Monday, November 20

One Man, One Mission, One Hell Of A Secret

Source: ScyFy Portal

Although the arced episodes of "Battlestar Galactica" are taking a brief respite and making way for some standalone episodes, none of the intensity from the previous seven episodes of the season is lost.

Far from it in fact, as the series continues to build on its strengths and further develop the extreme levels of passion and emotional resonance through the individual lives of the characters. And mixed throughout it all is the mystifying secret from Adm. Adama's (Edward James Olmos) past.

Ignoring the fact that this is essentially a free-standing episode, and ignoring the added bonus of finally seeing why the Cylons invaded the Colonies, this is a particularly big episode to me. For those of you who don't already know, I was (and still am) a huge fan of J.J. Abrams' spy-drama "Alias" which recently ended its five-year run on ABC in May. If you are wondering why I'm bringing this up now, it's because Carl Lumbly (yes, the guy in this week's BSG) was a regular on the series. And he was absolutely terrific as the complex Marcus Dixon and his mere presence was enough to help ground the series a little ... something that was vital when facing some of the "out-there" plot developments "Alias" often faced.

So when I heard he was going to be making an appearance on BSG, I couldn't help but wonder what kind of a role he would be stepping into. Was he to be one of the as-of-yet unseen Cylon models? How about a terrorist a la Tom Zarek (Richard Hatch) or even a discontented member of Baltar's (James Callis) former cabinet?

In reality he plays Daniel Novacek, a pilot who once served under the then Cmdr. Adama on a mission to cross the Cylon armistice line in order to assess the threat of invasion. Aside from his marvellous talent for making a role his own, it seems that that Lumbly brought a little of "Alias" with him, as his mission with Adama was strictly off-the-books and deniability is the key word for the evening.

It comes as no shock that the mission went south with Novacek's stealth ship being detected by an unknown force across the line. And in the end, it was more important to have the mission suitably denied by all those involved than to risk being compromised. So as the unknown vessels begin closing on the location of the stealth ship, Adama orders its destruction and abandons one of his pilots behind enemy lines.

And therein lies the problem. One man was sent on what constitutes and illegal mission, one that very well might have compromised the Colonial armistice with the Cylons paving the way to the destruction of humanity.

Cut back to the Galactica, and you've got a whole crew filled with suspicions, hunches and a few drinks more than you can handle, all waiting for Danny to screw up and announce that he is on a mission for the Cylons. Saul Tigh (Michael Hogan) is perhaps the greatest asset this season pushing his reckless behavior as far as possible, as if he wasn't bad enough at the beginning of the second season. The key difference however is back then he had command of the Galactica to keep him in check. Now he is a rogue agent and answers to no one but his own inner needs to take revenge for what happened to his wife on New Caprica. Throw in a very suspicious Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) with a new found loyalty to the old colonel and you've got one hell of a setup.

Leave it to Tigh to drop the bombshell on Danny as to what really happened back in the day and all hell breaks loose (as if there was ever any doubt it would). Lumbly is every bit of a marvel on BSG as he was on "Alias," bringing about the same colourful spectrum of emotions as he works through his issues, and Olmos was equally good by presenting a more vulnerable Bill Adama.

How the revelation of Adama's failure will change things for the future is anyone's guess. I gave up trying to predict the future of this series a long time ago, but one thing is for sure, Adama is still a hero to me.

"Battlestar Galactica" stars Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff and Jamie Bamber. "Hero" was written by David Eick and directed by Michael Rymer.

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