This is the 31st in a series of “Battlestar Galactica” recaps. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Read the last piece, “Revisiting Battlestar Galactica: ‘The Ties That Bind’ And ‘Escape Velocity’” here.
After leaving Starbuck adrift for a while, this de facto two-parter focuses on her mission leading the Demetrius. The plot echoes The Caine Mutiny, casting Helo as the reluctantly mutinous executive officer, but Starbuck as the antithesis of the cowardly Captain Queeg. Starbuck is made reckless by her vision; the power of visions infuses the other stories in these episodes.
Baltar is proselytizing monotheism and trying to reach Tyrol, who is lost in an identity crisis and grief over Cally. The history of the three characters, extending back to Baltar shooting Crashdown to save Cally on Kobol, quietly enriches the drama.
Roslin’s faith journey takes a turn away from prior visions mirroring the colonies’ polytheistic scripture. The reform Cylons – if they can be called such – reach out to Starbuck and receive a seemingly prophetic vision from their Hybrid as a result.
‘The Road Less Traveled’
On Galactica, Baltar tries to expand his influence, broadcasting sermons throughout the fleet. Yet Tory tells him Pres. Roslin no longer seems to find him consequential.
Tyrol, however, attends a Baltar sermon. Col. Tigh is there and advises Tyrol to pull himself together. Tyrol, still grieving over Cally, believes Tigh is beyond Ellen’s death but asks about Tigh’s visits to Caprica Six. Tigh says he can live with his choices; Tryol replies that he cannot.
At another sermon, Baltar tries to reconcile with Tyrol, suggesting Cally would have wanted it. Instead of taking Baltar’s hand, Tyrol chokes him and is dragged away by cult members. Tyrol breaks down in his quarters, almost shooting himself.
Baltar secretly visits Tyrol, who is in bed and armed. Baltar confesses he has committed terrible crimes and is taking this last chance at redemption. Baltar begs for forgiveness and says he wishes he had known Cally better. Tyrol, who remained silent during the apology, extends his hand to Baltar.
On the Demetrius, Helo reminds the demoralized crew only two days remain until Starbuck must rendezvous with the fleet.
During a scouting patrol, Starbuck captures a damaged Heavy Raider piloted by Leoben.
Leoben speaks of the blue planet Starbuck visited and offers a truce, claiming Starbuck must visit a Cylon Hybrid to fulfill her destiny. She has Leoben taken to her quarters.
Anders later finds Starbuck painting as Leoben rests his hand on her hip. He violently separates them. As Leoben is taken away, Helo reminds her of Leoben’s mind games.
In the brig, Anders interrogates Leoben, who claims he is only trying to help Starbuck. Leoben also reveals the Cylons are in civil war, proposing humanity join his faction in a quest for Earth.
Anders scoffs, but presents the proposal to the crew, further dividing them. Helo warns against insubordination. The mood worsens after Sgt. Erin Mathias (Eileen Pedde) dies in an explosion while searching Leoben’s ship for tracking devices.
At the memorial for Mathias, Starbuck blames herself. She then orders Helo to plot a rendezvous with Leoben’s Basestar instead of Galactica. After Starbuck leaves, Lt. Pike (Ryan McDonell) refuses to execute orders; Helo knocks him down.
Before the planned FTL jump, Athena begs Helo to intervene. Helo and Gaeta refuse to execute the order to jump. Helo removes Starbuck from command.
Starbuck tries to execute the jump; the mutineers fight her. Helo orders Gaeta to jump back to Galactica. Anders shoots Gaeta’s leg. Starbuck administers emergency care and has Gaeta carried to his bunk.
Starbuck concedes her decision was too risky and proposes to take a Raptor to the Basestar. Anders volunteers to go with her and Leoben. Starbuck convinces Athena she is needed to warn them of Cylon traps. They have only 15 hours until they must rejoin the fleet or risk abandonment.
The Raptor jumps into a field of Cylon battle wreckage. Starbuck, following her feelings, flies within view of the ringed gas giant from her vision. She also sees the comet, which is revealed as Leoben’s damaged Basestar, trailing vapor.
The Raptor is struck by debris, knocking Starbuck unconscious. When Starbuck awakens, the Raptor is aboard the Basestar. Eights approach Athena about rebelling against the Sixes’ leadership. Athena instructs them to develop loyalty.
Leoben convinces Natalie Six to let Starbuck meet the Hybrid. Athena proposes to link the damaged Basestar to the Raptor’s FTL drive, requiring disconnection of the Hybrid.
As a crew member prepares to link the ships, she argues with a Six she once killed on New Caprica. The Six fatally slams the woman’s head into a door. Anders is persuaded not to kill the Six, but Natalie does – permanently, absent the Resurrection Ship.
An Eight begins disconnecting the Hybrid, which howls. A Centurion kills the Eight before being destroyed by the others.
The Hybrid tells Starbuck: “Thus shall it come to pass. The dying leader will know the truth of the opera house. The missing three will give you the five who have come from the home of the thirteenth. You are the harbinger of death, Kara Thrace. You will lead them all to their end. End of line.”
Starbuck reels as the Hybrid is disconnected. Natalie realizes D’Anna can be unboxed and identify the Final Five, who must know the location of Earth.
The Demetrius has remained in position, though every hour increases the odds Gaeta will lose his leg. The clock runs past zero; Helo prepares to return to the fleet. The Basestar appears at the last second, with a greeting from Athena.
Meanwhile, Roslin invests trust in Tory as she travels to Galactica for medical treatment. In the sickbay, Roslin becomes friendly with Emily (Nana Vistor), a terminal cancer patient.
At first, Roslin does not understand why Emily draws comfort from recordings of Baltar’s sermons. Emily explains Baltar’s vision of a river separating this life from the next matches her dreams of being ferried to rejoin family lost in the Cylon attacks.
Roslin eventually dreams of riding the ferry with Emily, who disappears and reappears on the far shore. Roslin also sees her own late mother, but Roslin says she is “not ready.” She awakens to find Emily has died and was removed from her bed. A wireless plays a Baltar sermon.