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Battlestar Galactica 2K: "Valley of Darkness"

A "working" episode, with less of a plot of its own than as a means to continue or wrap up some arcs. It's okay once or twice, guys, but we need to start seeing more self-contained stories soon. My best friend missed S1 and had heard so many good things about it that he wanted to start watching S2 -- "I'll just jump in somewhere in the middle," he said, and I started laughing.

Tigh is much better in command here than last week, because he's in familiar territory: facing a known enemy doing predictable things on his ship. This he can handle. And he does, very competently, recognizing the Cylon centurions' tactical movements and guiding the teams who are checking in to get there first. ("Aft Damage Control, RFN," Lee repeats -- Right Fracking Now. hee hee hee) Good suspense on the ship without making us insane, good follow-through on Kobol, and a small but interesting character note on Caprica. People who were injured last week stay injured. Prisoners return to prison after the crisis isover. Grudges are still held. Six continues her insidious brainwashing of Baltar. (I'm betting that dream was either influenced or outright fabricated by Six.)

Moogie thought it was veeeeeery convenient that the Cylon virus managed to hit the main and auxiliary power systems, and at the exact same moment, especially when they are by definition supposed to be on separate grids. Also, what if Six is doubly manipulating Baltar so that not only is he hallucinating her, but also zoning out and, say, writing computer viruses to be activated later?

I love it that these strong, macho men and tough, dignified women are boasting and swaggering and then see a centurion and they all scream and run for their lives. But they recover -- gasping and shuddering -- and pull themselves together back into military mode.

So Kara is from Caprica, and the Museum is conveniently near her apartment. And she drives a battered HumVee. I predicted she'd go searching for cigars, but the paintings and piano were a surprise. (The crayon-like scrawl and writings on the wall were not -- something about "methodically smoking my cigarette/every breath/breathe/[??] the day/with every delicious sip/I drink away the night/stroking my hair to the beat of his heart/watching a boy turn into a Man.") At first I thought that maybe I'd misunderstood about where the Tomb of Athena was, and thought she was going there, until I realized she was rooting around her old digs.

Helo starts to say "Sharon said..." and then backs up to say "Cylon Sharon said..." Yeah, I've been having that trouble myself! Galactica Sharon and Caprica Sharon? Boomer 2.0 and 2.1? Sharon 1 and Sharon 2? At least he seems to be convinced that Kara's right about Sharon's inner nature -- until she flies back and explains that she was being a decoy or luring the troops off, or something... We know they won't stay stuck on Caprica, since Kara is a major character and has to rejoin the fleet. Hm, will they have to land on Kobol or will the fleet get back there first?

Sackhoff grew her hair a little over the break, it seems. I kinda prefer it shorter.

I give Jerknose 2IC more credit this week; he looked suitably nauseated when Tigh announced what the Cylons were planning, and worked with the other two without interfering. Gaeta is great -- I wish they could promote him! I think he's filling the Omega role, roughly.

So Baltar is being told that the Kobolians performed human sacrifice (hey, those could be the skulls of humans who were killed by Cylons) and that all the scriptures are a lie. But in the same breath Six says the Sacred Scrolls are a fairytale, and then quotes the Kobolian belief that "all of this has happened before and all of it will happen again." Buzzphrase to catch Baltar's ear? Leftover from the Cylon evolution from whatever their human masters made them? Crack in the fundamentalist façade? (She also notes the "true nature" of humanity is "brutality, depravity, and barbarism." Nice words from a species which is bent on genocide to the level of murdering infants in the street.)

Okay, how impossibly does it suck that Tyrol and Cally risk their lives, and lose a redshirt, to get a medkit which still turns out to be too late to do any good? Cally curses Tyrol out, they bust their asses getting back to camp, and Tyrol still has to put his guy out of his misery the hard way. (But why does he save the redshirt's dogtags and not try to get his guy's?)

I was pleased at how the final firefight was choreographed. Roslin's Corporal did the smart thing and stayed put rather than running headlong into who-knows-what, Roslin got Billy down on the floor to safety, Lee was as nervous and shocky as anybody else, half of Lee's team missed their shots, and the last shot which took out the leaping centurion was messy and spectacular. Realistic and not dumb. And the centurions do bleed! Billy shoots one of them by accident and it's splattered red.

I'm glad Billy and Dee made up; I like them together. I could see how she'd be pissed both personally and professionally, but they managed to get past it.

Kate Vernon, who plays Ellen Tigh, is listed in the credits for this episode, but she doesn't appear in it. Is it because they consider it a two-parter, or was it just a flub?

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