollo laments that it was his mistake to do that. Big words from Apollo, and sadly he can’t back them up. The two Vipers waste a few hundred rounds trying to shoot it out of the sky. In the end, Apollo only clips the Raider’s weapon systems. The Raider quickly jumps out of Dodge.
At the same time, Tigh learns that Adama isn’t on the ship, and hasn’t left a flight plan. Despondently, he orders the entire fleet to jump to the standby coordinates. Just then the same Raider reappears in the area, then jumps again, and reappears, and repeat…

Tigh figures that the FTL jump system is damaged, and orders a Raptor to be launched (even though there is already one out there!) to pick up any signals coming from the ship. He figures that it will help them learn how to work the captured raider’s FTL system.

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Duella then tells Tigh that Adama’s Raptor is requesting permission to dock (this was the raptor already out there), he grants it. Tigh orders the fleet to condition 2 (yellow alert) and leaves Gaeta in charge while he talks to Adama.

We see Adama’s Raptor enter the bay, and its entry hatch opens to reveal a blonde in a red dress. My first reaction is that Adama found Shelly “#6” Godfrey. Adama greets Tigh on the tarmac and when asked where he went replies, “Colonel Tigh, allow me to present your wife”. Tigh is elated to see his wife Ellen again.

Meanwhile things have gone to hell on Caprica. Every Cylon and their motherboard are scouring Caprica City looking for Helo and Boomer. Except they’re only searching the surface, and the two are running through the sewer tunnels. Helo doesn’t understand why they are going to so much effort to find them now. Boomer lies and tells him that when she was captured she learned of a major Cylon fleet working out of Delphi. She says that they might be able to take a ship from that base to get off the planet. The two continue their run through the nearly infinitely long tunnel. This almost seemed like a metaphor of this entire arc, that the story is moving though a tunnel with little room for variation. I expect next week, they’ll get to the base, and do some recon, then they’ll infiltrate the base the next week.

The phone rings in Baltar’s lab and he answers it “Dr. Gais Baltar, Department of Cylon Detection, how may I direct your call?”. Roslin tells him that he’s “in a good mood” and asks how Adama’s test is coming along. He tells her that Adama ordered his test stopped, and that another sample for “Ellen ______” be tested immediately.

Roslin doesn’t like that answer and orders him to resume Adama’s test.
Tigh and Ellen’s reunion is an emotional one. Her arrival in the fleet is very suspect. She claims to have been knocked out during the attack on Picon’s airport. Someone put her onboard the last ship to leave the planet, the Rising Star. She awoke a few weeks later. But no one remembers caring for her until a week prior. Ellen isn’t too concerned about the details. She’s just glad that she’s alive and with her husband Saul. To celebrate she breaks out a bottle of Ambrosia, a very expensive liquor. Tigh doesn’t want to have a drink, but after she downs a shot and kisses him, he too gets the thirst. After a little hanky-panky, Tigh is summoned to see the President.

Tigh is more than a lot pissed off that she suspects Adama might be a Cylon. He is about to start cursing her out, but then she tells him about the strange phone calls, and uncharted raptor flight at the same time of the attack. Tigh defends Adama, by saying that Adama left the ship to get his wife Ellen. Roslin then has an epiphany, as to whom Adama was having tested, and why her surname was omitted. Roslin tells him that she would like to meet his wife. Afterwards, Roslin has Baltar resume the test.

Helo and Boomer are still running from the Cylons. Helo has to stop to take a break. Boomer uses this time to see if the Cylons are still looking for them on the surface. They are, and she tells Helo that they must keep going. Helo barely can, and questions her, since she has yet to show any signs of exhaustion. She replies “adrenaline” and starts running down the sewers with him.

Later that night, Adama, Apollo, Roslin, Tigh and Ellen are having a nice dinner together in Adama’s quarters, complete with fine food and the ambrosia. Before this episode aired, I expected Ellen to be a strong women, much like other females in sci-fi. This dinner scene, proved me very wrong.

Ellen turned out to be a total bimbo, lush and slut. She clumsily filled everyone in on the public opinions of the refugees. For instance explaining that “There are some people who might wonder if a kindergarten teacher, is really the right person to be president”. After realizing she just put her foot in her mouth, she downplays it by saying that “but its a tiny, tiny minority”. Next she brings up Zack Adama, whom she doesn’t realize is dead.

During her other dumb blonde moments at the dinner table, she starts openly flirting with Apollo, in front of her drunk-arsed husband. She even takes off her shoe and starts stroking his legs and finally crotch with her bare foot. This causes Apollo to jump back from the table. He saves himself by offering to clean up the table.

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Ellen brings up that the big question on everyone’s mind is, “Where is Earth and when do we get there?” Finally they mention Earth in the TV series! Adama et al tell her that it’s classified. She thinks that she’s “part of the family” she can learn about its location. Adama and Roslin point out that with biocylons in the fleet, they can’t reveal that information. Roslin even hints that she thinks Ellen is a Biocylon. There’s is a lot of tension in that room, and Ellen breaks it by shouting “boo” and slamming the table. This startles everyone, but she and Tigh laugh it off.

Finally its time to leave, and Tigh gets up and does the old drunk man shuffle to the door. Ellen tells Apollo that she can’t find her shoe. Apollo brings it over to her, and gets his arse pinched as a “reward”. She too does the drunk walk to the door. Roslin already knows that Ellen forgot her booze, and grabs the bottle and holds it toward the door, at the same time Ellen realizes that she’s missing her drink. Ellen does a extended drunk grab for the bottle and then stumbles out of the room. It’s not very funny to read, but Mary McDonnell’s body language made it a real laugh.

After they leave, Roslin asks “You actually think that woman is a Cylon?!” Apollo replies, “Well if she’s not, we’re in a lot of trouble”. Adama explains that besides being a total slut, Ellen brought out the worst parts of Tigh; his drinking and bad temper.

The two very drunk lovers do their drunk “walk of shame” through the halls back to his quarters. They take a break near a scaffolding and Ellen starts repeatedly screaming through the halls that “Bill Adama doesn’t know where Earth is!”, while trying to hump Tigh’s head. This gets the attention of Baltar, who is a little curious what Tigh is doing with such a hot woman. He introduces himself to her, but she already knows who he is. She won’t let go of his hand either. Finally Tigh breaks the two of them up, and #6 arrives to maintain control of her man. Tigh says “Hey, hey hey. I’m watching you. Both of you.”. #6 replies queitly “And you should be watching her.” She asks him to join them for a drink. Before Baltar can say anything he is summoned to his lab.

After he leaves, Ellen makes up some bullshit about how Adama was touching her leg during dinner, and watching her sleep when she was on the Rising Star. Tigh rightfully doesn’t buy it. It appears that her control over him isn’t that strong after all. She says that she can prove it, and drags him along toward the lab. How does she know where the lab is anyway?
Over in the lab, Baltar has to explain to Adama why Ellen’s test isn’t done yet. He mentions that he’s had to start the test twice already. When asked why, Roslin explains that “it’s my fault, long story”. Adama presses her and learns that she had doubts about him and his recent erratic behaviour.

This gets him mad, because it implies that she was spying on him, on his own ship! They start yelling at each other. Baltar breaks its up by saying “Ladies and gentlemen please. Please, this is a laboratory, and there are lots of hazardous compounds everywhere. That’s a thermo-nuclear bomb for fracks sakes!” Adama explains that he made the odd acts to make sure that Ellen was who she said she was, and to hide her from her husband as long as possible. He had to bring her over eventually just because he can’t keep her from him without arousing suspicion.

And that’s when the two drunks walk in, and even more hilarity ensues. Tigh accuses him of watching his wife, and Ellen claims that Adama has been lusting for her for years. Adama is aghast. Ellen says “Now boys don’t fight over little ‘ole me”. Roslin tells her to shut up. More fighting ensures. Adama explains to Tigh that he though she might be a Cylon, and brought her blood over to be tested. Tigh then understands why he cancelled his test. Adama asks how he knew that, and said that Roslin told him, because she thought he was a Cylon. They both scowl at her.

The tension is ended when Gaeta gets on the loud speaker that there is a problem with the Cylon Raider. The Raider’s flight path has been smoothed out, and it appears that it’s been testing the humans all along for their reactions. Tigh orders the stand-by fighters launched on a hunch. It was a good hunch too, because the Raider makes a kamikaze run for the Galactica and its “make-out” deck. The vipers destroy it before it can do any damage.

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The Cylons haven’t found Helo and Boomer on the surface, and are taking there search to the sewers. #6 and Doral are walking down into the underground and talking about what could have driven Boomer to do this. They agree that it was love, but think its an emotion of weakness. #6 says that Helo was pathetic when they took Boomer from him. Doral says “I can’t help wonder what it’d feel that, intensely. Even in his anguish he seemed so alive.” This disturbs #6, who starts to cry.

At the end of the episode, everyone meets in the lab, to find out about Ellen’s test results. Baltar claims that she is human. Everyone is relieved. Adama tells her “no hard feeling, right Ellen?”, and they hug. Ellen whispers in his ear “You don’t want to frack with me, Bill. Try to remember that”. Adama replies “Don’t frack with me either.”
#6 slinks up from between Baltar’s legs, almost as if she was giving him head, and begins the big plot twist of the episode:
#6: If only they knew that everyone passes these days?Baltar: Well its so much simpler that way. No muss, no fuss.#6: So what did her test really say?Baltar: I’ll never tell.

The two begin to kiss, and spin around in his chair. Meanwhile everyone else in the room is oblivious to the mad scientist as they’re too busy settling their differences from the day before.

I’m secretly giving this episode an awkward 38,618 out of 10.

Dissecting the Episode:

What’s up with the Cylon detector? Did Boomer’s test take only a minute?It appeared that way. We never actually saw Baltar take a sample of her blood. He could have sampled her, right after she asked, then she came back half a day later for the results.

I would assume that it take 11 hours for the radiation to break down the artificial artificial chemicals in the Biocylon cells. Hence the long wait. But that doesn’t explain why only one test can be done at once. Plutonium puts out a lot of radiation! Especially with all the material used in a nuclear bomb .Technically Baltar should have died a while ago from radiation sickness, unless he was using robotics behind a wall to handle the material, which I doubt, since the bomb is uncovered and out in the lab. Ignoring the health physics, unless all that radiation is focused into a small area for one blood sample (again a little doubtful, since gammas aren’t reflected easily) to decreases the amount of time needed to expose the cells to radiation, there should be plenty of radiation to sample scores of blood samples at once.

So ignoring the health and nuclear physics for a moment, Baltar still should have began work on multiple testers just to speed up the testing process.

Is Ellen a Cylon?She is very suspect. Contrivances in her back-story aside, #6 mentioned that Tigh should be watching her. She made similar implications with Boomer. It is for that reason I think she is a Biocylon. Granted #6 could have just said that because she knows Ellen’s personality type is a problem.

What is ambrosia?By definition, the drink of the gods. More specifically I think its a liqueur or brandy of some kind. It was served in too small a glass for it to be wine.. It’s green colour sets off alarms too (makes me think liqueur). The realistic drink that’s green that comes to mind is absinthe. Which is clearly a top shelf drink, and contains more then just alcohol. But Absinthe isn’t very easy to drink for leisure. Another drink is Creme de Minte, which seems like a good match. Star Trek’s Romulan Ale is also green, and it too is expensive and packs a punch.

What’s up with Baltar?I have no fracking clue, what Baltar is thinking. He is insane, but firstly he’s looking out for his own skin. If the cylons think his detector doesn’t work, they probably won’t attack him directly. Keeping around some positive results might come in handy later should any human give him trouble too.

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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

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