Saturday, March 7

Galactica Station's Review of "Someone to Watch Over Me."

Marine Captain Kickass sits down to bring you this week’s review for “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Let me be frank with you: I was absolutely hypnotized by this episode. The music throughout the episode sounded like something bubbling under the surface, something barely perceptible that culminated in a rich finale at the end.

The episode opens with the piano player trying to compose a piece of music. As he plays, we watch Kara being jolted awake by the alarms. She has been haunted by the memory of her own dead body, but despite seeing and thinking about it everyday, Kara still makes herself get up every day and wearily goes through the motions of her daily life. We see the details of the weariness in her voice, thoughts and actions. Through it all, the music is a beautiful symbol of something unfinished and incomplete, which directly parallels Kara’s thoughts and fears. These are scenes that could have been shot with any of the key characters, but having them shot with Kara was especially poignant given her history. The Kara we started with was not the Kara we saw in this episode. Season 1’s Kara Thrace was a loud, unpredictable, viper queen who largely did not care what others thought of her or anything else. She did her missions in the way that worked for her.

But the Kara in “Someone to Watch Over Me” is a different Kara. She’s been beaten up, held against her will, blown up, found and buried her own body, and she questions her own existence. Now, she has no hope of Earth and the possibility of never having her husband back, whom she has realized she still loves deeply. But, as different as these trials made her, Kara was never one to lie down and die. So the misery of earth, crush of finding her own body, hauntings, and Anders coma aside, Kara struggles on, fulfilling her duties, stuck in her place, incomplete like the music played by the piano player. I also appreciated how they used her address to the pilots to convey that the fleet has suffered heavy losses in soldiers because of the mutiny, that they have been running steadily out of supplies, and that they have been looking for a habitable planet continuously since finding Earth. On top of that the Galactica is falling apart! Things look bleak indeed.

Anders’ situation is unchanging and Kara is advised by Cottle to move on, and that she would be the first to know if there was any change. Although Cottle spoke about Anders, his statement is almost prophetic and foreshadows later events in the episode. Kara is able to move on in another way and she does recognize the change in herself.

Depressed about her husband’s state, Kara goes to the bar to drink away her troubles and is annoyed by the piano player playing the same song. He tells her that he is composing and that music adds a bit of beauty and art to an otherwise despairing existence. In her usual manner, Kara scoffs at him to learn to play. The piano player begins to play a beautiful tune.

The music shifts slightly to a dreamy piece as Tyrol works on the ship, watching an eight. He remembers a time when he was in love and together with Boomer. Then he remembers rejecting her and admitting to his real feelings for her only following Cally’s death. Unable to bear it, he goes to visit Boomer in the brig. They finally confess the truth to one another - neither of them has been able to stop thinking about the other. Knowing Boomer’s days are numbered, they touch through the jail bars. The moment they touch, Boomer projects them to her fantasy home, a home she and Tyrol had once dreamt of building on Picon. Tyrol is startled and disturbed by the idea of projection, breaks the link, and quickly leaves the brig. Tyrol has been struggling with being a cylon and his reaction is consistent with his struggles.

Kara arrives at the Agathon’s quarters responding to a request by Helo. She takes a minute to speak to Hera, who is drawing busily. Helo motions Kara to a drawer and shows her that he collected all of her belongings after her death. Kara picks up a tape, presumably one recorded by her late father. She doesn’t wish to keep anything else. Hera hands her a picture, and Kara gladly accepts it before leaving. Although Helo is far from my favorite character, I am glad that he was the one who painstakingly sought out Kara’s belongings. Despite his faults, Helo has usually been there for Kara. He was reunited with her on Caprica where he first glimpsed the painting of the mandala in Kara’s old apartment, he reminded her of the mandala during “Rapture,” and he was willing to give her a chance and help her find earth when she returned from the dead. It’s entirely fitting and great continuity for Helo to have kept Kara’s items in memory of their friendship and even more fitting that he returned her father’s recording to her. He seemed a bit dejected when she refused her other belongings but Kara took the one thing that resonated to her…and once again her past and her father began to fill her mind.

Kara returns to the bar to watch the piano player play again. This time she is softer and kinder. She tells him that his music sounds like chasing after a car, and the piano player affirms that he was trying to convey loss. Kara clearly is thinking of someone she could never catch up to.

Tyrol is with the other final fivers pleading Boomer’s fate. They are all resigned to the death of Boomer, but Tyrol refuses to accept it. He never actually let go of his love for Boomer. He visits Boomer’s cell again. They talk about how they had planned the house together and Tyrol asks Boomer to project him there again. For one fleeting moment, Tyrol and Boomer are together in their dreams, in their big house. Tyrol relishes it and is amazed and silenced by their dream daughter. Again the music is paramount; a new, slow, hopeful version of Boomer’s theme plays in the background of the projection. We all have dreams, but neither Tyrol nor Boomer lived any of theirs.

Meanwhile, Kara is still with the piano player. She recognizes a piece he is trying to play and he reveals that the composer is his inspiration and that he is surprised at how much Kara knows about music. Kara finally opens up ad confides that her father used to play and she had loved playing next to him. She wanted to make him proud and tried very hard to do so. She remembered one song in particular that made her happy. At this point we know that she is going to have to remember and play a particular song, but will it be what we think?

In the next segment, Kara wakes abruptly from a dream. She dreamed that her present self was in an empty room walking toward her childhood self playing at the piano. As she reached to touch her childhood self, the childhood self suddenly turned around revealing the face of her own corpse. Now, I’m no Freudian-influenced dream analyst or anything, but I’m betting the dream and the scene was strategically placed to give Starbuck a clue that her past, her father, and her present search for self are all linked somehow. Starbuck, understandably distressed, goes straight to the piano player. She feels adrift, lost, and without a purpose – as was shown in the beginning of the episode. The piano player makes an interesting comment – that “sometimes lost is where you need to be. Sometimes you are going in the right direction but don’t know it.” Anyone for a big slice o’ Starbuck’s destiny? I think the allusion’s clear.

Kara and the piano player try to play a tune. He tells her that it “sucks” and in typical impulsive-Starbuck fashion, she questions him about the groove on his finger. When he explains that he left his wife and child because his wife pushed him to quit music and get a better job to support the family, Kara becomes angry. She piles blame on him and asks him if he never thought of what his absence would do to his child. He looks at her knowingly as she quiets down. It is obvious that she is transferring her own feelings of her father to the piano player. Throughout the episode there are undercurrents between the piano player and Kara leaving us wondering as to his real purpose and how that purpose fits with Kara’s past, but this moment brings it all to the forefront: Who is he? Is he real? Is he baiting her? Why? “ Paired with information from “No Exit” and Kara’s past, I have an idea of who the piano player (as I’m sure many of you do) is but I’ll not spoil it for the rest of you. The piano player says that Kara’s father gave her something – he taught her how to play the piano. He convinces and encourages her to try to play her favorite song. Kara tears up as she raps on the keyboard and remembers sitting at the piano as a child.

We cut back to Tyrol pleading Roslin for Boomer’s life. Roslin warns Tyrol not to fall into Boomer’s trap again. Rejected and upset, Tyrol leaves the President in a flurry of fury. He sees the worker eight again, and suddenly has an idea. He picks up a wrench and the lights go out. The eight is shown to be in the jail in Boomer’s place when the power returns. Tyrol, unable to face the possibility of Boomer’s death, broke her out and planned for her to take a Raptor in the guise of Athena.

Boomer, dressed as the worker eight, moves through the ship. She waylays Athena in the bathroom. Athena recognizes her instantly, but before she can react, Athena brutally beats her bloody, ties her up, gags her, and throws her in the closet, taking her gear. Helo then walks in wanting a good frak with his wife before letting her carry on with her mission. Boomer briefly tries to resist him, but they end up on the floor as Athena watches through the gaps in the closet door while loosing consciousness. Boomer then picks Hera up from the daycare and puts her in a metal box that Tyrol helps her load, never suspecting her plans. They share a last kiss and heartfelt goodbye.

I want to take a little time to discuss Boomer. Boomer has a special place in BSG TNS history. She was the original eight placed as a sleeper agent within the fleet. She built relationships with others, and then, despite her efforts, was forced to betray the ones she had come to love. Afterwards she was stuck in a bitter cycle of disappointment, while Athena found the life with Helo that Boomer wanted with Tyrol. Athena had acceptance, rank, love, and even a little girl who was lauded as special by the Cylon race. It was as if Athena had stolen Boomer’s life and dreams, and never looked back.

Boomer, on the other hand was never accepted. Instead, she ended up the deciding factor in the Cylon civil war and was used by Cavil for his own purposes. In a sense, although what Boomer did to Athena was terrible, maybe it was Boomer’s personal justice. Athena stole her life and dreams and was rewarded for it. In return, Boomer finally beat her to a bloody pulp, had sex with her husband as Athena watched barely conscious, and stole her daughter. I wanted a little bit of happiness for Boomer, but she’s the classic tragic character. It’s too late for her and she never really had a chance. She was programmed for a purpose, and in some ways, she’s still carrying it out.

I did feel some sympathy for Chief Tyrol, although his treatment of the worker eight was deplorable. Tyrol has also had the cards stuck against him for some time now. He fought for the fleet and in the resistance, but discovered he was a cylon, lost his wife, his child, and was duped by Boomer. In some ways, Tyrol and Boomer aren’t that different. They are two tragic, lost souls who can’t find their way anymore. Tyrol takes yet another hit in this episode as he watches Athena and Helo rage over the loss of Hera – his actions cost them their child and Tyrol feels the brunt of it.

And we come back to Kara for a final, beautiful scene with the piano player. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this one scene. Kara, slowly with the encouragement of the piano man, begins to play the first notes of the song that comforted her as a child. They realize that part of it is missing, and as the piano player reaches up to write notes, Kara remembers Hera’s earlier drawing. She places the drawing on top of the existing notes and they reveal the song – surprise, surprise, - it’s "All Along the Watchtower – the trigger of the Final Five. And the buildup to the song is amazing. You can almost feel Kara’s uncertainty and concentration as she taps the first keys, you can see the awareness and awakening in the final five members present (and Tigh’s eye nearly popped out of his head again; Hogan is so expressive with that eye!), and the tension in the air as Boomer loads a box – presumably with Hera inside – into the Raptor. And although the idea of Hera’s drawing might have been a bit hard to swallow, it cemented the thought that Hera and Kara are intertwined somehow. The music is completed and Kara plays it to the hilt . The Final Fivers are flabbergasted. Just as the music is completed, Kara appears to find a little bit of peace, and the piano player is gone. Who was he? Was he in her head? Why? Just a perfectly crafted, beautiful scene.

Overall, I was very impressed with how the Kara/Boomer/Hera subplots were integrated and matched with the musical atmosphere of the show. I rate “Someone to Watch Over Me” a 9.7 out of 10. Bring on the next one!

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