So this is it, BSG fans. The end of an arduous season approaches, both for our favorite characters as well as for suffering frakheads. Let's quickly review the casualty list: Tigh—an eye; Adama men—a Starbuck; Baltar—his razor. (And let's not even go to what the fans lost, between a sense of mystery [about the workings of a Cylon baskeship] and several hours of our lives ["A Day in the Life" grumble grumble, "Hero"] etc.).
But that's all in the past now. No title screen, no spoiler preview with drums pounding—this episode is poised to deliver, so let's get to it.
Dream a little dream
Ep opens on a different-looking Roslin, dudded out and dolled up, in the Opera House on Kobol. Hearing Hera laughing, Roslin calls out for the half-Cylon girl and spies her descending the opera house stairs. But someone else is in the opera house: Hera's biological mother, Athena, and she doesn't appear thrilled to see Roslin. The two quickly lock eyes and simultaneously turn and chase after Hera. The girl's too far ahead, however, and she darts into the arms of a concerned and white-clad Six...who fades into white light, flanked by a shadowy figure (Baltar?), as Roslin wakes up.
Trial of the century
Baltar's trial is about to get underway, but not before the incarcerated ex-president gets a visit asking for a faith healing
(look to the end of last week's recap for a write-up) while his opponents hold an intense pre-trial meeting on Colonial One. According to aide Tori, President Roslin wants genocide charges--she remembers seeing Baltar and Six together on Caprica before the bombs went off—but prosecutor Cassidy hesitates over lack of proof. Despite "serving at the pleasure of the president," (heh) this lawyer's got job security--as she notes, there aren't candidates to take her place. Cassidy says she's not basing her case on Roslin's speculation; she's going with what works.
And what's that winning argument? Well, Cassidy's opening statement frames the case around "how we measure loss"...and trots out the infamous whiteboard of doom as an expert witness on that topic (credit the whiteboard with an acting credit tonight). Per the whiteboard, 44,035 settled on New Caprica; 38,838 survived after the second exodus. So that's a healthy 5,197 killed, left, or disappeared in 15 months on New Caprica. Yikes. Sure, the jump prices are cheap to New Caprica this time of year, but Amity Island just started looking a lot better for my next vacation.
Anyway, everyone's listening to the trial—on the tylium ship, on the hanger deck, in the CIC—as Cassidy concludes. Baltar blew the trust of the human race; now he's got to pay the piper.
Romo Lampkin, Baltar's attorney, then opens—and immediately asks to change his plea to guilty. The de facto lead judge in the five-person tribunal, Franks, is incredulous, but Romo spin this as his reverse psychological gambit. Why shouldn't we just kill Baltar, he argues, since it's mob justice that brought Baltar here and mob justice that we want. As the crowd ponders this comment on their base instincts, Romo then whirls on Roslin, arguing that she's had a vendetta against Baltar ever since her ex-vice president beat her in open elections. Roslin, Romo claims, would've seen the humans fight and die in an unwinnable battle when the Cylons arrived, whereas Baltar at least made a deal to save everyone.
The sound (?) of music
Meanwhile, there's a new tune tearing up the Galactica wireless...a scratchy, faint song. But it's beyond barely audible—just three people can hear it! First, it's Tigh, who's fiddling with the bar's radio but can't get a better signal. Nearby, Anders picks out the sounds too, telling Tigh "you've almost got it." (And what does Anders appear to have? Well, a budding...friendship with new pilot Seelix and—given his new haircut, uniform, and comments by a Raptor pilot—a new career as a rookie officer). Later in the episode, a stressed-out Tory stops by the bar and also appears to hear the song, not to mention exchange a look with Anders.
Now, if you've been following spoilers online—which I will not link to, as I don't want you to be as unfairly spoiled as I was—you have an idea where this storyline is headed. And no, Tigh, Anders, and Tory are not starting a rock band. Nor do they have super-hearing...or do they? Now that would be an unexpected direction for the show.
Land on the nebula, move three steps closer to Earth
But put Baltar and indie bands on the shelf for a bit; the fleet is closing in on the clue left by the Eye of Jupiter—a nebula that hopefully offers the next signpost on the way to Earth. Of course, the Cylons are hunting Earth too and saw the same sign...but the Colonials haven't spotted their enemies in weeks.
To keep an eye out, Galactica's been leaving behind a Raptor shuttle to serve as a rear guard (think like a reverse scout ship), and this time it's Racetrack and co-pilot Skulls hiding behind an asteroid while the rest of the fleet just jumps away. It's very Millenium Falcon in Empire Strikes Back. Well, wouldn't you know it...this time the bad guys do show up. Five Cylon baseships and a gazillion Raiders, to be exact. The two pilots ditch their card game just in time to spool up the FTL and jump away to safety.
Cut to the decision-makers—Adama, Roslin, Tigh, and Lee—conferring on how the Cylons are following them. Roslin is insistent that the fleet's imprisoned Six model might have the answer, as she has a sense that Six doesn't want to see Hera back with the Cylons. While the agitated president and the admiral take a moment to themselves, Lee takes a whiff of what the president's drinking—and it's enough to wrinkle his nose.
Per Roslin's suggestion, Tigh interrogates Six, who 'fesses up that the tylium ship has a unique radiation signature that the Cylons have been following. However, Six picks up on Tigh's broken spirit—the man did kill his wife Ellen, he's not exactly whole these days—and with the encouragement of her imaginary Baltar, plays upon his loss. Tigh is so infuriatated that he punches Six, who hits Tigh back and gets shackled by marines for her trouble.
Tigh=Tight. As usual.
Unfortunately, this little escape rattles Tigh so much he heads to drinking—which plays awfully on the witness stand. Romo smells the blood and manuevers Tigh into admitting that he killed Ellen, because she collaborated with the Cylons...but Baltar's to blame. Tigh sent off suicide bombers, but everyone who died was a collaborator...even though some collaborators were working against Cylons secretly. Romo suceeds in mixing up the distinctions between collaborator and resistance fighter...and by the time Tigh's hearing that odd tune again on the stand, his credibility is totally shot.
Next, Roslin's on the stand and explains the execution list that Baltar signed. Under threat to his life, mind you, but that's not much of a defense. The information rattles even Lampkin, who calls for a break; in a meeting, he sniffs out that Lee has some sort of incriminating information on Roslin. Goading Lee, who's been a silent partner in the defense, he tells the pilot that just showing up at the trial isn't enough; for the sake of justice, Lee needs to give up what he knows. And maybe stick it to his father in the process.
Meanwhile, that father is helping an embarassed and drunken Tigh is helped into bed; the XO tries to apologize to his old friend, but Adama won't have any of it. Tigh muses that despite keeping Ellen's clothes, he can't "smell" his wife anymore. Sad times.
What color is Lee's parachute?
Even though he's been taken off active duty, Lee pays his father a visit with a suggestion: Don't waste time fixing the tylium ship's radiation signature, just send it off and lure the Cylons away from the fleet and the nebula. But, this isn't just business; associate defense counsul Lee starts asking about the president in a roundabout way. When Adama says that Lee has no right to ask about the president, given the courtroom situation, Lee tries to clarify that he was actually asking about—but Adama cuts him off and starts going off on his son. According to the admiral, Lee fed the defense the ammunition to destroy Tigh (he didn't), Lee's a coward (not so sure about that, given his years of leading the flight group), Lee's to blame for Arrested Development's cancellation (indirectly, I think) etc. Lee's had enough and gives up his officer's insignia--he won't serve under a man who "questions my integrity." And Adama? "I won't have an officer who doesn't have any." Sheesh. Thus ends the short-yet-brilliant military career of Maj. Lee Adama.
A day later, no longer "Major" but "Mister Adama," a bespoke Lee asks to cross-examine the president in the courtroom. First, Lee grills Roslin on her medical history and the truth about Hera comes out—that, at Baltar's suggestion, the half-Cylon's blood completely cured Roslin's cancer. But gaining confidence, Lee then probes the president's past use of Chamalla extract; the drug's a hallucinogin, so Roslin doesn't look great for having relied on BSG's equivalent of heroin. But making matters much, much worse for the president, Lee asks whether Roslin's using Chamalla now. Adama tries to cut his son off, threatening him and Romo with the brig, but the other judges are shocked and overrule him. A sad Roslin answers: She's off the wagon and using Chamalla again. The damage is done. Stunned courtroom as Lee goes to take his seat.
But we're not done. Roslin gets Lee to ask why she's using Chamalla again. Lee, no dummy, doesn't want to go there but she pushes him to ask, as she reveals: Her cancer is back.
Just a few thoughts here. On the podcast, Ron Moore notes that giving Laura cancer again was an instinctive decision, but a call that feels like the right one. Roslin really hasn't had a storyline to call her own, and while the "dying leader" role isn't anything new, the arc has a certain dramatic ooomph to it. If you ask this recapper, Moses never saw the promised land; Roslin's not supposed to get to Earth.
Also, I think it's pretty clear that Baltar's defense is in stellar shape--the two major witnesses have been grilled for their credibility, other judges are willing to overrule Adama (who erred in trying to protect Roslin; now he looks like he was covering something up and wants to railroad Baltar)
Show catches up with our main players quickly. A disgusted Dee is leaving husband Lee; he really burned his bridges this episode, didn't he? Too bad for the newly single ex-Apollo, Starbuck is dead...or "on the other side." Either of which make her hard to date.
While Roslin is fielding questions on her cancer and Chamalla use, aide Tory breaks down at the press conference and channels Ari Fleischer. Roslin sends her aide off and later tells Tori—who's normally so with it—to get her life together.
Tigh...still drunk. He's also still hearing music...from inside the ship!
In a big step up from mayor of Dogsville, and an upgrade from last week's CAG position, Helo is now XO again in Tigh's absence. But speaking with Gaeta about using the tylium ship as a decoy (looks like an angry Adama still thought enough of his son to use his ideas), Helo's pretty quick to slip into another role, that of Cassandra Exposition. According to Helo, something's on the horizon for the fleet..."the weather's about to change" and a "storm is coming." Duh. That storm is Crossroads, Part II. We all watch the previews, Helo. Especially the good ones.