Battlestar Galactica: S01E13: Kobol’s Last Gleaming Pt.2

“And so it begins….” no other way to describe this ep folks. This episode proves beyond any shadow of a doubt there is a new contender for the throne of Sci-Fi TV. This episode was filled with Religion, sex, violence, drama, drama, and more drama. So hold on, ’cause here we go!

After last weeks cliff-hanger of Starbuck disobeying direct orders, and following the Presidents mandate, we are left as confused and concerned as Adama. The President clearly displayed despotic powers when she gave a direct order superseding the military chain of command. Worse, her orders circumvented Adama’s plans. And she previously agreed that all military decisions were Adama’s domain. So we have a clear problem here folks. The President made a military decision without the consent of the House or Senate or the People (whatever system of democracy they use). Not to mention a major breach of trust between her and Adama.

On Kobol we find our Raptor Heroes (Baltar, Cally, The Chief, et al) literally burning alive. Most of them make it out, but Baltar freezes up and egresses to the back of the Raptor to slowly burn alive. Suddenly #6 appears to the backdrop of choral music that almost sound like it was wizzed for the LotR soundtrack, dressed almost like an Angel herself. She beckons Baltar to take her hand, and Baltar immediately obeys. He walks directly into the fire without alacrity as if the fire has no effect upon him. As he’s pulled free he’s thrown the ground by the Away-Teams token Redshirt (and ex ECO of Boomers: Crashdown). The Raptor explodes, and Baltar is saved. He falls to the grass almost appearing as a man who has found Heaven.

The opening credits roll, and lemme tell you folks, savour them. This is the last time you’re likely to see this opening soundtrack as the Sci-Fi execs aren’t happy with them. Well Sci-Fi execs, once again you’re out of your fracking mind. These are the best opening credits you’ve ever had done for you!

After the Credits, Caprica-Boomer explains to Helo the story surrounding the Arrow of Apollo. A mysterious artefact that will lead the way to Earth. Helo bullies Boomer around again, showing a deep psychological scarring from when the Cylons wiped out his people. Boomer tells him to stuff the “tough-guy attitude and shove it up your ass”. Damn right. He also has finally found his brain ala the Scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. Helo is fast becoming a likeable and more importantly, interesting, character. Boomer tells them they must wait until dark to leave. After all, she’s the only thing keeping him alive. Helo is undergoing an interesting test, 2 brownie points if you figure it out before the middle of this review. Despite Helo’s rude behaviour, Boomer still needs to get some things off her chest, and no its not her shirt. She admits to him that she has serious feelings for him.

Back upon the Galactica a very important scene takes place quickly. Tigh and Adama confer over Starbucks defection to the Presidents faction. Tigh reminds the Commander that No-One, and I mean no one coerces Starbuck. This is important as it shows the fear of the military towards the President. President Roslin and her cult of personality have just caused their most loyal soldier to go AWOL. A serious infraction indeed, moreover they have to fear just how far the President may go in the future, based on these “visions” of hers… Dee, the loveliest human in the fleet informs them the President is on the line. Roslin does not beat around the bush, instead she admits to her crime, and tries to tell Adama her job as Protector of the Fleet, supersedes her agreement to let Adama run the military. Which basically makes her a Tyrant. Rightfully, Adama requests her resignation, she refuses and reminds him that she’s surrounded by the press.

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Adama orders Colonial 1 isolated, jammed, and prepare to send a strike force, Adama orders the Presidents arrest, and forces an insurrection. WHOA! This was way out of line folks. Now Adama is just as despotic as Roslin. Where’s Zarek when you need him!?! No single person dictates policy for the entire people, and Adama just crossed that very dangerous line.

“This Government has survived a Cylon attack, it will survive William Adama!” -Roslin
Gaeta informs Adama there are still leftover Cylon Transponders. Adama orders Suicidal-Boomer to light-jump to Kobol and destroy the Basestar ala Starbucks mission. only instead of a Cylon Raider, she will use a regular Raptor. Surprisingly it was the perfect choice, not only will they see a Cylon Transponder, but also a Cylon piloting the ship! Plus Adama knows Boomer is suicidal, and thus, the perfect person to finish the job if anything goes wrong. A sad decision indeed, it will come back to haunt him. Adama proved Leoben correct here, he is a Cylon in that his troops are just resources to him. No more or less important than the other resources he sacrifices.

Starbuck arrives on Caprica, and the Cylons totally ignore her as she moves into the city. It was interesting to see three Basestars in a tight orbit around the planet. There was a lot of activity coming out of the Basestars too, which is more than a little odd. Why so much activity for a dead planet?

A lot of people have commented about the lack of destruction such as twisted buildings and broken glass in Caprica. The aerial shot of Caprica City shows that most of the damage was done to the higher levels of the structures. And there was a lot of it!

Boomer and Helo are on the ground discussing of all things…..God. Boomer is now back in Cylon mode, and she dumps a few revelations upon Helo. First off, and listen up folks, this is important: “Because it was the next step. It brings us closer to God” She tells Helo she genuinely feels something for him. Helo turns around aggravated. I really expected him to backhand her and tell her to shut the frak up, but alas, he’s a good man, and grumbles that he loved the Boomer that once was, and bluntly tells her she’s nothing to him now. Then she drops the Bomb. “Helo, I’m pregnant” The next step indeed…. The test previously mentioned, is: WIll a human defend it’s child, no matter how abominable it is? Dune has already asked and shown us this, but we get to see it again, and frankly I’m glad. We need less metaphysics and more deep human drama, and here is where BSG always delivers.

Meanwhile back upon the Bridge, Adama is coordinating the strike against the President as well as the strike against the Basestar orbiting Kobol. Apollo reports a soft-seal indicating they are ready to begin cutting through the hull for their attack. The President prepares by ordering her political officers to head to the cargo bay for safety. As she orders this, Billy stands up and proclaims “We stand by our President.” Think, “I am Spartacus!”, or ‘We fight for Xev!’

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Same type of scene. Billy rocks. I hated him in the mini-series, but I was suckered in as many others were thinking this was a fish out of water. Instead we have watched Billy evolve from “Kid too young for his role” to someone who should be the Vice-President, but only too young. His loyalty also comes as minor surprise to this Sadgeezer. Last week, he hollered at Roslin not to divert the Raptor’s mission, and she did anyway. If I were in his position, I might have gone down to the cargo hold.

Back on Caprica. Starbuck enters the museum which is labelled as the Delphi Museum of Kobol. (Fun Earth Fact: Delphi is a place on earth, home to the Oracles. The funny thing about the Oracles of Delphi, is they were real!! It turns out in modern times the cave was investigated and it was learned that the cavern trapped natural gasses causing the people inside to hallucinate specifically the Oracle, who never left, thus why for centuries the Oracles of Delphi were sought out for their advice and prophecies) She shoots herself up with anti-radiation and proceeds to search for the Arrow of Apollo.

Back on Kobol. The Chief and Crashdown get into a fight over tactical deployment. Crashdown doesn’t know what to do in this situation. He only has his basic pilot training to go by, get to higher ground to be seen by friendly search vessels.

Chief Tyrol once again proves he is far smarter and wiser than the officers leftover from the Apocalypse as he informs them they must seek lower ground, so that the Cylons won’t find them. Crashdown seems to be having a bit of a breakdown and cant handle the role of commander. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, the original season opener was about Boomer’s new ECO and how he was tapped from the refugees to help out because the Galactica was low on pilots.

Back aboard the Suicidal-Boomer ship, they are speeding towards the orbital Basestar surrounding Kobol. Boomer orders the nuclear weapon released, but it’s jammed. It’s a cliche in science fiction that the bomb release, door hatch etc. will always jam. I could’ve told you it was jammed before they left! Suicidal-Boomer naturally sees no problem, we’ll just land and detonate it! To which her ECO responds: “WHAT?!?!” Yeah, me too.
Meanwhile on the ground in Kobol, Baltar is lying down savouring life, when a Nephilium appears. This particular one is our old friend #6 dressed angelically all in white, and stunningly beautiful. Both Baltar and the audience are treated to that angelic view. She takes his hand and solemnly informs him:

“You’ve wondered why you were chosen. Why God chose you above all other humans, to survive and serve his purpose. Now is the time to find out why.”

Baltar takes her hand and follows her to his destiny, deep in the ruins of Kobol. WOW, and we’re only halfway through folks!

The President’s guards arm themselves with tiny little pistols, Roslin slyly places an unknown object into her pocket and Elosha is leading them in prayer. Billy informs Dee that the President will not yield. “So be it.” claims Adama as the marines invade Colonial one. Many of the CIC crew are nervous about Adama’s decision, Dualla for one, but Gaeta protests it in the only way he can. Gaeta nods his head in disagreement so that Adama can see, which is a big step for the tactical officer who has been bullied by the Command Staff for the last season. Adama, like a good despot, won’t let public opinion get in the way of a imagined threat or a bad decision and sticks to his guns.

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A great scene occurs between Dee and Billy as they whisper concerns to one another. It’s a touching moment that seems to best exemplify their relationship over the last season. All of their previous romantic encounters were a little forced, but this had a sincere feel to it. once the marines enter the cabin, Billy has to hang up. Suddenly for Dualla, Billy is not there. Dee solemnly informs Adama “They’re in.”

Baltar is being led by the hand through the decaying ruins of Kobol, looking around him as if he is surrounded by luxury and wealth with a look of awe on his face. Concurrently we find Starbuck on Caprica, she shoots the case holding the Arrow of Apollo and begins to retrieve it. Suddenly the Guardian of the Arrow appears. It’s none other than #6.
“Pretty, isn’t it?” -#6

Starbuck turns to shoot without hesitation and #6 pops her in the nose. Then #6 begins to dance around the room like a Divine Executioner as Starbuck fires aimlessly. What happened to the “Best shot in or out of the cockpit” is anyone’s guess here.

Back at the Kobol-Basestar we find suicidal Boomer landing inside the Basestar. I know I’ve seen this scene before, where was it… ohh right the mother ship from ID4. This wasn’t very original on the producers part. What I find even more contrived is that the Basestar never tried to contact the Raptor. What military commander would let a craft into their ship without any sort of communication of intent?

Like the other ships we learn even the Basestar is Organic in nature. The ground is fleshy and soft, and the air is apparently breathable. Which brings up another good point, the Raptor never passed through an airlock, how does it have an atmosphere? It’s artificial gravity can’t be that advanced. Boomer begins to detach the nuclear bomb from the ship. She does a helluva job too, she more or less smacked it around a few times, and watched it drop very loudly and forcefully on the ground. I know that Nukes are capable of surviving a short drop, but I would personally be a lot more careful with a nuclear fraking weapon!

Back on Caprica Starbuck is getting her ass whipped. Hard and often.
“Welcome back to Caprica Lieutenant, like what we’ve done to the place?” -#6

Climax time folks!

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Battlestar Galactica reviews are © 2005 Ryan Bechtel
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission

Battlsestar 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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