This is the 24th in a series of “Battlestar Galactica” recaps. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Read the last piece, “Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘Unfinished Business’ And ‘The Passage’” here.
Season Three did not have a midseason hiatus, but “The Eye of Jupiter” and “Rapture” stand like a tentpole in its center. A de facto two-parter, “The Eye of Jupiter” and “Rapture” meld all of the elements that make the series superior television.
In particular, faith serves as more than a backdrop or plot device. The positions and actions taken by Cylons and humans alike often derive from how religious or secular they are, although these motivations are also complicated by personal biases. This universe takes its religions both literally and seriously, a rare thing in series television to this point.
‘The Eye of Jupiter’
A crew from Galactica is encamped on the algae planet to replenish the fleet’s food supply. They are visited by Starbuck, who has entered a romance with Apollo after boxing at “the dance.” A guilty Apollo wants them to divorce their spouses, but Starbuck views her marriage as a sacrament, while rationalizing their affair as “bending the rules.”
Meanwhile, Tryol experiences a feeling that leads him away from camp, where he discovers the ancient Temple of Five described in their scriptures. Via wireless, Pres. Roslin asks whether they can find the Eye of Jupiter, another marker on the path to Earth. Tyrol, whose father was a priest, attempts to translate glyphs in the temple and find the Eye.
Four Cylon Basestars jump into space near Galactica’s position (presumably based on the message the Hybrid gave Baltar and D’Anna). Galactica prepares for battle, but Baltar contacts Adm. Adama to negotiate on Galactica.
The Cylon delegation arrives. Tigh places Boomer (who shot Adama) under guard. While detained, Boomer informs Athena that her child Hera lives on the lead Basestar, but has become ill.
D’Anna tells Adama that if he allows the Cylons to collect the Eye of Jupiter, they will leave without destroying Galactica. Adama replies that if the Cylons move against Galactica or the planet, he will launch a nuclear strike against the temple.
Before the Cylons jam communications, Adama instructs Apollo to destroy the temple if the Cylons overrun the humans’ position. Apollo orders Starbuck, Dualla, and Anders to organize their defense. Anders is skeptical that civilians can be useful. Apollo tries to get Anders on the same page, but Anders is stung by Starbuck’s infidelity, which he implies was not limited to Apollo.
On Galactica, Lt. Gaeta reports the star nearest the planet may go supernova soon; the only warning they will receive would be a helium flash shortly beforehand.
On the Cylon flagship, D’Anna discloses she sent a Heavy Raider to the planet upon arrival, successfully avoiding human detection. The Hybrid tells D’Anna and Baltar the Final Five will be revealed only to the “chosen one” in the temple. Caprica Six is hurt over her exclusion from D’Anna and Baltar’s machinations.
Roslin confesses to Adama that she faked Hera’s death and suspected Hera was captured during the escape from New Caprica. Adama confirms the news to Athena and Helo.
As the humans establish their defense, Starbuck’s Raptor is downed by Centurions. Apollo tells Sam there is no way to help Starbuck and holds him at gunpoint to prevent him from leaving.
The Cylons launch six Heavy Raiders toward the planet. Adama responds by displaying and authorizing the release of six nuclear warheads.
The Cylons urge the Three present to recall the Heavy Raiders. She recalls five, allowing her sister D’Anna, Baltar, and a Cavil to proceed. Although Adama stands down, the other Cylons contemplate taking action against the Threes.
Athena has Helo shoot her, in order to resurrect on the Basestar and see Hera. Adama and Roslin scold Helo, who reminds Roslin she stole their child. Apollo and Anders ambush the Centurions and prepare for a second wave of Cylon reinforcements.
Dualla reaches Starbuck, who is in severe pain with burned hands. Starbuck advises Dualla on repairing the Raptor, and confesses her dishonor while under the influence of pain medication. The two ultimately return to Galactica with Dualla as pilot.
Upon landing, D’Anna confesses to Baltar she fears seeing the face of God will drive her insane. Baltar’s mental Six tells him that he is the chosen one, not D’Anna.
Athena is taken to see Hera, who is tended by Boomer. Realizing the Cylons have no experience treating children, Athena wants to take Hera back to Galactica to preserve a “new generation.” Boomer opposes the idea and threatens Hera. Caprica Six kills Boomer and escapes with Athena and Hera.
During the second Cylon attack, Apollo orders Tyrol to destroy the temple, even without the Eye. The Cylons, however, have entered the temple and disabled the explosives. As Apollo mistakenly berates Tyrol for the failure of the explosives, the sky becomes filled with ominous clouds and strange lights. On Galactica, Gaeta announces the helium flash warning of an imminent supernova.
In the temple, Cavil realizes D’Anna is not there to retrieve the Eye; he attempts to shoot her, only to be killed by Baltar. The strange light beams into the temple upon a mandala on the floor. D’Anna enters the light and sees the faces of the Final Five, saying “Forgive me … I had no idea.” Baltar pulls her from the light, but she dies without telling Baltar whether he is one of the Final Five.
Baltar steps onto the mandala, but the light is gone and Tyrol has returned, knocking Baltar unconscious. The landing party returns to Galactica, where Baltar is taken to the brig along with Caprica Six, who has arrived with Athena.
Galactica jumps a safe distance before the supernova. The explosion resembles the mandala inside the temple. Gaeta reports there was a similar supernova 4,000 years ago, which may be the marker. Helo visits Starbuck and tells her the supernova also resembles a mandala she painted in her apartment on Caprica. Starbuck recalls Leoben telling her she had a destiny.
A Cavil tells the resurrected D’Anna that the other models have decided to “box” all Threes because her fundamentalism is too dangerous. As she is deactivated, D’Anna tells Cavil that he too will see the Final Five someday.