This is the tenth in a series of “Battlestar Galactica” recaps. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Read the last piece, “Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘Scattered’ And ‘Valley of Darkness’” here.
These episodes further illustrate the danger of failing institutions. On Kobol, even a landing party can disintegrate into mutiny under poor leadership. And Cdr. Adama’s coup required his leadership; without it, Tigh makes a rash of political errors ending in tragedy and a counter-revolt.
It is also probably no coincidence that as these institutions fail, the vacuum is filled by the competing prophetic visions of Pres. Roslin and VP Baltar.
The show again draws on American history. According to series co-creator Ron Moore, the shooting of civilians aboard the Gideon was inspired by the Kent State tragedy, but became an event more like the Boston Massacre, a major signpost on the road to the American Revolution.
On Kobol, a Lieutenant with the callsign “Crashdown” (Sam Witwer) says funeral prayers for Socinus and Tarn. Six tells Baltar the dead will face only oblivion. Baltar asks why they should bring a child into this world. Six replies that God is offering a chance for redemption. Baltar says he’s not ready to be a father; Six tells him to be a man.
The survey party spots Cylon Centurions constructing a missile battery and later a DRADIS (radar) dish, revealing the Centurions’ plan to shoot down any search-and-rescue party sent from Galactica. Baltar is sent to watch the radar site, but drops his binoculars. He reports that two Centurions were present the entire time, when in fact they left the area.
Crashdown proposes attacking the Cylons. Tyrol takes Crashdown aside and tries to dissuade him, but Crashdown pulls rank. Baltar, Cally and Seelix (another of Tyrol’s crew, played by Jennifer Haley), who have little to no firearms training, conclude among themselves the idea is insane. Aboard Galactica, Dr. Cottle arrives and concludes he must operate on Adama because the medics failed to stop all of the internal bleeding. Tigh, who is drinking on duty, confronts Apollo about his presence in the CIC. Apollo is planning the search-and-rescue mission for Kobol, about which Tigh had forgotten. Tigh also delays answering questions from the media and the Quorum of Twelve.
In the brig, Roslin becomes increasingly disoriented without the chamalla needed to treat her cancer. Her guard (from Gemenon, the most devout colony) recognizes Roslin is referring to the scrolls of Pythia. Roslin fails to recognize Ellen Tigh during a visit until afterwards. Ellen advises Tigh that the Quorum should be allowed to meet with her.
However, by the time Tigh lets the Quorum meet Roslin, Billy has obtained chamalla for her with help from her guard. She lucidly denounces Adama’s coup. Tigh denounces Roslin as a religious zealot. Roslin explains why she thinks prophecy is being fulfilled and reveals her cancer diagnosis as part of her argument. The Quorum believes and reveres her as a religious as well as civil leader.
Tigh has the Quorum escorted off Galactica. He then informs the media that he has dissolved the Quorum and imposed martial law on the rag-tag fleet. Meanwhile, Crashdown sets forth his attack plan. Baltar openly challenges the plan, but Tyrol backs the chain of command. Six tells Baltar someone will betray the plan, endangering his life.
The plan seems even worse when five Cylons are seen at the battery, leading to confusion over whether the radar dish has been left unguarded. Crashdown insists on his plan. Cally refuses to attack. Crashdown is about to shoot Cally when Baltar kills Crashdown. Coming under Cylon fire, the survivors fall back and destroy the dish, just in time to prevent the missiles from locking on Apollo’s Raptor, which is leading the rescue mission. Apollo returns the favor, destroying the Cylons.
Baltar tells Apollo that Crashdown died heroically; Tryol backs the story. Baltar is privately anguished; Six says he has become a man and she will be his conscience.
Upon returning to Galactica, Tyrol is interrogated by Tigh, who suspects Boomer’s former lover of being another Cylon. Tigh throws Tyrol into Boomer’s cell. Tryol rejects Boomer’s attempts to apologize or explain.
Cally blackmails Baltar into helping Tyrol by threatening to reveal how Crashdown died. Baltar visits Tyrol, ostensibly for a blood sample. Instead, he injects Tyrol with a fast-acting poison, forcing Boomer to confess there are eight Cylon agents amid the fleet before he administers the antidote.
In protest of martial law, roughly half the fleet refuses to resupply Galactica with everything from fuel to coffee. Tigh (following some manipulation by Ellen) orders marines – and even pilots – to board the protesting ships and force resupplies.
On a ship named the Gideon, a mob presses in on a military team led by a pilot, pelting them with cans and other objects. In the chaos, one shot is fired, leading to more and ultimately four civilians killed. Roslin fears the “Gideon massacre” will splinter the fleet and allow the Cylons to kill them. She plots an escape from Galactica with Apollo.
With covert assistance of her guard, Cottle, and Dualla (and ultimately Gaeta, but not Billy), Roslin, Apollo and Prestress Elosha commandeer a medical transport to the Cloud Nine. Tigh decides against firing on the transport, which allows them to dock, where Roslin is surprised to learn they will be smuggled and protected by her political nemesis, Tom Zarek.
Afterward, as Tigh and Ellen quarrel, a still-weakened Adama appears at the door. Once Ellen leaves, Tigh confesses he has “frakked things up.” Adama immediately absolves him, saying no one can understand the burdens of command without having commanded.
Tyrol is freed, while Boomer is to be transferred to a newly-constructed cell for scientific tests. While Boomer is led past hostile crowds lining the corridors, Cally emerges and shoots Boomer, who dies in Tyrol’s arms. On Caprica, Starbuck and Helo come under fire from human resistance fighters. Each side satisfies itself the other is not Cylon, because the resistance team turns out to be the Caprica Buccaneers – formerly a professional Pyramid team.
At the resistance base, Starbuck and Helo realize the 53 people there might assist them in stealing a ship and contacting the fleet. During a Pyramid match, there is immediate chemistry between Starbuck and resistance leader Sam Anders (Michael Trucco).