Well here we are at the opening of the two part season finale for Battlestar Galactica. The opening brings us back to the Kobol Opera House and has Laura Roslin dreaming about chasing Hera Agathon around the Opera House, only to have a Six snatch up Hera and turn to enter the white glowing doorway (I presume to the Final Five chamber). Roslin awakes before we see more of her dream.
We also find out in the teaser that Sam Anders has enrolled in pilot training (or at least he’s in uniform and the group of him, Seelix, and others are called nuggets). I would guess Sam has done this to honor his late wife, Starbuck. The scene with Sam takes place at Joe’s Bar and in the background, Col. Tigh seems obsessed with the wireless receiver. At one point Sam seems to hear the same music Tigh is trying to tune in but no one else does.
Gaius Baltar seems to have acquired literal cult status among some in the fleet as a journalist (or someone pretending to be one) sneaks into Baltar’s cell and begs Baltar to bless her sick son. Baltar is not especially sympathetic to his cult status but Virtual Six appears and attempts to convince him that this is more signage pointing toward his Chosen One status.
After the teaser itself, former President Baltar’s trial begins. The Prosecutor opens with attempting to tie Baltar’s actions to the more than 5000 people that went to New Caprica and did not return from there. Baltar’s attorney, Romo Lampkin, opened his case by using reverse psychology to show that the mob wanted to airlock Baltar, thus pushing the judges against joining in.
Michael Hogan again showed us he was one of the gems of BSG by delivering a powerful performance on the stand. Tigh having shown up for his testimony after a heavy drinking session is driven by Lampkin to admit that he himself killed Ellen Tigh, not Baltar (not common knowledge) and Lampkin was also able to manipulate Tigh into admitting his hatred of Baltar would drive Tigh to any extreme to get back at Baltar, thus destroying Tigh’s credibility. And Tigh evidently is hearing that music even more loudly.
President Roslin takes the stand and Lee opens the questioning. Earlier Lee had noticed something odd in her tea and suspects she is taking Chamalla extract again. Roslin begs Lee not to push this issue but he perseveres, as he believes Roslin’s taking of hallucinogenic drugs affects her credibility. Roslin admits her drug use but then gets Lee to ask her why she’s taking the drug again—her breast cancer has returned. Lee is rocked by this revelation and obviously feels guilty about revealing her secret before all.
So far Baltar’s trial appears to be going pretty well for Baltar, as the major witnesses against him have been discredited in turn. Whether this will continue in Part II is anyone’s guess.
One of the more powerful scenes comes after Tigh’s break-down on the stand between Lee and Admiral Adama. The Admiral blames Lee for revealing Tigh’s secret to which Lee replies that he hadn’t known what happened to Ellen Tigh and furthermore Tigh was drunk and thus brought it on himself. Lee then in the heat of the moment resigns his commission and Adama accepts.
Oddly Lee seems to be paying the highest personal cost for this trial. In the past few episodes he has lost his love (Starbuck), his job (CAG), his commission, his wife (Dee leaves him over his handling of the trial), and his relationship with his father that had been so slowly and painfully restored over the 3 years since the attacks. At the end of the trial, I’m not sure where Lee will go from there. (It put me in mind of the old song, “Freedom’s just another way of sayin’ nothing left to lose.”)
Another highlight of this episode is the reappearance of the Cylons! Apparently they have been following the fleet the entire time but at a safe distance, with a crushing force of 5 basestars. They have apparently been following the radiation signature of the refinery ship. Though the fleet makes the attempt to decoy them, the fleet may be too close to the Ionian Nebula (3 jumps away!) to make that stratagem work. A little bit I liked is the missile eye’s shot of closing on the trailing raptor—the type of shot we hadn’t seen, I think since the mini-series.
An important unanswered question of this episode is what is up with the music that Tigh, Sam, and Tori have been hearing. The music that only they can hear is evidently driving Tigh and Tori up the wall (driving Tigh back to the bottle and leaving Tori frazzled and sleepless). Sam, though he can hear the music as well, does not seem to be as heavily affected by it as the other two. Where is this music coming from and why?
Another question that the situation posits, though no character brings the problem up, is since the Cylons are following them, can the RTF risk finding Earth and thus leading the Cylons to the 13th Colony? If the RTF can’t risk finding Earth, what other choices do they have?
As with all episodes of Season 3.5, there was a bonus scene where Lee and Romo discuss’ Baltar’s guilt. Romo freely agrees with Lee that Baltar but adds “Guilty of what? We’re all guilty of something.” An nice character piece but not one that really adds much to the episode. A difference was that the bonus scene as aired was the entire scene with no longer version on the web.
All in all, I have to admit that I liked this episode more than I expected. I had heard many a rumor about the show and had developed opinions about what it might look like but what I saw was considerably better than what I had imagined. A very good first half of the season finale, I give the episode a 9 out of 10.