Saturday, November 11

TV Fodder: A Measure of Salvation

Source: TV Fodder

This week's episode - the conclusion of "Torn" - revealed a serious dose of cruelty from both sides. The SciFi Channel even threw up it's little disclaimer for "violent content" several times throughout the show. The Cylons are pissed at Baltar and are done taking him at his word. Time for a little extra "persuasion." The humans realize that they can use the Cylon disease against them, dangle a "cure" to get info from suffering Cylon prisoners, and plan to exterminate the entire Cylon race! The gloves are off!

Per usual, at the end of this entry is a section called "Observations, Thoughts and Questions" to further focus on particular plot points and enable specific discussion on, well, things I want to talk about. If you've seen the episode and just want to discuss what happened, skip to that section.


A Measure of Salvation: Episode 3.07

Monkey torture - aka Baltar's got some s'plainin to do

Back on the Basestar more piano music is playing. Those weird cuts reemerge as Baltar wakes up naked on his lounge chair. D'Anna and Six are there. "How long have you planned to betray us?" D'Anna asks. Six tells him he's only making it harder on himself. They know about the beacon. "You knew it was out there and contained a deadly virus. Are you in contact with Galactica? Did you plan this before the evacuation of New Caprica?" D'Anna asks. Baltar stammers and admits that he did see the beacon on the Basestar, but he didn't tell them because he was afraid they'd blame him. Which they are obviously doing now. "It will never happen again. My most humble apologies." he says. He tries to change the subject by theorizing on where the beacon came from. A Centurion enters from behind. "We think you know more and intend to find out," D'Anna says. Another Centurion enters. Baltar's in big trouble now!

We jump to Baltar on a beach with Fantasy Six. He's in a white suit, laying on lounge, not moving. Fantasy Six tells him to relax, have a drink. He says he can't. The pain! "It's all in your brain," Fantasy Six tells him. "Just impulses. You decide how to interpret them." Baltar screams. He returns to reality - a torture chamber with Six and D'Anna. He continues to scream as D'Anna turns up the dial of the torture machine. Six gets squeamish and leaves. D'Anna tells him, "I want it to stop. We don't want you to feel this pain." Baltar looks at Six and says weakly, "I love you." The torture continues.

Fantasy Six chimes in again. "I can guide you to atonement and beyond," she says. "I'll do anything!!!" Baltar yells. Back in reality, D'Anna demands that he tell her about the virus. "Is there a cure?" she asks. Fantasy Six tells him to separate his mind from his body. "Keep your mind in the room. Find holes in her psyche. Keep your body here with me. Don't worry... I'll take care of it," she says as she undresses and straddles him. D'Anna turns down the machine. "This is what the absence of pain feels like," she says. Baltar says that it was a coincidence that the beacon was infected. D'Anna doesn't believe in coincidence - only god's will. Fantasy Six tells him to focus on D'Anna like a scientist. Baltar begins to rant on god from a scientist's perspective. "If god exists then stories of god are imperfect. Theory. Imperfect to prove. Absolute belief means there's an answer for everything. If we all knew god's will then we'd all be gods!" he argues. D'Anna doesn't like this too much. She gets a long pointy thing and puts it in his ear. (Does the thing actually go IN his head or does it just send pulses? Does it Delivers an Ear-wig? A Ceti-eel?) He's in mega pain now. Fantasy Six - naked now - rides him. "I want you to believe in me," she says trying her sexy best to keep him distracted from the pain. "You're all I have left. I believe in you!" Baltar yells both in his fantasy and in the real world. D'Anna is shocked and stops the punishment. "I love you with all my heart," he says looking at D'Anna but not really seeing her. D'Anna is touched and gently strokes his face. She smiles. Baltar passes out. (Creeeepy.)

Tissues, Vitamin C, Ammo and Restraints

We join the human fleet (now at population 41,420) with a team of marines from the Galactica approaching the diseased/dying Cylon Baseship in a Raptor. Athena and Apollo are piloting the ship. Derelict Raiders float lifeless everywhere. Apollo asks Athena what she thinks happened. She has no idea. Whatever this is, it's something new. As they approach the docking bay, they play bumper cars with the floating Raiders. They have to plow a path. There are no signs of life. Apollo reports back to Galactica that the ship appears to be abandoned and powering down. Once on the Baseship, the team quickly makes its way down the corridors and to the bridge where they find dead Cylons strewn everywhere. Everything looks sick. It's got that green/yellow glow instead of the bright white of a "healthy" Basestar. Athena stops and bends down over a Leoben. She strokes his face thoughtfully. Apollo tells her to check in the computer. Gunnery Sargent Mathias (from Athena's team on New Caprica) instructs the other marines to spread out and guard the doors.

Athena approaches the control bank and interfaces with the green sludge. (Ewww! Squishy!) She recoils with a gasp! Hot Dog (who may have a thing for her... he suggested her new name in the last episode) quickly asks if she's ok. Data points corroded. She won't be able to get much out of the machine. She says she'll do what she can, though, and re-engages the squishy goo.

As Athena is playing in the sludge, Apollo and the other marines are circling about, checking out the Cylons. In perfect suspense/horror movie fashion, Apollo leans down to get a closer look at a Six. (Guess he hasn't seen "Se7en.") As you might expect, the Six moves and Apollo recoils, almost losing his balance. "One of them is alive!" he yells. A Leoben tries to rise as well. Mathias tells them to cover Apollo (the Major... so yep, he's officially back to Major.) Three more Cylons squirm to life. Apollo reports back to the Galactica that they have five living skinjobs. Helo, Adama and Dee(!!!) on the Galactica bridge look concerned. Helo tells them not to take any chances, if the Cylons make any threatening moves, then waste 'em. Apollo tells the marines to hold their fire. The five Cylons (Sharon, Six, Leoben, Doral, and Simon) crawl across the floor to each other. They join hands and try to form a circle. Athena walks towards them. Apollo yells at her to stop. She doesn't. He continues to yell and trains his gun on her. (Guess he doesn't completely trust her, eh? Good man.) Athena bends down to the sick Sharon who looks up at her. With a pained voice she calls Athena "Traitor!" She tells Athena to get away from them - to save herself (guess they still care). Sharon tells Athena that the beacon they brought onboard carried a disease. They're infected. Infected?!?!?! Mathias curses and the other marines freak out. Apollo reports back to Galactica that they have a "situation." The team has been exposed to something. Athena looks at her hand - you know, the one still covered in green sludgy goo - with a serious "Ruh roh, Raggy!" Where's the antibacterial hand sanitizer when you need it?

On the Galactica, Adama has called for Doc who tells them that the team can return to the ship, but they can only do so under quarantine. Dee still looks ... well, I dunno... let's pretend it's concerned. She asks how long they'll have to stay in quarantine. Days. Weeks. Unknown. Doc asks about the source of the infection. Adama tells him of the beacon, but they won't bring it back aboard the Galactica because it's too dangerous. Doc tells him to bring back prisoners, then. They will help him identify the disease and tell him how to treat the marines . Apollo gets his orders and the team heads back to Galactica with prisoners in tow. As they approach Galactica, the Basestar explodes. Apollo looks at Athena who looks away. She says nothing. Helo radios to them that the Basestar must have self destructed. They're lucky they got out when they did. Lucky? Hmmm. There's no small amount of suspicion that Athena set it to blow. Well, that's it for the beacon, then. The humans won't get to crack its secrets (decode any messages the beacon may have been transmitting or to examine the technology and/or the virus).

Now in sickbay and under quarantine, the marines pace about nervously. Doc enters and reports that the humans are immune to the virus and can leave! Hurrah! Athena has to stay put, though. Doc hasn't gotten a chance to examine her blood yet. Helo waits impatiently just outside of the quarantine area and lays into the Doc when he's told that Athena can't leave yet. "She can wait because of who she isn't (human), right?" he says. "You come for me the second you know!" Athena sits back down on a cot and worries.

Doc leads a small group of marines in to the sick ward with the prisoners. "Take him... he's the furthest gone," Doc says pointing at Doral who cries "Nooooo!" After doing his tests, Doc reports to Adama and the President (with Apollo and Helo present) that the virus is lymphocytic encephalitis, something the humans developed an immunity to a couple of hundred years ago. The Cylons' genetic makeup doesn't allow them to develop that immunity. They need regular injections of a vaccine or they will die. There is no cure. Apollo (in marine gear and not his traditional uniform) asks the simple question "Is there a reason to keep them alive?" Helo responds, "We can interrogate them for intelligence." Adama agrees. Apollo doesn't think that they'll talk. He tells them that on the Baseship the Cylons prayed a particular prayer (apparently Carl's wife[?] said it was the prayer to the cloud of unknowing) that is only done when they are facing imminent death - no possibility of downloading. They're ready to die. Roslin says that they may be ready to die, but it doesn't mean one of them won't jump at a second chance - the vaccine will be dangled as a cure.

The marines bring in a chained Simon who is weak and sweating profusely. Simon tells them how the virus infected everything and would have infected a Resurrection ship, so they were abandoned by the other Cylons. Adama asks why they were in the area in the first place. Simon says that they were sent to look for the lion nebula by Baltar - that it would point the way to Earth. Everyone is shocked. Gaeta asks "BALTAR'S ALIVE!?!" Simon replies, "He's on our Baseship and is helping us." Adama comments to the others that Baltar is using their navigation charts to lead the Cylons to Earth. "We want a new beginning. Much like you," Simon says with a slight chuckle. "I gave you information. You said there was a cure," he continues. Adama responds that Doc will give him medicine. Doc tells the marines to take Simon back to the infirmary. They haul him out like a rabid dog as he staggers and falls in his weakened condition. After he leaves, Apollo laughs. Adama, shocked, asks him "What's so funny?!?" Apollo says that he thinks he just thought of a way to get rid of the Cylon problem once and for all. "We can wipe them out. We can destroy the entire Cylon race!" he says thoughtfully.

Kill 'em all!

On Colonial One, Apollo and Helo stand in front of Roslin at her desk (she's still got a picture of her and Billy!). Apollo, the ever brilliant tactician, explains his plan. They jump to a place the Cylons know, execute the infected Cylon prisoners, who then download to the Resurrection ship and infect it. The resurrected Cylons become the carriers of the plague that will spread to all the other Cylons. "Genocide??" Helo asks. "So that's what we're about now." Apollo responds, "They're not human. They were built, not born. No fathers, no mothers, no sons, no daughters" "I had a daughter. I held her in my arms," Helo returns. "She was half human. These are things, dangerous things. This is our one chance to be rid of them," Apollo says. "You can rationalize it anyway you want. If we do this. If we wipe them out, we're no different then they are," Helo argues. Roslin disagrees. The Cylons relentlessly perused them even after the original attack, she says. "They tried to live with us on New Caprica," Helo says. (WHAT?!?! Oh, Man. Helo's barking up the wrong tree.) Roslin can barely believe her ears. "What did you say???" she demands. He repeats it. Apollo, disgusted, steps away from Helo and paces. "You weren't on New Caprica. To my recollection you didn't set foot there, Captain, so out of respect for the hundreds of men and women on your crew who suffered through that snake pit, I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that. You would serve your fleet well if you remembered occasionally that the Cylons are a mortal threat to the survival of the human race." she says trying to keep her composure. "I'm talking about right and wrong!" Helo returns. "I'm talking about losing a piece of our souls! No one wants to hear that, right. Sure, let's keep it on me. I'm married to a Cylon." He continues his rant saying that Athena's walked through hell for them over and over, so how do they know there aren't others like her? Athena's a person. Wiping them out is a crime against humanity. Apollo gets in on it again, "They're not human! They're programmed." Roslin ends the "debate" saying that she'll take his input "under advisement" and Adama dismisses them. After Helo leaves, Roslin and Adama give each other a look of "What the heck was that?!?!"

The dejected Helo returns to the Galactica. Athena is waiting for him in their quarters. She's fine! Doc said that she's immune. She said that, according to Doc, carrying a half human child (fetal blood cells mixing in material circulatory system) made her immune!!!! (HAH! TOLD YA SO!) She and Helo start making out. Athena talks about Hera. "She's gone forever and she saved my life," she says. She starts undressing Helo (ziiiiippp!). He stops her. "Them!" he says. "Who's them?" Sharon asks. Helo tells her of their plan to kill the prisoners and infect the other Cylons. Athena cries softly. "We're talking about the Genocide of your entire race!" he says. "You think I don't know that?" she returns. "I made a choice to wear a uniform, to be a person." Helo argues, "You were a person before you put on that uniform, before I fell in love with you. You don't have to prove it." Athena growls, "I have to prove it every day. My entire race may be wiped out. Does a Cylon keep her word even if it means she's the last one in the universe? Can a human being do that?" Helo marvels at her.

Meanwhile, Adama and Roslin are sipping tea sitting all cozy-like on Colonial One. Adama tells her that the law forbids him to use biological weapons without a direct Presidential order. "Passing the buck, eh?" Roslin asks. Definitely. Adama comments that if they start destroying entire races (even mechanical races), they are likely to tear off a piece of a man's soul. Helo's not wrong about that. Roslin doesn't want to deal in philosophy (ironic?). "They are coming for us. Those are the stakes," she says. Adama says that posterity doesn't look too kindly on genocide. "At least someone will be alive to hate us for it," she responds. "The Cylons are OUR mistake. We created them." "Admiral Adama, as president I have determined that the Cylons are to be made extinct. The use of biological weapons are approved." So say we all!!

The Galactica jumps. Athena and Racetrack board a Raptor. The vipers launch - with Starbuck leading (she's back flying!). Meanwhile, Helo sneaks around and opens a panel in a corridor and pulls a connection, then closes the panel again. On the bridge, the radar picks up two Cylon Raider scouts. The Raiders quickly jump away and then return in force with THREE Basestars and a Resurrection ship. The game is afoot. Adama says it's time to execute the prisoners. Gaeta makes the call. Apollo and Mathias head to the holding area. They can't get the door open at first. When they do, the find the prisoners all dead. Apollo quickly reports back to Adama. The prisoners were dead before the Resurrection ship jumped in. The plan is foiled. Another Basestar jumps in. Adama knows it's time to go. They recall the Vipers and Raptors that were engaging the Raiders. The ships land and the Galactica jumps away before it takes any damage.

In their quarters Helo and Athena pace. Helo says, "They'll be coming for me. You or me. Seems like they're always coming for one of us. I'm not a traitor. I love my people. I love this ship. I did what I thought was right. If it was a mistake, fine. I can live with that. It's you I can't live without." Athena looks sympathetic and hugs him. "I'll always love you," she says. (That sounds like "I'll always love you even if you're a dumb ass and I have to report you.")

Later, Adama and Roslin meet in Adama's quarters. He tells her that the prisoners died of asphyxiation. The airflow was reversed, sucking oxygen out of the room. The door lock was a fail-safe. Someone did this manually. They know it could have been one of two suspects. "Who will head the investigation?" Roslin asks. "No one. I'm closing the books on this one," Adama says. "How convenient," she responds. Adama gets up and fetches some papers to change the subject. He tells her that Doc Cottle thinks the beacon was accidentally infected. The virus was an exact match to one 3000 years ago, right around the time the 13th tribe left Kobol. We're on the right trail, they agree. "So are the Cylons," she says. Adama sighs.

SciFi EXTRA bit

Visiting the website during the show's airing (there was no "secret code word" this time) a clip from next week's episode was revealed. Adama visits Tigh in his quarters where Tigh is still wallowing. Adama tells Tigh that Bulldog is back. He escaped from a Baseship and stole a Raider. Tigh asks Adama if he's going to tell him. "I can't tell him," Adama says. There's obviously a deep past they have with Bulldog that we don't know the details of yet. (Note: the previews for next week give more info than this lame little scene.)

Observations, Thoughts and Questions

D'Anna's becoming a big softie. D'Anna has always been the most vicious of the lovely Cylon ladies. Now, this whole love theme is turning her inside out. This had better be a Cylon trait and not just a FEMALE Cylon trait. I know Leoben had that weird obsession with Kara, but he was manipulative and unflinching about it. Baltar says he loves D'Anna and she gets all mushy? That whole scene was just weird and creepy.

RIP Helo. If Starbuck or Col. Tigh find out what he said - let alone what he did - he's gonna WISH they would put him out an airlock. Will Athena turn on him? She's dedicated enough to her promise to Adama that she was willing to face the extinction of her own race. Helo betrayed Adama's trust. That can't go over all that well with her, despite her love for him. (Of course, all this will change once Athena finds out Hera's alive. We're all waiting for that shoe to drop, aren't we?)

How could Adama just drop the investigation??? His own XO betrayed him! We can only assume that Adama isn't pursuing it because he was doubtful of the morality of the genocide - that he himself believes that Cylons (at least some of them) might be "people." He does have a tight relationship with Athena now. I guess that would give him pause. Nevertheless, Helo's loyalty should have been to his commanding officer. I can't imagine that Adama could completely trust him after that. I hope Adama at least puts Helo on bathroom cleaning detail or something. Geesh! Adama's having bad luck with his XOs of late.

We finally see Dee in this episode. It looks like she's back working on the bridge. I have a feeling she and Lee won't last all that long. She didn't seem all THAT concerned about Lee and his possible infection. She didn't even go see him in the infirmary. Helo went to see Athena. Ron Moore said in his Podcast that originally the writers thought that both Lee and Dee would join the marines together and really get their hands dirty. That storyline didn't really work out, though. It seems now that Dee is left to do either the job she had before New Caprica or do whatever random things her papa-in-law finds for her. I think Lee will continue to go out on dangerous missions and be the bad-ass we all love. I doubt that bad-ass, adventure guy is the Dee signed on for. He was moving his way up in the ranks and heading to a nice bridge assignment on the Pegasus when they got together. She's never really had to deal with being his partner while he's out risking his life.

I like that Gaeta is getting more openly involved in things. I'd like to see him become Adama's new right-hand on the bridge now that Helo can't be trusted. Gaeta has certainly proven himself to be loyal.

As for the next episode and Bulldog (SPOILER ALERT!) - From an interview with TV Guide back in May, David Eick said that Bulldog "will be a character that Adama knew from before the attacks. He's a contemporary of Adama's and Tigh's who arrives on the Galactica with a very dark secret about something Adama did in the past." The rumor mill has been speculating that the big secret is related to some guilt Adama may have (actual or imagined) over the attack on the Colonies - like something he did might have been a catalyst. I guess we'll just have to wait 'til next week to find out!

The next episode, "Hero," airs November 17 at 9pm ET.

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