This is the 25th in a series of “Battlestar Galactica” recaps. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Read the last piece, “Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘The Eye of Jupiter’ And ‘Rapture’” here.
“Taking a Break from All Your Worries” takes its ironic title from the theme song to “Cheers” and was conceived of as a lighter episode. However, as the writers worked out Apollo’s story, they realized a comedic tone would trivialize his marital problems. Character remains king in this series.
The episode’s historical touchstone is MKULtra, a CIA program to find drugs that could be used to force confessions.
“The Woman King” refers to a mother whose son is killed by a racist doctor. Show runner Ron Moore has conceded that after a planned storyline involving the oppressed Sagittarions was abandoned, this episode does not break new ground.
Nevertheless, “The Woman King” works as a procedural episode, primarily due to strong performances from Tahmoh Penikett as Helo and Bruce Davison as Dr. Michael Robert. Notably, “Dr. Robert” is the title of a Beatles song widely believed to be about a New York doctor who dispensed vitamin B-12 shots laced with amphetamines to rich and famous “patients.”
‘Taking a Break From All Your Worries’
Baltar attempts to hang himself in the brig. As he loses consciousness, he imagines that he learns he is not a Cylon. Baltar is saved by a sleepless Gaeta, who was coming to visit him.
Apollo takes Tyrol to “Joe’s Bar,” recently set up aboard Galactica. Tyrol has fought with Cally; the men toast marriage. When Apollo returns to his quarters, Dualla tries to address their marital issues, but he passes out on their bed.
Pres. Roslin visits Baltar. In a reverse echo of the occupation, she returns Baltar’s eyeglasses and even provides him a cigar. She inquires about his relationship with Caprica Six before the attack on the colonies; he again denies it.
Roslin orders Col. Tigh to throw Baltar out an airlock, but Baltar calls her bluff. Adm. Adama later suggests that Baltar could be injected with a hallucinogen once used by the military for interrogations.
Apollo and Starbuck are confronted by their spouses. Anders tells Starbuck she must go to Apollo if she loves him. Dualla declares her marriage to Apollo is a lie. In another reversal, Starbuck asks Apollo whether he still wants them both to divorce and he is the one who hesitates.
Cottle drugs Baltar into thinking he is floating in darkness. Although experiencing intense fear, Baltar still denies intentionally colluding with the Cylons in their attack on the colonies.
Baltar reveals he was trying to see the Final Five in the temple when he was captured, but states he is not a Cylon. The interrogation ends when Baltar’s vital signs weaken.
Apollo gets drunk at Joe’s again and panics when he loses his wedding ring in a corridor on the way back to his quarters (a bit too on the nose).
Roslin sends Gaeta to play the “good cop” with Baltar. Gaeta engages Baltar into correcting Gaeta’s calculations regarding the path to Earth, but Baltar ultimately realizes he is being manipulated and is under surveillance.
Baltar provokes Gaeta regarding their roles in the occupation of New Caprica. Gaeta jams a pen into Baltar’s neck, but misses the artery. Adama, Roslin, and Tigh intervene; Gaeta is knocked unconscious by Adama.
At Joe’s, Apollo pleads for a second chance from Dualla, who takes his hand. He looks across the bar to see Starbuck with Anders.
Roslin confesses to Adama that she was willing to see Baltar endure pain to extract a confession. Adama replies that she will never get that satisfaction from Baltar, who sees himself as a victim. Adama adds that Baltar could still vanish out an airlock. Roslin decides Baltar will receive a trial.
‘The Woman King’
Helo has been ordered to manage refugees, including 51 Sagittarions, aboard Galactica in a holding area nicknamed “Dogsville.” A potentially fatal but treatable infection breaks out in Dogsville, complicated by the Sagittarions’ rejection of modern medicine.
The sickness is being treated by Dr. Robert, and a Sagittarion named Portia King (Gabrielle Rose) allows Robert to treat her son Willie, who later dies. She tells Helo she believes Robert murdered Willie.
As the illness spreads, Robert is rescued from a mob by Helo, who learns the altercation arose after Robert treated an old Sagittarion without consent. Helo takes his concerns to Adama, who tells him to do his job, not make unfounded accusations. Tigh – a personal friend of Robert – suggests Helo cannot help but make himself a malcontent.
When Helo returns to Dogsville, Athena tells him Hera has become sick. He reluctantly allows Robert to vaccinate Hera, whose condition later improves.
Nevertheless, Helo sneaks into Dr. Cottle’s offices and reviews Robert’s records from the occupation of New Caprica. Helo finds that almost all of Robert’s Sagittarion patients died, while members of other tribes had much higher survival rates. Cottle discovers Helo in his office. Helo mentions the records and asks Cottle to perform an autopsy on Willie. An angry Cottle tells Helo he already did so and found nothing suspicious (in truth, Cottle did not perform an autopsy).
Dualla, herself a Sagittarion (but one who snubbed her tribe to join the military), falls ill and is treated by Robert. Portia escapes Dogsville and alerts Helo in his quarters.
Helo rushes back to Dogsville and begins taking a semi-conscious Dualla to the sickbay. He is confronted by Robert, who summons security to stop Helo. Troops arrive, along with Tigh and Cottle. However, in the interim, Cotlle autopsied Wille and found a deadly toxin instead of the vaccination.
Robert justifies his poisoning of the Sagittarions as humanely ending their suffering, given their inevitable deaths. He appeals to Tigh – and Tigh’s hatred of Sagittarions. Tigh replies that he really hates being wrong and orders Robert’s arrest. Cottle determines that Dualla was not poisoned.
Helo receives an approving look from Portia and an apology from Adama before returning to quarters to be with Athena and Hera.
Meanwhile, on Colonial One, Tom Zarek warns Roslin that Baltar’s trial will unleash a “hurricane” of civil unrest and recommends the imposition of martial law during the trial. Roslin can see Zarek is uncharacteristically frightened.