Battlestar Galactica: S01E11: Colonial Day
I’ve been typing at my keyboard for 10 minutes trying to find a good way to start off this fracking review. This episode is too difficult to sum up in one sentence because it differs so much from the rest of the series. The episode as a whole reminded me of Dune, but only because it delves so deep into the politics of the ragtag fleet and what remains of the 12 Colonies. It was interesting to see all the intrigue that occurred between the factions of the colonies. But swallowing this episode might be a little hard based on what we’ve seen so far. Colonial Day could be removed from the series with little concern for continuity. But only because this episode ignored continuity so well. one major player and one huge-arse ship were inverted for this show, and I don’t foresee them reappearing soon again. But despite these two contrivances, this was one of the most intellectually stimulating episode since 33, and for that I loved it.
The new ship this week is the Cloud 9. There have been a lot of ships seen in the background of the series. Many are of the same model or are small enough that they could be overlooked. The Cloud 9 however satisfies neither of those conditions. It’s a one of a kind ship, that is FRACKING HUGE. It has to be at least the same size if not larger then the Galactica. And even worse is that, its shaped so differently from everything else we’ve ever seen. I point this out, because we should have seen this ship by now in the space shots. But we haven’t. It’s a big continuity error, one that shouldn’t be excused. The ship itself is a great “outdoor park”. with an large luxury liner attached to it. Personally I see it as a contrived excuse to have an outdoor episode, but I digress.
The last three legitimate reporters, are having a radio broadcast from the Cloud 9. They say that since the ship has been recently repaired, Roslin choose it as the site for the first Quorum of the Twelve meeting since the attacks. one reporter laments that most of the new colonial delegates are Roslin-lackeys who will likely continue to consolidate power for the interim government. He thinks that Wallace Grey (see rant in the next paragraph) has engineered the new government to secure power for “the power mad school teacher”.
Grey, has apparently been Roslin’s right hand during the last month and half. He’s regulated the internal economy, set up supply distribution and worked out so many of the logistics for the refugee fleet, sounds a bit like Gaeta’s political counterpart. He was also a major player in President Adar’s administration, before it was nuked. Too bad we haven’t see him all series. This makes my second major contrivance for the episode.
Roslin is listening to the broadcast, and is upset by the ranting of the one reporter (even though the other two vehemently disagree with him). She throws something at the radio, and mutters sarcastically “Freedom of the press..”. Queue, Grey who walks in to chat with the President. A few words later, and Billy runs in, and turns on the radio. Tom Zarek has been selected to be Sagittaron’s delegate to the Quorum. This surprises and disturbs everyone. Adama calls up to discuss the situation with Roslin. Neither want him there but they can’t prevent him from attending, because it would cause too many political problems. They just have to grin and bear it.
I should mention now, that the opening scenes were occasionally interrupted by a gunman, who was assembling his assassination gear. We never saw his face, only his weapons. He too, was listening to the broadcast.
After the credits, we join see Starbuck paying a visit to Baltar. Baltar is hard at work with all the blood samples. Oddly enough, he’s doing a lot of work, which is strange since really only one sample can be tested every 11 hours. Starbuck tells Baltar to be ready for their trip to the Cloud 9 the next morning. As if “Cloud 9” is something Baltar isn’t familiar with….. A jealous #6 appears in the mirror and says “A surprise get-a-way just the two of you”? Baltar doesn’t know why they are travelling together to the Quorum meeting. Starbuck has the fortune of telling Baltar that he was elected as Caprica’s representative. Which is odd, because he doesn’t want the job. Baltar thinks that the only thing worse then blood samples is politics. But #6 cheers him up by telling him that he can bed a lot of attractive women while he’s there.
Starbuck’s resume, has just gotten a little longer. Not only is she a pilot, marksman, marine, interrogator, psychologist, war planner but is now also a security agent, bodyguard and escort. She and Apollo are in charge of security at the event. Which is no easy task since the place is so big and open.
It’s a tense time when all the delegates arrive. Tigh is there with his arm-candy wife to greet the delegates. His response is the same to everyone “Col Tigh, Battlestar Galactica. My wife, Ellen” Smiles, shakes their hand and repeats. Tigh really isn’t enjoying this. Soon Zarek arrives. He gives him the same greeting “Col Tigh, Battlestar Galactica”, with a shit-eating grin but won’t shake his hand. Zarek looks at his wife and Tigh sarcastically says “My wife”. Ellen breaks the tension, by more politely introducing herself and shaking his hand. Before they can get too close, Tigh tells him that he’s holding up the line. Tigh was not happy with his wife’s behaviour.
Tom Zarek moves along the line of greeters and comes to Roslin. It’s a hard decision for Roslin. She doesn’t want to shake hands with “The Terrorist” after all he is a murderer too, but she has to or it will appear as though she is snubbing all of Sagittaron. Zarek approaches her, and asks her if she would shake his hand. She responds that he should hold it out, and see. He pauses, then does so. She shakes his hand, then they kiss each other on the cheeks in a very awkwardly. It was a smart move by Roslin, as it forces everything on Zarek. If she didn’t shake hands with him, it would be because he didn’t want to shake hands with her, and not the other way around. A very delicate situation, expertly handled.
The Quorum meeting was just as Baltar expected, a boring meeting. Roslin is rattling on about various issues of importance to the fleet. Meanwhile Baltar is catching up on some sleep. Hey, if I had his dreams, I would sleep a lot too! He’s not even bothering to hide his boredom. That is until #6 wakes him up. She points out that Playa the blonde reporter isn’t wearing any underwear. Baltar puts on his glasses, and takes a hard look over at her. She spots his glance, and crosses her legs to give him a better view. Hello Sharon Stone!
Meanwhile, more boring stuff happens at the meeting. I won’t cover it here, because this review is too long already, and I need something original to put in the culture reviews. After listing the issues she wants to cover, Zarek points out that they need a Vice President, should something happen to her. The move unsettles Roslin. But not nearly as much as when Baltar (under the influence of #6) seconds his motion. If looks could kill, Baltar would have died a horrible death from Roslin grandmother guilt stare.
The representative from Virgon nominates Zarek. Which sucks because I’m a Virgo, and while I don’t believe in that astrological stuff, I still don’t want anything to do with the anarchist Zarek. The nomination is seconded by Geminon. The meeting has to be adjourned for the time being because of the election three days later.
This leaves Roslin in a bad position. She can’t let Zarek be Vice-President because 1) He’s “The Terrorist” and 2) He’d have her assassinated so he can have the office of the president for himself. They need to find another candidate, and the best thing they could come up with was Grey. He doesn’t want the job, but takes it reluctantly because Roslin needs him to.
Meanwhile Zarek is pandering to the media. He’s pointing out that the world has changed, and so should the government. He points out that people are still working, even though money no longer has value. He also tosses out some other buzz words meant to incite people (not unlike real life politicians) that have little or no basis in reality.
The broadcast annoys Apollo who is having a drink at the bar. He asks the bartender to shut it off, as most sane people would do when an insane power-mongering politicians gets on the TV or radio. This angers a Zarek muscleman who sprouts his own meaningless nonsense about people’s right to listen to the broadcast. Some angry words later, and a bar fight breaks out. Apollo and Starbuck fight off the Zarek supporters, and get their own asses kicked in the process. Amidst the chaos, Starbuck notices a gun drop from someone’s briefcase. She chases after him and eventually brings him down. This is the same man we saw at the beginning of the episode preparing the gun.
Back on Caprica, where as usual its raining, Helo tells Boomer about his theory on the Cylons. He’s figured it all out, finally. Boomer (who still has a black eye a month after getting beat up by #6) tries to shake it off, explaining that maybe the biocylons are capable of love, that maybe they were mislead about humanity. Helo dismisses it. He says that they killed billions, and they can’t be capable of love or emotions, and that in the end, they are just machines. Boomer doesn’t like that answer. Funny, it’s the first one Helo has gotten right.
Meanwhile, Apollo and Starbuck are interrogating the prisoner. He doesn’t say much, but its pretty much understood that he’s working with Zarek. Apollo pays a visit to Zarek in the Vice Presidential debates, and whispers to him, that they found the assassin, and that Zarek is next. He shrugs it off.
Things are going well for Grey in the debate. Like the last two democratic presidential candidates, he speaks with a lot of knowledge about the field and goes into lots of boring technical details. As recent history has shown, this isn’t anyway to win an election. Zareks’ vote tally is getting better as Grey continues to talk.
After the Quorum session, Zarek meets Ellen in the bar. He acts as the bartender and flirts with her to get some information. Ellen is a powerwhore, and is attracted to the up-and-coming Zarek. When he asks about the would be assassin, we may safely assume that she told him everything. Starbuck and Apollo find the assassin dead in his cell. Someone snuck in through the ventilation ducts and slit his wrists with broken glass.
Roslin knows, that she’s boned. She needs another answer to Zarek. She get’s lucky with Baltar. Well not that way… Baltar was being questioned by some reporters about Roslin and her policies, and he reverted to his media-whore days on Caprica. He commanded the microphone and the audience with his defence of Roslin, and denouncement of Zarek.
Roslin later tells Grey to step off the ballot. He doesn’t like that decision, and calls her a “bare-knuckled backstabbing politician”. Harsh word from someone who didn’t want the job originally. I guess we’ll never see him again. Oh well, it’s not like we got attached to him.
Roslin find Baltar in the bathroom. He comes out of a stall, and does up his clothes rather quickly. He thinks that she is there to make sure he is voting for her guy. But soon he learns that she wants him to be her Vice president. He agrees. After Roslin leaves, Playa comes out of a loo stall, half dressed and comments on his great fortune. Baltar concurs and tells her that he will now give her “an exclusive”, and the two got back into the same stall together. Baltar makes it look so easy. An exclusive indeed!
Finally the time has arrived for the vote. Each colony gets one vote in the election. In the end its tied 6 apiece between Baltar and Zarek. Roslin gets to cast the deciding vote and Baltar is elected Vice President.
To celebrate the victory, and Colonial Day (whatever that is) they throw a big party. A lot of regular supporting cast members there dancing for a few frames like Tyrol dancing with Cally, Gaeta dancing with Boomer, and Dualla with Billy. Aside from Billy and Boomer, those cast members were each credited as guest stars in today’s episode despite the miniscule air time. Oh and Adama and Roslin dance, so does Starbuck and Apollo. I refuse to acknowledge any romantic involvement with the latter two, so in the future I will not mention it in reviews. Probably not even for rants! In the end Zarek congratulates Roslin on a well executed riposte to his own political attack. We haven’t heard the last of Tom Zarek…
The real actions comes at the end of the episode. Boomer and Helo have finally made it to Delphi, to hijack a ship. They begin to stealthily infiltrate the base. Helo spots two #6’s and fears that his conclusions are true. Soon after he encounters another Boomer. The new Boomer is about to shoot him, but the other Boomer shoots her first. Helo takes off running. Boomer pleads with him not to run, but he doesn’t even look back as he gets the Hell outta of Dodge.
After consulting with my fellow conspiracers, I rate this an information dense 28,106 out of 10.
Dissecting the Episode:
Since this was a different kind of episode, I’m going to have a different sort of post-episode discussion. It’s looking less likely that #6 is a chip in Baltar’s head. It seems to appear as though she is a figment of his imagination, and a way for him to consolidate more power for himself as he descends into insanity. Zarek told Roslin that he didn’t kill the would-be assassin. How did he learn he was dead, and more to the point, he pretty much admitted that he either did it himself or ordered it. Tom Zarek is blowhard. Nuff said. Ohh and his political conspiracies are really transparent. He wanted to become Vice President, then have Roslin killed so that he would ascend to the presidency. Come-on writiers, you can do better then that!
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