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Battlestar Galactica 2K: "Occupation/Precipice"

After a long wait, an ultimately satisfying restart to the complex story, opening new avenues of questions and laying down some surprising character work. I continue to wonder: since Moore & Co. can't leave the show here on New Caprica, how is everyone going to cope when they finally get back to the ships and get on with their lives, on the trek to find Earth?

I should point out that I have not seen the webisodes, the set of ten three-minute shorts which were (still are, I assume) available on for American audiences. It sort of annoyed me that I would be forced to go online to watch part of a, you know, television show, so my comments will be uninformed by any of that backstory.

New teaser credits; I'd wondered. I believe it's the same text over new imagery. Slightly altered main credits as well, although they're still doing the damn spoiler stuff IN the credits. Which is why we always ffwd through them.

Ah, poor Lady MacTigh. Like everyone else, she's forced to put her talents to a use she hadn't quite intended when they came down to this benighted planet. But ya make do with with whacha got, I suppose. She's trying to keep Tigh alive and safe, and despite the poor judgment, she does mean well. Speaking of Tigh, wombat61 asks, did Brother Cy release Tigh so he (either directly or through Lady MacTigh) could lead them to the insurgency? Did he deliberately torture Tigh to escalate his rebellion so his attacks on the Cylons would be correspondingly violent, thus justifying the crackdown and executions which the Cys wanted anyway? Similarly, did Brother Cy order Cally rounded up to flush out Tyrol, to punish Tyrol, or because he thinks she's an insurgent leader herself?

So the Brother Cy models are the "priests" -- I put that in quotes because the characters repeatedly do; they're somehow atheistic about the very god they're preaching about -- but are also the most bloodthirsty, lecherous, and facistic. They're the extremists, of every trait. Does that seem odd to the other Cylons? Do they have any Borg impulses, to make themselves "perfect" or without flaw, or have they decided (maybe the Sixes have) that the "next generation" will be the perfect ones, so it's okay if they have a model whose clones are a bit whacked? It's creepy to hear the "priest" talk about "using any means necessary" to bring god to the heathen humans and "fear is a key article of faith, as I understand it."

Was Roslin somehow praying in Braille? She was running her fingers over calligraphied text but then whispering with her eyes closed. I'm not thrilled to see she kept the religious angle, but I suppose it makes sense for the character -- for her, those visions were not merely convenient plot contrivances, but have now truly become a part of her, in a celebratory way. Moore & Co. are good for the continuity, at least.

Kara is living in some kind of apartment building where Buckin' Leoben has her locked up, but the layout (the open stairs descending into the room) is exactly like the ones we saw on actual Caprica. Why would the Cylons build a brand-new building to look precisely like the old apartment buildings just for Kara? (and other prisoners, I would imagine.) The Colonials sure didn't build it if they're still living in tents and huts.

I think the Brother Cy who tortures Tigh and the other prisoners is just opportunistically sadistic; he saw the marks and knew what they were, and just threw in that line about messing up his calendar to upset Tigh.

Kara's plan to murder Buckin' Leoben with the fork was nicely done. She eats her meal with great relish, so to speak, but then just...sits there. And then we realize that she can't leave, and Buckin' Leoben is just going to download into another body and return. (If that was the case, why didn't she kill him again with the knife? Why not just keep whacking him?) Although when Rebel Six downloaded into a new body, she and Threena both commented that they felt clumsy trying to adjust. Why doesn't Buckin' Leoben seem the least fazed by having to regenerate nearly half a dozen times in four months?

While Roslin's diary was a useful narrative tool to catch the viewers up on the last four months of show time, if the Cylons are essentially running the place like Nazi Germany, complete with the jackbooted SS, wouldn't she worry about her comments being found? If people are being rounded up and arrested and detained and disappeared for no reason, wouldn't she be concerned about actually having a reason?

Roslin repeatedly talks about "the city." Do all surviving 37,000-odd people live in just that small area? In a year they hadn't spread out and tried to find their own land? Even Baltar at his most depraved -- remember, he was talking about rounding up union leaders and holding them in detention indefinitely -- didn't appear to be sealing city borders and preventing people from leaving, or from going back up to the ships. There was misery, but there was freedom of movement and communications.

We're still only seeing the seven humanoid Cylons we know, and the bulletheads. I know Moore can't tip his hand (and likely hasn't decided on the identity of the other models yet), but it's just too strange to know we're only seeing half the population represented here.

Cy's sneering, and Threena's dismissal of the War Heroes' requests, show that the Great Plan which they had originally come up with to live peacefully with the humans isn't working. What was it? Why did "the majority of Cylon" at first agree to go along with them? If it's not working, why don't they leave? Why don't the Cys and Threenas override the others and just kill all the humans? (I know, I know, short show.) Are the ones who argue in Baltar's office some kind of high council? (Then why have several Sixes and Dorals and Cys?) The two War Heroes still carry some clout -- up until one of the Dorals plugs poor Rebel Six -- so where did that support come from? Once again, is there some level of groupmind connecting all the Cylons, or all the iterations of one model?

Threena asks Rebel Six if Baltar's love is "worth losing all of this." Losing? How are they losing? They have the humans pinned down and suffering. They can execute nearly the whole race in a few days if they put their minds to it. And for that matter, what, exactly, are they in danger of losing? I can't even think of a rhetorical example. They're completely in control of the situation beyond some minor bombings. What is at risk for them?

So in four months, do Rebel Six and Baltar have a moment to talk? I assume from his expressions and her defense of him that he knows who she is, or was. Have they reconnected? (I mean emotionally, but hey, physically too.) And let's take a moment for another tip of the hat to Tricia Helfer, who gives Rebel Six a subtle but unmistakable edge of vulnerability and passion, so you know exactly who we're looking at no matter how many Sixes are in the room. (The ultra-platinum hair doesn't hurt either...)

I find it ridiculous that the insurgents don't immediately realize that Gaeta is their inside man. He was on Adama's bridge, and he's Baltar's primary lackey. Who else would have access to such important information and could be disposed to help them? (And no, I don't think for a nanosecond that it could ever have been Baltar; it's simply not in his nature to behave in such a consistently secretive fashion or to do something altruistic which could get him killed. He would never risk his own neck like that.)

I was a bit surprised at Cally's sad stoicism when Tyrol goes out on his dangerous runs, but they've had a year under Weaseltar and four months under the Cylons. She knows what her husband does and what he's capable of, and she's not the hysterical type.

Yes, Jamie Bamber is wearing a fat suit and lopsided latex bloat on his face; in recent promo shots he's normal-sized. Unless those Entertainment Weekly shots were taken last year and poor Bamber has gone totally Method over the summer to match the fat suit he wore in March, it's not real. And the guy on the phone was a body double (thanks to wombat61 for pointing that out). Although I would like to know how on limited rations and nearly unlimited time to exercise in the ship's gym a man can get that fat. (and everyone really kept harping on him about it! jeez, next thing you know Cottle will be rasping about heart disease and diabetes.)

Adama is absolutely right, as Admiral, to chastise Lee's command performance. Even if Lee's beefs are legitimate -- which I don't think they really are -- Adama's logic trumps that. They must get the pilots back up to war footing to cope with the rescue, and that means training in damned hard conditions. While we haven't seen their interactions over the last four months, Lee doesn't come at this like someone who's patiently put up with increasingly difficult orders and has finally had enough, which would be a scenario where he'd be in the right. He's still in a less-urgent frame of thinking, which Adama can't afford.

The insurgent suicide bombings are a hard thing to swallow, as Moore intends. If we're looking at humans resisting Cylons, or the occupied resisting Nazis, we mourn and cheer on the desperate martyrs. But much of BSG2K is a reflection of current events, and (while I generally don't bring current politics or news into my commentaries) at the moment, U.S. troops are facing Iraqi suicide bombers who target our occupying forces. Those fall into the Bad category. Glen Larson's Classic BSG had Mormon influences but established a pantheon of The Lords of Kobol, and Moore kept that and added monotheistic fundamentalist Cylons, turning our Western identification with monotheistic religions on its head. So we have a precedent of cross-loyalties, and this is another layer. Is Tigh right to authorize suicide bombings? It does frighten the Cylon leadership and it will get their attention to allow Adama's reinforcements to come in. But civilians do die. The secret police grads, one might argue, had become The Enemy by joining the Cylon side of the debate, but Tigh's next aim was a marketplace, which is a purely soft target. How could he afford to start killing off his own base? Roslin stays true to her nature and decides not to support the idea actively, but stays true to her political nature also and doesn't take steps to stop Tigh from continuing them either when she hears his reasoning.

So Sharon has found her inner peace. Or appears to have, at any rate. She's back being Adama's counsel, surprisingly for both of them. And we later learn Adama has permitted her to marry Helo, and if I'm seeing the set correctly, her conversation with Adama -- the couch, the table, the lights, the coffee -- is in her personal cell! A year is a long time. And since the settlers have, well, settled, it is sort of stupid to treat her as a prisoner. Either kill her or trust her, but locking her up doesn't accomplish much. If she's willing to be cooperative, they might as well work with her.

Now, I wonder: it's been over a year, and if she's been given lots of cozy amenities and has married Helo, one imagines they have conjugal privileges. Why isn't she pregnant again?

So Lee and Dee are married. Bleah. How boring.

Lee is a soldier who needs a war? As in, he can't be a soldier without a war? Or he's a soldier deep down, and needs a war to be his best? I had always seen him as doing poorly at the military, and working hard to overcome his weaknesses and many moral reservations.

Does Baltar have some hope that Roslin will help get him out this hell he's created? He seems to be treating her as a potential source, as a possible ally. Or is that just his political nature never to reveal his real feelings unless directly threatened?

Jammer used to be part of Tyrol's deck crew, and now he's an SS officer sending one of his own crewmates to her death. He's another one just trying his best to make sense of the mess he's in. He clearly feels terrible about what happened to Cally. But Tyrol doesn't give him an opening; he's too fired up with anger and rebellion to take Jammer's hint about how some of the SS might be "in over their heads."

Okay, let's discuss this kid. First off, no, she's not Kara's. Kara was kidnapped in "The Farm," which was the middle of S2. Let's say in round numbers it was six months since the Cylon attack. Assuming the fertilization was immediate (which seems highly unlikely given that the Cylons seem to have had one success, period, which somehow involved the emotions of the people involved), nine months after that would be six months into the Colonials' first year on New Caprica, which would be about ten months from this episode. Kacey looks to be about two, two and a half. Babies learn to walk between nine and twelve months, and that kid was running, jumping, dancing, and playing. The ONLY possible way Kacey could be Kara's genetic child would be for her to have been born during or before the miniseries.

Dismissing that. Genetics does not make family, and family does not make genetics. We can be family to those who don't share our blood, or who share it to lesser degree. Presenting a child who is your genetic offspring does not immediately inspire an undying bond of parental infatuation. (and not for anything, I'd have demanded a DNA test. she's supposed to believe that lying SOB? whose particular model Roslin warned her about?) Buckin' Leoben was wrong to have assumed that telling Kara Kacey was hers would automatically win her affections for the child, and Moore was wrong to write Kara beginning to behave that way (unless it's a really elaborate ruse, which is possible, but Kara is impetuous and transparent, and that would be a long and sophisticated plot to pull off).

Separate from that, one can be affectionate and care for a child who isn't one's own, and cheerfully hand her back at the end of the day. Kara isn't mature enough to think of it, but she easily could have played with the kid, fed her, and handed her off to Buckin' Leoben with no concern or attachment. Parenthood isn't Pottery Barn; just because you burp it you don't have to buy it.

So, is Kara playing Buckin' Leoben? They are in a hospital setting, no longer in the apartment, so is she doing this as a ploy to get her freedom? Or is she starting to get Stockholm syndrome?

Is Adama right to take the final step in trusting Sharon Agathon, and allowing her to join the fleet and become a person rather than a prisoner? He's apparently decided that his resources are slim enough that a questionable ally is better than none. And she must have worked at convincing him over 16 months. It's not a bad plan, so far as it goes if she's trustworthy, because she is the only one who would walk in among the other Cylons and not be detected as a Colonial. (Other than Boomer, of course, but the Colonials don't know about her resurrection yet. What happens if Sharon meets Boomer? We have no hint that they know one another. And will Sharon reconnect to the groupmind if she returns to the proximity of other Cylons?)

I like that Adama can be both commander and father to Lee, and either one or the other as the moment demands. Even when Lee is hopping mad, even when he's desperate and afraid, their bond doesn't break. And I think they both have a point. Lee is right that the two thousand civilians left are the "safe bet" and need to be protected, but while there was never a chance to save many people after the attack, there is a chance for Adama to do something for the people clustered together on New Caprica. It was hard enough to leave people behind the first time -- uncounted innocents that he would never know -- and these are his friends, his soldiers, his staff, his family. He can't do it a second time. Dividing the battlestars and having Lee keep the rear guard against a catastrophic loss is the most moral choice.

As dense as the show is, and as long as it goes between seasons, I occasionally forget character detail. Jammer appeals to Boomer to help Cally, and my first thought is simply that they're all friends together. Boomer goes into the cell where Cally is, and Cally snarls at her, and I suddenly remember that she's the personality Cally shot for shooting Adama. Then Boomer says she's happy for Cally and Tyrol, and I remember farther back that Tyrol had a relationship with Boomer in the beginning! So much history in so few exchanged words.

Baltar actually has one moment of power when the Doral has the gun to his head. At the moment, the Cylons are choosing to play by the rules, and they feel they must have his signature to validate the executions. If he refuses, and they kill him, they have to go about the bother of installing another president, who would be an unknown quantity. They do need him to some extent yet. Obviously, given his craven nature, he's not going to take that kind of stand, but in a way it's a pity he doesn't see that he has that sliver of an edge over them. Until they decide to stop playing nicely, of course.

Okay, Rebel Six is shot and Ghost Six appears instantly on her cooling heels. We have no way of knowing, of course, but we presume she hasn't appeared since she murmured "Judgment day" in the finale. I have no idea what it means.

Sharon speaks of "betraying my people." We believe she means the Cylons -- which means she still thinks of them as her people. And she says to Helo that she will not betray the fleet and the Colonial uniform. Interesting. Will we the audience ever be able to take Adama's leap of faith? (I think not; Moore wouldn't want us to be bored. Or we'll find out as she dies.)

I can't fault Lady MacTigh for the sentiment, but she is the wife of a soldier and an officer, and should know better than to thwart his plans and orders. She should know better than to place his personal well-being above that of the species. In the heat of battle one can act with the heart rather than the head and pull someone to safety rather than let them die to hold a bridge or whatever, but she knew the consequences of what she was doing. This is more than servicing a Cy to keep Tigh out of prison; it's sentencing others to death.

Aha, I was wondering if Zarek would show up. (and she called him "Mr. Vice President!" That clears up that mystery, for what it's worth.) He says he refused to collaborate with the Cylons, which is quite in character, and has been in detention ever since. When this is all over, I might be able to see Roslin making a wary peace with him, especially if Baltar is spirited off by an iteration of Six and doesn't return to the fleet.

I keep forgetting that Sharon and Mr. Underwear Model knew each other...

We know Roslin and Zarek won't die in that barrage, but how many of that group will? And will the survivors go hide in the hills and keep up the fight from there? or bump into Sharon's group and get back to Galactica?

Recycled Trek Actor Checklist: Rick Worthy, who plays the Simons, was one of the Xindi-Sloths, as well as Noah Lessing (one of the Equinox crew) on VOY. I knew the actor name; I just couldn't place the face.

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