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Battlestar Galactica 2K: "Hero"

Maybe I'm just a cynical old fart, or a cold-blooded bitch, or maybe I've watched too many war movies, but honestly, what is with the wailing over military expediency? The good of the many over the good of the few? Sacrifices for the mission? It's one thing to say "I feel wracked with guilt over my decision." It's another to say "I feel wracked with guilt because I followed my orders and protected the mission to preserve the existence of my species." Tigh and Roslin have it right. Soldiers are expendable, higher-ups make decisions, and the Cylons didn't commit genocide over one tiny act.

I laughed when Roslin suggested putting Baltar's portrait in the bathroom, because I would have said the same thing!

I was surprised that Starbuck herself didn't pick up on the idea that the third Raider, the one being chased by the other two, might have been a non-Cylon intelligence. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, after all. And for all that she gasped later on that the two Cylon Raiders didn't nail Bulldog's Raider, she and Kat -- the two Top Guns, the crackest of the crack pilots on Galactica -- sure do take their sweet time about lining up a shot on a supposed enemy vessel which is headed directly for their home ship! Not to mention those two chasing Raiders blew up reeeeeeeeally easily, didn't they?

Good to see M.A.N.T.I.S. is still getting work. (Don't bother writing me about Alias; we never watched it.) Actually Carl Lumbly did a good job. He took a macguffin character and inhabited him with some believable dimension and emotion.

So did Cottle take Baltar's magical Cylon detector and really streamline it into a ten-minute procedure, or did he find some other marker which shows up on a cell stain or something? He announces to Adama that Bulldog is human, not Cylon, but Baltar's contraption took something like 12 or 15 hours to work, if I recall correctly. Or is that supposed to indicate that 12 hours have passed and Bulldog still looks like he's afraid someone's about to whack him upside the head with a spanner?

They did bleep Adama! Bulldog makes a joke about "the accommodations" on the baseship, and Adama says he was worried the Cylons had "beaten the bulls--- attitude out of you." Granted that I'm bleeping the word myself, but I'm just a touch surprised to see it cut out on screen.

Adama does, sort of, admit to what he did to Roslin and in front of Bulldog, straight off. He says it's a bad call. Why isn't that sufficient for him in reality? He didn't come up with the orders to spy on the Cylons (as we later find out). It wasn't his tactical choice. It was a black ops mission, meant to get a sense of the strength of a completely unknown enemy, to determine how much danger the Colonies -- seventy billion people, let's not forget -- might be in. Why does the loss of one man agonize him so?

It's a measure of the trust between Roslin and Adama that she does just let him say "Trust me on this, I'll clean up my own mess." She figures that for the moment, he doesn't gauge it enough of a threat to have to reveal it to her, and if she needs to, she can come back and clean his clock another day. She isn't happy about it, but she lets it go because she trusts him not to hurt her or the Fleet.

Hey look, a THREEsome! {rimshot} Okay really, was that the result of Baltar's febrile rantings? That Threena takes both him and Rebel Six to bed? (I guess she's forgiven Rebel Six for whacking her last life.) Is he working his way through the various models to gain their support? We know the Brother Cys like to shtup humans, and at least one of the Leobens is interested, but I think Doral might be a challenge.

I wonder if repeated downloads have a cumulative effect on the Cylon psyche. Is Threena's apparently growing fascination with death, or the pause between lives, related to just having downloaded recently? The one Brother Cy whined about his increasing headache, and Rebel Six said she felt disjointed when she first downloaded on Caprica proper, but Buckin' Leoben was either unaffected or already psychotic so it couldn't scramble his little brain any further. Threena has the centurion shoot her after her startling dream about the Colonials executing her. Has she done this cycle before? Recently?

WHY do the Cylons have this fetish for SPOTLIGHTS on the floor under everything?! And what attraction would an enormous four-poster Victorian bed have for robots? (Nice camera work preserving the modesty of all the actors in that scene, I must point out.)

We veeeery briefly suspected Adama might have deliberately sent Bulldog to Tigh, knowing Tigh's state of mind and capacity, so that Adama wouldn't have to confess himself, but Adama isn't the type. If he has to deny something, he knows why, and it's not out of cowardice. If he felt that Bulldog should know, then like he did with Lee, he would just say it straight up.

And speaking of that scene with Lee: it's rare on BSG that the characters act so strangely that I'm thrown out of the story. This was one of those times. We're practically back to first season, Lee behaving wet behind the ears and Adama wretched with angst over his decisions. These men are tougher than that. They've been through hell in the last two years. The tears made no sense (not that Olmos's performance wasn't marvelous, but I didn't buy the why of it). Lee's protestations were hollow and had no experience behind them. (Then he says "You had no choice," and we yell "Drink!")

And why is Lee so damn surprised that the Admiralty knew the Cylons were out there? He commanded a battlestar for over a year. Can he still be that naïve? I know the audience doesn't know the story of the Cylon wars, but shouldn't Lee? He's an officer and the son of a high-ranking officer. Even if they had a falling-out, that was over Zak, and Adama has been in the service longer than Lee's been alive. He should have a much better grasp of tactics and long-range planning than that. The Admiralty wanted to do their jobs: to protect humanity. If the Cylons were massing an army on the Colonials' doorsteps (and they were), the Admiralty needed to know that. Even if one lone stray ship could provoke a war -- and even the Romulans forgave a goodly number of transgressions, given the alternative -- wouldn't it be better to know that their enemy is that trigger-happy and to shore up defenses for it, rather than having a tourist ship set off a conflagration? Adama's recon pilot did not set off the attacks; Roslin is right. The Cylons didn't spend forty years growing daisies and baking pies and suddenly because one single-person ship crosses an imaginary line in the sand decide more or less en masse to retool their entire society into weaponry so they could wipe out seventy billion of their former masters. This was forty years in the planning -- possibly conceived of before original Cylons fled and started the first war. We don't know the cause of the original conflict. But when the Cylons escaped, it was not merely to flee and hope they never saw humans again. They deliberately took on human form despite its flaws, as one of the Simons pointed out in "Torn." They planned this retributionary genocide since they day they left, and probably before that. Bulldog wasn't even the straw that broke the camel's back. If he had been, if this was a startling new development for the Cylons, wouldn't they have questioned the hell out of him? Wasn't Baltar with Caprica Six on Caprica for a few years at the time of the attacks? It took her a while to get into the defense mainframe and mess around with things. This was not impulsive, emotional flailing around. This was planned for a long time, with much malice aforethought. Bulldog might have been interrogated (and conveniently doesn't remember it) for updated tactical information which Caprica Six might not have had, or for independent corroboration. I'm not saying whatever the Colonials did to spark the first Cylon war was justified. But slaughtering seventy billion people isn't right either.

I did like how the two scenes interspersed -- we didn't have to hear the story told twice to get both sets of reactions.

What was Threena seeing and reaching for in her vision? It sort of looked like a person. Was that supposed to be the Cylon god? What did the six pillars represent?

Bulldog's reaction to Adama -- beating the crap out of him and trying to kill him -- only makes sense if we think the Cylons are somehow behind it. Because a soldier on a black-ops mission should not hold it personally against his CO that he was left behind for the greater good. That's the whole meaning of "black operations." If he's captured, the Fleet doesn't know him. He's a non-entity. James Bond is a black-ops agent. That's why M commented on his cyanide pill in Die Another Day -- that kind of soldier is in fact supposed to end up dead so the enemy doesn't have the chance to torture him for information. Yes, it's ugly and brutal and nobody wants to die, but is that not how these "secret" organizations work? Adama may have trusted Bulldog's piloting skills, but either he's brainwashed by the Cylons or he was never correctly briefed about the nature of this mission to begin with (which would be Adama's fault, and that is something he could legitimately feel guilty over).

Tigh clobbers Bulldog with the pipe and then yells "Stay down!" and all I could think was "Sit! Stay! Bad Bulldog! No biscuit!" :D

Looks like Tigh finally bottomed out, and has decided to try climbing back up again. Good for him. This is the kind of "elapsed time" I was talking about with Starbuck and Tigh fomenting dissension among the crew -- it didn't have to go on forever or be a major plot point, but this feels like the proper amount of time has gone by for Tigh to finish wallowing in his guilt and to try to start getting back to normality.

Can I just say again how I love McDonnell? :) And Roslin has another good point about the Admiralty wanting "a war" -- let's not forget that even though she was Secretary of Education, she was in Adar's administration, and she was his girlfriend, so she may well have had access to high-level intelligence. Obviously the Admiralty had no idea what they were up against, and if they did want a war, it would have been one on "their terms" which they could finish off quickly and decisively to eliminate the nagging, uncertain threat.

I had a brief thought that Roslin might bust Adama back down to Commander, which would have been amusing. But I rather like the idea that she made him get up there and grin through his guilt, and endure the accolades he believes he hasn't earned, to serve the people. Since his transgression is all in his head, his punishment will be there too. I think every president should be a teacher.

The question still remains: why did the Cylons let Bulldog escape? Clearly it was permitted on some level. His story is awfully tidy. There was no reason for the door of his cell to be so conveniently open, and Starbuck was right about the Raiders shooting like Classic BSG Cylons. How could the Cylons know about the nature of the mission, or how about how Adama chose to shoot down one of his own men to hide the Valkyrie's position? I hope we get some answers and this isn't just loosely dropped.

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