Production 9
Direction 8
Characterisation 8
Storyline 9
Acting 9
Fun/Sexy/Cool 9

After a short holiday break, Battlestar Galactica is back. This was the turning point in the first season and almost everyone really enjoyed it. The montage of scenes in the beginning was our first clue, this was going to be a schizophrenic episode, filled with lots of continuing plotlines, and boy does it get whacky…

Summary 8.7 awesome
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Fun/Sexy/Cool 0
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Battlestar Galactica: S01E10: Hand of God

After a short holiday break, Battlestar Galactica is back. This was the turning point in the first season and almost everyone really enjoyed it. The montage of scenes in the beginning was our first clue, this was going to be a schizophrenic episode, filled with lots of continuing plotlines, and boy does it get whacky, as does this review. So hold on, here we go!

We begin with President Roslin addressing the press corps (they asked a lot of Sadgeezer questions like: How much fuel?) when she suddenly see’s a snake wrapped around her microphone. At first I thought, “Whoa, this is some cool symbology of how she is tempted to lie to the Press as a result of the drugs.” But no, noooo I was way off. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The fleet only has enough fuel for two more jumps, after that they’re SOL.

Roslin tells the press that the Galactica is currently looking for Tylium.
On board the recon ship we find the second sexiest Cylon, aka Boomer talking, and talking, and well, she does a lot of talking in general over the series. But her inevitable target of aggression ‘Crashdown’ (aka Redshirt 03, because he will die at some point in the series) finds a huge cache of Tylium, a fuel source evidently. Unfortunately it’s controlled by the Cylons, which have built a mining depot directly into it. And folks, it’s heavily armed.

After the opening credits (which as always are a great blend of scenes from the current ep) we’re back on board the Galactica in Tactical, where the Adamas and Tigh are conferring with Gaeta over a plan to get fuel. After a bit of discussion, Adama ends it by stating boldy, “We attack.”  Meanwhile Starbuck is debriefing the new pilots, who are in dire need of personality and a name like Black Widow Squadron, or Hells Hornets, or heck anything! Adama approaches Starbuck and promotes her from Sniper/Interrogator/Pilot to unofficial Lt. Colonel/Military Advisor position by asking her to join the tactical briefing.

Meanwhile we find a fantastic surprise. Not only is Miss Cleo alive and well, she is guiding the Colonies! The President asks her advice on some visions she’s been having as a result of the Chamalla taken for her cancer. The Seer explains that the President is an Atreides and can see the future, okay okay, she cant see the future. But she is prescient. Ok, but she’s not an Atreides she’s actually a reincarnation of some Oracle Pithia, or some such. Her vision of serpents 2 and 10, tell of things to come. The Oracle also tells Neo she will die, just as the last leader did before reaching the Mother ship, err Homeland.

Sarcasm aside now, the tactical planning scenes are pretty cool. I had personally been waiting for them, though I have to wonder why Apollo and Tigh were half-naked. Tigh gives Starbuck a lot of crap over her so-called expertise, but Adama and Apollo defend her. After the plan is set, for some odd reason they hold a second briefing to lie to the audience, as well as the President and a few deck crew. It could be argued that they wanted it leaked to the Cylon spies. The plan is dangerous, and could cost them the entire race, but Adama says sometimes you need to roll a hard Six. Baltar would agree.

Ya sickos. We’re talking about dice!!

Baltar as a member of “The Council” and as the resident Cylon expert, is consulted on the layout of the Asteroid Cylon base. Baltar informs them of some pretty pedantic things like radiation makes Tylium inert, and that the ore being mined is unstable while flirting with an uninterested Starbuck.

Here’s a question: How many action movies have stable mines? Hell even steel and iron mines make big Booms in movies.

Anyways, Baltar looks for some advice from #6 in his subconcious fantasy, and as I suspected Baltar’s conversion was none too real. #6 informs Baltar that God wants Love, he wont take sides in the upcoming conflict. Baltar informs #6, that God needs to clean his ears out. #6 promptly breaks his neck, ouch! Baltar snaps awake and rubs his neck and quickly points to a random spot on the base as the weak point to attack.

Many Bothan spies died for their information, but Baltar just guesses.
Six reappears in the corridor, and some nice music plays, while she admires his quick decision, before realizing he’s still a fraud. The enormity of the situation falls upon Baltar’s shoulders as he begins to understand the human race could die out, because of his guess.

Starbuck decides to hit the Gymnasium to work on her knee, to be able to fly on her mission. Adama comes in and tells her it’s not enough weight on the legpress to be able to fly. He shoulda brought her some aftershave.
Starbuck decides to unleash her aggression upon Apollo, who she feels isn’t entirely up the mission. Neither do I really. She tells Apollo not to overthink the situation and waste valuble time. Apollo tells her to kiss off in that nice good-boy way of his.

And on that note, we find ‘Helo Gump’ and Boomer2 on Caprica in a barn. And with morning sickness, our little Cylon appears she is going to have a half-human baby!

Meanwhile back in the other kind of Barn, Apollo and his father Cpt. Adama have a heart-to-heart, and the father gives the son an old steel lighter, owned by his father, a lawyer. Apollo gets slightly whiny and jealous over Starbucks talents, but Adama tells him he’s his son, so it’s all good. Then with a pat on the back, and “Get some rest, you’ll need it.” and “I’ll bring this back dad!” and “You better or I’ll kick your ass it’s a good lighter” Generic_Scene 12 is over.

Back at the other barn, Helo gets sleep-smacked by Boomer, then hears the Cylon approach, led by a white clad #6. Helo exclaims “What’s going on?” The story of his life.

Okay, here we go folks, time to raid the Base! On the bridge, the entire council is present as the Freighter Decoys are put into place, taking the bait. Strike Force 1 is launched, led by Hot Dog, making it a little too obvious that this isn’t the main assault. Hot Dog shoulda got a better name, but sadly, no. The new fighter pilots do rather well, and we’ll get to see a few die. Meanwhile Adama informs Starbuck she’s a control freak while Baltar sits in the back shaking.

The Cylons send 50 Raiders against the Strike Force 1, killing ‘Fireball’. Good bye Fireball, we hardly knew you. Strike Force 1 seemingly gets torn to pieces and is ordered a full recall back to Galactica. Starbuck plays the William Shatner roll well, rubbing her temples and looking anguished, Adama even begins to appear worried. The Raiders break off, and head directly for the Galactica, pulling them far far away from both the base and the 3 decoys, which are currently filled with the assault fleet led by Apollo.

“The Back door is open” and Apollo attacks. The President confronts the issue of being lied to, and accepts it, and everyone looks to Baltar. Now the entire fate of humanity relies on his “expert” guess. Sadly Apollo is given some of the worst pilots of the bunch, a highly excitable group. Even more strangely is they carry no dumb-fires aboard their ships, and due to ECMs their missiles are totally ineffective. Apollo’s wing-man buys the farm, and thank goodness, she wouldn’t shut up. Apollo then pulls off some extraordinary flying, though I have to wonder why the asteroid didn’t have a bit more gravity.

Hot Dog and his wing move back in position to defend Galactica. I was a bit confused because it was said that the Raiders broke off towards the Galactica while chasing the fleeing Galactica fighters, then the fighters were somehow between the Galactica and the Raiders.

Whatever, in any event Apollo is in Return of the Jedi as Wedge, and he’s looking for the “Big Thing that Blows up the Base” (aka The Power Coupling). He launches his bombs (obviously on a timer as he doesn’t want to die too) but we wait, and pray, and of course the BOOM! Baltars guess paid off. Our show is renewed fictionally for at least a year or two, yay!

Down the hatch…

I’ve lost R2!

Use the Force, Apollo.

You’re all clear kid!

Then we have the Victory Scene sans Ewoks, as Apollo tosses the lighter back to his father. Good job son! Thanks Dad!
Finally Baltar is confronted by #6 and she fills him in on the details of the Pithian Prophecy (All of this has happened before. All of this will happen again.-Time Prophet) She tells him that God has guided his hand, and as Baltar can see no other explaination, he declares himself the Instrument of God while gazing into the sky. Or he could be lying to gain favor back with #6…….stay tuned!

I personally give it 49,398 out of 10.

Dissecting the Episode:

What or who is the Hand of God?Well, there’s at least two. Baltar is the Hand of God in that he correctly picked the spot, and he seems to believe it at the end. The President is also, for her visions of the future, and of course she’s in a prophecy now.

Is Baltar insane or what?It’s looking a lot less like #6 is a chip in Baltar’s head, and more like she’s a manifestation of his subconscious as he goes insane. Baltar seemed to believe at the end of the episode that he was a messenger of god. Typically once people start to believe that they are messengers, avatars or outright human forms of god, its’ a safe bet that they are a few cents short of a dime, and they’ll be 302’d soon thereafter. Or at the very least, start a weird cult that will end in a police shootout or Kool-Aid social party. I like Cherry.

What is Tylium?A fictional element. But it does sound a lot like element 52: Tellurium. One isotope stands out in particular Te-123. That isotope has a high neutron absorption cross section, and will easily become stable/inert from the neutron radiation of a nuclear bomb. It’s isotopic abundance on earth is 0.908% and therefore quite rare. Te-123 is radioactive, but it has a ridiculously long half-life so its radiation isn’t much of a concern. It has a second isomer with a short half live of 120 days, which does put out a decent amount of radiation. Nuclear data aside, its enthalpy is rather low, many orders of magnitude lower then what Baltar described, so it’s not a perfect match.

What happened to all the Raiders that were attacking the Galactica?Good question. They broke off the attack after the base was destroyed, and tried to escape. Evidently they tried to run away using conventional engines rather then FTL jumps. It was implied that the Galactica and the Vipers destroyed most of them (doubtful, especially with such inexperienced fighters). We are to believe that none got away to alert the other Cylons. So there must not be a big Cylon presence in the area.

Why was the base so heavily defended? The base was hundreds of jumps from the Colonies AND in uncharted space. What did the Cylons have to worry about?This is unknown. The Cylons might have assumed that the humans might have one day made it out that far, and wanted to be prepared. Or the Cylons could have been overprotective, they wouldn’t want some other intelligence to take their fuel. However we already know that there are no aliens in the new series.

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Battlestar Galactica reviews are © 2005 Ryan Bechtel
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